Poem Martyred Father Wrote to His Children

John Rogers was the first martyr in Queen Mary’s reign. He was burned at the stake at Smithfield, Feb 14, 1554. I have been really touched by the poem that he wrote to his children shortly before his death and thought today was an appropriate day to share it.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs says this: “His wife and children, being eleven in number, ten able to go, and one sucking at her breast, met him by the way, as he went towards Smithfield. This sorrowful sight of his own flesh and blood could nothing move him, but that he constantly and cheerfully took his death with wonderful patience, in the defence and quarrel of the Gospel of Christ.”

It’s difficult to read stories like these. Yet, it is also greatly faith-building to read of how the Lord sustained His people in past generations, even through unimaginable circumstances. And it reminds us: ” … since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Here’s the poem he wrote to his children shortly before his death:

GIVE ear, my children, to my word,
Whom God hath dearly bought;
Lay up his laws within your heart,
And print them in your thought.

I leave you here a little book,
For you to look upon,
That you may see your father’s face,
When he is dead and gone,–

Who, for the hope of heavenly things,
While he did here remain,
Gave over all his golden years
To prison and to pain;–

Where I, among my iron bands,
Enclosed in the dark,
Not many days before my death,
Composed for you this work.

And for example to your youth,
To whom I wish all good,
I send you here God’s perfect truth,
And seal it with my blood;–

To on, my heirs of earthly things,
Whom I do leave behind,
That you may read and understand,
And keep it in your mind;–

That as you have been heirs of that
Which once will wear away,
You also may possess that part
Which never will decay.

Keep always God before your eyes,
With all your whole intent,
Commit no sin in any wise,
But keep his commandments.

Abhor that arrant whore of Rome,
And all her blasphemies,
And drink not of her cursed cup;
Obey not her decrees.

Give honor to your mother dear;
Remember well her pain;
And recompense her, in her age,
With the like love again.

Be always ready for her help,
And let her not decay;
Remember well your father all,
Who should have been your stay.

Give of your portion to the poor,
As riches do arise;
Arid from the needy, naked soul,
Turn not away your eyes.

For he who doth not hear the cry
Of those who stand in need,
Will cry himself; and not be heard,
When he does hope to speed.

If God hath given you increase,
And blessed well your store,
Remember you are put in trust,
And should relieve the poor.

Beware of foul and filthy lusts;
Let such things have no place,
Keep clean your vessels in the Lord,
That he may you embrace.

You are the temples of the Lord,
For you are dearly bought,
And they who do defile the same
Will surely come to nought.

Be never proud, by any means,
Build not your house too high;
But always have before your eyes
That you were born to die.

Defraud not him who hired is,
Your labor to sustain;
But pay him still, without delay,
His wages for his pain.

And as you would that other men
Towards you should proceed,
Do you the same to them again,
When they do stand in need.

Impart your portion to the poor
In money and in meat;
And send the feeble, fainting son,
Of that which you do eat.

Ask counsel always of the wise
Give ear unto the end,
And ne’er refuse the sweet rebuke
Of him who is your friend.

Be always thankful to the Lord,
With prayer and with praise,
Begging of him to bless your work,
And to direct your ways.

Seek first, I say, the living God,
And always him adore,
And then be sure that he will bless
Your basket and your store.

And I beseech Almighty God,
To replenish you with grace,
That I may meet you in the heavens,
And see you face to face.

And though the fire my body burn,
Contrary to my kind,
That I cannot enjoy your love,
According to my mind,–

Yet I do hope that when the heavens
Shall vanish like a scroll,
I shall see you in perfect shape
In body and in soul.

And that I may enjoy your love,
And you enjov the land,
I do beseech the living Lord
To hold you in his hand.

Though here my body be adjudged
In flaming fire to fry,
My soul, I trust, will straight ascend
To dwell with God on high.

What though this carcass smart awhile?
What though this life decay?
My soul, I hope, will be with God,
And live with him for aye.

I know I am a sinner born,
From the original,
And that I do deserve to die,
By my forefather’s fall.

But by our Savior’s precious blood,
Which on the cross was spilt,
Who freely offered up his life,
To save our souls from guilt,–

I hope redemption I shall have,
And all who in him trust,
When I shall see him face to face,
And live among the just.

Why, then, hould I fear death’s grim look,
Since Christ for me did die?
For king and Cesar, rich and poor,
The force of death must try.

When I am chained to the stake,
And fagots gird me round,
Then pray the Lord my soul in heaven
May be with glory crowned.

Come, welcome, death, the end of fears,
I am prepared to die;
These earthly flames will send my soul
Up to the Lord on high.

