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Friday, July 15, 2016

Making and mending nets for The Catch...

pentecost-baptism.jpgDear Friends:

This morning I was reading in Acts 2:41-42 where we see the wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

Now that is a pretty radical change in lifestyle. But it should be because it reflects an even more radical change–the eternal destiny of each person! That is the power of the convicting and transforming work of the Holy Spirit. God's sovereignty can change lives for the better, and forever. And that is the type of revival we are praying for and desperately need.

From time to time questions arise of how churches will handle the influx of new believers when revival really breaks loose here. How will they they be followed up on, pastored and discipled? Are there systems in place and leaders trained and ready? These are important questions. Were the apostles ready back then? Thankfully the Lord had a plan for then, and it is still the same today.

lighthousedining.jpgWe read in verses 46-47, "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."

What was it what kept the change in people's lives ongoing? In a word–fellowship. That meant worship, teaching, prayer and relationship. There were 12 apostles and about 120 disciples according to Acts 1:15. Several of them had spent daily time with Jesus, and they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to pass on what they learned and lived through fellowship.

As a new believer over 40 years ago, along with many others, it was daily fellowship in an Acts 2 style Christian community that nurtured and prepared us to be followers of Jesus. Many of those friendships are still ongoing and continue to strengthen and encourage us today. (You can view or download the 27 minute documentary at thislighthousebaptism.jpg link.)

During our time in Wales, we have watched how God is building relationships among leaders and church members in a wonderful way. And we believe it is in this context of the Body of Christ building relationships that the Lord is preparing a great net for the incoming harvest. In this light the much-used term "networking" takes on a wonderful significance. There is a great Family being prepared to take in adopted brothers and sisters in the Lord!

We would like to invite you join us praying for Wales that the Lord continue strengthening bonds of fellowship across this land as it says in Ephesians 4:15-16. "...but [we], speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, July 07, 2016

210 year-old poster provides fuel for prayer!!

1806nelson-poster.jpgDear Friends and Pray-ers:

This 1806 poster provides some valuable wisdom for our times. Nelson, Duncan and Howe were British war heros, and they gave credit where credit was due. And the conclusion is still articularly significant. One could substitute the names of the nation and the men mentioned for anything else, and the words still ring true.

The dust is still settling here after the UK's Brexit vote to leave the EU, and it will be a long process. Parliament is in the process of electing a new Prime Minister after the incumbent David Cameron's resignation. Now the other major parties have leadership issues as well, so things are very much up in the air.

At the same time, the US Presidential election scene is churning along with lots of waves too, if news reports and Facebook comments are any indication of things. And so on and on the story goes of humanity trying to govern itself without the proper reverence for the Living God and His ways.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" says Proverbs 9:10. Solomon had it right as long as he stayed on course, but sadly he went off the rails like everyone else. And just as he said in Eccesiates 1:9, "...there is nothing new under the sun."

From one viewpoint the whole process of civilization doesn't seem to point to a brighter future. And as one well known phrase puts it, "The only lesson we learn from history is that we do not learn from history." And this is why, as I mentioned last week, we best spend our energies seeking the city "...whose builder and maker is God."

Meanwhile, in the midst of much not-so-encouraging world news, we know that the Kingdom of God is steadily making advances. God's people are seeing fruit of the Gospel in many parts of the world. I mentioned a few weeks ago the activity in Reading near London that has now seen more than 2000 souls come to Christ. wildgarlicharvest.jpgWe've also heard the news of recent blessings in West Virginia and North Carolina where hundreds have been saved. And there is other evidence of God's work in such diverse places as France and Tibet.

So as this precious verse says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." There is much to be encouraged about concerning the Kingdom of God!

Another verse that I found specially significant earlier this week comes from Isaiah 68:9. "'Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?" says the Lord. 'Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?' says your God."

On a lighter note, Sunday afternoon we took advantage of a very welcomed sunny day to meet with some friends in Aberystwyth. Afterwards, we went for a walk along the beach harnessracing.jpgby the south jetty and were surprised to see lots of parked cars and trucks, and hear the sound of some large activity in the distance.

Getting closer we could hear the familiar sound of a race being called over a loudspeaker. Gladys and I worked with the Louisiana Race Track Chaplaincy in New Orleans before moving to Wales, and so were delighted to find a harness racing meet going on by the seaside! For the curious, you can catch the last part of one race at this link. James Brown was feeling good!

As always, thank you for your interest and prayers, and your labor of love for His name's sake. We know that as we continue to work together for the fulfillment of what Isaiah refers to above as "delivery", in due time we will see what he says towards the end of the chapter. "...the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come  and see My glory ... they will declare My glory among the nations ... All mankind will come and bow down before Me, says the Lord."

Dick & Gladys


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