Currently, we are in the middle of our winter 2017 trip to Bethel where I teach at the Alaska Bible Seminary. Truly, it is a privilege to continue coming here as a family, and I pray that our boys are gaining a sense of what missions looks like as they tag along!
The seminary here is plodding forward, though we need more students! I know this seems like a continual request, but it indeed is necessary… even critical. My reasoning for this extends beyond filling seats in the new building. Rather, these villages across the YK-Delta NEED the Gospel and someone to faithfully teach the Scriptures! In other words, there are great needs for church planting! Furthermore, there are villages that have a building but no pastor. Some of the indigenous pastors out here have graduated to heaven or are retiring due to age/health reasons. Consequently, there is a growing gap in upcoming church leaders from this region. Please join us in collective pray for God to move among the Yup’ik people and call some not only to faith, but to pastoral service!
These two weeks we are studying the Pastoral Epistles and vividly seeing how Paul’s admonition to raise up more leaders is critically applicable today as well! Whether Paul to Timothy or Titus, the passion to pass the baton down to other raised up and equipped local leaders is clear.
Everytime I’m out here the enemy’s attacking influence is obvious in some form. I liken it to Paul’s day when he saw confusion, compromise, and deceptive false teaching creeping into the churches. The YK-Delta of Alaska needs prayer for God to mightily move even through the spiritual warfare, religiousity, and deceptive false teaching that exists.
This past Sunday it was a privilege to preach at the flagship Moravian church for the area here in Bethel (the one we attended when we lived here previously). The text that burned within me was 1 John 3:1 where the apostle John emphasized the love of God. In the end of chapter 2 John connects the false teaching of his day to abiding in Christ. As he moves to chapter 3, John gives more evidence of a true believer… in this case being one whose motivation is the wondrous love of God. As we trace this concept through Scripture, we understand that God is perfectly holy and that our sin dooms us under His justified wrath. We remain cursed under the law and our sin. Yet, we also see that God sent His Son Jesus to become a curse and sin for us as He bore the Father’s wrath. Now in our faith in Jesus as His followers, we can stand apart from condemnation all because of God’s wondrous work of justification in His Son! THIS John writes is the awesome love of God that is to captivate us.
I pray that this glorious love of God penetrates hearts for salvation.
Furthermore, I pray that this glorious love of God continues penetrating my own heart and other believers’ hearts in such a way that propels us forward in devotion and mission.
While the boys are enjoying their time out here with Laura and I as they pass the time swimming at the local above ground pool (this is the frozen tundra after-all) and hanging out as a family fellowshipping with other families here in the evenings, I pray that God will uniquely grip their own hearts with the wondrous love of God. I pray that they will grow up to follow Jesus with their all and that God would even send them into missions of some form.
There are so many needs here, but alas that is true anywhere really. Whether in Soldotna or some place like Bethel, we as the church in Alaska (and anywhere) need to be faithful to the call and leading of God as we live in light of His wondrous love for us!
Lastly, it’s time for us as churches across Alaska to prayerfully discern how we can together play a more involved role in leadership development and church planting across our state. As Paul longed to see the church flourish in Ephesus and on Crete, so I pray for more pastors and church leaders to long to see the flourish across our state’s many villages!
For the Spread of His Fame,