Nr.173 ended with, “Towards the end of 1988 and into ’89, we started meeting on Monday evenings in a hall in Alma and I led a study on church doctrines and practices, and after the study we would discuss these. It was an exciting time, what would come of this and was this really of the Lord……….?” (See richardandmarina.net).
You may wonder why I almost seem to be obsessed with starting new churches? Not hard to guess, Jesus had said, “I will build my church” and on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to do just that. And reading on in Acts we see the planting of churches all over the then known world.
What is the importance of the church? 1. It is God’s dwelling place on earth, Eph.2:22. 2. It is God’s home and training ground for the believer, Eph.5:11-16, and 3. It is God’s testimony on earth, 1Tim.3:14,15. Or as Dr. Jay Kesler has put it so well:
- The church is the only institution dealing with ultimate issues, such as: death, judgment, relationships, purpose, lasting priorities, meaning in life, identity, heaven and hell.
- The church provides perspective that gives dignity to mankind. We live in a day in which man has become a means rather than an end. This creates a desperate sense of inner worthlessness. The church counteracts this insidious message.
- The church provides a moral and ethical compass in the midst of relativism. Like a swamp of murky, slimy water, our society has either rethought, resisted or completely rejected absolutes. Not the church! It still stands on the timeless bedrock of Scripture.
- The church is the only place to find true community, healing, compassion and love. It is here people care, really care, not because of status or money, but because the Spirit of God is at work, weaving together the lives within the body.
- The church (like no other institution) has provided motivation for the most lasting, unselfish, essential, courage’s ministries on earth. Schools, hospitals, halfway houses, orphanages, leprosariums, missions, etc.…………
Stephen Olford, a famous English/American preacher said this: “The gospel is the most powerful means to change society.” And it is the church that has the gospel.
Bill Hybels has said: “The local church is the hope of the world and its future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders.” And also, “Strong, growing fellowships can change the course of history.” And that has happened and still is happening all over the world, praise God. So, don’t you get excited after reading all this? Every Christian ought to be involved in serving in the church in some way.
The work in Alma continued to grow. We held home Bible studies where I taught the adults and Marina the children in a separate room. On Easter Sunday, March 26, 1989, we held our first Sunday service in the gym of the Alma public school, a new church had been started, Jesus must have rejoiced…………………..! (Go to Musings).