As the nights grow from cool to cold we bask in the glory of our great God. I’m so excited about what the Lord is doing with and through CBU, and I am so encouraged by our partnership together. We just had an amazing time together at our November Gathering in Ridgecrest; when we get together, we generate a world-changing faith. For those of you missed our November Gathering in Ridgecrest this past weekend, we’re sorry! It was an amazing time of refreshing in God’s presence and refocus on his mission.
As we wrap our hearts and minds around God’s trans-perspectival paradigm that transcends the limitations of the momentary place-time situation of our lives, God affirms how we are ‘seated together with Christ in the heavenly places’. If that’s true – and it is – we ask – why has the Lord blessed us with so much (every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ!). In short, it’s so that we can glorify God in eternity and in time.
When John states that we beheld his glory, he points to the transformative dimension of Christ’s work: to behold him is to be changed. But the focus of transformation is not on some kind of momentary, experiential, manifestation that results in substantial carpet time. While its true that God uses many things to mold us into his image, perceiving his glory involves the revelation of who Jesus is and what he is doing. And in the transfiguration, we learn a bit more.
When I travel often, changing time-zones on trans-Atlantic or trans-pacific flights producing a kind of disorientation called jet lag. We look at clock and it tells us it’s one time, but our bodies tell us it’s another time.
The body of Christ often experiences a kind of kingdom lag where we get confused regarding the epoch we are in:
- Traditionalists and sentimentalists focus on the past: they long for the good ‘ole days of what God has done and fine comfort in the forms (traditionalist) or feelings (sentimentalists) derived from a different area.
- Pragmatists focus on the present, working hard, and doing what works, but tend to not ponder deeply how what they are doing now will shape the future, or how the past should speak.
- Futurists look forward to a life bye and bye: their longing for something better is rooted in the promises of God, but they tend not to link those dreams with what God has already done or what God is up to now.
This time-zone paradigm helps us understand some of the conflicts that emerge in the Body of Christ: sometimes, the primary point of disagreement is not content, but the question of which time-zone should be prioritized – past, present, or future.
This is why the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8) is such a beautiful and compelling model for embracing God’s purposes: the past, present and future are drawn together in one visionary moment:
- The past (the law the prophets, Moses and Elijah) speak to promise of a crucified and resurrected Jesus.
- In the present, God’s glory manifests as the Father endorses what the Son is doing
- The future is marked by ‘listening to him’ and doing what Jesus says – which involves the advance of the gospel by making disciples (Matthew 18:19).
What does all of this mean for us – and for CBU?
The Past: First, we are blessed as we reflect on the past – God has done amazing things over the years, and we give God praise for every life changed, every marriage restored, every destiny confirmed, and every ministry launched.
The Present: we are working as hard as we can to be faithful to God’s revelation in Christ – God’s hope for the world through the good news message of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection for us.
The future: we are working towards is a greater revelation of God’s glory. As the Lord promises in Isaiah 60:1, ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you’. God’s glory breaks out in the nations as we faithfully steward God’s beautiful gospel.
Drawing on our great past together, working faithfully in the present for a beautiful future, we are committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. In addition to our work in Ukraine, leadership clusters, boot camps, and church planting, we are taking on our most strategic and most daunting project of all: the establishment of a missions training center for to train, equip, and release church planters, missionaries, and leaders across Europe.
There is so much more that God has for us to do – and the only we way can it all is together. Thank you for your partnership with us; together we are touching nations with the gospel. Remember, what we do in this life echoes in eternity.