Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Please Pray for the Borisuks

Here are some ways that you can be praying for Mark and Charity Borisuk as they serve in China:
  1. Pray for three couples in our church who we are discipling this year. One of the husbands is an elder in training, one is a deacon and the other is a deacon in training. Pray that they would all be growing in their knowledge of the truth and that they would exalt Christ before the church as couples and parents.
  2. Pray for the pastors, leaders, deacons, and students that we are working with would be growing in their knowledge of the Lord, faithfully living out their faith, and accurately proclaiming the Word.
  3. We praise the Lord for the thousands who are using IRC’s translated resources and the Chinese Bible Study Toolbox. We praise the Lord for modern technology, especially WeChat, that allows for the widespread availability of these resources in China. Pray for continued open doors and opportunities, and that these materials would help lead people to the truth for the glory of God.
  4. Pray for continued protection in China with our training, church, websites, and translation "business".

The Lesson of Continuing

I worked in the physical therapy field for almost six years.

The typical patient would look something like this: comes in after a surgery or injury with pain and dysfunction. Through a series of techniques and exercises, we decrease their pain first and then work on restoring their function. Once their goals have been met, the patient is usually discharged with instructions to continue their exercise program at home.

Inevitably, there were always those who came back frustrated a few months later with the same symptoms and wondered why! When asked, we found out they weren’t doing their home exercises any longer. After some more instruction, accountability, and kind warnings they were back and on their way, and usually learned their lesson.

I’m sitting here thinking of people, both in the therapy world and in the counseling room, that have regressed due to lack of discipline. And then I think of my own life, and how quickly my sin patterns emerge when I am not disciplined in my own spiritual walk.

How important and vital it is to be disciplined in those things that grow us and change us to be more like Christ as we fight against our own desire and fight against sin. Whether its community with the body of Christ, Scripture reading, prayer, memorization, or personal and cooperate worship, all must be present and are needed in our walk as we grow to become like Him!

1 Timothy 4:8-10 encourages us in our daily pursuit of Christ as our hope and only goal!
For the whole bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end, we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Heather Leman

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Please Pray for Hearline and Hearthouse

Here are some ways that you can pray for the Heartline and Heart House as they help women and children and serve in the Woodford County area:
  1. People who are in need of our services will come to us
  2. Tree of Hearts program, that the weather holds out during our wrapping and distribution days, that enough donations comes in to cover the need
  3. Staff to be diligent in providing services to those in need with love and kindness in our hearts
  4. That God is glorified in the programs/shelter
  5. Prayers for the director to have wisdom in leading in day to day situations.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Joy for Every Season

The days and weeks approaching Christmas is a time of great activity associated with this holiday that tends to focus on giving and family – all good things, right? As Christians, we are also encouraged and reminded that this heavily secularized holiday has a much more significant meaning. We celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, his birth as a baby – God Almighty taking on human form as a vulnerable infant. Our God is nothing if not surprising in His way of accomplishing His purposes. Who could have imagined God taking upon Himself in Jesus the judgment for human sin, as the way to provide the means for people to be reconciled in relationship to Him? Amazing!
That we have a God that loves people that much (John 3:16) is a primary source for our thankfulness and worship of Him. We are thankful for what God has done for us and the world, and we worship God for who He is as a holy, good and loving Creator of all that is not Himself. Our expressions of thankfulness and worship are both spontaneous and intentional if we are striving to live our Christian life as God intends and calls us to.
Joy is a word that for me captures this spontaneous reaction and intentional action of thankfulness and worship. This time of year we especially sing about joy in our seasonal worship songs, songs like Joy to the World and Joyful, Joyful. But do we have a clear idea, a biblically-based understanding of what joy is and how joy is to be a part of our everyday existence as a Christ-follower? And what can I do to help myself live more joyously? 
Consulting a good biblical dictionary brings clarity that joy is “closely related to gladness and happiness, although joy is more a state of being than an emotion; a result of choice. Having joy is part of the experience of being a Christian.”
Scripture tells us that joy is a fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22–23), which means our joy as Christians is not “natural”, but supernatural. It is a pervasive and firmly established sense of well being that transcends our circumstances, and instead is derived from and causes us to focus on the source of our joy – namely our relationship with God made possible by Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. Our joy is an appropriate response, intentional and spontaneous, to the life God has given us as he lives in us and leads us in paths of righteousness (Ps. 16:11, Ps. 23).
Further, as Christians, we should not only experience supernatural joy, but we are told by Jesus that joy should be pervasive in our lives (Jn. 15:11, 16:22, 17:13). Jesus predominate preaching and teaching was about the Kingdom of God being at hand or inaugurated with his coming, and Paul tells us "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom 14:17).
I am learning that I can be intentional about cultivating joy in my life – that pervasive and firmly established sense of well being that transcends my circumstances. You can find what I have found here:
Rom. 12:2, Phil 4:8 and Col. 13:1-17. Meditating upon these truths can help every Christian have a
year-round life of increasing joy. 
Doug Wright

