It is about time to catch you up. The year 2016 is coming to an end soon. November is almost over. November was, amongst other things, a time for celebration in the Brunt household. On Friday 11 November I (Jacques) turned 37 years old and on the 20th our oldest son Levi is celebrated his 11th birthday. Time flies.. A well known Dutch proverb says, “Time goes fast; use it well!” Over the last few months I have preached several times from Ecclesiastes 12: 1 and 13, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them (…) The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.’ An extremely important message in a fleeting world… We are grateful that we are still allowed and enabled to make known the Good News, the Glad Tidings.
The last four months of this year are overflowing with regard to speaking engagements around the country. Recently I said to Annette that I find it such a great blessing from the Lord that I continue to have the desire and joy to preach the Gospel. Often I have to travel by car for quite some time on my way to speaking engagements. It is therefore wonderful when our kids take turns on the weekend to go with me wherever I speak. The beauty is that they themselves actually ask to come with me. These are precious moments. Our 2nd son Boaz is pictured above. This picture was taken in the center of the city of Leiden, where I recently preached.
During the month of October we as a family contemplated the significance of the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths. (Sukkot). Naturally, we had to have a booth. Together with my boys, I built a booth (Sukkah) in our backyard. This gave great opportunity for lovely conversations not only with our children, but also with our neighbors. Every day we spent some time in the booth and I explained what we can learn today from the Feast of Tabernacles. These were valuable and instructive family moments.
It would take too much time to write a detailed report of all our work over the past months. However, here’s a “small sample”… In addition to pastoral work our ministry consists mainly of teaching Bible studies. In the previous newsletter we reported that we started a new Bible study series in our town of Alblasserdam on the Tabernacle. The overarching theme is “Christ in the Tabernacle.” I’m teaching the Bible lessons by means of a model. The interest is overwhelming. Very special. But what we are especially pleased with is the hunger and thirst for the Word of the living God. During these evenings we’re experiencing that the Lord is powerfully present among us and works through His Word and Spirit. What was very encouraging was that our town allowed us free of charge to place a large sign at the entrance of our village Alblasserdam. In this way we were able to advertise the Bible studies to a large audience. These evenings have come forth from the movement “Followers of Jesus.” Under this name, we also organize evangelistic outreaches in our village. Check out the website www.volgelingenvanjezus.nl
In the town of Wijk en Aalburg there is also much interest in the Bible studies from the book of Hebrews. I work there alongside a group of enthusiastic and devoted brothers and sisters. The meetings have an interdenominational flavor and that is encouraging, especially during these times. There’s interest for these Bible studies from all sorts of circles and churches. Here too we were allowed by the city to hang up a large advertising sign to be able to bring the study to the attention to as many people as possible.
Both in September and October I shared the Word of God during wedding ceremonies. I still find that a great privilege and wonderful blessing each time. During the September wedding I spoke in the Reformed Church of Haastrecht from Ephesians 4:15. The wedding in October took place on Urk in the well-known “Little Church at the Sea” and I preached from Ephesians 5:1-2. These were precious meetings during which I was able to share the Gospel with many people. Especially during wedding services one speaks to people that never read the Bible. I find it a challenge each time.
Sunday, September 25th was a happy day for the Christian Church in Alblasserdam. On that day we baptized six brothers and sisters in The Lek River. Before the baptism, I shared the Word from 1 Peter 3: 13-22. It’s always very encouraging to hear the testimonies of those that are baptized. They are proof that the God of the Bible is the Living One and that even today He pulls people from darkness into His marvelous Light.
It’s been several years since I worked as a youth worker with Searchlight. After I stopped working with the youth, the contact with Searchlight remained. Searchlight was founded in 1919 by Brother Johannes de Heer and is one of the oldest Christian societies of the Netherlands.
On October 1st a Searchlight Day was organized in Veenendaal. More than 1,300 people visited. Along with three other speakers, I was asked to give a speech. The main theme was ‘Expectation?!’ I spoke from 1 Thess. 4: 1-12 about ‘Expectation & Devotion’. If we’re expecting the Lord Jesus to come back soon, then that should have an impact on the way we live our lives. Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself. It was a richly blessed day with many encouraging encounters.
Every now and then I speak at meetings for seniors. On September 27th I spoke to 55+-ers in the city of Meppel. The theme was “The Spirit of Caleb”, taken from Numbers 14 and Joshua 14. The life and spirit of Caleb have always made a great impression on me. He was a man of faith. Caleb didn’t live by what he saw and felt, but trusted in the Word of the Lord. He needed not be ashamed. When he arrived in the promised land, he testified, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in” (Joshua 14:11). First the Lord spoke through this Bible study very clearly to me personally and then I taught it to others – it was a double blessing and a treasured morning.
In the Netherlands we are familiar with the so-called Christian Men’s and Women’s Days. I regularly get to share the Word of God during these days. They are always well-attended, interdenominational meetings. I received an invitation to speak on November 5th at the Women’s Day in the region of Land of Heusden and Altena. The theme was “A Strong Woman Like You?!” Frankly, I first struggled with this theme, but in the end the Lord made the message clear to me.
The first message was “God’s Vision of a Strong Woman.” We discovered that Biblical principles are at odds with the principles/ideas that prevail in this world. Renewal of our thinking is essential for a Biblical vision of “who” we are. During the 2nd message I talked about ‘A Biblical Example of a Strong Woman.” The starting point was 1 Samuel 1, the life of Hannah. Amidst much sadness and rejection in her life, the Lord was her (power) source. From Hannah’s life I taught key biblical principles during the Women’s Day.
Well, those were briefly some news flashes regarding our speaking engagements. As I said earlier, it would take too long to write a detailed report of all our work over the past few months. But I hope that what I have written will encourage you. Besides the many speaking engagements, I have a lot of work via email. People ask for advice and opinions or want a pastoral counseling session. This requires a great deal of time and energy. Sometimes I have – because of the large amount of e-mails – a hard time answering them. Please, know that this is quite a struggle for me. In addition, people often bypass their church and elders and come to me/us with their needs/questions. I need much wisdom from the Lord on how to deal with this and how to spend and divide my time wisely. In view of Wisdom I am very grateful for the promise of James 1: 5.
Finally, thank you again for your love, compassion and support. This is and remains necessary. We want to trust the Lord that He will supply all our needs according to His riches. In the work that we do, we find ourselves on the front lines of the spiritual warfare that is going on in this world. Therefore, we consider the ministry of prayer and intercession as a prerequisite and we want to prioritize it. Without the prayers of brothers and sisters who stand behind us, we can do nothing. Therefore we would greatly appreciate if you would remember our ministry in prayer. The famous English preacher Spurgeon once told the following about prayer: “Prayer is like the rope in the belfry. If we pull it, the bell rings in heaven. That’s how it is. Remember to keep pulling. Pull continuously.. Unite in prayer. Persevere. Persevere. And even though the bell hangs so high that you cannot hear its sound, trust that it will be heard in the tower of heaven, that it will be heard before the throne of God. He will, according to our faith, speak peace unto you. May your faith then be large and plentiful!”
We want to finish this news letter with the words of Galatians 1:3-5 , “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, acording to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.”
Receive our loving greetings,
Jacques, Annette, Levi, Boaz & Jesse Brunt