The Tragedy of the Dumb Church

On the heals of our last post “The Chalice of Knowledge” this peaked my interest.

Reprinted from http://blogs.christianpost.com/confident-christian/the-tragedy-of-the-dumb-church-10567/

The Tragedy of the Dumb Church

by Robin Schumacher

I have a friend who’s an experienced pastor, teacher, and Christian apologist. He’s very well educated, articulate, teaches in a way that hits the mark, and has a passion particularly for grounding young people in the faith during their high school and early college years.

Currently, he’s employed with Youth for Christ and a while back he felt a burden to try and help churches in our area do what he does best, which is equip youth to defend the Christian faith in the world and know what/why they believe. Because he’s developed a number of curriculums to use for such situations, he sent a letter to all the churches in our metropolitan area (which is quite a lot) explaining what he does, and offered to come to their church free of charge and conduct Christian apologetic training for their youth.

How many churches took him up on his offer?

Zero. None. Zilch.

Now, any Christian leader who doesn’t have their head in the sand knows how depressing the statistics are for young people who walk away from the faith in the late high school/early college years.[1] At times, I’ve had atheists toss such data in my face in an attempt to argue that people ‘smarten up’ when they get older, but that isn’t it at all.

The fact is some in this particular demographic leave the Church because they get talked out of a faith that they were never sure of in the first place. The storyline is sadly familiar.

Maybe a young person was brought up in a church. Or, maybe they weren’t and began to investigate Christianity on their own. Either way, sooner or later they begin to ask hard questions, good questions, questions that deserve solid answers. But they don’t get them. So, because they rightly need what they believe in their heart to connect with their mind, they disconnect from Christianity.

Why does this keep happening?

In short, it happens because much of the Church today is dumb. Don’t misunderstand me, I mean no disrespect when I use the term ‘dumb’. What I mean is that the Church is dumb in that they aren’t well educated in what they believe, fail miserably in fulfilling 1 Peter 3:15 that says all Christians should be prepared to give a reason for why they believe, and are woefully unable to handle any challenge to Christianity that comes from unbelievers or the cults.

The Age of the Dumb Church

Dr. R. C. Sproul has said many times that he believes we are living in the most un-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization. Over 30 years ago, former Lebanese ambassador to the United States, Charles Malik, said the following in his speech at the dedication of the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois: “I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough.”[2] 

Such statements made by Sproul, Malik, and others were not always heard in the Church. The fact is, the Church dominated intellectual thought and discourse for hundreds of years, producing such thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Edwards, and others. Such men had their opponents (the Church always will), but their detractors never ridiculed their brainpower because the Churchman’s intellectual prowess left no room for it.

But shortly after the era of Edwards, something changed. Gospel preachers like Charles Finney arose and replaced the intelligent presentation of the Gospel, which was backed by meaty Biblical exposition and solid philosophical rationale, with emotional appeals, questionable theology, personal anecdotes with humor, a celebrity-style leader, and engineered publicity.

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, in many seeker friendly or liberal churches today, the characteristics of Finney and his followers are played out each Lord’s Day with the end result being a church body unable to intellectually defend the faith they espouse.

Characteristics of the Dumb Church

How can you tell if your church exhibits traits that characterize a dumb church? Although not exhaustive, I offer these criteria that I believe help contribute to a church becoming ‘dumb’:

Where the church leadership is concerned:

  • Preaching is always topical and never expository. Selective topical series allow tough and deep theological subjects, as well as ‘controversial’ passages of Scripture, to be avoided with ease.
  • Although the church leaders offer strong external facing statements as to how they are a “Bible believing church”, the Bible is actually used and referenced very little in the sermons. Few quotations from Scripture are heard in a message, with the vast majority of all sermons consisting of personal rhetoric, humor, videos, and personal stories.
  • When the Bible is quoted, most often paraphrase versions are used, or at best a dynamic equivalence is utilized vs. a literal-formal translation such as the ESV or NASB.
  • Biblical terms such as justification, reconciliation, sanctification, propitiation, etc., are avoided like the plague.
  • There is little to no instruction for new (or existing) believers on the core doctrines of the Christian faith, and no requirement for new believers to attend such instruction.
  • There is no continuous offering of apologetic training classes that are designed to train Christians in the evidences and defense of the faith, and little to no interest of the pastors in the subject area.
  • There is no easy way for the congregation to have tough questions answered by the lead pastors; such a thing is quietly ignored, discouraged or not practiced regularly.
  • Deep Bible study programs are either absent or deliberately pushed out in favor of more ‘relevant’ classes that deal with softer subject matters (e.g. money management).
  • Adult and children’s Bible studies before/after the main church service are either omitted or are second class citizens to “Community Groups” that seek to have members meet in each other’s homes during the week, where no oversight is given as to what is done or taught. These groups, where teaching is concerned, are run “hands off” by the church leadership.
  • There is a huge emphasis on relationship building and serving in areas of the church, but no similar importance placed on growing more Biblically and theologically literate.
  • The youth department has an unmistakable concentration on entertainment, games, social interaction, etc., vs. actual teaching of Christian doctrines.
  • The church either has no library or one that is not kept up to date.
  • There is either no staff member assigned specifically to church education, or it is assigned to an already overburdened associate pastor.
  • Doctrinal statements of the church are missing or are not prominently made available. If they exist, they do not address any controversial theological topics or make very vague statements concerning them.

Where the congregation is concerned:

  • The term “Christian apologetics” is completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of the members.
  • Most of the congregation has no knowledge of church history with the names of Polycarp, Martyr, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Wesley, Whitefield, Tyndale, and others being completely foreign to them.
  • Attendance of offered classes are very low compared to overall church attendance.

A Warning to the Dumb Church

God warns us in His Word about cultivating a dumb church. For example, chastising his readers, the writer of Hebrews offers this admonition against fostering a dumb church environment: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

When you have a dumb church, the writer of Hebrews says the outcome is a body of believers that is incapable of properly discerning good and evil. Slowly but surely, error and heresy creep in with no one being the wiser. The end result are churches championing teachings such as universalism, applauding homosexual marriage, and calling evil good and good evil.

My friend Greg continues to train young believers in apologetics, but he does so at the co-op school used by Christian homeschool families and at his home. To date, no church has yet taken him up on his generous offer to ground their youth in the Christian faith, which is very sad.

My hope and prayer is that such situations stop happening, that dumb churches become the exception rather than the rule, and that smart people who are asking good questions about the Christian faith get the answers they’re looking for from learned believers and pastors like the ones Jeremiah describes: “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15).

Describing today’s current climate and the type of Christianity that’s needed to meet the challenge, apologist and author Ravi Zacharias said: “World leaders don’t have answers anymore. And I think America’s youth will rise up to the occasion . . . but it will have to be a passionate and thoughtful Christianity and not a mindless, emotive one that has no staying power.”[3] 

Some say such a thing is not need, but I disagree. One of the most haunting questions I’ve ever seen was on the back of my first church history textbook I got in seminary, which asked: “How can you live out your faith if you don’t understand it?” Anyone have a good answer?


