What a couple of weeks it has been! First, we had the privilege of Jim Elliff ministering the Word to our church. Do you remember Mr. Elliff? He brought his son Bryan along as well. Of all that we appreciated about Jim's ministry to us (and there were many things!), we especially appreciated his humility. Luke, I hope to be as Godly of an example for you as Jim seems to be for his son. Something else really struck me about Jim's preaching: I have had the privilege of hearing Alistair Begg, John Piper, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and many other fine men preach in person, but Jim has to be the best I have ever heard at communicating truths that are hard for humans to accept (sovereign election, regeneration precedes conversion, etc.) in a very patient and disarming way. Oh how I hope you subject yourselves to a preacher that declares the Word with passion, a preacher who declares the whole counsel of God, but a preacher without a spirit of 'meanness or arrogance.' Consider Titus 1:7-8, "For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined." Oh how I pray that I am that kind of man! If I'm still alive when you are reading this, would you please pray for me to that end?
Last weekend, we went up to see Granddad and Grandma Burchett, and we also got to see Kevin, Vicki, Austin, and Kaleb (along with other family). Katie, you think Austin is hilarious! It was a fun trip, and then we made it back to be with our church and guests on Resurrection Sunday (which is normally a good thing when you're the pastor!). Luke, you stayed home with Mom on Sunday because you had a fever. Katie, you came with me early, and then I handed you off to Mrs. Bumgarner and Mrs. Parry--two Godly saints, indeed! Where would the church in America be without selfless women like these? It's a scary thought. Give thanks to God for Christian women!
Monday night, your mother and I had the privilege of going out to eat with a missionary couple, and their daughter stayed back and watched you. Time spent with missionaries is time well-spent, in my opinion. What stories! What faith! What a vision of God and His power and grace they have!
Katie, you ended up getting the fever Monday and we think you are finally over it today (Wed.). Your mother is surely ready to get out of this house (!), but she loves to take care of you two. Tonight, we had a very good prayer meeting with the church--many people prayed, and I sensed a real reverence for God and a real genuineness in the prayers.
It's after 11, so I must get to bed. Tomorrow, after many hours of study already this week, I will attempt to write a sermon that is faithful to the meaning of Mark 4:35-41 and at the same time addresses the dear people God has entrusted to my care. I love you Katie and Luke.
May the Lord Bless You and Keep You,
Wednesday, April 19, 2006