The following post is written by Chris Braun, a former C&MA missionary who now serves at The Stirring in Redding with his wife Marcia, who is part of the Board of Directors for The Alliance.
During my first home assignment as an Alliance missionary, I toured the Rocky Mountain Alliance churches. I was amazed by the number of new church plants and young new pastors in the district. I was struck by the courage and commitment of a number of these young church planters.
Jim and Patty Evans were among this special breed. They had planted a church in Twin Falls, Idaho, that had recently had another church transition into their Alliance church plant. However, the week before I arrived virtually everyone had left the church because they did not agree with the Alliance and the worship style. At the following Sunday’s opening service of a missions conference, the congregation only consisted of Jim, Patty, their two young sons, and a godly older couple.
Five years later Marcia and I ministered at that same church. I was thrilled as I saw some 160 people revel in worship and enjoy one another. God was using the Evans in incredible ways in this heavily Mormon community.
Knowing Jim and Patty, I understood why this almost failed church was now thriving. It was prospering from the leadership of a pastoral couple who innately and solidly knew who they were and whose they were: His!
Deeply in love with Him and His Word, His declarations gave them needed strength and impetus. The following declarations are poignant for arming us in the midst of our circumstances. They underline the glorious reality that each of us who has claimed Him as our Savior and Lord, and is giving ourselves to serve Him, is indeed His.
- “I am His beloved and He is mine.”
- “I will be your God and you will be my people.”
- “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Undoubtedly the incredible reality Paul expresses in Romans 8:31-39 especially resonated with Jim and Patty during this potentially devastating time. What an awesome declaration for anyone who has entered a pastorate straight out of college and then been slammed with what they experienced:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Romans 8:31-39
Like Jim and Patty, each of us faces moments that challenge our very identity. Yet we can bask in the confidence that we are His. Revel in this reality and grow in its richness: HIS now and forever!