[1] http://www.google.com.mx/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CFgQFjAB&url=http://www.amazon.com/Already-Gone-your-kids-church/dp/0890515298&ei=rqPiT-39DMfi2gWzy_DDCw&usg=AFQjCNEvoASiwktBJUzfmMd7r9Ifb7m2uQ

[2] Charles Malik, “The Other Side of Evangelism,” Christianity Today, November 7, 1980, 40.

[3] Ravi Zacharias. Just Thinking podcast. Columbia University Q&A Part 3.

 

The Chalice of Knowledge

Excellent read. I love the part “We also need to realize the role that faith plays in our attaining real knowledge. People have incorrectly believed that faith is for superstitious people, and not for the person who seeks intelligence.”

Jason Ministries ®

Truth or Dare (Article 6)

Imagine with me that medical science has figured out how to manifest academic knowledge into a pill. A college student, needing help with their course work, Science 5 goes to the pharmacy and asks the pharmacist what kind of “knowledge pills” are available. The pharmacist lifts up a case filled with samples of these modern marvels and opens it up in front of the student.

“We have pills for English literature,” the pharmacist stated as he held out a sample. The student quickly takes the pill, swallowing it and almost immediately gains new knowledge concerning English literature. “Wow! What else do you have?” asks the student.

“Well, I have some pills for several studies. Such as art history, biology, and world history,” replies the pharmacist. The student urgently asks for samples of these, and gulps them down. Again, almost in an instant, the student has acquired new knowledge relating to those subjects…

View original post 1,953 more words

Children belong to parents, not government

  As you may know this ministry attempts to avoid “political” overtones and focus on biblical truths. Sometimes however those two collide and it is our duty to speak out.

The comments said recently by Melissa Harris-Perry, an MSNBC host and Tulane University professor, on national TV are such a case. She stated  “We haven’t had a very collective notion of, these are our children. We have to break through our private idea that children belong to their parents, or children belong to their families, and recognize that children belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, we start making better investments.”

This statement, the very notion that the family is not responsible for their own children should have the “danger Will Robinson” alarms ringing in every “Christian” home. It clearly says that the biblical model for a family has no place in our society. That the family, the duties of parents and role of children God so clearly lays out is nonsense, really?

The bible from the beginning is clear on the importance of the family. God create man and then wife and gave them children (the only biblical family unit) Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2. God then saved not a bunch of men but a Noah and his family Gen 6:17-19. In Deuteronomy 6:6-9 we clearly see God setting for the command for parents not the state to teach their children. Proverbs 22:6 echo’s this saying we (Husband and wife) are to train up our children. It does not mention the nation of Israel having any responsibility here. In fact the bible is clear on the importance of the family as a whole and each persons role. The husband is the head and it is his responsibility for all that happens in the family. [Oh that we could find men of that stature today] Wives are to love and support their husbands, both parents are responsible for raising their children and seeing to their well being. Children are to love and obey their parents. God places so much importance on family interaction, family instruction and caring for each other that 1 Timothy 5:8 says (Amplified Bible) If anyone fails to provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his own family, he has disowned the faith [by failing to accompany it with fruits] and is worse than an unbeliever [who performs his obligation in these matters].

You who know me know I could go on for some time, do not worry  I won’t. Instead I will close and leave you with Rick Santorum’s response to Melissa Harris-Perry’s comments.

PATRIOT VOICES Monday, April 15, 2013

Children belong to parents, not government

Exclusive: Rick Santorum sets left straight on who can best raise kids

Rick SantorumAbout | Email | Archive

Rick Santorum, a Republican, is a former congressman and senator from Pennsylvania. In 2012 he ran as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He is co-founder of Patriot Voices and author of “American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom.”

Karen and I are blessed with seven children, including one very special needs little girl, Bella. There are many days when we are overwhelmed or dead tired or frustrated or all of the above. I’m sure all parents can relate. It’s just part of being a parent. But like millions of Americans, we also know it’s the most important job we’ll ever have.

In 2005, I wrote a book called “It Takes a Family” about the importance of a strong family in raising children and imparting virtue. The title was in contrast to a well-known book Hillary Clinton wrote, “It Takes a Village,” which offered a very different approach to raising children. She believes, as many on the left do, that the family is secondary to institutions and governments when it comes to looking after the interests of children. Karen and I disagree. We believe in the primacy of families and have worked throughout our careers on creating and promoting policies and ideas that make stronger families. The fact is, without stable families as the bedrock; our country will fracture and collapse.

Since those books were published, we have seen an expansion of at times well-meaning, government early childhood programs and laws that subtly replace parental responsibility and discretion for government indoctrination and edict. Well, if MSNBC’s latest offering is any indication; it appears that the left feels the need for subtlety has passed. Last week, Melissa Harris-Perry, an MSNBC host and Tulane University professor, said in an MSNBC network promotion spot that, “We haven’t had a very collective notion of, these are our children. We have to break through our private idea that children belong to their parents, or children belong to their families, and recognize that children belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, we start making better investments.”

So we go from telling the small businessman that “you didn’t build that” to telling parents that “they don’t belong to you!” It harkens back to Marxism’s trumping of the family in favor of the state. It’s only a matter of time before we hear another MSNBC promotion message advocating for constructing collectives for the children to be properly indoctrinated.

And while Ms. Harris-Perry’s comments made some news and upset many, another case has not gotten the attention it deserves and is equally as troubling. The Romeike family from Germany came to the United States a few years ago seeking political asylum. You see, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their five children are Christians, and they believe strongly that the textbooks used in German public schools teach against their values. However, in Germany, families must send their children to government schools. They refused and taught them at home instead. After suffering fines, threats of prison and police coming and forcibly taking their kids to school, the Romeikes left everything behind and came the U.S., where they were granted asylum.

Subsequently, the Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the asylum and ordered them to be deported back to Germany. Later this month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case. You may be surprised to learn that the Obama administration decided to weigh in on this case by filing a brief in the case advocating the Romeikes’ deportation. The president argued that there is no fundamental human right to educate your own children.

So it’s not just MSNBC that thinks that your child’s rearing belongs to the state. The president, like so many on the left, believes that the state should form the hearts and minds of our youth so they think the way the government wants them to think.

More than 100,000 signatures have been collected on a petition on the White House website from citizens who support the Romeikes’ case. I have no illusions that Attorney General Holder will alter his brief or President Obama will change his mind on who can best raise children. However, I ask you to sign this petition to at least let the Romeikes, and millions of others who look to America as the one place where dictators and bureaucrats don’t control everything, know that our president does not speak for you or America.

Rick Santorum

Bi-Weekly Prayer List – 07 April 2013

FSM/FSMWO Special Prayer

Requests Weeks of

07 – 20 April 2013

PRAISE

It looks like I am going to be very busy this summer (especially June) as the number of volunteers calling to help build the new church in increasing daily.

 PRAYER

The family of Professor Rick B., who died last week from cancer.

