Renovation Project: A good part of last week was spent on renovating our main church hall. We made very good progress, finishing the plasterboard, the electrics at the front, the plastering, and the first coats of paint. It was such a blessing to have help from a professional builder, Michael Sharp, and several men who work with him. Michael attends Hayes Lane Baptist Church in Bromley. He and his wife Rebecca have been a huge help with ideas and help with the renovation project. We plan to have a big painting day on Saturday, and hope to get the hall finished up in the next two weeks.
Outreach Fruit: On Sunday, we were very encouraged to have a young couple visit the church, who received an invitation from our Christmas outreach this past December. They said they have intended to come to the church for several weeks. They finally came and said they really enjoyed the service, as they have been looking for a Bible-teaching church for a while. You can read an article I wrote about the need to keep on sowing the seed here.
Acts Series: Sunday morning, we had a very good time in the book of Acts. I preached a message called, “Making the True God Known” from Acts 17:16-34. You can listen to the message here.
Excuses for Not Getting Involved: A pastor friend, Alan Campbell recently shared this book with me called, “Do Not Say,” a book that inspired James Fraser to go as a missionary to China. I challenge you to read it and consider all the excuses we make for not getting involved in world evangelism.
Building Fund Update: Just over two months remain until our deadline to have half the money raised to purchase a building for Northwest Baptist Church. So far, the Lord has provided $12,880 of the $75,000 that we need. Would you pray about what you can do to help with this very exciting opportunity? More information about the project and how to give can be found here.
This past Sunday, we had our first baptism service at Downham Baptist Church. It was a real joy to baptise Grant and Darci. They both made professions of faith several years ago and have went through several discipleship lessons.
After asking to get baptised for over a year, we finally were able to baptise them. A friend of mine, Brian Clark, at Crossroads Baptist Church in Bromley, allowed us to borrow their portable baptismal tank, which we set up in the church.
Grant and Darci both gave a short testimony of how they believed on Christ prior to their baptism. You can see links to those testimonies and their baptism below. If you comment, I will share your comments with them.
Moving Home: The month of January began with us doing something a bit unexpected – house-hunting. Our current lease comes to an end in March, and our landlord wanted to increase our rent. We have been wanting to move closer to the church in Downham, so we took this as our opportunity to do that. Thanks to God’s help, in just a few days, we were able to find a nice house about 1/2 mile from the church. We are exciting about living right in the community where we minister. We will move in March.
Renovating Church: Last weekend, we started renovating the main church hall. We began by removing a storage room at the back to create more space. Now, we are working on some other electrical and cosmetic walls at the front cover some of the wiring. We will be building a short platform, painting the walls, and putting in some new flooring. God has provided about £4000 for this project, and we are trying to make that go as far as possible. If you would like to help with the project, you can find out more here.
Reflecting on 2015: This past Sunday night, we had our church vision night and AGM. It was encouraging to reflect back on what God has done over the past year. Here are a few highlights from 2015:
We had 165 first-time visitors.
We gave out about 53,500 gospel leaflets and invitations.
£11,708.23 came in through the church offerings.
Our church gave £619 to world missions.
The number of people who attend the church on a weekly basis increased from an average of 21/week in January 2015 to an average of 46/week in December 2015.
We preached through the book of John, 1 John, Nehemiah, and half the books of Acts and 1 Timothy.
What do a Russian Tsar, a famous doctor, a notorious counterfeiter, a drunken fiddler, and a military general all have in common?
Sound like the beginning of a bad joke? Well, it is actually the theme of a book I was given for Christmas by a friend.
Men of Destiny by Peter Masters looks at the lives of twelve different men from vastly different walks of life who all did remarkable things with their lives but who also were dramatically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All of them came to a crisis moment in their lives where they understood their own sinfulness, their guilt before a holy God, and the wonderful love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ to die and pay for their sins.
I really enjoyed the fascinating tales of Tsar Alexandar Pavlovich (The Tsar who Crushed Napoleon), Sir James Simpson (Discoverer of Chloroform), Alves Reis (The World’ Most Notorious Counterfeiter), John Newton (Sailor, Deserter, Slave-Trader), Jean Henry Dunant (The Man Behind the Red Cross), and others.
More importantly, I was impressed with the power of the gospel to save and changes the lives of people. Don’t be discouraged; God is still changing lives and His gospel is dynamic power! May we share it with the world!
Let me encourage you to purchase a copy of this book. Each chapter is a different story, so it is an easy, fun read. It will encourage you.
I am really enjoying the Chronological Bible Reading Plan. I have tried to read the Bible through each year for many years now, but this is a fresh plan that has open up new insights for me.
Because the plan lists the chapters in the order that the events happened (or as close as is possible), you get the benefit of…
Reading the Psalms David wrote alongside the probably historical events he was going through.
Reading the Psalms and Proverbs of other people in their historical settings such as Moses, Solomon, and others.
Reading together parallel passages of the same event as recorded in Kings and Chronicles.
Reading the prophetic writings of Obadiah, Isaiah, and others in their historical context.
I started this plan in July, so I am only about halfway through. I look forward to finishing it over the next six months. I would encourage you to try the Chronological plan, if you are looking for a new Bible reading plan this year. The one I am using is provided by Blue Letter Bible and available here.
Christmas is a great opportunity to invite new people to the church, and this December we had 29 first-time visitors to the church with a weekly attendance average of 46 people.
