Baptists Together - have confidence!
Baptist Christians and churches were urged to ditch the negative human narratives and have confidence in God’s call on our lives
In a rousing address that closed the 2019 Baptist Assembly, General Secretary Lynn Green said that now is not the time ‘to shrink back, pull up the drawbridge or lose heart.’ Instead, by God’s grace, as a movement we are being called to step up and play vital part.
‘I believe God is saying to us: "Please, please see yourselves as I see you. Have confidence in me and who I created you to be."
‘So now is the time to rise up, be bold and move out for Jesus and his Kingdom!’
Taking Hebrews 10:19-25 and 35-39 as her text, Lynn explored our foundations for confidence, how we can be confident in the present and in our relationships with each other, and our confidence in the future.
The passage speaks about confident disciples, she said: ‘it’s stated as fact, it’s how things are.’ The confidence is all about Jesus Christ – his love, his grace, and gift of forgiveness and new life.
This means that every follower of Jesus Christ can be confident of being ‘loved, precious, accepted as we are; empowered by the Holy Spirit; and called to continue Jesus’ mission to the world.’
Lynn said we need to able to live this, bridge the gap between theory and practice, and live an authentic Jesus-following life in the midst of our busy lives. ‘We need to be able to receive and revel in the goodness of the Good News.
‘When we experience the goodness of the Good News, we embody it, and when we embody it, we invite others into it too!’
We can all help each other in this regard. Referring to verses 24-25, we are called to encourage each other, both as individuals and churches. Stop looking for where we disagree, but look for what God is doing and see the best. 'Really spur each other on!'
Knowing they are loved by God, Lynn spoke of her wish that each of our churches is clear of His call to them in their context. ‘You only have to respond to God’s call – no more, no less.
'Finding that for yourself is where the confidence comes from.'
Having spoken about the foundations for our confidence, and how we can be confident in the present and our relationships right now, she said the passage ends with a promise for the future (verses 35-36).
The verses tells us to not give up, keep going, and despite all the challenges – ‘don’t shrink back now!’
Lynn said these verses were significant to her because they’re part of what she believes God is saying to us as a movement. She has sensed God wanting to do a new thing in and through us (Isaiah 43:18-19), and highlighted different words and pictures she has been given during her time as General Secretary.
In 2015 she had a vision of God’s glory, and saw beacons of prayer being lit and fanned with flames up and down the UK. In 2017 she felt God say ‘I will breathe fire over my church’ and later that year was given a word from God: ‘It’s time’. In 2018 she was given a picture of sand dunes erupting – it’s time for the Body of Christ to rise up!
‘Now is not the time to shrink back, pull up the drawbridge or lose heart,’ Lynn said.
‘Now is the time to rise up, be bold and move out for Jesus and his Kingdom.’
She concluded, ‘By God’s grace, He is calling us to step up and play a vital part.
‘Not on our own, but with others and part of the mix – a significant part of the mix.
‘I believe God is saying to us: ‘Please, please see yourselves as I see you. Have confidence in me and who I created you to be.
‘Ditch your human narratives – that we are dying, old fashioned and institutionalised. It might be the reality in part, but it’s not who are becoming.
‘We are shaped, inspired and empowered by God’s narrative over us as disciples, churches and as a movement. In the end, all that matters is how God sees and his call to us!’
‘So let’s cherish who we are, be enriched by our long history and celebrate our strengths.
‘Baptists Together, have confidence!’
‘Whatever you say, wherever you call, let us say with no hesitation, ‘Lord, here we are!’