Mr. James recovery from surgery last Friday

Miss Redford’s sister who will have surgery this week

Miss Moran who has cancer

Tito who has pneumonia

Ester S. asks: please say a prayer for me… I need a breakthrough asap

URGENT PRAYER One of our church (Chattisgadh – India) around 400 members seating capacity building, the bejarang dal people destroyed. Please pray for this matter and we need a new church building

From The Cowboy Church Network

 Hey ya’ll,

I attend Western Star Cowboy Church in Paradise, Texas, and our Preacher is Bobby Bowden. He is a wonderful preacher, and he loves the Lord and he shows that love through his ministry.

I’m requestin’ prayer for him because many years ago he was diagnosed with cancer in his kidney. He had the kidney removed, and he was cancer free until recently, when they found a tumor on his remaining kidney, one on his liver and two on his lung.

I just ask that ya’ll pray for him, his wife, and our church as we show our support for our brother in Christ.

Lakeshore Baptist Church

Pray for us as we continue to work towards completion of our new building.

Continued healing prayers for:
Brittany G. who has health issues
Angela who is recovering from disk surgery to her neck
Mr. Sam as he continues to battle cancer
Kathy D. as she continues to battle breast cancer
Shelia W. diabetes related issues
Bob and Vickie B. Multiple Scoliosis
Rich B. recovering (near 2 years) from heart surgery
Miss Violet P. who was diagnosed with cancer and is not doing well
Miss Jackson who is ill
Don B. who has cancer
Miss B’s sister who has cancer
Greg L. who is recovering from Heart Surgery
Ray K. who has cancer
Mr. Morris who is also ill
Angela’s dad who is sick
Ms. Ruth who was diagnosed with a growth on her brain
Mickey who has health issues
Brian P from MI who has brain cancer
Susie S. who has health issues
Lynn who will undergo triple bypass
Randy B. who has cancer in his right eye
Charmaine who has breast cancer
Fred M. who has rickets
Nola a little girl with pneumonia
Pastor Don’s mother in law
Ms. Helen’s sister in law
Jimmy P. heart surgery
Miss Vivian recovering in the hospital

Employment for;

Rusty, Robert O., Iva F., Jessica R., Mike T. and Tom D. seeking fulltime work.

Continued Prayers for Naida and I in our work in Lakeshore.

Pray we can reach folks in the community, that we will be an asset to Pastor Don and the church here.

Pray for Naida’s family, especially her sons she left in MA.

Pray for our financial needs to be met so we can continue the work here.

Fellow Ministries

Wells of Hope Academy, Uganda:  

 We have a deadline of 8th April 2013 to benefit from the Electricity supply waiver ,pray that they can give us more grace as we look for the money.

Francis Ssuubi, Director

You can contribute or follow on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/139936426116070/ or Website: www.wellsofhope.org Telephone; 256772407716

Prison Fellowship

Prison Fellowship invites you to join us in praying for the work being done in prisons throughout the country, and for the lives being touched by this ministry. This week, please pray:

•for inmates and the in-prison team at Dixon Correctional Center in Illinois finishing up the 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity study on Saturday, April 6.

•for the women’s Bible study at the McHenry Correctional Facility. Pray for transformation, and that the women participating will be washed in the blood of Christ, made clean and whole.

•for the Operation Starting Line collaborators meeting in Lansdowne, Virginia, on April 8 for their spring meeting.

•for prisoners in facilities across the country, that they might know salvation, safety, and improved relationships with their children and families. May God provide more open doors to share the Gospel and more laborers to spread the Good News.

•for more churches to hear the Spirit’s call to serve as Angel Tree churches.

International Network of Prison Ministries (INPM)

Please pray for all those associated with and benefiting from the network.

Serge Taran, Founder **International Network of Prison Ministries; http://prisonminist ry.net/support. htm

Missionaries

BLUE GRASS SING AND JAM

For prayer needs this week, please be in prayer for Harold who volunteers parking campers at many of the Florida festivals we do. He is having cataract surgery next week. Also, Jim is scheduled for total knee replacement on May 7th. We are praising the Lord that Annie’s cancer numbers are down and we ask that you continue to pray for this young mother. We are believing the Lord will bring her to complete and total healing.

Lastly, please be in prayer for our kids who are in the process of selling their house. Pray that the Lord works out all the details in His perfect timing.

As always, if you wish to be removed from the list, just email us and we’ll take your name off.

Friends of Jesus,
Mike & Mary Robinson
www.bluegrassgospelsing.com
REQUESTS  FROM ARBCA MEMBER CHURCHES

Special Project for 2012 – 2013

Pray for The Cuba project. It is the only project not yet fully funded.  To complete the project $2,717 of the $10,000 pledged is still needed.  Funds for this year’s project will be collected only through the end of April. 

From Grace Baptist Church in Van, TX

Greetings in the name of our most high and holy God, Christ Jesus our Lord,

Our church family is excited to welcome two new couples  who have joined in the past two months, Brother Paul Takach, his wife Dana (two young children, Leah and John), and Brother Micheal and Jennifer Farrell, (three young children, Micheal, John and Elayna; and two foster  care young ladies, Jara and Kaitlyn).  These have been a great blessing to our body this past quarter.  Another family has been regularly visiting for a couple of months, with a view to joining in the near future.  We pray God may truly bring this forward also. 

We are also thankful that a man has been nominated for the office of elder.  We are awaiting the Lord’s answer as he and his wife consider God’s will in this area.   May God bring this along in His own timing and will.

We are actively looking for property of our own, but are very grateful for the Community Center which has been a wonderful blessing for the past 8 or so years.  This can be a prayer request for all, along with praying for a continued spirit of unity in the things of Christ.

In Christ Jesus our only mediator,
Pastor Cliff Cooper

Faith in Focus: Back to basics

This article about the Biblical view of marriage by our friend, Pastor David Campbell, recently appeared in The Sentinel Newspaper. May the Lord use it as a reminder of His intent for the institution of marriage.

What would we find if we could go back to the beginnings of marriage? It’s increasingly believed that marriage is nothing more than a human idea. We ourselves invented it. We are totally free, therefore, to make our own rules for it. Should a marriage be for life? That’s up to us. Should it be just between a man and a woman?  Our right to choose.

The very first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, has been called the book of origins. It does what no other book in the world does. It takes us back to earth’s earliest days and shows us the beginning of things – including the beginning of marriage. What do we find? Marriage is actually God’s idea, not ours. He was the one who established it and he has laid down certain rules for it.

We learn, for example, that it is intended to be between a man and a woman. Throughout the Bible, homosexual relations are forbidden and condemned. For that reason the question of same-sex marriage, so hotly debated today, ought not to be even raised. Nothing could be more contrary to the will of our Maker.

Marriage is also intended to be permanent. Christians do differ over the question of when a divorce is permissible (though there is substantial agreement that it is permissible in the case of marital unfaithfulness). But there is no disagreement as to what our Creator’s wish is. Marriage is to be “till death us do part”. And when instead a marriage fails, it is always through sin on the part of the husband, the wife, or both.

