Converging Streams Can Form a Mighty River
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4 (NKJV)
Where does the majesty of Almighty God converge with the holiness of God to form a powerful river of conviction and reverence in His awesome presence? Perhaps these powerful portions of potent prophecy will stir and strum the strings of your heart like they do mine:
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face,and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!’
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called,and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King,the Lord of hosts!’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’ And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”Isaiah 6:1-8 (ESV)
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (ESV) (and Immanuel literally means, “God with us”).
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:12 (ESV)
The Prophet Jeremiah shattered the humanistic myth that “man is the measure of all things,” when he wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV)
When Isaiah saw the Lord lifted up in His awesome Majesty, honor and glory, he immediately also saw himself in his sinful and wretched disobedience to the King of Glory. The realization of God’s dazzling holiness, his own bedraggled sinfulness coupled with the relief of total forgiveness sparked his positive response to his Lord’s high and holy commission – “Here am I.” Send me.” Should it be less for me?
Perhaps Dr. James Dobson was pondering parallel passages of Scripture when he published this powerful prayer: “Lord, I bring You my sinful nature as you’ve revealed it to me. I know I don’t have anything valuable to offer except myself and my love. I can’t earn Your forgiveness, but You’ve offered it as a free gift from Your Son, Jesus Christ. I accept Your control of my life, and I intend to serve You, obey You, and follow You from this moment forward. You have my past, my present, my future, my family, my money, and my time. Nothing will I withhold. Thank You for loving me and forgiving me, and making me Your own. Amen.”
Converging Streams of Ministry
I think it was twelve and a half years ago that I met Stanislav (Stas) Atanov at the first Eurasian Apologetic Summit near Yalta in Crimea. I also saw him again and had opportunity to get better acquainted with him at the second Eurasian Apologetic Summit at Donetsk Christian University in eastern Ukraine (which is now in the war zone). Stas is from Uzbekistan,where the level of persecution was increasing, so after being intensely interrogated about his Christian activities, he managed to move first to Russia (as one who is ethnic Russian), and then to Kiev, Ukraine, where his wife, Alyona, and their two children came to him. (Alyona is ethnically Ukrainian, so we have living proof that a Russian and a Ukrainian can love each other! ?) For three and a half years they attempted to get refugee status in Ukraine, but didn’t get it. However, they did get refugee status from USA and moved to Oregon in March of 2015.
Stas is a brilliant and capable creation evangelist, who has wanted to come to Idaho to see our Vision Center for Northwest Science Museum (and to visit Della and me). Finally, it happened! I met Stas at the Boise airport just before midnight on Friday, December 7, so he could be our guest through Sunday evening when I took him back to the airport for his flight to Portland.
Stas loved our visit with Dwayne & Virginian DeWhitt, who are vital co-workers for our Northwest Science Museum, but was disappointed to not be able to meet and visit with Stan Lutz because he had a heart attack early Saturday morning and was in the hospital in excruciating pain. Stas also loved the very inspiring, uplifting, and strong Biblical preaching at Eagle Christian Church on Sunday morning, then our visit to the Vision Center of NWSM, where Dwayne gave him the tour of our displays (with a little help from me). Stas also really enjoyed meeting some of our family members here (Randy & Marilza, Sandy, David and Trinity), and going to visit Russian speaking friends who had moved from the Portland area to Caldwell, Idaho, recently. Vladimir& Polina (with family and friends) served us a “snack,” which I would categorize as a “feast.” Stas’ friends had many creation science questions, and we enjoyed a wonderful time together –which had to be cut short in order to get Stas to the airport on time.
What is God doing in all of this? Could it be another converging of streams of ministry with Overseas Outreach and Northwest Science Museum? We don’t know yet, so please pray for Him to grant us wisdom and clarity to discern His leading – and please, please pray for healing and total recovery for Stan Lutz.
What an Inspiring Trip!
Less than a month after my arrival home from the mission trip to Ukraine and Germany, Della and I enjoyed a trip to Cincinnati, OH and northern Kentucky. Why and how did this come about? We went to attend the International Conference on Missions (ICOM), to visit the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, to visit Della’s Uncle Del and Aunt Su, and to speak for the main Chapel at Fort Knox on Sunday, November 28, where Uncle Del and Aunt Su are members. That answers the why. The how was because we discovered that I had enough Mileage Plus miles to cover the round-trip flights to Cincinnati and back – plus we have wonderful friends who covered most of the other expenses. Wow! Our God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good! This trip was both stirring and stimulating to both faith and fellowship!
