It was with excitement for me that I got to begin a role in this ministry that is now called The ACTS Group. I was asked to lead something that had found its roots in the Luis Palau Sacramento Festival and the coming together of churches, nonprofits, and businesses on June 8, 2012. Many of those churches and leaders said they wanted to create an organization and have someone, some people, or some way in which we can continue to be nudged to work together in this thing called gospel movement. That was the beginning of The ACTS Group process.
The ACTS Group is commended to help gospel movement move forward. We talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Good News. People use this term in different ways. If we do not stop to reflect and say, “Well what do you mean by the gospel? What do you mean and what comes into your mind when you think of that word: the gospel?” How do we understand that? Even in all the different social needs that we can meet and all the different kinds of prayers that we can pray, and the different kinds of leaders in the different kinds of spheres, and the different types of cultural influence that we can touch or that we are in terms of being able to build into God honoring leadership? What is at the center holding us together? If this movement is a movement of the gospel, the gospel must be at the center of who we are and what we do.
It is also going to mean somewhere along the road there is going to be a dividing line where there will be some people who opt out because they realize that this gospel we are talking about is not the center for them. It has to be broad enough to include a wide variety of expressions of the Christian faith yet it has to be narrow because Jesus was very particular. When Jesus came he said, “I come as the light of the world.” He knew that we lived in a world of darkness, a world that had caved in upon itself because of humanities saying no to God. Jesus came as God to be able to bring hope, light and life. When Christ came, the Light of the World came.
I want you to imagine in your mind’s eye just for a moment the sun in the sky. Oftentimes when we see images of the sun, we see around the sun the light arching out to the left and the right, above and below. When we look at a sun in the far distance we call it a star. We know the start shape. The light radiates out from the center. That center must hold. In that center is the gospel. We must understand what the gospel is. On the fringe of the light, on one side we may say, “There is not much light over there.” and we can create in our mind’s spectrums. We may find ourselves categorizing different churches, saying things like, “Well, this is the very conservative churches, the legalistic, the rules keeping, the church that might say, ‘this is all there is, we have the gospel and no one else does.’”. On the other end of the spectrum of where light is meeting darkness, we find what some people might call the liberal church. On this side of the spectrum it can feel like they become untethered from the historic moors of Christianity and what are they holding onto anymore? Up here on this edge of the light are the people who do not really believe much in anything. They have labeled themselves agnostic or even atheistic, without God. On the bottom of the spectrum, where the light meets the darkness, might be someone who believes in plenty of gods or a different god than we believe.
I believe God is calling all persons to the center, to the one who is radiating the light, who came as the light, Jesus Christ. The message that he brought was good news for every human being. As we move forward there must then become an affirmation of the gospel in a way which we can sit across from each other and say, “Though we may disagree about some things, even many things, we can agree on these things.” I would like to speak to you this affirmation of the gospel that we continue to build and construct so that we can find out what these things are that keep us centered in the gospel.
God exists! The living God created humans to live in relationship with him. Humans are separated from that relationship and all of the benefits by sin. This condition left unchanged leads to death and eternal separation from God. God intervened! He saved humanity through the death and resurrection of his only son Jesus Christ. A person can now experience relationship with God they were created for through repentance and faith. This relationship will transform them internally, externally and eternally though the Holy Spirit and faith. The transformed person is God’s catalyst for households, communities, and creation to flourish. We know these facts through the perfect and reliable scriptures of the Holy Bible.
These are the things that keep us centered; that can keep us united as we pray the prayer with Jesus in John 17 that we would be one as he and the Father were one. It is that relationship of love, with the God who created us to live in relationship with him through his son, that unites us all in gospel movement.
Jeff Kreiser; The ACTS Group Director & Founder of Convergence
To learn more about Jeff and others who are making a difference in their communities check out Convergence.World