Monday, March 22, 2021

A Sobering Sampling of a Noteworthy and Helpful Book, “The Enemy Within”, by Kris Lundgaard

Remember that the mind is the watchman of the soul, commanded to judge and determine whether something is good and pleasing to God, so that the affections can long for it and the will can choose it. If the mind fails to identify as sin as evil, wicked, vile and bitter, the affections will not be safe from clinging to it, nor will the will from giving consent. This is one side of the castle wall, the first line of defense: to keep in mind that every sin is a forsaking of God (Jeremiah 2:19), to never forget the polluting, corrupting, defiling power of sin-to be shaken to the core by how much God loathes sin.

When Paul said Christ's love compelled him (2 Corinthians 5:14), he described the other side of this first defense: the mind must stay fixed on God, especially on his grace and goodness towards us. His love propels, fuels, drives us to obey. It is the fountain of our obedience, and our highest motive to finding out what pleases the Lord and doing it.

In order to walk before God, this is the mind's first duty: to know and hold on to the evil of sin and the love of God. This is how Joseph stood up against overwhelming temptation.

By now you may have guessed that the law of sin in us, as much as it hates God and as deceitful as it is, doesn't throw up its arms in surrender at this first line of defense. The flesh has its explosives ready to undermine the wall. Its first and most wretched attack is to abuse God's grace in order to make sense seem less sinful, less dangerous, less threatening,

You must understand this: the flesh weakens conviction against sin by separating the remedy of grace from the design of grace. The scriptures teach nothing more clearly than that God's design in showing mercy is to make us holy people: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2: 11-12). But God also provides a remedy for our lapses: his loving pardon gives us peace, so that we know that if we do sin, “we have no one who speaks to the Father in our defense” (1 John 2:1).

The flesh works to make you forget the design (that you are saved to be holy) and think only of the remedy (if you sin you'll be forgiven). It preaches half a gospel (a twisted gospel) to us: “Go ahead and indulge-it's already paid for.” Those who fall prey to such deception are evidently many, since the Scriptures go to such lengths to condemn it (Romans 3:5-8; 6:1-4; Jude 4).

You know the flesh has made a breach in your defenses when your heart is hardened by its deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13) so that you are careless about sin.

Jesus blood alone can deliver from sin. Live in his blood and you will die a conqueror-you will, by the good provision of God, live to see your lust dead at your feet. Here's how to work your faith:

By faith, fill your soul with thoughts of the purpose of Christ's death.
By faith except help to come from Christ.
Set your faith particularly on Christ death, blood, and cross-that is, on Jesus as the slain lamb.

In your struggle against sin, never forget your duty-but neither forget the power of the Spirit. The killing of the flesh is your duty, but his work.

“If by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13)

As you by faith apply all the means of grace God has given to kill the flesh, remember that it is the Spirit who works in every part to bring the victory from Christ.

Page 64-65; 143-147
Kent Kloter

Monday, March 8, 2021

Please Pray for Jill Hostetler


Here are some ways that you can be praying for Jill Hostetler as she continues to serve the ʟᴏʀᴅ through CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship):

1. Please pray for our online discipleship ministry to children. We have 12 students enrolled.
2. Please pray for our 6 students that we have taking our Teaching Children Effectively Level 1 Course.
3. Please pray for our staff as we begin to pray and look for summer missionaries to serve this summer.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Prayer Requests for Sam and Jamie Hornbrook


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ at Bethany Community Church,

1. The virus is hitting Mexico hard. This is not only reflected on the World Meter, which shows Mexico as third highest in the world in total numbers of deaths, behind the US. and Brazil, but our church members share regularly how friends and family are dying from it. This past week, a cousin of a church member and a former church member died. Many prayer requests get shared on our church's media link, every week, of family and friends that have been admitted to the hospital, are sick or have died. Thank you for praying for Mexico and our church.
We thank the Lord for no deaths in our church, till now. Many have had COVID, including Jamie and me, but we have all recovered.