Marriage is the one setting in which there is to be sexual union. How out of date does that sound? Sex before marriage, sex with someone other than your spouse after marriage, sex with someone of the same gender – aren’t we free to decide for ourselves? Not according to our Creator. He is certainly no prude. Sex is for pleasure and by his design. But strictly within the context of a husband and wife relationship.

And of course, as an inevitable follow on from that, it is exclusively within the setting of a marriage that children are to be born. Our Maker has established an order: first the creation of a secure and loving environment through a man and a woman entering into a life-long commitment to each other. Then the parenting of children.

A great deal of today’s discussion about marriage focuses on human rights. If our thinking and practice are to be correct, however, we need to begin with God’s rights. After all marriage is his institution. He has a right, therefore, to set the rules. And he has done so. Our duty is accordingly straightforward: follow the Maker’s instructions.

That is also our wisdom. Violating the will of God for marriage always has negative consequences – for the individuals concerned, for children, for society as a whole. We cannot disregard the Maker’s instructions with impunity. But the reverse is also true. God gave us marriage for our good and for our happiness. When it is honored in society, protected by law, and our whole approach to it shaped by his will, we may confidently expect his blessing.

David Campbell, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church 777 W North Street Carlisle, PA

God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

Yesterday my wife and I had the please of spending worship and fellowship time with our friends at First Baptist Church Clinton, LA.

Mitch Axsum, one of the elders brought the adult study on God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility . I found it most helpful and have with his permission attached it here for you to use.

God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

Bi-Weekly Prayer List 24 March 2013

FSM/FSMWO Special Prayer

Requests Weeks of

24 March – 06 April 2013

PRAISE

Lakeshore Baptist Church Thank God for the good weather, we now have 24 of the 48 wooden piling in. You can see more at www.rebuildlakeshore.com

PRAYER

Duncan requests: My wife, Anna, is pregnant with twin boys due in August. I ask prayers for her health, the health of the twins, and for Anna’s conversion to Christ. I am grateful for your prayers. In Him.

Many of you have been praying for Nicholas. Here is an update. The Lord has answered your prayers. He is a God of miracles. Peace, Laszlo Pasztor, Grace Baptist Church Carlisle PA

I spoke with Nicholas’ father last evening. Nicholas is surprising the medical community every day. He has been transferred from the intensive cardiac care unit into a regular room, all of the tubing has been removed, he is eating, making sense when he talks, and if you didn’t know his condition when he arrived at the hospital you would not believe his story. “White lung” which is just one of the complications, is deadly – you don’t recover from this condition. There is some residual fluid in the lungs (pneumonia) but that is improving day by day. Every time I speak with his father some more facts come to the surface.

To go back to the morning his mother found him in his bed dead – Michelle is a nurse so she knew what to do; although his body was blue and there was no pulse, she got him onto the floor and started chest compressions which she continued until the ambulance arrived at the house. She was able to get a weak pulse.

Arriving at the hospital in a comatose state, Nick’s family was not given any hope. It was decided to life flight Nicholas to the Baltimore University Hospital. When the transport arrived and Nicholas’ condition was assessed by the transport team they refused to transport him saying it was useless because he would die for certain during the transport….they told His mother they were 100% certain that he would not make it to the Hospital. The family insisted but was told to say there last goodbyes because it would be the only chance they would have to see Nicholas alive. The family stood praying and watching in disbelief as their lifeless son was airlifted away.

By now dozens of people were praying. More phone calls were made and frantic emails were sent out and hundreds of people were praying. Another bad report from the hospital prompted more emails and phone calls and eventually there were thousands of people crying out to God on behalf of Nicholas. Isn’t there something in the Bible about the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous? Of course there is!!

Just to let you know what effectual means so you will get a clearer picture of what happens when you pray: productive, successful, compelling, forceful, powerful, and persuasive.

And then there is fervent: passionate, intense, heated, ardent, burning, flaming, fierce.

And so, putting it all together – while productive, compelling, forceful, persuasive, powerful, passionate, intense, burning, ardent and fierce prayers were being made, the answer was on the way!!!!!

Nicholas still needs our prayers as there are other complications that need to be assessed i.e., brain damage (We believe there will be none!) etc. His family still needs prayer, especially his siblings who cannot go into the house and are staying with relatives. His mother and father are exhausted and not sleeping well. And pray for anything else the Lord puts on your heart. His father, who is a pastor, also has a full time job, and he had to start back to work today.

My grateful job now is letting you know how important all of you have been on this journey. We could not have made it through this test without your strength, encouragement, and words of comfort. When the Body of Christ comes together as one there is power to move mountains and bring life where there is death. Never ever think that your prayers do not count. God says they do! Keep Praying! Keep moving mountains! Remember what ardent and fervent mean.

A thousand Thanks from the Donnelly family. And thank you from me, Nicholas’ great aunt, Dorothy Ross

Lakeshore Baptist Church

Pray for those in the community to join us in fellowship

Pray for the ongoing construction of the new church foundation; specifically for more volunteers to continue the work.

 

Continued healing prayers for:
Brittany G. who has health issues
Angela who is recovering from disk surgery to her neck
Mr. Sam as he continues to battle cancer
Kathy D. as she continues to battle breast cancer
Shelia W. diabetes related issues
Bob and Vickie B. Multiple Scoliosis
Rich B. recovering (near 2 years) from heart surgery
Violet P. who was recently diagnosed with cancer
Miss Jackson who is ill
Don B. who has cancer
Miss B’s sister who has cancer
Greg L. who is recovering from Heart Surgery
Ray K. who has cancer
Mr. Morris who is also ill
Angela’s dad who is sick
Rick B. battling cancer
Ms. Ruth who was diagnosed with a growth on her brain
Mickey who has health issues
Brian P from MI who has brain cancer
Susie S. who has health issues
Lynn who will undergo triple bypass
Randy B. who has cancer in his right eye
Charmaine who has breast cancer
Fred M. who has rickets
Nola a little girl with pneumonia
Pastor Don’s mother in law
Ms. Helen’s sister in law
Jimmy P. heart surgery

Employment for; Rusty, Robert O., Iva F., Jessica R., Mike T. and Tom D. seeking fulltime work.

Prayers for Naida and I in our work in Lakeshore.

Pray we can reach folks in the community, that we will be an asset to Pastor Don and the church here.

Pray for Naida’s family, especially her sons she left in MA.

Pray for our financial needs to be met so we can continue the work here.

 

Fellow Ministries

Freedom Ministries, Elizabethtown, KY

God is blessing our ministry. At this time we’re not doing pen-paling with NEW prisoners. Still write to those with serious struggles. We continue to write our regulars. We’re involved with the reentry council trying to stir up some interest there. Having a family engagement setting next week. The KY DOC will be there to facilitate it. Street ministry is going well. God is sending people to help out as we feed from our van those living out of motels once a month. Rick also prays with people at the hospital once a week. That is going well too, praise the Lord!

Please pray for God’s guidance blessing and financial support for this ministry.

