Ministry Update, 30 October 2008
“ And this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep;
for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent,
the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day,
not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh,
to fulfill its lusts.” – Rom 13:11-14
This passage speaks directly to the times in which we live. More importantly, it speaks to the lukewarm attitude that prevails among so many believers. As we look at the face of America today, we love to blame this or that group for the pitiful condition of our country. But as believers the true fault of our anemic nation lies with us.
The call above to “awake out of sleep” is given by Paul to believers in the church of Rome. To be nestled in the seat of the Empire, and to be asleep, was inexcusable. Paul sounds a trumpet call to battle, rebuking the materialism and conformity that eroded their spiritual power. They, who were to be the light shining in a dark place, had been overcome by the surrounding darkness. Yet Paul does something amazing here. He includes himself in his charge. He examines himself, knowing that he also must be stirred to greater heights of devotion. Here is the true secret of genuine heroes of history. They take personal responsibility for their times. When Daniel prayed for Israel, he confessed the gross sins of his nation as if they were his own (Dan 9:3-19).
How we need true spiritual mediators today! As Christians, we are not only ambassadors, representing Christ to men (2Co 5:18-21), but we are also a royal priesthood (1Pe 2:4-10), accountable to act as intercessors and mediators of our nation and our world to God. Our one and only example for this is the Lord Jesus Christ, who so identified Himself with the people as to be called “the friend of sinners” (Mat 11:19). He humbly submitted to the baptism of John “to fulfill all righteousness” (Mat 3:15), then endured the “baptism” of the cross, where He “became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Co 5:21).
As we face these “perilous times”, and as this country chooses its president and its future, I pray we all might “wake up” and put on the armor of God. And it is clear that, in the mind of Paul, the means of putting on the armor was a matter of “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end (i.e. standing firm, v.11, 13-14) with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Eph 6:18).
I hope many of you will join me in confessing the sins of this nation, crying out for God’s mercy and deliverance on America, and taking personal responsibility for our tragic condition. Prayer, based on the word of God, offered in the power of the Spirit, is the secret weapon of victorious spiritual warfare!
Bible Conference Report
Things have been very busy for us since our return from Africa. The weekend Bible conferences are really taking off, and just recently I have been asked to arrange two more. With each of these becoming an annual affair, I find myself now a “circuit rider” like my great-great Grandfather, who served as a Methodist circuit rider in the 1800’s.
Over the weekend of 3-6 October we returned to Uniontown, Pa. for a study through the book of Colossians. We thank Ron and Susan Sepic and their entire team at Abundant Life Church for another great time in the word. With the amazing Sepic hospitality and the wonderful facility of the church, and a crowd of hungry believers, we truly felt we were visiting royalty. I especially thank Pastor Nick Cook for making his church and congregation available to us. We pray that our study in “Living faith, lasting fulfillment” will continue to be a source of growth and strength to all who attended, and that we will seek our fullness in the riches of Christ alone.
The next weekend, 10-12 October, we met with Bob and Ann Norris with their group, Eagle Point Grace Bible Church, in Tecumseh, Ks. Our theme was “The Warrior Within”, specifically looking at how we can be prepared to live in this present battlefield. Teachers included Doug Wray, who came with wife Kristy from Kalispell, Montana; Drue Freeman from Oklahoma City; and Bob Norris. We had some great music from the talented singers in the congregation. In addition to the good teaching all around, we were well fed by the Tecumseh team, who always excel at making us all feel like family. I believe we all left stronger and more focused for the fight.
This coming weekend (31 Oct.-2 Nov.) we will be in Hot Springs for our first Arkansas conference. Pastor Mark Goad will host us at Grace Bible Church. We will be studying the Seven Churches of the Revelation and their present day applications. God has arranged quite a company for this one. Our contact in India and his wife will be joining us. I have known and worked with John since the early 90’s, and he is very involved with my cousin, Ken Buck, and C.O.R.E. ministries. John will present the work in India to the conference. Logan Carnell, my “timothy” from Pine Grove, Ca. will be with us and give a presentation on missions from his experience. We will also have Pakistani pastor Faisal John and his wife Carrie, so this will be our most “international” conference yet. I have also been told we have over 40 people coming from out of state! We ask you to pray for us over this coming weekend, and you will be able to get the messages on the website.
As we approach this coming election, I encourage each of you to pray for our nation, and rest in the assurance that Jesus Christ controls history. His plan is perfect and He works all things for our good and His glory. Beyond the gloomy clouds of this present evil age we can see by faith the increasing glory of His coming kingdom. May we all so live as to be able to always say, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).
For His grace and truth,