Wood Chip

This is going to be a short message and there will be no Wood Shavings.  I have run out of time and energy.  Last week was awesome, but was about an 8 day marathon.  Thanks for praying, it went well.  Saturday about 30 students came to the Thanksgiving meal.  I am confident they left with a bit of a spiritual challenge.

Sadly nearly everyone was warn out, or sick so few came on Sunday evening.  But there were five of us for a nice family type Thanksgiving meal with and extended time of sharing our thanks and giving our thanks to the Lord.  Some great worship through music after we had eaten our fill as well.
This week the pace is slower though pushing toward learning Polish, it is going well all-in-all.

Prayer Requests:
Learning Polish
For our discipleship activities this week
The preparations for the December Carol Night at Wroclaw Language School
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
Wisdom as we start the International Church of Wroclaw

Thanks for praying!

Thanksgiving Wood Shavings

If you have not read the Thanksgiving Wood Chip post below first, please do so now.
Prayer Requests:
“render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings” Governor Bradford, 1623
May we be found faithful with this prayer from our hearts!
Wroclaw Language School as this week each class discusses Thanksgiving
(classes will meat on Thanksgiving day, it is not a holiday in Europe)
Thanksgiving Day outreach feast, Saturday
Thanksgiving Prayer & Praise, Sunday evening

My concern as I seek to write this Wood Shavings (WS) is that I will detract from the following three messages.  But I will risk a preparatory challenge.  Please take a few moments to ask God to reveal the blessings and provisions He has lavished on you!  May you be as encouraged by our founding father’s as I have been.
Thanks for praying.

Governor William Bradford
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
–William Bradford
Ye Governor of Ye Colony

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to:
“recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Thanksgiving Wood Chip

I feel led to dedicate this whole message to Thanksgiving.  For the last few days I have been digging deeper and deeper into the history of this week’s celebration.  The roots are deep, astounding, and convicting.  From the first three-day feast in 1621, through wars, extreme challenges, great blessings, and despite various hardships many Americans remain focused on the truth that all things come from God, our creator and provider.
One of the greatest joys in the research has been reading the proclamations given by our founding fathers, Governor William Bradford and Presidents Washington and Lincoln.  I encourage you to read each of them, they are not long, before tomorrow’s festivities.  I have all three in the Thanksgiving Wood Shavings at thewoodshavings.org.
For me this is probably the most moving excerpt from the three proclamations:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.” President Lincoln, October 3, 1863 – in the middle of the Civil War.
Prayer Request:
“render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings” Governor Bradford, 1623
May we be found faithful with this prayer from our hearts!
Thanks for praying.

Wood Shavings

I am confident many times you have met someone and sensed that bigger things are to come through the relationship.  This is what happened on Sunday night.  Our special guest, as I shared in the Wood Chip today, is in Wroclaw for an exciting project.  As he and I were talking she shared the general idea of the project.  It occurred to me and I shared that our conviction is that the International Church of Wroclaw will be a living example of the project.  We believe some day small groups will be meeting in various languages including German, Russian and Polish.  The more God teaches me about His will and His methods for His children I see how even the world is drawn to His principles.  During out Prayer & Praise gatherings we are exploring the “ethos” of God.  Our goal is to learn and obey God’s will and methods through the Gospel of John and the rest of the Bible ultimately.

Thanksgiving Flyer

Thanksgiving Flyer

The picture above is the flyer that Denise and I designed for the Thanksgiving outreach at the Wroclaw Language School.  This will be the second year the leaders of the school will prepare a traditional American version of the celebration.  Last year another missionary couple provided the leadership and this year they asked Denise and I to take on this role.  Please pray for all 30 people who will attend the feast; that they will come with open hearts and minds.  This will be primarily a spiritual outreach event.  Pray also for all the preparations in process.

Over the last week I have been sending emails to offer a skype video conversation between Denise and I and churches with which we have been in contact.  The point is to nearly erase the distance and time zone difference so that Denise and I can visit you “in person” during a worship service.  I hope and pray that you will see and talk with Denise at your church in the near future.  Send me a message if you want to work out a conversation.  Please pray many conversations will be arranged and that international missions will be promoted.

There were six of us at the last Prayer & Praise.  But two other groups have been meeting that I believe will come under the International Church of Wroclaw (ICW) ministry.  What is also so exciting is that as many as six nationalities and two languages are represented in the three groups.  Please pray for these three groups to continue to grow and ultimately multiply.  Pray also for the four mentoring/discipling relationships that Denise and I lead under Jesus Leadership.

We are so blessed with two wonderful kids.  I try not to boast on them too often, but it would be easy for me to do so.  Just ask me if you want to hear the ways.  Haha.  Hannah is doing great in her third year at California Baptist University.  It is hard to believe our “baby” will be 21 on Friday.  Please join us in praying for her.

Thanks for your prayers.  Please never hesitate to send me a note about how to be praying with you for any requests.  Also let me know in what way I may serve you when the opportunity arises.

