Last time I wrote about how gray, dark, frozen and depressing the weather over here this time of year was. However, December and the first half of January has been very unusual compared to the last few winters. This Christmas and New Year holidays were spent with family and friends here in Finland. We were also able to meet with family and friends on my wife’s side whom I am still getting to know. There are both genuine believers and professing ones among them, as well as open non-believers.
It seems quite easy to evangelize and preach in a street corner to strangers, but when it comes to our closest circle of family and friends, that’s where things might really cost us. Because we really know them and will meet them again. It can have consequences for our relationships, getting along in the small village we live in. It’s also hard to get started talking on the subject and easier to talk about other things, such as the weather. Knowing my own weakness, I bring this to the Lord in prayer, that He might open up a door for His Word in conversations and remove my fleshly hesitancy. He is faithful! God provides ways of talking about the Lord Jesus, and He brings me to take the opportunity to lay out the Gospel.
This is especially true at a time like Christmas. I got one particular conversation with a man who has professed to be a believer although he said he was not born again, and not sure if he was saved. He started talking about how he is having serious doubts about this Swedish “prosperity gospel” tv channel he is watching (which I now have found out hosts a teacher who openly denies God’s wrath and Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross). Praise God that this man, although watching this channel, is seeing through the lies of the prosperity gospel. Through God’s providence, it led him to ask me about it, knowing I preach and teach the Bible in our small congregation. I affirmed that this prosperity message is not Biblical, and then went on to show what the Bible really teaches, what the Gospel is and how the greatest need is not physical riches or healing, but to become born again, repent and trust in Jesus Christ who died to save sinners from eternal damnation, and give everlasting life. The messages found on the prosperity channels teach the complete opposite of this and so many are deceived. Please, pray for this man, that God may move in his heart and that he may clearly see his need to be born again and understand who he may be saved.
According to the Lord’s gracious empowerment, we are all growing together closer to one another and to Him in the process. Translating things to be published during this year has gone steadily forward, and I have also translated some extra items on top of the usual things. I am looking forward to soon being able to start focusing on the work locally here in Finland together with Kyle and the other brethren, and maybe, God willing, being of some spiritual benefit to the other believers and congregations around the country. We are all already getting prepared (mostly in prayer) for the conference that our Church will host this summer, praying for the speaker, the attendees and ourselves.
To a new year of serving Him in Finland,