Wells of Hope Academy, Uganda:  

We request you to pray as follows:

1. Children will be visiting their parents in Prison on 4th April, pray for God to provide funds for travel and lunches on that day!

2. We need USD 1100 urgently to make a Easter Monday day out for the children and for a special meal for them on Easter day. We have planned to take them to the Zoo/ and Beach to have fun.

3. We need items to sale for the Garage sale this June, 2013

4. Pray for Our Executive Director to get travel funds to attend the World Congress Against the Death Penalty, taking place in Madrid on 12 June, we want to raise our concerns in regard to the effect of Death penalty on Children.

5. Pray for Gilbert one of the children ,is admitted in intensive care unit!

6. Pray for Wells of Hope to buy a car because hiring one is costly and inconvenient. Same amount used to hire a car in year car buy a new one.

7. most of the children lack warm clothing, they need school sweaters and jackets , May God release USD 1420 to get sweaters and jackets shoes for all the children!.

8. Most of the children lack school shoes and sandals to use after the classes which makes them to look shabby and they can easily hurt their feet,we need $ 1400

9. The beds are not enough are most of them and broken, some children sleep on the floor. We need USD 7200 urgently to get 60 metallic double beds!

10. Pray for more children to be sponsored our target is 80!

11. Pray for Wells of Hope Children’s Choir to make a tour of the US next year!

12. For the partners who continue to support wells of hope sacrificially, that God will bless their families .

13. Pray that we can put verandah and aprons on the buildings or else the foundation of the buildings is under great threat, may God provide $ 5370.

14. Pray that God provides money for the play field and games equipment for the children to play at Wells of Hope.

Francis Ssuubi, Director

You can contribute or follow on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/139936426116070/ or Website: www.wellsofhope.org Telephone; 256772407716

 Prison Fellowship

Prison Fellowship invites you to join us in praying for the work being done in prisons throughout the country, and for the lives being touched by this ministry. This week, please pray:

•for the new Gospel choir beginning at Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan, under Prison Fellowship’s direction.

•for Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO Jim Liske as he speaks at the Transform World 2020 Prayer Summit, in Kansas City, Missouri, March 25-27.

•for the Prisoners to Pastors program beginning this week at the Muskegon Correctional Facility.

•for Jim Liske as he attends Easter services at the Central Florida Reception Center and the Desoto Annex. Pray for Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers participating in the celebration, and for the staffs of the two prisons.

•for Garland Hunt, who will be attending Easter services in two Texas prisons: Sanders Estes Unit in Venus on Saturday morning and the Federal Correctional Institute-Seagoville in Seagoville on Sunday morning.

International Network of Prison Ministries (INPM)

Please pray for all those associated with and benefiting from the network.

Serge Taran, Founder **International Network of Prison Ministries; http://prisonminist ry.net/support. htm

Missionaries

 No requests this period

 REQUESTS  FROM ARBCA MEMBER CHURCHES

 From Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Lenox, Georgia

 We covet your ongoing prayers for the continued steady spiritual growth of our church family as a whole.

 With gratitude and gladness to be in the service of our Lord with you all,

Pastor Kurt M. Smith
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church
Lenox, Georgia

From Reformed Baptist Church of Kansas City

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Know that our Wednesday evening prayer meetings regularly include prayer from the ARBCA missions prayer list and the weekly email updates from the churches.  We find it helpful to pray for our sister churches and then similarly for our own flock, as we share many of the same concerns and needs. 

Feel free to pray for us and yourselves with the following list. J

· …this season of pruning would quickly be followed by a long season of fruit: attenders becoming members; increase of visitors and families; addition of like-minded workers able to assist in the work at RBCKC; rather than discouragement, an encouragement of increased Christ-centered unity, love, and godliness among our existing members and attenders.

 · ..the Spirit will produce much fruit in our flock and families through our studies in 1 Timothy, Baptist History, and the Baptist Confession.

 · ..our weekly prayer meetings would be marked by an increased fervor and effectiveness.

 · ..an increased love both for Christ and the lost, so that we would share Christ with the lost and rejoice in the lost turning to Christ.

 · ..our youth—especially the teenage boys—would feel the seriousness of their sin and their need for Christ, turn to Christ, and grow in godliness and maturity.

 · ..wisdom and strength and holiness for me as a bi-vocational pastor who is now the only officer in the church, that I might not just “get by” but excel to God’s glory in leading and loving my own family and my church family while adorning Christ in a secular job, as well.

Because He first loved us,
Pastor Martin Nish
Reformed Baptist Church of Kansas City

 

Biblical Worship

Often times in the world today we see “churches” engaged in “worship services”. They are looking to provide attendees with a “God experience” wanting them to feel good about their time there. This modernism in our churches is often times far from Biblical Worship. It focuses on the attendee not God.

The link below will take you to a sermon by a dear Brother in Christ Pastor Conrad Mbewe. of Kabwata Baptist Church, Zambia. This sermon was preached at the Barberton May 2009 African Pastors’ Conference. of Kabwata Baptist Church, Zambia.

For more information on the APC, see our favorite links on the right.

Also you can see some of Pastor Mbewe’s recent sermons at http://www.kabwatabaptistchurch.org/

BIBLICAL WORSHIP:  http://vimeo.com/6881300

Bi-Weekly Prayer List 10 March 2013

FSM/FSMWO Special Prayer

Requests Weeks of

10-23 Mar 2013

PRAISE

 Lakeshore Baptist Church Thank God for the good weather, we now have the first level of the concrete columns poured.

 PRAYER

From our online friends:

 Imogene Johnson  I pray sin, sickness, disease, oppression, poverty and the wickedness of the devil shall not prevail against your people but will be reversed now and forever in the name of Jesus. Let no weapon formed against them be condemned. You are the God of 2nd chances and you have forgiven all their transgressions also have blocked them out of your mind. Give your people the grace to repent and receive you in their heart. Glory be to our father.

 Doreen Lovell Adonai I come before you in the name of Yeshua our soon coming king of glory. I pray You open the flood gates of heaven and pour out your blessings upon Your people. Stretch forth you right hand dear God and heal your people who are suffering, we claim spiritual healing, financial healing and physical healing. In the name of Yeshua, (Jesus) we take authority over the air, east, west, north and south; we break down the strong hold of Satan and say depart Satan no weapon form against us shall prosper. Father we place before you BINOY and his family, we pray for your direct intervention, we pray that their needs will be met, give them a testimony Abba one to show the world that you reigneth forever and ever. Amen

For Reformation Today magazine that God will continue to use it for HIS glory.

