Jesus says, “I Will Build My Church”
– Zion Under Construction –
It is no surprise to hear that Christianity is booming in Africa and that there are new mission efforts that have begun in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juarez. After all, Jesus Himself said, “I will build my church…” (Matt 16) and He instructs Christians to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28) It is no surprise that Christians are found far and wide! Did you know…
– Christianity is by far the world’s largest religion. There are about 2.18 billion Christians in the world today.
– Christians are everywhere: 26% in Europe 37% in the Americas 24% in sub-Saharan Africa 13% in Asia and the Pacific There are twice as many Roman Catholics in Brazil as in Italy!
– Most Christians are in the majority: “Christians form a majority of the population in 158 countries and territories, about two-thirds of all the countries and territories in the world.”
– “About 90% of Christians live in countries where Christians are in the majority; only about 10% of Christians worldwide live as minorities.”
– There are twice as many Protestants in Nigeria as in Germany.
– Some Christians are in the Minority: The Middle East-North Africa region has the lowest concentration of Christians (about 4% of the region’s population) and the smallest number of Christians (about 13 million) of any major geographic region. Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, is home to more Christians than all 20 countries in the Middle East-North Africa region combined.
(source: Pew Research Council; http://www.pewforum.org/christian/global-christianity-exec.aspx accessed on Jan. 29, 2013)
These random facts might seem far away, but Christ is at work here as well. It is always a joy to see new faces in our worship services and to watch our new members joining together with long-time members of Zion for Bible study, service projects, meetings, and prayer. It is humbling to realize that Christ’s still considers Zion to be “under construction” for the sake of every new generation and that Christ himself, through the gifts He gives to the Church, is building us up. Proclamation by proclamation, baptism by baptism, saved life by saved life Christ’s Church at Zion is under construction and is held strong by Word and Sacrament and the power of the Holy Spirit. The more who come to know and trust Christ, the Savior of our souls, the more who come to realize that everyone should know and trust Him. We live in a world that needs salvation.
This month we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the dedication of our 2800 Pershing Dr. church building. What a blessing it has been in our life together at Zion! Our building is one of the many fruits of faith that Christ produced out of the lives of those early members of Zion.
This year, we will be examining the ways Christ’s builds his church and IS building His Church among us: Flowing from His GOSPEL salvation for us, He gives GIFTS (see article below). The gifts of God produce GROWTH in us, and like branches connected to a vine, our lives produce GRAPES, which are fruits of God’s goodness that flow through our lives for the sake of others. It’s a 4G coverage we really can’t do without.
GIFTS GROWTH GRAPES
If Christ is the head of the Church (which He says He is!) be assured He is wearing a hard hat and means business. I’m sure looking forward to seeing all He is putting together among us!
In Christ’s peace, Pastor Stephen
This post is also available in: Spanish