This coming year, we are planning to do further renovations to our building. If you are handy with painting or building and would like to come give us a hand, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you would like to give a donation toward the cost of the renovations, you can find more info at: downhambaptist.org/renovations.
We are continuing to work at discipling and equipping people for ministry. We are also trying to consistently reach out with the gospel. We recently gave out 5000 invitations for our Christmas services and participated in a Christmas festival through which we were able to add many new people to our church newsletter list.
Thank you for continuing to pray for us and the work here. We greatly value and appreciate your prayers and support.
We have continued to see good attendances at the church over the past three Sundays.
On this past Thursday, we enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving Meal and time of fellowship with several pastors and their families. We truly have much for which we should be thankful.
On Saturday, I officiated my first wedding. It was for Chris and Maria Tudor, whom we have gotten to know through the children’s school. It was a lovely time meeting many of their friends and family and encouraging this couple as they seek to glorify God in their marriage.
It was really nice to have Jessica Wachter visit with us this weekend. She interned with us for six months last year and came back for a brief visit over Thanksgiving.
Yesterday, I drove out to Wales for a pastor’s fellowship. It was encouraging to hear of some things that God is doing in their ministries and challenged me to pray for that part of the world more.
God has really blessed the building fund for Northwest Baptist Church. This past month, we had a further $6,100 given to the fund. In total, $11,830 has been donated, which brings the original total of $75,000 down to $63,170!
Please pray for our Christmas events, as these are good opportunities to share the gospel and for people to invite lost friends and family to the church. We are trying to get out 5000 invitations leading up to the events.
Our home church in Georgia is hosting the Our Generation Summit again this year on Dec 31st – Jan 2nd. It is a very exciting and inspiring missions centred retreat. If you live in America and are able to attend, I encourage you to do so.
“It is a serious mistake for Christians in positions of leadership to be more concerned with what is currently popular in the corporate world than with what our Lord taught about leadership.” This is one of many great quotes from John MacArthur’s book The Book on Leadership: The Power of Godly Influence.
In the book, MacArthur asserts the idea that it is easy for Christians to take all their leadership wisdom from the corporate and secular world. But as Christ taught, we have a different perspective and different priorities. The Christian leader is a servant not a lord.
In this very helpful book, MacArthur examines the life and leadership skills of the Apostle Paul, who certainly exemplified God’s leadership. Through examining Paul on the ship to Rome, the book of 2 Corinthians, and several other passages, the author brings out 26 characteristics of a true leader (listed below).
I found the book very helpful and easy to read. I am familiar with the Apostle Paul and his life, but it was good to study his life from a leadership perspective. I would highly recommend this book to all Christians and think it would make a great Bible class on leadership as the principles are taking directly from the Scripture.
TWENTY-SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRUE LEADER
1. A LEADER IS TRUSTWORTHY.
2. A LEADER TAKES THE INITIATIVE.
3. A LEADER USES GOOD JUDGEMENT.
4. A LEADER SPEAKS WITH AUTHORITY.
5. A LEADER STRENGTHENS OTHERS.
6. A LEADER IS OPTIMISTIC AND ENTHUSIASTIC.
7. A LEADER NEVER COMPROMISES THE ABSOLUTES.
8. A LEADER FOCUSES ON OBJECTIVES, NOT OBSTACLES.
9. A LEADER EMPOWERS BY EXAMPLE.
10. A LEADER CULTIVATES LOYALTY.
11. A LEADER HAS EMPATHY FOR OTHERS.
12. A LEADER KEEPS A CLEAR CONSCIENCE.
13. A LEADER IS DEFINITE AND DECISIVE.
14. A LEADER KNOWS WHEN TO CHANGE HIS MIND.
15. A LEADER DOES NOT ABUSE HIS AUTHORITY.
16. A LEADER DOESN’T ABDICATE HIS ROLE IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION.
17. A LEADER IS SURE OF HIS CALLING.
18. A LEADER KNOWS HIS OWN LIMITATIONS.
19. A LEADER IS RESILIENT.
20. A LEADER IS PASSIONATE.
21. A LEADER IS COURAGEOUS.
22. A LEADER IS DISCERNING.
23. A LEADER IS DISCIPLINED.
24. A LEADER IS ENERGETIC.
25. A LEADER KNOWS HOW TO DELEGATE.
26. A LEADER IS CHRISTLIKE.
We live in one of the most exciting times in history! We have the ability to use many of the modern methods of travel and communication to reach more people with the gospel than before!
Unfortunately, these advantages have not necessarily made us more aware or more willing to reach the world for Christ. The tools we have at our disposal have often made us “busier” and more preoccupied with pointless pursuits rather than world evangelism.
But imagine what could be accomplished if we used all these tools, these resources, and their advantages to their full potential! What could be done for Christ if every resource and moment was dedicated to God and used to carry the glorious gospel to the ends of the earth!
This winter, I want to encourage all of my friend in the United States with a heart for God and a desire to do something more for God to attend the Our Generation Summit in Pigeon Forge, TN. The summit is an annual missions-centred retreat for the whole family and the whole church.
The summit is complete with workshops for all interests and ages, fun activities, and opportunities to learn more about world evangelism and how you can be involved, whether a businessman or a student, a mom or a missionary.
If you desire to make your life count for God and for eternity, I hope that you will consider attending the summit this year. Click for more info.