Farewell, my children, to the world,
Where you must yet remain;
The Lord of hosts is your defense
Till we do meet again.

Farewell, my true, my loving wife,
My children, and my friends;
I hope in heaven to see you all,
When all things have their ends.

If you go on to serve the Lord,
As you have now begun,
You shall walk safely all your days,
Until your life, be done.

God grant you so to end your days,
As he shall think it best,
That I may meet you in the heavens,
Where I do hope to rest.

Sarah’s Birthday + John 1 + Isaiah 40

We had a nice family time at Kava House in Swisher this morning for Sarah’s birthday!

After some nice family discussion, my dad shared some insights from John 1 that he has been enjoying. I’ll try to restate his thoughts:

After John denied that he was the Messiah or Elijah, he explained who he was: the very one Isaiah 40:3 was talking about. That must have been amazing for his audience to hear. The man standing before them was the one about whom Isaiah prophesied! Wow. They were seeing prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes. However, what John the Baptist said NEXT made his previous statement pale in comparison. He said, “AMONG YOU STANDS ONE you do not know, even He who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:26).

Whoa! If the crowd listening was familiar with Isaiah 40 (and I’m guessing many were) they should have connected the dots, and realized that John the Baptist was talking about Jehovah, the I AM described in Isaiah 40. If they were understanding John the Baptist correctly, it should have registered in their minds that he was saying, “The Messiah is alive today in Israel! The One that ‘the voice calling in the wilderness’ from Isaiah 40:3 was called to introduce is here! He stands among you now!”

“It’s kind of like ‘Aslan is on the move,’” Stephen commented.

And if they remembered any of the amazing descriptions of this Coming One that Isaiah 40 gives they would have been even more in awe. Although John’s listeners didn’t catch on at that time to the implications of what he was saying, praise God WE can read John 1 and Isaiah 40 with understanding.

John the Baptist was a phenomenon that Israel hadn’t seen in 400 years. An angel announced his birth. His life’s work was prophesied. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb (Luke 1:15). Even Jesus spoke high compliments for him (Luke 7:28). Yet all of John the Baptist’s credentials merely elevate Jesus because John said he was not worthy to even untie the strap of Jesus’ sandal.

Anyway, there are few things better than a good Bible discussion with family at a coffee shop on a cold January morning.

Jesus’ Shocking Actions

After singing “Jesus Loves Me” with the children in my Sunday School class yesterday, I asked them, “How do we know Jesus loves us?”

I was pleased by their good, biblical answers. Several of the children said, “Because He died on the cross for us.”

Little five-year-old Moriah (affectionately called Momo) said, “He loves us … because He does!”

I affirmed to Momo that she was exactly right. God told Israel that He didn’t love them because they were so great or talented or strong, but because … He loved them! He chose to love them because of who He was, not who they were (Deut. 7:7-8).

I also told them that we know Jesus loves us not primarily because of things that happen to us, but because His Word says so, and because He proved it by dying for us.

“Because sometimes in life, something really hard may happen to you, and it might be tempting for you to doubt God’s love for you,” I told the kids. “But actually the Lord lets really hard things happen because He loves us—and He’s using those things for good in our lives.”

After more singing, I opened my Bible to John 11 and began drawing out the events of Lazarus’ resurrection on my whiteboard. One of the little girls raised her hand and sweetly commented, “Your people kind of look flowers.” Despite my poor drawing, they listened attentively as I explained that Mary and Martha must have felt very let down when Jesus didn’t show up. Jesus was their one friend who could have prevented Lazarus’ death! And He didn’t come, even when they requested Him to. But the truth was that Jesus purposefully delayed His coming because of his love for them (11:3). He was planning to do something even better.

I discussed with the kids about Jesus’ compassion and tears upon His arrival.

“He didn’t cry,” one of the little boys protested in denial.
“No, He really did cry,” I said. “Crying isn’t wrong–Jesus was showing His love for them.” I explained that the people around really took notice of His tears. It showed them how much He cared. In fact, Jesus used the deep sorrow that Mary and Martha were experiencing as a time to bond with them. If Jesus had prevented their pain, Mary and Martha wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience the love of His comfort and empathy. When someone comforts you, that creates a bond. If Jesus would have raised Lazarus immediately upon arrival, He wouldn’t have had those important conversations with Mary and Martha.

Next I drew the tomb scene and told the kids, “Then Jesus said something really shocking. He said to ‘take away the stone.’ Think of what everyone must have been thinking! I mean, there was a dead man behind that stone. That’s kind of like if Jesus told people today to dig up the coffin of someone who was recently buried.”