For Brother Erroll Hulse and the group training black ministers on Africa

Cowboy Church Mon Mar 4, 2013 5:59 am (PST) . Posted by: “Cowboy Pastor Dan”

To all my friends; You may be wondering why you have not heard from me in several months. Some of you know I am “The Last Circuit Riding Preacher” On September 30 of 2012 we (My son Gary, my wife Grace and I) left the Butler County Cowboy Church on horseback to begin our journey. I will be riding through all the lower 48 states sharing the Love of Jesus, helping those that cannot help themselves, and collecting stories of faith, values, perseverance, and hard ships for a book. Now I will be riding horseback through the Northern states during the summer the Southern states during the winter and the middle states spring and fall. I suspect that this journey could take 3 years or more depending where the Lord leads us and how long I need to stay to help someone. If I come across an elderly person that needs 3 weeks of help there we will stay. This means we have no idea how long the journey will take and only God knows, he knows where we are going and where we will be staying. This journey is not about me or my son or my wife but about sharing the Love of Jesus and doing his work. I would like for you to follow our webpage and Facebook then share it with your friends. Stay safe in the saddle (Founded in Christ) and Out of the wire (Resist Satan’s traps) http://www.facebook .com/pages/ THE-LAST- CIRCUIT-RIDING- PREACHER/ 321054852185 http://www.the- last-circuit- riding-preacher. com/

Check out the updates on Facebook and our website. God Bless Cowboy Pastor Dan Boyd 316-722-1609

Lakeshore Baptist Church

Pray for those in the community to join us in fellowship

Pray for the ongoing construction of the new church foundation; specifically for more volunteers to continue the work.

Continued healing prayers for:

Brittany G. who has health issues
Angela who is recovering from disk surgery to her neck
Mr. Sam who begins chemo soon
Kathy D. undergoing Radiation treatment for Breast Cancer
Shelia W. diabetes related issues
Bob and Vickie B. Multiple Scoliosis
Rich B. recovering (near 2 years) from heart surgery
Violet P. who was recently diagnosed with cancer
Miss Jackson who is ill
Ms. Redford who is ill
Don B. who has cancer
Miss B’s sister who has cancer
Greg L. who is recovering from Heart Surgery
Ray K. who has cancer
Mr. Morris who is also ill
Angela’s dad who is sick

Employment for;

Rusty, Robert O., Iva F., Jessica R., Mike T. and Tom D. seeking fulltime work.

Prayers for Naida and I in our work in Lakeshore.

Pray we can reach folks in the community, that we will be an asset to Pastor Don and the church here.

Pray for Naida’s family, especially her sons she left in MA.

Pray for our financial needs to be met so we can continue the work here.

Fellow Ministries

Bluegrass Gospel Sing and Jam

Please be in prayer for our friend Lynda and the family situation she is heartbroken over. We also ask for prayer for the passing of Verna Southard. Verna and her sister Mary would attend the Maine festivals together. We called them “the ladies” – both sweet and dear folks. Verna lost her short battle with cancer. Please pray for Mary and for the rest of their family including Verna’s two sons. A Pastor friend of ours’ wife has some scary looking spots which will need to be further tested. Please uplift Susan in prayer. Please continue to lift up Ginny and Val for lung cancer, Sarah for her battle with leukemia. Annie for her battle with lymphoma and today a man named Dick Burdo from the northeast is having open heart surgery. God is able to answer these heart petitions and we thank you in advance for partnering with us in prayer.

We want to congratulate Jeff & Becky Haley (Becky Buller) on the birth of their baby girl, Romy Elizabeth. We love Becky and know she and Jeff will be wonderful parents.

May the Lord bless you in all that you encounter this week.

In His Name,
Mike & Mary Robinson
www.bluegrassgospelsing.com
 

Wells of Hope Academy, Uganda:  

We pray that we can have funds to protect our children from Lightening, yesterday there were deaths in a another school here http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/640442-lightning-kills-2-teachers-at-school.html

Francis Ssuubi, Director

You can contribute or follow on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/139936426116070/ or Website: www.wellsofhope.org Telephone; 256772407716 

International Network of Prison Ministries (INPM)

Please pray for all those associated with and benefiting from the network.

Serge Taran, Founder **International Network of Prison Ministries; http://prisonminist ry.net/support. htm

Missionaries

The Tabb’s in Ireland

Greetings one and all, things are getting interesting over here to say the least – all good as far as I can see!

UPDATE: I’M BACK TWO WEEKS FROM USA AFTER SOME TRAINING IN ATLANTA AROUND COACHING & LEADING PEOPLE, AS WELL AS HOW TO COLLABORATE TO SERVE THE CITY WE LIVE IN. SINCE BACK I’VE HAD MEETINGS WITH PEOPLE IN COMMUNITY AROUND OUR VISION FOR PEOPLE OF BALLYMUN, AS WELL AS HOW WE MIGHT BETTER SERVE OUR COMMUNITY.

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS: REVAMPED SCHEDULE TO BE MORE INTENTIONAL ABOUT BEING WITH PEOPLE, SHARING LIFE TOGETHER – INCLUDING MY FAMILY!!!

WE HAVE MET WITH SCHOOL IN BALLYMUN AND BRANCH OF CITY GOVERNMENT TO TAKEOVER SCHOOL SPORTS FACILITIES WHICH WE HELPED IMPROVE OVER PAST 8 YEARS. WE WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGEMENT OF SPORTS AREA DURING NON SCHOOL HOURS. WE JUST NEED TO SECURE $200,000 OF FUNDING TO RENOVATE THE ARENA ERECTED IN 2009. WE HAVE A VERY GENEROUS OFFER PENDING FROM A PHILANTHROPIST IN USA THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO GO FORWARD WITH THIS PROJECT. LOOKING AT JULY TIME FRAME FOR SUCH.

WE HAVE ENTERED INTO NEGOTIATIONS FOR BIGGER OFFICE SPACE NEXT TO OUR CURRENT LOCATION. THE NEW OFFICES WOULD BE BIGGER, PRIVATE AND ALLOW US TO BE OPEN LATE AT NIGHT, AS WELL AS WEEKENDS. WE WOULD BE ABLE TO DO MUCH MORE WITH THE SPACE IF WE WERE AWARDED IT. RIGHT NOW ITS BETWEEN US AND 1 OTHER ORGANIZATION AS TO WHO WILL OCCUPY THE SITE ONCE RENOVATIONS ARE COMPLETE IN 8 WEEKS TIME.

MET WITH CITY GOVERNMENT AND ASKED FOR PIECE OF PRIME REAL ESTATE IN BALLYMUN TO BUILD A 2,500 SEAT BASKETBALL VENUE. WE WOULD PARTNER WITH A TOP DUBLIN BASKETBALL CLUB ON THIS PROJECT, WITH THEM RAISING THE FUNDS TO BUILD THE FACILITY AND BE THE MAIN TENANT. THE GOVERNMENT WAS HAPPY WITH THE OUR PARTNERSHIP AND IDEA, ASKING FOR A FORMAL PROPOSAL. WE HAVE SUBMITTED THE PROPOSAL AND NOW AWAIT THE GOVERNMENTS RESPONSE.

HAD MEETING WITH PEOPLE OF INFLUENCE WHO WERE OPEN TO SUPPLYING A MINISTRY CENTER IN NEXT COUPLE YEARS THAT WOULD SERVE THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY. THE VISION WOULD BE FOR THE CENTER TO HAVE A FOOD BANK, CLOTHING DISTRIBUTION AREA, MEDICAL & DENTAL CHECKUPS, FITNESS & DIETARY SUGGESTIONS, AS WELL AS PROVIDE SUPPORT AROUND EDUCATION, COUNSELING, ALCOHOL, DRUGS, GAMBLING, CHILDCARE, SUICIDE FAMILY & HOUSING ISSUES (HOMELESS, REPAIRS ETC).

