February / March - 2020 Vol. 108
Living Faith - Persevering Trust
Life together in communities of faith, hope, and love

Intro to this issue
With the rise of new atheism and aggressive secularism, we are called by the Lord Jesus to be his standard bearers of the vitality, strength, and power of the kingdom Jesus Christ has won for us and now offers us through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit.

Augustine of Hippo wrote, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe” (Sermon 43:9).

Our love and belief in the Lord Jesus compels us to grow in the knowledge and understanding of our faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit who pours out his grace and spiritual gifts for effective mission and Christian life today. 

This issue focuses on the gift and life of faith we are called to live each day, and in every situation of our lives and relationships. Faith does not grow in isolation, but in a believing community of disciples who know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus together with fervor, faith, and hope in God's word of promise and everlasting life.

That is why Paul the Apostle urges his fellow believers and disciples to recognize the universal call to "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, one God and Father of us all ... until we all attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:4-6,13).

A shared life of faith, hope, and love in covenant communities
Today there are many hundreds of covenant communities around the world. What is the significance of covenant community for today? First, it is a signpost of what God is bringing about through the gift of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is a visible public sign of the Lord's work of renewal in bringing people into a revitalized relationship with God, and it is a sign of the unity he desires for all his people. The unity we already have as brothers and sisters in Christ stems from baptism and the gift and working of the Holy Spirit. This gift of life together enables Christians of different traditions to recognize one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and to live together in a real shared life of faith, hope, and love. This unifying grace is a hallmark of God's work today.

Second, covenant community is a servant of the renewal. It is meant to be a prophetic sign to the rest of the charismatic renewal, and to the churches, and to the world. It's a message to everybody, but not everybody is called to this particular form of community. People should be able to visit covenant communities and see how the Holy Spirit is renewing his people and restoring to them a fuller shared life together. It is part of the nature of a sign that you cannot be everything. Covenant communities cannot do everything and cannot solve all problems. They are only a part, but, nonetheless an important part of God's work of renewal and restoration.  

For those of us who have been called to life together in covenant community, let us fervently pray that Christ renew our hearts and widen our vision for the call and mission to be his disciples together on mission.

May this issue inspire and encourage each of us to look to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith that we may run the race he has set before us with expectant faith, persevering hope, and fervent love for the Lord Jesus and the people he calls us to serve, witness, and live together.

Sincerely in Christ,
Don Schwager

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