12 May 2010

2010 Spring Newsletter

Here's an overview of the last handful of months (February through April). Text version follows the link to the print version.

Click here for a printer friendly version.

Making New Friends
On 14 February we visited Grace Bible Fellowship in El Paso, TX, for the first time. We have done our best to get to know some of the folks here when we are not out of town, and the effort has been richly rewarded. Jenny and I have been drawn to the gospel through their ministry and our new friends there are already becoming dear to us.

Proclaiming the Gospel to Others—and Ourselves!
One of the highlights of the last few months in El Paso has been the time that artist and Christian apologist Jay Wegter came to teach and train the folks at Grace Bible Fellowship for a weekend. Members of the church went with him to a local outlet mall to reach out to the lost and to put into practice some of his evangelism training. I found his method of opening the conversation especially helpful. I am eager to find more opportunities to employ the tools he gave us.
But it wasn’t just presenting the gospel to the lost he talked about. He also spent some time teaching about preaching the gospel to ourselves. Why should we do that? Well, the human soul seems to always run after some sort of performance-based approach to God. Even as Christians we need to continually remember that it is the gospel that gives us permission and boldness to approach God. The gospel cuts the throat of our ingrained arrogance; it stops us from thinking that our own performance is good enough for God. The gospel also shakes us out of our tendency to withdraw from fellowship with God because of a lingering guilty conscience for past failure.
Whatever our self-centered tendency is, the gospel is the weapon we need to conquer it. And it is this powerful gospel that we have the privilege of proclaiming to the nations!

Meetings and Other News
• 3-Feb, Faith Baptist, Artesia, NM • We enjoyed our brief time with this visionary and growing church and have good hope of seeing more of them in the future.
• 6-Feb, Alameda Bible Church, ABQ • I was delighted to have the opportunity to see these folks again and to give a devotional at their Valentine’s Day Banquet.
• 28-Feb, Temple Baptist, Hobbs, NM • I was struck by the genuine care, trust, and fellowship shared by the pastor and flock here.
• 7-Mar, Manor Baptist, San Leandro, CA • I was encouraged to see how intentional this church is about making their missionaries part of their regular corporate prayer life.
• 10-Mar, First Baptist, Pinole, CA • I met a missionary to the deaf in the San Fran area during an update visit with this church. He was a memorable encouragement to me.
• 14-Mar, Community Bible Jackson, WY • It will be a long time before I forget the fraternity of spirit I enjoyed with the Edmondsons and the other members I was able to get to know from this church.
• 18-Apr, Grace Baptist, Farmington, NM • It's always good for us to see a church like this who knows and even visits their missionaries!
• 25-Apr, Western Avenue Baptist, Avondale, AZ • We love coming across churches like this who share our heart for both deep theology and deep fellowship within the body.

Kids’ Corner
While Jonas has been learning to crawl and cruise, Josiah has begun to explore music more and more. He loves to explore music websites like sfskids.org and has nearly memorized a number of songs that teach multiplication tables of all things!

The Pittsleys thank God for
• Opportunities to serve and to be encouraged at Grace Bible Fellowship.
• Safety over the thousands of miles travelled already this year.
• Good meetings and solid contacts.

Please pray with us for
• More meetings and partners for this year.
• Our ministry to be an encouragement to churches.
• Our health and safety for future travels.


Anonymous said...

i'd be interested to know how he opens conversations.

Jeremy Pittsley said...

He would ask them to explain their worldview by answering four questions:

Where did we come from?
What makes human life precious/special/sacred?
What's wrong with this world?
How can it be fixed?

He waited and listened patiently, asking a few questions but avoiding argument. Then he presented the Christians answer to those questions, transitioning toward the end of the last question to the personal import of the gospel for their lives.

At least with the group that we were working with (a young blond-haired, blue-eyed muslim woman, a college football player, and his sister) I found that the conversation went smoothly and that they seemed to be willing to think about the answers given.

I guess it just helped me get over some of the awkwardness of talking to a complete stranger--awkwardness that would be there if I were selling cologne or taking public opinion polls. But I think the conversation starter would help guide a conversation with an unsaved family member or friend too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pitt. Sounds like another way of asking what they're story of creation, fall, redemption, restoration is (http://www.gcmcollective.com/article/engaging-in-story/). I like it. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...