To achieve this purpose, our vision focuses on three main areas:
1. To become more like Jesus through personal discipleship. This includes building a vital relationship with the Lord through prayer and worship, through study of the scriptures, and a wholesome relationship to a part of His church. "For who he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29).
2. To preach the Gospel throughout the earth by whatever means that lie within our reach, including personal outreach in our workplace and communities, following God's call into other nations as missionaries, and investing of our time and material resources in helping to fulfill the Great Commission. "Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the Ages. Amen." (Mathew 28:19-20).
3. To promote unity among the Body of Christ, recognizing that He has placed each believer in the body with great diversity of abilities, gifts, strengths and weaknesses, and perspectives and understandings of the scriptures themselves. The context of our relationship with other Christians should be one of "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:3-6). "That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21).
They are in NO way related to the former nor to the present "Gospel Outreach Ministries", nor to "Radiance Media Ministry".
They are in NO way affiliated, endorsed, sponsored nor supported by them. Gospel Outreach, either in part or in whole, does not necessarily share or endorse ANY of the doctrines and/or teachings of the parent site (TLC). "Apostolic Foundation, Truths that shaped the ministry and direction of Gospel Outreach" was written by Dave Sczepanski, as most of the books were authored by Jim Durkin. That, however, DOES NOT imply that either of them was or is in ANY way affiliated or associated with this ministry.
These pages are offered SOLELY as a memorial and a dedication to the work that God accomplished through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon the ministry of Gospel Outreach, upon the person of Jim Durkin and upon those who submitted themselves to discipleship under him. Through his three-fold message of (God's) Purpose - Vision - Discipleship, lost youth were transformed into "MIGHTY Men (and women) of God"
I am the Founder and Director of TLC, and was privileged to be a part of a number of Gospel Outreach churches during the 1970's and 80's, including the main center at Eureka, CA. I was at the Lighthouse Ranch, lived at the H Street house and worked at Radiance Media. I knew Jim Durkin personally.
It is MY conviction, and that of TLC as a whole, that the giftings and message of Apostleship, leadership and discipleship -- and of God's "Purpose and Vision" -- are AT LEAST as relevant and as much needed by the Church today (if not more so) than they were during the days of Jim's earthly life!!!
Now this seems (to ME at least) to be a rather irrational complaint, for it is a complaint against God for equipping Jim to be gifted as the minister that HE was and GO to be the type of ministry that IT was. If ALL that the individual was reviling in GO had been removed, it would NOT have been Gospel Outreach. The items that are mentioned are what made GO to be GO !!
THIS comment, along with the rest of the tone and tenor of the topic that was being discussed, reinforced in my mind the belief that we STILL need the basic revelation and concept that God revealed to Jim in HIS time of trouble and despair as much or MORE today. Satan has CONTINUED to infiltrate God's Church with his lies, delusions and deceptions of dilution, rationalization and compromise -- and there seem to be very few voices with the revelation, clarity and courage that God gave to Jim speaking against them !!
This revelation was, in Jim's OWN words:
I believe that Jim's heart and vision was that we are to cleanse our hearts and lives FULLY of the religious trappings and snares of this "world system" and prepare and make room in them for God to instead FULLY fill them with His TRUE "riches and treasures"
I don't believe (having known Jim, his work and his teachings) that it was EVER his intent to DEPRIVE anyone of any GOOD thing or to take away anything of REAL value.
As Jim expressed on the tape in question, his PARTICULAR cleansing that he allowed to take place in his OWN life cost him AND his family a GREAT deal. However, I believe that God MORE than rewarded him (AND GO) for his willingness and obedience !!
I believe that it made room for the tremendous infilling of gifts and graces that allowed him, those who allowed themselves to be discipled by him and GO to effect (in its day) the tremendous and far-reaching work that God accomplished.
When God commanded Abraham to take Isaac up on Mt. Moriah and SACRIFICE him there, do you think that perhaps God had in mind some kind of "spiritual" sacrifice ?? NO !! -- I think that He meant, to Abraham's understanding, to go and LITERALLY kill him - with a LITERAL knife - LITERALLY dead!
WHY -- because God wanted a blood sacrifice ? Of course not !! Maybe He wanted to see what Abraham would do - I don't think so - I think that He already knew. Perhaps His intent was so that Abraham HIMSELF could see what he would do -- YES, I think so !!
If Abraham had reasoned as Jim spoke about he himself doing in his early years -- "We KNOW what God's Word says, but we also know that it can't REALLY mean that. There must be some 'spiritual' interpretation" -- Abraham would have probably found a way to avoid God's clear word and do what HE wanted to do.
Maybe he would have reasoned, "God can't REALLY mean for me to literally kill my one, my ONLY son. I have loved him so much - he is "flesh-of-my-flesh" - my ONLY true heir- we have had such happy times together. What about Sarah - how will we go on without him - and what about the great ministry that God promised me through him ?? God must mean for me to sacrifice him 'spiritually' - to give him fully over into God's service. That way, one day I might have many children and grandchildren, and His word to me to be 'a father of many nations' will be fulfilled."
However, Abraham mustered up the faith and courage to be obedient to God's voice, and we all know the outcome. What we DON'T know (fortunately) is what the outcome would have been had he refused LITERAL obedience and instead turned to some carnal rationalization as too many are prone to do today when God asks of them some seemingly "hard" thing !!
