GREENVILLE, S.C – Equip 2013, the Southeast region event of ECO: A Covenant Order of Presbyterians and the Fellowship of Presbyterians, began Thursday morning with devotions led by Dr. Dana Allin, ECO’s synod executive.
The two-day event was held at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C.
The devotion, “Blessed to be blessed,” was based upon Genesis 12:1-3 – the call of Abram and Sarah to go the land that God had promised them.
“What an amazing amount of faith and courage to follow God’s leading to an unknown territory,” Allin said, adding that Abram and Sarah didn’t have GPS or a map, but they were willing to go to where God was leading them.
“It’s a good thing,” he said, “that God didn’t show them the end of the journey, because then they would have gone their own way.”
During the ups and the downs, Allin said that Abram and Sarah were willing to “walk and willing to go.”
“As we look at this passage,” Allin said, it is a reminder that God is on mission to restore the world unto Himself.
Allin said that in studying and preaching this passage, he saw that God is on a journey. “He created us. … Ever since the fall, God has been on mission to restore the world to Himself.”
He challenged those present to think about the words they were saying when they prayed the Lord’s Prayer. He asked, “What would it look like for the kingdom of God to be present” in the world today?
Allin answered his own question, saying that children would not be hungry or neglected; people would know who Jesus is, so that they would find their identity and “self worth in Him, not in money, sex and lures the world has to offer … God has a mission to bring as much as possible of the kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven.”
“We talk about the mission of ECO,” said Allin. “The church doesn’t have a mission. The mission has a church … The mission of God is to restore the world unto Himself, and the church is a tool and an agency to do that.”
God blesses us so that we can be on mission with Him
Throughout the Old Testament, Israel focused on the fact that they had been blessed by God, said Allin, but Israel “forgot that they were blessed for a purpose.”
“God, too, has blessed us,” he said, but no one should forget that “God has blessed us for a purpose … to whom much is given, much is required.”
For those who have made the transition into ECO, Allin said that “We’ve been blessed, so now, what are we going to do with that blessing? Are we just jumping into a safe theological blessing, or are we going to use this blessing to multiply churches and leaders … use that blessing to spur one another on to love and to good deeds?”
Safe and dangerous with Jesus
Allin said that the work that ECO faces will not be easy, but “we are safe and dangerous with Jesus.”
“If we are just putting together a denomination, that would be easy,” he said, but ECO isn’t trying to just establish a presbytery. “We are trying to facilitate a movement of God among us, and that is not going to be easy.”
In the Scripture, God promised to be with Abram and Sarah, Allin said, and when Jesus gave the apostles their mission – to go and make disciples – He promised, “I am with you always.”
Allin also reminded the crowd that in the book of Romans, Paul wrote that “nothing can separate us from Jesus.”
“We are safe together so we can be dangerous,” said Allin. “Come into ECO because you are willing to be dangerous for the kingdom of God.”