The Year of 2017
Relax. This is not a political column. There is no intent to compete with journalists and commentators who are attempting to win awards for summarizing the greatest events of 2017.
Allow me to take you on a different journey. Let us travel 2017 to the last few days celebrating the wonder of the Body of Christ, i.e., Christ’s Church.
Once again the Bible is the most published book in the whole world! Yes, it keeps getting the award. Of all the books about Hari Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and Hinduism, et al, not one of the religions published more books than Christianity.
This is no mystery. All the other others in these books are dead, or those who wrote the sacred books for idolatrous religions are dead. The books are dead. There is no life and no hope in their messages.
The Bible lives on because it is the printed word of the Living Word (John 1:15). Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and make the Bible alive. The Bible is the only book ever written in which the author promises to be with you and help you understand as you read it.
In missionary travels it has often been my joy to hear testimonies of criminals, terrorists, God-haters, warriors, pagans and primitives testify that reading a gift Bible brought them to saving knowledge of Jesus! The truth marches on: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my pathway".
There is a purifying fire burning across our nation. The Church is being purged. Reckless sinners have waged unholy war against the saints. Even from pews and pulpits of churches there is bombardment of declarations that the Bible is not a final word on marriage, the power of the cross, the sanctity of the Church, the importance of the Body of Christ being united, and the promise of the return of Jesus for believers (I Corinthians 15:52 ff).
Persons dressed like clergy step forth and declare Ahab and Jezebel idolatries with boldness. As recent as today a newspaper article applauded that a person in a sinful relationship winning an election is a sign of progress. Folks use the church as a cloak, an excuse or justification for their aberrant and evil behavior as if their self will restrains the judgment of God.
We do well to turn the clock back to 1917 when communism swallowed up the Russian people who had a bold history of Christianity. Some of the greatest cathedrals in Christiandom marked the landscape of Russia. Before communism spun its dying throes many churches were turned into horse stables in desecration.
Dare we look at what happened in China during the 1970's Cultural Revolution? Italy or Germany during WWII? Can we bear the pain of nightmarish evil in North Korea where the leader considers himself as a god to be worshipped?
Our best hope is for the Church to be the Church. Our best hope is for pulpits to be filled with Holy Ghost filled preachers who fear God more than man. For pastoral staffs to be leaders who believe and practice faith based on the Bible. For elders to lead in divine fear of Judgment Day.
To this end Covenant Church aspires: That we may believe, look and act like a New Testament church. We ambition that if Christ were to walk into our worship He would feel welcomed, loved, valued, and cherished. Indeed, we believe that every Sunday precious persons come to worship.
Covenant is a part of Christ's Body. It is our home. Our place of nurturing and ministry. It is where we dedicate babies, see love of a man and woman brought to biblical marriage, make friendships and disciples, develop leaders, teach the truths of the Bible, preach conviction of the Holy Spirit and walk together in unity.
We are strong because of our common faith. In the coming months we will by God's grace complete our building program. God will add to us souls. We will treasure them as gifts from heaven and make them to be part of Covenant Family.
The Year 2017 has been powerful for us, yet we take hold of the promises of God that faithfulness will yield a greater harvest in 2018. As surely as Jesus tarries we march into victory!
Laila and I rejoice to lead our excellent pastoral staff. This holiday season we have been blessed to have over 275 persons in various groups in our home. We, pastoral staff and elders, pledge to you our total devotion to lead with godly integrity as servants. We have been blessed much. We will give much to Our Lord!
Thank you for journeying with joy with us.
Much love Pastor Bare
"...For unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required..." (Luke 12:48;
"And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me" (Isaiah 6:8).