August / September 2019 - Vol. 105

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Covenant Life Together
- A Prophetic Sign of Grace and Restoration

I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations”
– Isaiah 42:6

In This Issue

This issue focuses on a fundamental aspect of our relationship with God. Our God is a covenant making God. It is part of his nature to unite himself with a people who will love and obey him and serve him together, not only as individuals but as a community of disciples who want to follow and serve the Lord together as a people. 

The Apostle Peter reminds us, "For once you were no people, but now you are God's people" (1 Peter 2:10).
In sending us his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God has established a New Covenant of grace purchased for us through the atoning blood of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and he has put his seal upon us by the Holy Spirit who dwells with us as the guarantee and pledge of everlasting friendship with God as his adopted sons and daughters.

Beginnings of covenant communities 50 years ago
Fifty years ago in 1969, God led a charismatic group of university students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (USA), on a journey of discovering what it means to be a covenanted people who are joined together in a shared life of commitment, community and mutual care for one another - not just for a season but for the entirety of our lives. God spoke to us as we gathered in prayer one evening and he said to us, "I want to make a covenant with you... but you must first smash your idols..." This call to live in committed relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ resulted in a mutual decision to share our lives together in covenant community. During our first commitment ceremony in 1970 we each in turn stood and promised to follow and serve the Lord together as a covenant community. The Lord spoke and said this was "an historic night and a beginning of a work of restoration for his people." The community covenant commitment we made together marked the beginning of a new wave of grace and work of the Spirit as many other groups of charismatic Christians began to form covenant communities around the world. See Bruce Yocum's article in this issue,
Our Beginnings in Covenant Community - A Worldwide Work of God,  and Steve Clark's article, Covenant Community & Church - A Work of the Spirit  

We believe that the formation of covenant communities is meant to be a prophetic sign of God's work of grace and restoration for the Christian people today. Many churches have been under attack and many Christians are divided, confused, and many are being swept away in a tide of moral confusion, apathy, division, and isolation. We are called to stand, fight, and build bastions of faith, hope, and love together so we can proclaim the Good News and extend God's kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness.

Signs of hope and restoration 
Bob Tedesco's article,
Restoring Covenant Life & Relationships: The Lord’s Response, analyzes some of the key problems and challenges for the Christian people today, along with the Lord's response to these problems and challenges. He traces the roots of these problems back to the massive social and moral unraveling that took place in the 1960s.

There are many signs of hope, renewal, and restoration. We believe that charismatic renewal and covenant community is a key part of God's plan of restoration for his people today. May this issue inspire, encourage, and call you to a renewed commitment to follow and serve the Lord together to rebuild and strengthen marriage, family life, and community life empowered by the grace, wisdom, and power of the Holy Spirit.

Sincerely in Christ,
Don Schwager

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