The Now and The Not Yet

On April 30, some of the staff attended an event sponsored by Sioux Falls Seminary at Central Church in Sioux Falls. The topic of the Hiller Lectureship was “Invigorating Abundant Communities: How to Invigorate Revelation’s Eschatology in our Churches and Neighborhoods.

The very thought provoking, convicting and yet affirming, day-long lecture from the book of Revelation by Dr Ralph Korner who is the Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, AB was divided in to these three main points:

  1. The IMMENENCE of Christ’s RETURN FOR His Church…which INVIGORATES our living for Christ.
  2. The IMMANENCE of His PRESENCE IN the Church…which gives hope for an ABUNDANCE of fellowship in Christ.
  3. The ESSENCE of His PURPOSE THROUGH His Church…which focuses us on COMMUNITY development and development of community.

Although at first glance the outline might appear a bit complex, I found the content to be very applicable.

Summarizing the three-part lecture for you, using a wide variety of texts from the books of Revelation and John, Dr. Korner talked about the fact that Jesus’ second coming is imminent  which should stir our hearts to passionately live with and for Christ. The fact that Jesus is coming again should compel us to deepen our relationship with God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Then, birthed out of our experience of enjoying the presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can already enjoy the beautiful reality of community life in the kingdom of God right now here on earth. That’s right! We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to experience the joy of eternal life!

In one of the most challenging parts of his lecture, Dr. Korner suggested that when Jesus said he was going away to prepare a place for us and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, he was simply implying that he is the way into the family of God.

So another translation of John 14:2 and John 14:6 could sound like this. “In my Father’s household (the family of God) are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you (in the bigger context of the family of God—whatever faith family you choose to be a part of)….I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes (in)to (an intimate relationship) with the Father (during one’s life time on earth) except through (a whole-life commitment) to me.” And the point being, the purpose of our spiritual formation is simply to grow into who we are already as a child of God and as a citizen of God’s kingdom in the daily woop and warf of our lives!

And the way we fulfill the purpose of the Church then is by focusing on community development and development of community. And this was the part that was both convicting and affirming me. Convicting in that God has showered his grace and mercy on me, and yet there are certain neighbors and situations where I withhold grace and mercy. And yet affirming when I think of all the ways our ministry is seeking to bring the kingdom of heaven to our community and county.

And for that, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have been invigorated by Revelation’s eschatology and therefore have been intentional about working in cooperation with God in developing abundant community in your circle of influence. I feel so blessed to be able to join you on this mission as we eagerly anticipate Jesus’ return!

Fully enjoying the now and the not yet, Mike Altena



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