1. Heyink, B. (2016). Joy. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Entering into the holiday season is an opportunity to reflect on the past year, consider what we have learned, how we have changed, and how God has grown us. As I look back, I am thankful for many things as I see marks of God’s faithfulness. But I also see some intensely dark moments that I did not ask for, nor could I have predicted. They were invasions that came fast and furious and intruded on what I thought my comfortable, happy life should be like. I felt attacked and even betrayed that these invasions were allowed by God. I looked up the definition of invasion. It means, “to enter with an intrusive effect”. Yes! This is exactly how I felt! The suffering was great and the attacks were intrusive. I spent a good deal of my time praying, pleading with God to make the invasions go away. I fought to make things right, often with a sense of hopelessness. Sometimes it was all I could do to lift my eyes and continue to believe God was with me; that he was in control and that he cared.

But in the last few weeks, I actually heard this word “invasion” used in a way I never had before. My dear friend, Pastor Kent Kloter sharing with me a brief moment in his walk with the Lord and he mentioned “God’s invading Grace”. I heard another godly man praying that God would invade the hearts of his people with his love and compassion. You see, another definition for invade is to “enter in so as to subjugate or occupy”. I confess I spent much of this last year focusing on the invasions that were coming at us like an army (envision that last battle scene from “The Lord of the Rings”) and forgetting that I serve the Commander of the greatest army and my great God wants to invade and occupy every part of my life. Often that means I must come to the very end of myself in order to let him in to the darkest crevices of my heart.

Christmas allows us to be reminded again of how Christ came as an infant to invade this dark world with his light and sacrificing love. Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” For some, their darkness is foolishness and self-living and for others, their darkness is suffocating and crushing pain. Christ came to give us hope and lift us out of that darkness into his marvelous light (I Peter 2:9). He wants to invade your heart - to enter in so he can occupy the darkest and loneliest parts of your life. He wanted to invade my selfish and prideful, controlling spirit. I am thankful for his incredible patience, and I am praying for his invasion in the hearts of his people and in the ones who still need to be rescued.

Janet Leman

Please Pray for Peoria Rescue Ministries

Here are some ways that you can be praying for Peoria Rescue Ministries as they help the homeless:

  1. Pray for our residents and guests – that God would be Emmanuel to them this Christmas season. The Holiday season can be very challenging for our residents and guests as they struggle with past family conflicts, memories, and emotions. So please pray that they feel welcomed here and can have a sense of family and belonging and most importantly come to know the King of Christmas
  2. Please pray for our new 1212 Community House. 1212 Community House is a new Transitional facility and program for men who have graduated from our Residential Programs. We have applied for a Grant that we will hear if we are to receive it on December 18th. Please pray that God would grant us a favor and that we would receive the grant which would provide a significant amount of the funding necessary to renovate the building.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Please Pray for the Custers

