The eV&B Bulletin

Reflections on Ash Wednesday

eV&B Bulletin: February 17, 2010

eVB logoAlthough I've never attended a church in which this was part of the calendar, I'm aware that today is Ash Wednesday, and that is only because yesterday was Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, a day quite dear to most Louisianians. Last year Nelly and I attended our first Mardi Gras parade, but that was here in Baton Rouge. I don't have the nerve or desire to join the crowds in New Orleans.

mardigras77It was at a Fat Tuesday festival held in Seattle in 1977 that I was first invited to attend a Christian fellowship, so this day holds special significance for me. I was surprised to find a copy of the poster to that event online. In many ways, that Fat Tuesday marked the end of my infatuation with riotous living as I "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thess. 1:9). And while I have never taken part in a traditional Lent by wearing a cross of ashes on my forehead or in abstinence from eating meat, I fully embrace the sentiment that makes up the Lenten season — a time for repentance and renewal of vows.

It was only after I assembled the February issue of the Vine and Branches newsletter that I realized how appropriate it is to the season. Each article addresses our constant need for repentance and confirmation of our spiritual vows. I believe it will be a great blessing to you.

As I wrote before, I have been undergoing treatments on my right heel for the removal of some plantar warts that had become quite bothersome to me. Unfortunately, the treatments have taken longer than were first expected, moving my scheduled missions further and further back. At the time of this writing, I hope to be fit to return to Madungulu Village in Tanzania in late May.

My new book, the second edition of If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall, is currently undergoing its first round of proof-reading, and I am looking forward to being able to present it to you. I am also currently writing a new book on "the principles of the doctrine of Christ" (Heb. 6:1) that I call The Fundamentals of Our Faith.

Our friend and co-worker Rev. David Mantock of Switzerland, pastor of the International Church of Berne, will be traveling to Shitungu, Kenya, from April 2nd to 11th, to teach a 5-day seminar he has authored entitled "The Stature of the Fullness of Christ." Here is his short description:

"It is the will of the Lord that Christians 'grow up into him in all things' (Eph. 4:15), and so he has equipped us with all that is necessary to fight the good fight of faith. However, for us to really excel, we must take hold of everything that God has put at our disposal and not neglect any of it.

Jeremiah used the poignant expression of eating God's Word (see Jeremiah 15:16). That is what we need to do too, but it is just one part. We must also make sure that we stir up the gift of God within us (see 2 Timothy 1:6); that is another part. Yet another important part is our awareness and love of the church: We do need each other in the body of Christ. In the church, we build each other up; we watch out for one another; we love each member of that body with the same love that we have seen in Jesus Christ.

The Stature of the Fullness of Christ is a seminar with eighteen lessons and its purpose is to invigorate and encourage the individual Christian and particularly the church as a whole, for she is our Lord's precious bride, meant to be a 'glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27b).'"

David will be joined on this mission by Mr. Godwin Muinde, a member of his congregation who is a native Kenyan. Upon their arrival, they will be joined by our friend Rev. Henry Musana of Uganda. This seminar is being hosted by the Christian Fellowship Church. Please keep these men of God in your prayers to the end that God's people can be led to deeper understanding of his will, to God's everlasting praise and glory.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support. May you find strength and mercy to endure your trials of faith, to the end that you "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Eph. 4:1). And may God bless us all.


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