Dear Praying partners,
Merry Christmas and Happy (almost) New Year! Spurgeon hit the nail on the head when he said, “If you have spoken faithfully of Jesus to one person, when you go to bed at night you feel happy in thinking, I have this day discharged my conscience of that man's blood. There is great comfort in doing something for Jesus.”
We were sad to say good-bye to Pastor Nathan Barber and the folks of Shorewood Baptist (Chicago), but praise God that at our final service 2 adults were baptized and 3 joined the church. We will dearly miss this flock, but I warned them that “Claudia and I are kind of like roaches . . . we just keep coming back.”
To grow a local church (or your spiritual life), you can either do something, or you can do nothing. On Sunday nights I taught principles of outreach to the fledgling Shorewood Baptist. When Chicago winters arrive it would be easy to sit by the fire and forget souls. So I shared a method of using phones to do house-to-house prospecting without leaving home. It's amazing what a total stranger will share when he hears from a caring person who offers prayer support.
Here are some final month blessings at Shorewood Baptist.
Delicious Thanksgiving Day with the Barber brothers (both pastors) and their families
Excellent annual meeting with a sweet spirit and all proposals given hearty amens
Increase in Biblical giving
Wonderful Christmas program with a children's bell choir and an adult ensemble
Christmas piano specials from the pastor's children (Claudia's piano students)
Photo shoot for pastor's family
A man who attended a neighborhood barbecue is now faithful every Sunday with his new Bible in hand
New awareness of and zeal for outreach. A recent visitor attended because a church member connected with him at a gas pump. The woods are full of 'em! Go for souls!
Claudia and I have both made writing progress. She's working on helps for pastors' wives and I on a book of daily devotions. I'm also working on messages to encourage pastors and their sheep in Antigua next year--and trying to figure out how to disassemble my banjo for flying to the island. Our burden for pastors (and their wives) has increased this year. In this tough age, people who find their way to church have more physical addictions and emotional baggage than in the past. But God is able and the Holy Spirit is sufficient! May we become beggars in prayer and expect great things from God.
Dave and Claudia