Psalm 27

27:title A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.

4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.

6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” 9 Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a level path because of my foes. 12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.

13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for the Lord.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 27:title–Ps 28). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Boston and Beyond

Fellow-workers for the Truth,

One of the five responsibilities Deb and I have for the B&B globalized cities initiative is to recruit the workers. In order to accomplish our God-given goal of making disciple in all nations, by ministering in key cities, we need to recruit three kinds of workers.  Firstly,  we need tent makers, those who use a secular vocation to minister in the city.  Secondly, we need professional workers who pursue a career in strategic cities and become part of the B&B ministry team in that city.  Thirdly,  we need occupational Christian workers who will minister the gospel full time, moving from city to city as part of B&B church planting teams. 

There are two new couples in Boston, one who came as tent makers, the others as interns. The Lord has provided both couples with employment. They are slowly adapting to city life. One couple has joined the church and the other couple is contemplating joining. One couple will be here for a year, while the other will remain indefinitely.  Please pray for these two young couples, who have bravely, with resolute hearts, moved to Boston in obedience to the Great Commissioner. 
We also have two individuals who are raising support to come to Boston.  Jean Tsen has around 43 percent of her support and is praying for 50% by the end of August. Andrew Eddy has just finished candidate seminar with Baptist Mid Missions and is just beginning his deputation ministry.  Deputation is difficult and can be discouraging. Please pray for Jean and Andy as they move forward with the Lord. 

There are others who are considering serving the Lord with B&B. Please pray that God will make His way known to them. 

We need to recruit more workers, and the way we do so is multifaceted, including speaking in churches, using social media, and presenting B&B at Bible colleges, seminaries, and Christian colleges. Deb and I desire to speak and be present in churches and educational institutions who are interested in B&B. Please pray that connections with like-minded institutions will be made, and that individuals will be recruited for gospel ministry in the cities of our world. 

Answered Prayer

A church has supplied our need for an expandable table, which we will receive in the middle of September. In addition, another church is contemplating helping us with our very compact chairs, which we need for our expandable table. Our cocoon of a home, in the middle of the city, is being outfitted to impact the people of the world who live here—Praise the Lord! 

Prayer Calendar


Retreat, Refuel, Repeat: Deb and I are leaving for two weeks away.  We will celebrate Deb’s dad’s 90th birthday on Friday in Williamsburg, Iowa. From there, we will travel to be with family in South Carolina, and  hope to follow this with a time with more family in Jackson Hole. While in Jackson, Wyoming, I will work on my Life Organizational Accountability Plan (LOAP). This discipline, which I work through periodically, controls all our activity. Please pray as it is updated.   

There will be no prayer letter while we are away. 

September 13: Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival celebrated by the IBC. We meet many new friends at this activity

October 28-31: Missionary Conference at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. 

Support Information


For more information concerning our monthly support needs, you can go to Bill and Deb’s Website for Supporters and click on the Financial Information tab.

Feeling Alone?

In our imperfect efforts to serve our Savior, there are times when, I’m sure, we all feel alone. This solitude may be real or imagined, but the feelings of isolation, which accompany it, are very real. And while the Bible has much to say about the strength and vitality of Christian community, it is not at all silent about serving the Savior alone.

2 Samuel 23:And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10 He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain. 

Eleazer, understanding God’s intention for Israel, stood alone when others ran away and who only returned after the battle was already won. Eleazer won the battle alone, but he wasn’t by himself. The God of Israel was with him.

2 Samuel 23:11 And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. 12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory. 

Shammah was much like Eleazer. He took his stand in the midst of Israel’s enemies and fought alone to a great and amazing victory. Undoubtedly, Shammah was a confident warrior, but his real confidence was in the Lord. Probably both Eleazer and Shammah realized the potential for death, but were, nevertheless, ready to stand upon the promises and dignity of God even unto death. They were willing to do so alone, but not really alone. The triune God was with them.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016).

Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

Matthew 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.

