Bethany and I both enjoy reading. I recently started J.I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God and I can not recommend it enough.
The first chapter alone is worth the book, but as I continue to read I’m finding that each chapter brings old truth to a new light for me. Often as Christians we struggle to find a balance between God’s sovereign work and our human responsibility, especially as it relates to evangelism. I believe J.I. Packer has provided us a great resource in understanding these often difficult truths. Though I feel I’m well taught in church on the sovereignty of God, I’m blown away at Packer’s simplicity and ease of writing on the subject as it pertains to the work of evangelism. This is a great resource. Go get yourself a copy–you will be encouraged.
A few quotes that have stood out to me already:
You have never for one moment supposed that the decisive contribution to your salvation was yours and not God’s. You have never told God that, while you are grateful for the means and opportunities of grace that he gave you, you realize that you have to thank, not him, but yourself for the fact that you responded to his call.
For where we are not consciously relying on God, there we shall inevitably be found relying on ourselves.
The truth about salvation has been made known to us, not for us simply to preserve (though we must certainly do that), but also, and primarily, for us to spread. The light is not meant to be hidden under the bushel. It is meant to shine; and it is our business to see that it shines. “You are the light of the world,” says our Lord (Mt 5:14-16). He who does not devote himself to evangelism in every way that he can is not, therefore, playing the part of a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
We’re full, and no, I don’t mean from all the turkey. We’re just full from life.
We spent the Thanksgiving holiday with Bethany’s family this year in Washington. It was a great time away and it’s really fun to see our kids get to know their grandparents more and more. Most of our time was spent just being together at home, and it was nice to have a change of pace (like getting to bed early!).
It’s impossible anymore to not think about the fact that us leaving for Czech Republic means (at least partially) that our time with family will be much different in the future. These are the kinds of things I think about when I consider “counting the cost” of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Leaving family will definitely be hard, but we hope and pray that the time we do have together is as much a blessing as it was this past week.
A few photos (more can be seen here):
We also gave Avery a little mini 1st birthday party a few days early.
My (Shay) parents drove out from Kentucky for a visit this week and they came bearing gifts. We didn’t have a tree, but we had Christmas music playing and enjoyed watching the kids tear into gifts from grandma and grandpa. Here’s a few photos:
Jonathan Edwards with a timeless message on “Jesus Christ the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever” (dated April 1738)
You may greatly comfort yourself that you have an unchangeable friend in Christ Jesus. From the unchangeableness of your Savior, you may be assured of your continuance in a state of grace. As to yourself, you are so changeable, that, if left to yourself, you would soon fall utterly away. But Christ is the same, and therefore, when he has begun a good work in you he will finish it. As he has been the author, he will be the finisher of your faith.
When once you have entered on the happiness of heaven, it never shall be taken from you, because Christ, your Savior and friend, who bestows it on you, and in whom you have it, is unchangeable. He will be the same forever and ever, and therefore so will be your happiness in heaven.
(via Of First Importance)
Bethany and I have talked before how could probably never do missions in a culture like Papua New Guinea. Even last night as we were spending time with some missionaries heading to Ireland, we both shared how living in the jungle just doesn’t seem like a great fit for us. The reality is, that’s probably why God has called us to Eastern Europe and not the jungle.
With that said, people in Papua New Guinea need the gospel too. Growing up in a Christian school I was exposed to missionaries like The Buser Family who took the gospel to an unknown people group. And this week, the Desiring God blog reminded the world of another tribe and the faithfulness of another family. The 15-minute short-film (below) tells the story of the Richardson family and is a clear presentation of the change that happens when Christ saves people. The family visits the tribe after 50 years to see how things have progressed because of these changed hearts. I definitely suggest you taking a few minutes and watching it.
Never the Same from Pioneers-USA on Vimeo.