Here are some ways that you can be praying for the Custers as they help to plant churches:
  1. Pray that there will be fruit from the 6 talks we gave at a training for Asia workers from another mission Dec. 5-11. Topics, among others, included Lessons Learned from our 40 years in missions, Thriving Overseas and Being in Missions for the Long Haul. Time was also spent in individual conversations, answering questions from young moms and young leaders, and speaking to the men and women in separate sessions. Our desire is that these workers will be encouraged to stick with it in their ministries, not giving up in discouragement, and be willing to sacrifice and deal with many challenges for the cause of reaching those without Christ.
  2. Pray for "Together in Hope", the spiritual life conference for our personnel in Europe and the Middle East, that they will come away refreshed and encouraged for continued ministry. Our son, Andi and Jen, will be ministering to the youth; our daughter, Katrina, who serves at Black Forest Academy in Germany will be an attendee; and we will be representing WorldVenture.
  3. January 24-26 is the next Discover WorldVenture Weekend to which those interested in missions with us will be invited. Pray that God will bring the right people and then give them direction in their next steps to pursue.
  4. Three families have their support and are ready to deploy to Ireland but are awaiting visas; one couple has been denied twice so please pray that God will have the victory if He still desires them to serve in this very spiritually needy country.
  5. Pray for wisdom for the WorldVenture leadership team as they wrestle with how best to finance and do missions as well as care for those involved around the world.

A Prayer of Thanks for the Forgiveness of Sins

(Based on 1 John 1:8-2:2)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin,
we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins,
and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.                                                                                  

Lord, my heart is so ugly. I have sinned against You so much, continually, every day, every moment -
sometimes without fully realizing it, sometimes in outright open rebellion against You. I deserve Your
anger and Your condemnation. Even my grief at my sin is so contaminated by self-focus. I'm more upset
about my wounded pride and failed plans than I am that I have hurt and grieved You, my heavenly Father.
I can't even repent without Your grace. (2 Tim. 2:25)

Thank you, Lord, that You are gracious and merciful and that there is abundant pardon when I turn from
sin. (Isa. 55:7)

Thank you that You have provided a way to deal with my sin so I can have fellowship with You. 

Thank you, Lord, that when I confess my sins, You are faithful to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from
all unrighteousness. You have promised to remove my sins as far as the east is from the west. (Ps. 103:12)
You have promised to cleanse me and wash me white as snow even though my sins are as scarlet.
(Isa.1:18) Every promise of Yours to me is "Yes" in Jesus. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Thank you, Lord, that You made a way to forgive me even though you are righteous and cannot overlook
sin. You cannot compromise your holiness, but in Your glorious grace, You sent Your Beloved Son to
provide payment for my sin. Because of Christ's death, You can be both just and my justifier because I
have faith in Jesus. (Rom. 3:26) You are righteous and just to forgive me. That is a glorious, impossible,
unbelievable truth apart from Your grace and power and wisdom.

Thank you, Lord, that when I sin, I have an advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous, pleading for me.
When the Accuser of the brethren brings his accusations against me (Rev. 12:10), Jesus defends me
continually, saying, "The price for this sin has been paid for in full. This one is eternally loved and
accepted by the Father in Me." Even when my own conscience condemns me, my Helper reminds me
through the Word that Jesus my Advocate has washed me clean and is always interceding for me.

Thank you, Lord, that Christ is the propitiation for my sins. He has satisfied the demands that Your
holiness requires. Your wrath has been poured out on Jesus. There is none left for me. I could not stand
before Your wrath. I would be too afraid to approach You to ask for forgiveness and cleansing if I had to
face Your anger every time I sinned.

Thank you, Lord, for Jesus Christ the righteous. His perfect righteousness lived out in daily obedience,
qualified Him to be the sacrifice for my sin. Thank you that He took my sin on Himself, and thank you
that He gave me His perfect righteousness. Without it, I would hide from You covered in my own filthy
garments of sin and shame. Clothed in His perfect righteousness, when I sin, I can boldly approach
Your throne of grace to find the comfort of forgiveness and the strength to faithfully pursue holiness.

