Editorial

I Was Taken Beyond

By

I left Orlando with mixed emotions after attending the 2019 Alliance Council gathering. On one hand, I felt full. One of my kids asked me when I came home what I enjoyed the most during the week. I said, “The stories. There are so many good people doing good things around the world.” For example, in the past two years since our last national conference, there have been nearly 50,000 professions of faith in U.S. Alliance churches!

On the other hand, I felt the fool. I heard so many stories of remarkable, faith-filled, Kingdom-expanding work, it made me feel foolish for how unremarkable, fear-filled, and non-Kingdom-impactful my life can seem in comparison.

True to the theme, I left with a sense of desire to go beyond where I am currently. I can be deflated and derailed so easily. I want to go beyond my limitations. It is always encouraging and inspiring to be around others who seem unstoppable. For example, currently there are workers in 40 countries closed to the gospel. They aren’t allowing political conditions to stop them from extending the Kingdom to these places.

The last word of the last line in the last chapter of the Book of Acts is akolutos. It means unhindered. This was first pointed out to me by Eugene Peterson in one of his books. Luke ends his account of the first acts of the Church (empowered by the Holy Spirit to be Jesus’ witnesses) with the perspective of an unstoppable gospel.

“He [Paul] lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:30-31, ESV).

In the face of opposition, restriction, disturbance, and stalling, God’s work is unstoppable. No matter how hindered I may feel, whether from internal forces or external foes, God’s Kingdom cannot be hindered.

The Church seems so “stoppable” at times. All it takes is to change a service time 30 minutes, a sports event that conflicts with the schedule, or a comment that strikes someone the wrong way. People in the Church can be stopped so easily. How many churches would be stopped by the government removing property tax exemption?

However, Luke is asking us to step back and look at the bigger picture. Events like the Council gathering provide an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture. “The Kingdom of God” is continuing to advance through the “teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let’s go beyond where we are right now with boldness, unhindered.

Chad Smith

Alliance Midwest District leadership development and mission mobilization

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