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Summer Fun!!

Garden protection. ūüôā

But Dad, now you wont have to cut the grass!

 

Old pictures are still fun!!

I want to introduce you to a great ministry with a great need. “To the least of these” has been somewhat of a¬†vision statement for us for the last few years. As I preached though James and then Matthew, God began opening my eyes to how self-centered I am. One of the things we have realized is that we can reach out to ‘least of these’ in Ethiopia, in the Foster Care system, in the nursing home and on the streets in our cities.

John Ferguson is the director of Jefferson Street Baptist Center in downtown Louisville. Bellepoint Baptist¬†is going to have the privilege of hearing from John this week but I wanted to introduce the ministry and need here also. Below is a post from John’s blog entitles ‘An Urgent Appeal.’ You can learn more about Jeff Street at, www.jeffersonstreet.org

 

Dear Friend of the Homeless and Hurting,  

 I write to you during times of: Celebration, Desperation and Anticipation.

 Celebration

 On June 14, Jefferson Street Baptist Center (JSBC) will formally celebrate the graduation of 7 men whose lives were formerly out of control, but who have now found stability, meaning and purpose during their participation in JSBC’s Advance Louisville program (formerly known as Fresh Start).

 The men join a community of others who have graduated and now find themselves as useful, valued and productive citizens in a society in which they were once shunned, unwelcomed and unappreciated. The fact is, since May of 2009, 92% of Advance Louisville graduates continue to successfully celebrate the life transformation that occurred while they were at Jefferson Street.

 Desperation

 However, while there is much to celebrate, it is also a time of desperation.

 For various reasons, Jefferson Street Baptist Center finds itself in difficult and desperate financial times. A sluggish economy, food and utility prices escalating and an increase in individuals needing services have all contributed to a monthly shortfall of over $4000.00, but it is our Gospel-centered stand that has cost us the most in the last 2 years.

¬†Deemed ‚Äúinherently religious‚ÄĚ by those who handle the City of Louisville‚Äôs various grants, we were asked to promise that we would not share the life transforming power of the Gospel with individuals who come to us in need. In light of our vision and mission, we simply could not comply.

¬†The aforementioned success stories of life transformation attest to why we would sacrifice funding rather than allow government bureaucracy to dictate the kind of ‚Äúhelp‚ÄĚ we could offer. Therefore, we lost or gave up monies that totaled nearly $90,000.

 Simply put, 2 years ago, we lost 20% of our budget and we are still trying to recover by trimming off any fat we can by lowering our food budget, holding up on essential building maintenance and eliminating some non-essential services that we provided to guests and residents. We have also had to cut into some muscle and had to make some painful personnel decisions. 

 Anticipation

 Yet, in the midst of desperation, I write with anticipation knowing that you have a desire to invest in the lives of those in need. We are depending upon God’s provision through an immediate financial gift from individuals like you who are passionate about restoring broken lives 

 In light of this desperate need, I am asking you to send a donation of $500.00 or more. While any financial gift will help, this amount covers all the monthly costs associated with housing one Advance Louisville participant. More than mere support, your gift brings change to homeless and hurting individuals

 On behalf of the residents, guests, staff and volunteers, please know that I am praying for you and thanking God for your faithful giving and prayerful support of the ministry of Jefferson Street Baptist Center.

 Enjoy Grace,

  John Ferguson

A Wise Son

Pro 13:1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Pro 13:13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
Pro 13:14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

May God grant us the love and wisdom to teach diligently and may He grant our children the ears to hear.

Exodus 12:26-27 ¬†And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for He passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’

It has really struck me as we have been studying through the Book of Exodus how much emphasis the Scriptures place on memorials and their place in instructing our children. I think one of the barometers of Godly parenting is whether or not our children are asking us spiritual questions. The Bible assumes that if we are living out the Scriptures then not only will our neighbors ask us questions (1 Peter 2:12; 3:15), but so will our children.

Are our children asking us what we mean by our loving service to other people? Are they asking us what we mean by our lives of devotion to our Lord? Are they asking, ‘why do we sit down as a family to read, sing and pray the Scriptures.’ ¬†Are they asking about our ‘ceremonies’ that commemorate Christ’s work on our behalf? Are they asking for ‘a reason for the hope that is in you’?

Or are they asking what’s coming on next on the TV, what team’s practice are we dragging them to next, or when is the next time that you are coming home?

Our children are going to ask us questions. The kinds of questions that they ask of us will give insight to what we are telling them with our actions.

1Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

While Satan is defeated, he still must be actively resisted. He is still stalking people to devour them. While he can ultimately not bring a believer eternal harm because we are kept by the power of God, he is more than a mere nuisance. We must prepare to actively oppose him everyday. ¬†How is it that we doe this? Do we enroll in all the spiritual warfare classes that we can? No, Peter says that we resist our enemy by ‘standing firm in the faith’.

I am reminded of a video clip of EV Hill preaching where he continued to say that we are to hit the Devil with Scripture when he came to tempt.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5YDSgZ5c3iw

 
“When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward  I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me”
(Bancroft and Cook)

1Peter 5:8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. [Because] Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

‚ÄúThe devil roars like a lion to induce fear in the people of God. In other words, persecution is the roar by which he tries to intimidate believers in the hope that they will capitulate¬† at the prospect of suffering… [But]¬†The roaring of the devil is the crazed anger of a defeated enemy, and if they do not fear his ferocious bark, they will never be consumed by his bite.‚ÄĚ ¬†(Tom Schreiner, 1 &2 Peter, Jude NAC; 242)

Yes we have an enemy, so beware and be vigilant. But do not be fearful. Christ has defeated, ¬†de-fanged and de-clawed the cat. Don’t be allured by his purrings nor be frightened at his roarings. Christ has conquered and crushed his head!

Exodus 10:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them,
Exo 10:2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”

As we have been studying through the book of Exodus, the purpose of the plagues that God brought upon the Egyptians has been fascinating to me. ¬†The Scriptures say continually that God brought these upon the Egyptians so that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would know that Yahweh is the true God. However, in chapter 10 we also see that one of the purposes of the plagues was so the Israelites would tell of God’s mighty acts to the coming generations so that they would know the Lord.

Oh how often we miss our teaching moments with our children. So many times we think that it is some one else’s job (youth director, pastor, Sunday School teachers) to teach our children about who God is. Parents, speak to your children about the mighty acts of God. Tell them how God has and will deal harshly with His enemies. Show them in His Word that He is both a God of judgment and salvation; a God of wrath towards His enemies and mercy towards His children. God told Moses that He hardened Pharaoh’s heart and that He performed these great and terrible acts “so that you may tell in the hearing of your son and grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”