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Jerusalem to RDU and Beyond, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2023 9:00 am

Jerusalem to RDU and Beyond, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 3, 2023 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. demonstrates how to expect great things of God and attempt great things for God as you work to complete your mission on Earth.


Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian Jidi Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Whittavich. You know, once you look back at God's grace to you in the past, it makes it easier to look forward to the future with great anticipation of all He will continue to do in and for you. And as Scripture says, He can do way more than you could ever ask for or even imagine. Today, Pastor Jidi demonstrates how to expect great things of God and attempt great things for God as you work to complete your mission on earth. And if you missed yesterday's program, be sure to catch up right away at But for now, grab your Bible and a pen and let's join Pastor Jidi.

As we come to this point here, our 20-year anniversary, I thought that it might be helpful to look backwards for a moment, to think about how we got here, how all this came to us, and what that means in light of how we're supposed to go forward with it. 1960, Sam James, Dr. Sam James, a young 28-year-old pastor from Greensboro, North Carolina, feels called by God with his wife Rachel and their two kids to take the gospel to the unreached nation of Vietnam. In preparation to go, however, his newborn develops a heart condition, and he and his wife Rachel have to spend a frustrating year at Duke Medical Center. But during that year, someone from Grace Baptist Church informs him of this burden they have to plan a church up in northern Durham, and so Dr. James volunteers to lead the effort. In 1961, they open up a mission on Duke Street called the Grace Baptist Mission.

The small mission grows rapidly. Within a year, over 100 people are attending, and they officially relaunched themselves as the Homestead Heights Baptist Church on March 4, 1962. Dr. Sam James preaches only one official sermon at the organized church, and that sermon is from Isaiah 54, 2, and 3, which is William Carey's famous missionary text, where God commands Israel to expand the borders of its tents to make room for the nations. Dr. James prophesies to the Homestead Heights Baptist Church that God is going to use them to bring the gospel to the nations, and he challenges them not just to exist for themselves but to expand the borders of their tents so that people of all nations would find salvation there through them.

That afternoon, he and his wife Rachel leave for Vietnam, where they're going to spend the next 40 years. In 1994, God speaks to a college kid at Campbell University as he's studying for a pre-law exam, telling him that he is done with law and that the focus of his life is to be on getting the gospel to people overseas, and so in 1997, he leaves for Indonesia for what he assumes is a lifelong assignment, and that kid was me. In 1999, I return home from Indonesia to complete my Ph.D. in Islamic and Christian theology. While stateside, I attend the Homestead Heights Baptist Church, believing that I'm headed back to Southeast Asia. In December 2001, Homestead Heights Baptist Church extends a call to me to be their pastor. In March 2002, we changed the name of the Homestead Heights Baptist Church to the Summit Church. Why, you ask?

There are no mountains in Durham. True, but the name sounded cool, and our property did happen to be located at the highest point in Durham County, which is why it was called Homestead Heights. So Summit seemed like it fit. April 2002, Summit baptizes its first two African American believers, and I marry them a week later. August 2002, college students discover our church and start to make up a sizable portion of our attendance every weekend. At this point, we know that we're never going to have a lot of money, because college students bring a lot of wonderful things to a church, but money is not one of them. But we also know we're going to have a lot of young, eager believers trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

December 2004, God burdens the Summit Church for the city of Durham. We realize God has put us here not just to reach it for Jesus but also to bless it, to love it, to better it, to make it, we said, a better place to live. So I meet with the mayor, Bill Bell, and ask him what the biggest needs of our city are. He tells me the biggest needs of our city are the homeless population, the orphan, prisoner rehabilitation, the crisis of single mothers, and the growing number of high school dropouts.

So out of this grows what we call the Hope Pudge Strategy, which just stood for homeless, orphan, prisoner, unwed mother, and high school dropout. We say we want our city not just to know we stand for Jesus, but we start to say we want people in our city to say we may not believe what those crazy people at Summit believe, but thank God they're here, because if not, we'd all have to raise our taxes. 2005, we've outgrown our property on Holt School Road, so we sell it and move into Riverside High School. We sense that God has called us not only to reach North Durham but all of the Triangle. At first, we look to purchase a 100-acre piece of property on Coal Mill Road, onto which we plan to build this Six Flags Over Jesus facility that people from all over the Triangle can drive to. But God shuts that door decisively, and God instead reveals to us that instead of developing one large property, we should seek to establish smaller locations throughout the Triangle where believers can stay in their communities and invite their neighbors. We move our host campus to Briar Creek, leaving behind a community of believers in North Durham as our first multi-site location, led now by the inimitable Gus Pacheco. In January 2006, we start to search for land to build a new permanent facility for our North Durham campus, since we had sold their initial Homestead Heights location out from under them. In May 2007, God leads us to adopt the goal of planting 1,000 churches out of our church within our generation. Nobody is quite sure, by the way, where that number came from. We have asked. We think. I spontaneously threw it out in a sermon.

