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Global Awakening Blog

Pause to renew.

One Heart, One Bride, One Mission

photo of a group of people with an overlay of a glowing heart

Over a decade ago, I had a vision of a bridegroom king standing at the altar, and many brides were walking down the aisle. As I looked, puzzled, the brides merged into one. The interpretation was clear — one unified bride, and that vision continues to shape and transform me.

There’s so much on my heart to share. Permit me, first, to set the context by sharing from the Old Testament. The Israelites were called to be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” who would turn other nations back to God (Exodus 19:6). As they left Egypt to settle in Canaan after the wilderness, the book of Deuteronomy was a call to covenant love and loyalty to God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB). Words which Jesus also quoted to the Pharisees, the religious scribes of His day, when asked about the greatest commandment (see Matthew 22:36–40; Mark 12:28–31; Luke 10:25–37).

In the Old Testament, the prophets called out three significant sins or violations of the covenant: idolatry, social injustice, and religious rituals. It was no different in Jesus’ days or ours because it’s a matter of the heart (Matthew 15:19; 19:8; 23:23; Mark 7:6-7; Luke 6:45). We know all too well the story of Israel’s rebellion, but is it only Israel’s story?

What I love about the OT prophecies is the revelation of His heart. For instance, as Ezekiel prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, he also prophesied Israel’s restoration: “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19). Similarly, Jeremiah prophesied, “and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:39). Jesus fulfilled these prophecies and more by dying on the cross and becoming the New Covenant Mediator (Hebrews 9:15).

Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5; Acts 2). But what do we do with that love?

I believe it is vital to note the imperatives in Philippians, as Paul writes, “make my joy complete by being of the same mind [phroneō], maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent [phroneō] of one purpose (Philippians 2:2).” What is our one purpose? Is it found in scriptures such as Luke 4:43 and 1 John 3:8? In Philippians 2:5, Paul exhorts us with the same imperative, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” using the same Greek word [phroneō]. One must not forget Ephesians 4:4-6, verses that have been burning in my heart for a season: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

Most importantly, however, are Our Lord and Savior’s words, Jesus Christ, in John 17. How do we fulfill His prayer in John 17:21 that we may be one? I am reminded again of the vision I had those years ago. The bridegroom king was standing at the altar, and many brides were walking down the aisle. Then the brides merged into one. The interpretation was clear — one bride, and that vision continues to shape and transform me. My heart’s cry is His prayer that we may be one (John 17:21).

Note from the editor:

Before you continue reading, I want to point out that Oyin, the author of this post is one of a select group of people who have completed our accredited doctoral program. Along with Randy Clark, Tom Jones, Kim Maas, and others, Oyin is a shining example of how we are called to engage both our whole being — including our minds! — in pursuing God. I would encourage you to pray about the possibility that God would call you to pursue a masters’ or doctoral degree with us. You can learn about the doctoral program here →

THE UNIFIED BRIDE

With a focus on the bride of Christ and considering His heart in us (Romans 5:5), I think of ecumenism, the unity of Christians. Ecumenism, from the Greek term, oikoumenē, meaning “the inhabited world,” comes from the Greek word, oíkos which means “house, family, household, race.” Jesus told us, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world [oikoumenē] as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

With my use of the term ecumenism, I have considered New Testament Professor Andy Lord’s invitation to give careful thought to a “renewalist approach to missiology, rooted in a postdenominational or ecumenical identity.”[1] He writes, renewalists…

  • “stress encountering the Holy Spirit in ways that drive mission movements;
  • are shaped by the gospel of Jesus Christ to form gospel communities rooted in local contexts;
  • seek conversational integration of traditions and disciplines for the sake of transforming mission.” [2]

In other words, a renewalist approach to missional ecumenism is rooted in the love of God experienced through the Holy Spirit and His gifts (Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

As mentioned earlier, there are imperatives in Philippians 2, to set our mind on Jesus, to exemplify Cruciformity (becoming Christlike). Moreover, Paul writes that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), so how should we consider these imperatives in light of the imperative in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to “make disciples”? As Gorman writes, “in conforming oneself more closely to Christ and living the ‘cruciform’ lifestyle Paul expounds, one will be less self-reliant, and thus God’s power can be displayed for all to see.”[3]

Our mission is to fulfill the call (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Peter 2:9), just as Israel was called, and His love empowers us. I believe with all of my heart that it is possible to have doctrinal or structural differences and remain united, having one heart, through covenant love (Acts 4:29-34). The Body is meant to be built up in love (Ephesians 4:11-16), look like Him (1 John 4:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18), and fulfill His mission. In light of the prophetic mission of Jesus (Luke 4:18-19) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Renewal Missional Ecumenism is possible, but do we have one [His] heart? The commandments to us are simple: love Him “with all your [our] heart, and with all your [our] soul, and with all [our] mind” and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

OUR MISSION IS LOVE

Would you pray this with me? Heavenly Father, I pray for a supernatural love to permeate the hearts of all those who read this post. Father, I pray that we may be one, as we love You, with all of our hearts, all of our soul, and all of our might. Lord, may we declare in unity: “There is one body and one Spirit…one hope of your [our] calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). In Your Son’s Holy Name, we pray.

Amen.

In His Love,

Oyinkan ‘Oyin’ Kokoricha B.Sc. (Hons) M.Sc. M.Div

P.S. As I write, Global Awakening Theological Seminary (GATS) has been approved to start Doctoral Programs in the Fall. As a seminary, one of the strengths of GATS is the diversity within the Body of Christ. It is not uncommon to find classes with a mix of Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Charismatics, to name a few and what they have in common is their hunger for the more that God has for them as they seek a balance of the Word and the Spirit.