SAI’S INTERN FROM SWEDEN (MADDIE) WAS BAPTIZED SUNDAY. MADDIE BEGAN WITH SAI IN SEPTEMBER AS A VOLUNTEER FOR 11 MONTHS. WHEN SHE ARRIVED, MADDIE HAD BEEN EXPERIENCING YEARS OF ANXIETY AND DISTURBED SLEEP PATTERNS. SHE HAD LOST HER DAD ROUGHLY 6 YEARS AGO TO A CAR ACCIDENT AND ALSO HAD OTHER ISSUES FROM HER UPBRINGING. WE’VE WALKED ALONGSIDE HER FOR THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS AND HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO WITNESS HER LIFE TRANSFORM INTO A LIFE OF PEACE, ABLE TO RECIVE A FULL NIGHTLY SLEEP.

ONE MAN I’VE BEEN MEETING AND COACHING OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS LAUNCHED A MENS BREAKFAST MORNING IN HIS HOUSE EVERY OTHER WEEK FOR MEN FROM BALLYMUN COMMUNITY. WE ARE ALL EXCITED ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF THIS NEW SERVICE TO MEN HERE, AS ITS MUCH NEEDED – AND YOU CAN’T BEAT AN IRISH FRY

ANOTHER MAN I MEET WEEKLY WITH RECENTLY RECEIVED SOME BAD NEWS CONCERNING HIS WIFE’S HEALTH (BLACK MASS FOUND ON HER KIDNEY). THE NEWS WASN’T GOOD AND THEY WERE LED TO FEAR FOR THE WORST. HE DECIDED TO PUT HIS TRUST IN GOD VERSUS THE DOCTORS REPORT. WE PRAYED FOR HER 2 DAYS AGO, AND AT YESTERDAYS MEETING THE DR. TOLD THEM THERE WAS NO REASON TO WORRY ABOUT THE BLACK MASS! YEARS AGO THIS SAME FAMILY WAS TOLD BY DOCTORS SHE COULDN’T CONCEIVE BECAUSE OF OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS SHE HAS. WE HAD PRAYED AND TODAY, THEY ARE THE PROUD PARENTS OF BOTH A BOY AND A GIRL!!!

PRAYER REQUESTS:

1) PRAY FOR AMY & I REGARDING THE DELIVERY OF OUR 2ND SON – DUE APRIL 5TH. PRAY FOR A PAIN FREE AND QUICK DELIVERY. JAIDAN TURNED 6 THIS WEEK AND IS EXCITED ABOUT HIS BROTHERS ARRIVAL!

2) PRAY FOR THE VISION FOR BALLYMUN – THE COMMUNITY TO DESIRE, RECEIVE AND APPLY THE GOOD NEWS WE ARE BRINGING TO THEM. PRAY FOR MY COACHING AND EQUIPPING OF PEOPLE HERE, THAT THEY WOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT THE VISION AND LIVE THE MISSION, WHILE THEY GROW INTO THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW FOR OUR COMMUNITY. PRAY FOR A WOMAN TO LEAD OTHER WOMEN IN BALLYMUN.

3) PRAY FOR FAVOR…WITH PHILANTHROPIC ORGANIZATIONS, GOVERNMENTS, DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL, NGO’S, SCHOOLS, CLUBS & SUPPORTERS AS WE LOOK TO MANAGE VENUES, BUILD NEW FACILITIES & COLLABORATE WITH AGENCIES FOR THE GOOD OF THE BALLYMUN PEOPLE.

4) PRAY FOR ENOUGH FINANCING TO FUND ALL THE NECESSARY IMPROVEMENTS – FACILITIES, PROGRAMS & RESOURCES.

5) PRAY FOR YOUTH IN CLUB WHO ARE HUNGRY AND EAGER TO FOLLOW GOD. THAT THEY MIGHT LEAD OTHERS AWAY FROM DESTRUCTIVE PATHS AND INTO A HAPPY, AS WELL AS MORE FULFILLING LIFE.

6) PRAY THAT I WOULD GO SLOW AS I BEGIN TO MEET UP WITH BALLYMUN AND DUBLIN LEADERS OF INFLUENCE, DESIRING TO BUILD HEALTHY, OPEN AND DEEP RELATIONSHIPS.

7) PRAY OUR UPCOMING COMMUNITY FESTIVAL, NIGHT OF HOPE, SPORTS CAMP & UPWARD BASKETBALL LEAGUE WOULD BE WELL ATTENDED, RECEIVED AND IMPACTED BY PEOPLE WHO ATTEND.

I AM IN AWE WHEN I THINK ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED AND IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN WITH SUCH A SMALL AMOUNT OF FINANCIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES. GOD AMAZES ME DAILY!!!

ALL THE BEST,

DANIEL, AMY, JAIDAN AND TABLET

Remnant Fellowship Ministry Kottayam ,Kerala ,India

 Dear brothers and sister in Christ. We need your earnest prayer for one of our Ministry member who he is suffering from Cancer. He has 3 children and his wife does no appreciated job. His wife goes for dish wash in rich houses around and earning for daily bread. He is under the treatment from RCC Kerala, India. I head this news just today and it made me much worried thinking the future of his children. Please pray for him. We really wish to support the children in their education. Just 100 USD is needed for 3 children for their education in a month. Requesting everyone to pray for him and for getting a support for the children. If any well-wisher needs clarification on …please do contact me on e-mail or talk to me on Skype so that you can meet the family online when they come for the prayer meeting next. Everyone can help him through your prayer too….please do so .his name is BINOY Pastor Jeraldin  President, The Remnant prayer fellowship ministry

 

NEWS FROM ARBCA MEMBER CHURCHES

From Grace Reformed Baptist Church , Placerville CA

The Lord’s Day Ministry of the Word has continued in the Morning Service in 1 & 2 Thessalonians, focusing recently on the important theme of being found ready on the great day of our Lord’s return in glory. In the Evening Service, we have recently concluded the sermon series in the nook of psalms and have begun the gospel of John, glorying in the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Since the beginning of 2007, we have been studying the 2nd London Baptist Confession in our adult Sunday School hour. This continues to be very beneficial in teaching our people the content of the Faith we confess and what it means to be a confessional reformed baptist church.   

