2015 Vision TRCC
What is our DNA?
DNA is the unseen culprit that drives design and function.
At our fall sports award banquet they would call each student up by name. As they called Gabriel Jolly, Dr. Travis Whitehead, sitting behind me, grabbed my shoulder and exclaimed, “My God that’s your boy. He looks like you. He walks like you. He even stands like you. That’s amazing!”
Apparently it’s quite clear Gabriel Jolly belongs to me.
Why? It’s the DNA. My DNA is in him and determines what he looks like and acts like.
When one takes a look at TRCC there is definitely a difference. Folks come here and they either love it or have to get away as fast as possible (hyperbole). People who leave our church due to moving or career or vocational calling usually have trouble replacing the ethos and function of TRCC.
What is it that causes people to fall in love with TRCC? Is it the slick dressed pastors with the “best life now” sermons? No.
Is it the slick building with “can’t miss” amenities?
Is it the deft “everything to all people” band?
Is it the lights and fog machine?
Is it our “rockin’ global problem awareness campaigns” we drive in social media on a yearly basis?
Is it the kickin’ “come and get more information and hear your favorite Christian celebrity and get them to sign your bible” conference we host every year?
The answer to all these questions is No.
What is it? It’s our DNA.
We talk about our DNA’s manifestations in the membership class, but I believe it’s time to talk about the DNA itself.
2015 is the year of articulating and seeking to drive deeper the spiritual DNA we were planted with. Its the year of seeking to refine our practice of that DNA and focus harder than ever on multiplying that DNA and passing on that DNA to as many as we can.
We’ve broken down the components of our mission, “For the glory of God we will build the church, both local and global, by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ” (Glory, Church, Glocal, Radical).
Now we want to begin breaking down the components of the DNA that produces that mission, and these are our values, (Kingdom, Disciple, Society, Church). These are components we’ll instill in TRCC church planters. These are the values we want to instill in you that will cause you to act the way you do. These are values that drive TRCC to be that place that ruins people for the ordinary.
The sequence of this DNA is as vital as the individual parts. You’ll see this as we go along.
“The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.” – Tim Keller
God’s kingdom is his universal rule, his sovereignty over all the earth…The kingdom is his reign more than his realm. – George Eldon Ladd
“The kingdom of God is the reign of God. It is Jesus’ Christ, the Lord over all things in action. Wherever the will of God is being done, that’s where the kingdom is being manifested. In a very real sense Jesus is the kingdom in person.” – Bob Roberts
“Kingdom” shows up 160 times in 151 verses in the New Testament. The “kingdom” in the New Testament is distinct from the kingdom in the Old Testament. In the NT the kingdom is more than Israel, and the king is not a man. In the NT the kingdom is the people of God from all nations and the king is Jesus.
Everything in the OT is preparing us for the reality of the Kingdom of God that would be inaugurated at Jesus’ first coming, advanced by the church as the people of God and fully consummated at the restoration of all things when Jesus returns.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (food, drink, clothing)
If we want to see the supernatural works we read about in the east we can’t live by the values of the fallen world system that is opposed to the kingdom of God.
“…Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
“He told them another parable. ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.’”
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn….Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
The kingdom rules over all. However, not all submit to the rule of Jesus. The church is not the kingdom. The church is the community of the kingdom. It’s the place where the kingdom is most lived out, and the church is the production of the rule of Christ.
This is why the church multiplies when it feeds on the values of the kingdom. It’s like leaven hidden in flour. It just multiplies until it fills the whole.
Ultimately, (jumping ahead) church multiplication is a function of the Spirit working out the kingdom not man’s strategies.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
The gospel is the good news of Jesus’ kingdom come and the breaking of the curse of the fall and overthrow of Satan’s little and temporary kingdom to be finally overthrown when Jesus returns.
The good news of the kingdom is more than salvation from sin. It is that, but salvation from sin is just the entry into the larger work of the kingdom!
The culture of rescue from hell as the goal of the gospel has not only short sighted the work of the church, but it has shallowed up discipleship for the church.
If the gospel is just a rescue from hell, then once I’m rescued from hell there is not much to do other than help get others rescued from hell, huddle up and wait for rescue. The point of Jesus saving you is his praise in rescuing sinners and then his glory is his people filling the earth, proclaiming the good news and healing the domains of society as salt and light.
Salvation is not just salvation to heaven. Salvation is being made alive to see and know the king and his kingdom but then to participate in bringing the king’s rule to application in your home, your church and your domain of society on a global scale.
The good news of the kingdom makes salvation possible for all who will believe and gives those who believe a mission to subvert the work of Satan through making disciples and engaging the domains of society in all nations and establishing the church as the outpost and community of the kingdom by the Spirit’s power as we wait for Jesus to return and completely bring Satan’s work to an end.
Quick Summary: Jesus’ First Coming broke Satan’s Power (Broke the curse). In-Between Jesus’ first and second coming we are undoing Satan’s work in the curse by the power of the Spirit at work in the powerful kingdom (Church’s Mission – glory; church; glocal; radical). Jesus second coming will completely destroy Satan’s petty rebellious kingdom forever.
Implications of the kingdom:
If the kingdom of Jesus Christ has come, and if we are wheat and sheep not weeds and goats, and if we have all wisdom and insight to know the plan of God to unite all things in Christ then there are some implications for us as the community of the kingdom.
1. We must be Missional – We have to be about Jesus’ mission not our mission. Everything we do must have the mission in mind. We must be about correcting the fall and bringing all things back under the rule of Jesus Christ.
2. We must be incarnational – Jesus came and healed. We must be agents who go and heal. We must fill our domains of society and bring them back under the rule of Jesus Christ. This is a life-long mission.
3. We must be Organic – The kingdom does not advance my man’s schemes. The kingdom happens as a supernatural move of the Spirit. The job of the church is not to manufacture movements but to join them.
4. We must be Contextual – The kingdom always invades a context and brings it under the rule of Christ and takes the Constitution of the Kingdom, the Sermon on the Mount, and makes it the rule of that context in redeeming it for Christ.
This is why the bible never prescribes a model. This is why a church should never prescribe a model. The community of the kingdom fits in and transforms from the inside out.
We must make sure we don’t fall into the trap of thinking our preference is THE model. The model is the kingdom. We must strive to outdo one another in showing honor, allow for conscience, and let the Spirit dictate the hows.
5. We must be Glocal – The kingdom is not isolated to the local church. The local church is a manifestation of the kingdom and the kingdom is global. The kingdom mobilizes the local and takes it global to expand the kingdom.
6. We must be Evolving – The kingdom is always growing and taking in more formerly held enemy territory. The community of the kingdom must be flexible enough to incorporate that kind of growth. Example: what is it going to look like when the church is truly integrated and not segregated? Are you willing to evolve into a fellowship that have multi-ethnic pastors and worship leaders? Sometimes evolving and growing looks like shrinking numbers.
Jesus’ influence grows over his people and sometimes Jesus sorts the good fish from the bad fish in the net. The goal is not as much growth numerically as it is growth of love for and living out his kingdom.
Are you a kingdom person? Do you love the king and his rule?
Kingdom people worship. Let’s worship the king!