Do you think that it was mere coincidence (or that GO was somehow comprised of SPECIAL, super-Christians) that a collection of ragtag, hippie dropouts were able to be used so mightily to expand His Kingdom ?? NO, it was because, in the beginning, we came to God with that RADICAL, sold out heart (like Keith Green had and sings of) that unabashedly cried out to Him, "ALL for you God" and TRULY meant it !!!!
I guess that God CONTINUES to ask the same question -- "What price are you and I WILLING to pay to receive that which He wishes to pour out upon those who are open and ready" ??
"I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things indeed, I regard them as dung! that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ's faithfulness ...... My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection ......" **** Philippians 3:8-10
2. What is "Apostolic Foundation" ?
Jesus is the foundation. 1 Cor 3:10; Mt 16:18 Jesus is the foundation when His word is obeyed and practiced. Mt 7:24 Believing is not enough.
Some important premises:
The concept of "practice the Word" builds in us a deep knowledge of our personal responsibility in life and confronts the destructive and all-too-common tendency to blame-shift.
Out of "practice the Word" came an introduction to discipleship. Lk 6:40; 14:26,27,33 Some of the implications of discipleship: Jesus as Lord, not just Savior. Putting God's will first. Obedience to God's Word. Accountability. Jesus is the Master. We are all His disciples. There is no hierarchy. We are all brothers. Mt 23:8
The foundation of Jesus Christ -- and His Word obeyed -- is laid by the apostolic-prophetic ministry. This introduced the concept of the equipping ministries and the equipping mandate. Just being good and going to church was not enough. The believer must be a vital, living and giving member of the body of Christ. This means becoming equipped. Eph 2:20; Eph 4:12
Some implications, on the individual level, of equipping:
3. Purpose and Vision: "What Should I Do With My Life?"
"Practice the Word" naturally leads to "purpose and vision" because it causes us to say not only: "How am I to handle each and every situation in life God's way?" but: "What am I to do with my whole life?"
What is purpose and vision?
Purpose is simply the conclusion that we exist to glorify God, to exalt Jesus in this life, and to enjoy His presence forever. Rom 15:6; 11:36; Ps 145:11,12; 105:1; 113:3,4; 1 Cor 6:20; 10:31; Phil 3:12; 1 Thess 4:1; 2 Thess 1:12; Col 1:17,18; 3:17;
This purpose finds immediate direction in what we call God's vision, which has three primary aspects:
Out of purpose and vision comes:
Living to accomplish what God wants. Purpose and vision gives a framework within which to make decisions about the direction of our lives. Discipleship implies wholeheartedness and dedication. Purpose and vision directs the dedication.
The basic concept flowed from the second aspect of the vision, the unity of the body of Christ. God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. Made in His image, we are designed to be a covenant-making, covenant-keeping people, and thus glorify His name. 1 Cor 12-14; Eph 4:1-6; Eph 4:25-5:2; 5:21; Col 3:12-14
Acts 14:23; 15; 16:4,5; 20:25-31; 1 Cor 16:16; 1 Ti 5:17; Tit 1:5-9; Heb 13:7,17; 1 Pe 5:1 The New Testament model for church government and authority incluses an eldership, with a presiding elder, governing the local church. Apostolic authority oversees the eldership of the churches. We also recognize that within a sphere of ministry (2 Cor 10:13) there is one apostle in general oversight, with apostolic authority delegated as needed. Equipping ministers operate under apostolic direction to equip the saints in all the churches. Eph 4:1-16
Our understanding of spiritual authority yielded some important principles:
4. Spiritual Identity: What Do I Believe About Myself?
Purpose and vision provokes a crisis. It challenges personal priorities by bringing them into a bigger framework than just: "What fulfills me personally?" It causes us to give our gifts to God's work. Ultimately, it causes us to "go" and do something, thus exposing us to the unknown and the risk of failure. This forces upon us the question: "Who am I?" This, I would say, is the single greatest battleground of ministry: spiritual identity.
We believe that God's gifts and grace are in every saint. This yielded our understanding of "dreams and visions". Whatever apparent problems, failures, sin, weakness or lack, God, through your obedience to His Word, is able to transform you into a mighty man of God. Equipping is designed to bring out in each saint the fullest understanding of their identity in Christ."
The teaching of identity in Christ brought out the importance of the principles of faith or what we often called "believe, confess and act".
Believe: Implies knowing God's Word and being saturated with it. Also, meditating on the Word. Josh 1:6-9; Ps 1; 119; Mk 11:24; Phil 4:8
Confess: Don't speak your fears and your feelings. Speak the Word. This led to "Training Your Soul", with the basic concept that I am spirit, with a soul and body; that I can speak to my soul, train it and expect it to comply. Ps 118:24; Pr 15:28; 16:23; 18:21; Mt 10:32; Rom 4:17; 10:10
Act: Faith requires action. Step out in faith. Do the Word. Show your faith by your deeds. Mt 7:21-27; Jas 2:17
Each of these teachings had a strong emphasis among us, and helped to shape the core values that are now embedded in the "culture" of Gospel Outreach. It is critical to our future, if we are to fulfill the work for which God has designed us, that we understand, strengthen and pass on to faithful men these distinctives. Ps 78:1-7; 2 Tim 2:2