The proclamation of the Gospel generates power the same way as power is produced in the movement of the dynamo device. It is the unspeakable love of Christ that draws people to Him. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32). Some Christians try to draw people to themselves, to their ministry or to their church. All these efforts will fail. Lead them to Jesus. Show them Jesus and He’ll exercise his magnetic power of grace, He will draw them to Himself.
Jen Dempsey shared the following photo with me from the Women’s SS class having dinner at Panera Bread. What a great way to connect and to support each other.
Many of our church members participate in home based Bible groups. Mike and Sharon Harrell started their Bible group not so long ago. I asked Mike to share the story with our church. Here is his brief report. Hopefully it will encourage you to start your own friendship group or to join the existing one.
Sharon and I have shared a dream since moving to our neighborhood at Stonebrook in Ooltewah: to share and experience God’s love with our neighbors. On June 2 of this year, five of our neighbors met with us around our dining room table to study the book of John. God answered our prayers in a powerful way!
Each Thursday evening our small group meets to discover more about the wonderful character of God as revealed in John’s Gospel. As we study each passage together, we ask three questions: “What does this say about what God is like?”, “What does this say about the relationship God wants with me?”, and “What does this say about my relationship with God?” It has been exciting to discover together more about God’s character and tremendous love for us. Studying together, we learn from and about each other, and develop stronger relationships with each other, and with our Father God.
Stepping out of our “comfort zone” in this way was at first a bit unsettling. But as we prayed together, felt God’s Spirit moving, and developed friendships with our neighbors, inviting our friends to study as a small group together became natural.
We do not know where God will lead our small group, but we are confident that He will lead. It was a temptation to worry about how our invitation would be received by our neighbors, or fear that our lack of skill in group Bible study would embarrass us. It is clear now that these concerns were based in self-centeredness and a lack of trust. God is more than capable of providing guidance, wisdom, and strength when we intend to honor His name. It is “all about Him”, and we praise His name for the blessings our group receives on Thursday evenings!”
Next Sabbath evening we’ll come together in the Fellowship Hall to talk about the Christian marriage. Galena and I will be happy to spend an evening with you and to share what we have learned through the 38 years of our marriage.
Let me thank you for the faithful support of our local church budget. This is why we see many exciting activities taking place in our church. I pray that this month, once again, we’ll all contribute generously towards our local budget needs.
In the last few days Barby and Dana travelled thousands of kilometers through the war-torn regions of Ukraine. They didn’t haver much time to sleep. I talked to Barby just an hour ago. She is overwhelmed with the devastation she witnessed in Eastern Ukraine. Destroyed homes, lack of food, sick children… Many new areas of ministry were identified for the next few months. Below are just a few photos from their days right by the front lines. Dana had to stay in Kyiv for the next two weeks. Barby spent 36 hours in the car trying to get to Bucharest. Now that she’s there Air France went on strike. Her flights are cancelled. Being totally exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally she cried on the phone. … We are praying. I also appreciate your prayers. God always has a way.
See you this Sabbath morning.