Stand Fast Conference For Young Men

We are excited to announce the Stand Fast Conference for young men, happening simultaneously to the Radiant Purity Conference we are doing in Council Bluffs April 26-27. Info from the flyer below!

Our world is in desperate need of godly young men.

– Young men who will rise up to the challenges of the day and be courageous leaders of their families and churches.
– Young men who will walk in integrity no matter the cost as they represent Christ in this dying world.
– Young men who will follow in the footsteps of their Savior as humble servant-leaders.
– Young men who are not overcome by temptations, but rather lay down their lives for the cause of Christ.

Taught by Harold Mally and a team of men (including both young men and fathers), this conference will challenge and equip young men to stand fast in the Lord. Includes small group times, activities, a chalk talk, singing, and practical, Biblical teaching.

Dads are encouraged to attend the conference in order to hear what their sons are learning and reinforce it at home. There will also be sessions for dads covering topics such as the importance of protecting your children, how fathers can set a godly pace for their family, and how to win the hearts of your children. This conference has limited space and therefore is open to only the first 50 who register.

Topics:
Being Christ-Centered and Cross-Centered
Bible Reading and Prayer
Defending the Faith
Overcoming Temptations
Humility in Family Relationships
Being Ministry Minded
Sharing the Gospel Boldly
Treating Girls With Honor
Discipling and Being Discipled

For: Young men ages 12-18, and fathers
Dates: April 26-27, 2019
Location: Hillside Bible Fellowship, 135 Bennett Ave Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Schedule: Friday evening 6:00 – 9:00 PM, Saturday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Registration: $25 per person or $75 family max Includes lunch on Saturday, snacks, and materials. Register online HERE.
For Questions, Contact: Bright Lights staff at 319-377-6728 or email conference@brightlightsministry.com

Hell – An Unpopular Sermon Topic

I really appreciated this sermon on Hell by a friend of ours, John Thomas, given at Gwinnett Bible Chapel in Georgia last month. Although Hell is unpopular to talk about and difficult to think about, it is important that we do both. Jesus spoke of it often. It sets our perspective straight on what our priorities in life should be.

Sometimes I feel terrible when I hear about devastating stories of the persecuted church and all the Christians who have suffered so much. However, when Christians suffer they can set their minds on incredible hope. Even for those who spend years in prison and are tortured for Christ, they know their suffering will end and then they’ll be with Jesus. And there is immense purpose to their suffering–it is not wasted. But those who who reject Christ and choose the passing pleasures and comforts of this world are choosing Hell where there is no end, no help, and no hope.

One Year Later…

A year ago yesterday our family slid on ice, hit a semi, rolled our large white van over the median fence and slid through a narrow break in oncoming traffic to the far side of the interstate. Our crunched van and shattered concert grand harp mattered very little to us. We all knew we had just come very close to death. And our minds were on our mom who was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. (Full story here.) But a year later, we celebrate not only that we are alive, not only that our mom is happily healed, but that the Lord has even restored our van and harp to better than they were before.

A Christian family we didn’t even know heard about our situation and gave us their van as a gift. Here is an excerpt from their email: “Our family has been studying the book of Acts … and something that has really impacted us is how freely our brothers & sisters in the early church gave to those in need amongst the body of Christ … As I read of your van accident in your daughter’s recent email, not knowing when this had happened, I really felt the Lord laying it on my heart to give you our van … I figured we were too late to help … Well, when I received your email this morning, my heart soared with the possibility that we might be able to help brothers and sisters who are in need of something …”

We’ve enjoyed the van on several long trips in the last 9 months and it’s much nicer than our old van.

Additionally, our insurance paid for our harp to be sent to France to be repaired. We packed it up in a huge box and a shipping company picked it up. A few months later the repaired harp arrived. I think it’s even better than it was in it’s original condition.