Wood Chip

Thanks for your continued prayers, please don’t stop, we need the spiritual cover.  I am preparing to lead a Bible study tomorrow with the teachers at the Wroclaw Language School on John 13:34-35.  I believe it is impossible to live these verses unless we are praying for each other.  Denise and I can’t say enough how grateful for your prayers for us.  Let us know how we can pray for you?

Sunday night we did receive a special guest.  A retired state congressman from North Carolina visited our Prayer & Praise.  He is here for the rest of the week speaking in various venues.  The primary reason for his visit is as a consultant for a Wroclaw initiative to reconcile the German, Russian and Polish history of the city.  I hope to learn more that I can pass on in the future.

As always I invite you to click the bold link above to read the full Wood Shavings.

Prayer Requests:
The congressman as he serves this week
The Wroclaw Language School, especially the Thanksgiving outreach plans
Coordination with churches to arrange a skype missions promotion conversation
The birthing process of the International Church of Wroclaw
The birthday of our amazing (yes I am biased) daughter on Friday
Polish lessons

Election Day Wood Shavings

I will assume that you already read the Wood Chip for today, but if not then please do so or this WS will seem a bit disjointed.  So maybe it will seem disjointed anyway, but I will try to keep that to a minimum.

Denise and I have sensed a greater earnestness to the election today than in the past.  We have heard other media analysts share the same sentiment including the candidates.  I have no insight into why this may really be true, but I think it is so.  God, literally, only knows what is best for America so lets pray to Him for the outcome and leave the results to Him.  Then as soon as we know, no matter who, will lead our country at all levels we must look again to the Lord for how to support and follow them under God’s will.

I gave a teaser in the Wood Chip about a VIP – maybe – coming to the next Prayer & Praise.  Well, we have a US Congressman (until I get permission I will not be able to divulge the name) coming to Wroclaw later this week.  He is a Believer and will be speaking at various meetings and locations for the next week.  I will let you know next week if he was able to join us Sunday night.  Please be praying for him as he speaks.

I encourage you to chat with your pastor about arranging a Skype call with Denise and I.  You do not just have to ask us to do this for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering time, but nearly anytime.  Feel free to make any excuse so we can chat.  With modern technology like Skype, for free, we can talk in real-time including video.  Feel free to ask me for more details or with further questions.

One of my greatest joys each week is to meet with any of the three guys I am discipling.  Denise continues to meet with one girl weekly as well.  When Jesus told us in Matthew 28:18-20 to “go and make disciples of all nations” I am convinced He meant for us to obey.  The three guys I meet with could not be much more multi-national.  One is from the Netherlands, another Taiwan and the third Cameroon.  My goal is that these three men will grow in their faith until Jesus is their only Discipler and that they start discipling others.  Please pray with me for these three guys and for our times together.  (Due to this going onto the internet I do not feel free to share their names, I hope you will understand.)

I will close with a request and story.  My brother and his wife live in New York.  They own a folk music theater and music school called Jalopy.  I encourage you to visit their website: www.jalopy.biz.  They are located very near the water in Red Hook area of Brooklyn.  Their building was spared and they still have power, but not all were so fortunate.  Therefore they have opened up their building 24/7 for free meals and cell phone charging.  They have also coordinated a free water pumping service for homes and are collecting gas from flood-damaged cars.  The gas is filtered and water removed before being distributed freely to people with generators.  I am very proud of my brother Geoff and his wife Lynette.  Please join me in praying for their generosity and for the rest of the relief effort resulting from Super Storm Sandy.  Let me know if you wish to assist in my brother’s relief effort.  Please also pray specifically for the SBC Disaster Relief crews volunteering.

Thanks for praying.

Election Day Wood Chip

Hi on election day.  I will withhold my convictions related to this day in history, but I will encourage you to vote.  Denise and I were able to vote early and it was our honor to do so.  My prayer for today comes from how Jesus taught His disciples to pray; “Your kingdom come, Your will be done”.  God knows what is best!  So I am convinced that is why Jesus taught them, us, to pray this way.

God continues to do great things around us and through us.  Our bi-weekly Prayer & Praise continues to grow.  Please pray for God’s wisdom as we look to multiply into more groups in the near future

.This week I will be contacting a list of churches about setting up a time to Skype (like the Jetson’s video phone) related to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  If you would like to setup a Skype call, please let me know.  Merely reply to this message and we will work out a schedule.

Please visit the website The Wood Shavings.org for the full and more information.  (The website link is above in bold.)

Prayer Requests:
God’s Will for our nation’s elections
The Prayer & Praise this weekend
The discipling meetings Denise and I have each week
Plans for a Thanksgiving outreach at the Wroclaw Language School
The relief work from Super Storm Sandy
Wisdom for Denise and I as we work on many important projects

Ps.  We may have a VIP guest this weekend for the Prayer & Praise.  Read The Wood Shavings for the full story.