Dear PMU Supporters,
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!
Spring is here and has brought with it a new season of hope and of activity. In early May of this year, we celebrated the first birthday of our daughter, Hannah. Hannah’s story needs some explaining. When our son Timothy was 18 months old, he started praying for a sibling. There were some close calls: two miscarriages, one ectopic pregnancy that almost took Melissa’s life, and three implanted adopted embryos that did not take. Then a few years after all of that, when Melissa and I had basically “given up” on having more children, in the midst of turmoil, God provided life in Hannah. We learned through this experience at least three lessons, which also have definite applications to church planting/church life.
First, there is the lesson of our total dependence on God in prayer. As an example of child-life faith, Timothy continued to pray for a sibling, having done so for over eight years (which is the vast majority of his life!). For the life of the church, the account of the book of Acts shows how frequently God’s people gathered together to pray, and the mighty power manifested by God because of it (Acts 4:23-31). However simple or natural something may seem (e.g., conception, germination) it is entirely outside of man’s power to control. How much less then is the conversion and spiritual growth of sinful men? We have witnessed this several times, when a friend expresses his desire to visit the church or a visitor desires to make a public profession of faith, this is an open invitation for all types of diabolical interference. So for the unchurched to advance in a God-ward direction, let alone to be converted requires a “full frontal assault” by Christ’s Church against the gates of Hell through the means of prayer!
Second, there is a difference between man’s plans and God’s timing. God simply has a different view of time than we do (2 Peter 3:8). In the brevity of our lives, we often think events will happen in a shorter time frame, but they end up taking much longer. Call it impatience or poor planning, but God provides in His perfect timing, not ours.
Third, there is the rule that God often waits until we are exhausted and have given up in order to provide (Isaiah 40:29-31). This is to facilitate (not ensure, since we are that near-sighted, forgetful, and prideful) the credit and glory going to God rather than to man. So God waits until our strength is sapped, our novel ideas implemented and terminated, our human wisdom tested and shown wanting, etc. before He steps in to answer our prayers. What a valuable lesson to walk away marveling at the greatness of our God!
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement and your support for the work of church planting in the Twin Cities of Minnesota!
In the bonds of Christ’s love,