Why did the Lord provide for us so abundantly? I guess the much larger mystery is, “Why did the Lord spare us from the much bigger danger (hell) even though it cost Him the life of His Son to provide this rescue for us?” We may not know the answers to our questions, but we do know one thing: He is deserving of all our praise, and all our hearts.

Bright Lights Conferences in Council Bluffs, Iowa, April 23-27

We are excited to announce our upcoming “Strong in the Lord Conference” in Council Bluffs, Iowa (near Omaha), approaching next month!

Age: 8-14

Topics:
• How to Be Strong for the Lord in Your Youth
• Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends
• Developing a Love for God’s Word
• How to Turn Your Heart to Your Parents
• How to Be a Bright Light in the World
• Avoiding Wrong Influences
• Deepening Your Walk with Jesus Christ
• How to Boldly Share the Gospel

Includes small group times, humorous skits, testimonies, hands-on activities, a chalk talk, harp music, singing, and practical, Biblical teaching that will challenge and prepare young ladies to remain strong for the Lord through their teen years.

Parents are encouraged to attend the conference in order to hear what their daughters are learning and reinforce it at home. There will also be sessions for parents covering topics such as the importance of protecting your children, how fathers can set a godly pace for their family, how to win the hearts of your daughters, and building strong mother/daughter relationships.

Dates and Location:
April 23-24, 2019 – Council Bluffs, IA

Schedule:
Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Wednesday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Registration: $20 per person or $65 per family
Late registration: (after March 31) $25 per person or $75 per family
Includes lunch on Wednesday, snacks, and materials.

Register here.

Follow our “Strong in the Lord” Conference, we will also be doing a “Radiant Purity Conference.”

Note: Our first “Stand Fast” Conference for young men happening simultaneously.

Age: 12-22+

Topics:
• Finding Security in Christ
• Replacing Lies of the Enemy with Truth
• Purity is Not about Your Past
• Truth Over Emotions
• Building Strong Relationships With Parents
• How to Delight in Jesus, the One Who Satisfies
• Using Your Years of Singleness for God
• Crushes, Friendships, Disappointments, and Desires
• Practical Tips for Sharing the Gospel with Your Friends
• Christ-Centered Social Media

A girl who is set-apart for Jesus and walking closely with Him shines with a radiant brightness in this world of darkness. Purity is not found in a list of rules, but in the pursuit of Jesus Christ. It is not a burden, but rather a privilege to represent Him in this world. How can we honor Christ in our relationships? How can we find security and satisfaction in Jesus? How can broken lives be restored to radiant purity? How do we resist temptation and stand strong in trials? Where do parents come in?

Creatively presented through stories and testimonies, practical instruction, skits, and real-life examples, this conference gives Biblical answers to everyday questions and deep life struggles. The material is discreet and appropriate for twelve-year-olds, yet relevant to all ages. Includes testimonies from young ladies who serve as Bright Lights staff, a chalk talk, and harp music.

Fathers and mothers are encouraged to attend. Parents’ sessions will include: 20 Ways to Protect the Hearts of Your Daughters, Every Mother’s Example, and When a Young Man Pursues a Young Lady

Dates and Location:
April 26-27, 2019 – Council Bluffs, IA

Schedule:
Friday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Saturday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Registration: $20 per person or $65 per family
Late registration: (after March 31) $25 per person or $75 per family
Includes lunch on Saturday, snacks, and materials.

Register here.

St Patrick’s Day – Less Than 2 Weeks Away!

Guess what just arrived? Twelve thousand “History of St Patrick’s Gospel Tracts.” These are a great way to share the gospel with neighbors, coworkers, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, postal workers, cashiers … you get the idea! Hardly anyone knows who St Patrick really was and most receive the info with interest and then get to read the gospel. If you’re passing them out at a parade, it’s easy to distribute thousands in a very short time with just a small handful of people. See ordering options here.
Note: If you wear a hat like my dad’s, people are even more likely to take them! 😀

Iowa State Fair Outreach Testimony

It’s January, and some of you are planning your 2019 schedule. Our Testify Training Camp will be taking place again this year on August 8-11, 2019. If you have a desire to grow in personal witnessing, we’d love to have you join us! There will be times of training followed by opportunities to put what we’re learning into practice together, supporting and sharpening each other.

