31 October 2017

Happy Reformation Day!

It's been encouraging to see friends here in Kenya post on social media about the Reformation's anniversary today. The Lord is at work spreading an unwavering devotion to his Word and a passion for the pure gospel throughout our city. What a privilege to be a small part of what he's doing!

One way we're seeking to spread the flames of reformation through the thick brambles of man-made religion is by equipping church leaders with the Word. Our school year is nearing its completion, and each course, from Old Testament Survey to New Testament theology to Methods in Writing, aims to give pastors and others the tools they need to serve. Please continue to pray for impact beyond the academic.
On the home front, we've enjoyed a special visit from my mom this month. We sneaked away for a quick trip to a game park a few of hours out of town while she was here. We're grateful for this opportunity to connect with family and to make these memories. Our God is kind beyond measure in ways big and small.
Please be in prayer for Kenya as the political situation remains unstable. Kenya’s elections this year have been marred by various complications. The Supreme Court declared the original presidential election of 8-Aug invalid, and the second one (26-Oct) was poorly attended in large measure because one of the main candidates was convinced that the problems with the first vote had not been fixed and asked his supporters to boycott the second. We’re still waiting to hear what will come of that second vote. In the meantime, political violence has erupted, the economy has slowed, and crime has escalated. We have been safe as a family, but the instability has certainly touched places we frequent and people we love. Please pray that God would grant wisdom, humility, and integrity to our leaders here as well as peace and justice to the Kenyan people.

30 September 2017

Slaying Sin and Mobilizing Missions

Since our good friends and coworkers the Moores began their assignment in the States this June, our community group has been working through a little book called The Enemy Within. This book updates and simplifies John Owen's Mortification of Sin. The wording comes from Paul's command to "put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Col 3:5, cf. Rom 8:13). I have been repeatedly encouraged by our Friday night gatherings as we endeavor to help one another fight sin.  One participant last week brought up a helpful flowchart (available here for print and for free) so that we could discuss how the principles of the book could be shaped into a process to be repeated from now all the way to heaven. We're so thankful for the camaraderie we enjoy at this church as we seek to put to death the deeds of the flesh, holding nothing back.
Emmanuel Baptist pursued a special missions emphasis this month. Pastor Ken and a few other speakers challenged us as a congregation to prioritize God's glory and the salvation of the nations, especially those who remain unreached. I love how we've been led as a congregation to consider how God uses ordinary people for his extraordinary redemptive purposes. God is at work for the glory of Jesus among the nations! Please continue praying that God would use us in his great rescue plan even as he continues to rescue us from our own sin.

16 September 2017

School Days, Family Days, and Every Day

Classes continue for both EABST students at work and the Pittsley boys at home. Right now I can hear Josiah working through the rudiments of calculating interest in his online math classes. In EABST's Old Testament Survey, we've just completed the initial preparatory questions: What is the Old Testament? How has it come down to us? And what are we supposed to do with it? Now we're prepared to dive into the text itself. Pray for us that we would see the glorious reign of God as he sovereignly prepared the path for Jesus through the sometimes hard and sometimes happy history of Israel.

This semester Monday is officially family day, and I've been working to keep that day free for hanging out with Jen and the kids. It's been a treasure recently to deliberately set aside time for discipling, enjoying, and relaxing with these guys. Each of them is a pleasure to talk to and play with at this stage. At the same time, Jenny and I long to see them grow toward faithful, godly adulthood, and this time together an investment in that future.

Please also pray for us as we reach out in our community. We need wisdom to capitalize on the opportunities that God sends our way for the spread of his fame and the gospel. The man pictured to the right is a complete stranger. In the middle of a local grocery store the other day, he asked to take a picture with me, and I obliged. I have no idea what use that picture is to him, but as I think of it now, I could have used this chance meeting as an opportunity to get to know this man whose life intersected with mine in what appeared to be completely random circumstances or even as an opportunity to bring up the saving gospel of Jesus. Keep praying that we'll be faithful to this task that we all share every day. Thank you for your faithful prayers and partnership with us as we work for the progress of the gospel here in Kenya.

02 September 2017