Thank you, Lord, for the cleansing blood of Jesus and the forgiveness it purchased for me. (Eph. 1:7)

Kim Anderson

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Encouraging the Downtrodden

I have had some hard days in the last few years. I don’t say this for sympathy. I have had godly encouragement along the way. I say this so that you can know how I was best ministered to in the midst of dark times. Although these three expressions of love are not an exhaustive list, I hope this will help you as you consider listening, speaking to, and loving those dealing with extreme sadness and depression. 

1-Speak Gently-
Often times a person struggling with depression is already pondering their own failures and are dwelling on the hard circumstances they are facing. A gentle word to them is a good and best approach. It helps the person be able to hear biblical truth. Encouraging the person with what he or she means to you or how you are thankful for your relationship are great and gentle ways to show care. Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (ESV)

2-Speak Confessionally-
Since a depressed person is often struggling with an overwhelming sadness from their failures, sin, or the consequences of their sin, speaking confessionally or being willing to share your own faults and how you lean into Jesus and His grace can be a great help to your friend. James 5:16 - Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (ESV)

3-Speak Biblically-
A deeply sad person often has trouble thinking biblically. One’s mind can often default to “I know what is true, but I don’t care.” This is a hopeless place to be. Listen well and help your friend hear the truth by being gentle and confessional. Lift your friend’s eyes to the gospel that has already brought peace to our biggest problem (our sin) and can allow us to find peace during our other problems. Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (ESV) Colossians 1:19-20 - For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (ESV) 

This quote from Charles Spurgeon resonated within me: "I know, perhaps as well as anyone, what depression means, and what it is to feel myself sinking lower and lower. Yet at the worst, when I reach the lowest depths, I have an inward peace which no pain or depression
 can in the least disturb. Trusting in Jesus Christ my Savior, there is still a blessed quietness in the deep caverns of my soul."

Take care,
Pastor Ben

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Please Pray for the Beakleys

Here are some ways that you can pray for the Beakleys as they serve in South Africa:

  1. Please pray for our incoming students and that the Lord would provide even more "late applicants" for beginning January 2020.
  2. Please pray for the conditions in South Africa.  There is a drought, and many farmers are losing livestock.
  3. Please give thanks for the Lord's work in Christ Baptist Church.  There are many new visitors coming to church, we see excellent spiritual growth in many of our members.  The Lord is at work!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Please Pray for the Empower Life Center

Here are some ways that you can be praying for the Empower Life Center in Peoria, IL:
  1. Prayers for a staff member and a volunteer who both have cancer. They both have shown dependence and strength in our Father and His goodness.
  2. Pray for staffing decisions.
  3. Pray for the provision of size 3T and 4T clothing.
  4. Praise for all the donations we have been receiving! They are very appreciated by us and our clients.
  5. Pray for our many parenting clients who have had their children removed from their care for various reasons…that they will have ears to receive not only parenting instruction but their need for Jesus.
  6. Pray for all of our clients, guests and residents across the ministry try as we enter the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. This time of year is difficult for them because of their need and broken family relationships.

Please Pray for the Esther House

Here are some ways that you can be praying for the Esther House in Peoria, IL:
  1. Pray for our guests to have a desire to accept resources/help given and to move forward in their circumstances.
  2. Pray for a couple of guests who are having difficulty finding permanent housing due to their backgrounds.
  3. Praise God for the staff and volunteers who love and serve our guests so well. It can become difficult and tiring but they reflect Jesus well. 
  4.  Pray for them to continue to look to our Father for his strength and love.
Here are some ways to pray for the Renewal Program at the Esther House:
  1. Pray for one of our ladies who recently left the program. Often when ladies reach this point in the program they become anxious and feel they have “learned” enough. It is heartbreaking because often they will choose to go back to unhealthy/unsafe environments. 
  2. Pray for protection for her and the ladies who remain in the program.
  3. Pray for ladies who would benefit from the program to answer the nudging from the Holy Spirit and come so they can know and begin a relationship with their Savior and experiencing healing and freedom.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Please Pray for the Peltons

