The Francis Asbury Society

The Wittenberg Congress 2017: Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Posted on| November 9, 2017 | Comments Off on The Wittenberg Congress 2017: Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

By Lane Loman, FAS Speaker

Wittenberg Congress 2017Dr. Davis, an Assembly of God evangelist, and the late Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, created the Global Church Network for the purpose of reaching a billion unsaved people with the gospel by the year 2030. The Wittenberg Congress was organized and scheduled to provide church leaders and Christians from around the world an opportunity to gather to acknowledge the impact Luther’s actions had upon church history. It was held in Berlin, Germany, from October 30 to November 1, 2017, and concluded with approximately 500 Congress attendees participating in a worship celebration inside the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am thankful I was privileged to experience this historic, spiritual event.

Featured speakers for the Wittenberg Congress, among others, included Dr. Gustavo Crocker, general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Doug Beacham, presiding bishop of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, Dr. Timothy Hill, general overseer of the Church of God, Dr. Leonard Sweet, professor of evangelism at Drew University, Dr. Jo Anne Lyons, general superintendent (retired) of the Wesleyan Church, and Dr. James O. Davis, Assembly of God evangelist and co-founder of the Global Church Network.

The theme and challenge from each speaker pointed to one mission and goal: reaching every peo-ple group and language with the gospel by 2030. The following highlights are from messages shared during the Congress sessions.

  • Dr. Leonard Sweet used Martin Luther’s own words in the opening session, “The Bible is the manger in which Christ was laid. The scriptures are alive, they speak to me. The scriptures have feet, they run after me. The scriptures have hands, they lay hold on me.”
  • Dr. Gustavo Crocker reminded us, “Your church must strengthen its identity, identify its mission, and fulfill its purpose.” Dr. Crocker confirmed that collaboration works. In his home country of Guatemala, 40 percent of the population are Christian because the Church of the Nazarene, the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, and the Quaker Church worked together to spread the gospel.
  • Dr. Doug Beacham spoke of “convergent synergy.” Luther impacted the political, social, and religious segments of his day. He heard the Bible anew, finding his answer regarding righteousness and peace. He used the technology offered (the Gutenberg press) to pro-mote his beliefs. He influenced educators and succeeded in winning over the entire faculty of Wittenberg University. He believed in transformational relationships, looking to Africans in Ethiopia to help trace the roots of Christianity.
  • Suliasi Kurolo, pastor of the largest church in the Figi Islands, challenged us by saying, “Plant that lasts for a season: flowers. Plant that lasts for a lifetime: trees. Plant that lasts for eternity: church.” Pastor Kurolo also reminded us “prayer is not a spiritual gift; it is a discipline, and fasting brings power to that discipline.”
  • At the Castle Church in Wittenberg, in his concluding address, Dr. Davis shared an interview he had with Sir Edmund Hillary in 2007. Hillary was the first person to successfully climb Mt. Everest. Dr. Davis asked Hillary for any words of wisdom he might have. In responding, Hillary said, “Don’t just do what others have done. You will only end up feeling what others have felt. Do what no one else has done, and you experience what no one else ever has.” Dr. Davis proposed to those present that our Mt. Everest is the Great Commission, and our task is to fulfill that commission, accomplishing that which no one else has ever done.

Lane at Church DoorsI brought so much away from my time at the Wittenberg Congress. Of the many messages and people I heard and met, one reality became crystal clear: We are not alone in our desire to complete Jesus’ mandate to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Regardless of background, church affiliation, ethnicity, or education, people from all walks of life are interested in the souls of those who have not yet heard the gospel. Working together, we can do this! In the words of Dr. Leonard Sweet in his concluding remarks at the Castle Church, “Luther proclaimed, ‘Here I stand,’ we must embrace a new position, ‘There we go!’”

Fall Revival in the Old Testament

Posted on| October 31, 2017 | Comments Off on Fall Revival in the Old Testament

By Ellen Bullock

EBullock Treasure Lake - webFall revivals have been a longstanding tradition in many evangelical churches. I was pleased to be invited to participate in a five-day fall revival held at the Treasure Lake Church, in DuBois, PA, a non-denominational church of over 300 people that serves the resort-residential community of Treasure Lake and surrounding neighborhoods. Scheduled to preach the final two evenings, I decided to close out the October revival by looking at another October revival described in the book of Nehemiah.

After a 70-year exile in Babylonia, the people had returned and were settling into their homes (Neh 7:73) once again, led by Ezra, the scribe, and Nehemiah, the builder. A Life Application NLT Bible notes succinctly that Nehemiah found not only broken walls but also broken lives. Interestingly, it was on an October 8th that the people gathered together to seek the Lord, with profound effects. There were shouts of “Amen,” hands lifted in praise, tears shed, sincere confession of sin, and an actual change of behavior (Neh 8–9). Revival!

What strikes me particularly about this ancient October revival is what precipitated it. It was simply the Word. After a long famine of the Word, the people themselves asked that the Book of the Law of Moses be brought out and read. With impressive stamina, men and women stood reverently and listened attentively from daybreak until noon for days. Not only was the Book read but it was meaningfully read so as to be understood.

