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

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Hope

I scan the headlines. Word begins to filter in. A virus in China. It is spreading. People are dying. It is far away. But … then it is not. Pandemic, coronavirus, quarantine… who would have thought those words would be in my 6-year-old grandson’s vocabulary. People around the world die. We are in lockdown. We have been exposed. We quarantine. People we know are getting sick. People we know die. Governments plan and pass mandates. A tiny little virus. Not even the most powerful governments on earth can stop it. People lose jobs. Businesses are destroyed. Conflict erupts. “Our rights are being stripped from us!” “You don’t care about people!” One day I wear a mask into a store. No one else is wearing one. I think people are looking at me. I hear their unvoiced accusations, “You are a political liberal. You don’t care about freedom. You live your life controlled by fear.” A little piece of cloth that says so much and draws such lines. Disease that disrupts and destroys. Sorrow and loss. Human hearts exposed. Such darkness.

I scan the headlines. Senseless killing. Mob violence spreads across the nation. I read of riots in Toledo and Columbus. My children live there. I fight the urge to call them and say, “Don’t go out! Stay home. It’s not safe.” My friend calls. She is a home health nurse in Peoria. She works in the evenings. She has been sent home early. It’s too dangerous to be out. I run to the grocery store. On the door hangs a handwritten sign, “Closing early due to civil unrest.” Civil unrest? In Washington, Illinois? I look around. Everything looks ok, but inside I feel uneasy. My safe world suddenly seems not quite so safe. Death and destruction and lawlessness to fight death and destruction and lawlessness. Such darkness.

I sit in the counseling room. I listen. Stories of loss and heartache tumble out. Broken relationships that seem beyond hope. Questions about God? Who is He? Where was He? How can I find Him? I listen. Struggles common to us all pour out. “I am anxious. I am fearful. I struggle with anger. I don’t know how to change.” I listen. Faltering words whisper accounts of betrayal and brokenness. A lump grows in my throat. I hold back tears. Unspeakable evil. Those called to love harm. The strong crush the weak. The powerful exploit those they are called to serve. Such darkness.

I stand looking in the mirror. My heart is exposed. Self-deception gives way to clarity (James 1:23-24). I cringe at what I see. Pride and self-reliance thread their insidious tentacles everywhere. Self-righteous judgment. Why can’t other people just do things like I do? Anger at those who get in the way of my kingdom. Anxiety. Lord, prove that You are worthy of my trust – again! Prove that You really love me. You gave your Beloved Son for me but that is not enough! Give me what I want right now! Anger, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, jealousy, self-indulgence, pride – all the things that have brought heartache and suffering to millions, all the things that have destroyed families and nations down through the ages – they are all inside of me. Such darkness. 

But amid the darkness, came that first Christmas. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has shone the light.” (Isa. 9: 2). Yes, we live surrounded by darkness around us and within us, but the light of the world has come into the world. God himself came to dwell with His people. The God who is near (Ps. 119:151) has come nearer. Jesus, the light of the world, walked among his people. He suffered the pains and temptations of life in this fallen world. He triumphed over them. He walked through them all trusting his Father perfectly. Then He died and rose again conquering sin, Satan, and death. The kingdom of light prevailed over the kingdom of darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Yes, sometimes the darkness does seem overwhelming. We can feel hopeless to overcome our own spiritual darkness, but when that happens ponder again what Christ has done. “For God, who said. “Let the 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.” Think of it! We are no longer blind men walking in darkness, clueless about what is most valuable in life. God has opened our eyes to see the beauty and value of Jesus. Yes, we still sin, but we can see Jesus, and He has begun the process of bring many sons to glory. “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day (Prov.4:18).” The light in us may seem to be only a tiny spark at times, but we will shine brighter and brighter as the Father makes us more like Christ. He will complete His work in us.

Yes, sometimes the darkness does seem overwhelming. From our vantage point, it looks like Satan’s kingdom and the world are prevailing. When it looks this way, ponder again who Christ is. He is the triumphant, conquering King. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). He has won the war with darkness. He cannot fail. With every soul that turns to Him for mercy, his kingdom is advancing. With every act of kindness or forgiveness or grace of mercy, we push back against the darkness around us, and His light spreads. Every time we hold back our feet from evil, every time we resist temptation, and every time we put on righteousness, we fight back against the darkness. His unstoppable light penetrates the darkness, and our king will not stop until His light fills every nook and cranny of His universe.  

So today, amidst of the darkness, we fight on. We pick up the weapons of righteousness, and we follow confidently in the footsteps of our conquering King. We trust in our God. “Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on His God. (Isa. 50:10). Our situations may seem dark, and our hearts may struggle with darkness, but our God has clearly revealed Himself to us through His Word and through His Son. He has clearly revealed to us in his written word the path forward through the darkness (Ps. 119:105, 130). We fight on with hope, for our Savior has promised a coming day when there will be no more tears or sorrow or sin or pain or suffering. We will dwell with our Savior and “night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev. 22:5). Darkness will be no more - forever.

So, this Christmas, rejoice for the Light of the World has come!

Kim Anderson

Fear, Faith and Full Surrender: Three Essentials in Coming to Christ and Following in his Footsteps

Tim Challies’ post regarding his grieving from the loss of his son’s recent death pointed me to this theme. He quoted Pr. 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. As I thought of “the fear of the Lord” as being a non-negotiable, foundational element of our heart’s respond to the person and work of our God, I began to think about the ramifications of the lack of or diminished fear of God. The fallout is staggering

Sodom’s culture was a result of refusing to fear God (Gen. 20:11). Amalek’s lack of the fear of God (Deut.25:18) resulted in his ultimate destruction (Ex. 17:13-14). Israel and Jerusalem were devastated because they did not fear God (Jer. 5:24), instead they chose to trust in “lying words” (Jer. 7:4,8) and suffered great loss.

