Listen to the podcast of Daz Farell’s message HERE.
My soul hasn’t arrived at the reality of me standing here!
I have been thinking about the pace of the world we live in, the slowness of the soul and the things that attempt to rob our souls. I have been thinking about this season we have all been enduring and I was looking back at my initial response [to taking on this role], and I had this word ‘sabbath’, maybe even ‘jubilee’ – that God was sending rest and refreshment for his people – but then I felt like I had got it wrong because we all went online. When I look back to 49-50 years ago, which fits with the length of a jubilee, it is when we would say that the birth of the digital age came about. The human soul has been made into a machine and I don’t want that – not for my kids or for anything God would give me responsibility for.
When I was looking at the birth of the digital age, there were two technologies, or two realities, that came up that I found really fascinating – augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality, the title I have given this talk, is the real world overlaid with digital data and images. Virtual reality is an immersion in an entirely other world that shuts out the real world. I was thinking, we don’t see the lens that we see through.
So, my heart, my hope and my prayer is that we as God’s people, as iron sharpens iron, remind one another to put on our ‘Kingdom lens’ because that is augmented reality. The beautiful gift is that when we put on our ‘Kingdom lens’, when we look at the world – (as Doug Paul said, it really doesn’t matter), if culture changes every 18 months, because the Kingdom interpret of whatever is going on is really powerful and I have to do this for myself in this role. In this role, as I was going through this process, God was doing some deep work in me.
I had originally said no to this role, and my wife caught some narratives in me that were not healthy – unformed places. I felt rebuke from the Lord and the reality is that I was asked to follow my king. Here was where He was getting me. Neither Andrew nor John came to me and said you should go for this role, and when I was arguing with my wife about this (surely not!), God said, “It’s because you fear men too much.” Thank you Jesus for your ongoing commitment to forming me into your likeness. I don’t want to rely on men. I want to rely on you, I want to follow you. So, when I received that rebuke, and when I got to the second and third interview, I started to get a bit like Moses. I was saying, “God, do I look like a normal Christian leader to you?” Are you serious? Have you not seen my past? What are you doing? As God and I are arguing … I was saying, “Unless you go with me, unless you are calling me, unless Jesus I abide in you, I have nothing.” It really was this deep process. Jesus and I have now gone to new terrain – new frontiers of reliance on Him. I said to Him, “Unless you equip me in power, I have nothing.” Then shot back, “What about gossip and slander; what if people hate me in this role (fear of man again)? I sensed his reply, “What an opportunity for you to be perfect like your Heavenly Father, to pray for them, to bless them to love them.” Isn’t the ‘Kingdom frame’ powerful? Love your enemies, feed them, pray for them.
So, in my personal world, this ‘Kingdom frame’ is why I am standing here. And then I was thinking about us as a movement. Because I have had the privilege of sharing with many of you. I haven’t met some of you and over this week I was thinking about our movement and how we apply a ‘Kingdom frame’ to who we are. It’s funny how God times our readings. I came across Matthew 13. Jesus is teaching the parables and he says this. “Every scribe who has been trained in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a wealthy, wise homeowner who brings out treasures, old and new.” I believe with what I have seen, where we have come from, this is an opportunity for us to be both old and new, treasures old and new. We have a phenomenal heritage in the priesthood of all believers; there is such unity in our diversity. I think the gift of God is when we see diversity and when we love one another well. This is how we become the aroma of Christ. Fragrant, pure, not of a mixed essence, but the aroma of Christ in all his diversity, all his beauty. I guarantee this is what the world will see because Jesus said it – by your love for one another the world will know you are my disciples. The enemy is coming. I spoke about this two years ago at Collective. He comes to fracture and divide. Especially of the fellowship of God’s people. Because the witness of our love for one another is what changes the world and that is what I have seen among you and this is why I stand here, beyond honoured that I would get to somehow represent a leadership position that stewards the saints who have gone before us. So, we honour our past by being in our day what they were in theirs. What a privilege! As I have seen your gifts, your beauty, your love and affection for Jesus – it moves me because I think that’s what is going to change the world.
Andrew, thank you for your faithful love and leadership – and courage under fire. You have served so well and so faithfully out of a deep love for Jesus. And we get to build on that –that’s the gift! We get to augment this. Augment is to strengthen, to encourage, to intensify. We don’t have to start something new. Even if God’s doing a new thing, we are still faithfully following Him.
So, as I look at this movement with its deep love for Jesus, with its multitude of gifts, especially during this season we’ve had in the last little while, I just go, “This is awesome God … so how do we apply, how can we keep in the ‘Kingdom frame’ with what is ahead?”
I am going to give you five words and I am not going to tell you what they look like, because that is the point. Five words have come to me in this season of discernment. The first three are healing, integration and unity – and you heard Doug Paul say that what God wants to do through you, he almost always does in you. And that’s been my journey – healing, integration and unity. And when I think of us as a movement, two words popped – regions and teams. I don’t know what that means, and I think we need to discover this together, but here’s a snippet. If you know the evangelists out of places like Engadine, Belrose and Marrickville, and if you know some of the prophets in SeeChange and Kingsway and many other places. If you have seen the teaching and if you have seen the shepherding in our movement, imagine sharing that again just like our founders did. Sharing in one another’s mission and ministry, building barns according to what God is doing – that’s what I can see happening. Again, I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but I can see collaborative teams; teams working together. This is the gift that we have been given to steward. A movement of God’s people set on fire by the Holy Spirit, bound together in love. I went to the Holy Land at the start of the year. Ray Cheal sent me a picture of a net and that has been the image that has been in my mind. One of Andrew’s amazing teachings is on mending nets. The idea of a net for me is three things – intention and strength but also spaciousness. A net is not enmeshed, nor is it cut off. It is connected and its purpose is to catch fish. I believe our collective purpose is to fish for men and women. Our world is hurting. I remember being in tears in a strange encounter praying, “Please Jesus, don’t remove your lampstand.” We’re not the light, but we get to shine, to hold up the light. What a gift, what an honour!
So, I believe at this moment in time, we are positioned and on the cusp of something we will discover together. Not knowing is such a gift in leadership – Jesus we need you, we are desperate for you to show up. I want to encourage you. I am all for errors and mistakes in our innovation quest. I have been saying this for a few years and I have been living it all my life – making mistakes and learning from them.
There is such joy when you see God glorified. Because friends, brothers and sisters, are we about the glory of God? We don’t need more smarts, more intelligence, when the desire is to glorify God. Therefore, let him do it. The image always comes to mind of Elijah fighting the Baals. We just build the altar, but God brings the fire. So, he gives us great freedom in how we express it. But I want to affirm this movement because I am excited by what I have seen. I am all for collaborative teams and sharing as we together pursue the glory of God and a really hurting and lost world. We are better together! This is the gift, the body knit together in love, the strong bond of the Holy Spirit.