Living on the Edge! (Report on Portland Jubilee '06)

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A Report of the 2006 World Missions Jubilee in Portland, Oregon.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

This passage of Scripture always reminds me of the fact that God calls us to be sharp and refined for Him. He calls us to be like Jesus, yet without other righteous people in our lives that are “living on the edge”, we can become comfortable and dull, avoiding the spiritual fire that can refine us and keep as sharp for Him.
It was this goal of being “on fire” for God that inspired Patrique and I as well as 16 other disciples who were able to travel to Portland, OR last weekend for the 2006 World Missions Jubilee. It was so encouraging to see our sister family from Chicago, IL, led by our parents in the faith, Chris and Theresa Broom!

The fellowship was electric, and it was so good to see friends that were of one mind and spirit! The difference that I believe we all saw at the conference was that the Portland Church, led by Kip and Elena McKean, were putting their dreams into reality, with no reserve, retreat or regret. They were living their lives on the edge, where few have the courage and the conviction to go. And because of that mindset, hundreds of people came from all over the world to be there…from Kiev, Ukraine to Santiago, Chile, to all across the United States. These disciples came to the city of Portland, not for its weather, but for the spiritual fire that was burning in the hearts of the disciples there. The disciples in Portland aren’t “super-disciples”. They just believe in God’s promises. The name of the NBA team in Portland is the Portland Trail Blazers, and that’s exactly what the Portland church has been doing through God…blazing a trail of faith, love and hope in the power of God for others to follow. They are willing to stop at nothing to see the evangelization of the world in their lifetime. It’s just simple faith. On behalf of the Central New York Church, I would like to thank Kip and Elena McKean and all of the leadership of the Portland Church for inspiring us to a higher walk by “your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

What a time of power! This conference reminded me of the Scripture in 1 Thessalonians 1:4, which states, “…our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” Speeches by Kip McKean (Portland, OR), Jay Hernandez (Salt Lake City, UT), Steve Johnson (Portland, OR), Matt Sullivan (Phoenix, AZ), and our own Chris Broom (Chicago, IL), called us to have a deeper unity in our relationships, a greater vision for our ministries, and a willingness to sacrifice for the mission of seeing lost souls saved, ultimately imitating the heart of fire that God gives his disciples through His Holy Spirit. I appreciate how vulnerable yet commanding their messages were, as each of them called us to repentance. This issue of repentance was especially brought to light when Chris Broom asked us the question, “Are you living it, or limping it?” There is no mention of “repenting” in the Bible. Only repentance! We just need to do it! I was ready to imitate their hearts for the Lord by deciding to repent in three specific areas, and also gained three new convictions that I believe will inspire the hearts of the disciples in Central New York.

First, I want to be a man whose heart is absolutely surrendered to the plan and will of God through prayer. So often my heart can be self-reliant and impatient, yet I need to imitate Jesus’ heart in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He prayed to His Father, “…not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39. What a heart of conviction through prayer!

Second, I want to “walk in the light” about my sin. I am often blinded by self-righteousness to portray myself as stronger that I am. I am so weak before my God! Once again I need to imitate the heart of Jesus as he stated to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9. I am inspired to gladly boast about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me!
Third, I need to always be thankful for the incredible ways that God has blessed my life! The grace and salvation afforded to me by God through my repentance, my beautiful and spiritual wife, the relationships of the Kingdom, and the miracles of seeing people making Jesus Lord of their lives should always inspire me to new heights! As the Scriptures state in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

There are also three goals of faith that I am praying for Central New York Church:
1) That we become a church of complete reliance to God through prayer. We need to pray daily for God’s Spirit to work miracles through us!
2) We need to pray daily for God to win as many as possible through us! We need to pray for people to be baptized, restored and to move here everyday as they see a church focused on being true to God’s standards of life and doctrine.
3) We need to pray daily for God to send disciples to support our house church plantings in Ithaca and Utica. We need to strengthen these ministries and support their labor for God as they preach the Word fearlessly!

Since this conference, God has blessed our repentance as our newest brother in faith, Gary Franke, a graduate student in biology at Syracuse University, was baptized on the 30th! To God Be the Glory!

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In addition, Daisy Stevenson (left), a sister baptized earlier this year in May, has returned for her Junior year at Cornell University! She is pictured with Jen Watkins, a PhD candidate and “Cornell mom” who baptized her.

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I was appointed at the conference to be a “Cyber-evangelist”, as a new section on the area of Christian apologetics will begin on the UpsideDown21 website that I have the privilege of moderating. Check out this site at http://www.upsidedown21.org/ to be inspired by the power and deep conviction of this conference! It is my prayer that the fire sparked by this time will be a gleam of light to a dark and dying world. Let’s “Follow the Fire” as we give our best for God!

All for Him,

Andrew Smellie