Foundational Element #1 is “THE FEAR OF THE LORD”.

Then consider the absolute necessity of faith in the LORD. Hebrews makes a statement that I believe is so familiar to the average person in the pew, that the profound importance of which is often unknown or lost…”Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith, simply put, is believing God, that is, taking what God’s Word says and truly believing that He means what He says.

Faith is Believing God’s Word (Heb. 11:1; Rom. 10:17), and acting on it (Ja. 1:22-25; Psalm 19:11), out of a heart of worship (Matt. 4:10), for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31-33), no matter how I feel (Heb. 11), or what I think (Is. 55:8-9), knowing that God promises a good result (Rom. 8:28-29), in His own time (Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Peter 5:6).

Consider the ramifications of the lack of faith…

The lack of faith deteriorates into idolatry. Idol-worshippers become like their idols. Idolaters invited God’s wrath, judgement and ultimate rejection (2 Ki. 17:7-23).

Israel “did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power” (Ps. 78:22; see also vs. 32) and received the wrath and punishment for lack of refusing to believe God, in spite of truly awesome demonstrations of His delivering power and :almighty hand”. Ultimately, failing to believe God has eternal consequences. “He who does not believe is condemned already – because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (Jn. 3:18).

Foundational Element #2 is “FAITH in GOD, as He has revealed Himself in the Bible.

Fearing God is essential, but incomplete and isn’t enough. Demons fear Jesus, but are not saved and do not walk in harmony with Christ. When faced with the prospect of their pending doom, “…they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt. 8:28; Mk. 5:1-13).

Believing God is essential, but incomplete and not enough; the demons believe but tremble (Ja.2:19). So fear of God and Faith in God requires a third, essential element… the response of a full surrender to God. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mk. 8:34).

Full surrender means to become meek before God’s sovereign call on your life, that is for you to represent Him as an ambassador (2 Cor. 5:14-21). Full surrender also means to meekly surrender your rights in humble submission to His rule and reign over your heart. Vine’s definition of meekness offers a sobering challenge to the theme of meekness or full surrender: “Meekness is “an inwrought grace of the soul that is first and chiefly before God, in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.” Full surrender to God is made complete with repentance in response to godly fear and faith in the God who saves.

Foundational Element #3 is “FULL SURRENDER” to GOD, motivated out of reverent, godly fear and faith and trust in Him and His grace as He has revealed Himself in the Bible.

Fear, faith and full surrender are three essentials in coming to Christ and following in His footsteps.

Kent Kloter

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Worshipping God through Santa

So that title might have been a little intentionally worded to grab your questioning mind… =) 

I don’t know where your family stands on the “Fat Man”… love and encourage your kids to love him, tell people the other person with those same letters in his name is “Satan”… wherever you land, his presence has inundated our culture as a part of our Christmas reality. In thinking about him some, it has led to me thinking a lot more about our God and His work we celebrate at Christmas time so I thought I’d share some of my ponderings with you.

Ways Santa is similar to God

The words of the now famous Bruce Springsteen song come to mind… (feel free to hum along like I’m doing while I write this =) )

“He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake”

1) Santa is ascribed an almost omniscient (all knowing) character like our God. “But I know your sitting down And your going out and your coming in…” (Isaiah 37:28).

“He knows if you've been bad or good
You better be good for goodness sake”

2) Santa is shown as someone who upholds a moral standard like our God. “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” (Deut 32:4).

3) Santa is thought to be almost omnipresent (present everywhere) at least 1 night of the year like our God who is always everywhere year-round.

Psalm 139:7-12,

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

4) Santa is seen as loving and caring for those less fortunate like our God. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34:18). “…God is love” (1 Jn 4:8b).

5) Santa is one man making his gifts available to all people. Through Christ, God makes His gift available to all. “But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many” (Rom 5:15)

Ways Santa is very different from God

1) Santa seems to believe all people are inherently good and minor mistakes and small foibles or sins are ok to overlook. On the other hand is God Who states, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom 3:10-12 & 23). “…All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6). God’s moral standard is unattainable for anyone on their own.

Back to the song…

“… You better be good for goodness sake

You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town…”

2) Santa seems to require recipients of his gifts to first attain and maintain a certain standard of goodness before they can receive his gifts. God, however, gave us His perfect gift when we were in no state to receive it. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly … But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6 & 8). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:4-7).

3) Santa’s gifts are based on what people want (or think they want) more than anything else. God’s gift is based on what people need more than anything else. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23).

As Christian’s we have the greatest Gift and gift Giver of all, the all-knowing, all-present, morally righteous God. As such, He has seen and knows every horrible thing we’ve done and, seeing us at our inescapable worst has, because of His great love, given us the one gift we need to remove our unrighteousness and bring us to Himself where we alone can find “life,” “fullness of joy,” and “pleasures evermore” (Prov 16:11).

“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11-12). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Love him or hate him, Santa Claus has probably in someway still become a part of your Christmas. Maybe these thoughts will give you a seedbed for some conversations about not only him, but how we can be pointed to the ultimate Gift and Giver this season.

Merry Christmas

Phil Smith

Monday, December 14, 2020

Getting Your Child A Bible for Christmas

I recently had a parent email me about getting a good full text Bible for their child and thought our correspondence might benefit other parents as well in search of  a Bible for their child this Christmas. 

Here are my suggestions of a few options that should be applicable for kids from younger early readers all the way through middle school and all of which will hopefully encourage your child to grow in their love for and reading of God’s Word. A lot of your decision will be around desired translation first, then looking at the cool added stuff inside to see what you think will most connect with your child.