Ajai Lall’s Tiger Story
My favorite speaker and message at ICOM were delivered by Indian evangelist, Ajai Lall, on the intricate connection between persecution and powerful, persuasive presentation of the truth of God and love of Christ in the gospel. His text was Acts 16:16-40, and I took notes on his outline. For introduction to his message, he told us that American evangelists who come to India like to start with a joke, so he as an Indian evangelist in America had a story for us. Since India is known for its tigers, he shared his tiger story. The tigers had planned and called a great convention to celebrate the prowess of tigerhood. During the singing and dancing of the celebration, a tiger spotted a little mouse shouting, bouncing and dancing with joy amidst the tigers, so he grabbed that little mouse in his paw and demanded: “This is our tiger convention – what are you doing here?” The mouse replied, “Well, I used to be a tiger! Then I got married!”
I confess that I like this story more than Della does, but I can also testify that on this coming Friday, December 14, we celebrate our 56th wedding anniversary – and Della has greatly enhanced my ministry. She has not transformed me into a mouse (although she is more cautious than I am).
But now I do have a serious question to contemplate: When it comes to witnessing for Jesus – are you as bold as a tiger or as timid as a mouse?
Beware of Cynicism Concerning Our Dark, Tumultuous Times
Fear not! Remember, it is always darkest before dawn! When Stephen was martyred for his convicting message to the unbelieving Jews who had cried out for the Romans to crucify Jesus and for his witness for Jesus, there was a young man standing by holding the garments of the men stoning Stephen. That young man was destined by the Almighty to replace Stephen. Not only would Saul be confronted by the risen Conqueror of death and converted to Christ – he would outpace and outshine Stephen in evangelism to become the second most influential man in history! God had appointed Saul to become the apostle Paul and to write approximately one third of the entire New Testament Scriptures.
What younger, vital individuals does God plan to bring out of the shadows and darkness of our tumultuous times to rock the world again with the Power of the gospel of Christ delivered by the Spirit of Christ?
Now with this Kingdom perspective in mind, I share with you some prayer requests. Remember that effective prayer is not measured by how much we get from God, but by how much God gets into us! Into our lives! Into our priorities! Into our entertainment! Into our time, talent and treasure!
From Our Mailbox
This month we are sharing a couple of printed items for this portion of our prayer letter. The first is from Natasha Reimer, director of Mulberry International, and the purpose is to give you a more complete perspective about what is happening in Ukraine, so you can pray more fervently and effectively. Also, if God stirs your heart of compassion to donate to Mulberry, you can send directly to them at P.O. Box 43623, Louisville, KY 40253.
“Stepping out in Faith”
“God has taken Mulberry International on quite a ride in 2018. When the year started we didn’t know where He would lead us, but in faith we willingly took one step at a time in obedience to His call. Each time we followed Him, He opened more doors of opportunity to come to the aid of at-risk children and families displaced by the war on Ukraine’s eastern border.
To demonstrate the love and hope of Christ to the starving hearts of innocent children and provide basic needs to impoverished families is what God has called Mulberry to. What better way to preach the Gospel to the poor than to prove the love of Christ by meeting the needs of people who are desperate for hope!
This year we sent our very first mission teams from the U.S. to Mariupol, a town near the war zone. One team worked with 75+ displaced by the war and at-risk children at a summer camp. Another team did construction work at a local Christian Children’s Home. These two teams made a lasting impact on young lives and came away from the experience with a better understanding of how Mulberry is responding to the needs of those made desperate by the ravages of war. Please read an excerpt from one of the team leader’s letter:
‘Thank you for your ministry. I know your heart, energy, love, prayers and wisdom are devoted to helping those in your country who need the Lord. It was a tremendous blessing to see first-hand a glimpse of all that Mulberry is doing under your leadership. The team has been deeply affected… you are doing an amazing work.’
Recently Mulberry stepped out in faith once again to support a Christian children’s home, expanding our outreach significantly on the ground near the war zone. The impact this home is making on dozens of children and teens is profound and will only increase with time. Not only are children and older youth responding to the message of Christ, but many of their biological families are being influenced by the grace of God and being restored.
This month we received the disappointing news that a major partner with our ministry would have to discontinue support. This represents an annual $10,000 loss. With this financial blow we are not only unable to expand our outreach, but we will not be able to continue all of our outreaches at current levels of support. This news comes at a time when the solidarity of God’s people is especially critical to meeting the needs of so many hurting people along Ukraine’s war-torn eastern front.
We have seen God deliver and provide time and time again. We are witnesses to His presence and power demonstrated in the amazing results of our ministry in Ukraine: over 400 adults are now participating for the first time in Bible Study and scores of at-risk orphaned children are growing in His love and knowledge! We know that God is not done with this war-ravaged region, and He calls us – His Church – to come together and collaborate with Him in His work!
