Shalom God's beloved congregations of Christ Living Church,
There is a saying, “from the fruit, we know the tree”, which means that the nature and characters of human is known from what he says and does, so does the church of God is known from the character of its community and the behaviour of the members. In the midst of the church of satan, false churches and thousands of “church” organizations nowadays, how can we recognize the true church of God? What are the characteristics of God's church? Is God's church can be recognized from the church building or from ornate crucifix on the neck of the followers?
Firstly, God’s church is an entity that believes Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Mat. 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Jesus said this after Peter declared his personal confession to Jesus' question: "But who do you say I am?" Peter said: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mat.16: 15,16)
Mat. 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
It is clear that God’s church is not an organisation, not building, not the number of the members or things that are physical or spiritual. On the other hand, God’s church is spiritual and eternal, since Hades will not prevail against it. Therefore, God’s church is the people who has experienced the revelation from the heavenly Father so that his heart believes and the mouth confess that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God (Rom.10: 10).
The belief and confession mentioned here is not just “words” from the mouth, but that is believed and lived in earnest so he is obedient in performing His Word and become disciples of Christ in his life.
Secondly, God’s church is known from the community who love one another.
Joh. 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
The core teachings of the Bible is love, because God is love (1 Jn.4: 8) and stays with the believers, so the presence of His love makes them into a loving community and ultimately brings God's love in radians to other communities, wherever they are. If they are in school, the teaching and learning atmosphere will be filled with the peace of God. If they're in the workplace, then the co-workers will feel the presence of God’s love. Wherever they are, the God’s love that will affect the situation the heart communities. Although each relationship in the community has the potential to create conflict and is not free of problems, but the love of God will always be able to relieve the turmoil of the "storm" because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet.4: 8).
Love is what distinguishes God's true church with a community that claims to be "Christian" and "church" but does not reflect love. The Church of God is known as a community that rejoices over heavenly atmosphere that can be felt because of the practice of love among the believers. The Bible is the supreme authority in the ministry, then the church should be a community of hope and can be the best solution to the problems faced by the world.
1 Jn. 5:5 “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Thirdly, the church of God is the church of Mission.
The purpose God established his church is none other than to carry out the Great Commission (Mat.28: 19,20). This is "the ultimate goal" of the Lord's church. Sunday worship, choir, Bible Study, Preaching the Gospel, Praise-Worship, Sunday School, Prayer, Life Group, Bible Seminar, Spiritual discussion, Bible schools and any other services activity is a "tool" to achieve the goals of the church, namely reaching souls to Christ. If the mission is the "job" of the church, that means the church can be busy doing another. Ironically, this is the case today, the church does not reach people, but busy doing mega church, competing to build buildings, having fun creating spiritual entertainment, creative in making the church as a "business", looking for money for property investment, etc. Therefore, the existence of the church must be stressed to be the church of mission and its ministry must also be maintained with the discipline to become mission. Whatever the shape and type, the church services must end in doing mission, which is to reach people for Christ.
Ten years ago the Lord established His mission church, which is Christ Living Church (CLC). The first service was performed on Sunday, 18 June 2006, and upheld, with the "mark" the writing of smoke coming out of an airplane that was doing manoeuvrable and acrobatic up and down movements above the place of worship at the time, the building School of Art, Forest Rd, Peakhurst NSW. The two sentences "written" by the plane are "Trust in Jesus alone" and "Jesus saves". This motivates CLC to always entrust ourselves to the Head of the Church, so that the CLC ministry need not be daunted by the "difficulty" of any kind, because He would always save the church. It makes CLC continues to advance steadily, because the church knew what would be achieved and where to go to do the work of His mission (Mark.16:8)
What God confirmed at the time of the first service is already proven. CLC led, preserved, protected, blessed and showered with miracles for entrusting themselves completely to Christ the Head of the Church. All of them can not be told one by one, for many thousands of words will not be enough to write it. Too many blessings God has been poured on the CLC in this first decade. Only His grace can make the CLC exist and function as a mission church devout in doing the Great Commission and His Word to reach souls for Christ.