2. Because of the conditions here in Mexico, especially here in the Mexico City area, all our church services have been back on line, since the middle of December.
The income of our families is also way down. We pray for the Lord to provide for each one. The church helps the families that cannot buy enough food with their income.

3. Please pray with us for our church member, Eli, and her 4 daughters who moved out of their home, to live on their own, as the father/husband has become so abusive, drinking, angry and dangerous that it became necessary. The the church is helping this family with their needs.

4. We thank the Lord that Iglesia Nueva Vida en Cristo is doing well as a church body to love, pray for and look after one another.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us and for Mexico. May the Lord bring many people to Himself through this time of uncertainty.

Serving with you in Mexico City,
Sam and Jamie Hornbrook

Monday, February 8, 2021

Please Pray for Dougg and LeAnn Custer

Below are some ways that you can pray for Dougg and LeAnn Custer as they serve the ʟᴏʀᴅ during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1) On Febr. 15th, we will be part of the committees interviewing three candidates for acceptance by WorldVenture. Pray for wisdom and unity and God's clear leading as we try to ensure (as much as is humanly possible) that these candidates are a good fit for both cross-cultural work and service together with WorldVenture. 

2) Following the interviews, Pre-Field ministry & Orientation will again be held virtually Febr. 22-24. These are three intensive days of training and guiding these new WorldVenture workers into the organization and then into their next steps of Partner Development. Please also pray for the following:

For those organizing and refining the training to make it the best it can be, including the coordination of the sessions and the scheduling of presenters
For the presenters to speak in such a way that not only communicates important information, but that connects with the attendees
For technology to work well.
That these new missionaries would be able to form a strong relationship with those they are meeting from WorldVenture, even though the interactions will be done via Zoom.

3) Febr. 26-27: A Discover WorldVenture Weekend will be held on the campus of Liberty University where there are a number of students interested in serving cross-culturally with us. Pray for God's leading for the students - we'd love for a number of them to find themselves a fit with us and able to fulfill ministry opportunities around the world. Also pray for Terry and Donna Jeanne Schneider as they follow up the decisions made on the weekend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Jesus, Our Perfect Savior

BCC family,
As we head into 2021, I thought this email from a fellow BCCer would encourage you. I have permission to share, but the writer asked to remain anonymous because children are mentioned--though the writer would be happy to discuss face to face. You can contact me if you are interested. May God continue to work in all our hearts for His glory.
Pastor Ben
2020 has been a year of Joy.
2020 has been a year where my heart's brokenness has bubbled to the surface. Pridefulness has been revealed in my heart in glaring ways. My lack of control has been set before my face in profound ways. My children have struggled in ways that were too big and too dark for me to help with.

I struggled with despair and begged God to take my life instead of allowing me to exist in this present state of despair.

But then God revealed HIMSELF more. He took great lengths to meet me where I was and gently turned my face to look at him. He took me from a place of false belief. I know he has called me justified and saved from eternal Hell, by the blood of Jesus, but I thought he looked upon me in disgust and annoyance. He led me to the knowledge of a God with arms eternally open wide. He is a God weeping tears of love and joy--yearning for me to climb into his lap and be embraced. Just-as-I-am with a broken, repentant heart. Embraced, loved, and cried for by The Holy God!

Jesus has been my Savior for many years, and in 2020, he has shown me more deepness of his grace and showered me with limitless joy; more than in all of those years. This joy, I would not be able to experience without facing the depravity of my soul, exposed in 2020. 2020 was a year of joy.

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:6

Monday, January 11, 2021

A Christian Response to a Deteriorating Culture

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

This verse, (2 Chronicles 7:14), is familiar to many. Supposedly President Dwight Eisenhower opened his Bible to the verse during his 1953 inauguration. What’s not generally known is that this passage records God’s response to King Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple as recorded in 2 Chron. 6:36-42.