#1 - ESV Seek & Find Bible - ideal for reading while at church since BCC uses the ESV which will be more and more beneficial in the older grade levels

Christian Books - (Here)

Amazon - (Here)

#2 - CSB Big Picture Interactive Bible - company is very focused on parents’ interaction with their children & has tried to also bring cool spin on technology to their graphics

Christian Books - (Here)

Amazon - (Here)

#3 - NIV Kid's Visual Study Bible - easy to read translation with more of a study Bible focus with lots of added info & pics to keep kids thinking & will easily transfer with him to older grade levels

Christian Books - (Here)

Amazon - (Here)

#4 - NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers - easy to read & understand translation geared toward the youngest reading audience still wanting the full text of the Bible

Christian Books - (Here)

Amazon - (Here)

#5 - NIV Adventure Bible - again an easy to read translation geared toward slightly older kids

Christian Books - (Here)

Amazon - (Here)

Hopefully that gives you some tracks to run on and some great options that will connect well with your child! Know too that many of these have varying covers that might appeal more to your child’s gender and interests. =)

May your child greatly benefit from and enjoy their time in the Word!

Phil Smith

Monday, November 9, 2020

What My Anxiety Teaches Me - Kent Kloter

I got an email sometime in the past with a couple of thoughts that I believe are more common among modern American Christians than one might realize. 
Here’s the first one, “…what does it mean to live faithfully with anxiety?”.
A second and wise follow up thought, "I've been trying to ask myself what God is trying to teach me through my anxiety. And how he may use me to help others who struggle?”

Let’s start with a few biblical principles to help answer the question, “What does God want me to learn about anxiety?”
Anxiety weighs us down (Pr.12:25).
Jesus tells us that anxiety is a form of fear, rooted in unbelief, “Oh you of little faith.” (Matt. 6:30b).
Anxiety (fear/worry) is to be put off. (Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:6)
God commands us to throw our anxieties onto him (1 Peter 5:8), because He cares and is mighty enough to handle the concerns that we have that we are unable to handle. The implications are that anxiety is overcome by trusting in God’s Almighty hand.

Isaiah also teaches that fear, worry and anxiety are rooted in unbelief, saying “you…failed to remember Me”, “…you do not fear me”. "Whom have you dreaded and feared, so that you lied and failed to remember Me or take this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear Me? (Is. 57:11) Isaiah also describes the compounding sins of unbelief and fear, namely those of lying and deceit, forgetting God, failing to dwell on God, flailing to trust God and failing to fear God.

When we “see” our problems and dangers in the context of a small, unfaithful god, our anxieties, fears and worries become disproportionately large and therefor rule our hearts. Anxiety is fueled by thoughts about the unknown, about the future without considering God’s power and care for us.

What does God want us to learn about anxiety? The level of our anxiety might be used as a “God-meter”, helping us consider the functional size of our God or gods. Paul writes about anxiety from the depths of a Roman prison to remind us “to be anxious for nothing, but instead to rejoice and be thankful while we pray about our specific concerns and ask God for our specific needs (Phil. 4:4-9).

These principles inform our answer to the second question, “…what does it mean to live faithfully with anxiety?” Anxiety, fear and worry will not consistently exist when a follower of Christ trusts in the promises and character of God and faithfully seeks to obey Him even when life is difficult and troublesome. God's antidote to anxiety, worry and fear is trusting in the LORD.
I think it's accurate to say that the level of our anxiety, worry and fear is directly proportional to the level of our functional trust in the LORD.
Ps. 119:165 says "Great Peace" have those who love your law; NOTHING can make them stumble. (ESV). In other words, NOTHING shall cause me to stay in the pit of worry, anxiety and fear.
David said, (Ps. 56:3-4) "WHEN, (not IF, but WHEN I'm afraid) I PUT my TRUST in YOU. In God, whose word I praise, In GOD I TRUST; I SHALL NOT be afraid." I take this to mean that David was struck with fear, perhaps many times in his life, BUT that he had learned to fight fear with faith by choosing to train his thoughts to focus on God, God's Word, God's character, God's nature, God's promises and the promised outcomes for his own life. His circumstances likely did not change, but the focus of David's thoughts moved from what he was afraid of, toward the promises and power of his God, which replace anxiety, worry and fear with a growing sense of peace.

How would you respond if you had a literal, face-to-face encounter with Jesus? How would you take his words if you heard him say this directly to you, “__________, are you not of more value than they [sparrows]?" (Matt. 6:26) How would these words affect your anxiety today?

May the God of all comfort, comfort your anxious heart today (2 Cor. 1:3-11)

Kent Kloter

An Update on the Hornbrooks


    Please continue praying for Sam and Jamie Hornbrook who are faithfully serving the ʟᴏʀᴅ in Mexico. Here are some ways that you can be praying for these missionaries through COVID-19:

1. For Sam's complete recovery from COVID
2. For the spread of the gospel to be greater than the spread of COVID.
3. For an effective Biblical Counseling Conference in Spanish, which will be completely on line, Nov. 8-22

Monday, October 26, 2020

Joyful Relationships or Cat's in the Cradle? - Colossians 3:20-21

Colossians 3:20-21 says,

[20] Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
[21] Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

I preached on this on Sunday, Oct 18. I thought I’d put some of the sermon on the blog to help us remember and apply. Here are some of the main themes of the sermon.
Ben D.

Our Fallen Condition
We do what we do because we want what we want.

We want our own way because we think we deserve our own way.

The Main Idea and Hope for Our Fallen Condition
A gospel-saturated life reorientates how we view the Bible’s commands in family relationships.
Or also said: Gospel 🡪 I deserve nothing 🡪 He gives me everything 🡪 I joyfully strive to follow His commands no matter what my situation

Paul writes the first 2 chapters of this 4 chapter book with a focus on Jesus and the gospel. He writes the last 2 chapters with a focus on how to live out the gospel.

Main Point #1 – The Gospel and a Child’s Compliance

The first gospel-motivated command is [20] Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Paul knew having a high view of Christ affects one’s view of life and our view of the commands of God. When we have a high view of Christ, He becomes an all-sufficient Savior that took the wrath of God upon Himself. And we see what He has done for us...we are ecstatic to do the things He has called us to do.

