Thursday, September 13, 2012

Christian devotions: What is Church? - Luke 13:19

Luke 13:19     Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” 

            Christianity is the world’s largest faith. About one third of our planet’s population is connected to Christ and each year that number is growing all over the Earth. Beginning on a hillside in Galilee two thousand years ago, with just a couple of hundred of followers, Christ’s ministry has expanded and increased throughout the centuries. In every nation on this planet there is a Christian community. The Gospel has been preached in every corner on Earth. The mustard seed of God’s Kingdom, which was planted so long ago, now has people of every nation living in its branches. There are currently more Christians on Earth than at any other time in humankind’s history. Christ’s life, work, and ministry continue to grow. It is a faith that cannot be stopped; it is a teaching that cannot be curtailed.

            Churches are springing up everywhere. Old buildings may be closing, but new fellowships of faith are being planted. Christ’s mission never stops and despite what Western media or anti-religious groups express about the decline of Christianity, the numbers across the world prove them to be false prophets. Western Christianity is being transformed and a rebirth of faith is being experienced. The church changes as each century comes and goes, but one thing remains constant: Christ’s people are growing numerically and spiritually across this planet in every generation.

            Sometimes we Western Christians get downhearted about declining congregational numbers and moral standards of society. We get hung up on finances and money instead of being inspired by faith and mission. All that we are negatively experiencing are the birth pangs of a new 21st century church. Christ will not let His people down; Christ will not let His mission die.

So let’s rejoice because throughout the Earth more people will be brought closer to Christ today and give their hearts to His Kingdom.

Questions for personal reflection

What is Church? Where are new centers of Christianity emerging in my community?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, Your work on Earth continues each day and new souls are saved for Your Kingdom. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your Great Commission. Help us to reach out to other people in charitable and cheerful ways, so that they may also be drawn closer to You. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s stained glass designs depicting Psalm 85. It was used recently at a church/religious conference facilitated by Duke University. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

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