We have seen some changes in our congregation over the past year.  Some of our members have transferred to other congregations but we continue to see visitors from time to time, some of whom have stayed and been added to our membership.  We are thankful and rejoice that a number of our young people professed faith, were baptized and added to our membership in the past year. We are also encouraged with very positive signs of the work of grace in others and their expressed interest in seeking baptism and church membership.   We continue to visit our neighborhood around the church facility during the Christmas and Easter seasons, distributing CDs with an evangelistic message together with tracts and invitations to our services.  We visit some two hundred homes in our community.  Generally we are politely received, though there are a few who remain resistant, and many who are indifferent.  To-date we have had very few take up the invitation to our services but we press on by the Lord’s grace and continue to pray that the Lord will open hearts to receive His Word.  The door to continue visiting a senior living home has recently closed due to a change of management.  Please pray for wisdom as we engage with the authorities.   We are also considering a brother in our congregation as a candidate for the eldership and another young man, who desires to study for the gospel ministry.  We are thankful for these men and their desires to serve Christ, His Kingdom and His church.

A man, who has attended our church for a number of years died suddenly whilst on vacation overseas.  Whilst we were saddened by this unexpected news, we rejoice that he is now with the Lord in glory.  His family are flying in this week, and, DV, the memorial service is planned for early next week.  Please keep his family in your prayers.

As we look forward to the rest of the year, we continue to pray that the Lord may be pleased to use our testimony to the gospel to call many in our community from darkness to light and that the saints, whom He has gathered here, may grow in grace and knowledge of the truth, looking forward and upward to the realization of the sure and certain hope which is ours in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are glad to be part of the Association and seek, by God’s grace, to remember to pray for the Lord’s blessing upon all of our sister churches. May it please Him to use each of our churches, in the locations He has placed us by His providence, to bring sinners to the knowledge of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to build up His saints in their most holy faith.

We look forward to seeing you all, DV, in Bremen, In.

On behalf of the elders and members of Grace Reformed Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Oliver

From The Bible Baptist Church of Galway, Galway, New York

Greeting from Galway, New York! We are greatly encouraged. It seems like, a long night is coming to a close and we are awakening to a new day. There was a time when there were so few in attendance and offerings were so low that I wondered if I were to leave, would the church doors be closed. However, in the past year we have doubled in attendance, a harmonious and loving spirit prevails, and we are finally having much needed funds for repairs on our two historic buildings, the parsonage (over 200 years old) and the meeting house (over 150 years old).

Last year we repaired the bathrooms in the church and parsonage, ripping up rotten flooring and replacing it, building a shed for the oil tank at the church, and major rewiring of the parsonage, as well as replacing rotten siding at the parsonage. We have a list of repairs slated for this coming year as well. When repairs like this are done in a small village, the community takes notice. One winter many years ago (this is my 36th year here in Galway), we were so impoverished that we met in the parsonage instead of the church. Someone in the community came up and asked me if the church was closed. In a small village nothing gets overlooked.

The overall trajectory of attendance during my time here is that it grew to fifty on Sunday mornings, declined to an average weekly attendance of twelve, and now we are in the twenties, with a committed and giving people. I truly marvel at the offerings. A lot of our current growth is the recovery of those who attended years ago. There is no joy quite like the joy of one who has regained his footing and once again is standing on the Rock. No more being carried away with the currents of this world, it is like being saved all over again. Perhaps for some, it is in reality the beginning of their Christian life, as it is easy to have a form of religion, but know nothing of its genuine life and power.

I am assisted in ministry here each week, with my brother in Christ and long-time friend, Michael Churchill, a Presbyterian elder who, although his views on baptism prevent him from being a member of our church, has poured his heart into the ministry here. He is an excellent teacher, has a true shepherd’s heart, and loves and is loved by the flock. Currently, Michael is using a Sproul video course on doctrine called “Foundations” as the springboard for teaching Sunday School. Michael also preaches on occasion as well. Last year, I preached from Proverbs, a survey of Genesis through I Samuel, and now I’m slowing the pace by teaching the life of David event by event.

The quarterly that I write is opening doors here in Galway. It is called Life in Galway. I am currently writing issue thirteen, the spring issue and it will be out on March 21st.  Through this writing project, I want to convey to my neighbors that I am interested in them. The articles are about the people (past and present), events, organizations, and everyday life here in Galway.  The Galway Preservation Society and the Town Historian files every copy as it chronicles what living in Galway is like today for future generations. I always put something in to bring the Bible and our Lord into the conversation. One special unnumbered Christmas issue was devoted to the gospel, and an ARBCA church in the mid-west even reprinted it to use as a tract. You can see all the issues at lifeingalway.wordpress.com. Click “PDF Files of Past Issues” on the menu bar.

Last year, the Lord gave us a good opportunity to sow gospel seed in two funerals of individuals greatly loved by the Galway community. I already wrote about Martha Apicella-Shoutis and Jack Sleight in Life in Galway (see past issues). In her funeral, I spoke about how Martha came to Christ and the hope that she had. There were many unsaved relatives and friends present. Jack’s funeral was at airplane hangar at the airport on his property and it was packed-out. After sharing about Jack’s life, I told those gathered how Christ has taken the sting out of death. As most were not church-goers (such is the darkness of the Northeast), I am sure it was the first time some have ever heard the gospel.

In closing, let me relate one more incident. Last weekend Martha and I attended the funeral of John Humme. John was a pastor here in our church from 1957-60. It was his first pastorate. He was a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary. Though not a Baptist school, John’s time at Westminster did not alter his strong Baptist convictions.  His first year here he got married to a lovely Presbyterian girl and the wedding at the church was the talk of the community. Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, John loved Galway with its rural setting. His first child, a son, was born here. This was to be the happiest days of his life. Unfortunately, there was an annual reaffirmation vote in the church and a staunch Baptist deacon, thinking that he was too Presbyterian, spearheaded a drive to vote him out and the church did. Dismissed on the basis of a false premise and very hurt, John took a rural church among poor folks in Maine. Greater heartache befell him when his wife died of cancer and he was left alone to raise three small children ages 8, 4, and 3. He ended up leaving the ministry and became a truant officer for the public schools in Newark, NJ. After retirement he settled in upstate New York about 45 minutes away. Every once in awhile, he would stop in at the parsonage and we’d talk over a cup of coffee, or he’d visit the church on a Sunday morning. I even had him preach one Sunday. As Martha and I took in the heartfelt love to Christ and firm confidence of Heaven that John Humme himself expressed through the funeral he prepared before his death, we were reminded of the words of Thomas Gray in his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Please note that this is but a seeming waste, for we know that our life is never a waste if it is in the center of God’s will.

John Humme, and those like him, are the unsung and unseen laborers in the neglected and out of the way places of Christ’s vineyard. When you think of me, and the work here at the Bible Baptist Church of Galway, pray not only for us, but for the countless thousands who serve small churches villages and rural settings that will, in all likelihood, never be big. In talking with these pastors over the years, I have found that many are discouraged. They wonder if what they are doing relay matters. They need our prayers.

Being bi-vocational, almost a prerequisite for such a calling, I will not be able to attend the ARBCA General Assembly this year. When I put in for the week at the Post Office, my leave slip came back as denied – Quota Full.

So in closing: Things are looking up in Galway. We are greatly encouraged. Thank you for your prayers. The LORD is good. Surely His goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.

Be assured that you are loved and prayed for by us here in Galway,

Wayne R. Brandow and Michael Churchill, on behalf of the Saints here in Galway (March 5, 2013)