- It usurps the authority of God over the soul.
- It removes the lordship of Christ from His church.
- It hinders the work of the Holy Spirit.
- It demonstrates an appalling pride and lack of submission.
- It severs the preacher personally from the regular sanctifying grace of Scripture.
- It clouds the true depth and transcendence of our message and therefore cripples both corporate and personal worship.
- It prevents the preacher from fully developing the mind of Christ.
- It depreciates by example the spiritual duty and priority of personal Bible study.
- It prevents the preacher from being the voice of God on every issue of his time.
- It breeds a congregation that is as weak and indifferent to the glory of God as their pastor is.
- It robs people of their only true source of help.
- It encourages people to become indifferent to the Word of God and divine authority.
- It lies to people about what they really need.
- It strips the pulpit of power.
- It puts the responsibility on the preacher to change people with his cleverness.
BBQ: Friday night, we had a free community BBQ at the church as a way to meet people in the community. We had a great turnout with around 100 people attending, probably over half of which would have been people who do not normally attend our church. It was very encouraging to meet lots of new people from the community and many who were invited by the folks in our church. It was also great to see the willingness of the people in the church to invite people, serve, and reach out to others. I think it was a real example of God’s love to those who attended. Please pray for fruit from these conversations and opportunities.
Sunday’s Service: On Sunday, we had 2 first-time visitors, 4 returning visitors, and 51 in the morning service. After the service, we had our monthly Bring and Share Lunch together with a lovely time of fellowship. Then in the evening (since we did not have an evening service), we had a church outing to the British Museum, particularly looking at the artefacts in the museum that point to the truthfulness of the Bible.
Cali’s Birthday: Yesterday, our youngest daughter Cali turned 7. We had a nice time celebrating her birthday. She had a princess party in which a fierce dragon showed up. Thankfully, a brave prince was there to save the day!
Trip to America: Here in a few hours, we head to the airport for a few weeks visit to America. We will mostly be visiting with family, as it has been three years since we have seen our families, and it will probably be another couple before we return for a full furlough. I will come back to the UK on Aug 12, while Teri and the children will return Aug 19. Please pray for safety as we travel and for the church here in London. Please especially pray for Daniel and Jeff as they lead things while I am away and for guest speakers, Salaam Kamara and Ryan Strother.
- Discipleship: This past Sunday, we recognised four adults in our church who completed Foundations Discipleship Level 1. We are so grateful for the commitment of Jeff, Heather, Susan, and Daniel. All of them are working on taking others through Foundations as well.
- Community BBQ: This Friday we are having a community BBQ and open day at our church to meet people in the community and for people to which people can invite their friends and family. Please pray for this event, for lost people to attend, and for gospel fruit to come out of it.
- Illness: I have had the flu the last few days, which has hindered me from doing very much. I appreciate prayer that I would feel better especially for the events of the weekend and our trip to America coming up on Wednesday.
- Interest in Church Membership and Discipleship: Several young adults spoke to me this week about wanting to join the church and wanting to be discipled. We have not officially organised as a church with membership yet, but we hope to do that soon. It is encouraging to see people wanting to be more committed to the church.
- Building Fund: Now is a great time to give toward the building fund for Northwest Baptist Church, as the exchange rate between US dollars to UK pounds is at a 30 year low. This means that anything that is given in dollars toward the fund will go about 10-15% farther. To find out more info about this project, go here.
For the last four days, I have been in Northern Ireland, searching for buildings with Pastor James Wilson. We have a had a very profitable week. Here are a few of the things we have been doing:
- Contacting over twenty estate agents
- Viewing a number of potential properties
- Searching lots of websites for buildings
- Setting up a list of estate agents to contact each week
- Writing letters to companies and individuals who might be able to help us with buildings that might not be on the standard market
- Working on getting the church accounts audited so that we are more likely to get a mortgage for the church
- Driving around the city for many hours looking for buildings
- Meeting with a planning consultant regarding change of use applications
Though we did not confirm any buildings or make any offers, we feel confident that we are in a much better position to be ready to buy a building and to find out about any available building that might come on the market.
Please continue to pray for Pastor James as he searches for buildings on a weekly basis in addition to his other responsibilities. Please continue to pray for God to provide for the building fund. Northwest Baptist Church has been taking up special offerings that have contributed to the fund. I am hoping that before we purchase the building, we will have raised another $41,441 (£27,850). If you would like to find out more about how to have part, go here.
Discipleship: We spent a good deal of time this week printing out and assembling discipleship booklets to keep up with the demand for them. It is encouraging to see people grow as they are taught God’s Word and then to want to teach it to others.
Youth Meeting: Every Friday night during the school term, we have a one hour youth meeting. It is an informal meeting where the young people are allowed to ask any question they want as long as we can answer it from the Bible. We had a very good meeting this past Friday. Please continue to pray for God to work in the lives of these young people.
Church Work Day: Saturday, we had a good work day at the church, focusing mostly on the outside of the building. It was encouraging to have a good number of people helping.
