God Himself = The Worthy reward
A.W. Tozer wrote this in the 1960's:
“What I have set out to say is that God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is. Such worship...can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God. Hearts that are ‘fit to break’ (over Him) with love for the God-head are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to nor understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the Presence of God and they reported what they saw there...The church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God. With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus’ flesh, with nothing on God’s side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God? We sense that the call is for us, but we fail to draw near, and the years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What hinders us?” A.W. Tozer The Pursuit of God
So "Why Church Plant?"
#1 God’s Glory
First, it is glorifying to God to enjoy living obediently to the Great Commandment (Matt. 22) and Great Commission (Matt. 28). Do we really believe Jesus has “all authority over heaven and earth?” Is it optional for some to “make disciples” and for others to go to a building, sit, and listen? Do we believe Jesus when He said “I am with you always even to the end of the age?” Do we believe those with conviction?
It is also a response to Acts 1:8, as Jesus was leaving this earth, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This has never ceased. The Holy Spirit renews, equips, and empowers as the word of God and the gospel goes forth.
As we go through life intentionally living to make disciples of all ethno-linguistic groups, the natural occurrence is spreading the gospel to new areas of lostness where we want to see that new geography and people saturated with the gospel until all have had the opportunity to hear. This was exactly what we see as the Kingdom of God and the gospel of Christ go forth in the New Testament. That story of redemption is still being written!
#2 STATE OF THE WORLD
Second, is the spiritual state of the world, the church in America, and Tulsa (specifically). Concerning the world, we need churches who make disciples and plant many, many other churches, both near and far. If we think of “availability of opportunity,” there are many places in the world with little to no access to the Bible, to a gospel-articulating church, to a believer, thus no access to Christ (10/40 Window). We need to constantly teach and reveal God’s heart for all peoples through the Scriptures along with presenting avenues for taking the gospel to unreached people groups in the 10/40 Window. Though we desire to plant many churches stateside, this is one of our highest priorities.
Concerning the church in America, the most recent surveys and data reveal continued plummeting levels of attendance in worship across the landscape of America. Less than 14% are considered true believers. Only 1-2% of churches in America are growing by conversion (seeing lost adults surrender to Christ). Another 75% are in maintenance plateau. Another 15% are in serious decline and will close their doors within the next decade.
Concerning Tulsa, lostness has been outgrowing the gospel in Tulsa. Tulsa needs many Christ-exalting, loving expressions of the gospel in word and deed. We want to plant several churches here in Tulsa, as well as the rest of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado, and New Mexico.
#3 JEALOUSY, ENJOYMENT, AND PLEASURE
God is jealous for His people's affections. God finds great enjoyment and pleasure in revealing Himself as the one true, worthy God of all things, to His creation. We, His people, find our greatest enjoyment and pleasure in God Himself--not "God plus...what God gives." Simply God Himself.
"You make known to me the path of life, in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11)
We easily forget, but our Creator Redeemer God is a consuming fire, self-described as “jealous.” He is jealous for our affections, love, and worship. Not because He is found needy or insecure, not those forms of jealousy, but because He is the only object/Person due the worship and love and affections in fitting righteous jealousy. As Augustine stated in the 4th century, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” God designed us in a way that in glorifying Him, He earnestly receives the honor, fame, glory, love, and affections due His being, and we find our greatest life-giving expressions of love, enjoyment, and pleasure.
As Acts 17:26-27,28 “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted times and boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him…for in Him we live and move and have our being.” God’s redemptive plan after the fall was not only to save us from torment, but to give us Himself, as the all-enthralling pleasure above all other pleasures. When we are reconciled to God by the Person and work of Christ, we are restored to God’s designed identity for us (new identities), being in close affection and relationship to Him—our true identity. And we are not only given our new pleasurable identity, but we are given a new way to live, a rightly ordered mission and vision for life, a renewed God-glorifying understanding of life, purpose, family, marriage, singleness, parenting, generosity, love, worship, community and service.
In God Himself, we find, that pleasure and enjoyment, through our restored identity and mission, that our hearts have been searching for all along.
- FOR THE GLORY AND HOLY JEALOUSY OF THE TRI-UNE GOD
- FOR THE RENEWAL AND GOOD OF THE REACHED CITY
- FOR THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL TO UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS
- FOR THE SALVATION AND PLEASURE OF PARTICULAR SOULS