Dear Saints in Christ, thank you for your interest and prayers in the Gospel work in Germany. Let me briefly share what we’ve experienced and God has done this last month. May it bring glory to God and stir up love and prayers among the saints and partners in the gospel.
Personal and Family
My wife and I are very grateful for the opportunities God has given us to live and enjoy family life together. Our two daughters (2.5 years and 10 months) are growing quickly and are a daily joy and reason for thankfulness to God. Observing their developing physical and mental skills make us worship the Creator more – even in the sinful and fallen state of the natural offspring.
Jael starts singing and praying to God with such an enthusiasm and joy, that it caused my heart to praise numerous times, even when I felt downcast. I experience parenthood as a (sometimes hard) means of sanctification but definitely also with a pure joy only love can bear. The Lord helped me to be faithful in family devotions this month. May it be a source of grace to my family.
Private devotion, reading the Bible, praying and meditating on the word is a daily battlefield. I felt much grace this month to study the word. There is so much to learn and apply in the book of Numbers, especially the worth and need of contentment, the necessity of a clear view of God´s holiness, and the perfect but often unexpected leading of God in His providence.
I long to grow further in sanctified discipline and faithfulness, especially in the little things, to live daily in the face of our holy God.
As a pastor and as a church we serve to point each other to Christ, and we long for God to use us to help people from all nations, ages, and social backgrounds to look on Christ. In my series through the gospel of John I exposed the hidden gospel-callings to look on Jesus during His unjust trial before Pilate: “Behold the man”, “the son of God” “Behold your king”. The God-man is king of the universe, and as we look at this savior we joyfully preach, witness, and proclaim to the people in the city and in private: “Behold Jesus!”.
Until now very few people came to the service through our evangelistic efforts, but God brings people to the church from places in which we did not sow. A young couple from the United States moved to Germany and has asked for church membership. An older man moved to Wetzlar and attended the service now several times, expressing his love for scriptural preaching and trusting in the might of the Word of God. I must remember Christ´s words to His disciples: “I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor.” May it keep us patient, to not grow weary in reaching out to our neighbors, and keep us humble to see and trust in God´s work alone and not in our skillfulness or methods. Please pray for the visitors and for a harvest from God that is not “man-made”.
The special emphasis of John to describe the title on the cross and the quarrels surrounding it encouraged me to teach on the different intentions of this special sign on the cross. Usually meant as a warning, it bore also a mocking character, but in the sovereignty of God it was used as a revelation and instrument of proclamation. These different aspects do have very practical applications, because as Christians we all bear the title of Christ above us, we live under the name and sign of Jesus, the Nazarene, as messianic prophecy promised the saving king of the true people of God! This is a warning for unbelievers and self-righteous people. This is the reason why we also should expect mockery, as we have to deny ourselves. But our lives and words should display and proclaim the truth about the God-man, Christ – the true Savior and King – to all who pass by.
To practice and encourage both, self-denial and Christ-exaltation and proclamation, I continue to train and equip young men in the congregation. They are observably growing in understanding and applying Scripture and are very eager to learn to live a godly life with the title of the cross, rather the fame of the world.
Among Jesus’ lasts words on the cross I exposed the great love of Christ toward His own – caring for His mother and stirring up mutual love among His followers. Among other applications I mentioned the great testimony of love and faithfulness of the women, standing under the cross, when almost all men fled. The Gospels clearly underline the value and love of these women. To my delight the women of our church also prove spiritual faithfulness. Since many of them take care of children, it is hard to find a time to meet together and encourage each other in the faith. But stirred up by the biblical conversations the mutual Bible-Reading plan caused among the men, a group of women now also started to read a Christian book together, in order to have a good topic to talk about whenever they meet or talk to each other. It is a double-motivation for me. On the one hand it shows, how easy and wide the spiritual fruit of faithful men can spread, on the other hand I am pleased by the proactive striving for spiritual growth of the women.
In the week before Easter, a missionary meeting from HeartCry in Portugal was a refreshing, encouraging, and joyful event in the middle of the month. The compassionate wisdom of Jeremy Walker, the insight of Anthony Mathenia and the sweet fellowship among brothers in similar situations were a strengthening and uplifting experience, which gave me more joy to preach on Easter sunday on the importance of the resurrection for our justification according to Romans 4. Please pray that the greatness of the power which raised Christ from the dead may continue to work in us who believe, love, and confess the God-Man Christ as King and Savior of sinners from all nations.