Back to Texas!

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Over the weekend Sarah, Anna, Allison (who are with us for the summer) and I went down to Texas again to help with the Single Ladies Retreat that Taryn and Mirren Martin put together. It was even better than any of us expected. The teaching was rich with Scripture and insight, and the fellowship was very sincere and deep. The retreat wasn’t really about singleness, it was about walking with the Lord. Being around so many other girls and women who are living in surrender to the Lord and in love with Him was a very big encouragement.

20130726_181151_22215 One encouraging element to the weekend was all the special music from three of the sisters in the Marshall family and from many others. The messages of those rich, heartfelt songs shared were one of my favorite parts of the conference.

One of the songs has been lingering in my head today: “I Just Want to Please the Lord.” It is in living for His desires, not our own, that we find joy and rest.

“I just want to please the Lord
To be in His will in every way
To be lost in His presence
Found in His likeness
Hear Him say ‘well done’ some day.”
I Just Want to Please the Lord, Ronny Hinson

Growing Evangelists in Mexico

For those who saw my post a few days ago, I asked for prayer for a camp in Mexico that is focusing on training young people in evangelism this week. I thought you would enjoy hearing the story Mrs. Clark e-mailed me!

Thank you so much for your prayers for our camp. The Lord is truly blessing us! Each day, 4 teams of young people and adults have gone out to different nearby destinations to witness. Those who go to the city of Morelia have been using questionnaires with some of the questions you have on your website. They have been very encouraged, using this method, and many have had good conversations with people.

The first day out, Ted went with a team to a nearby rancho (village). His little group was welcomed into a very poor home of an 86 year old widow, María de la Luz. She listened attentively to the explanation of the gospel and told Ted decidedly that she did want to pray to receive Christ! (We often have people here who will say yes to everything and just follow along to be polite, but usually, it is clear they don’t really understand.)

But Ted said that this was different. He sensed that she really was sincere. She told him she had been praying that someone would come to tell her the way of the truth! She can’t read, but we will be following up with her. We are so thrilled to be able to be co-workers with God in this world!

20130725_202607_22212 Here’s a picture of María!

Mrs. Clark also added another specific prayer request:
One thing to remember in prayer for her: the Jehovah’s Witnesses are like a plague here in Mexico, and they have visited her constantly. It seems that she sensed something wrong with what they told her. Pray that they would leave her alone and that the Lord would open the door for us to continue sharing truth with her.

What a thrilling report! Praise the Lord. Nothing compares to that joy of seeing people embrace the gospel! Mrs. Clark also said they have had many other great stories from their witnessing trips each day. Let’s keep praying for the Lord to raise up laborers unto the harvest there in Mexico!

“Could it be that up in heaven, God is sitting on His throne
Anticipating another sinner will soon become His own.
Years of wasted living and years of toil and strife
Are just about to be over as he receives the gift of life.

Go sound the horn, strike up the choir.
A sinner is saved. Saved from the fire –
No more in darkness, he’s received my Son
All heaven rejoices – that’s the value of one!”

Bright Lights Conferences in Ohio and Michigan

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Our Bright Lights conferences in the Columbus, Ohio area and the Detroit, Michigan area are coming up very soon!

Radiant Purity Conference (Columbus, Ohio) – August 9-10
Strong in the Lord Conference (Columbus, Ohio) – August 12-13

Radiant Purity Conference (Detroit, Michigan) – August 15-16
Strong in the Lord Conference (Detroit, Michigan) – August 19-20

For more information see here.

If you would like to help us spread the word to any friends you know in either of these states, we have an informational e-mail I could send you to forward on. Just please contact me and ask if you would like it.

We would appreciate prayer that the Lord would bring the girls, moms, and dads that He wants to be there, and that He would be preparing their hearts now.

Guess What Just Arrived?

20130723_130449_22211 Last week we received a very special package in the mail with some copies of the new Spanish translation of Will Our Generation Speak? We are very grateful to the Clark family in Central Mexico and their team for undertaking this large translation project!

They are using the book this week at a youth camp in Mexico. We’d appreciate prayer that the Lord would work in the hearts of young people there, burdening them with a compassion for the lost and zeal to spread the gospel.

Visit to ICR

Hello everyone! We’ve had a good week at home getting caught up and preparing for coming trips. Here are a few more pictures from our time in Dallas that I didn’t fit into my last post.

