Friday, August 26, 2005

August Update

Dear Friends and Family,

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).

GOD is in this thing! Your prayers are a source of infinite encouragement as we learn to depend on the Lord during this “walk of faith.” We stand in awe of His kindness toward us by providing the opportunity to engage in this season of church-planting preparation. Through this monthly update we hope to invite you into our journey and give you a more informed way of praying with us. More than that, we want you to believe that you are “participating in the gospel from the first day” as the verse above mentions. You are part of this, and God is using you in a significant way to plant a new Christ-exalting church in the US.
We have spent the first month getting acclimated to our new home, surroundings, and my role as the first ever Bethlehem Baptist Church Treasuring Christ Together Church Planting Resident. Tracy and the kids are pretty much settled in, and we are all starting to make new friends and get involved at the church.
In these first weeks, my church-planting horizon has been greatly expanded by being introduced to a world of helpful church planting resources. Books, conferences, people, manuals, websites, articles, and more exist for those interested in planting new churches. I have been filtering through these resources and crafting an aggressive plan for maximizing this learning experience. Pray for me to know how to best take advantage of this opportunity that God has afforded.
We feel that God brought our family to Minneapolis for one primary reason. No one can be an effective church planter unless he is first a man who embodies what he plans to promote in the new work. Therefore, our highest aim this year is to “pursue the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). By God’s grace, we want conformity to Christ (Romans 8:29). Above all else, please pray that we would be more godly people as a result of this adventure. The calendar is very full of trips, seminars, writing responsibilities, reading, meetings, and other important things, but our uppermost goal is to seek the face of God (Psalm 27:8).
I was given the first month to develop a “learning contract” for the year. The contract is now 6 pages long and has 7 sections…there is plenty to “do.” After prayer and serious thought, the #1 objective of my contract reads, “The pursuit of personal sanctification.” The #2 objective reads, “The pursuit of the spiritual nourishment of my family.” Pray that these will be my chief aim during this church-planting residency. The new church will exist to Spread a passion for the supremacy of GOD in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. I want to embody this purpose to a much greater degree by this time next year, and then spend the rest of my life exhorting a people to do the same thing! Thank you for your prayers…they are being felt!

For the Glory of GOD in all things, John 3:30