It's not in any transcript, but it starts to feel like a God thing, so we just embrace it. February 2009, we launched Summit in Espanol to reach the growing Hispanic population in Durham. This is going to be followed by Summit Mandarin and Summit Arabic, as well as campuses and our local women's and men's prison facilities. In September 2015, the Summit Church leads the state of North Carolina in both yearly baptisms and missions giving. August 2016, Summit celebrates the planting of its first granddaughter church as Summit Denver plants the heights and the suburbs of Denver. Each year, more granddaughter churches are going to be added to our family. Currently, 14 of our 78 domestic plants are granddaughter churches, churches that have been planted by churches that we planted.

Also, in 2016, we launched the Summit Institute, which is committed to training up men and women for full-time ministry. November 2017, we're recognized as the top sending church in the nation by both the International Mission Board for Sending Overseas Missionaries and the North American Mission Board for Planting Domestic Churches. December 2018, we celebrate the sending out of our 1,000th member on a church planting team and our 250th church planted. November 2021, the largest attendance and fastest-growing churches in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem are now Summit plants, Mercy Hill and Two Cities.

Both count representatives to the U.S. Congress among their membership. Each weekend, more than twice as many people attend Summit plants in North America as come to the Summit Church and the Triangle. For every one member we have sent out, there are 20 new people worshiping in the kingdom somewhere in the world. In December of 2021, the Summit's offering is $10 million in a single month. That is by far the largest month of giving in the history of the Summit Church.

$10 million in one month, which is 20 times more than our annual budget in 2001. We believe that symbolizes God's commitment to us for the next 20 years. January 30, 2022, the Summit Church, now a church of more than 12,000 weekly attenders in 12 campuses around the Triangle, celebrates its 20th anniversary, marveling at all that God has done in two decades.

In 20 years, they've welcomed in over 92,000 first-time guests through their doors. They've seen 8,172 people baptized. They've planted 492 churches around the world. Each weekend, more than 26,000 people worship in churches planted by the Summit. Our church planters are now telling us stories that we find hard to believe, like Nathan Rostenpor, who will be baptizing 30 new believers in Iran this year and planting 14 new churches there. This is the beginning of a church planting movement in Iran. Samantha, a Summit member who leads a team in the slums in the Red Light District in one of the biggest cities in South Asia, reports to us that in 2021, 186 people profess faith in Christ through her ministry.

A tiny new church was planted there in the Red Light District. Think of that Summit church. This weekend, as we gather and celebrate 492 churches around the world, one of those is made up of women who previously were victims of the sex trade in South Asia.

January 30, 2022, Summit now has 300 members serving overseas. This is not only, as far as we know, more than any other church has. It's more than we're in our initial congregation when we began. They serve in 65 different cities around the world outside the United States. The International Mission Board tells us we have six times more missionaries than their second-closest partner. We average sending out 25 new long-term missionaries every year. A hundred and seven men and women have been trained here for full-time ministry through the Summit Institute, with 60 more entering the program next year. Several hundred are involved in our fostering and adoption ministries or serve local refugees or in our local prison ministries. So, on January 30, 2022, I asked the church to recommit to its original vision, trusting that the God who has brought us this far is going to lead us the rest of the way.

The Summit church responds enthusiastically, and we become a part of this huge movement through history. Right? That's today, by the way. That's pretty amazing, isn't it? That's pretty amazing, isn't it?

Dream with me for a second, would you? March 2022, more than 20,000 people from around the Triangle gather in the Walnut Creek Amphitheater, a strategic place in the Triangle, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. June 2022, we finally get the North Durham campus completed, and for the first time in almost 20 years, Summit members in North Durham have a new permanent home. March 2024, the Summit church realizes that its 1,000 churches goal was too small.

