Starting next week, I will be in Ukraine for a series of meetings in the cities of Lutsk and Kiev. The churches in Ukraine are standing strong these days and I will have the privilege of meeting with many of their leaders while there.
I look forward to the joy of preaching at our “home church” in Lutsk (called “God’s Design Church”) on Sunday, April 24. This morning on FaceBook I found the following flyer announcing the events of the day…and no, I can’t read a word of it!! Praise the Lord for good translators when I teach and preach!
If you can, pray for the trip to be beneficial to the leaders in Kiev at their national conference as I speak to their young adult leaders gathered together from all over the nation. The kind folks in Lutsk have translated and published my book, Firmly Rooted, Faithfully Growing (cover photo attached). A copy will be given to each of the 800 conference participants!
Thanks for your continued interest and prayers as we continue to prepare the launch of Equipped for Life in the coming months!
With all the attention given to the presidential primaries around the country, I just found a very helpful article on the Desiring God website by Jon Bloom. Whereas one cannot always predict the presence of wisdom, the book of Proverbs gives keen insights into the presence of foolishness.
The article is weakened in its initial impact by posting it with a picture of one of the presidential candidates before any text giving the wrong impression that the article is a commentary only on Donald Trump.
In reality, the content of the article can be applied equally across the slates of candidates in both major political parties. Further, the characterizations of foolishness from Proverbs have no particular reference to politics, but represent humanity at large in all of its variations!
Read and enjoy the challenge to think well before choosing leaders in any context!
Like millions of others, I watched Kelly Clarkson cry on American Idol. Like millions of others, I cried with her.
Her song, “Piece by Piece” is about a father who left when she was six years old, and about her husband, who has loved her and their baby…who has picked up the pieces of her broken heart and shown her what it is like to be loved without having to earn it…I’m telling you, it is a powerful song.
But here is the thing.
Every human father eventually fails. Every husband falls down once in a while. Mothers and wives do too.
But as I listened, I heard the powerful strains of the Gospel coming through the music. All of us get dropped, and all of us find ourselves in pieces on the ground at one time or another. Yet no human being can fix everything that has been broken. We may resolve to try to help others, or to find someone who can help us. In the final part of the song, Kelly states her resolve not to be like her earthly father with her own daughter (and soon to be born son).
Piece by piece I fell far from the tree
I will never leave her like you left me
And she will never have to wonder her worth
Because unlike you I’m going to put her first
And you know, he’ll never walk away,
He’ll never break her heart
He’ll take care of things, he’ll love her
And piece by piece, he’ll restore my faith
That a man can be kind and a father should be great.
Only Jesus can lead us to the Father who can be that for all who are broken to pieces and abandoned by a disappointing, heart-breaking world. He’ll never break our hearts…He’ll never walk away…He’ll love us…He’ll take care of things…He’ll restore all that has been lost!
Listen to the song with you eyes on Jesus and see the loving mercy and grace of the heavenly Father in a song that was not likely to have been intended for that purpose. But as the power of its lyrics flood over you, be very glad that our great God picks us up, “piece by piece.” He makes all things new* through the grace of Jesus Christ to all who will come to Him who gives us rest** and restores our souls! Only God the Father can be that kind and be that great, can be worthy of our absolute trust. We all need such a Father…so we all need Christ!
*2 Corinthians 5:17
** Matthew 11:28-30
Would love your feedback!
I am attaching a one-page intro sheet (front and back) that I am designing to introduce people to what Equipped for Life is, the idea behind it and some details of what EFL will offer. The front page is a screen shot of a possible design for a website home screen and the back page gives some details about the three categories listed on the front page.
Let me know what is missing…what should be left off…overall what your impression is…and last of all, what other means of equipping Christian leaders you might like to see EFL offer that are not mentioned.
You can either comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your interest and your help!
As Equipped for Life gets ready to launch, I am posting a new Facebook page to provide a place for updates and news of the progress being made to get this ministry up and running.
Check back periodically and see how things are going! Particularly would appreciate much prayer and would actually like to build a Prayer Team of 50 people who will commit to pray regularly for this important new work. If you are interested, let me know! The email for communicating regarding EFL is email@example.com.
Thanks for checking today’s post!
When Sirius radio came with my new car a few years ago, I discovered the Comedy station–the clean one! There are others that are NOT!!
I have enjoyed much laughter since then while simply getting from point A to B. One comedian I discovered was Michael Jr. He is a truly funny man! Today I found out a little more about him–that he uses his comedy to encourage people to aspire to become more of what God created them to be.
Here is short clip of one of his YouTube posts that is not comedic but inspirational. Hope you like it!
Thanks to the amazing skills of the Providence media team, audio and video recordings of the special farewell service from Sunday night are available on the http://www.pray.org website! Thanks to that entire team of men and women for their excellent work each week capturing the worship times of Providence.
Sunday night, the service was a few minutes under two hours with lots of great music and worship times, and then a series of short comments by a very special group of friends. Cathy and I were overwhelmed, to say the least!
If you were not able to attend, I do hope you will enjoy the video! To access the video, click on this link:
I am also attaching a copy of the order of service in case you would like to scroll through to favorite portions of the service.
What a night! …one last opportunity to say a public, worshipful thanks to the Lord for allowing Cathy and me to be part of the Providence family all these years! When we agreed to have a farewell evening to say our last farewell as pastor of Providence, I frankly had no idea what that would mean.
