From the Pastor: “God’s Story”

This past week, one of our young adults shared a “light bulb” moment.  As this person had been reading through the book of Acts, they suddenly came to the realization that this was the story of the early church – that instead of just a bunch of rules that talked about “do this” or “don’t do this”, Acts was describing how God was working in the midst of history.

This was a critical realization, one of those “aha” moments similar to what happened in my mind when I started reading the Old Testament and putting together what happened when – a timeline or chronology of the story, the history of Israel.

Things started to click together, to snap into place.  The story of God’s purposes in creation and for humanity, the alienation and violence that resulted from our sin, God’s patient steps in starting to undo the effects of the Fall through the most unlikely people and the most tenuous of situations.  All of it leading up to the Gospels, the heart of the Bible – God literally entering into our story (no pun intended).  The story of Acts and the letters of Paul and James and John then became not more important than the Gospels, but the reflection back on the central Gospel message of Jesus – how it gets lived out in real life, the story of the first century Christians.  Continue reading “From the Pastor: “God’s Story””

Library Notes: “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls”

Nefarious follows a team of people who travel across the globe, interviewing former prostitutes, pimps and those involved in combatting the sex trade industry.  The interviews give insight into the emotional, spiritual and physical damage inflicted by what some have called “a victimless crime”.  Nefarious is profoundly disturbing (particularly in some dramatized scenes) and not for young viewers, but it tells a truth we need to hear.  One critique I have is that it does not say much about how human trafficking connects to the wider problem of pornography.  One thing the documentary does well is to illustrate the power of the Gospel to transforming and heal both victims and perpetrators.  Nothing is simple or quick – but we see hope in Jesus in the midst of darkness.

Missionary Profile: Dan and Sarah Chetti

chettiDan and Sarah Chetti, International Ministries’ first missionaries in the Arab World, have been serving in Lebanon for over a decade. Dan is an adjunct professor at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut – an institution preparing leaders for ministry primarily across nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. He teaches History of Christianity and Historical Theology.  He is a member of the Faculty Council, mentors students, and does research and writing on contemporary Christianity. Dan is currently promoting a strategic ministry concept called Arab World Initiative.

Sarah worked as the Librarian at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, reviving and reorganizing it after the long Lebanese Civil War. She expanded the holdings, classified and computerizing the entire library.  She then trained and turned over the management of the library to a Lebanese lady.  Continue reading “Missionary Profile: Dan and Sarah Chetti”

Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

This culture of gratitude — where spiritual leaders give thanks for the church’s fellowship and God’s followers give thanks for ministers’ and missionaries’ spiritual guidance — is deeply ingrained in the Christian faith.

The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) commemorates the anonymous gift in 1981 of a Vietnamese refugee woman worshipping with the First Chinese Baptist Church of Fresno, California. Not knowing the full intent of the offering, but understanding the words “thank you” printed on the offering envelope, she slipped off her wristwatch, her only possession of value, and placed it in the envelope. Continue reading “Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering”

Update from Katie and Taku Longkummer

Dear Partners!

We pray this finds you all well and rejoicing in the abundant grace and loving presence of our Lord Jesus. Today I’m relishing the cool breeze blowing across the Brahmaputra River, thankful the sauna of summer seems to have finally passed. We are so very blessed, and it somehow seems a bit easier to recognize that fact as the heat and humidity subsides. Now temps are only in the 80’s, feels almost chilly! We do hope you all have opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the change of seasons wherever you are.

October is a significant month to us for many reasons. This past week marked the two year anniversary of our arrival here in Guwahati! We praise God for the privilege of living and ministering His love in this place. Taku & I just counted the number of people groups (different ethnicities and language groups) that we have had the honor to minister to and interact with during this time. We stopped counting at 80! The diversity of this nation is mind-boggling!

Continue reading “Update from Katie and Taku Longkummer”

From the Pastor’s Desk: Representatives of the King

There are a couple of reasons I don’t have a fish on the back of our car.  One is simply that I’m not that into bumper stickers or advertising my faith by slogan – but I have to confess that another reason is that I don’t want my driving to reflect badly on my Savior or my brother and sister Christians.  I’m not a frothing “road rage” driver, but I do get impatient.  And I struggle with the temptation to drive precisely the speed limit whenever someone tailgates me.  You might say that’s the letter of the law.  Indeed it is, but my spirit may have nothing to do with it…   Still working on that.

But it gets me to think about what it means to be a representative of the King.  Jesus calls us His disciples; we’re part of how God makes His Son visible in the world.  Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ, with the ministry and message of reconciliation to the world. Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk: Representatives of the King”

In Our Backyard, by Nita Belles

In Our Backyard describes what goes on in the human trafficking area. It provides insight into how victims are manipulated into traps and then held captive and exploited.  These things are not only in far off places. They are present in our country and happen in our own neighborhoods.  This book is well worth reading. It will most probably influence how you think about prostitutes, restaurant workers, nannies, and others. It is available in our church library.

More for Moore: MBC Mission Trip

A team from Memorial Baptist Church will be traveling to Moore, OK, January 11th-18th, 2014, to assist in recovery efforts following the EF-5 tornado that devastated the community in 2013.  Christine and Cal Popp, who worked at the Quad Graphics plant in Oklahoma City for a number of years, have many connections to the area and are coordinating the trip.  We will be working through the Church of the Harvest, which has dormitory housing for our mission team.

The estimated cost of the trip will be $250/person.  Some assistance may be available with mission funds through the church.  Please talk with Christine Popp or Pastor Brian if interested.  All skill levels welcome, those with construction skills are especially needed.   If you know someone outside the church who may be interested in participating, let us know!

Care INC

Care INC LogoFirst of all, I wanted to say thank you to the church for their support of the recent Care INC Walk; we had great participation and support, and raised money for local food pantries and agencies.  That was a great first year response, and we had good feedback that will help us improve the experience for the coming year.

Care INC not only networks churches as we respond to needs in the community; we also offer mentoring in different life skills, from budgeting to honing a resume or job search skills, to dealing with debts that can feel overwhelming.  The mentoring Care INC offers is confidential, and can range from a very short term commitment to a longer process of identifying and working towards specific goals.  Mentors are ordinary people from churches across Fond du Lac, who are trained to work in a non-judgmental way to help you reach your goals.

If you are interested in speaking with a Care INC mentor, or learning how to be part of our mentoring team, please call 251-0670 for more information.