Monday night, I picked up a young man named Nico from Germany from the airport. I met Nico last May when Alan Campbell and I were in Germany helping a church there with a week of outreach. Nico and I have kept in touch and he came for a visit. Please pray for him as he is here with us for a couple weeks and as he goes back and seeks to be a witness in his own country.
Tuesday morning, Nico and I and three young men from our church drove up to Sunderland in the North of England for a week of training and outreach. This was the fifth year for Reach, which is a ministry of Bethesda Free Church under the direction of Alan Campbell. This was my third year to attend and help teach.
We had a great group of young people stay at the church and attend training sessions each morning, outreach on the streets each afternoon, and services each evening. There were young people from various parts of the UK. I was very excited to hear that many of these young people who have been saved recently are seeking to reach their families, communities, and universities for Christ, even despite persecution and opposition.
We arrived back on Saturday evening and had a great day today at Downham Baptist Church. The Lord blessed with four visitors, three of which have just moved to London from Kuwait.
Please pray for us as we head out to youth camp in Wales tomorrow morning. There will be nineteen of us going from here. We will be joining Brimpton Baptist Church and Saron Chapel Baptist Church. Please pray for any unsaved young people to be saved and for God to really stir up the hearts of the believing young people. Please pray for safety, strength, and wisdom. Thank you so much.
I had a great final week in America. It was very good to attend our sending church, Vision Baptist, and to catch up with everyone there. God has really blessed Vision with 22 missionaries families being sent of the church to various parts of the world. The church also has several dozen young people who are training for missionary work in the Our Generation Training Centre. I am so thankful for how helpful and supportive the church and Pastor Gardner has been to me and my family over the years.
Last Monday, we made it safely to Mobile, Alabama where we visited with Teri’s parents. Teri’s dad pastors Bellingrath Road Baptist Church, so he allowed me to share about the work in the UK and preach in their midweek service. I flew out of Mobile on Thursday and arrived safely back home in London on Friday. (Teri and the children come back this Friday.)
It was very, very good to be back at Downham Baptist Church on Sunday. I enjoyed catching up with everyone and preaching from Ephesians and Genesis in the services. I was very encouraged to see the faithfulness of the folks in the church. God has blessed the church with a tremendously servant-hearted and loving group of people.
Today, I have been working on catching up with everything and getting ready to leave tomorrow for Reach, a week of training and evangelism for young people in their teens/twenties. The week is hosted by Bethesda Free Church in Sunderland, and I am excited to be serve alongside several pastor friends throughout the week. Please pray for the four young men going with me that the Lord will work in their lives.
Finally, I wanted to let you know that Grace Baptist Church in Pekin, IL recently voted to partner with us! We know the folks there quite well, and we are so thankful for their support. Also, another one of our supporting churches in Illinois just informed us that they are sending $2000 toward the building fund for Northwest Baptist Church! Please continue to pray for that project. Pastor James looked a building today that looks very good. It is a bit out of our price range, but we are going to make a lower offer and see if they might accept.
We arrived in Ohio last Thursday evening and had several great days with family and friends there. Sunday morning, we were at North Pointe Baptist Church in Wooster, Ohio, which was started by older brother Harley several years ago. It was very encouraging to hear they decided to begin partnering with us. Sunday night, we were at Lifeway Baptist Church in Cranberry Twp, Pennsylvania, which was planted by my young brother Nathan a few years ago. It was great to preach at both churches and to see how God is blessing them.
The rest of this past week, we were with my parents in Ohio, visiting my grandma and aunts, and Teri’s sister Joy and family. We drove down to Atlanta today, will attend Vision Baptist tomorrow, and then head to Alabama to visit Teri’s parents on Monday.
Thank you for continuing to pray for us and for the work in the UK. I am looking forward to getting back to the UK on this coming Friday. The week after I get back, I will be helping with a week of youth evangelism in Sunderland followed by youth camp in Wales.
We made it to America safely and have had a great first week. We were able to see Teri’s brother and sister and their families in the Atlanta area as well as catch up with a lot of people at our sending church, Vision Baptist Church. Friday morning, we were involved in teaching a class at the training centre there and Sunday night, I preached in the evening service. We were very encouraged to meet the Wipf family, who are special yokefellows out of Vision.
On Friday and Saturday, I was in Sam & Beth Quinn’s wedding. Sam worked with us in Northern Ireland for three years. It was great to see him get married to a lovely Christian lady. They are on their way to India as missionaries.
Monday morning, we left Georgia and are making our way up to Ohio to see our family there. We visited Teri’s grandma and some friends along the way, spent yesterday in Washington DC and will spend tonight and part of tomorrow in New York City.
Thank you for your prayers for safety as we travel. This trip has been very encouraging and refreshing.
Thank you for praying for the work in London. The church had a number of visitors and returning visitors on Sunday, and God worked in the services. Please continue to pray for the folks there and for the men who are leading in my absence.
The following points are taken from the Introduction of How to Preach Biblically by John MacArthur:
Superficial, marginally biblical preaching is wrong for the following reasons:
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.
This section of the book is well worth the read and these points are well worth meditating on. Biblical preaching is alway the need of every age, and it is our job in this current generation to herald forth the truth of God’s Word.
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 Philippinesbelieved 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 fordiscipleship. 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.