March 2013

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Newsletters | 6 comments

Dear Family and Friends,

The theme of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is God’s mission of redemption through the Person and work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Genesis, the mission begins with a command and a promise to Abram:  Go . . . And I will bless you . . . And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3).  Abram, whose name means, “exalted father,” would eventually be given the name, Abraham — “father of many.”  Through this chosen vessel of God would come “a great nation” (v. 2), the nation of Israel, and ultimately, “a multitude of nations” (17:4-5) who would be “blessed” through Abraham’s “seed” (22:17-18).

Fast forward 2,000 years to the time of Christ.  His earthy ministry is nearing its end, our Lord having glorified the Father by accomplishing the work which the Father had given Him to do (John 17:4) — the work of redemption through His death and resurrection.  As He prepared to return to the Father, Jesus gave His disciples a command and a promise — Go . . . and make disciples of all the nations . . . and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:19-20).  The book of Acts sheds additional light on the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to be “with” His own and thereby enable them to fulfill His command:  . . . you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Not long afterwards, our Lord initiated the fulfillment of His promise by sending the Holy Spirit who “filled” the disciples who “were all together in one place” on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).   Empowered by the Spirit, the “other Helper” whom Jesus had promised to send after His departure (John 14:16), the disciples immediately began bearing witness to Him, and those who received the word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls . . . And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:41, 47).  As the book of Acts unfolds, Spirit-empowered witnesses carry the message of redemption beyond Jerusalem, beyond Judea and Samaria, as far as Rome (Acts 28:24).  All along the way, God, true to His word, is blessing a multitude of nations, calling out of spiritual “darkness, into His marvelous light . . . a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession (1 Pet. 2:9).

For the past 2,000 years, those bear Jesus’ name have been given the responsibility and privilege of continuing to carry out God’s redemptive mission on earth.  As they go, bearing witness to the Son — the  promised Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16) — blessing has come to both Jew (Acts 3:25-26) and Gentile (Gal. 3:8, 29) through faith (Gal. 3:7, 14, 29).  The chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation grows, one person at a time, and will continue to grow until history culminates — gloriously — in the heavenly scene envisioned by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation:  God seated upon His throne; the Lamb of God, “standing, as if slain,” with representatives both among the holy angels and redeemed humanity falling down before the Lamb in worship, singing a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You . . . for you were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation . . . And a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear him, the small and the great.’  Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah!  For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him . . . (Rev. 5:1-10; 19:5-7a).  Amen!

I remember reading a statement several years ago that I’ve never forgotten:  Find out where God is working, and join Him in that work.  I recently returned from a two-week mission trip to Kenya where God is doing a mighty work among the Luo people of Mfangano Island,Lake Victoria.  Our team consisted of Bobby Johnson with Interlocking Ministries; Pastor David Warr from Georgia and his daughter, Amy, with CBM -South Alabama; and several local pastors from the island.  Over seven days we visited six public schools and one Christian school, conducted five open-air evangelistic meetings, and led a one-day pastors conference for 32 pastors and their wives from all over the island as well as the mainland.  Here’s a brief summary of each day’s activity:

Day One:  Ministry on Remba Island, the largest fish-producing island in Lake Victoria.  We visited the only public school on the island, 300 students.  The head teacher told us, “The kids see you coming and they see God’s blessing.”  Amy taught a Bible lesson on Gideon, and Bobby shared the gospel.  About half the students prayed to receive Christ as Savior.  At the evangelistic meeting, four people responded in faith to the gospel message; one of the women who trusted Christ gave us two large Nile perch as we were leaving — our dinner that night!

Day Two:  Our team split up and visited Mauta and Kitenyi Primary Schools.  At Mauta I spoke to about 150 children, sharing a visual presentation of the gospel.  About 100 students and several teachers trusted Christ as Savior.  David and Amy spoke to about  130 students at Kitenyi, with many of them professing faith in Christ as well.  Bobby and I visited the home of one our local team member’s unsaved parents and sister.  God opened the door for us to present the gospel, and all three prayed to receive Christ, including the father who was a leader in one of the island cults.  Two men trusted Christ at the open-air meeting.

Day Three:  Ministry in the village of Ngeri.  350 students heard the story of David and Goliath, with over two-thirds of them along with a couple of teachers trusting Christ as Savior.  At the open-air meeting later that afternoon, I had just begun to preach a message on “The Value of Your Soul” when the rains came.  After an hour delay, we began again, thankful for God’s timing.  The later start time enabled more people to attend.  Over 70 people came forward to receive Christ, remaining while I led them in prayer even as the rain fell.

Day Four:  Pastors Conference at Wakinga Baptist Church.  Four one-hour sessions led by David and me covering basic Bible study and sermon preparation, principles of shepherding/pastoring from 1 Pet. 5:1-4, church discipline, and ministry to the many widows and orphans in the area.  This was a great time of worship, fellowship, instruction and encouragement.

