teamThis is the second in a 3 Part series on Partnering For A Change by Glen Forsberg. We will complete this series next Thursday. This series is taken from a message that was given on the opening day of the 2006 FCA International Convention in Monterrey, Mexico.

In the first part of Partnering for a Change, we talked about how Partnership is a Bold and Necessary Venture. God’s heart is so good and so generous that He continues to lead us, grow us, and stretch us. There are three consecutive chapters in the book of Isaiah that highlight the need to understand the heart and vision of God for His people.

Isaiah 54:1-5, 13
“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

“For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth….

“All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.”

This passage introduces us to a barren woman moving miraculously from isolation, loneliness, and rejection to acceptance, marriage, and fruitfulness. She is promised that she will be more fruitful than the woman who has a husband. This is because of the One who will marry her: the Creator Himself!

However, there is a condition. The woman has to expand her tent. She has to stretch the tent curtain, lengthen the tent cords, and drive in larger tent stakes.

Although this story is allegorical of Israel, it has application to the Lord’s church and to ourselves. We often hear this passage quoted during a church building program. There is other expansion needed prior to a building program. Is our tent expandable? Are we able to think beyond our history and our tradition?

As can be seen in the following chapters, the greatest expansion must take place in our hearts and our heads. If we believe our Maker, preparations must be made for God’s projected increase. God’s promise must be met with our preparation.

Isaiah 55:8-11
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

This chapter invites the penniless orphan to enjoy free wine, milk and bread. The secret to this abundance is the Lord, whom we are called to seek. We are further challenged with a God who thinks “outside our box.” It was this elevated thinking that made Jesus unique. The same could be said about Peter, Paul, and many others.

Are you ready to admit that your thinking may be too low? A change in outcome begins with a change in thinking. God has promised that his Word will be fulfilled! Will we be part of that fulfillment?

Isaiah 56:3-7
Let no foreigners who have bound themselves to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” For this is what the Lord says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant-to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.

“And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

This last reference indicates God’s inclusion of foreigners and eunuchs. He elaborates by saying he will give them “joy in his house of prayer.” All nations will be present!

Of course, the Pentateuch had banned strangers, foreigners, and eunuchs from the tabernacle. But now God states through his prophet Isaiah that he has changed the rules! These folks are now welcome.

This is precisely what our Prophet and Savior did. He changed the rules! We now have direct access into the Father’s house through the sacrifice of Christ. We are now invited to take the “keys of the kingdom.”

We are to welcome those whom God has welcomed! Have we noted God’s new rules for ourselves and for our neighbors? Have we changed with God? Are we ready to include the people whom God has included? The change has made inclusion possible in the house of joy and prayer. Will we allow others the same privilege?

Three Key Words
Three key words from Isaiah 54 tell us that we must prepare in this manner. Lengthen. Strengthen. Stretch.

Why does the FCA exist? Why are you a part of it? Three key components of any movement are the following:

1. Vision: Have we signed our names to a corporate vision?
2. Values: Have we signed on to the values of our Lord? We need to catch the Acts 1:8 fever, seeing our local churches as partners in “godly globalization.”
3. Partnership: None of us can do it alone. If we are too long on autonomy, we may be short on the vital role of partnership. Paul needed Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and the Philippian church.

This all requires leadership and a will to change where change is needed. We are a growing fellowship of believers, leaders, and churches. There is so much for which to give thanks. However, the possibilities our Father holds for us require gymnastics of the heart and head if we are to realize the vision he has for this generation and the one to come. What can we do? Next Thursday we will look at some ideas to answer that question.


Pastor Glen Forsberg, is pastor of McMurray Gospel Assembly, Fort McMurray, Alberta, and  has served as Chairman of the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies Canada and now serves as an Executive Member of the FCA in Canada.

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