Paul also knew he needed to help the Colossians fight off a low view of Christ. Christ was not seen by some as adequate for salvation. One must also have a superior, mystical, secret knowledge, as well as the gospel. Today, this still happens on blog posts and social media. These “enlightenment” posts bring a theme of a very low view of Christ—that He is no longer the all-sufficient savior of the world that brings joy in all circumstances.

Now some of you kids in this room don’t come from homes where the authority figure there is a Christian. I’m supposed to obey them in everything? This is a very hard road, but one that is manageable with your all-sufficient Savior leading you on that road. We want to talk with you about how to help you manage that road. That is what the church is here for. To help.

Main Point #2 – The Gospel and a Parent’s Provoking
The second gospel-motivated command is [21] Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

I’m going to give two comparisons on types of parenting. You can decide if one describes you or if multiple describe you.

Over-attentive parent
-Demands communication
Non-attentive parent
-Doesn’t provide

-Plays favorites
-Doesn’t slow down to listen

High standards parent
-Hyper-critical when I don’t reach them
-I’m a failure

No standards parent
-Everything I do is great [lying]
-I get no direction

A better path for parenting? Remember the gospel.

JC Ryle says there are 5 marks of a forgiven soul:
Hate sin
Love Christ
Are humble
Are holy
Are forgiving

Does exemplify your life as a parent. Now or in the past?

A better path for parenting? Give a child a vision for the “why” when you give them a command to obey. When they don’t obey, try to help them to see their heart behind the behavior—don’t just address the behavior, address the heart. There are some training messages about this on our website.

My prayer for my kids:

“Father, give Avery, Cade, Addy, and Sadie
The mind of a theologian
The heart of a missionary
The gentleness of their mother
Protect them from the sins of their father,
And may they love Jesus all the days of their life.”

Ben Davidson

Monday, October 5, 2020

Please Pray for Jill Hostetler


Please pray for Jill Hostetler and her family. Pray that they would continue trusting in God during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please pray that she would be able to reach many people through CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship). Please pray that God would keep them safe in all that they do.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Psalm 57: Taking Refuge in God Part 2

Psalm 57:1–2 (ESV)

1Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,

for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

till the storms of destruction pass by.

I cry out to God Most High,

to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

Over these last few months Psalm 57 has comforted and challenged me. It has challenged me to think more specifically about the phrase, “for in you my soul takes refuge.” That is a common idea in Scripture, but as I have struggled to respond in a biblical way to my life circumstances, I began to wonder, “What does it look like in my life in a very practical way to take refuge in God? As I seek to point others to take refuge in God, how can I help them understand in a very tangible way what this entails?” Here are a few thoughts that I am trying, with the Lord’s help, to apply in my own life.

First of all, taking refuge in God means that I turn toward Him. It means turning from false refuges -  all the familiar, self-reliant ways that I seek relief from life’s problems. I must repent of such things as control, perfection, withdrawal, anger, logic, excessive planning, daydreaming, watching TV, eating, and replaying conversations. It means I cry out to God. In my distress, I need to talk to God. I need to pour out my heart to Him (Psalm 62:8). I need to talk to Him about the situation, how I feel and how I am responding. I need to confess of known sinful responses. I need to share openly with Him my concerns and fears. He already knows but my soul needs to talk to Him. I need to ask the Lord for help. Sometimes the pain and confusion run so deep that all I can cry out is “Help!” but when I am able, I need to ask the Lord in specific detail to help me, expressing what I would like the Lord to do for me.

Secondly, taking refuge in God means actively reminding myself of God’s unchanging character. It means reviewing the truths I know about God, especially the ones that give me hope in the specific situation. Am I feeling unloved? He is the one who loves with perfect, steadfast everlasting love. Have others betrayed me? His faithfulness endures for all generations. Do I feel afraid and out of control? He is the sovereign, all-powerful Creator. Nothing is too difficult for Him. God’s Word gives us many different images to help us understand God and trust Him more fully. Search the Scriptures for these images. Which ones are most helpful for you? Personally, I return over and over to two images: God the everlasting Rock, who is stable in the midst of my instability and God, the gentle, caring, watching, guarding, ever-present Shepherd. 

Thirdly, purposefully review the promises of God. God has made so many beloved promises to His people in His Word, and He is faithful. He cannot lie. He will keep every promise. Which of God’s promises do you find most encouraging for your specific situation? He promises He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:8) He will help His people (Isa. 41:10). He forgives sin completely (Ps. 103:11-12, 1 John 1:8-10). The Lord promises to be near to the broken-hearted (Ps. 34:18) and to give strength to the weary (Isa. 40:29). We need to review these rich promises often. In the midst of suffering, we must choose to belief that that these specific promises apply to us in our specific circumstances. In the midst of suffering, other voices seem to speak louder than the voice of God. In the midst of suffering, I tend to forget that God is speaking a personal word to me through the words of the Bible. 

Fourthly, we need to commit to intentionally interpreting our life experiences through the lens of God’s Word. We tend to interpret our experiences through the lens of our painful emotions. This often gives us a very distorted view of life, of ourselves, of other people, and of God.  We have to constantly direct our minds to what God’s Word says is true rather than relying on our emotions and experience to define what is true. When we choose to interpret what is happening in our lives in light of God’s Word, we can find hope even in the midst of painful circumstances.

Fifthly, taking refuge in God means be willing to examine our hearts. One of God’s gospel purposes for trials is to refine us and make us more like Christ. God uses the pressures of suffering to expose our hearts so that we can see areas of sin to which we have been blind. Suffering becomes an opportunity to ask “Where is my thinking unbiblical? What sinful and selfish desires are driving my responses? What good desires have become too important to me? In what ways do the things I value differ from what God values? How am I seeking my own kingdom instead of God’s kingdom? What are the common false refuges that I seek? Trials can become a wonderful opportunity for us to grow more like Christ. 

