Making It REAL!

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Zach Stevenson leading worship at Avalon Beach Church

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July 3, 2014

Dear Friends of The Malachi Network,

I’ve got so much to tell you about our network, but before I do, let me share something from God’s Word that is hitting me hard right now. There are two doors in Revelation 3-5. The first door (Rev. 3:20) is closed and Jesus is standing at it. It is the door into our world. Jesus is waiting patiently for us to open that door and let Him in. He wants to eat or fellowship with us; to meet our needs and bless us.

The 2nd door is an open door (Rev. 4:1). It is the door through which we can enter into Christ’s world. If we enter, we will see Christ’s power (flashes of lightning and peals of thunder); His holiness (divine creatures sing “Holy, Holy, Holy day and night); His worthiness (elders cast their crowns at His feet); His sacrifice (the slain Lamb stands in the center of a throne); and His mission (this is about people from every tribe, language, people and nation knowing Christ).

Both doors are equally important. My fear is that we settle in at the 1st door and focus on Jesus coming into our world and meeting our needs. Right now, the 2nd door is standing open. Take time today to enter into Christ’s world. Be careful, it seems like it is hard to stay on your feet, you might find yourself face down in worship!

I believe we will look back on 2014 as the year the DNA of the Malachi Network was established and made reproducible. When we started the network in 2010, the purpose was clear: “making the name of the LORD great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11. Our values were clear: 1. Convergence of mission and prayer (Mal. 1:11). 2. Knowledge of God (Mal. 2:7). 3. Preparation for the Lord’s return (Mal. 3:1). 4. Investment in the next generation (Mal. 4:6). But our mission was fuzzy.

Our mission is no longer fuzzy, and it is making a world of difference and hopefully it will make a difference in the world! Our mission is S.C.O.P.E.:

Simple Communities Of Prayer and Expansion.

No matter where our missionaries and church planters serve and no matter what their ministry calling is (rescuing those caught in trafficking, meeting the needs of refugees, training indigenous pastors and evangelists, etc.), there is only one way for us to sustain ourselves in ministry at the end of the age. We must cultivate of life of intimacy with Jesus through prayer and worship in the context of a loving community that cares that people know Christ. S.C.O.P.E. is the essential lifestyle for anyone who serves the Lord in these turbulent times.

Over the last several months, Jesus has asked us at the homebase of the Malachi Network to “make it real.” In order to have authority in the lives of 40+ young people serving around the world, we need to live our purpose, values and mission daily here in South Jersey. I want to be less of a “kingdom travel agent” and more of a “kingdom tour guide!” I don’t want to just help people get on the adventure with Jesus, I want to take people with me!

Since November, we have had a simple church community meeting in our living room on Sunday mornings. We have worshipped with Youtube, studied the bible and prayed for one another.  It has really been church and we have been very blessed. When our son, Zachary and his wife Meghan joined our ranks in April, they upped the ante on worship and community. We are now meeting as a simple community for worship and prayer on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and Wednesday night after we share a meal together.

Just this past weekend, we launched Avalon Beach Church. Our city Mayor gave us permission all summer long to meet at 30th street and the beach on Sunday mornings at 9am in Avalon, NJ. In our first service, we had 24 people worshipping on the beach! What a joy it is to lead in this simple outreach with our son and his wife as well as my father and mother! Our mission is as simple as A–B–C:

Advance the Gospel, Believe for changed lives and Create simple churches.

We expect to win people to Jesus, baptize them in the ocean, follow-up with a discipleship course on our website and connect with potential simple church leaders and offer them relationship and resources. By the Fall, we hope to have a small network of simple churches in this region. Take a look at our website: www.avalonbeachchurch.com and please pray that our mission is successful!

I also want to share with you how delightful it has been to be face to face with over half of our 40+ young leaders since January. 20 years ago I heard the voice of Jesus while on the beach in Sydney, Australia. He asked me this question: “Will you risk everything for the next generation?” I said “yes” then and I continue to say “yes” today. Tania and I get to pour out our lives for amazing young adults who serve in places like China, the Middle East, Europe and America.

We believe in what we are doing and unashamedly ask you to pray for us and support us financially. Jesus is making a world of difference in our lives and we believe that we are making a difference in His world! If you have supported us in the past but have not given lately, would you consider starting again?

One last request. . .one of the reasons that our DNA is becoming so clear is because Zachary and Meghan have joined our ranks. Meghan is now the MN Coordinator of Prayer Ministry. She is leading our Wednesday night worship and prayer meeting focused on our missionaries and church planters; and she is making sure the whole network is connected through prayer. Zachary is now the Assistant Director of our network. He is taking the lead in worship and media as well as the local expression of S.C.O.P.E. Maybe the primary thing that He is doing is filling in all the gaps that I miss! He is such a strong support! They are working hard to raise support and the Lord is blessing. They are at about 50% of what they need. Would you consider sowing into their ministry? You can give online at www.malachinetwork.org or you can send your support to:

Malachi Network – PO Box 368 – Avalon, NJ 08202

Would you include a note giving details about where your support should go?

Thank you so much for standing with us. Let’s remember to use both doors in Revelation 3-5!

In His Amazing Grace,

Rich

P.S. Check out these beach pastors!

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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