Sunday Services: This Sunday, the morning message was “Take a Stand for Jesus” from Acts 25-26. Then in the evening, we had our monthly Deacon Training meeting followed by our Q & A Service. Below is a list of some of the questions that were asked in the service:
- Do we need to know if someone is a Christian?
- Does Genesis mention Jesus creating the world?
- Is it a sin to doubt someone’s Christianity even if they say they are?
- Why did God make sin at all? If it was man’s choice He would have had to make it for them to sin.
- Why did Adam and Eve eat the apple?
- How did Jesus limit himself? Why didn’t God the Father die on the cross?
- Genesis 30:37-41 What is going on here?
- Is the Devil real?
- Why didn’t Eve reject the temptation of the devil of the fruit?
- Why did they arrest Paul if he didn’t do anything wrong?
- What does Jesus mean?
- Is Saul Paul’s second name? What does Paul mean? What was Paul doing before he was a Christian?
- Why did God allow the Israelites to kill people in the Old Testament?
- Did Paul write a lie in the Bible?
- Why does God save people?
- Why did God create us?
- What does being in God’s image mean?
- Am I wrong to ask God why did He took my son away from me?
- Since evolution isn’t real why do we have so many varieties of breeds within a species from the original creation?
Mission Weekend: Tomorrow evening, we start our mission weekend in which we will focus on our responsibility to carry to the gospel to the nations. Pastor James Wilson, from Northwest Baptist Church, will be speaking for us. Please pray that we can do more as a church to get the gospel out to our city, our country, and the world this year.
DERRY: Last week, I spent Monday through Friday in Ireland. The first three days, I was in Northern Ireland with Pastor James Wilson looking for buildings to buy for Northwest Baptist Church. We looked at a number of potential buildings and talked with a few planning consultants and architects. Please pray for the following regarding the building project:
- Wisdom to know the right type of building that would be suitable for a church. Most buildings would need to have change of use (zoning) for them to be used as a place of worship, so choosing the one that would be most likely to be approved with the least amount of cost is important.
- Direction as we search for a building that would be best for the church regarding location, size, and other details.
- Remaining finances for the building fund. We had another $250 sent by one of our supporting churches in Illinois last week! That brings the total amount given to $31,719 and the remaining amount we hope to raise to $43,281. More info and ways to give can be found here.
SLIGO: The last couple days of my trip, James and I visited with Josh and Annie Moore, church-planters who have recently moved to the Republic of Ireland. They just took over a church plant in Carrick-on-Shannon, and it is great to see what God is doing there. Please pray for them as they evangelise and make disciples there. We have known Josh and Annie for quite a few years now from their visits to us when we were in Ireland.
LONDON: The Lord continues to bless the work here in London.
- Last week, a lady from the Philippines believed on Christ! She is here helping one of the families in our church. She has attended the services with them, and last week professed faith in Christ. Please pray for her growth and God’s grace as her father also passed away in a car accident last week.
- Each week, Teri and I meet with several people for discipleship. Pray for wisdom as we continue to teach the Bible and encourage the folks here in their walk with Christ.
- More and more people are stepping up and getting involved in the work of the church. Please pray for us as we prepare for our mission conference next weekend and then for Jeff as he begins a children’s church during the Sunday morning service starting 15th May.
VISIT TO AMERICA: This summer, we are planning to take a brief trip back to America to see our families. It has been about three years since we have seen them, so we are very excited about this trip. We fly to America on 20th July. I return to the UK on 11th August with Teri and the children returning on 18th August. Unfortunately, we will not really have enough time to visit any of our supporting churches, but hopefully in another few years we can take a longer furlough. One prayer requests about this trip is for a vehicle to drive. Our trip will begin and end in Atlanta, Georgia, and we would need to drive about 3000 miles. If any of you know of a van that we could rent or borrow for that time, please let me know. Thank you so much.
This month, our church began supporting two British Missionaries: Evan Williams (Honduras) and Hannah Neilly (Overseas missionary helping with church-planting, evangelism, and discipleship). Hannah is a lady from Northern Ireland that we have helped to train for missions. She is currently raising her support in the UK but will also be available for meetings in the US (June & July 2016). To find out more about her, book a meeting, or support her, go to www.hannahneilly.co.uk or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just over a month ago, we received keys to our new house, which began the typical whirlwind of packing, moving, painting, setting up furniture, etc. We are very thankful that all of that is behind us now. God blessed us with a nice, comfortable home half a mile from the church. We are excited about using our home to reach out to the people in our community. Sunday night, we had a church fellowship at our house. It was great to fellowship together and enjoy discussing what God is doing in our lives.
Last Thursday, a young man named Bradley professed faith in Christ! He attended a youth meeting in the home of one of the families that attends the church. They asked me to bring a Bible message and a young man named Danny from Crossroads Baptist Church in Bromley to share his testimony of salvation. After Danny’s testimony, Bradley had some questions and later that night He believed on Christ for salvation! He said that God had been dealing with him since he attended a BBQ at our church last summer.
