I pray you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas!!
I returned to the U.S. after 33 days of ministry overseas. Thank you for your support and prayers! I wish there was a better way that I could express the depth of my gratitude, more than simply saying "Thank you" and sharing about what happened! What a fruitful time of equipping Christ followers for the works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. (Ephesians 4:12) It is clearly evident that God is fervently working in the lives of His children, His family, for His kingdom purposes. The Bible tells us the Harvest is plentiful but the workers of few! The Lord instructs us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up harvest workers. God is healing the hearts of broken people in His church to bring them to a place of wholeness and abundant life. Their lives will shine with God's love and compassion..... grateful, healthy and strong "harvest workers", for God's glory! We are all talking about this with great expectation and hope of seeing a great harvest of souls in this part of the world. We conducted Trauma Healing sessions and trained trainers for discipleship and church planting. Already the 2022 calendar is filling up with exciting invitations from churches in Central Asia. You are a huge part of this. Thank you! We will go again and again to be ambassadors for the Lord to multiply the hope of healing and wholeness. One of my favorite parts of our time there was meeting with the home based churches. What wonderful places of worship, prayers and spiritual growth. Please continue to pray for this! God is moving in this part of the world.
Dear Pastor Mike,
Well when I first starting to write this Christmas newsletter I told myself to make it brief. I know you are busy! BUT, it is Christmas! I just really want to talk about Jesus!
I recently read a newsletter article I really loved! The writer, who is Jewish, shared how he came to faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. He said it was by discovering the ways Jesus fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. He said that growing up in a Jewish home he would have never imagined the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to Jesus. Christian ministry leader Josh McDowell, Author of many books including Evidence that Demands a Verdict, states: "One reason that Old Testament prophecy is so important to Christians is that over 300 predictions, like the threads of a tapestry, establish the Messianic credentials of Jesus!" Peter Stoner, in his classic book Science Speaks, calculated the chance of any man fulfilling these prophecies, even down to the present time, to be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 17th power). How can anyone think that Jesus just “happened” to be in the right place at the right time?
Does that speak to your heart and mind? Maybe when reading that your spirit wants to do a dance.... clapping your hands and shouting AMEN, AMEN! That's my Savior, my Lord, Jesus! or.... maybe you want to run and put your hands over your ears and sing, La, la, la, la.... I don't hear you!.... you just will not be convinced no matter how compelling the evidence. That's ok. It just means, not yet! God is still working on your heart. But don't wait too long.
I'm currently reading, People are asking, Is This the End," by Pastor David Jeremiah. Signs of God's Providence in a Disturbing New World. Here is the part that made me want to do the AMEN dance, while sporting goose bumps! Talking about the necessity of an intelligent source of creation: You are probably reading this book sitting down. Sitting still. BUT actually we are moving through space. Our galaxy is rotating at almost 140 miles a second and moving through the universe at 190 miles per second. In the time you read the last paragraph you have traveled thousands of miles! That's not to even mention how quickly we are turning, AND we are orbiting the sun at 66,000 miles per hour!
Well all of those things above are the highlighter-underliner- exclamation point on my happy face. But, this is what it was and is for me. There was a time in my life when I was depressed, alone, and fearful. I was headed for a life crash and going at high speed. I was anxious and afraid about everything. Then God sent someone into my life who spoke to me about God's love letter to me in the Bible, His love for me and how Jesus, God's Son, who was without sin, died a terrible shameful death to pay the penalty for the sins I committed that separated me from a Holy God, who loved me and wants me to know Him. I learned that it wasn't just knowing about this - it is more. When I trusted that God did that for ME and I put my faith in Jesus, His atoning death, burial and resurrection, God, in a moment in time, would give me the gift of eternal life! A forgiven, forever child of God. I said yes! I believe! He changed me! He is still changing me and giving me wholeness and healing. Now I have hope because I trust that God has a plan for my life. Instead of fear I have excitement and joy about be fellowship and walking with the one who saved me! Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Now I have peace because I know the Prince of Peace. Is life always "peaches and cream easy"? No! And, certainly not for the Christ followers I know in other parts of the world who suffer from persecution and many other very hard things. But I, we, have the Good Shepherd who lead, guides, provides, protects and treasures us. We trust that only God is able to take the hard things we go through and use them for good.
What was it..... is it for you? What is the thing that stirs in your heart about you and our Jesus this Christmas? Please email me and tell me. I would love learning that about you. Also let me know if you have any prayer needs, ok!?
Maranatha, Merry Christmas!
Fondly with love and gratitude!