Hello again from hot Tucson!
I am quoting from Dr. Ron Williams of Hephzibah House Ministry in Winona Lake, Indiana regarding a “Post Christian Era”: “The closest example of a great awakening that I personally experienced was during the decade of the 1970’s. Sadly, due mainly to the fact that I was a new Christian at that time, I did not have the spiritual discernment to notice & fully appreciate the profound movement of God’s Spirit. I have seen it more clearly, in retrospect, because of the deepening of the apostasy in our country since that time.” His article goes on to catalog the profound change in our society & American culture since then. He observes in his article: “The ‘churches’ that ARE thriving (today) are too often “seeker-friendly” groups: Biblically unsound & profoundly worldly. There is an absence of spiritual hunger in our country as a whole, & in fact, Bible-believing Christians have largely lost their appeal & are being boldly criticized, & even persecuted by a Christ-rejecting society.”
Whoa, that pretty much hits it right on the head, doesn’t it? We all recognize what is happening. Our Bible-believing churches are shrinking. Our good Christian schools are dwindling. Our fine, solid Christian colleges are struggling financially. Pastors are discouraged & the sheep are often disillusioned. Do you think these are the “last days”? For one to say that they are not affected is disingenuous. We are all affected & will probably be more so in the days & years ahead if the Lord tarries. But we MUST “Look unto Jesus , the Author & Finisher of our faith.” Keep your eyes upon Him, my dear friend. He is the Only One Who never fails!
So … what about last Sunday at Bethel? Our attendance was respectable at least. The music was very good by the church choir again. Their song of testimony, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” was heartening to our ears. It had some delicious harmony too. Then Maranatha Baptist University student, Johnathan Burt played “All Hail the Power’ on the piano as an offertory. He will be heading back to MBU soon. He has been a joy to have home for the summer. I then preached from Psalm 19:7 on the doctrine of conversion, entitled “Converting the Soul.” I really was expecting someone to step out & trust Christ as there were a couple of lost folks there. But none did … yet!
The evening service had Missionary Santhosh George & his son, Jonathan here from India to report to Bethel. He has 15 solid churches pastored by Indian nationals. He also told us of the devastating floods that raged there this past week! It has dis-housed over 100,000 people with over 300 deaths in one week. Our church family was vitally interested in Santhosh’s report & the amazing things that are being done in India through their church-planting efforts. One of those is a missionary from their mother church to Northern India. No American would dare to go to this rough rural area that is radically Hindu. But these brave nationals have sent a preacher & his family who are doing an amazing job there in planting a church & winning people to Christ. That is how missions is supposed to work!
The video/PowerPoint was helpful for us to SEE what is happening there. In this electronic-video age, it helped us immensely to see & know of what he was speaking. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed our dear brother last Sunday. His fresh faith & bold courage for the Lord were inspirational to me! I am delighted that we have a missionary like Santhosh George. PTL!
This coming Sunday is SEND-OFF SUNDAY for Jason & Leigha Carpenter to return back to Cambodia to plant a church in the rural provinces. This is not small feat & will take the combined prayer support of all their home church family & their extended churches who support them if they will see success in this dark & demonic part of the world. I look forward to seeing them this Sunday & hearing of that to which God is leading them as they return! Jason will be preaching in the AM & PM services. So don’t miss it for anything! See you there.