Brothers and sisters in the Lord, let me once again express my deep appreciation for your faithful prayers and interest in the gospel work in Germany. These days I have been encouraged through the prophet Haggai- who pointed to the need of the word and the Spirit of God for everything that will build up and edify. “… work: for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remains among you: fear ye not.” Haggai 2:4b-5
This month was a month of waiting. We expected our third child to come earlier than the due date, so since mid-September we were very resistant to make any plans, knowing that our son could come any day. By the end of the month, he was still in the womb, but as Christians we know, that it is a good and spiritual thing to wait patiently, because God´s timing is wiser than ours. We praise the Lord, that on October the 11th, our son Jonathan Eleasar was born. He and my wife are well, but my wife still needs rest.
There are three things that I would ask you to pray for in my own spiritual life: a worthy walk, fruitful work, and an increasing knowledge of God. I am more and more aware that those things only grow together, not separately. In the ministry, one of the greatest temptations is to have an unbalanced focus on just one thing: theory without praxis, or church work without focusing on your personal sanctification. But I want to please the Lord, walk worthy to His great name, get to know him better every day, delight in his word more, and work for his honor.
To our great joy and the benefit, the church appointed two young men as deacons this month. Their spiritual growth has been so obvious and their humble walk apparent to all. For years we have been praying for deacons and felt the need of suitable servants in office, but we did not want to put men in this task who were not properly equipped or gifted. I recently preached on Colossians 3:12-17, where Paul is encouraging the whole church to put on compassion, kindness, humility, etc. Those qualities, that should be seen and experienced by the deacons, are demanded from every Christian. Would you remember our deacons Samuel and Daniel in your prayers, that they might stir up and be an example the love in the church?
Another instance of grateful joy, not only on earth but also with the angels in heaven, was the baptism of a young man. He examined his life and heart diligently through the word, and by the grace of God detected so much hypocrisy, hatred, rebellion, and pride. He was convicted of his sin and wrong attitude, and he repented and believed in the grace found in Christ alone. For the baptism, he invited many relatives and friends and gave a strong and honest witness of his former deception in sin, along with his present freedom in Christ. It was a wonderful occasion to teach the gospel, the meaning of baptism, and the importance of membership in a local church. Many listeners responded to the sermon positively, and I pray that some specific visitors will keep considering these topics. Please pray for them, that the Holy Spirit might use the preaching of the word of God and the visual picture of the gospel in baptism to increase both their understanding and joyful obedience for the glory of God.
Another Sunday, a young man and woman came in just at the service was beginning. I was preaching from the final verses in Genesis 2, dealing with the creation of marriage. I spoke on the uniqueness, commitment, and unification of marriage, dealing with the moral responsibilities as well as the picture of the gospel this loving covenant gives. While I was preaching, the young man stood up several times, walked out, and then came back in. At the end of the service they left immediately. In the parking lot they told one of the members that they just got engaged and would come again. The next Sunday they came back and shared that they were looking for a church that preached the word. They were very moved by the sermons. Please pray for them.
The Syrian family continues to attend the service. Please pray for their conversion. For us it is quite a wonder, that they, though not believing, attend the services regularly. There is almost nothing that could please fleshly minds, only simple, God-fearing worship, and the preaching of the word and prayer. We hope it is a sign of the Spirit working in secret.
Another visitor from Iran joined the Adult Sunday School in the evening. He has been a Christian for a couple of years and can speak Arabic. With great candor he gave witness to that Syrian family, which was a delight to see. The Syrian man told me later about the conversation: God has turned that man’s life completely. It seems it made an impression on him. The Iranian man also gave an encouraging witness at the end of the service. In the series through the books of the Bible I taught on Zephaniah. He came to me afterwards and was so thankful, because he had never read or heard of that book before. He was very moved by the description of the sovereign judgment and the compassionate grace of God shown in that book, and how it points to Christ.
Please pray for us as congregation, that we will grow in the love and knowledge of our Lord. That we would be a shining light, testifying about the liberating grace of God in Jesus Christ to all who come, and to all we meet, for the glory of the lamb.
In Christ by grace,