Here are some ways that you can pray for the Peltons as they serve in Chicago:
  1. They would walk closely with the Lord each day.
  2. They would have wisdom and capacity to minister to those the Lord brings across our path.
  3. They would consistently engage in evangelistic opportunities.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Please Pray for Pablo and Judi Perez

Here are some ways that you can pray for Pablo and Judi Perez as they serve in Ecuador:
  1. Wisdom in sharing with those who are on the different sides of the decree political unrest that has been going on in the country, to focus on the Gospel.
  2. Praise/prayer for the leaders of the new and emerging home churches. The recent unrest/strike shows the need for and effectiveness of the home churches when the whole city is under curfew, and there is no way to travel.

A Beautiful Picture of Discipleship

Back in August of this year I was preparing for Care Group Leader training which would take place at the end of that month. During my time of preparation I came across a passage in Acts 18 that includes a beautiful picture of discipleship in just a few verses. The passage I'm referring to is Acts 18:24-28:

24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. (ESV)

I simply want to make a few observations from this passage and note some aspects of discipleship:
  1. Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord. Someone, at some point(s) in Apollos' life had taught him about God. Someone must have intentionally sought out Apollos and instructed him (25a).
  2. Apollos didn't keep what he had learned to himself. Rather, he took what he had learned, albeit incomplete, and shared it with others. Having been made a disciple he was looking to make disciples (25b) (cf. Matt 28:18-20).
  3. Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (26). They intentionally discipled him. They took the things that they had been taught and passed them on to another believer.
  4. Apollos didn't stop, having "arrived" at this greater knowledge of the way, but instead he kept on proclaiming the truths he had learned from others (27-28).

In these few verses we see a beautiful picture of biblical discipleship, one that we may seek to imitate, by God's grace.

Blake Gerber

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Please pray for the Hornbrooks

Here are some ways you can pray for Sam and Jamie Hornbrook as they serve in Mexico:

1. For the birth of our first grand daughter. She will be born to our daughter Natalie. She is due any day and is considered underweight. Its thought that the baby may have low sugar.
2. That our assistant pastor, Pepe, will continue to grow into becoming our head pastor at New Life in Christ Church. He is doing well.
3. That the city will install drain pipes across the street from our church so that a small park might be built for the community. Our church plans to maintain it as a service to the community when its put in.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Please pray for the Custers

Here are some ways you can pray for the Custers as they help in planting new churches:

  1. Oct 30th & Nov. 6th:  LeAnn will be speaking at a ladies bible study at a supporting church in Honolulu while there to babysit her grandkids. 
  2. Oct. 29  - Nov 1: Dougg will be in Phoenix helping plan for a February WorldVenture golf fundraiser as well as meeting with pastors about missions.
  3. November  4:  7  couples/singles will be interviewed to be appointed with WorldVenture for  career service. Pray for God's will to be clear to all involved. Dougg will be leading one of  the two interviewing committees.
  4. Nov. 5-8: Dougg and another Mobilizer will be speaking at and participating in the Montana Bible College Missions Conference. Pray for good  follow-up conversations to their visit a year ago and  that new students would be encouraged to think about their role in missions.
  5. Dougg's Director of Recruiting ,and right-hand man, has resigned to take a job that will help him become a tent-maker in Japan.  Pray with us about Nate's replacement; Dougg has someone in mind who is praying about it and the leadership team also has to sign off on them.
  6. The number one and two requests are always for more harvest workers to go out with WorldVenture and for those workers to find financial and prayer partners who will stand with them.

