By Michael Nortune
The full quote for this title comes from E. J. Fulton, one of the key founding leaders who helped birth Open Bible Churches years ago when Open Bible was yet a dream of what it could become. Two distinct fellowships of churches hailing from revival streams in different parts of the country had begun to unite with potential and possibilities — not out of convenience, nor economic advantages, nor just to increase in size. They dreamed of an association of churches that would fulfill the mission of God, that would evangelize the nations, release ambassadors for Christ, send missionaries, plant churches, and raise and train leaders. Fueled through prayer and faith they pursued this passion.
Inasmuch as we seem so compatible in many ways, our desire for fellowship was engendered resulting in an organic union in 1935. . . . In the providence of God these two groups from such different origins found a heart and life interest and had been welded together by the infusion of the Holy Spirit into a blessed fellowship . . . . God grant that we shall never fail to fulfill our destiny in Christ.” *By Rev. E. J. Fulton
We are now the living proof and answer to our founders’ God-ordained prayer and faith. Each and every one of us now carries on the call. Today we as an association and family of churches are fulfilling our destiny in Christ, and our dreams are bigger than our memories. God has called us to something so great, so grand, and so powerful that there is no way we can do it on our own or in our own strength. The wonderful thing is that He gives us the grace, strength, and supernatural power to achieve it as we pursue His will.
Though I cherish our heritage and I believe we live in the legacy of those who went before and will leave a legacy for those who are to come, we do not live in 1935, and we cannot just relish the “Good Ol’ days.” The Apostle Paul tells us that though that we stand on the foundation of those before us, “[We] are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him” (Ephesians 2:19-21, NLT, emphasis mine).
We are built on the past with Jesus as our Cornerstone, and we now blaze a NEW trail to the mission and destiny God has for us – our local churches as well as Open Bible Churches as a whole. I believe God is stirring the waters. He is up to something new; can you perceive it?! There is a harvest coming and a fruitful season ahead – a multiplying moment in our future.
We stand at a hinge in the history of Open Bible. Some may call it a window of opportunity or a new day or new season. But when you think of a hinge you picture something that allows a door to swing open into a different place, a new place, a fresh place. I have this burning conviction that Open Bible is preparing to step through that door. Not just for us and this time. Not just for the community around our local church or for those far from Christ now, but for the next generation to come.
We are twelve years away from the one hundredth year celebration of Open Bible’s birth. These next twelve years are the door we walk through together to lay the foundation to propel us into the next one hundred years, should the Lord tarry, of fruitful and powerful ministry. Our legacy will be to build on what was and empower those who are to come to finish the work. You will hear more details about this, but the countdown is on.
You see, Jesus showed us how to accomplish this task. He lived his life on mission and calls us to do the same. When his parents inadvertently left him at the temple at age twelve, they were shocked to return to see him teaching the scholars of the time. When they inquired of him what he was doing, he replied with the famous words: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV, emphasis mine). He would go on to say later, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work” (John 4:34, NLT, emphasis mine).
Now we get to work hard and “never be lacking in zeal” (Romans 12:11, NIV) as we pursue the destiny God calls us to and live the mission that unites us: to “Globally Make Disciples, Plant Churches, and Develop Leaders.” “God, grant that we will never fail to fulfill our destiny in Christ.”
The story continues. . . .
*Mitchell, R. Bryant. Heritage and Horizons, Open Bible Publishers, 1982, p. 179.
About the Author
Michael Nortune serves as president of Open Bible Churches. He has ministered in the local church faithfully for 35 years. From his start as a janitor and groundskeeper to lead pastor of Life Church in Concord, California, Michael has had the opportunity to gain experience in every capacity within the church throughout his ministry. Not only does he have hands-on experience on the local level, but Michael has also led at the district, regional, and national levels within Open Bible Churches.