Thank you so much for praying for the building fund for Northwest Baptist Church. So far, God has provided $31,469 of our $75,000 goal. Please continue to pray about this exciting opportunity. I will be travelling over to Northern Ireland next week for a few days to start looking at potential buildings with Pastor James. We had hoped to have all the money by the end of last month, but we will continue to pray and trust God to provide the remaining funds soon. If you would like to give, you can send your check to our support address below and mark your donation: “Snode-NWBC Building.”
Today is the last day of our prayer campaign. God has been so good and answered your prayers. Since my last update, we have had the following donations come in:
- $150 from a special prayer partner who said that she and her husband have been praying for this from the start and God provided for them to be able to give.
- $250 from a missionary friend who said he put the check in the post today.
- One other person said they are planning to give an amount as well.
So in one month, God has provided $16,330! The total amount raised since we began this fund is $29,689!
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We are keeping the building fund open, and so there is still time to give.
Where do we go from here?
- We will continue to pray for God to provide the remaining funds. (Feel free to continue giving if God lays it on your heart. We are still praying for the final $45,311.)
- We will start looking for potential buildings. Pastor James is going to start setting up viewings, and I will be travelling back to Derry on 18-21 April to look at properties with him.
- We will talk to the bank and see what kind of mortgage the church can afford to cover the other half of the cost of building. (As previously mentioned, the $75,000 we are trying to raise is only for 50% of the total cost. We hope to finance the other half.)
- We will see what doors God will open and keep you updated.
Thank you so much for your faithfulness, for your prayers, for your encouragement, and for your generosity. We are so honoured that you invest in the work in Northern Ireland, and we believe that God will add much fruit to your account.
In 2007, while serving in Northern Ireland, Teri and I were privileged to meet a young lady from Limavady named Hannah Neilly. At that time, we did not realise that Hannah would become a very close friend of our family and eventually an overseas missionary. Allow me to share a bit about her and recommend her to you and your church for prayer and financial support.
Hannah grew up in a very Godly home, with both her mother and father teaching her the Bible and encouraging her to know and love the Lord. As a girl, she believed on the Lord Jesus for salvation.
Tragically, at age 11, her father, a consultant surgeon, passed away with cancer, leaving Hannah, her mother, and two brothers. Despite the challenges of this, they sought to continue on for God. Their family has been a real testimony to God’s grace through the loss. You can read their story in the book “Beyond the Cutting Edge” by Averil, Hannah’s mother.
Though her home church was Limavady Baptist Church, Hannah would often attend special services at our church when she could. A year or so after meeting her, we held a missions conference where God began to first work in her heart about being a missionary. A few years later, she went on her first missions trip with us to Morocco.
Several years on, Hannah has graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a degree in TEFL and languages. She has become a very close friend of our family, visiting us on many occasions, going on missions trips with us, and working in our ministry both in Northern Ireland and London.
She now believes that it is time for her to follow through with what God has put in her heart. She is currently seeking to raise support so that she can serve on the mission field. Her plan, as a single missionary, is to assist and work alongside missionaries, helping them with evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting.
She is a member of Limavady Baptist Church in Limavady, Northern Ireland. She is being sent directly out of her home church and plans to work alongside missionaries from Vision Baptist Missions. Her first few years will include completing a course of on-the-job training through the Our Generation Training Centre. This training will include 1 year here in London, 6 months at the training centre headquarters in Georgia, and finally six months on an overseas mission field. Following this time of training, she will serve wherever the doors might open for her to best help.
The purpose of this update is to ask you to pray for Hannah and to ask you and your church to consider giving to Hannah and her mission work.
Ways you can help Hannah:
- Pray for her. Sign up for email updates here.
- Give to support her ministry, either on a one-off or monthly basis. Find out how to give to her here.
- Invite her to present her ministry in your church. She is available to present in churches in the UK and Ireland. She will also be in the southeastern part of the United States this summer (2016), and would be available to present in churches in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Georgia. You can contact Hannah via email@example.com or 07783859171 to book a meeting.
I earnestly hope that you will find out more about Hannah, that you will pray for her, and if you are a pastor that you would consider having her present in your church. It is so exciting to see people from Britain and Ireland going out with the gospel. We hope that God will raise up many more like her.
Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any questions about her or her ministry, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 7772 206876, or +1 678 871 9610.
Since my email yesterday, I received word of the following donations:
- $100 from an anonymous giver!
- $250 from a pastor friend in Northern Ireland!
- $250 from one of our supporting churches in North Carolina!
- $1000 from another long-time friend from childhood!
- $30 from a friend in England!
- $50 from another friend!
- $1000 from another supporting church in Ohio
That is a grand total of $2680 in 24 hours!
Thanks for continuing to pray. There is still time to give. If you plan to give or have given but have not let us know, please send me an email so we can rejoice in how God is providing.
Building Fund Update