There will be two different degree programs in Renewal Theology at GATS: a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree and a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) degree in the Fall with three main focus areas: 1) Grow, 2) Build, and 3) Influence. One of the courses that this 2019 Master of Divinity (M.Div.) graduate of GATS is looking forward to is “Discipleship structures and strategies for renewal practices” [the course title is subject to change], as one of the goals of this course is to build bridges and see the Body built up in love. It's His heart that we should be one (John 17:21). If you are interested in pursuing a Doctoral Program or even a Master’s Program, I invite you to consider GATS →


Footnotes:

[1] Andy Lord, “Postdenominational Missiology: Developing an Ecumenical Renewalist Approach.” Transformation 2017, Vol. 34(4) 243, https://journals-sagepub-com.dtl.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1177/0265378817720352

[2] Lord, “Postdenominational Missiology: Developing an Ecumenical Renewalist Approach,” 244 - 245.

[3] Michael J. Gorman, Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 233, Kindle; Luke 24:19 NASB “And He said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people;’” Romans 15:19 NASB “For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

Oyin Kokoricha photographOyin Kokoricha is passionately in love with Jesus Christ and desires to see people’s hearts healed and awakened to experience the transformational love of God. With her Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Global Awakening Theological Seminary (GATS), Master Equipper Certification from the Christian Healing Certification Program, and a certification from the Christian Prophetic Certification Program (both certification programs are now a part of the Global Awakening College of Ministry), she teaches, preaches, and demonstrates the kingdom as she equips and builds the Body in love.
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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Celia Hicks · 28 days ago
    Thank you for this helpful, encouraging word.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Haynesworth · 1 months ago
    You are an inspiration to the peoples of the earth. I thank God for you and the light and living waters that you graciously share with all who are blessed to encounter your love. Thank you for your prayers. I thank God for calling me and started being a part of Global Awakening open heaven... in 2013 when I went to Medellin Colombia and at 69 years old I still heed that call. Shalom
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Anne Rogers Oh, Anne! I love your heart! (heart) Thank you! It's been such a joy to read your posts in Renewal Theology as you reflect His heart. Seventeen years of praying Ezekiel 36:26-36! I am in awe of Our God and moved to tears at your tenacity, faithfulness, and obedience. We are His bride (Rev. 21:2)! And may we say in unity, "Come!" (Rev 22:17) Overwhelm us, Lord, with Your Love and Your Heart, for Your Glory!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Anne Rogers · 1 months ago
    Oh Oyin...I had not read your blog in it's entirety before my comment to you In RT re: the term paper, but when I went back to read and contemplate your words in this wonderful blog, I was overwhelmed. The Holy Spirit revealed so clearly that UNITY OF THE BODY is the ultimate purpose of the mission to the cessationist church. He also made me aware that this is a call which began forty years ago when He gave me Ezekiel 36:26-36. Thinking it was for my husband, I prayed this passage daily for seventeen years. The prophet used the same words in chapters 11 and 36. Praise the Lord...He Speaks!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Joseph Nasseri Thank you so much, Joseph! Your words mean a lot to me, and I'm going to keep sipping/drinking (Ps 42:1; Eph 5:18) right there with you!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Jonathan Mark Beyer I just thought about you this morning; thanks, Jonathan! I'll send you an email soon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joseph Nasseri · 1 months ago
    Wow! Oyin, this is amazing. I have been sipping from the same watering hole you are at. Way to go!!! Indeed this is the heart of our Father and the necessary footing for the breakout of revival. If I could endorse your endorsement more than 100%, I would do it. Catching the wave with you precious daughter.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jonathan Mark Beyer · 1 months ago
    Awesome Oyin! Don't forget us Lutherans! :)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Dustin Yes, Dustin! "I believe powerful things are to come." What I saw at the first Global Awakening conference, Voice of the Apostles (VOA), that I ever attended was heaven on earth! It was Ephesians 4:4-6. Dr. Clark and Global Awakening are stewarding well the call to "build bridges." Thanks!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Michelle Thanks, Michelle!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Kevin Lyons
    Thanks, Kevin! Hope to see you at VOP this year.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Jeremy Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you for your kind words. Prophetic Basics was such a fun class!

    Blessings,

    Oyin
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Bess Riveros Thanks, Bess! So glad that I got to meet you at GATS!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Timothy Wright So poetic, Timothy! Thank you. I love how you wrote, "d]welling within me." Awaken our hearts, O Lord!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Oyin · 1 months ago
    @Akeem Thanks, Akeem!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dustin · 1 months ago
    Thank you so much for this wonderful articulation. All these points have been placed on my heart for several years, and longing to see the church - Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Charismatic - come together in the power of the Spirit and the unity of Jesus. I believe powerful things are to come. I am always grateful at VOA and VOP makes sure to welcome the various church traditions - I believe it honors God and is a loving invitation that is very important. Bless ya'll
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michelle · 1 months ago
    Great post! This is something that has really been on my heart lately. (I do think you may have posted the wrong photo of the author ;) )
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kevin Lyons · 1 months ago
    Oyin, you are beautiful inside and out. Keep preaching the heart of the Father - Love and unity!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeremy · 1 months ago
    👍👍👍 Its such a priviledge to be in your prophetic class. Thanks for all your encouragement and love shown to all our classmates !✝️

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bess Riveros · 1 months ago
    Thank Oyin! Beautifully expressed truth!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Timothy Wright · 1 months ago
    Wow, wow, awaken my heart Father through your Spirit d]welling within me. Thank you for birthing this article within you.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Akeem · 1 months ago
    This post is amazing, well-grounded in Scriptures, and the message is very relevant. Thank you, Oyin.