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Christian Concourse
Newsletter of the Month

May 2015

 

 

Dear Friends:

Greetings! We pray you are doing well in Christ Jesus. We pray that your faith in Him blossoms as the flowers of Spring all around us this time of year. It is, indeed, a wonderful, glorious blessing to know our Lord and to walk with Him and to talk with Him in the garden of His planting in our heart.

Here's another prayer given for believers by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul two-thousand years ago:

I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14b-21 (NKJV)

Everyone receiving this letter probably identifies us with "nursing home ministry." Well, so you should. As is the case with so many others, the Lord has called us into this mission field to minister His Word to His children there. By His grace we do so to the best of our ability. We find the Master has great interest in this arena of need. In fact, sacred Scripture records that God has a special place in His heart for the childlike, the hurting, the poor and the weak.

Now look again at the Biblical prayer above. This prayer is for all believers, including people who are elderly and infirm. Some may say this is "too deep" for nursing home residents. Well, maybe for some. But we often find some of the strongest, most mature Christians we know in care facilities. Many of them have been faithful in following the Lord and growing in their walk with Him longer than some of us have been alive! They may not have all their theology exactly lined up to our liking. They may have trouble with their short-term memory. Their eyesight may be dim. Their hearing may be poor. But their sensitivity and their appreciation for genuine, childlike faith in Christ is as sharp as ever! The trials of life have proven His strength deep in their soul. They can sense His presence as He abides with them in their heart by faith. They have felt in their own life the love, the affection, the "easy yoke" of their meek and lowly Master which resists definition. They have tasted His fullness, they have a personal understanding of what it means to be "filled with the Holy Spirit," to experience His power working within them. Yes, we find saints experiencing God's answer to Paul's prayer often in long-term care settings.

And the message in this prayer we share in every way, in every circumstance that God gives us. Whether it's for those who have only heard about this "abundant life" in Christ. Or, for those who are hungry for more of God in their life, who know there is more to this Jesus than they have been told. It's for those who hang on to John 3:16 for dear life with not much more than a string of hope and a thread of faith. This same message is for the curious, the doubtful, the hurting, the sick, the lonely, the depressed, the sad, those who "labor and are heavy laden," those who are trapped in fear, those who flounder in guilt and unforgiveness...yes, for all we pray, and to all we call on Christ's behalf, "COME TO HIM! HE WILL GIVE YOU REST! ONLY BELIEVE!" In our distress, in our struggles we CAN find peace that defies description...joy unspeakable, and full of glory! Paul prayed this prayer because it is what God wants for His children, even His children in nursing homes!

Read the Scripture above again. See? Pray for us as we go and as we seek to help others He has sent. Thank you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping us with your prayers and your support.

One more note, as of the end of March, we have resigned our pastoral responsibilities at Good Shepherd Chapel. Though we miss our brothers and sisters there, we felt the Lord's leading undeniably in this decision. Though we knew nothing of it at the time, Beth Shalom, a local Jewish care facility has subsequently asked us to come conduct Sunday services for their Christian population. We have accepted this invitation enthusiastically, seeing God's hand all along the way. Please pray for us as we seek to honor Christ in this unique opportunity. Thank you.

Love in Christ,

Jerry and Dar

Jerry and Dar Johnson

 

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