Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanks

Many of you know that I answered the call to serve another congregation. On Sunday, November 29, I moved from New Castle, PA to Evanston, Illinois to serve as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Evanston.

Thanks for your love, prayers, and godly encouragement. Here are a few things that I am either learning or I am being reminded of:

1. No matter where I go the Lord is there Psalm 139: 7-12

2. God's Word is the same no matter where we go Psalm 119:105

3. People are essentially the same. It's a different place, different culture, different sights and sounds, but at the end of the day people need to love and be loved. People are searching for the meaning of life. I have the blessed task of pointing them to Christ. I Corinthians 8:6

4. Christian Community and friendship is the sweetest thing in the world. The folks of First Presbyterian Church in Evanston have opened their hearts to our family in the short time we have been here. We are members of the body Christ. Race, wealth, education, and other such matters are peripheral. Acts 2: 42-47

5. I love my wife and kids and I can't wait until this phase of separation ends. Thanks for praying for us and loving us. We are praying for you too!

The power of a praying life


Dr. David Jeremiah gives a wonderful exhortation to all us regarding the freedom that comes from holding regular office with God--read on...

(Daniel) knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Daniel 6:10

Dr. L. Nelson Bell, a missionary surgeon in China, is best remembered today as the father-in-law of evangelist Billy Graham. In A Foreign Devil in China, John Pollock wrote: "Most important of all was Nelson Bell's discipline of devotional life. Early every morning he had a cup of coffee and went to his desk for about an hour of Bible study and prayer. He set himself to master the content and meaning of the Bible, devising such study schemes as looking up every Old Testament reference which occurs in the New Testament and typing it out. Then he turned to prayer, for friends, colleagues, and patients, praying especially for every patient listed for operation that day… This cycle of reading and prayer did not strike Nelson as formidable but vital."
Similar statements can be found in the biography of almost every effective Christian servant. Daniel prayed "as was his custom," regardless of outside influences. This example of committed prayer is a role model for all of us to follow. It must be a vital part of the daily routines of those used of Him.

It isn't the length of time I spend in my quiet time, though I usually take an hour, but there is a carry-over of the activity of prayer, the attitude of prayer, that marks the rest of the day.
Dr. Stephen Olford

Comfort in God's Word


I am currently reading through Randy Alcorn's book, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. The book has greatly encouraged me in my thinking about suffering and the goodness of God. The two are not incompatible as some have tried to suggest. The following is one of many thought provoking quotes contained in the book.

Martin Niemoller, a courageous German pastor, spent years in a concentration camp because he spoke against the ungodly influence that Adolf Hitler’s regime exerted on the German church. Neimoller later said about the Bible,

What did this book mean to me during the long and weary years of solitary confinement and then for the last four years at Dachau? The Word of God was simply everything to me- comfort and strength, guidance and hope, master of my days and companion of my nights, the bread which kept me from starvation and the water of life that refreshed my soul.