Monday, January 28, 2008

I Believe in the Holy Spirit

"I believe in the Holy Spirit," was again and again the prayer of the great C. H. Spurgeon as he mounted the steps leading to the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle to proclaim the wonders of God's mercies in Christ Jesus.

More and more this has been my prayer too. Not just as I step behind my notes to preach on Sunday mornings, but as I lean into each day here in North Las Vegas. We continue to witness much that encouarages us, including the amount of work God's Spirit has alreay done in the hearts of people we are meeting for the first time. On our own we can change no heart. With my feeble words I can bring hope to no one. We carry the treasure of the gospel in clay jars.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Wish that You Could See for Yourself

Yes, I wish that everyone who has been a part of sending us here to labor could have the benefit of seeing what God is doing in the many lives around us. People are finding hope in Jesus Christ. Folks that are young in the faith are also taking steps each week to the praise of God's glorious grace. Yesterday I was recounting several stories in my head and saying to myself, "I can't believe that we are here getting to see God's Spirit at work this way!"

People in the body of City-Wide Redeemer are beginning to serve each other in many encouraging ways. One example relates to our first wedding in the church family 9 days from now. It is such a joy to see different people offer their gifts and time to make this a very special moment for these newlyweds.

Our service at the local middle school continues to be full of unexpected turns as well. Yesterday as we were finishing up, the head custodian asked me if I knew where to get a Spanish Bible for one of his employees. She has been resistant to the gospel for the ten months that he has known her, but just recently began attending services of worship in a Spanish-speaking Baptist Church near the Strip. It was an encouragement to us that the custodian felt enough at ease with us to ask for this kind of resource. Today she is reading from her own NVI (the approximate Spanish translation of the NIV).

As of late we have been introduced to several people who are suffering pretty severe physical illness. We have found a warm reception with a few and share their gratitude for the new relationships. We are learning much from them. Please remember to pray for a man I'll call Mick and a woman that I'll call Raven. Pray that they will experience such love from the people of City-Wide Redeemer that they might turn in hope to the news of the gospel. Pray for God's Spirit to be at work. I hope to give you an update on them in a few weeks.

Angie's dad continues to recover from his motorcycle accident. He is doing so in the comfort of home. We hope that he will be able to make the trip to Vegas soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Elbow Deep in Juice

Wow! I can't believe that 10 days have past since my last post. We have finally finished unpacking boxes and are beginning to feel as though we are at home in the house we purchased last month.

We have been able to meet five or six families on our new block. The energy needed to invest in these new relationships is returning to our tired bodies. Hopefully we will find warmer temperatures in the weeks ahead so that the community park can become a key rendezvous point for making contacts and carrying on conversations through the weeks.

Two weekends have passed in the new middle school where we now meet for Sunday morning worship. The facility has been wonderful for us, and the school staff members have been more than accommodating of the few requests that we've had.

Tonight I'll be heading over to the middle school with a few others from City-Wide Redeemer for our weekly janitorial fun. The school has invited us to come once each week and help tidy up details that they are unable to address during their regular hours. It is a blast. Last week I got to jump into the recycle bin and retrieve bags and bags of trash that had been mistakenly thrown in. The juice of that day's lunch remains drained down my wrist and onto my clothes. Since I was the one who made the mistake, fixing it myself was only appropriate!

That moment shed new light on the incarnation of our Lord. When he took on flesh and entered into the messiness of this broken planet he was not fixing his own mistake. He was loving me. He was rescuing me from my own rebellion. It's the simple truth of the gospel, that He who knew no sin took on the punishment for sin in order that we might become the righteousness of God, that continually leaves me in awe of such great love.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Great Expectations

I'm tired and full of joy. The move this week, along with preparing for our first service of worship at the middle school, nearly wiped me out. I really don't know how I got out of bed this morning, except for the joy of being with others to worship our King. God met us in a great way this morning, both through his word and the Lord's Supper.

As I look in my mind's eye into the coming months I can't help but have great expectations for how we hope to see our Lord continue to work in this place. The growth in Christ already seen in certain individuals is such a joy. Several families are also beginning to find their places of service, both to serve other church families and the community at large.

Several families are going through various trials too. There is sickness, financial stress, loneliness, etc. Please pray that the gospel will come more alive to them as they experience God's grace and comfort.

Thank you for your prayers as God brings us to mind.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Never Say Never

I wish that I could say, "I'm never moving again!" I'm thankful for the prayers of others during the last few days. With our first Sunday morning service of worship in the middle school this weekend I could not have picked a more difficult week to move. But...God has been incredibly faithful, just like always. My parents drove in from Phoenix to help haul boxes. A couple of City-Wide Redeemer guys, and their friends, helped move the big stuff yesterday. My father helped me finish off the built-in book cases in the room downstairs that will serve as my study. Our children have been wonderful. My church planting partner, Eric, is an incredible encouragement each day. God has been faithful.

We are exhausted, though. We still have boxes to unpack and one or two more trips to make back to the rental house for the final items. On Monday I'll clean the place and paint any areas that evidence our presence there over the past few months.

Our children are making new friends on this street, and keeping friendships going from our old street too. Pray that God will give them the capacity to love this growing number of friends well.

Tomorrow I'll be going down a checklist in order to make sure that we don't have any distracting gaffs in our service of worship on Sunday. Things seem to be in order.

God has added a very talented guitar player to our number. What an aid to our singing! God will continue to be faithful.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010