Matthew 26:44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 “Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

The Lord was alone. On the night when He was to be betrayed, when, more than ever, the fellowship of the disciples would be needed, they failed Him and left Him alone. But our Savior wasn’t alone, the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit was with Him, and that was all that was needed. Only Jesus could die for us, and He had to do it alone.

Maybe this is why, at times, we serve alone. Maybe it is the way it needs to be. Maybe it is the way of the cross. But we must remember this, when we are alone, or feel alone in our service to the Savior, we are not alone at all. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are right there with us, and that is more than enough.

It’s Just the Way it Should Be

While doing my daily Bible reading, I continue to discover more portions of Scripture that confirm the principle of giving financially to those who minister to us spiritually.

Luke 10:1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 “Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. 5 “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

8 “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 “But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

In the time before Israel became a nation, the principle of giving 10% to the Lord was established. Israel, being a theocracy, gave much more than 10% of their income. We found in the church age that, while 10% my be a reliable general standard, love should be our guide to even a larger percentages of our income being given. In the passage above from Luke, again we see that it is the plan of God for those who receive care from God’s minister to supply the need of God’s minister. In fact, this seems to be the bedrock principal found throughout Scripture. Those who minister should be financially reimbursed by those who receive the ministry.

Galatians 6: 6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

Paul clearly explains the responsibility of giving to the minister. Ministers can’t minister without being paid, and it is logically, naturally the responsibility of those who receive the ministry to pay the minister.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.


Evangelism/Discipleship

Several years ago, a Muslim background believer told me that God had shown him my face in a dream. In the dream it was revealed to him that I was the one who would lead him spiritually when he came to the USA. I was naturally skeptical of such visions, understanding the parameters, which Scripture provides for walking with God. Still, knowing that many phenomena off this sort had been occurring in the Muslim community, yet being committed to the sufficiency of Scripture, I sought too disciple this interesting person. Now, after years of Bible study, counseling and prayer with him, I am more skeptical than ever about extra biblical visions, and remain totally committed to Scripture as our guide unto God. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Being the focus of such a vision is a temptation to pride. What Christian minister does not want to be an answer to a person spiritual needs. Yet, we must keep firmly in mind that we are not ultimately the answer. God is the answer through Christ, energized by the Holy Spirit and communicated by means of the Scripture. We simply point individuals to Christ through the Scripture.  
  2. Being the focus fo such a vision may create an unhealthy reliance. If an individual focuses on you instead of the Savior, they will become dependent in an unhealthy way. Rather than finding answers in the Word of God and comfort in their relationship and communion with God, they depend on you. This is ultimately destructive on every level.
  3. This kind of relationship tends to take time away from other people and other areas of ministry, as the dependent person demands attention and desires to be the focus of your activities.

I remember desiring to be with the person who led me to the Lord without interference from others. I wanted my spiritual father to myself. Thankfully, he did not allow this and immediately eased me into the larger community of believers. The teaching of the New Testament is that ministry happens best in community– in the body of Christ with each of member doing their share.

So while evangelistic ministry is best done one on one, discipleship is best done in community.

Vulnerability

Today, in my Bible reading, I came to Judges 17 and Luke 2. It was timely reading since complicated issues concerning ministry support are before me.

Luke 2:1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Being born is such humble circumstances, Jesus seemed so utterly vulnerable. It reminds me, that as I stay humble and apparently vulnerable, I am actually under the providential care and protection of almighty God.

Judges 17:5 And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols and consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest.

Micah certainly was a pragmatic man who did what seemed right in his own eyes. With a veneer of dedication to God, he manipulated circumstances to his advantage with little regard for true sanctity. Things seemed to workout for his family, but would you like your legacy to be like his–I wouldn’t.

My Application: It is better to error on the side of caution than to try to out shrewd the shrewd. Just be humble and trust the Lord.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995

Genesis 1:1

Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Years ago I met Roger for an introductory Bible study. As is almost always the case when starting a new Bible study, we began in Genesis 1:1. To my surprise, immediately after reading Genesis 1:1, Roger exclaimed, “Stop right there. Are you telling me that we are not talking about one of many God’s but of the God!!”

