Peace in the Lord! I thank God for leading us through another month. May God remember all you have spent for Him.
This month my family faced a trial and difficulty. The apartment we are renting in W___ is coming to the end of our contract, and the price is going to be raised. Our rent has been 3250 (Chinese RMB) a month, which is already a little high for us. So if the price goes up, we will have a lot of pressure. However, if we move to a less expensive location, we will be far away from our church. This would greatly affect our life and ministry. If we don’t move however, we will have to shoulder a greater financial burden. This started to disturb and bring pressure to our family, but we prayed over it together. We decided to continue to rent our place for a little while and keep searching around the church for cheaper housing. Please pray for us. God has a lesson for us to learn through this. On another note, please keep praying for the salvation of my son, and that my wife and I would fulfill our responsibility to raise him according to the Bible.
This month I studied the book of Ruth. I saw a Gentile girl who was renewed through grace. She became a member of God’s covenant and a vital and important person in God’s plan of salvation. I again felt how great God’s grace is in that He could change someone who in the eyes of the world already had no hope. Also, my wife and I finished reading Tim Keller’s book “The Meaning of Marriage.” It made us understand that our marriage still has many mistakes that need repentance and change.
I preached three times this month; we are still continuing through Mark. We especially studied what greatness and lowliness looks like in God’s kingdom. This encouraged us a lot. Those who want to be great in God’s kingdom must be a servant to all and minister to others, and through serving others and laying down ourselves we truly become great. This completely overturns the world’s view of greatness. Also, we saw that those who would enter God’s kingdom must be like a child. This made me see that only those who understand their inability, insufficiency, and incapability are renewed by grace.
At the beginning of this month I went to Reformed Evangelical Seminary to teach for 5 days. My class was Old Testament Biblical Theology. It was a help to me as well. It made me systematically organize what I had learned before and remember what I had researched through teaching it. I also attended the China Reformed Baptists Pastor’s Conference. There were over 30 pastors in attendance. The conference was an encouragement, because I got to see how the churches around in other places are growing. Too, I was able to share praise and problems from my ministry with others and we encouraged and prayed with one another. Shoulder to shoulder we supported each other on this road of service.
On Sunday afternoons at church we are still meeting together to study Paul Washer’s book “The Gospel’s Power and Message.” and during Thursday evenings I am leading the studies on Biblical context (the study is based on the structure of Biblical Theology). This study in part is to share the gospel with the unbelieving visitors and also to help the believers to better understand the Bible. Having to go through what I have studied and simplify things has helped me personally and enabled the brothers and sisters to be more practical in the discussions.
Two families joined us this month-both are newly weds. They grew up in Christian families but have not participated in church life in a long time. They heard about our church from other people and came. This reminded me that we will begin to grow in numbers but that we still must grow in deeper and better proclaiming of the gospel. It doesn’t matter what kind of people come, the gospel is still the most important thing for them; it is the most foundational message. This also encouraged me concerning how important a healthy church is to a specific area. Not just the unbelievers, but those who have already believed also need church life.