The Church. Some hate it. Others love it. Many misunderstand it. Almost all Christians worry about it. But there are four things that we know about the Church:
1. The favor and blessing of God is on the Church.
The Church is the visible expression of Jesus on earth. Paul describes it as the “body” of Christ. (Colossians 1:24) Jesus loves the Church so much that he died to create it. (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25) Sometimes we fret that “the Church nowadays has lost its way” and perhaps some local churches have veered off track. But if we can trust the love of God—and we can—then we maintain our confidence that the Lord who established this Church with his blood will continue to pour his grace upon it.
2. Jesus promised to build His church
“I will build my church,” Jesus proclaimed, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:19) The word picture describes a forward moving church overcoming every obstacle that its enemies helplessly place in its path. For two thousand years, opposing worldviews have taken aim against the church. Not one has succeeded.
3. Jesus is fulfilling His promise to build the Church
In the Assemblies of God alone, a new believer is added every twenty seconds, and a new church is planted somewhere in the world every fifty-two minutes. In India, Assembly of God leaders and churches have engaged in what is believed to be the largest single church planting initiative in history. They will train 30,000 pastors to plant 25,000 house churches by 2020. The conservative estimate of leaders in India is that 625,000 new believers will result.
4. Every believer belongs to the Church
“Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 CEV) The Church is expressed as a local church. No, a perfect local church does not exist; humans bring human brokenness to the church. But it is in our life together that we find a path to wholeness in Christ. You need a church, and a church needs you.
Wow, what a winter we are experiencing! While large parts of our nation have endured a historically cold and wet winter, other parts, including the southwest, have been unusually dry and warm. The snow, ice, and rain continue to fall in some places while a streak of 70 days with no precipitation was just ended this weekend in Phoenix. In our travels, we have experienced some of both extremes. Some like it hot, others like it cold, but we have all been reminded that we cannot control the weather.
Nature reminds us that we encounter seasons in our lives. And, they are mostly out of our control. But each season prepares us for the next. The winter snow provides the moisture needed by the summer crops. In turn, we are sustained through the winter and spring by the fall harvest. In the same way, each season of our lives prepares us for the next opportunity that God has in store for us.
Our sense of anticipation grows stronger every day. Windows of opportunity continue to open around the world and in the U.S.A., and we are eager to get to work at the International Offices of Global University. But, we have embraced the deputation season of our ministry. A strong network of prayer support and financial provision will sustain us as we equip a new generation of Spirit-filled leaders in the years ahead. What a joy it has been to meet so many pastors and visit incredible churches that are engaging the harvest in their communities and around the world.
We thank the Lord that our financial support is growing, and we hope to be fully in place soon. The unique training ministry of Global University has been raised up for this time. Thank you for praying for us and for your faithful and generous financial support.
David L. DeGarmo (D. Min.) serves Global University as Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. Along with his wife Ruth, he is also a U.S. Missionary. He has extensive experience as an educator, missionary, and pastor.
David writes an additional blog on a variety of topics. Check it out...