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Archive for September, 2009

Escaping Pittsburgh

Thankfully, I escaped Pittsburgh before all the excitement.  I actually waited for a limo to pick me up for the big meeting, but it never showed up.  So I decided to get out of the area.  I headed north to Erie yesterday morning to meet with pastors.  I met two and set up a meeting with one.  The other wants to set up a meeting, but we both decided it would be better to wait and see how my schedule develops. 

I had a great time with the Tyrpaks in Madison, OH, on Thurs evening.  It was a great encouragement to fellowship with them. 

This morning I attended a men’s prayer breakfast and tentatively set up a meeting with a church in Madison.  I’m somewhere in the Cleveland area right now getting work done at my favorite internet place–Panera Bread.  I’ll be driving to the Men’s Retreat this afternoon. 

After the retreat I head back to PA to speak three times in a church in Kittanning.  On Monday I’ll drive across the state for a missions conference in Lebanon.  I’ll be giving a testimony on Mon and presenting my ministry on Wed. 

The Lord gave me a great week at North Hills Christian School/Fellowship Baptist Church.  I had a great time speaking to the teens at the school on M-W.  They were a very attentive group.  I spoke about the costs of discipleship on Mon, the character of God on Tues, and Christ’s ability to multiple our resources on Wed.  Since I was in the area and had no meeting on Wed, I was asked to speak in prayer meeting Wed night.  I enjoyed speaking about Christ and forgiveness to a small group of around 20 people.  It was a real blessing to spend half of a week with Pastor Bob Harrison and his church.  They have come through a lot over the years and are looking to see the Lord rebuild the ministry and establish a testimony in the northern Pittsburgh area.

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A Full Week

A quick post.  I leave for my next destination in a few minutes.  Please pray for the Lord’s blessing as I minister in all three slots tomorrow.  I’ll be at Worthington Baptist Church in Worthington, PA.  Please also pray for the Lord’s help as I speak in chapel M-W for the spiritual emphasis week at North Hills Christian School in Baden, PA.  On Thurs, I’ll be heading west to Peniel Bible Camp to attend a Men’s Retreat on Fri-Sat.  On the way to the camp, I’ll (hopefully) be meeting pastors in NW PA and NE OH.

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It’s good to be back on the road again.  Maybe some cannot understand such a sentiment, but I do enjoy traveling.  I started out on Thurs morning.  I went to the South Bend, IN, area to meet up with a pastor.  He was teaching in the Christian school, so I continued on to Nappanee.  Though I didn’t make phone contact with this pastor, the Lord worked it out for me to meet up with him just as he was getting to his office.  So the Lord moved me quickly past the first church to get to this church.  I always marvel at the Lord’s providence!  I was able to set up a meeting with the second pastor for May 16, 2010.  Praise the Lord! 

Then, I headed to Grand Rapids, OH, to visit with Pastor Coley.  He was interested in my ministry but wanted to talk to his deacons first before committing to anything.  I ended my day by staying with good friends in Findlay, OH.

On Friday, I drove down towards Dayton.  I enjoyed fellowshipping with Pastor Townsend.  We might be able to set up a meeting next year, depending on if the church continues to experience the growth that it has recently.  They had gone through a difficult time earlier but appear to be pulling out of it. 

I wasn’t able to meet up with the next two pastors in OH, but I did get to talk to the second pastor’s wife.  I was encouraged to hear that their church is also experiencing growth and that they are building a new fellowship hall.  It’s always nice to hear that some churches are not suffering from the economic times.  I wasn’t able to set up a meeting there, though, because the schedule is full until 2011.  I ended that day by staying with friends in Greensburg, PA.

Tomorrow I’ll be traveling up to Pittsburgh to present my ministry in the SS and preach in the AM.  Then I’ll drive to New Stanton to present my ministry to them.  I’ll be in New Stanton until Tues am before going to stay with a friend of the family in Wexford for the rest of the week.

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Two New Sermons

Since I’ve given one deputation sermon around 50-60 times and another around 30-40 times, I thought it would be nice to prepare some new sermons for this next year of deputation.   I will say that the Lord did allow me to deliver those two previous sermons with freshness almost every time I gave them.   As I prayed and thought through them, the Lord would kindle my heart again and get me excited to deliver them.  And the Lord really worked in my heart about the themes in those messages.  He kept convicting my heart about meditation always on the Word (Psa. 119:97), living on the Word by faith and obedience (Mat. 4:4), and trusting in Him to multiple my resources if I will just dedicate myself to Him (Jn. 6:1-14).  I plan on still preaching those sermons from time to time as the Lord leads.  But it’s nice to have two new sermons.

Between meetings and various other “interruptions” last week, I was able to put together a sermon on Neh. 8.  It’s the only passage in Scripture where the process of “translation” is enacted.  The KJV doesn’t use that word, but the NASB does.  It’s not exactly going from one language to another in writing (technically, what translation actually is), but they appear to be going from one language to another in speech.  Though some question whether the word in Neh. 8:8 should actually be translated with the word “translating,” it seems clear considering the historical situation that the teachers of the Law were translating from Hebrew to Aramaic, even if the word itself doesn’t necessary express that explicitly. 

The Jews had been exiled around 150 years earlier and were living in a foreign land where Aramaic was the lingua franca.  We do have to keep in mind Neh. 13:24 where Nehemiah contended with the people because half of the Jewish people’s children could no longer speak “the language of Judah.”  In light of the historical circumstances, I take this to mean that they were no longer bilingual.  They could no longer speak both Hebrew and Aramaic.  Apparently, the Jewish leaders had either revived Hebrew when the Jews returned to Israel or kept it alive when they were in exile.  But most likely, Aramaic was the language that they were more familiar with.

Therefore, when Ezra read the Law, the Jews needed translation into Aramaic.  What’s exciting is the results of that translation.  The Jews understood the Word!  They evidenced that by grieving over their sins and then joyfully renewing their obedience to it.  This is the message I’m going to carry to churches–the necessity of understanding in order for the Word to accomplish its purposes.

Yesterday, I prepared a message on Psalm 145.  In this psalm, David praises the Lord for His greatness and goodness.  I believe one of the root problems in Christianity is the fact that we just don’t know God.  If we truly know Him, we’ll dedicate ourselves to His service, live for Him, and speak of Him.  I look forward to preaching this sermon in the near future. 

I leave for Penn. on Thurs.  I plan on meeting pastors in Ind and Ohio on the way.  I’ll be away from Grand Rapids until mid January.  Lord willing, I’ll see my support increase by at least 10% during these next few months.

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