Last night as friends gathered for a time of glorious worship, Cathy and I got to see and hug people we have loved from across four decades of Christ-centered relationships. One surprise after another awaited us as first one then another and another would walk in–some having traveled many, many hours from many states to come celebrate with us. To say it was overwhelming only begins to touch on what it was like for us!
Not knowing what was planned, Cathy and I had prayed that we would be able to take it all in while at the same time deflect all praise to the Lord. We need not have been concerned because those who planned the day had made sure that each song, each testimony, each greeting, would give first place to the adoration of a gracious and generous Savior.
When the video of the evening goes online on http://www.pray.org, I will post that link so that those who could not come will be able to experience in part that evening of amazing worship! Music from a wide range of styles led by dear friends and great musicians stirred all of our hearts to lift high the name of Jesus!
For those looking for more information about our new ministry, Equipped for Life, there are a couple of posts here on this blog (December 3, July 7 and 10) that give a brief explanation of what we hope to see the Lord do. Two primary emphases of EFL will be equipping–teaching, training and encouraging ministry leaders, and missions–bringing together missions needs with missions giving.
Hopefully within the next couple of months we will be launching the Equipped for Life website, but in the meantime this blog will post progress as the details develop more fully.
If you are interested in helping us in this new endeavor, you can contribute by making checks payable to “Equipped for Life” and sending them to Equipped for Life, 6339 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27612 or to 1820 Albacore Lane, Raleigh, NC 27612. Since EFL is a 501(C)3 not-for-profit organization, all gifts are tax deductible. If you prefer, you can also make checks payable to Providence Baptist Church and note EFL on the “for” line of the check. When the website launches, there will be a provision for online giving. So whether you want to become a ministry partner with us, or just make a one-time contribution, please know how grateful we will be!
For more details about the ministry itself, please contact me via my new ministry email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be very glad to fill you in on all the dimensions planned for this new and exciting phase of our calling to equip the saints for the work of ministry and connect missions needs with missions giving.
As far as last night is concerned, THANKS!…thanks to all of you for once again making us feel so blessed by a people we love so deeply!
Yesterday was my last day as senior pastor at Providence! Now I am just a member, but I want to be a good one!
When Cathy and I found ourselves with eleven other couples on the threshold of starting a new church in 1978, we could never have predicted what the next 37 years had in store for us! After preaching thousands of sermons, writing several books and articles, traveling hundreds of thousands of miles to speak at conferences here and abroad, baptizing hundreds, marrying hundreds more, counseling those in trouble or in need, comforting those who were bereaved or hurting in some way, sharing the gospel with individuals, small groups or entire congregations, my calling to preach the gospel and to equip the saints for the work of ministry has never left me in search of something to do!
For all the mistakes I made, and the failures I endured, there was never a moment in all those years when I felt any lack of support from you. Don’t get me wrong! There were plenty of antagonists to be found along the way and the sailing was not always smooth. But I always knew that Providence consisted primarily of men and women who loved Christ, loved His Word, loved His church, and yes, loved me as their pastor. How can I thank you properly for all of that? What words of praise can adequately be expressed to a great and glorious Savior, Jesus Christ? Praise and thanksgiving will always be in my heart and on my lips for you and to Him who alone is worthy to be exalted!
Through all of those years, you the people of Providence have extended much grace to me and my family! Thanks for loving my family and for loving me well!
Looking back, some of you I baptized, then officiated at your weddings, dedicated your babies…only to get to do the same thing for your children! Scores of you we ordained to the ministry, hundreds we commissioned to be missionaries, and thousands of others we affirmed to be salt and light in whatever circumstances God has placed you. In this day of short pastoral tenures, who gets to stay in one place long enough to do all of that? Your gracious love and prayers and faithfulness provided a place for us to call home and raise our own family right here.
From a purely practical standpoint, you have also been a generous people. Through four relocations, you stood by the ministry and gave freely so that we have never had debt for more than a few years at any given time. We have met our budget all but a handful of those 37 years. And even then, we managed our spending well and ended the year in the black! That was done without ever compromising our commitment to give sacrificially and gladly to support various missions endeavors around the globe as a gospel centered church should. You have joined me to treasure Christ and make His glory known in your hearts and in all the earth! Thank you for that!!
May the riches of His grace flow freely as Brian Frost excels in his new role. I now get to join you as a member of Providence, loving, supporting and praying for my new pastor. So as I step aside and Brian becomes your Senior Pastor today, my heart is filled with joy and gratitude that I have been your pastor and friend all these years. “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
As I begin a new phase of ministry as Executive Director of Equipped for Life ministries, continuing to equip the saints for the work of ministry, especially ministry leaders, please pray for me as I will for you! May the grace of Jesus Christ be yours completely!
Each Christmas, we try to get a family photo in front of the Christmas tree…not an easy task with little ones who may or may not be interested in sitting still! This year was no different. Set up the camera, set the timer, press the release, run sit in my spot, ‘everyone look at the camera!’…and voila!
But this year we had a surprise! Cathy’s dad lives with us and his room is right behind where we were sitting. Being rather hard of hearing, he was oblivious to what was going on right outside his door. The result? The best photobomber I think I’ve ever seen!
So Merry Christmas from all who were sitting for the photo…and a special surprise greeting from our guest photobomber!