When I affirmed that was the case, Roger announced that he could not go further, but needed a few days to think about the God who created all things.

Eventually, Roger continued the study, and eventually placed His faith in Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe.

Although I was startled by Roger’s response, his understanding of Genesis 1:1 is exactly why we begin in Genesis when introducing the Bible to not-yet-believers. We want to tell the story of the history of God and His creation, and, by doing so, provide an overview of the biblical worldview.

It is my belief that the Bible offers the only consistent reasonable understanding of why things are the way they are. Furthermore, since we are made in the image of God as rational beings who are made to think logically, we are able to comprehend the truthfulness of the Scripture. By presenting the biblical worldview, we offer our not-yet-Christian Bible study participants a consistent understanding of life, which then gives them the opportunity to exercise faith in Christ.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

Walking Humbly with God: What Peaceful Joy

Judges 13: 1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5 “For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

Judges 13: 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ”

Judges 13: 8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.” 9 God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me.” 11 Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 Manoah said, “Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?”

Judges 13: 13 So the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention to all that I said. 14 “She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded.”

It is interesting to me that the total sum of God’s commands to Manoah’s wife was to raise her son without cutting his hair or allowing him to drink from the vine or strong drink nor allowing him to eat anything unclean. Really not very demanding. The obedience to this simple life style was all that God asked. The woman, who is not named, could live a simple life of obedience enjoying each day before the Lord.

Micah 6: 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah, also seems to proclaim the same humble instruction. Just live a good life before the eyes of God. Nothing complicated, no expertise needed, just humbly and peacefully walk with God. It reminds that God walked in the garden of Eden in the cool of the day seeking fellowship with Adam and Eve.

Paul basically confirms the simplicity of Godly living.

Live Humbly before God:

Romans 12: 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Understand what God expects of you:

Romans 12: 3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Then do it:

Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

I am glad I don’t need to be a superstar to live the life God has for me. I just need to be faithful to His calling.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

Forgiven?

Friend, you and I have often talked about the love of God. This is an amazing attribute of God, which helps us understand much about who God is. However, love is only one of many attributes (characteristics) of God. In order to more fully understand God, it is important to know all that Scripture says about who God is. If we focus on one characteristic of God and neglect another aspect of God, we will have an incomplete or unbalanced view of God. An inadequate understanding of God hinders our lives and hurts our ability to help others.

One way of balancing our understanding of the love of God with other characteristics of God is to think carefully about the cross. In the cross of Christ, the love of God is clearly seen.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

It was the love of God that sent Jesus to die for us, and, yet, why did He need to die? If God is only love, there would be no need for Jesus to die. His love would simply be, and there would be no need for forgiveness because only love would exist. Actually, this seems like a strange kind of existence.

But, we know there is more to the story. God is love, but He is more than love. He is also holy, and righteous, and He is personal, which means He desires a relationship with His made-in-His-image creatures (mankind). God is also Truth, which implies that He cannot lie, and what He promises must happen. These are just a few of God’s attributes, but enough to help teach an important truth.

As I said above, in the cross of Christ, we see a perfectly balanced picture of who God is. He is holy, so the sins of the world (our sins) needed to be judged on the cross. God is love, so our sins could also be forgiven on the cross.

God explained to Adam and Eve, if they sinned against Him, they would die physically and spiritually. The day Eve and Adam eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their bodies began to decay and their relationship with God was severed–they were banished from the garden and death came to all men.

God, who is Truth, did what He said He would do. His righteousness and truthfulness demanded it. So God’s love offered Adam and Eve an eternal unbroken love relationship with Him, but His holiness, righteousness and truthfulness demanded Adam and Eve die. In the end, the love of God triumphs in the cross of Christ, where the just demands of God’s holiness and the yearning desire of His love are both fulfilled.