Next, taking refuge in God means that I learn to depend on Him, not on myself or others. My default response to suffering is to trust in myself or to trust in others. Only when I recognize my own inadequacies and the limited abilities of others, will I turn to the Lord for help. My proud, self-reliant heart still struggles to learn the lesson of 2 Chronicles 20:12, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” This verse calls us to dependence on God in two main areas. In the midst of difficulties, our need for wisdom becomes clear. We don’t know how to respond to difficult people or circumstances in a way that glorifies God. We need wisdom from the Word of God, applied by the work of the Holy Spirit. We must search the Scriptures for wisdom. We much examine the life of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:21-25, Heb. 12:3). We must look at how God has treated us. We must determine our biblical responsibilities in each situation. We lack wisdom, but God tells us that He will give it generously and graciously when we ask Him. Taking refuge in God means that I commit to following the wisdom found in God’s Word even when my own wisdom makes more sense to me (Ps. 119:23, 51, 69)

Taking refuge in God also means depending on Him to supply the strength to carry out my responsibilities. Suffering leaves me feeling weak and vulnerable and often it feels impossible to obey the commands of Scripture. In my own strength I am powerless against the physical dangers of this life, against the strategies of Satan, against the wooing of the world, and against the sinful, self-oriented tendencies of my own heart. But God has promised us that His grace is sufficient. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us. God is extravagantly generous. He is not stingy with his resources. He loves to come to the aid of His people. He gives strength to the weary. He enables us to obey all He has commanded. He gives grace to love the unlovable. He gives grace to face our own sin. He gives grace to endure moment by moment as long as our struggles last.

Next, taking refuge in God means that we use the resources that God has given us, especially the local church. We are ultimately to put our hope and trust in God Himself, but we are created in His image, made to be in intimate relationship with God and others. We are not meant to walk through life on our own. When God saved us, he placed us in the body of Christ. We are to bear one another’s burdens. When I experience deep sorrow, I call out to God, but I also reach out to brothers and sisters in Christ who can sit beside me, weep with me, and pray for me. When I have physical needs beyond my resources, I humble myself and make my needs known to the body of Christ. When I don’t know how to respond, I seek wisdom from those more spiritually mature than me. One of the main ways that God shows his love and care is through his people. My own pride, with its desire for autonomy and desire to appear strong, often hinders me from using one of the greatest resources God has provided for His people, the church.

Finally, taking refuge in the Lord means that I meekly submit to His work in my life. One of the biggest hinderances in my life to trusting God is simply that often I am afraid that He will not give me everything I want. He has not promised me that. Instead of being satisfied that the Lord has given me Himself and every spiritual blessing in Christ, my heart searches for satisfaction in other places. Sometimes I fear that the Lord might not give me the exact kind of help that I think is best. I don’t want to endure. I want instant relief. I don’t want to learn to love in hard relationships. I just want everyone to love me and think I’m wonderful. I don’t know and love the Lord enough yet to say with the psalmist, “Besides you I desire nothing on earth.” However, I can choose to believe God’s Word. Though I see Him only dimly as in a distorted mirror, I know enough. I can choose to trust Him and believe that his dealings with me are good. I can humbly admit that God is wiser than I am, that as the perfect Father, he truly does know what is best for me. In the raging storm, I can calmly take refuge under His wings.

Kim Anderson

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Please Pray for Pablo and Judi Perez

Please pray for Pablo and Judi Perez. Pray that they would continue trusting in God during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please pray that they would be able to reach many people. Pray that God would keep them safe.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Please Pray for Sam and Jamie Hornbrook

The pandemic issues are severe in our area. We just had two families in our church, who are related to each other, pass COVID around to each other. Most of them are recovering with light symptoms, but one of the grandfathers of the family died on Monday, this week, at age 78. Just last night, his wife joined Jamie´s online ladies Bible Study, for the first time. May the Lord continue to work in her heart. She and her husband did not attend our church, but their children who do attend our church, have shared the gospel with them.

We have been having Sunday services in person, at church for the last 6 weeks. Our attendance which has been between 40 and 50, is about half the regular, pre-pandemic numbers, but our online followers have grown quite a bit.

Big praise is that we have now had 9 evangelistic Bible Studies on Fridays at our next-door neighbors. Teresa, the elderly lady in her 80s, Marisol who is about to turn 60, and Freddy, the grandson, and nephew, have all given testimony that they have trusted Christ for salvation. Freddy has been going to church with us on Sundays, then he comes over to the house on Sunday evenings for discipleship and guitar lessons. We thank the Lord for His amazing work in this family.

I (Sam) have as many as 8 counseling sessions every week with people from all over Mexico City and one with a man in another state. It's all on the internet these days, this ministry seems to be growing and people are more hungry than ever for help from the Word of God.

Jamie and I have had no health issues and take the recommended precautions to protect ourselves from the virus, but our priority is to continue to minister to people with the Gospel. Thank you for praying with us and thank you for your faithful partnership with us!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Please Pray for Dougg and LeAnn Custer

Please be praying for Dougg and LeAnn Custer during COVID-19:

  1. Our daughter, Katrina, who teaches at Black Forest Academy (BFA), is out of quarantine and with us for a few days as she begins her year-long home assignment. Every 6th year, she has to deregister and leave Germany for 366 days in order to keep her US social security. Pray for her as she is seeking God’s will about returning to BFA or going to another mission school. She is also in need of more financial partners.
  2. Dougg and his team are happy that the decision has been made for an in-person Discover WorldVenture Weekend on October 23 – 25! Of course, new protocols will be in place, and it will look a little different than previous weekends. But it is anticipated that it will be a meaningful time for those who attend. 
  1. For people who receive invitations to come to the weekend; space is limited to 20
  2. For safety and good health in travel and during the meetings themselves
  3. For those who are organizing the in-person interactions, especially with all of the Covid-19 precautions that need to be put into place to meet safely
  4. For meaningful connections between those who attend and those who are introducing WorldVenture and challenging people to consider missions
  5. That God would use this gathering to send more people into His harvest field 
The Cultural and Ministry Preparation training that was to be held in October, however, has been postponed until January, with the hope that it can be held in person. Since there are several missionaries planning to leave the end of January, the training will be conducted online if we can’t gather together. 