In a lengthy prayer that recalls Israel’s history with YHWH, there is a heartbreaking admission (Neh 9:26): “They put Your law behind their backs” (NIV); “They turned their backs on the Law” (NLT). That could be said of much of American Christianity today, as so many—even whole denominations—have distorted and disrespected, ignored and neglected, and given only the most shallow reading to the Word. It’s a privilege to join with those who faithfully teach and preach the Word of God. As usual, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw says it so well: “The Word is ‘the key to life…the clue to reality. We find Jesus best in His Word'” (This Day with the Master, Mar 29).

Men on the Houseboat Retreat

Posted on| October 31, 2017 | Comments Off on Men on the Houseboat Retreat

By Al Coppedge

This was the seventeenth year that I had the privilege of participating in a Men’s Discipleship Retreat in Canada. I flew to Calgary, Alberta, to be with Dan Jansen and his family for a day. Dan some years ago served on the staff of the Barnabas Foundation here in Wilmore. He is now pastor of a Free Methodist Church in Calgary. We had a great time with another close friend for a day and then drove from Calgary, Alberts, to British Colombia to Lake Shuswap in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. When all fifty men arrived, we pushed off into the lake in three rented houseboats. That accounts for the name of the retreat. We have discovered that within this context, no one goes home in the middle of the retreat! We drove up the lake in the boats and docked them on the shore. The entire retreat was in beautiful surroundings with mountains coming down into the lake and forest all around us.

Friday and Saturday were similar days in format. I shared the speaking with Dan Jansen, he on one boat and I on another. We had morning training sessions followed by some personal time for the men to spend alone with the Word on the beach or somewhere on one of the boats. I spoke from II Timothy on the topic of discipleship. They the men gathered together to debrief over their reflections. After brunch, we started a second teaching session followed by a time of recreation that included hiking, swimming, a hot tub, and time for great conversation. These men were eager to learn! After supper, we had another session. In each session, there was time to answer questions, interact with guys on spiritual matters, and to challenge them in their personal walk as serious disciples of Jesus.

Sunday morning, everyone gathered together on the beach for a final communion service. I gave the challenge, talking about the importance of grace being available to every man as they went home to face circumstances in their families, at their work place, and in personal relationships. We then took the boats all the way back down the lake to the dock and started driving back across Canada to Calgary.

One of the most significant parts of this retreat was seeing a number of fathers who brought their sons. It gave the sons a chance to see that not only were their dads serious about following Jesus, but there were another fifty adult men who were as serious about Jesus as their fathers were. At the same time, they were having a great time in recreation and in fellowship.

We thank the Lord for the way this retreat has continued to bless men across the years and look forward to doing it again next year if the Lord keeps opening the door.

Cruise North

Posted on| September 29, 2017 | 3 Responses

By Stan Key

I know the Bible says we can’t even imagine the amazing things God has prepared for those who love him (I Cor. 2:9), but I never dreamed such a reality would take me on an all-expenses-paid Alaskan cruise! This August, I was invited to be the daily Bible teacher for a group of doctors (and spouses) on a cruise sponsored by the Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA). We sailed through majestic beauty and enjoyed culinary delights and family-friendly entertainment on board the Emerald Princess. With stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, the group interspersed our study of God’s Word with excursions to a wide variety of options: whale watching, glacier climbing, salmon fishing, dog sledding, helicopter riding, etc. My choice was to take a train ride from Skagway up, up, up to White Pass. This was the path followed by the hopeful “stampeders” over a century ago during the Klondike gold rush. Magnificent!

CMDA Alaska Trip - scenery 2The pristine grandeur of snow-capped mountains, blue-tinted ice bergs, rocky fiords, and turquoise-colored water caused me often to pause and sing: “Oh, Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made… then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to thee…”

And what a delightful group of doctors and spouses! It was sometimes challenging to get focused on the Word of God in such a setting, but for ten sessions, we took a different journey—through Scripture, studying “The Geography of Salvation.” After eight days, when we finally docked again in Seattle and said good-bye, many commented that the times in the Bible were deeply meaningful. Dr. Gene Rudd, Senior VP at CMDA and our host for the cruise, said:

Stan Key has obviously been sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning to model His words and deeds. While he is a masterful expositor of the Word, he also takes time for individuals: to love them, enjoy their fellowship, have fun, as well as minister to their needs. Hearing and being around Stan inspires me to be more like Christ.

For me, the only flaw in an otherwise perfect setting was the absence of Katy. It was simply too daunting to imagine working with a wheel chair on planes, boats, cabs, and trains. Katy stayed with our daughter Elisabeth and her husband, Ben, and son, Josiah (age 14 months) in Chicago while I was away.

Congratulations to Dr. Abson Joseph!

Posted on| September 21, 2017 | Comments Off on Congratulations to Dr. Abson Joseph!

We have exciting, happy news! One of our Board members, Dr. Abson Joseph, has just been promoted to Dean of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. Congratulations, Abson! Read more about it here.

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