An important point is this. Our righteous, truthful God also explained to us how a person is forgiven their sin. The Bible both defines sin, and teaches the solution to the penalty for sin. God, who cannot lie, teaches us that a person must understand that they have sinned against God, and trust in God’s provision for their salvation. So God’s love, mercy, justice and holiness sent Jesus to the cross. Those same characteristics of God demand that each individual believe in Jesus, turning away from their life without God. God, who cannot lie, will not allow anyone to be with Him who has not trusted (believed) in Jesus as their Savior. As John 3:36 so clearly communicates,

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 3:36

 Notice, if a person refuses to believe in Jesus, the wrath of God abides upon him.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12

It is the name of Jesus that must be believed in order for salvation to occur.

“For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Romans 10:11-15

My friend, this is why missionaries live their lives sharing the good news of Christ death and resurrection–we know it is absolutely necessary for people to hear and believe before they die. All of us wish this were not so. All of us wish that all people in the end would simplify be forgiven, but God, who cannot lie, has told us the Truth. If people die without Christ, they spend eternity without God. Our Savior died to prevent eternal separation from God. God has reached out to all of mankind offering His only Son to save us from our sin.

God has done His part. Now, it is time for you and me to do our part. It is our responsibility to share the good news of salvation. As a missionary once said, “The Good News is only Good News if it reaches the lost in time.”

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire

Revelation 20:11-15

We must stand between people and the lake of fire.

Boston and Beyond

2019-08-14

The International Baptist Church an orthodox Christian association

When the IBC an OCA became a church, it was my idea that we would be called The Orthodox Baptist Church. However, since we are a Baptist church, more reasonable heads prevailed, but I was still able to retain the word orthodox in the subtitle:-) 

I like the word orthodox because, in my mind, it ties us into that part of the historical church which has always retained its orthodoxy (its correct understanding and presentation of Christianity). The word orthodox also communicates our desire to maintain the Faith once delivered–that we are serious about what we believe. 

The IBC is built upon that orthodox foundation, and that is why we are determined to minister to the whole community of Boston: rich and poor, sophisticated and simple-minded, up and outer, down and outer, both the ethnic, as well as the international diversity of Boston. 

Dream with us about what this would mean. What a testimony it would be to a world at war with itself, to observe an international church, where there is righteousness, peace and brotherly love built upon the Word of God and the saving power of the blood of Christ. How powerful that testimony would be as its witness expands to other lands by means of globalized cites. This is a dream which is worth becoming fellow laborers. Strive together with us in prayer. 

This last Sunday, after an exciting summer of ministry, the IBC an OCA, had the smallest attendance in a long time (just a handful of people). If one wasn’t paying attention, one would think we are far from the realization of our dream. But it isn’t true. We have made giant measurable steps in the right direction. If we stay focused on who we are, on what we believe, and on our God-given goal, (reaching the world in Boston in order to reach the world outside of Boston), we will be fine, victorious.

Please pray for each member of our church family and ministry team. Pray that we will have eyes of faith to see what God is doing. Please pray that we will continue to be consistent in our ministry vision and philosophy of ministry–that we will stay the course. Please pray, that we will be wisely diligent as we pursue joining our Savior in His work in the city. Pray that relationships will become Bible studies, and those in the Bible studies will become Christians. Pray that we have total victory. 


Prayer Calendar


Daily: Discipleship Studies 
Tuesday Mornings: Evangelistic Bible Study GoToMeeting.
Tuesday Evenings: Every other week, GoToMeeting Prayer for Boston and Beyond. 
Wednesdays: Deb and I meet with Pastor Toby and Susan Stevens for prayer and encouragement. 
Friday Nights: Evangelistic study in our home.
August 18: Sunday evening our ministry team will travel to Rochester, NH to minister in Community Baptist Church.
September 13: Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival celebrated by the IBC. We meet many new friends at these
October 28-31: Missionary Conference at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. 

Support Information


For more information concerning our monthly support needs, you can go to Bill and Deb’s Website for Supporters and click on the Financial Information tab.