It was cute to see the children really getting into the story.

I continued, “Martha complained that there would be a bad smell. She was thinking practically, from a human perspective. Sometimes in our lives, our problem is that we think from an earthly perspective too — and that’s why we doubt Jesus. But you know what Jesus said to her?”

I read it to them: “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’”

I emphasized a point to the kids that I am trying to learn myself: Jesus wanted Martha to understand who He really was. He is the resurrection and the life! This was not a problem for Him! Jesus’ actions are shocking. He is always doing something bigger and better than our minds can fathom. He wanted Martha to see that no matter the predicament, disaster, or agony, she should refuse to look from her practical, earthly viewpoint, and rather turn to Him in belief. That’s when she would see the glory of God.

The same is true for us, and I think that Jesus asks us the same question in our trials: “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”

Is our faith lacking because we have not read what He has said to us? Or have we read and forgotten?

May we respond to Him with the same faith represented in the children’s song:
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but HE IS STRONG.

“Let Your compassion come quickly to meet us, For we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the GLORY OF YOUR NAME; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭79:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Oh, and I thought you’d enjoy seeing a picture of my class (including Lazarus).

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the PROOF OF YOUR FAITH, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

200 Young People. 26 Below.

This report is about 2 months late, but I figured better late then never.

IMG_9320 Almost 200 young people joined together for the first Midwest 26 Below Retreat: a missions focused retreat for young people. Sarah and I were thrilled that about 26 of our friends from the Cedar Rapids area came along with us.

IMG_9336 Sunrise Saturday morning

Nate Bramsen spoke on “Counteracting Counterfeit Christianity.” I’d say Luke 9:23 sums up the whole weekend pretty well: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me.” As Nate often emphasizes, taking up a cross isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you choose. It’s not comfortable. It’s not popular. It’s not normal. But it’s the way to walk closely with JESUS – and nothing in this world compares to that.

Those who follow Jesus radically are not the ones truly sacrificing – they are gaining the greatest Treasure imaginable. It’s those who forfeit a close walk with Jesus for the love of this world who are the ones making the great sacrifice.

IMG_9264 In this session, Nate had everyone out of their seats participating in a group activity that illustrates how quickly evangelism can happen when people are discipling others as Jesus commanded. Many of my friends told me this session on evangelism and discipleship was their favorite. Messages available to listen to online here. (Scroll down to the bottom of page.)

IMG_9232 Brady Collier, sharing with my friends about the Bible study he and his family do with international students.

IMG_9305 Missionary Panel (Missionaries answering questions and sharing from their experiences)

In this photo, Joel Hernandez (former missionary in Mexico) is sharing about the importance of reaching out to Hispanics here in the states. Countless Mexicans bring the gospel back to their home villages because someone in the States shared it with them while they were here. Many of these villages have no other way to hear the gospel.

One of the reasons I wanted to post about this retreat was because it is a reminder of the way God is raising up young people with a heart to serve Him. So often, we hear bad reports. We hear news of sin, rebellion, and young people leaving the church. But God is working, answering prayers, and raising up “warriors” for His kingdom … warriors for truth who have a heart to know Him and bring His love and light to this confused and hurting world.

I’ve been reading Jeremiah recently and I especially appreciated Jeremiah 24:7 which says, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” I thought, What a good prayer to pray for others. That God would “give them a heart to know Him.”

May that be the passion of each of our hearts: to know Him.

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10-11).

“Evidence for the Resurrection” Gospel Tract Now Available

We received a shipment today that we’ve been anxiously awaiting … 15,000 copies of our “Evidence for the Resurrection” gospel tract. They are now available on our online store in packs of 50, 100 and 500. You can read the inside here.

IMG_9470 We are grateful to Nickie for the new design. [smile]

The resurrection of Jesus is an awe-inspiring study, because the deeper we look, the more we find that our faith is built on unshakable ground.

We have found this gospel tract to be received with interest and appreciation–especially over the Easter season. Most Americans will agree with you that Easter means more than bunnies, and they appreciate something meaningful and interesting to read.

Many have never heard that we actually have evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. They need to hear that it’s not just a story, it’s a historical fact that has never been refuted. And since Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:14), we’d better be able to show others that this event truly happened!

“…He shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

“Facing A Task Unfinished,” and using St Patrick’s Day!

I am so excited about the “Global Hymn Sing” that Keith and Kristyn Getty are organizing for this Sunday. Partly, because I really love the message of this song! If you haven’t heard about this yet, the Gettys are inviting thousands of churches around the globe to sing the new hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished” together on Sunday, February 21st, 2016. Learn more here.