It’s hard to believe this will already be our fourth year running this camp. The last three years have been sweet times of fellowship and growth for both beginning and advanced “witnessers.”

Bryan Osborne will be returning as a speaker at the 2019 camp, for which we are very grateful.

While going through video footage this week, I came across this special interview that Tony Ramsek did with a camp attendee, Allen Birdwell, after the first camp we did in 2016, and I wanted to share it with you.

Coffee and Scrolls

“Should I stand up and read the Christmas scroll to everyone here in the coffee shop?” my dad asked me this morning as we sat down together in a cute small coffee shop.
“Not if you want me here,” I replied with a smile, feeling that wasn’t the best approach. 🙂
He laughed.
Thankfully God did provide gospel opportunities at the coffee shop, and ones that were a bit more natural.
Dad gave Christmas Scrolls (which contains the Christmas account from the Bible) to people at a couple tables next to us. Then we thanked the girl who worked there as we were walking out.
“Have fun setting up your tree!” she told us (we had told her we just came from cutting down our tree). She said, “I’ve never had a real tree, we’ve always just had an artificial one.”
“Well, you know what I tell people?” my dad replied. “It’s okay to have an artificial Christmas tree. But it’s NOT okay to have an artificial Christmas!”
She heartily agreed.
Then my dad continued, “Today Americans are biblically illiterate. They know more about the Grinch than about Christ.”
“Preach it!” another lady drinking her coffee said.
My dad laughed.
“We’re trying!” we said.
As we walked out I told dad, “You should have said, ‘Really?! Preach Here? Now?'”
Dad laughed.
Christmastime provides so many new ways to turn people’s thoughts to spiritual things. May the Lord open opportunities for all of us.

Christmas Scrolls Across the Nation

We’ve been very encouraged by the response to our newsletter and by how many are wanting to distributing Christmas scrolls this year! We have thousands of scrolls going out in the mail today.

Nickie processing orders

Almost every family in America celebrates Christmas, yet most do not actually read the Bible and probably don’t even know where to find the account of Christ’s birth. So our family began thinking, “What if we gave them a copy? What if Christians all over the country distributed one-page copies of the Christmas account from Matthew and Luke? Not only would families have something short and readable in their hands, but, if they read it, they and their families would be hearing a part of the Word of God for themselves.”

Last year, we printed 5,000 “Christmas Accounts,” and many of you helped to hand them out. This year we ordered 18,000. They are printed on attractive, glossy paper, and we like to roll them up like scrolls, and band them with green paper or a ribbon. People received them enthusiastically. At the Christmas parade in our town last year, people thanked us and many made comments to the effect that they “had always wanted to read it for themselves.”

If you’d like to join us, you can purchase a pack of 50 from our online store for $6 or a pack of 100 for $11.

Here are some ideas of how they can be distributed:
• Hand them out when you check out at stores over the Christmas season. (Carry pre-rolled scrolls inside an empty paper towel roll to keep them from getting squished in your bag or purse.)
• Give a plate of Christmas cookies to your neighbors and include a Christmas scroll with each plate, or give one to houses in the neighborhood of your church.
• Encourage other families at your church to give them to their neighbors too.
• Go Christmas caroling and hand them out at each house.
• Send them with Christmas cards or letters to relatives.
• If your town has a Christmas parade, that is a good place to hand them out and get into witnessing conversations.
• If there is a Live Nativity somewhere in your town, you could suggest that they give one to all who come.
• A college town is a good place to hand them out, especially to international students.

Here’s some of today’s shipment. Please join us in praying for the Lord to use His Word in the homes in America in which they will land.

Speak Truth Conference: Snowflakes & Answered Prayers!