The movement in Iran alone has grown to 140 congregations, with 1,000 new Iranian believers baptized in three years. January 2025, Summit surpasses its goal of being 25 percent multiethnic by 2025. Forty percent of its staff and pastors are now leaders of color. July 2026, a couple who is on the cusp of divorce begins attending the Chapel Hill campus. Through the faithful love of their small group and our G4 ministry, not only are they brought back to faith in Christ, in 2041 they celebrate their 30th anniversary. Their son, who watches this redemption story unfold firsthand, grows up to plant a church for us in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2038. August 2028, the church-planting movement that Nathan Rostenpore has led in Iran now spreads into the United Arab Emirates and then into Turkey and Afghanistan.

More than 800 Muslim background believers are being baptized every year. July 2029, a woman who was saved in our prison campus in 2022 this month becomes the 1,000th international church planter sent out by the Summit church. November 2030, the Summit is recognized by the state of North Carolina for its work in rehabilitating prisoners, using its holistic method of healing and reintegration and faith to inspire other churches across North Carolina to do the same. March 2031, Summit has so many families involved in foster care and adoption ministry that, for the first time in the Triangle's history, there are more foster families waiting for placement than there are foster children in Wake Durham or Orange County. August 2031, the Summit Institute now trains more than 500 men and women for ministry every year. September 2035, the Triangle's population has swelled to 3.5 million people. We launched our 25th campus in the Triangle, having completed our goal of having a campus 15 minutes driving time from everybody in the Triangle. Since 2002, the Summit church has baptized over 17,000 people in the Triangle every weekend, more than 1.2 million worshiping churches around the world that Summit has planted.

These churches baptize a combined 100,000 every year. November 2036, Nicolas Cage releases his 444th movie, National Treasure 13, and I am invited to the global premiere. We're glad you've chosen to kick off the new year here with us at Summit Life. If you're new to this program, learn more about us by visiting We'll finish up our teaching here in a moment, but first, let me tell you about a daily email devotional that's available to our Summit Life family. I know we are all on lots of email lists and many we just ignore, but let me encourage you that this one will bring great value to your devotional life this year. In fact, the short daily readings even follow along with our current teaching on the program, so you can stay plugged into these messages regardless of your schedule. This email might be the step that you need to establish a regular study of God's Word this year, so be sure to contact us right away.

And to sign up for this free resource, visit us at slash resources. Thanks for being with us. Now let's get back to the final moments of today's message on Summit Life. Here's Pastor JD. April 2037, a former Summit College student who'd gone to live in Serbia in 2024 who's listening right now, got a story in his or her heart for the mission field, reports that he's seen 264 churches planted there in Serbia in a single year, and they've seen the launch of a seminary to train young men and women there for ministry. January 2038, the child of a family who was saved at the Garner campus grows up to translate the Bible into the language of the final unreached people group in North Africa. October 2041, a girl who was adopted by a Summit family through their foster ministry who grew up in Summit kids and students is appointed to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Let me dream.

Let me dream. November 2041, Summit College commemorates its 5,000 students sent out on a church planting team. 47 of the churches we have planted have been planted with vibrant college ministries in college towns. Together, those churches baptize more than 3,000 students every year, and together they send out more than 1,000 on church planting teams around the world. January 2042, we gather for our 40th anniversary, or for some of us, it's our children or our grandchildren who gather, marveling at what God has done with a small mustard seed of faith, planted many years ago.

That seed is now grown into a mighty tree whose branches cover the earth. We stand on that day overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God, and we can only put our hands on our mouths and say, Look at what the Lord has done. Our children on that day recommit themselves to God, and they say, As you have been with my fathers, may you now be with me.

Lord, let it also be unto me, according to your word. Of course, Summit Church, I don't know exactly what God is going to do in the next 20 years. I'm just dreaming based on the last 20 years. What I do know is that God promises to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we'd ask or imagine. That was a promise we believed at the beginning. It's a promise we're going to believe now.

I've seen what he's done in the last 20 years, which means now I can imagine that, which means that what I dream for the future has to be greater than what I've seen, which brings us back to today. Martin Luther, the great reformer of the 16th century, said that on God's calendar, only two days matter. That day and this day. That day means where we know history is headed. A vast multitude of people, Revelation tells us, from every tribe and tongue and nation and people under heaven rejoicing together in the salvation of Jesus. That day and this day.

This day. What we're doing now in anticipation of that day, which is what Jesus said to those scared 11 guys on the hillside outside of Jerusalem. He said, guys, you don't know anything, but all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth, so go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. You teach them to observe all that I've commanded you and just know that I am with you always to the end of the age. That is my command, and that is my promise. I'm a church in truth. I don't know what the future holds.

