Our Newest Video

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Thanks you Danilo for this video! It pretty much sums it up!

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Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel has a plan.

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Today’s keyword is PLAN.
After six weeks of sharing different aspects of the ministry, I would like to talk about the future.  “Where do we go from here?”

These weeks together have been particularly enlightening in that regard. 
To go forward I would like to go backward.
The first place I need to go is to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus gave us the Great Commission:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

The lockdown did not surprise Jesus, nor did it mess up his plan.
Our calling as disciples is still to make disciples of all nations…disciples of Jesus Christ.  That’s the big picture.

Then there is our small piece of the puzzle.
In ministry there is always a tension between DOING ministry and EQUIPPING OTHERS for ministry. 
Most of us have a tendency toward DOING probably.  It’s easier…it’s more predictable, it assures greater job security.

Unfortunately, in the long run it is also very short-sighted.  We get old, we get sick, eventually we die.  And what is left when we’re gone?

I remember during my college days when I heard our friend, missionary Al Cuthbert speak about developing leaders.  All of a sudden it all made sense…we can continue the great commission by investing in others that will invest in others!

In a sense that is what all servants of God are called to do.

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Ephesians 4:11-12

Sometimes we get caught up in doing.  And that’s not all bad…but at the end of the day, at the end of our life, it’s when we invest in developing others that we can make the greatest difference.

That’s why our personal mission statement, even twenty years later, has remained:
Equipping the Italian Church of the Next Generation to Reach the World for Christ.

There is something exhilarating, there is something right about seeing younger men and women developed in their gifts to serve Christ’s church into tomorrow.  After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?

Pray that we may continue to do that everyday more and better!

We look forward to seeing you soon! (But not too soon!)

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Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel is proclaimed at Easter!

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Today’s keyword is Easter.

17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins…
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

I Corinthians 15:17, 20

I remember it like if it were yesterday: I was scheduled to be operated on my tongue cancer in Milan the week after Easter. 

Providentially, that Easter I was also called on to preach.  I don’t remember what exactly I said, but I remember the text I preached on, and I remember the feeling that if for some reason I was no longer able to preach again, I was happy that it was this message that would be my last one: Our hope is based on the absolute certainty of Christ’s resurrection!

Incidentally, on my way home from church I heard a song on Radio Luce about Easter that kept repeating: “If this is true, this changes EVERYTHING!”
Praise God, that Christ has changed everything!

“O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

I Corinthians 15:55

Lockdown will not change what Christ has done and what his resurrection guarantees!
Last year for Easter we weren’t able to leave our homes.  This year we gather together, even with the unpleasantness of masks, social distancing and inability to have a choir or worship team.
Yet the most important thing is that Christ is proclaimed!  And praise God we are together to sing his praises!

To quote the old saying: No Jesus: No hope.  Know Jesus, Know Hope!

May God remind you this Easter of the power and the hope and the blessing of our Savior!

We look forward to seeing you next week! Buona Pasqua!

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Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel is our legacy

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I’m so excited you could stop by!
We’re on week five of our seven-week adventure.

I’m really excited about what I have to share today.
I’ve been wanting to share it since the beginning of the year, but I just couldn’t find the right moment.  So here goes!

Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel is our legacy.

Today’s keyword is legacy.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”
Hebrews 12:1

On Christmas day one of our favorite people went to heaven after a long battle with cancer.
As missionary kids we affectionately called him Uncle Vernon, but he was officially Doctor Vernon Rosenau, recently retired president of Baptist Mid-Missions.

Vernon was much more than a boss.

– Vernon was my mentor and my friend, a fellow MK (Missionary Kid).
– He recruited us to join Baptist Mid-Missions.
– He counseled me on my own journey with cancer.
– He believed in us and gave us some amazing opportunities to serve God.

It’s hard to measure the impact that he had on us and so many others (you may be one of them).

One of the strongest words that comes to mind when thinking of him is legacy.
Vernon’s grandparents were part of the original team that went out to Africa with Baptist Mid-Missions. (For a more detailed tribute click here.)

In reality, as believers we all have a legacy…
People passed down the faith of Apostles to us.  My dad likes to say: “There are no spiritual grandkids.”

In our case there is both a spiritual legacy and a genealogical one.  
My dad is a pastor.  Melodee’s dad is a pastor.
My grandfather was a pastor.  
Several of my ancestors were Baptist pastors in early colonial New England.
To top it off, I am a 13th generation direct descendant of William Brewster, who happened to arrive in the New World on the Mayflower, and was the de facto pastor of that congregation.
All this may seem like a great privilege, and it is…but it is also a great responsibility.

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Luke 12:48b

Your legacy is no less important than mine.
You are a direct spiritual descendant of Christ’s disciples that sat on a hill in Galilee and heard the Sermon on the Mount.

What a privilege!  What a responsibility!
May we leave a legacy worth following even after we have concluded our own race and fought the good fight.
May we leave a lasting legacy until Christ’s return.

We look forward to seeing you next week!

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Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel is for children!

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I’m so happy you’re back!  I’m glad we haven’t worn out our welcome yet!
We’re on week four of our seven-week adventure.

Today will be short, but especially sweet!

Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel is for everyone!
And for everyone, I am speaking particularly about children.
Today’s keyword is children.

but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14

By far the greatest victim of the Covid-19 has been our children…

Imagine babies that are born in a world of faceless people.
Imagine children who can’t attend Sunday School.
Imagine children that can’t play on swings or play soccer, or run freely, or take ballet lessons or just hang out with their friends, or go to birthday parties.

That’s the world our children are living in.

Yet the Gospel is unchained…even for children.

We are saddened to not be able to offer our vacation Bible school for the second summer in a row, but we are thankful for the teachers who prepare lessons for the children every week.

On top of that, as a preacher I have enjoyed preaching to the children every week.

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11

Next week it looks like the elementary-aged children will be able to return to school…for how long we don’t know, but we know that they are in God’s hands, and they are loved, and the Gospel is alive.

Please pray for the children!

We look forward to seeing you next week!

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