Day Five:  Ministry at three different churches.  I preached at Mauta Baptist Church, where our local team member’s family who trusted Christ three days earlier were in attendance!  Great time of worship with our Kenyan brethren, and fellowship afterwards over lunch.  I was able to pray with the church leaders for their many needs and visit the parcel of land they recently purchased for construction of a church building.

Day Six:  Again the team split up and visited two schools.  I taught a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit (love) to students at Kakrigu School and shared the gospel using a colorful tract designed for children.  Once again, God moved in the children’s hearts as nearly all of them prayed to receive Christ, along with two teachers.  About 30 people trusted Christ at the open-air meeting later that afternoon.

Day Seven:  Visited Repairer Christian School, 225 students grades K-4.  Shared a Bible lesson and had lunch with the staff.  Walked their recently-purchased property where they hope to build four classroom buildings ($10K) and an administration building and guest home ($10K), expanding through grade 8 and doubling their enrollment.  I preached at the open-air meeting later that day at Makira  Beach where four men trusted Christ, one of whom was a former drinking buddy of the man who now pastors Makira Baptist Church.  He was overjoyed to witness his friend’s conversion!

The mission of redemption continues.  Christ is building His church, and the Kingdom of God is expanding.  Over 1,200 souls from the Luo and Suba tribes were added to the heavenly choir!  Thank you so much for the vital part you played in this mission through your faithful prayers and sacrificial gifts.  Pray for the local pastors as they do follow-up ministry with the new believers.  Pray for God’s provision of funds for church and school construction.  Pray as I consider the possibility of returning to Mfangano at the end of June, for the Lord’s direction and provision.  And pray for our work of child evangelism here at home through Released Time Bible classes.

To the Praise of His Glory,

Scott

6 Comments

  1. When Darwin came to write up the notes from his scientific investigations he faced a choice. He could interpret what he had seen either as evidence for the Genesis account of supernatural creation, or else as evidence for naturalism, consistent with Lyell’s theory of long ages. In the event, he chose the latter—that everything in nature has come about through accidental, unguided purposelessness rather than as the result of divinely guided, meaningful intention, and, after several years, in 1859 his Origin of Species was the result.

  2. The key is to think of the gospel of Jesus Christ as a pattern for living, rather than steps on a checklist. We can continue to develop our faith in Christ every day by reading His words in the scriptures and praying to our Heavenly Father. When we sin, we can repent every time with a humble heart because Jesus Christ’s Atonement is never-ending. We can remember the promises and blessings of baptism by taking the sacrament every Sunday at church. We can continue to rely on the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost as he leads us back to God.

  3. The hardest part about getting people saved is getting them lost. We read in Proverb 26:12 states, “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” There is more hope for a fool, than for a self-righteous religious person. It’s not hard to get a person to call upon the Lord for salvation, once that person realizes that they’re on the way to Hell. But it is extremely difficult to convince people that their false religion is of the Devil. So many people are stubborn, indoctrinated in their false religion. It is very difficult to win Catholics to the Lord, because they are brainwashed with the traditions of men. Jesus clearly warned in Mark 7:7 and 13, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition … Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.” Did you read that? … “Making the Word of God of NONE EFFECT!” I make it a point to show this Scripture to Catholics. It is important to show lost sinners that religion is very different from trusting upon the Lord for salvation. One can easily have religion without truth, and churchianity without Christianity. So the first step in winning a religious person to the Lord is to explain to them that salvation is NOT found in any religion; but, in a Person–The Lord Jesus Christ!

  4. And when you died, our sin was condemned in your flesh! “By sending his own Son [by sending you!] in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Were clearer words ever spoken, Lord Jesus, concerning the glory of penal substitution—this glorious doctrine that today, to our shame in the church, is so embattled and denied? That God, in your flesh, condemned sin. Not yours. Ours. Ours! You, the substitute sacrifice. You were “wounded for our transgressions; [your were] crushed for our iniquities; upon [you] was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with [your] stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). O Lord, rescue this great truth from the mangling hands of foolish men! And may it be the foundation of all our faith and joy and worship and obedience!

  5. And when you died, our sin was condemned in your flesh! “By sending his own Son [by sending you!] in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Were clearer words ever spoken, Lord Jesus, concerning the glory of penal substitution—this glorious doctrine that today, to our shame in the church, is so embattled and denied? That God, in your flesh, condemned sin. Not yours. Ours. Ours! You, the substitute sacrifice. You were “wounded for our transgressions; [your were] crushed for our iniquities; upon [you] was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with [your] stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). O Lord, rescue this great truth from the mangling hands of foolish men! And may it be the foundation of all our faith and joy and worship and obedience!

  6. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” —Joshua 1:8 3.

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