Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank you for your longstanding partnership with us and for always supporting us in prayer and for your generous financial support. The Lord has used you to strengthen our hands in the work. I am grateful for a church congregation that desires the hear Christ preached in all of Scripture. It is our custom to preach verse by verse through whole books of the Bible, and for the past several months we have been exploring the Book of Psalms on Wednesday evenings during our time of Bible Study before our corporate prayer meeting (we are currently at Psalm 30). This has been a tremendous blessing and help, not only for seeing Christ in all of Scripture but for prayer as well. Digging into these divinely inspired cries of the heart to God in times of joy and sorrow has helped us to feel a connection to the authors and their situations, which often resonate with our own, and it has helped give us words to voice our own hearts in the varied seasons and situations of life we find ourselves in.
This past Sunday, I finished preaching a sermon series through Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. This is one of my favorite Epistles, as it so clearly defends the Gospel of grace against works-righteousness and legalism. It was a blessing to spend several months glorying in the freedom of God’s grace to us in Christ, and what the indwelling Spirit of God is working to accomplish in our lives. In the coming weeks, we will begin a new sermon series through the Gospel of John. I so look forward to our time in this ‘spiritual’ Gospel, both for myself and for the saints, as it is in “beholding the glory of the Lord,” that we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
I am also grateful for a congregation that is both caring and compassionate. Throughout the years, we have had to walk through various difficult trials together, which have served to unite the church and to teach us needed lessons. I am not sure why it is, nor do I understand all the reasons for it, but over the past several months I have noticed what seems to be a surge of attacks on the soul. More than I can ever recall, I have been hearing about various struggles with severe anxiety, deep depression, broken relationships, and suicidal thoughts. Maybe it’s no worse than it has always been, but I can’t help but think that the enemy has been waging a full-frontal assault against the heart and the mind. This has also come with a growing awareness of the prevalence of trauma and abuse in the home, even among professing believers. There are broken people all around us, and many of them are suffering in silence.
The church is necessary, as the wholeness that so many desperately need can only be found in the loving embrace of our Redeemer. I am convinced that one of the great needs of the present hour is for the Body of Christ to come alongside others in their suffering and brokenness, loving them as we have been loved by our Lord, and patiently bearing one another’s burdens, fulfilling the Law of Christ.
May God help us to be more like Jesus, and use us to show His love and spread His grace in a lost and broken world. Thank you for praying for us.