The command to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), begins whatever side of the globe we are currently on! A great place to start is to coordinate a group of friends to pass out gospel tracts on St Patrick’s day–a month from today.

We are revising our St Patrick’s gospel tract this year to have them printed in bulk. They’ll be available for order in about two weeks. Nickie is working on it right now as I type…

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May our hearts’ prayer be the same as the song below, “Saviour, whose love constrained them, to toil with zeal untired, from cowardice defend us, from lethargy awake! Forth on Thine errands send us, To labour for Thy sake.”

… We bear the torch that flaming fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming that Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission, the same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition, to Thee we yield our powers

O Father who sustained them, O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them, To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us, from lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us, To labour for Thy sake …

We go to all the world, His kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save, But Jesus Christ The Lord.

Original Words by Frank Houghton. Original Music by Samuel Wesley. New Words and Music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ed Cash, and Fionan de Barra; © 2015 OMF International, Getty Music Publishing (BMI), Alletrop Music (BMI), and Fionan de Barra (all admin. By MusicServices.org)

See here for all lyrics.

Sixty Years Ago Today!

What a significant event happened sixty years ago today! After we watched this video, my grandpa began sharing stories about Jim Elliot. He and Jim led a youth group together at Lombard Gospel Chapel, and Jim was in my grandparents’ wedding. I have appreciated hearing stories from them, both serious and funny, about how Jim was the “real deal” – with a huge heart for God and people…even walking in between stopped cars at traffic lights to pass out gospel tracts 🙂

Daughters of Destiny Camp, Truth that Sets Us Free

IMG_8183 Sarah and I were greatly encouraged to see the Lord’s hand at work in girls’ lives last week at the Daughters of Destiny camp at Mountain Top Youth Camp (in North Carolina).

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Many girls made comments such as, “I felt like Sarah was speaking directly to me because she was addressing the very thing I’m dealing with!” or “I’ve been believing ‘that very lie’ and didn’t know it!” It was sweet to see their sensitive hearts to the Lord. Of course, this is all the LORD’s doing, and we’re so grateful for the MANY who were praying!

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John 8:31-32 sums up our theme for the week:

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free'” (John 8:31-32).

It is awesome to witness how the “Truth sets free” – not only in salvation but in all kinds of life struggles! One of my prayers for the girls was that burdens would be lifted as they realize the Truth about God’s character in relation to their current trials.

IMG_8153 Lining up for dinner

For example, we might believe fearful or discouraging thoughts about circumstances such as, “God isn’t paying attention to my current circumstances,” or, “Everything is going wrong.” Yet, the Truth is, “God works all things together for the GOOD of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). And, “No purpose of [God’s] can be thrwarted” (Job 42:2), and, God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

IMG_8136 The mountains were beautifully displaying colors everywhere we looked.

One topic that Sarah focused on quite a bit was “lies we believe about sin.” It was VERY encouraging to see girls resolve to confess hidden sin to parents–praise the Lord!

One lie commonly believed is, “I should conquer this sin on my own before telling anyone else I’m struggling.” But the TRUTH says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

There are many other lies, such as, “That happened so long ago, it doesn’t matter anymore,” or, “The only one I was hurting was myself,” or, “No one will ever know,” or “My parents would be so disappointed it would be better for them not to know,” or even, “This is just the way I am now, and I have to live with it.”

Those are all lies from Satan! Lies have always been his strategy, and they are damaging weapons. The truth is that total VICTORY can be experienced in Jesus Christ. But it won’t come by hiding our sin. It comes by bringing our sin out into the light! Yes, it takes great humility, but the pain of confessing doesn’t even compare to the joy and freedom of a clean life — forgiven and now able to be transparent — nothing to hide! It’s WORTH IT to confess your sin!

If you want victory, if you want healing, then “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

IMG_8132 This young lady, Hope, was in a Bright Lights group for many years before she moved to North Carolina. She shared with us how much the Lord used her Bright Lights leader in her life, and how now SHE is praying about beginning her own group! We were so excited to hear that, and we think she will make a wonderful Bright Lights leader!

“… what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2).

IMG_8190 Sarah and I were amazed by the intricacy of some of the crafts the girls were doing!

IMG_8215 We were especially grateful for the bread-making class as we got to eat the delicious breads they made.

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This fall at home Sarah is writing Bright Lights Set 9 on this very topic of “lies and truth.” Hearing the girls’ feedback last week at camp was a huge help, encouragement, and confirmation that this set would meet a need.