Ways to Pray for the Borisuks

Here are some ways to pray for the Borisuks as they serve in China:
  1. Praise the Lord for a new class of fifteen students who are excited about learning how to teach and preach God's Word. Pray for Mark as he teaches them each Thursday.
  2. Pray for the pastors/church leaders whom Mark teaches each month and has daily accountability with Bible reading.
  3. Pray for the three couples Mark and Charity are discipling and our monthly meeting. We talked about parenting from the book of Proverbs in September. Each day we read and share a verse from a chapter in Proverbs.
  4. Praise the Lord that we are close to finalizing the mobile version of the Chinese Bible Study Toolbox. Pray that it will bring understanding and application of the Word of God to its users, and pray for us as we prepare to launch, promote and train.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Ways to Pray For Jill Hostetler

Here are some ways that you can pray for Jill Hostetler as she serves through Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in Central Illinois.

1. Please pray for a Good News Club training I am conducting in Springfield, November 1 & 2.

2. Please pray for our fall fundraising event "Open doors, Open Hearts" on November 14.

3. Please pray for me as I oversee two staff people. Pray that I would lead them in a God-honoring way.

4. Pray for the Good News Clubs that I oversee in the Peoria area. May they proclaim the truth of God's Word with clarity and with boldness.

Ways to pray for the Beakleys

Here are some ways to pray for the Beakleys as they serve in South Africa.
  1. Please pray for our application to have Christ Seminary begin a new site in Durban (about 9 hours away and on the coast of the Indian Ocean). This will be a great opportunity to train men on the Eastern side of South Africa.
  2. Please pray for the new intake of students for January 2020. We have interviews coming up at the end of October.
  3. Please pray for training overall in Southern Africa. I am involved with a training center in Malawi, and conditions there are quite difficult, but the Lord is working. Untrained pastors are one of the biggest problems in the church in southern Africa.

Unchanging Seasons

We’ve all been there … those times when the season we are in doesn’t seem to be changing. Those times when we question how long we can operate in “survival mode.” Times that bring the challenge: “If this doesn’t change, am I okay with that?” 

Have you ever found yourself in unexpected survival mode? Thinking it is just a season, survival mode seems doable for that time. When it becomes apparent that the season is going to be longer than expected, we realize we aren’t going to be able to function in survival mode long-term. In these times I’ve found myself asking, How do I live like God has called me to live while navigating a season that has become a way of life? More importantly, how do I proclaim Him as Lord through this?

As I began to think through this in a practical sense of what this looks like at work, I also realized how quickly I fall back on, and stay in, “survival mode” in my spiritual walk as well.

In those seasons when I wonder how long it will last and how will I ever adjust or survive, I want each moment to be led by the statement, “I can trust God with this.” I can also challenge myself with Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven,” as Solomon addressed different times of life the Lord may take us through.

I love David’s honesty in Psalm 13. When you read it, it seems David is feeling pretty “over” the season of life he is in. But look how the chapter ends: David recognizes how steady and sure Christ’s love and faithfulness are, and how good God has been to him! 

Psalm 13
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

What changed in Psalm 13? In verses 1–2 we find David crying out to the Lord in desperation, asking almost complaining of his circumstances. In verses 3–4 David is asking—pleading—with the Lord for deliverance. The last two verses show David’s complete shift of perspective as David declares his trust in the “hessed”—the covenant faithfulness (CSB)—of our Lord. It wasn’t David’s circumstance that changed, it was his perspective, his response to the Lord. And that is what anchors our hearts when seasons don’t change.

When our perspectives and purposes are fixed on Christ and His glory, hard things will still come, yes, but the covenant faithfulness of the Lord will sustain us. Seasons don’t always change like we think they should, but we can trust God in the new normal, knowing that He does not change. He has always been and always will be faithful.

