Dear faithful supporters,
Happy end of summer to you! Even as we start to see evidence of the changing of the seasons here, I’m reminded that this is a sign of God’s covenant promise that He would not wipe out the world again by a flood (Gen. 8:20-22). While the world sees the repeating cycles as proof of futility that leads to despair, by faith, we can view the exact same cycles and have hope, for they assure us of God’s covenant faithfulness (Ecclesiastes 1:1-15). God’s covenant, with day and night coming at their appointed times, reminds us that His covenant with David cannot be broken, that as the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so He will multiply the descendants of David (Jeremiah 33:19-22)!
These same lessons about apparent futility and despair, contrasted with faith and hope in God’s mighty work also apply in the ministry of the church. Ministry may at times, judging by the eye of flesh, appear to be efforts wasted, goodwill rejected, wise counsel discarded, and prayers unanswered. But the Word of God reminds us that God does not judge our labors based upon our results (1 Cor. 3:5-7—It is God who causes the growth), but rather He judges our labors based upon our faithfulness. Ministry is a two-way street, for there must be one who is willing to teach or give, but there must also be one who is willing to heed and receive. God doesn’t hold it against you that you do the former, but the other person doesn’t do the latter. Even in our Lord’s own ministry on earth, there were occasions in which He did not do many miracles, because of the lack of faith of the people (Mark 6:5-6).
Yet, at other times, our Lord, knowing the frailty of His children, in His mercy, is ready to give those glimmers of hope and signs of growth along the way. Stated another way, judging by the eye of faith, ministry proves to be encouraging as we see God’s power manifested in the weak and flawed labors of His children. Especially as people advance in years, the question that often surfaces is whether or not there will be permanence to the work that we are doing. In other words, does our work of plowing, planting, and watering bear fruit unto eternity? By the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and power and not our own, He answers our prayers and allows us to see His mighty work and confirms for us the work of our hands (Psalm 90:16-17).
My family is well and we continue to give thanks for the Lord’s generosity and compassion upon us. In July and August, our family was in travel mode and were greatly blessed by our time at synod and also visiting two other BP congregations. I came to the renewed conclusion that I am exceeded in popularity by my wife and son, and we have all been surpassed by our sixteen month-old daughter.
The police chaplain ministry has also continued to develop towards spiritual ends. Much of the work is external and “the ministry of presence.” But in two occasions (both ongoing), the Lord has provided the opportunity to open the Word and to study the Word with others. One is a young couple with whom we are continuing to meet in order to study God’s counsel regarding marriage. Another occasion is with an officer currently in membership classes who desires to make public profession of faith and to receive baptism. Please pray for the Lord’s continued blessings in these, as well as other gospel opportunities.
Cornerstone is exploring ways that we can reach out to the sizeable immigrant populations here in the Twin Cities. We are also continuing interactions with Concordia Academy (the Lutheran school where we meet for worship) and the University of Northwestern (a local non-denominational Christian college). We continue to use common opportunities (sports, clubs, etc.) to build relationships for the sake of the gospel. We invest even though some or even most of these relationships may not result in new members at Cornerstone. Nonetheless, this is a healthy reminder that our goal should be to build Christ’s kingdom and not our own.
Thank you for your support in prayer and your encouragement in the work of the gospel ministry.
Your fellow bondservant in Christ,