On Tuesday night, Sarah spoke on “Lies we believe about ourselves.” This was one session the girls commented on the most.

Some common lies girls believe about themselves are, “I am worthless and insignificant,” “If I looked like so and so, then I’d be happy,” or “I’m a failure and a disappointment.”

The Truth is NOT to tell yourself “I am beautiful; I am talented; I am special.” No. The Truth is that we are desperately wicked! (Jeremiah 17:9).

But once we are IN CHRIST we have a new identity–we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We find sweet rest and security when we understand who we are in God’s eyes once we are in Christ!

The Truth is that IN JESUS “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). We are “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6), we are valuable to Him (Matthew 10:29-31), we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9-10), and as we abide in HIM we can bring forth much fruit (John 15:4-5)! The list goes on and on.

As our lives bring praise to our Creator and Redeemer we find satisfaction–not in our own value but in His! We find joy, not in our own worth, but in falling before His Throne worshipping Him with gratefulness for His great love.

There’s a little peek into what the next Bright Lights set will be. We’d really appreciate prayer as we’re working on editing it this fall!

IMG_8277 Banquet the final evening

IMG_8340 After the camp, we went with Bill and Marj Longstreet to Charlotte. Together with their daughter Jan, they hosted a “Bright Lights Seminar” on Sunday afternoon at Fairbluff Bible Chapel. We were very blessed by them.

IMG_8326 Quite a few moms and daughters came out to learn about the Bright Lights ministry at little seminar they hosted at Fairbluff Bible Chapel. It sounds like some more groups will be starting in that area, praise the Lord.

IMG_8327 Grateful to Jan for all she did to host us!

Vessels of Honor Conference

Last weekend four friends and I drove down to the “Vessels of Honor” conference, held at a college in the Kansas City area. It was humbling and encouraging. I gleaned a lot. And as I look through my notes, I am still gleaning. 🙂

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I received much rain, both physically and spiritually. 🙂 The physical rain was because I forgot an umbrella. The spiritual “rain,” the rich teaching, was the preferable part, but getting wet was kind of fun too.

11270520_10153028400383318_1606222366252370415_o Scott DeGroff taught about being mighty warriors for the Lord today and walking in victory. Sometimes we have a pessimistic attitude, thinking that a struggle we’re having will just linger on and on. But if we belong to Christ, we don’t ever have to live like slaves to various struggles or sins, because Jesus powerfully frees us from sin’s grip. We need to “wake up” (Romans 13:11) and ask Him, trusting Him for the victory. We must be delivered from living a wasted life that we’ll be ashamed of at the judgement seat of Christ.

IMG_5585 Mr. Attwood talked about seeking after a more intimate walk with Christ. The more we fall in love with our Savior, the more things that used to captivate us lose our interest … because of the explosive power of a new affection. The closer we get to the Light, the more corrupt we see ourselves … but this makes us love Him more as we experience His forgiveness and grace.

There is always a danger in becoming so busy, even with “ministry,” that we don’t spend quality time in the presence of the Lord, worshiping Him, studying Him, enjoying close fellowship with Him. Yet, it’s these times that change us most and enable us to encourage others most!

IMG_5562 Scott DeGroff and Mike Attwood, answering questions

When speakers are willing to spend much time with the attendees, it demonstrates how much they care. And that says a lot.

In between the 12+ hours of Bible teaching, we had some free time for extra activities. I love being with people who love to talk about the Lord, and that was the atmosphere of this event. It was a mature group of youth and young married couples (who don’t want to quit coming 🙂 ).

IMG_5550 One of the guys attending (Chris) initiated a door to door witnessing outreach in the nearby neighborhood. A group of about 20 joined him, and some exciting things happened.

11141787_10153028449898318_5692873668064859635_o Much of the teaching was in break out sessions. I really enjoyed Mr. Attwood’s (left) breakout sessions on rightly dividing the word of truth. He spoke of all the problems that have arisen because Christians have failed to distinguish between the church and Israel. It was an excellent session. I also enjoyed Lynn DeGroff’s session on discernment, especially in popular Christian literature being published today.

11313083_10153028323913318_5308071870858695107_o The singing in the main sessions were nice, but many wanted to keep singing more …

IMG_5565 … so an attendee (Danny) coordinated a hymn sing one evening. It was beautiful!

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IMG_5581 Abby and Guy

Many of you know Abby through Bright Lights conferences over the years. In this picture she and her husband Guy are singing “Complete in Thee.” It was a sweet conclusion during the last session of the conference.

“…in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete … ” (Colossians 1:9-10)

May we run after the Lord Jesus in hot pursuit, confident that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)!