“For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 117:2)

Heather Leman

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Teen Rebellion

I’m always happy to have my wife post to the church blog. It is a good and challenging read.
Pastor Ben Sometimes when your teen is rebelling, church is the last place you feel like going. Being at church can be difficult because of all the wonderful Christian families in one place! Sometimes church attendance is a more vivid reminder of the loss of a good teen relationship that you are hoping and praying for. Often we as moms can feel a deeper sense of failure as we observe other teens who are living a life of faith. I would encourage you that church is exactly the place you need to be when going through teen troubles. The most important reason to attend is found in Hebrews 10:23-25. We are commanded to not forsake the assembling of the saints. Obeying this command is not based on our feelings. If God commands us to gather with our church family, then that is the best place for us to be. Another reason to attend church is that the hearing of God’s Word renews our minds and gives us good meat to chew on as we consider the Gospel promises and how they relate to our sufferings (Romans 8:31-32 and 12:2 ). In addition, as we interact with our church family, we realize that we are not the only one suffering or going through trials. Talking and reaching out to others helps us not to focus on ourselves. Being around the people of God helps us fulfill the command in Phillipians 2:3-4 as we consider how we can serve, pray for, or counsel others who are also hurting.  If you are a mom of a struggling teen, please be encouraged that your church attendance will help lift your eyes to your Savior. If you know of a mom who is hurting, please take a minute this Sunday to let her know you are praying for their family.
Also, you may not be the parent of a struggling teen, but you may be avoiding church for similar reasons. This is for you as well!  Casey Davidson

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What is a False Worshipper?

If you’re a believer, this may sound like an irrelevant question, however, I want to challenge you to think about your thinking in this area for a moment. My thoughts today are stirred by William Barclay’s commentary on Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well as recorded in chapter 4 of The Gospel of John. Consider what he refers to the three defects in false worship.

I. “A false worship is a selective worship. It chooses what it wishes to know about God and omits the rest.”
If you’re like the average Samaritan, you may unknowingly over-emphasis one truth from Scripture at the expense of others. This certainly is the seed-bed for all legalism. 
If you expect God to extend His mercy to you while holding grudges, harboring ill-will, seeking vengeance, nurturing bitterness or unforgiveness, you might be a false worshipper.
If you expect God to love you in spite of your daily sins against his holiness, while failing to be patient, long-suffering and overlooking offenses, you might be a false worshipper.
If you expect God to extend honor his promises to you while refusing to honor your promises to your spouse “for better or for worse”, you might be a false worshipper.

II.  “A false worship is an ignorant worship”
Sadly, many true followers of Christ are unfamiliar with much of biblical teaching. Jesus warned the Samaritan woman of ignorant worship, “…You worship what you do not know”, (Jn.4:22). We do well to be searching “the whole counsel of God”, (Acts 20:27). Jesus confronts temptation with “Every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4-10).
Christians are called to use our minds and to think deeply about what God has revealed about himself and about how to live our lives. Peter bases the essence of Christian living on faith and knowledge about who God is (2Pet. 1:3-11).

“A man has a mind and he has a duty to exercise it.  … To fail to think things out is in itself a sin. In the last analysis, religion is never safe until a man can tell, not only what he believes, but why he believes it. Religion is hope, but it is hope with reason behind it.” William Barclay

I encourage you to join the psalmist in his pursuit of learning and knowing God. Consider the passion for knowledge and learning as depicted in Psalm 119.

Knowing God is vital for your life.  “…the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Dan.11:32b)

III. “A false worship is a superstitious worship”
Barclay warns, 
“There are many people whose religion is founded on a kind of vague fear of what might happen if they leave God out of the reckoning. But real religion is founded not on fear but on the love of God and gratitude for what God has done. Too much religion is a kind of superstitious ritual to avert the possible wrath of the unpredictable gods.” William Barclay

If you seek to avoid something unpleasant from God, if you’re living in an attempt to appease God, you might be a superstitious worshipper.

Barclay offers a helpful description of true worship: “If God is spirit, he is not confined to things…[or] places. If God is spirit, a man’s gifts to God must be gifts of the spirit [of the heart]. The only gifts that befit the nature of God are the gifts of the spirit - love, loyalty, obedience, devotion. The true worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. Genuine worship does not consist in coming to a certain place nor in going through a certain ritual or liturgy nor even in bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal an invisible parts of man, speaks and meets with God, himself immortal and invisible.”