At least once a year, I, as the Pastor of CLC conduct mission trip to Indonesia, to the big cities and the small villages, islands and jungle interior to spread the spiritual and material blessings. The places visited for evangelism, seminars and Revival Service are: Surabaya, Jakarta, Medan, Denpasar, Yogyakarta, Makassar, Manado, Kupang, Malang, Madiun, Maumere, Ende, Luwuk, Pontianak, Ungaran, Soe, Tengger, Putusibau Magetan, Caruban, etc. In the last mission trip, there are church leaders who played a role. In 2016, the next mission trip will be held in Samarinda, Banjarmasin, and the interior of East Kalimantan, while in 2017 we plan to go to Riau Islands and surrounding areas. I long so that more churches can participate in the mission of this trip. It is a pity that the plan for the mission trip to India this year has to be postponed due to have a more steady preparation.
Reaching out to people through social media and the internet are also encouraged. Sunday sermons are uploaded to the CLC webiste. Every year the website is visited by approximately 30,000 people, of which 25% are repeat visitors, and based on the web-based statistic they are scattered in 124 countries. They are the viewers of the online sermon with each sermon is consumed by 700 people in average. This number is expected to continue to grow. Through the services of this website, I received many invitations and offers of cooperation from the foreign ministry, that are: Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, the Netherlands, Korea, Pakistan, Germany, etc. Especially since the CLC services are broadcasted as a live streaming over the Internet, the website visitors and sermon viewers increased significantly. Even CLC Facebook account which became one of the sermons online marketing media are also favored by more than 100,000 people.
CLC also conducts diaconia (service) to the needy in Indonesia, that are: scholarships for orphans, funds for medical expenses and hospital, supports for the construction of churches in the countryside, the procurement of musical instruments in churches countryside, funds of social welfare for pastors who serve in rural areas, basic food and edicine for scavengers and homeless, support the development funds of schools and Christian orphanage as well as operational funds Bible school, the cost of training missions for the servants of the Lord in the countryside, in cooperation with the church Onnuri in Sydney holding the Quiet Time Seminar held in various cities in Indonesia, etc.
All missions above are financed by CLC mission funds which is allocated as much as 10% of the income of the church. The fund for this mission is prioritised, no matter how great the needs for any CLC service. Although the needs of the service grows each year, but the CLC never experiences the shortage of funds, as the CLC can be accountable of "God's money". Each year the financial of CLC is zero balance, or the balance is ZERO, because all the tithes and offerings of the church are used to finance the operations of the church and things that support the mission and not to "other investments" that are not associated with the mission. Besides, the CLC also implement open management, which manage the finances CLC openly so that all the congregations of CLC know or see the financial bookkeeping of CLC anytime when needed.
All the servants of God in CLC serve honestly, sincerely and humbly. No wonder that God continues to increase the capacity of their services as promised in His Word, whoever is loyal responsibility in a very little, he will put him in charge in the case of large (Mat.25: 21, 23). As a Pastor, I just prepare church leaders to be ready to be used by God and sent to the field mission. Through homiletics and hermeneutics trainings, there are more than 10 young preachers ready to be used by God to reach out to the younger generation in his mission field, not only in Indonesia but also throughout the world. They are fluent in English, Indonesian and Mandarin as well as professionals in the field of their own professions.
Apart from the joys and sorrows that make the rainbow of His Love more beautiful in CLC, I believe the Lord has provided even greater blessings in this second decade. This would be comparable with the CLC responsibility to do as His church mission. Therefore, on this occasion, I would like to invite the whole church to be a community that is more mature and more beautiful before God. Do not demand what can be done CLC against you, but define what can you do to CLC. There is still much that we must do in the coming years. Let us unite to realize the "dream" to have our own building so that CLC could further improve its service and contribution in the cooperation on outreach missions with churches of other missionary.
I say a big thank you to all the families and all those who faithfully supported and prayed for me so that it can serve as a pastor for 10 years. There is no ivory that is not cracked, so I apologize profusely for any errors and shortcomings me as finite human beings everything.
Please pray for me to be able to carry out the next task with wisdom and anointing of God. Please support me for love and unity among us is a pre-requisite to the occurrence of a miracle of God so that what is needed by CLC is not impossible.
Finally, with a thankful heart, I wish Happy 10th Anniversary to all CLC church I love. Let us give the best offerings to the Lord to bring souls to their families, friends and people we love Him.
Greetings of mission to the ends of the earth,
Pdt. Agus Rahardja DS
Senior Pastor of Christ Living Church