by Scott Stake
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” - Matthew 16:16-18
I absolutely love this passage in Matthew 16, because it reminds me of the overwhelming power, love, and grace of our God. He is the one who lovingly and graciously gives spiritual sight to the blind, powerfully and faithfully builds His Church, and sovereignly and miraculously grows His Kingdom. And nothing can stop it, not even the gates of hell!
Like Jesus did for Peter and His disciples, we must continue to remind ourselves of this amazing good news, particularly when the darkness, pain, and brokenness of our world casts a shadow on the marvelous light and love of the gospel that has invaded our hearts. We also must tell stories to one another of how the church is being built and overcoming the dark places!
So, I want to invite you to a 5-week class we’ve entitled “The Gospel for the World” in which we’ll hear powerful stories of God’s amazing, redeeming love changing the darkest and hardest of hearts.
Come hear Dennis Cochrane (March 28), who served among the 20,000 Duna people of Papua New Guinea. After devising an alphabet for this previously unwritten language, he and his wife Nancy taught the Duna to read. They then translated the first portions of God's Word into the Duna language, and several thousand Duna came to faith in Christ. Today there are many churches among these people!
Come hear Dean & Kathy Thomas (April 4), who served among the Guji people in Ethiopia and helped bring the Scriptures to train and equip them for the work of ministry. You'll not only see pictures and hear stories, but also participate in a Bible literacy lesson like they led for the Guji people. (Please note that Don Richardson is no longer able to come April 4 due to some health issues.)
Come hear Kate (April 11), one of our gospel partners whose work is focused on literacy work among women and children of a Muslim-background people group, where the gospel is being preached, lives are being changed, and the church is growing!
Come hear Ted Esler (April 18), who served as a church planter in Bosnia during the 1990s and saw the gospel transform hearts in the midst of a war-torn society. He now serves as president of Missio Nexus, an association of agencies and churches representing over 30,000 Great Commission workers worldwide, and will share amazing stories of the Kingdom of God coming on earth!
Finally, come hear Scott Stake (April 25) share stories about the work of our Four Oaks gospel partners around the world and different ways we can support, encourage, pray for, and be a part of what God is doing to build His church! And then, come to the Mission Haiti fundraiser (April 28) to support our team heading there this summer to support the work of Mike & Bonnie Snider at Cabaret Mission!