The Pulse: The Heartbeat of GFC.
Coming Together

At a crucial turning point in his ministry, Jesus traveled with his disciples to an out-of-the-way location, Caesarea Philippi (also called Panias). It’s a city built out of rock. When Jesus visited the city—temples to Zeus, Augustus, and Pan bustled with sacrifices and pagan rituals. A deep spring inside a cave and mists spreading from a waterfall made the place feel more mysterious.

It was near this spot, where Peter proclaimed his faith in Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus replied in part, “…on this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18).

This is the first instance of the word, church (Greek word ekklesia), applied to the people Jesus was forming and gathering to Himself. That word church or ekklesia had been applied to movements or gatherings of people called out for specific purposes over time—bands of soldiers or musicians, citizens for public projects, even the scattered Jewish communities gathering among Gentiles. Jesus attached that word to the people responding to his call and the people who are still responding to his calling. At a place, where hell’s power could be observed in action, Jesus promised that his church would march victorious over her enemies.

We are still the church that belongs to Jesus. We are still his people—on the move in our world. Right now, we want to demonstrate love to our community and show the difference that Jesus is making in our lives to nurses, doctors, and people who may be more isolated and feeling lonely. Find out how you can come together to be the church by encouraging, praying for, and supporting someone else right now at

Today, all that’s left of the pagan temples in Panias are ruins. The church of Jesus Christ has spread all over the world. One day, the challenges we currently face will be a distant memory or a footnote for a history book. No power will overcome the church Jesus established… the people and movement of God that gives us identity and purpose. Let’s live in that victory now!

Coming Together to be the Church with you,

P.S. Catch up on our Come Together series online and be part of a new series exploring the heartbreak and hope in the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis this Sunday at 9:15 or 11AM onsite or online.

Titus O’Bryant
Teaching & Executive Pastor of Ministries