Friday, October 26, 2007

Wildfires: San Diego Church Update

Dear Friends of Providence,

I wanted to pass along to you an update on our sister church in San Diego regarding all of the fires from this last week. Please lift them up in prayer during this time. -Matthew

In the aftermath of this week's wildfires, Mark Lauterbach, senior pastor of Grace Church in San Diego, reports that about 40% of church members were evacuated from their homes, but all are safe. Many have been staying with others from their church whose homes were in safer areas. At least ten homes of Grace Church members were in "high risk" areas. The status of two of these is unconfirmed, but eight are confirmed virtually untouched by the fire. (In one case, the fire stopped within ten inches of the house.) No damage is reported to the facility the church has been preparing to move into next month. Mark says, "We do not feel alone at all." Regional Sovereign Grace churches including Sovereign Grace Church (Pasadena) and Comunidad Cristiana de Otay (Tijuana, Mexico) have been quick to offer assistance. Steve Shank has been in touch with the church daily. Mark jokes, "Steve knows more about what's going on than I do." Grace Church is deeply grateful to the Sovereign Grace family of churches for their love, affection, and desire to help. This Sunday, members of Grace Church will meet together in their small groups since the high school building where they are currently meeting is closed. There are still many prayer requests from Grace Church:

  • Pray for church leaders: wisdom to care for members who are scattered geographically and discernment for many upcoming decisions

  • Pray for Grace Church: grace to guard against temptations to fear and anxiety

  • Pray for opportunities to serve the community and to have gospel conversations

  • Pray for the new church facility: that its final inspection will be completed by next week

Check Mark's blog, GospelDrivenLife, and Grace Church's website for more information.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What a blessing! 5 years in mission together!

Hey folks, I apologize for not posting anything before now...but our internet service at the church has been down for the last 2 weeks! So in days to come, I will be posting some pictures from our 5th anniversary as a church. What a fabulous time it was just to survey God's grace in our lives as church family. Here is one of many pictures to come. These are our dear friends Ron and Tami Boomsma. Ron is the Senior Pastor of the Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena, CA, the church that sent us out here 5 years ago. Ron and Tami have been and continue to be a great friends and we miss them dearly. Ron preached an outstanding message from the book of Numbers, just recounting God's faithfulness and mercies to us! And yes, God has been faithful! More pictures to come...

Friday, October 5, 2007

The People Of God - "Dew From Heaven"

Dear Friends,

This morning as I was reading Mr. Spurgeon and as we are preparing for the 5th year anniversary of our church together, I could not help but think of you and seek to encourage you. This last week, I was in a dialog with someone in our church and they were there telling me about a recent opportunity they had in witnessing to someone they had just met. Then another individual from our church was sharing how another story of how they had witnessing to another person about Christ. I think in this last week, I have had at least 3 different conversations with 3 different members of our church in how they have been witnessing to others about Christ and how they have been seeking to build bridges with the non-believers in their lives. Then as I read this morning's devotion I could not help but think about how through your lives and through your personal witness of Christ how others have been effected as you have attempted to just walk out what Spurgeon calls here the seemingly "insignificant" duties of our daily lives. Thank you for how you love one another and how you seek to "shower" others with the "dew of heaven." Enjoy and be encouraged.

Then the remnant of Jacob shall bein the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord,like showers on the grass,which delay not for a mannor wait for the children of man. (Micah 5:7)

If this be true of the literal Israel, much more is it true of the spiritual Israel, the believing people of God. When saints are what they should be, they are an incalculable blessing to those among whom they are scattered.

They are as the dew; for in a quiet, unobtrusive manner they refresh those around them. Silently but effectually they minister to the life, growth, and joy of those who dwell with them. Coming fresh from heaven, glistening like diamonds in the sun, gracious men and women attend to the feeble and insignificant till each blade of grass has its own drop of dew. Little as individuals, they are, when united, all-sufficient for the purposes of love which the Lord fulfills through them. Dew drops accomplish the refreshing of broad acres. Lord, make us like the dew!

Godly people are as showers which come at God's bidding without man's leave and license. They work for God whether men desire it or not; they no more ask human permission than the rain does. Lord, make us thus boldly prompt and free in Thy service wherever our lot is cast.