The conference started out with a typical array of complications, beginning at home … one of which was our dying printer. Of course it would stop working just when we had tons to print for the conference. My dad developed a little rhythm and when he’d hit the printer just right it would start working again for a while (our superb IT skills when Stephen’s not around). We are thankful that it worked just long enough to finish printing what we needed. (And we are thankful that Stephen purchased a new printer for us now.)

Setting up Thursday night in Hudson, especially grateful that Anna Kirk was able to fly in from Washington state for the weekend to help and teach a break-out session.

The day of the conference we awoke to beautiful big snowflakes which we enjoyed with coffee, soft music, and our Bibles in the comfortable home where we were staying … what a peaceful start to a conference day for the team we brought from Iowa to help lead the conference.

A couple hours later, we enjoyed a sharing time from the Word and prayer meeting with the local Bright Lights leaders and moms who hosted the conference. What a highlight to hear each others’ hearts and be so united in spirit, even though many of us had never met before.

The girls and moms in this picture (beside our team) are from a Bright Lights group that was originally started by Katelyn Lowery in 2012. After a few years, Katelyn passed it on to her sister, who then passed it on to a selection of five or six older teenage girls from within the group. These older girls led the group together for a while and then decided to split into three different groups. These groups have continue to grow, and we rejoice to see the prayer that has been going into this ministry, and the fruit coming out of it. They all did a wonderful job hosting the conference.

Leaders and helpers from the local Bright Lights groups greeting conference attendees

The weather was very windy and cold as the conference was beginning!

Of course this made it feel so much more cozy and cheery inside! Here local Bright Lights leaders are distributing name tags and conference journals.

The local Bright Lights group shared with us weeks ago about specific request they were praying for this conference. We’re so grateful for their labor of love through prayer.

I think one of the reasons it’s encouraging is because the girls can look around and see, “Wow–I’m not the only girl left on this earth who is seeking to live as a godly woman.” Others are building their lives on the foundation of Jesus and His Word and living it out, and we are in this together.

I’m delighted to announce that Nickie, who always prefers to be behind the scenes, is not only on the cover of Sarah’s new book, her picture is now on the first-ever Bright Lights poster! You see, a few months ago a girl requested that we make a poster similar to the cover of Sarah’s book so that she could have a continual reminder on her wall to “speak truth in her heart.” We received these posters back from the printer just in time for the conference. (Maybe at our next conference we will have life-size cardboard cut-outs of Nickie for sale. 🙂 )

There were a number of girls at this conference who had come to the Testify witnessing training camp a few months ago in August. It was very special to connect again.

Current leaders of the local Bright Lights groups in Hudson (and little sisters – invaluable 😀 )

After the conference ended we had an upbeat cool down time, sharing stories and rejoicing together in all that the Lord did.

Thanks for reading this report and if the Lord brings the Bright Lights ministry to mind, please pray for the local groups that meet around the country on an ongoing basis. This is not an easy ministry; it takes much work to plan and prepare lessons and activities on a regular basis. It takes time, emotional energy, and is impossible without the strengthening of the Lord. But if there was ever a need for such groups for young people, it seems the need is greater now than ever.

And may all of us, no matter our age or season of life, take seriously the command to “encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). “Encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

Iowa State Fair Gospel Ministry Video Reports

There is so much to describe about how the Lord worked at the Iowa State Fair gospel booth outreach and Testify Training Camp that it is easier to communicate through videos. Thank you to all who have prayed for these ministries.

Our hearts were filled with gratefulness to the Lord as this year’s Iowa State Fair outreach wrapped up, and we look forward to what He has in store for next year!

The Testify Training Camp is described in the video below. We are tentatively planning on running two Testify Camps in 2019: one on August 8-11 and the second on August 15-19.

Testify Training Camp from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.

This video shows the Answers in Genesis gospel booth, inside the Varied Industries building at the fair:

Answers in Genesis Outreach at Iowa State Fair from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.