March 15, 2013

February Reading Report

In February, I managed to complete some books for my reading challenge, as well as slip in a couple of extras. As in January, several new books found their way into our home last month... how could I just ignore them? That would not have been very hospitable!

 I completed Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John MacArthur. This was another book I started in 2012, and I was glad to get back into it. I won't say a lot about it in this post because I wrote about it in a previous post; I'll just say this: read it.

Our family has always loved Beverly Cleary's books, and my daughter was afraid I had missed this gem. So she borrowed Emily's Runaway Imagination from the library and made me read it. Turns out I had actually read it before, but I enjoyed it again. This is a bit different from many of Cleary's other books because it is set around 1920, and it's a fun way to get a feel for life around that time.

I needed a light read during a days-long bout with kidney stones, so I pulled  Spider's Web from our Agatha Christie collection. This novel was adapted from a play (and feels like it), which made it an easier read because both the characters and setting were limited. It's full of twists and turns with a bit of fun.

When John Piper spoke at Southern Seminary recently, the campus Lifeway offered a number of his books at a discount. I had enjoyed watching Amazing Grace, the movie about William Wilberforce and his role in the abolition of slavery in England, and I wanted to know more about the man. Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce gives a look at Wilberforce's conversion and devotion to a God-honoring life. I enjoyed it, and it's a great addition to our homeschool library.

Currently reading: 

Feminine Appeal (Redesign): Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney will be a reread for me, but it's one that can (and should) be reread annually.

If you'd like to keep up with my reading, come follow me on Goodreads. I've posted these books along with some memorable (to me) quotes from the Piper and MacArthur books.

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March 13, 2013

What's new: a ministry update!

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Have you heard our news?

This past fall my husband, Jeff, met the director of a new mission organization called 20schemes. At the time, Jeff was pastoring a small church with the understanding that he would be bivocational to supplement his church salary. After several meetings over the next couple of months, he was asked to help 20schemes build their network of partnerships in support of this new work. By the end of January, this had morphed into a full-time position (which was all in God's providence, as Jeff was transitioning out of the pastoral position). 

Early in February, Jeff was able to travel overseas to see the work of 20schemes firsthand. I'd like to introduce you to this ministry and the work we'll be doing with 20schemes as full-time missionaries!

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “unreached people group”?  If you’re like most people, you might think of a remote and primitive tribe of people living in the depths of the jungle, or perhaps some nomads in the far reaches of Africa. But what if I told you that the unreached people group I’m referring to actually looks very much like you and me, lives in modern housing, and speaks English? What if I told you that this people group lives in great poverty in the midst of high unemployment and rampant crime, drug use, and prostitution?

The people of the schemes of Scotland – which are similar to the government housing projects of the U.S. -- have a tremendous need for the gospel of Christ, yet there is no doctrinally sound church, no gospel witness within most of these schemes. 20schemes was launched this past fall with a goal of strategically planting or revitalizing biblical churches within twenty schemes over the next ten years.

Mez McConnell understands the hopelessness of living in the schemes. In his memoir, he writes,
My stomach hurts. I can’t tell whether it’s from the hunger or from the hopelessness of it all. There’s no one out there. Who are we kidding? There is no God. We’re on our own. Nobody see us or understand us. The world is living in denial. We’re all alone.
Then, through the witness of the Word and the patience of believers and the working of the Holy Spirit, Mez encountered the saving power of Jesus. Not long afterward, he says,
I realized today that, for the first time in years, I don’t feel black inside anymore. I actually feel quite hopeful, purposeful even. For the first time in my life I actually feel at peace with the world.
Today, Mez pastors Niddrie Community Church, located in the most deprived scheme in Edinburgh. Late in 2012, this church joined arms with two small churches in Bardstown, Kentucky, in the planting and revitalization of gospel-centered churches in some of Scotland’s poorest housing schemes. The new organization is 20schemes, and their website states their vision clearly:
We believe that the biggest need, most urgent crisis, and most crippling poverty in the schemes is spiritual. Most living in Scotland’s schemes are spiritually dead, trapped, lost, unreached and unengaged by the church. The gospel alone changes lives. The response of the church to the devastating reality of much of life in Scotland’s schemes has to be more than support groups and charity. Our response must be for the church to move into the schemes, to see new, healthy, vibrant, gospel preaching churches established in the Schemes and for the schemes.
Our family is very much on the front end of this endeavor, and we are so excited to be a part of the ministry of 20schemes. Our role is to share this vision with individuals, churches, and organizations, primarily within the United States. Three small, not wealthy, congregations joined together for the initial launch; many more partners are needed. We look forward to this opportunity to partner with others through prayer, giving, encouraging, and working.

Would you consider joining with us? We currently need help on several levels: 

1. Pray for our family and the ministry of 20schemes as we work in these early months to lay a critical foundation. We love to pray for our partners, too, so please let us know how we can pray for you. 

2. Jeff and I are not salaried, but are dependent upon the gracious and faithful gifts of believers to support our ministry with 20schemes. Would you consider providing monthly support or a one-time gift for our family as we share the vision of 20schemes?  

3. The ultimate goal of 20schemes is to “see churches in Scotland’s poorest communities being led by men and women who have come from those communities.”(source) We need churches and individuals willing to partner with specific schemes to prayerfully and financially support the evangelism, discipleship, and training of future indigenous leadership. 20schemes is currently seeking one hundred churches/individuals to commit to support the work of this ministry on a monthly basis. Will you be one of the one hundred?

4. 20schemes needs workers, both church planting families and female gospel workers, to live in the schemes and minister among the community.
If you’d like more information on becoming a 20schemes ministry partner, please let me know. Also, if you know of an individual or church who might be interested in partnering with us, we'd love for you to share this information with them.

I know I'll have more to share with you throughout this ministry adventure, so be sure to check back for updates! (Better yet, subscribe to my blog via email via the gadget on the right -- or you may use your RSS feed or Bloglovin.)

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