       6. Pray for Dougg’s training team as they are making plans for how to handle this vital ministry preparation over the internet if need be.

As the fall 2020 semester moves toward starting on college campuses around the country, please continue to pray for WorldVenture mobilizers as they seek to creatively reach out to students and other contacts they have at various schools. In a different approach to connecting with students, Gordon Ellison, a WorldVenture mobilizer, requests prayer for a new initiative at various colleges and universities with which WorldVenture has a working relationship. Since so many campuses are presently closed to outside guests, this would involve a ZOOM call with interested students who respond to an invitation to sign up for a one-hour presentation related to discerning God's will for their lives and their futures. 

        7.  Pray for receptivity to the proposal on the part of the representatives ("gatekeepers") on these campuses and for interest among their students. 
        8. Continue to pray that God would open doors for mobilizers to connect with those whom God is calling to be harvest workers.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Please Pray for the Mark and Charity Borisuk


Below are some ways that you can be praying for Mark and Charity during this turbulent time:

  1. We praise the Lord for a good opportunity to reengage with our house church in China. Mostly due to security issues, we had stopped attending last fall. Meeting with them via Zoom starting this spring has been a great opportunity to continue ministry to the pastor, parents, and Sunday School teachers who we meet with each month.
  2. We are thankful for the continued translation work at the IRC office. We have recently finished up and formatted for addition to the Chinese Bible Study Toolbox, a commentary on Hebrews by Homer Kent, as well as a Bible Atlas.
  3. We are currently working on nine commentaries which are at different stages in the translation/editing process and about 10 other books and resources. Please pray for a continued blessing on our staff and that these would be completed well and be a blessing to our Chinese brother and sisters.
  4. We are thankful for the ministry opportunities we are having in the US with family, friends, and churches (we just completed a joyous two weekends of ministry at churches in Illinois and Oklahoma).
As we rest in the Lord’s timing, please pray for continued fruitful ministry while in the US and that we would be able to return to China soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Please Pray for the Bennetts

- NCM LEADERSHIP: Please join us in prayer as we seek God regarding the leadership vacuum at New Creation Ministries. We believe that in God’s perfect timing, He will provide someone, or enable someone already on staff, to rise to the occasion and lead the school forward through the accreditation process and program development. Our missionary colleagues responsible for these tasks are currently out of the country…one on home assignment in the US and the other one stranded in Brazil due to Covid-19 restrictions. Our long term goal is to have a Rwandan in this position rather than a missionary. One of the most challenging requirements in this process of accreditation is finding Africans with PHDs to be on staff.

- REOPENING CHURCHES: Pray for wisdom for churches here to know what to do about trying to meet all the new government requirements in order to reopen. It feels as though churches are being held to a higher standard than every other organization. Requirements have been changed three times now. One of the requirements is that churches must install hands-free washing stations which are almost unheard of in this country. Another requirement is that churches can only meet on Sundays with a two meter distance between each person and they cannot hold more than three services. In a church like ours, that means only 20 percent of our congregation will be able to attend church in person, while the others will need to continue to participate online. Also, children under 12-years-old and adults over 65 are not allowed to attend church. So far only 20 churches nationwide have received permission to reopen

- BARB’S MASTERS OF MUSIC THERAPY DEGREE – Barb continues to plug away at fulfilling requirements toward her master’s program. One of the blessings of Covid-19 is that the school has moved all classes to an online format, allowing her to take classes she may not have been able to take while in Rwanda due to a required on-campus intensive. It has been a lot of work but the classes are going well and she is excited to be able to apply many of the things she is learning as she provides music classes to children being home-schooled.

- MEGAN AND MELISSA - Melissa and Megan are together in Minnesota and we are usually able to Skype with them on Sunday afternoons. After Gary’s brother’s wife passed away, Melissa went through a mini-crisis wondering how God could have allowed another significant person in her life to die, but through it all He has kept her close and she has really grown through it. Megan was blessed to work in the kitchen at a Christian camp this summer and will begin her final year of nursing school in the Fall (hopefully on campus). Her heartfelt prayer for the summer was that God would allow her to have a new friend that she could discuss deeply spiritual things with through her time at the camp. God answered that prayer in a beautiful way, encouraging both of them in their walk with the Lord. The girls plan to rent a place together with a few other friends from school so they can live together. Please pray that Megan has a great final year and for Melissa as she works extra hard to pay off school loans before embarking on entering flight school.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Please Pray for the Beakleys

Pray for wisdom for our leadership as we seek to open up our church services. Currently, we are only allowed to have 50 people in a service (total, including preacher, worship, and sound/deacon people). No singing is allowed, and masks are compulsory. An attendance roster must be completed, along with ID's and temperatures. Full sanitization required before and after. Very restrictive. The people here in RSA seem to be very afraid of the virus. We are hoping to open in a couple of weeks as we put our plan together. Much wisdom is needed as there are folks on both sides of the spectrum here.

Loving The Prodigal

I continue to talk with/meet with parents with wayward children. As parents, our hearts grieve for our kids who think they can find more joy in the things of this world as opposed to the things of God. We want to model the father of the prodigal son. The son remembered his father's kindness. That kindness drew the prodigal home. At the same time, we recognize that we can be the same kind father or mother to all our kids, and God allows some to respond to spiritual things and some to not respond. It's God that does the work. We hope to be the instruments in His hands to bring about change in our kids, but sometimes He allows our kids to be wayward to expose our pride that we, as parents, think we can "make" our children respond to the gospel. He crushes us as parents and strips us of our idols to force us to consider Him as glorious...and able to change us and our kids without our prideful recipes that we erroneously think can change hearts.

