By Jim Lyon
The world is a mess. We live in an age in which fixed anchors are being discarded, hopelessness paralyzes whole communities, and darkness is furiously working to edge out the Light. Surf broadcast news, read a newspaper, listen to the heart-cry of passersby all around us—sometimes even in our own families, churches, and schools—and the sobering challenge is everywhere set before us.
It is hell’s business, this stealing of life, this devolution of the soul, this reduction of hope, and slaying of dreams for something better. The enemy of our souls has, from Eden’s day, sought, by half-truth and mischief, to separate us from our Maker, the Author of life.
Of course, much good is nevertheless being done; the kingdom still expands, Jesus still is Lord. There is much to celebrate, but there is also much to do.
Be Bold. Reclaim. We are called to reclaim what hell has stolen. Every soul redeemed, every broken place mended, every injustice rebuked and removed, every truth that takes root in the face of falsity is a reclamation of what the devil himself has robbed. Heaven will prevail, be sure of this; we are engaged in the contest on the winning side. Check out Luke 4:16–21, our Lord’s declaration of his own mission (and ours).
This year’s Church of God Convention has been tuned, with the choice of every voice, to speak life and daring into the Movement, to stretch us and to dare us to believe and to do, to reclaim.
For instance, Steve Southards and Steve Rennick are both Church of God pastors, neither of whom have ever addressed the convention before, but both of whom have an astonishing witness of what God’s reclaiming work can do. Gillian Grannum, whose parents (Milton and Hyacinth) breathed into her a thirst for God, is one of the church’s most gifted and anointed young communicators—one who knows the power of reclamation. Sheila Walsh’s testimony of redemption and reclamation will take your breath away; from Scotland, she is no stranger to us, with deep friendships and close relationships in the Church of God.
Francis Chan, one of the most influential, inspired, and inspiring souls in the Christian family today, has also been pouring his life, during the last year, into our congregation in Mountain View, California (CHOG Abundant Life); he has on multiple occasions been used of God to draw young people to Christ and commitment through our International Youth Conventions; now, for the first time, he will speak to the larger church at the convention about that “crazy love” that changes the world. Timothy Clarke needs little introduction; he simply is one of the CHOG’s brightest and best, transcending communities, cultures, and all that divides in his pursuit of Christ.
And, Anita Renfroe? In addition to speaking at the Christian Women Connection Luncheon at the convention, she will bring life and laughter, for Jesus’ sake, to all convention-goers one afternoon. She was invited in response to substantial feedback from those who attended last year, who loved the format, but asked for a break to take a deep breath in between the powerful and compelling, back-to-back teaching and worship plenary sessions. Anita is the Lord’s, one who will make you think, even as she makes you smile.
The Church of God Convention is not a show, the line-up not a playbill. It has not been conceived to entertain or impress. It has been prayerfully, carefully, thoughtfully, and intentionally planned to unite, inspire, and call the Church of God to follow Jesus, as he reclaims what hell has stolen.
There is still time for you to join us. There is still time to experience from afar as some sessions are streamed live online (now including both Monday and Wednesday evening services). There is still time to get your pastor there, as eyes and ears and presence for your whole congregation. There is still time to pray (and join thousands of others already united by the pre-convention prayer guide). All of the information is available at our website: www.JesusIsTheSubject.com.
Be encouraged. We are the Lord’s. And he is calling the Church of God to Be Bold, to Reclaim.
Church of God Convention 2015 is June 22–25 at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Learn more at Be Bold. Reclaim!.