I realize that this is a specific promise, made to Israel, not to America, however I believe our nation is in desperate need of this same kind of promise from God at this time in our history, perhaps like no other. We are in an ethical war that threatens our very existence. Ironically, a myriad of voices cry for justice while at the same time, motivate prejudice, oppression, violence, injustice and anarchy. All of which is in stark violation of our nation’s long-established ethical standards, standards which have given us stability and freedom for over two centuries. Anger, violence and injustice seem to rule the day instead of courtesy, deference and respect for human dignity and true justice. Both sides blame the other with malicious, hateful and contemptible rhetoric. The staggering spectrum of radical ideas and demands threaten our stability, safety and freedoms. Childish and unsubstantiated accusations and attacks riddle the spectrum of nearly all of our media. Harsh rhetoric and name-calling supplant rigorous, logical debate in the public square. Wise and reasonable solutions are often met with brutal, relentless and unfounded rebuttal and attacks. It seems that we are on the brink of total collapse with no one to lead us to unity and peace.

What IS the answer to America’s crisis? Is it possible that our nation’s healing is actually dependent upon the humble repentance of God’s people, rather than the loud voices of our culture which demand justice through destruction and reparations?

Is it possible that our hope, healing and restoration does not lie in our rising up with resistance against tyranny and oppression?

Is it possible that the real root of America’s decline is actually due to the lukewarmness of God’s people and not because of the “wicked people” in Washington or in our streets?

Is it possible that God’s people need to repent of sinful anger, bitterness and partiality against the wickedness of the people of this nation and rather turn toward our God in humble, personal repentance?

Is it possible that the only real hope for America to avoid complete and utter ruin and devastation is clearly and simply found in repentance in the Church of Jesus Christ?

“If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Is it possible that God is calling His people so He can use us to change our land by asking Him to change us?

I believe our greatest hope for America is for Christians to repent, myself included. If American has any hope to recover from the nonsense, chaos, rebellion and moral decline that has so deeply stained and corrupted our once great land, our only remaining hope is in God's healing us in response to our repentance.

Otherwise, our nation likely faces that same kind of rebuke and judgment that Isaiah speaks of against Israel in the first five chapters of Isaiah. No one can say with certainty what God is doing, but we can say that God is just and according to his word, he judges justly. At some point, without repentance, it appears that America will face the withholding of God’s grace and the resulting judgment that sin demands.

With the prospects of judgement looming on our horizons, Christians also need to proclaim the Gospel of God’s mercy and grace to a sin-darkened culture. The voice of Christian church needs to loudly proclaim mercy at such a time as this. Unfortunately, many Christian voices today are harsh, judgmental, cruel, bitter and unloving.

America needs for God’s people to repent and proclaim the Good News of God’s redemptive mercy. Isaiah learned that in chapter 6 where God sent him to proclaim the hope of the coming Christ. Pastor Alistair Begg's message entitled "Have Mercy" gives a stern warning to the Body of Christ about the effects that our attitudes and witness have upon our culture. I suggest that the hour he takes to offer this timely exhortation is one well worth spending.

The voice of the Church today needs to be primarily the voice of its own repentance and then a gracious voice offering redemption to a very lost culture.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Prov. 25:11)

Kent Kloter

Monday, December 28, 2020

An Outreach Testimony by Shari Pittenger

This year I've been walking and with a non-traditional ICC student, Evelyn. She is from the Philippines, and I met her through a student ministry at ICC. She and I have been walking and covering different topics such as her grown daughter who's living in Japan, her job, growing flowers, her marriage, and reading the Bible. During one walk I told her that being a Christian is not about a religion, but a relationship with Jesus. She seems very interested in learning more, so I'm hoping we can have more great conversations--if I can just get over how cold it is outside so I can continue the walks. We’re planning our next walk soon.

Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel..." In light of that, I am compelled to ask myself this: "But what about when they come to you? Are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to go into their world and share Christ?"

Shari Pittenger