Faithful Stewardship

As the elders reviewed the past year, and looked forward to the new, one thing really stood out. Your excellent stewardship!

It has long been our desire to give around 25% of our tithes and offerings to missions, and when we project our financial needs for a year we set the giving to missions accordingly. But even after adding support for Zach’s internship with Encounter mid-year it became obvious that your giving would far exceed our expectations, and that to keep the percentage around 25% we should give an additional $10,000 to missions. And, as God always does, He made it clear to us that there were a couple of mission needs that we could meet.

After Jesse Yangmi’s death it was announced that Asian Christian Mission would be disbanded. But Ati, his widow, continued ministering to the people of Thailand, and the mission was reorganized. When we then learned of her desire to take water filtration systems to 15 villages in 2021, we sent $5,000 to make it possible.

We then began supporting Ati on a monthly basis in 2022, and have been excited to be a part of what she is doing. In her summer newsletter she shared how, among many other things, she had sent four teachers from village churches to a program to train Sunday School teachers, and hoped to send 50 high school and university students to an intensive 5-day training program to equip them to share their faith with their non-Christian friends next April. The cost for the training, housing, food, and transportation will be $8,000. Due to your faithful stewardship, we have already sent a check to make this possible.

On the local front we just learned that the campus ministry at UIS and LLCC was in need of additional funds to meet their budget for the current fiscal year. We have therefore sent them an additional $2,000 to help meet their ministry needs for students here at home.

With all the dire financial news we hear about today, and even experience, I can’t express the gratitude I feel for the way you continue to support our church and the ministries that God sends our way.

God Bless, Rick

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Last month I told you that Matt and I were going to attend the Touchstone conference, Something Wicked This Way Comes. The subtitle of the conference was “Diabolical Fantasies & the Mystery of the Real”, and it was indeed a fantastic conference that exposed the mystery behind the all too real challenges we face in the world today.

The schedule included nine thought provoking papers and presentations that examined occult, technology, philosophy, family, literature, law, politics, ethics, and culture. The first session made it clear that the rise in occultic practices that was witnessed in the 70s and 80s has not disappeared. It has simply gone mainline and is no longer noticed.

Next we were warned how technology has made possible a new totalitarianism that seeks to remove everything that doesn’t fit the progressive world-view. We then learned how the proper use of hierarchical structures lift people up, while a push for egalitarianism leads to oppression by those in power. This was confirmed by the demise of families, and foreseen in literature that was written 100 years ago.

An interview with Jack Phillips, who was at least partially vindicated by the Supreme Court for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex marriage, was a testimony to the danger facing those who refuse to celebrate sinful behavior. And the heresy of identity politics was revealed as an attempt to rid ourselves of a debt of guilt, something only Christ can do.

Carl Trueman, the author of the excellent book we are studying on Sunday nights, demonstrated from history how evil is made to look good. And Rod Dreher, who has sounded an alarm for the need to prepare for future persecution, challenged us to find encouragement by constantly looking for God’s activity in the world today.

It is true that wickedness is all around us, and we’ve got to be ready to deal with it. But it is also true that God is still on His throne, and if our security is found in the cross of Christ we will be secure for all eternity. And, by His grace, we still have much to be thankful for. Even now.

God Bless, Rick