Wednesday, February 26, 2020

What is Reformed Theology?

I was a believer in reformed theology before I even knew what the term reformed theology meant. I believe it is so evident in the Bible that it is impossible to miss! In this two minute video, Kevin DeYoung gives a very simple definition of what reformed theology is and how it informs our daily lives. View it here:
Pastor Ben Davidson

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Please pray for the Peltons

Here are some ways that you can be praying for the Peltons as they serve the Lord in Chicago:
1.  We are considering where to move to the city when our lease is up this summer.  We need wisdom in this decision as we take proactive steps now to be ready to move this summer if indeed that is what we ought to do.
2.  We are reaching out to friends in Chicago over the next two months to consider partnering with us financially in our ministry with Cru.  Please pray for the Lord's provision for us.
3.  Pray for fruitfulness in our ministry as we disciple men and women.  Also, pray for opportunities to grow in our frequency and skill in communicating the good news of Jesus to Chicagoans.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Love Letter (The Gospel & Its Implications)

I recently had the chance to write a letter to one of our youth students. As I wrote it, I found myself being reminded of such great truths I thought it would even be worth sharing more broadly…

Dear Believer,

God’s love has been such a challenge for me and I hope it is for you. Here are a few verses with some of my thoughts around them…

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake, we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Rom 8:31-39

God’s love toward us is perfect and complete being fully proved in His willingness to kill Jesus on our behalf. There is nothing that can take His love away from us… nothing includes us. That is oftentimes the hardest truth to believe. God’s love is not conditional. It is not based on our actions. It is based solely on His kind grace toward undeserving sinners like us.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Our only hope and any ability of ourselves to love can only occur because of God’s great love shown toward us. Because, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8), we have the ability to fulfill the first and second great commandments, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luk 10:27).

Because of this, we have hope & motivation to live the Christian life…

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor 5:14-15).

Christ’s love compels and motivates us to live, not out of duty trying to pay God back an insurmountable debt, nor out of sheer will power as the law would require of us. It drives and calls us to reciprocate and do actions that would please the One Who gave up all for us. We live for Him.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20).

Paul never got over Christ’s love for him. It drove how he lived his life. May that be true for you and me as well!

Here is my prayer for you:

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. – Eph 3:14-19

In His Love,


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Please pray for Jill Hostetler

Please pray for Jill Hostetler as she serves the LORD through CEF. Here are some ways that you can pray for her this week.

1. Please pray for a new club that is starting at Lindbergh middle school in Peoria on Feb 4. Pray that many 5-8th graders will come and hear the gospel and place their faith in Christ for salvation and/or that they will be strengthened in the faith.

2. Please pray for me as I travel to Southern IL Feb. 7-8 and conduct a Good News Club Start-up training.

3. Pray for a GNC mobilization meeting in Washington re: starting a Good News Club at Lincoln Grade School on Feb. 9. Pray that we would find 6 additional volunteers join the team.

4. Pray for a GNC to begin in Jacksonville, IL as we have plans for a training on Feb 28-29.

5. Pray for a 30 hour course that we are holding in March and April. It's called, "Teaching Children Effectively Level 1". We are asking the Lord for 10 students.

6. Pray for us as we look for summer missionaries to teach 5-Day Clubs this summer. We are looking to the Lord for 4-6 young people that have 4 weeks to give of their summer to teach 5-Day Clubs.

7. Pray for strength for me as I have a busy couple of months of ministry. May I grow in my relationship with the Lord and my love for Him and others.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Book Review: Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt, and Rest in Your Salvation by Greg Gilbert

I recently finished reading Greg Gilbert’s book
Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt and Rest in Your Salvation. Though I don’t particularly struggle with assurance of salvation, I found this book tremendously encouraging. It would be a great resource for those who do struggle with assurance of salvation.
Gilbert divides the means of assurance into three main categories of assurance: driving sources of assurance, the supernatural source of assurance, and the confirming source of assurance. The two driving sources of assurance are the truths of the gospel and the promises of God. The very nature of the gospel roots our assurance in the finished work of Christ. The gospel promise of eternal life was never about our worthiness or our ability to do good works. As we grow in understanding the depth of our own spiritual poverty, we are forced to rely on Christ, not only to save us initially but to maintain our salvation. God also promises to save all who repent and believe in Christ, and He promises to keep all who come to Christ. These two assurances, the gospel, and God’s promises should make up the bedrock of our assurance.
After spending another chapter talking about the supernatural source of assurance, the witness of the Spirit, he then goes on to discuss lies we believe that undermine our assurance. He discusses 4 different lies.

• Jesus loves me, but the God the Father doesn’t really.

• God is fundamentally stingy and naturally against us.

• Jesus is merely the means to the greater end of God’s blessings.

• God has opened the door to salvation, but he largely indifferent to who walks through it.

Gilbert then discusses the last means of assurance, the confirming source of the fruits of obedience. He talks about the Scriptural support of this idea. Then he discusses six ways we can misuse this tool of evaluating our lives looking for fruit. He devotes a chapter to besetting sins and then ends the book by looking at three “pebbles” that we tend to focus on that undermine our assurance.

• We focus on ourselves rather than the gospel and God’s promises.

• We focus on the abstract rather than the concrete.

• We focus on our individual spiritual lives rather than the life of the church.

I highly recommend this book. Every believer would benefit from reading it, and it would be especially helpful for those who struggle with assurance of salvation.

Kim Anderson

Please pray for the Hornbrooks

Please pray for Sam and Jamie Hornbrook as they serve the LORD in Mexico. Here are some ways that you can be praying for them:

1. For the on going counseling cases we have right now. Some are from other churches.
One marriage counseling case, Sam and Jamie do together is especially challenging, but George and Norma are responding well so far.

2. For Jamie as she teaches the ladies Wednesday morning Bible study. She is teaching on what the Bible teaches about emotions. It has gone very well.

3. For Sam and assitant pastor Pepe as they teach them men's Bible study on Fridays and Saturdays. They have taught a series on the Gospel.

4. That the assistant pastor will continue to grow into his roll as a pastor.

5. For the upcoming Counseling Conference in Indiana where Sam teaches in the Spanish Tracks to pastors from all over Latin America.