I can't even guarantee that I will wake up tomorrow. What I do know is that we still serve a Savior who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, a Savior whose finished cross and empty tomb guarantees that we will be successful in uniting the nations to fear his name, who has yielded us his authority and imparted to us his Spirit to guarantee the completion of that mission. Now we know that even in suffering and in setback, he promises to make us always walk in triumph.

Why? Because all authority is his. That means that even what the Enemy means for evil, he overrules for good. This is not our history, you see.

It is his story. He is the author and finisher of our faith, the writer of Hebrews says, which means that what stirs in our hearts today is the power he released into the world 2,000 years ago in an empty tomb. As sure as he walked out of that grave 2,000 years ago, we're going to finish our mission, because what he started with an empty tomb he will complete with people of every tribe and tongue and nation around his throne in heaven, and even the gates of hell will not be able to stop us. That day, that day, and so on this day, I pledge to walk forward in anticipation of that day, expecting great things of him and attempting great things for him. This is where me and my house are going, and I would really, really love for you to go with me. Summit, is that where you want to go?

Is that where you want to go? When I was installed as pastor here 20 years ago, sometime in January, second week of January, second week of January, my childhood pastor, Dr. E.C. Sheehan, who led my mother and father to Christ, he led the service that morning. He has since gone on to be with Jesus.

He was in his 70s in January of 2002. I'll never forget, during that service somewhere in the middle, he just leaned over to me. He just tapped me on the shoulder, and he just said, he said, Son, he's here. He's here. That's all he said.

He walked with God long enough to recognize that Jesus was here with us. We didn't have any secrets of success. We didn't have any strategy. We didn't have a lot of money.

I didn't have any experience. What we did have was the presence of Jesus and the awareness that we needed to go with him. That's why the first part of our mission statement says, following the Holy Spirit. It has never been about our plans for this church. We don't want to be anywhere without him.

His plans are always better than ours. Where he is is where we want to go. If you're not in it, I don't want it, but if you say it, I'll believe it.

Where you are is where I want to be. Is that where you want to go, Summit Church? So, could I just ask you right now, at all of our campuses, would you bow your heads with me?

Could I just ask you personally to recommit yourself? Would you say, God, what do you want to do here? Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way. Then I want you to personalize it. What do you want me to do?

What do you want me to do? For some of you, I believe this. Right now, God is going to pull it in your heart. You don't even know where it's coming from. It's a vision for some ministry in the triangle.

For some of you, it's a strange stirring about people around the world who have never heard about Jesus or a church planting team. It's happening right now. I just want you to say, yes, Lord. My yes is on the table. For some of you, what just popped in your mind was the face of someone. I just want you to say, yes, Lord.

My yes is on the table. For some of you, what just popped in your mind was the face of someone who doesn't know Jesus. You're just going to share Christ with them. You just listen to the Holy Spirit for just a moment. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. You know, I once heard a wise man say that no matter what you do or how much you own, you cannot add a single second to your day. It doesn't matter if you are the poorest person on earth or the richest person. You get the same amount of seconds. So what you have to do is learn to make the most of those seconds. And that takes plenty. I know not all of you are type A planners.

I understand that. But I would say for all of us, something that would help assist us in establishing priorities, putting what some people call the big rocks in place so that you can organize your day around that. I want to give you a tool that I have used throughout my life to really make me more productive. It helps me keep the main things, the main things.

It's this planner. It has a daily Bible reading plan built into it that's going to align with what we're teaching here at Summit Life. It's a great resource. I think you'll find it helpful on multiple levels.

Be a great way to start a relationship with you. If you become one of our gospel partners or just go to and it'll explain the different ways that we can, you can partner with us and us with you and this would be a great thank you gift we could give to you. We'd love to get you a copy of that 2023 planner.

This week is your last chance to get your copy. So call us right away. Summit Life is funded by listeners like you and we are so grateful to consider you our partners in ministry. You can request the planner when you make a single gift of $35 or more when you commit to monthly giving as a gospel partner.

It's easy to sign up. Just call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or you can give and request the planner online at That's If it's easier to mail your donation, our address is JD Greer Ministries, P.O. Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 27709. I'm Molly Vidovitch.

You know, when Jesus left his disciples, he promised that his gospel would go to every nation, tribe, tongue, and language. That task isn't finished. So let's take the next step Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 10:33:46 / 2023-01-03 10:43:34 / 10

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