“God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:25)

Pastor Ben

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Why Are Some Things Sinful and Not Others?

I had a great conversation with one of my kids this month on why God calls some things sinful and some things not sinful. Some ideas that arose were:
-We all decide to draw a line on what we consider sin and what we don’t consider sin.
-From where do people choose to draw wisdom on where to draw this line?

Some observations on this topic:
-We often want to decide the line based on our own desires.
-We also want to decide the line based on societal pressures.
-We often draw it at the point where we believe we will no longer receive joy from a behavior.

Conclusions drawn:
-If one is a believer, we trust that God chooses the line based on the wisdom given in His Word. Romans 11:33–35 says, [33] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! [34] “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” [35] “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
-God can be trusted to make the “line decision” because He has shown His trustworthiness in saving me from my sin even when I didn’t deserve it. Romans 5:8 says, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
-I choose, by His grace, to let God draw that line from the Bible. He knows where I will find joy better than I do. Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Choose wisely today,
Pastor Ben

Friday, July 24, 2020

Psalm 57: A Refuge in the Storm

Psalm 57:1–2 (ESV)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.

I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

The words of Psalm 57, which David wrote when he fled from Saul, have brought great comfort to me over these past few months as we have walked through these crazy months of 2020. The year began with a flurry of activity preparing for our son’s wedding at the end of March. We got everything done, and in mid-February hopped on a plane bound for Southeast Asia. A couple of people asked if we were concerned about that virus in China. “Nay, we’ll be a long way from China.” We had a wonderful trip, but as we started home, the situation was heating up. Korea now had cases of this new virus, and we had to travel through Korea. This far off problem suddenly hit home.

After we arrived home, I became consumed with worry, not so much that I myself would get sick, but two fears plagued me. What if we became sick and started the coronavirus outbreak in Washington, IL, and what if we became sick and had to quarantine and miss our son’s wedding? Instead of sleeping, I tossed and turned. I lost weight. We watched our son struggle to decide whether to travel home from Asia. We watched our son and his fiancée’s wedding plans fall apart. I racked my brain trying to find a way to make everything turn out all right.

But I couldn’t make everything turn out the way I wanted. All of our older kids were significantly impacted by the chaos and uncertainty that Covid-19 brought. And we sat helplessly by. I cried bottles of tears, tears for my family, and tears over my own losses, losses I could never get back. I worried and fretted over all the unknowns of the future. I dreaded the weird, unfamiliar experience of going to the store. I cried the day I broke down and ordered masks for our family. I didn’t want to admit that this strange way of life was going to be around for a while. And in the midst of this, all the rest of life’s responsibilities continued. At times it seemed like pressures from every area of life threatened to crush me.

And in the midst of this, the Lord spoke to me through Psalm 57. “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful.” How I needed His mercy! I was in desperate need. My world was in chaos, and my heart was even more turbulent. I knew I did not have the resources to ride out this storm on my own. The attribute of mercy implies a heart that looks with compassion on those in need and desires to relieve their misery. It also implies resources adequate to meet the need. My God is the perfect one to run to when I need mercy. He is merciful. He has shown me mercy in Christ and continues to pour out His grace and mercy on me in the midst of life’s troubles.

“For in you, my soul takes refuge” I have had to learn this lesson over and over. I seek refuge so many ways before I finally turn to the One who is the only real refuge. I realized again that my favorite refuge is my own ability to solve problems and control my life. When I can’t figure it out, my mind spins with anxious thoughts, and my heart fills with despair. “In the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge.” Just like David, I had to give up trust in myself and decide “I will take refuge in my God.” And what beautiful imagery David uses. Every time I read it, I think of Jesus’s comforting, inviting words, “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.” That is my Savior’s heart, to offer refuge to his suffering people, even when we cause much of our own suffering by our sinful choices and self-reliant ways. And I can keep on trusting my Savior and God. His steadfast love and faithfulness to me will continue. That gives me hope because I know that the storms won’t be completely over in this life. They simply ebb and flow and change. Even as the chaos from the pandemic begins to ease, new challenges tempt me too restless nights and anxious thoughts. Daily, moment by moment, I have to keep seeking refuge “until the storms of destruction pass by.”

Even in the fiercest storms, I have hope because “I cry out to God Most High” My God is the Ruler overall. He is the One who created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for Him. I am crying out to “God, who fulfills his purpose for me.” I know that no matter what happens, even when my life makes no sense to me, even when I am not faithful to Him, God is fulfilling his purpose for me, and his purposes cannot be thwarted. Pandemics, and difficulties, and even my own actions cannot derail God’s plan for my life or for the lives of those I love.

Near the end of Psalm 57 David says, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.” I cannot say that yet. My heart is often storm-tossed and wobbly and waffling and inconsistent, but my heart is changing. It is becoming more steadfast. The key is, like David, to keep my eyes fixed, not on the swirling storms around me or on the raging storms inside me, but to keep my eyes fixed on the One who calms the storms with His great power and says to my stormy heart, “Peace, be still.”

Kim Anderson

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Please Pray for the Hornbrooks

Hi Evan,
Thanks so much for posting our prayer requests

1. Praise God with us for all the ministry opportunities provided by the Coronavirus.

2. Pray for our Bible Conversations with our next door neighbor´s on Fridays. We have had three so far. Marisol told us after the last one that she is on cloud 9 and so grateful for all she is learning!

3. This week Marisol´s nephew, Freddy, is borrowing Jamie´s computer because his broke and he works on line. His replacement should come in the mail soon. He is also asking for guitar lessons and Bible studies in English. Thank you for praying with us for the salvation of this family.