20130717_120841_22176 On one of our free days in Dallas we visited ICR – Institute for Creation Research. We received a tour from our friend Brian Thomas.

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ICR has a lot of fossils on display in their office, and Mr. Thomas has a lot of interesting insights about the fossils, how to interpret them, and what we can learn from them.

I met Mr. Thomas at a home school conference last year, and he agreed to help me with a few chapters of Will Our Generation Speak? which I was getting close to publishing at that time. I will always be grateful for the suggestions he contributed to chapters 14 and 15 on creation science and apologetics! It was very encouraging for me to see the Lord’s perfectly timed provision.

20130717_120932_22177 Dr. Jeanson shared a very interesting presentation with our group of Bright Lights leaders on how to witness to evolutionists. I appreciated his comments about how it is through seeing God’s glory that we begin to understand how bad sin really is.

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Dr. Jeanson received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 2009 and then joined ICR as a Research Associate. We’ve enjoyed getting a little acquainted with him and his wife and are grateful for the ways the Lord is using them.

20130717_130947_22181 Your Origins Matter is a new ministry of ICR that is focused on reaching the younger generation. They gave us all shirts so this was a very commonly-worn shirt during our trip!

Bright Lights in Dallas

20130708_191158_22036 We had a great week of conferences in Dallas. It started out Monday night with a special time with the local Bright Lights group. Haley, Natalie and Megan have done a wonderful job leading this group for several years now.

20130710_153248_22069 Here is a small group from the “Strong in the Lord Conference” conference. It is fun to get to hear what the girls are thinking and learning. After Sarah’s session on being in the Word, a few of them expressed to me with seriousness in their eyes that they haven’t been doing very well reading their Bibles but now they want to make that decision to read it every day consistently.

This is probably the #1 response that the girls write on their “response forms” after the conference – that they are going to start reading their Bibles every day. We’d appreciate prayer for all of these young ladies right now, only a week after the conference….that the Lord would give them strength and reminders to follow through.

20130713_175352_22138 It’s also exciting to see the girls get excited about witnessing! Sometimes it doesn’t take much to spark their excitement. Many leaders tell me how their girls are anxious to talk about “sharing the gospel” in their small groups after it’s discussed in the main session. Here Priscilla is standing by our “Witnessing Starter Packages.” She was excited to get one. [smile]

20130716_125728_22175 We’re grateful for the testimonies that the Lord provides for the main sessions. They drive home the lessons in a personal, practical way. A message from a mind reaches a mind, but a message from a life reaches a life! Pictured above are Scarlet, Kate, and Abby sharing testimonies at the Radiant Purity conference.

20130713_084110_22121 Here’s a picture from the Purity Conference. We’d appreciate prayer for all the conference attendees from Arkansas, Houston, and Dallas … that they would be seeking Christ, abiding in the Word, seeking the Lord’s ways, honoring their parents.

20130717_143251_22182 The dads who are able to come to the Purity Conference always have a discussion on father’s roles in protecting their daughters and screening young men who express interest. My dad usually tells us afterward about some of the various comments and stories that are shared. He is usually very encouraged by how the men’s discussions go and he says they never have enough time.

20130711_101635_22093 During one of our devotional times, Stephen gave us a review of the book Radical by David Platt which he had been reading on the trip. Stephen was impressed with it, and read several sections to us.

In talking about missions and how we should all have a heart for the WORLD, David Platt writes, “As we have seen all over Scripture, God’s heart is for the world. So when we say we have a heart for the United States, we are admitting that we have a meager 5 percent of God’s heart, and we are proud of it. When we say we have a heart for the city we live in, we confess that we have less than 1 percent of God’s heart … regardless of where we live–here or overseas–our hearts should be consumed with making the glory of God known in all nations.”

20130709_111536_22044 During another devotional time, Taryn and Mirren Martin did a “Question & Answer” time with our group of leaders. They have been such an encouragement to us.

20130711_170747_22106 We enjoyed several hours on our free day at the Skrinch home.

20130717_130822_22180 Lauren and Haley. Haley (right) was one of the hostesses for this conference. Thank you Haley for all your hard work!

20130715_160005_22173 Guess where we had tire trouble? 45 minutes from home right in front of a Tires Plus shop that wasn’t busy! They fixed the 2 bad tires immediately (while we girls shopped in the air conditioned mall), gave us a good price, and my dad was able to witness to them. Praise God that He takes such good care of us.