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

Kent Kloter

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Please Pray for the Esther House

Emergency relief services are offered to women and their dependent children at the Esther House. Boys up to the age of 12 may stay with their mothers. In a clean and comfortable atmosphere, women and their children are welcome to find relief and hope.  Spiritual, emotional, and physical care are provided. Here are some ways that you can pray for this organization:

Esther House Emergency Shelter:
  1. Pray for the women who are coming in to be open to receiving help and open hearts to know their need for Jesus. 
  2. Pray for our staff and volunteers who love and care for these women and children. It can be exhausting and difficult.
  3. Pray for ALL of us to love and care with God’s strength and not our own

Esther House Renewal Program:
  1. Pray for protection from the enemy for the ladies that God is working beautiful transformations in their lives!
  2. Pray for the Renewal staff as they continue to love, care, and do life with these women God has entrusted to our care. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Please Pray for Empower Life Center

Since its opening in 1987, the Empower Life Center has provided information and care to women and men from pregnancy through parenthood.  All services are free of charge and confidential. In 2018, the name of the Center was changed from the Women's Pregnancy Center to better reflect the Center's purpose and services. Here are some ways you can pray for this organization:

  1. Please pray a volunteer who found out she has lung cancer….for Dr’s wisdom for treatment and for her to lean on the Lord.
  1. Please pray for a new Center Coordinator
  1. Please pray for abortion minded ladies who have come to Empower in the last couple of weeks. Families are encouraging them to get abortion.
  1. Please pray for others to come into their lives to encourage life.
  1. Please pray for Fatherhood classes whose attendance is growing. 

Please Pray for the Southside Mission Thrift Store

Southside Mission’s vision is to minister to our community in Christ loving ways that provide opportunity for positive change. Their mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ, in His name love our neighbors and provide hope to the community through life transforming ministries. Here are some ways that you can pray for the South Side Mission Thrift Store:

  1. Please pray for the presenters to Mission at Prayer and our Lighthouse Diner clients that our coordinated teaching efforts will bear lasting fruit.
  2. Please pray for the staff as they pursue ministry ideas that bridge the gap between conversion and life transformation.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Speaking the Word

We can be confident that God will complete the work He has begun in the lives of His children (Phil 1:6). In His kindness, God is conforming us to the image of Christ the Son (Rom 8:29). The more we are conformed to the image of Christ, the greater will be our desire to proclaim Christ through our lives and to have the word of Christ on our lips. David serves as an example of one who praised God and proclaimed God's goodness through the words he spoke. Consider a few verses from Psalm 71:
-My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day (ESV) v.8
-My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. (ESV) v.15
-I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my sol also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt. (ESV) - vv. 22-24

We give glory to God and encourage one another by speaking the Word to one another.

For more on this topic from John Piper, click HERE.

Pastor Blake

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Developing a Culture of Evangelism

In Mack Stiles book, Speaking of Jesus, he writes of 3 areas in which a local church needs to evaluate in regards to developing a culture of evangelism:
a. Are we motivated (heart)?
Are we cultivating compassion? Do we need encouragement when we see hard hearted non-Christians? Do we trust in gospel-power?
b. Are we equipped (mind)?
Do we rehearse and revisit the gospel? Can we articulate the gospel well? Do we sing the gospel? Do we hear it in our preaching/teaching/discussions with other church members/membership interviews?
c. Are we available (feet)?
Are we individually encouraging one another to be on the lookout for new people in the hallways on Sundays? Are we willing to put aside a conversation with a bro/sis (one that can be picked up later) when we see someone we don’t know (this could be your only chance!)? Do we “write people off” in our minds? Have I made myself so busy (even doing good ministry things) that I don't make a point to get to know those who don't know Christ?

Consider which area you could use some growth in. Bring someone along with you in learning together! Could you bring along others at BCC so that are not needing to be rebuked as stated in Galatians 2:14--our "
conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel."

Let me know if you need any resources as we grow together!
Pastor Ben