|Fun with our friends at New Testament Church, Peruville NY.|
Elsie Mae, Mary Michelle & Jonathan give logrolling a try!
We recently sat in an excellent Sunday school lesson from 1 Peter 1. In particular, verse 13 caught our attention: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
As the preacher shared, the admonition to be sober isn’t simply about not getting drunk. Rather, it is an exhortation to be self-controlled versus controlled by some other thing: a substance, a habit, a desire, wrong thoughts, incomplete understandings, false teachings, etc. – for that list could go on and on.
Continuing to meditate on those verses, however, couldn’t it mean more than just not allowing something else to control us? When someone is “under the influence,” they are also essentially unaware - either totally clueless or unable to make wise decisions because judgment is impaired or unsound. The opposite of that, sound judgment, is seeing life and circumstances with a godly perspective and an eternal view.
Therefore, Peter encourages believers towards sobriety as they evaluate, respond to and live lives, face persecution, etc. We all face situations where it would be easy to slide into unsound judgment, allowing events and circumstances to overwhelm and discourage us. For the early Christians – Peter’s immediate audience with this letter, sobriety allowed them to see that not all persecution was God's judgment nor abandonment, but rather proof of lives lived reflecting a true salvation.
To be sober, or self-controlled, keys in on how we are supposed to think. Sobriety therefore, is a proper perspective, judgment that is not damaged, injured or diseased by the teachings of this world and a full awareness of what is really going on.
How important is it for a Christian to be sober in our modern society?
We live in a world with upside down values and sinfully wrong priorities. We naturally tend to value most material things and often neglect spiritual needs. The world wants control, power, popularity, and often only serves as a means to one of those ends.
As Jesus followers, "sobriety" allows us to resist that pattern. When we find ourselves laboring and pursuing what everybody wants rather than what God wants for us, we have God's wisdom to help us recognize exactly what we are doing and His empowerment to help us change directions yet once again.
We are praying for and working towards this spiritual sobriety, where we are
• realizing God’s priorities,
• rejoicing regardless of circumstance,
• responding with discernment, and
• resolving to discern God’s choices and His will
as we continue to work on partnership development, make plans for our upcoming move to Quebec, minister in our community and raise our family.
Quebec: Canada's Prodigal Province
Excerpts from an article written by Ann-Margret Hovsepian
Published in Christianity Today, Montreal, MAY 22, 2012
• Evangelist Walter De Sousa says “Some describe Québec as the prodigal son of Canada… But God showed the deepest grace through the prodigal son."
• Despite its nominally Christian majority, Montreal and the larger Quebec Province are among the most underevangelized regions of North America. A 2008 Léger poll found that only 6 percent of Quebec's 6 million Catholics attended weekly Mass, down from 90 percent in the 1960s. About 7 percent of Quebecers are Protestants, and less than 1 percent identify as evangelical….
• …Quebec ranks first among Canada's provinces for rates of child poverty, suicide, divorce, cohabitating couples, and illegitimate births. Despite the historic Christian presence, new religions and secularism have a strong grip. During the 1960s, secularism gained ground during the so-called Quiet Revolution. From 1960 to 1966, the liberal government in Quebec took from the Roman Catholic Church control over public education, health care, and social services. Some 45 years later, the public's basic understanding of religion has declined….
• In light of competing beliefs, the greatest challenge for Quebec's evangelicals is to preach the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. "In Quebec, the sense of emptiness is deeper," said De Sousa. "It's a pleasure-mad society, but after a while it leaves one empty. The gospel speaks to those existential questions." …Evangelicals find that Quebecers are open to hearing the gospel when it's in the context of everyday life.
• According to Pierre Lebel of Youth with a Mission - "The Quebecois youth today don't have the same anger toward church as the baby boomer generation, who really rejected Catholicism. Basically it's an unchurched community."
• Campus for Christ's [John] Bellingham said Quebeckers have begun to realize that secularism does not have the lock on the truth. "Postmodernism has made people open to spirituality. The challenge is that they're not open to the exclusive message of Christianity."
• Members [at Temple Baptist, a church with 80 active members} have put their evangelism program on overdrive by producing two French-English tracts with one of them translated into 10 other languages. Over 15 years, the church has printed 3 million copies, which have been distributed freely by local and international volunteers. The effort has leveraged its influence far beyond what might be expected…
|Anna, Nadia & Rebekah met the youth group from Grace Baptist, Glidden IA in Chicago to minister at|
Pacific Garden Mission.
“Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
But I have all, and abound:
I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you,
an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus.
Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
We’ve been so encouraged and thankful for the privilege meeting with many of you, our ministry partners, during the course of the past year.
In particular, this summer, we’ve turned our focus on visiting with individual ministry partners – those who’ve long invested in and encouraged our ministry in Niger in the past… and who continue to uplift while challenging us to ministry in Quebec as well as seeking new members of our partnership team.
If you would be interested in finding out more about how you could partner with us (there are several possibilities), we’d love to speak with you. Please comment below.
• Both Tim’s dad and Richelle’s dad have faced significant health issues over the past several months. Thankfully, both seem to be doing much better.
• A great trip to New York to visit enthusiastic and welcoming supporting churches in that beautiful state.
• Three teens with their driving permits.
• Rebekah, Nadia and Anna spent a week working at Pacific Garden Mission with the youth group of Grace Baptist (Glidden, IA).
• Camping as a family on the tip of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula.
• Awesome visits with dear friends we’ve not seen for a long time.
• Discernment and perseverance as we continue to work on partnership development. So far, it has been such an encouraging process.
• Three teens with driving permits – clearly also a prayer request!
• Upcoming church meetings this fall.
• Those considering what they need to do regarding our support will have clear leading from the Lord.
• A possible trip to Africa for Tim later this year.
• Timing and logistics for Tim as he hopes to spend several weeks working in Quebec this winter.
• Rebekah’s upcoming senior year.
• Jonathan and Elsie Mae to continue with the excellent progress in speech and language therapy.
Thankful to be serving our Lord together with you,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan, Elsie Mae & Mary Michelle Wright