Strong in the Lord Conference, Dallas

The “Strong in the Lord Conference” here in the Dallas area was another statement of God’s grace and faithfulness to provide in countless ways! We thought you would enjoy experiencing Session Three from the conference in 35 seconds.

“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.” Psalm 116:5

The Radiant Purity Conference started tonight and will end tomorrow at 6pm. Thank you for your prayers!!

Please Pray for Mr. Biegler

We would appreciate prayer for Nickie Biegler and her family at this time. Nickie’s dad has been fighting cancer for about two years now. Because the cancer returned in a more aggressive form, he has begun chemo. He started the treatments last week and is now beginning to experience the side effects. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for him and his family. We are praying that the Lord would use chemo to reduce the size of the tumor.

Here’s an excerpt from Mrs. Biegler’s last e-mail update:

Todd asked for specific prayer. When Jesus was before Pontius Pilate, Pilate asked the question, “Do You not know that I have authority to release you, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above…” Todd recognized that chemotherapy would have no “authority” over the cancer unless God’s power was in it. He is asking for God to give His power to the chemotherapy to fight this cancer. Will you join us in that prayer?

Houston Radiant Purity Conference

20130708_145441_22023 This was our first time to do a Bright Lights conference in Houston – the 4th largest city in the US.

20130706_210924_21980 Just as He did in Arkansas, the Lord blessed us in Houston with several godly young ladies from the area who helped us lead the small groups. It was mutually refreshing to have that instant fellowship with them in Christ as we served together, even though most of us didn’t know each other previously.

20130705_064606_22009 After attempting a few conferences overseas last fall without Stephen, we are very grateful for all his work to make the conferences run smoothly on the technical side of things. Thanks also to Kristin for running Power Point.

20130705_095354_22010 Cool down discussion with leaders …

20130706_173259_21941 Mrs. Moore (right) told me that a few years ago her daughters told her “Mom, we aren’t doing anything to get the gospel out to people.”

So they began pursuing various ideas for witnessing: door to door, children’s ministry, open air presentations to kids at parks, etc. It sounds like they have been busy!

She told me that her daughters are comfortable to share the gospel just about anywhere now since they’ve been doing it so much.

Their example illustrates the concept that we grow in witnessing by simply obeying Jesus and doing it. We improve and gain confidence as we go, but how will we learn if we never start?

20130707_131053_21994 Amy and Melanie Bogner (above) hosted the conference and also hosted our whole group in their home. We loved their fun and encouraging personalities and wonderful hospitality. It just went by a little too fast. [smile] Melanie came to the first Bright Lights Leaders Training in 1999.

Today we are setting up at the church in Carrollton, Texas (near Dallas). The “Strong in the Lord” conference starts tomorrow. Please pray that the Lord work prepare hearts and minds and produce much fruit for His glory!

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9)

The Million Dollar Question

Our team of Bright Lights leaders went to the Woodlands (north of Houston) to share the gospel with people waiting for the fireworks.

20130704_184010_21890 Here’s Haley, holding the tract we used for starting conversations — a million dollar bill with a patriotic twist and gospel message on the back.

It was a fantastic tool for starting conversations. We’d hand it to people and say, “Happy 4th of July!”
As they took it, we’d add, “There’s a million dollar question on the back.”
Curious, they’d turn it over to read the million dollar question: “Will you go to Heaven when you die?”
“What do you think about that?” we’d ask.
The conversation would take off from there.

20130704_201711_21970 And with so many people just standing around not doing much, it was a perfect time to engage them in conversation.

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20130704_195758_21967 Here Alexandra and Michele are sharing the gospel with 2 guys and a girl. After the conversation, the girl expressed appreciation that they cared enough to talk to them.

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20130704_213450_21905 It was fun to sit around and hear each other’s stories afterward. (What an exciting topic to have a sharing time about!) There were some very receptive hearts, and others who weren’t so friendly – probably because their conscience was pricked. So we praise God for both, and we pray He keeps working in their hearts.

Teamwork is a valuable thing. With so many of us out witnessing, we were able to engage over 100 people in conversations, and some were pretty long conversations. When we mobilize believers to witness, more people hear the gospel.

” … He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)