The Gospel Coalition

August 30, 2008

Some of you may not know about The Gospel Coalition. Click here to see their website and watch an introductory video.


He Finished Well

August 29, 2008

Many of you know Lance Skifter (“Skip”) – a brother who used to lead the college group at Bethel Grace. His father-in-law, Glen Jackson, recently went to be with the Lord. It was a huge blessing to be at Glen’s memorial service and to hear testimony after testimony of God’s grace in and through Glen’s life. To read the eulogy Skip wrote, click here. May we all live and finish as well!

Hi friends!
I just wanted to let you all know that we are back, alive and safe. We’ve been back about 2 and a half weeks already [weird]. Sorry I haven’t updated sooner. Things are going good! Life rolls on in Sumy, crazy as ever. Literally, an hour after we got back into Sumy and to our apartment, we had a call and 3 kids showed up at our apartment and we were back in it. And we haven’t stopped since. 🙂 Always adventures, always doing things I never expected. I still love it, even on the bad days.
This is gonna be a super short update, mostly just because I wanted to let you all know that I actually blogged! Shocking, I know. But yes… is up and running. I’ll try to post on it somewhat regularily. If you want to keep up with what’s going on and hear random stories and things, feel free to check it out. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll still send out updates through emails every now and then, but this way, you can just get the main details and you don’t have to read all the little things unless you want to because I’l try to keep those to what goes on the blog.
Also, on the blog note… I have no idea what is going with our website right now. Mostly drama, if you ask me. But we also have an Open Arms blog if you didn’t already know. We have been posting on it weekly-ish keeping you all up to date on life here for us as a whole. if you want to have a look. Hopefully, someday in our lives, we’ll have a real website that can be up and running that we can really send people too… but the blog will be a little more informal way to let people know what’s going on with us. So yes, davi. [And on the website, if you or someone you know is interested, and I mean really interested in committing to actually getting our website up and running and looking somewhat decent, please let me know. We’ve gone through about 5 different people who’ve said they’d design it for us and have yet to get anything really up there. Oy.]
Ok friends… that’s it for now. Thanks for the prayers and love! Feel free to be talking us up to as many people as you possibly can! We could really use some more financial support. And if you want to help, ask me and I will let you know how! Thanks again! Love you guys!
For more posts on this ministry, click here.

There’s no better way to face trials than to focus on our awesome God and savor His greatness… I am convinced. And I am convinced that this is the primary reason God allows His children to go through trials – so that they will set their sights fully on Him and realize that He really is all they need. Consider 2 Corinthians 1:8-9:

 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”

I remember hearing my good friend, Gunner, preach on that passage when I was a sophomore in college. I’ve passed on an illustration he used in that sermon probably dozens of times: “The stars are always in the sky, but we can’t see them when we stand in the city, surrounded by other lights. It’s only when we’re in the desert, when we have all those other lights stripped away, that we see the stars for all they always were: glorious, gorgeous. God is always great and glorious – but sometimes we need everything else to be stripped from us in order to see Him for being as great and glorious as He truly is.”

I remember a time when I was absolutely rocked. I remember singing along with a CD in my bedroom, at the top of my lungs, seeking to set my eyes on God and find joy in Him. And I remember tears of joy as I sung these words and realized their truth on a level I never had before:

“Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.”

Truly, to have God – great, glorious, wise, loving and holy – is everything. Will we magnify God (like a telescope does – seeing Him as great as He actually is), or magnify our trials (like a microscope does – seeing them as greater than they actually are, in light of an awesome, all-powerful, all-glorious God)?   

~ Donovan

I received a few comments on my earlier post with this title, so I decided to write a “part 2″…
Both Bobby and Drew wanted to be sure I wasn’t arguing for “be purposeful to make friends with people, wait and wait and wait, and maybe – just maybe, there’ll be a blatantly obvious opportunity for you to tell them about Jesus one of these days…” Amen! I’m certainly not in favor of that approach. You could wait and wait forever… And nobody becomes a believer simply by osmosis – just by being around a Christian. No! We must communicate the full and complete gospel message (Romans 10:14-15).
Drew wanted to be sure nobody equated “success in evangelism” with conversion. Amen to that point too! All we can be is faithful… it is God alone who brings fruit. And it is true that the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay… Faithfulness in evangelism will result in some people being saved, and it will result in others rejecting the message, sometimes even getting very upset. It shouldn’t be surprising to us that people intent on suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1) would get a little feisty when we hold that same truth up before their eyes and call them to submit to it!
However – I do believe there is more to being an ambassador than accurately presenting the content of the gospel message (even though content is most important). How we present that message also communicates… and if we’re rude, or come off as arrogant and uncaring, or as if Jesus isn’t really that special to us, or as merely going through the motions with a canned presentation, something is lost in that message. I’m sure both Bobby and Drew would agree on this point. 
This is a few sections, slightly edited, of an e-mail I wrote to a sister in Christ just before she took a trip out to Maryland to visit family who do not believe in Jesus (I think I wrote it about 3 years ago?). It’s just me passing on things the LORD has taught me regarding evangelism, both from His Word and through experience… including issues related to boldness, purposefulness in communicating the message, and being an Ambassador who represents Christ well in every way… It was good for me to read it again – I’ve allowed myself to wane in some of these things and it was good to be reminded of lessons God taught me before…
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