Weekly Update 01/04/2022

Greetings! Happy New Year!

With the first Update in 2022, I’m excited about the year ahead. We’ve journeyed through some rather interesting days the past couple of years. Throughout, we’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness in sustaining us in the faith, enriching worship, teaching us to trust Him, deepening devotion lives, and serving one another. We’ve learned some things the hard way through the adversities and changes we’ve encountered together. But that’s a good path because the Lord has ordered it for us in His wise, kind Providence. We can trust Him with the details in 2022, thankfully!

Tomorrow night we get started with our first STINT of the new year. We’re returning to Andy Johnson’s excellent little book, Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global, which we attempted to start just as the pandemic hit. I’ve known Andy for about 25 years. He walks the walk when it comes to missions. I’ve been with him (as have others of our folks) in international settings on a number of occasions, and in each, I’ve been humbled by his gentleness, love for people, and desire to see the gospel proclaimed among all people. I spent a lot of time with him and his son during a trip to Asia where he and I spoke to pastors and church leaders who lived under constant persecution. Andy was superb! That’s why I’m excited that we’re learning from someone who understands missions. By the way, we’re helping to support him as he has already planted a church in Ankara, Turkey. Ladies, you’re up first at 6:30 tomorrow night.

Christianbook.com - Why Trust the Bible? Study Guide

Students, you get to read and discuss Greg Gilbert’s Why Trust the Bible? in the new STINT for Students tomorrow night. Greg writes with clarity, not dodging hard questions but going right to the heart of truth. You’ll enjoy this book!

The building is making good progress, with lots more sheetrock up so that it’s easier to see the layout in the new section and the east side of the building. We like progress!

I hope you’ve picked up a Bible Reading Guide for 2022! If not, grab one tomorrow or Sunday and get started in reading through the Word. As always, we have several options to fit the schedule you’re under. The main thing, be consistent in a reading plan for 2022. You’ll be thankful when December 31st rolls around and you’ve been in the Word all year. Plus, you’ll hear the expositions of Scripture with greater clarity.

Pastor Matt began a two-part exposition of Paul’s message to the philosophers and cultural elites in Athens from Acts 17 this past Sunday, helping us to see that it’s not just 1st century Greeks who struggle with idolatry. We face it too. It’s one of the most profound passages in God’s Word in helping us to grasp how to speak the good news to the nations. Matt did a wonderful job in opening that text. This Sunday he plans to make application on how we take the model Paul gave and put it to effective use in our gospel witness. You can check out the message here. Pray that the upcoming Sunday’s sermon might bear much fruit in our lives.

Sunday night we’ll be having our first Sunday Evening Service of 2022 with Colossians 1:24–29 as our text. It’s one that has helped me for many years (say, maybe around 50 years!). Join us at 6:00 as we worship the Lord together.

Lord willing, I will be on sabbatical for about four weeks starting January 13th. We’re grateful for the elders granting this time and to the body for making it part of the way you serve and encourage your pastors. Most of the time will be spent editing a book that Rich Shadden and I have been working on, A Pastor’s First Ten Years. That’s the tentative title, anyway, that we’re working on. New Growth Press has given us a contract for publication and 9Marks Ministries will take the book on as one of their 9Marks Imprints. Please pray for us as we get this wrapped up and to the editors. I have two other projects (one an old project) that I hope to get some work on during sabbatical once the editing is completed. Pray for Karen and me as we’re away that we might use our time wisely.

Warmest regards,
Phil N.
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