4. Thursday Jamie and I are going to meet with the unsaved husband of one of our long time members. His wife and daughters will be there as well. He seems extra open to spiritual conversations right now also.

5. That God will bless and provide for at least 8 families who are struggling to feed their families.
Our church is helping to provide what they lack. May it be a time of more growth for our church.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Please pray for Pablo and Judi Perez

Below are some of the ways that you can be praying this week for the Perez's this week as they serve the Lord through COVID-19:

1. Praise God for the first meeting, June 4, via Zoom of all of the house churches and discipleship groups. 69 devices were connected.
2. Pray for the coordinators of the strategic areas of MOPI (Movimiento de Plantación de Iglesias - Church Planting Movement) especially Communications and Media, Education, and Training so that we can use technology to effectively evangelize, make disciples, and train leaders.
3. Pray for the Renacimiento Church. A number of families are without work, and are therefore without money for food and being threatened with eviction. Due to COVID 19 regulations in Ecuador, the building is shut down until further notice. It has meant the real church is growing, but the "traditionalists" have a hard time comprehending that they can be the church without connecting to a building.

We also ask for us personally:
1. Judi came to the US on June 16 to be with her 89-year-old parents. Her Mom has been hospitalized 3 times since April 25. They are doing OK, but a return to Ecuador will have to wait until the situation due to COVID 19 changes.
2. Pray for Pablo as he regularly preaches/teaches/counsels via Zoom/Facebook/Whatsapp over 40 hours a week. PTL! his voice is holding out!

The Dreadful Burden of Teaching Untruth

A long time ago, Pastor Daniel asked me to consider reading D. A. Carson's book, Exegetical Fallacies. He mentioned this book again a few weeks ago in our hermeneutics study. The following question really challenged me to consider the weightiness of words in a believer's life. We often say counsel is simply giving advice, offering an opinion, or even something as subtle as body language or silence itself. Every counsel, beginning with self-counsel, we are constantly offering counsel. In this statement, Carson describes a sobering description of what we all do, many times without forethought, that of "laying on the conscience".
When you engage in the ministry of discipleship and/or biblical counsel, you are weighing doctrinal principles on the conscience of another person. Perhaps to people who literally are hanging on your every word.
Carson warns about the seriousness of handling and interpreting the Word of God accurately when he says,
"The sensitive student may ask, “If there are so many exegetical traps, so many hermeneutical pitfalls, how can I ever be confident that I am rightly interpreting and preaching the Scriptures? How can I avoid the dreadful burden of teaching untruth, of laying on the consciences of Christ’s people things Christ does not himself impose, or removing what he insists should be borne? How much damage might I do by my ignorance and exegetical clumsiness?" Exegetical Fallacies, D.A. Carson, page 22

I want to pass on this challenge so that it becomes a shared burden with all of us in this worthy ministry, that we all take seriously our responsibility to read, know, understand and interpret God's Word as He intended that we help ourselves and each other apply it appropriately and effectively. Carson's warning here is poignant, don't add to God's commands and don't require people what God does not require.
Don't minimize or overlook what God calls each of us to aspire to.
Any distortion or misrepresentation of His Word is a distortion of the Person of Christ, who is our only hope.
You and I can avoid the dreadful burden of teaching untruth by careful, diligent growth in knowing how to rightly divide the Word of Truth. D.A. Carson’s book, Exegetical Fallacies is a great help in avoiding this great burden.

1 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.

Kent Kloter

Friday, June 26, 2020

Please Pray for Dougg and LeAnne Custer

Here are some ways that you can be praying for Dougg and LeAnne Custer as they serve the Lord during the COVID-19 situation:
1) Praise God for providing an experienced recruiter that will begin mid-July. Please continue to pray for someone to handle our online Learning Management System.
 2) Praise God for a couple who was appointed to Black Forest Academy to help with the residence program. July 6th we will be interviewing - via Zoom - a couple who is interested in a central Asian country and would appreciate your prayers for all to go well.
3) There were 5 other candidates who decided they want to wait until November, when we hope to do our interviews in person. Pray that they will follow through on their desire to serve cross-culturally.
 4) Dougg's training team has been busy discussing what sessions of the first pre-field training are vital and how to best to teach them via Zoom July 13-16. They hope to have the new appointees come to headquarters later in the summer or early fall for the remainder of the training, which gives them the opportunity to bond with each other and our trainers. Please pray there won't be any snags as this is a new endeavor due to the Corona virus pandemic and everyone is a little concerned how it will go.
 5) Dougg and I, along with two other Mobilization staff members, attended an on-line Cultural Intelligence course a couple weeks ago. This material is presented to appointees during the Cultural and Ministry Preparation training before they leave for the field. It was extremely interesting and we are thankful for the generosity of our partners so that we could participate. Please pray for guidance as we prepare how best to pass on the valuable tools we learned.
 6) WorldVenture, like most churches and ministries, is dependent on generous giving, which has decreased during this pandemic, leading unfortunately to a few office staff being released. Pray that God will provide through whatever means He desires to use, to keep WorldVenture able to fulfill its mandate of sending global workers to the billions who don't know Jesus. Praise God with us that the giving to our ministry has remained constant so far.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Please Pray for Dave and Carol Beakley

Here are some ways that you can be praying for Dave and Carol Beakley as they server the Lord during COVID-19:
  1. Pray for wisdom as we strive to ensure that all of our students have enough data to "zoom" classes coming up in mid-July. Our next semester begins at that time.
  2. Pray for patience as we await our government's new restrictions and instructions on whether churches are allowed to meet. Currently, we can only meet with the conditions that 50 people or less meet at once, all with masks, 1.5m apart, no singing at all, no fellowship. Pretty tough conditions as this include whether you are inside or outside.
  3. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with the lost. With church at such limitations, and people afraid to go out and speak with one another, the truth is being stifled.