We are asking God to provide for this need and praying that YOU will be His hands and feet by extending your support. If you do not currently support Mulberry, we pray that you will seriously consider partnering with our ministry in any amount – even it if is only a one-time gift. If you are a current partner, would you prayerfully consider raising your level of support? Even an additional $25 in monthly support would make a significant difference in what we can accomplish in Ukraine with God’s blessing.
As we gather together with our families during this season of abundance and blessing we have so much to be thankful for and it is easy to forget that half-way around the world there are people whose only wish is for a loaf of bread and a bowl of soup, or a blanket and a pair of half-worn shoes We can all do something. Take some time right now to pray and to listen to the Spirit of God speak to your heart. If you experience an impulse to be generous toward someone in need, listen to the Spirit and follow His invitation. Please pray earnestly for his ministry and lift praise to God for His glorious grace.
~ Natasha Reimer, Executive Director”
Now some excerpts from Cole, the president of Voice of the Martyrs:
“Good News for Our Enemies, Persecutors and Abusers”
“… As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us remember that Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us), has come. And let us also remember that He has told us to do the unthinkable. He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), and to bless those who curse us and pray for those who abuse us. (Luke 6:28). While these passages are familiar to every mature Christian it is still a struggle to understand and apply them.
Scripture makes it clear that we are not meant to remain sheltered within a Christian subculture; we are meant to launch bold love offensives that strike deep into enemy territory. Our brothers and sisters in restricted nations provide inspiring examples of these offenses…
When we are tempted to hate our enemies, persecutors or abusers, we must remind ourselves that God loves them and desires to see them repent and receive His forgiveness. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds from worldly thoughts to the thoughts of heaven. (Romans 12:2). Only then will we be compelled by Christ’s love to reach the lost (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Although it is natural in our fallen world to be compelled by hate or to give in to fear, Christ never hated or feared anyone. We are left with a choice: Will we following Christ’s footsteps along His difficult path or walk the broad road of the fallen world? (Matthew 7:13-14)
The good news proclaimed to a group of frightened shepherds that first Christmas night is the same good news Christ offers heroin addicts, Muslim extremists and each of us: God’s love and forgiveness are greater than our worst sins. As His followers, we lovingly call all people – even our enemies – to repentance, earnestly praying that they will come to Christ and become our brothers and sisters for eternity.”
Prayer Requests With a Kingdom Perspective
Recently when I heard John MacArthur’s message on Ephesians 3:14-21, he commented that we don’t normally pray for too much – we pray for too little. Please give this passage your very careful attention and ask yourself, “Will I pray from a higher perspective if I’m keeping these verses in view than I would have otherwise?”
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV)
1. At ICOM I had opportunity to meet and talk with a man who is fully capable of translating, Ready to Give an Answer, into Arabic. He has already translated Bible commentaries from several authors, plus, The Faith Once Delivered, by Jack Cottrell. He likes, Ready to Give an Answer, and is ready to do the job. That is the good news. Here is the need – to get 3000 copies published will cost $15,000, which we don’t have to invest in this project. However, the other good news is that this only amounts to $5 per copy – so it would only take 3000 donors giving $5 each (or one donor giving $15,000)! Of course, 300 donors giving $50 each would reach the same goal, etc. Why is this important? Because it is a tool to reach souls for Christ – and is to fulfill a request from leaders of the Love of Christ Church in Odessa for the floods of refugees coming into Ukraine from Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. Voice of the Martyrs has reported that there is an openness with the refugees – but many of them are too afraid to touch a Bible. Ready to Give an Answer, is a book of basic Biblical evidences that they can read and share with many others.
$15,000! Isn’t that a lot of money? The next question is – compared to what? Our Father owns the cattle on 1,000 hills –shall we pray for a cattle sale? On another note, for a gift of $25, you can sponsor 5 books, 20 for $100, 40 for $200, etc. Would you like a free copy of, Ready to Give an Answer, to examine it? Would you like to ask God, “What would You have me to do?” Would you like to consider offering a matching grant for this project – or for some of our other prayer requests?
2. We do need to expand our donor base for such projects, and for our operational expenses here at home (since we no longer have Deighton Lighting to contribute to a large portion of those expenses).
3. Is the Bible Without Any Errors?, is currently being translated into Russian for distribution throughout the Russian speaking world, but we don’t know yet how much it will be for this project. Please pray!
4. Stas Atanov came to visit s a pilot trip for hosting Alex Zhuk and two co-workers, Andri and Vitaliy, to come visit next summer to explore key areas in the northwest states that are vitally important for creation scientists. (Mt. St. Helens is one example.) Alex is founder and director of Planet Earth Creation Center in Lviv, Ukraine. Please pray for sponsors for this trip. Stas wants them to see our Vision Center for NWSM.
