Three things that change the world

Blame it on the inevitable process of aging, blame it on having kids, blame it on some major health problems in my not-so-remote past…or maybe just plain laziness (it takes a lot of work to be lazy)… I’m always looking for ways to be efficient with my energy and time and resources.

Eva

Fortunately, I don’t have to feel guilty about it because even the Apostles had to prioritize their time! Do you remember when they had to STOP doing things in Acts 6:2 in order to focus on the things that made the most difference?

With a growing ministry, the risk of burnout is great, both for us as missionaries and the people we serve with at Centro Evangelico Battista.

An Italian, Vilifredo Pareto, summed up this idea of how to do the best things, observing that as a rule of thumb 20% of what we do makes for 80% of the results.

So we have had to ask ourselves:  “What makes the greatest difference in our life and ministry?”

Our prerogative certainly cannot be too far off from what the apostles considered their main priorities.

The body of Christ has many responsibilities and commandments to follow, but at the end of the day there are three things that we cannot stop doing if we want to obey Christ and make the greatest difference.

  1. Preach and teach the Word of God
  2. Pray
  3. Share Christ

1. Preach and teach the Word of God

2 Timothy 2:15

This summer I had the opportunity to finish our preaching series from the book of Ephesians.  How exciting to preach on the armor of God from deep behind enemy lines!
I was also privileged to spend over a week teaching spiritual disciplines as part of a discipleship course that my good friend and mentor Giorgio De Angelis hosted in his church in Torino for young people from all over Italy and even Albania!

This weekend instead we will be hosting the Exegesis classes for men from our church and other surrounding churches.
Please pray as we identify and train men for pastoral and teaching ministry.  With the majority of the cities in our region still unreached, there is no time to lose.

2. Pray

Ephesians 6:18
Call me a broken record, but our life and ministry depends on prayer. As a church we just made an big decision: we moved our main prayer time to Sunday mornings after the worship service (the time traditionally set apart for Sunday School.)  If people can’t come on Wednesdays, can we afford for our church to not have a well-attended prayer time?

We concluded our study on Ephesians gathering the entire church in a circle in true Baptist Mid-Missions fashion (story for another day), praying for us a church to be united in being faithful servants of the Gospel, of God and of each other.

All the great works of God since Pentecost and even before have been bathed in prayer.

3. Share Christ

Ephesians 6:19-20
One of the most frustrating things is to evangelize until we’re blue in the face and yet not see conversions!  God must have heard my prayers of frustration…this summer we had two unexpected blessings.  In one of our “Sunday school prayer times” I prayed with a young teen in our church.  We will call him David. I asked him about his faith and he prayed to be saved on the spot!  Even more than that, in July Melodee and I had the joy of being together with Noah when he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior!  It just doesn’t get better than that!
This, plus the reminder of Ephesians 6:19-20 has convinced us further that we need to pray for boldness in our witnessing.
Every day we are out with people we love and care about, and we desire for them to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Every day people are going to hell because Jesus Christ is not their Lord and Savior. 

Every day people are hopelessly trying to get to God by their own strength.

PLEASE PRAY FOR BOLDNESS!!
Drop everything else and pray for boldness in sharing our faith!
Pray for opportunities to meet with unbelievers to study God’s word.
Pray for open doors.

Thank you for what you do to make a difference here in Italy!

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Summer is an interesting time in Italy…if traditionally we had a “siesta time” (to borrow a Spanish term), in many ways summer feels like three months of siesta.

It’s understandable because of the sweltering heat and the fact that many people chooses to go on vacation during this time.

However, there has been little siesta for us. Despite having to give up our Radio Luce radio frequency because of the maintenance costs and diminishing gifts (it cost us $5,000 a month to run), we have not really had time to slow down.

We had a WONDERFUL vacation Bible school in June, after school go out, continued teaching and preaching and ministering to people here.

VBS 2019 Staff “Treasure Island”
Venice with Mimi and Pappy

As a family we will be able to take a week off, then back for a wedding of a couple in our church and preparations begin for fall ministry already. The kids have enjoyed time with their grandparents( including grandparents from America!!), reading and playing!

Saturday I head to Avigliana (Torino) to participate in a discipleship course. They have asked me to preach and to teach on the subject of Spiritual Disciplines. I now have three days to finish preparing the course, so I need your prayers!!

Thank you for your prayers!

Football Outreach

There is so much to tell about what is going on right now that it would be like drinking out of a fire hose.

Right now I only have one request and it is urgent for this afternoon.
My brother in law Daniel just sent out the same request so I am copying almost verbatim what he said.

“Dear friends, just a quick reminder, please pray for the football camp today (Tuesday, March 5). The camp will begin at noon EST, and I am scheduled to briefly share the Gospel at 2:30 PM EST.

Please pray for clarity of mind and speech, and that God would open the eyes of the participants as they hear the Gospel. There should be about 75 players and coaches from Central Italy.

After the camp, the Perugia football team will be coming to our church building for pizza with the players. Please pray for the conversations that will take place during this time, as most of these players will set foot in an evangelical church building for the first time in their life.

Thank you for praying for us!”

We look forward to seeing all that God will do!

Praying for Mercy

Ephesians 2:4-7 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

This is my text for the message I am preparing for Sunday.

We need some mercy for our daily tasks too! Last night I had to leave Noah (8 yrs old) in charge while I went to lead prayer meeting at church because Melodee is sick in bed. I found this note when I got back. Please pray for us!