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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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The Gospel Does Not ‘Float Downstream’ from Big Cities

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Small towns and rural areas across the world need churches; they won’t be reached with the gospel by default. And many such places in the United States are growing increasingly secular—churches are dying faster than new ones are being planted.

While it’s right to highlight the need to plant churches in large, growing urban centers, we would be mistaken to assume that the gospel will automatically “float downstream” from big cities. If we don’t intentionally give ourselves to seeing churches planted in rural communities, then it won’t happen.

But this is not an easy task. Many aspects of rural life go against the grain of our glory-hungry dispositions. Life and ministry in small towns probably won’t win you a large following. You probably won’t grow a big church. You probably won’t receive much recognition. And it will probably be hard.

But if you choose to plant a church in a small, forgotten part of the world, you will have the life-giving opportunity to say, with John the Baptist: “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

What small towns need is men and women willing to count the cost and plant churches that faithfully proclaim the gospel in their communities. We need leaders who have a concern for the glory of Christ in the forgotten corners of the earth.

One such brother is Will Basham, who I’m excited to welcome to the podcast today.

You can listen to this podcast episode here.


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