5. There are also huge needs for the refugees from the war zone in Ukraine. Please pray! Is God stirring your heart to offer a matching grant?
6. Stan Lutz’ heart is currently functioning at about 40% efficiency. About 1/5 of his heart is calcified and hardened, and the doctor told him this is irreversible. However, the Word of God tells us that with our Father nothing is impossible. Please pray for total healing! Stan is vitally important to NWSM!
7. Dick & Maxine James were our forwarding agents for our first overseas mission, Alpine Christian Mission (based in southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria). God called Dick to come Home about a year and a half ago and called Maxine Home on November 4. (Wonderful co-workers – treasured friends!) Both suffered debilitating diseases – now safe in the arms of Jesus, and pain free. Please pray for their daughters, Barb and Ruth, and the rest of their family in this season of loss and grief. (Maxine’s memorial service was this past Saturday, Dec. 8th.)
8. Please pray for healing for Jeff Finder, who has a serious staph infection several places on his body. Jeff is also a long-time friend who came to Christ in Germany at the Christian Coffee House ministry in Heilbronn, where he was stationed as a soldier. Following military service, Jeff came to Boise Bible College to study the Word of God, and also found Judy, who became his faithful wife.
9. Ukraine is still at war and is now experiencing another very tense situation with the confiscation of three of their ships by Russia in the Black Sea. Ten regions of Ukraine are now under martial law. Please pray for Ukraine, and especially for our co-workers. For example, church planters, Zhenya & Natasha Molodchy, are reaching out to the intellectuals (as well as many others) and Volodya & Maryana are reaching out to the addicts. Both the down and out and the up and out elements of society are lost sinners in need of the Savior!
10. This past summer was the twentieth anniversary of my first mission trip for our recently formed Overseas Outreach. I taught Christian Evidences for youth camps in Estonia and traveled to Riga, Latvia, to form a bond with Victor Barviks, missionary church planter, in order to help plant a new congregation. The needs for Overseas Outreach are now much more extensive than twenty years ago when we began, but we serve the same Awesome God! I’m certainly glad that we are not limited to our own meager resources. The apostle Paul wrote to Corinth: “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means,of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also… For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich… For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have… The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, 9, 12; 9:6-8 (ESV)
11. Please pray with us for the millions in our own nation with broken hearts, broken relationships, broken lives – lonely, hurting, dealing with terrifying losses from disasters such as murder, riots, fires, floods, storms, diseases, etc. It is abundantly evident that we live on a cursed earth! That is the stark reality– the bad news (which most media sources display as news). The good news is that Biblical Christianity is the only worldview with the answer to why we live on a cursed earth (SIN) – and can offer broken hearts the only solution – Jesus! The Way! The Truth! The life!
Remember – it is darkest before the dawn! Robert Jeffress recently said, “There has never been a better time to be alive and to share the gospel!” Peter wrote: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” 2 Peter 1:16-19 (NKJV). Let’s share Jesus clearly and pray for the Morning Star to rise in the hearts of the lost and lonely!
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15
“Have you considered how reindeer (caribou) survive in extremely cold climates? Sure, they are the only deer with fur on their noses, but they also eat moss! That’s right, moss. Most animals do not eat moss because it contains little nutritional value, and it is hard to digest. But moss contains a special chemical that keeps fluids (such as reindeer blood) from freezing inside the reindeer. You could say that eating moss is like adding antifreeze to the reindeer’s radiator – keeping these animals from freezing on the coldest of days. Do we say man-made antifreeze happened by accident and chance? Then why would we say reindeer antifreeze happened by accident and chance?
“Make know His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!” Psalm 105:1b-2 (NKJV)
From “HAVE YOU CONSIDERED”
“Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”
by Julie Von Vett and Bruce Malone
(Used by permission).
Santa Claus American Minute with Bill Federer
“His name was Nicholas and he was born to a wealthy, elderly couple in what is now Turkey in the 3rd century AD. When his parents died, he inherited great wealth and gained a reputation for helping the poor. Reportedly, one night he threw gold in the window of a bankrupt merchant, who used it as a dowry for his daughters to marry, thus saving them from the fate of being taken by the creditors. The father caught Nicholas, who made him promise not to reveal the source of the gift, thus inspiring the tradition of secret gift-giving on the anniversary of his death.
Nicholas entered a monastery and eventually was ordained Bishop of the coastal city of Myra. He was known for miraculous answers to prayer,confronting ‘Diana’ worship and being imprisoned during Roman Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. When Constantine ended the persecution, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea and helped write the Nicene Creed. A true Saint, Nicholas died December 6, 343 A.D.
Early American writer Washington Irving, creator of Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow,was instrumental in transforming Saint Nicholas into jolly ol’ St. Nick!”