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Teaching about the person and work of Jesus is one of the great privileges of being a seminary professor.  Nothing thrills my heart more than teaching about Jesus and what He did for us.  I had that privilege once again this month teaching Christology and Soteriology with Eric Oldenburg at Kiev Theological Seminary. The Bible is full of passages that remind us of His glory and the wonderful salvation He provided for us! Paul reminds us that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). John reminds us: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:19). Peter declares: “Christ dies for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). In Revelation 5:9, the elders fell down before the Lamb and sang a new song: “Worthy are you to take the book and break its seals; for you were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” All of this makes us cry out with the angels: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing…. To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13). What a wonderful savior indeed!  (more…)

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Colossians 1:10 is one of my favorite verses. Many times we are involved in doing good things that are not fruitful for the sake of God’s kingdom.  Often it is difficult to tell if our labors are fruitful in the present and we have to wait to see fruit in the future.  Sometimes God gives us a glimpse of fruitfulness even in the present.  But it should always be our desire, not just to do good works but to be fruitful in those good deeds.  So Paul prays for the Colossians: “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” That is our prayer also – we have much to do, but most of all, we desire to walk worthy of the Lord and to please Him in every way.  But especially that we might be fruitful in our work.  

April is a time of preparation, getting things ready for the fruit that is to come.  Sometimes it seems like a lot of work without seeing fruit.  But every now and then, God gives glimpses of fruit for His kingdom in every good work.  Here are a few glimpses of our work in April.   (more…)

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The Reason for the Season! … (December 2017 Update)

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year since I became a follower of Christ.  I know that December 25th is not the day of His birth and I know that modern Christmas celebrations have become so commercial that it is often hard to find Jesus in them.  But I enjoy remembering and celebrating the fact that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” I also enjoy the lights that remind us that He is “the light of the world” and that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never conquer it.”  So, for me, Christmas is a time to remember – and to celebrate.  Jesus is the reason for the season!  He became a man so that He could go to the cross and die for my sins.  And He arose from the dead and will come again someday! That is worth celebrating – but none of it would have ever happened without that one night in Bethlehem.  “For unto you is born, this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord!” (more…)

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John Calvin as a Pastor

John Calvin as a Pastor

Most people remember John Calvin as a theologian. He certainly was that.  But above all else, for almost all of his adult life, John Calvin was a pastor. Preaching and teaching the Word of God were the primary elements of Calvin’s ministry. Many times, he preached or lectured on the scriptures as many as 12 times a week.[1] More than anything else, Calvin regarded himself as an expositor of God’s Word.[2] In his last will and testament, which he dictated on April 25, 1564 shortly before his death, Calvin began by describing himself as a “servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva.”[3]  He summarized his life by these words: “moreover, I declare that I endeavored to teach His Word undefiled and to expound Holy Scripture faithfully, according to the measure of grace which He has given me.”[4]  (more…)

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He Giveth, and Giveth and Giveth Again! … (November 2017 Update)

One of my favorite hymns is “He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnson Flint.  Many times when I am troubled or when God has supplied unexpectedly, I find myself singing some of the verse of this great song.  It was written by a woman who lived all her life in adversity but continued to trust in the Lord.  The song concludes: “For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!” (Full song is at the end of this Update).

As I think about Thanksgiving this month, I am brought back to this song – He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again! I have so much to be thankful for … a wonderful family, both here in Ukraine and in the states… dear friends that are as close as family even though we are separated by geography and by time… a warm house and a full garden… wonderful opportunities for teaching… seeing students who are living the lessons they have been taught.  But most of all, we are grateful for Jesus and the change He has made in our lives!  We are so blessed to be part of His family and even more blessed that “He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!”  Here are some of those blessings from this month…. (more…)

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Redeeming the Time … (September 2017 Update)

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time.” That sums up our August here in Ukraine!  While we had planned to make August a rest and recover month before the start of classes, God had other plans for us. We had planned to head west to the mountains for a vacation time, but we had to stay in Kiev to work on documents and some other things around the house.  That opened the door to a number of ministry opportunities that we did not expect. (more…)

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Family Blessings … (July 2017 Update)

John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4). John was speaking about spiritual children in this passage.  But the same is true about our earthly children.  There are few blessings better in the world than having a wonderful family!  I have really been blessed with great children who have great families.  I have watched them go through many difficulties and walked through them honoring the Lord and coming out stronger.  It has also been a great joy to see how they have served the Lord in various capacities.  One of my great joys has been watching Sean and Meredith serve as missionaries through the Traveling Team in the US.  We were able to have this joy doubled as they came to visit us in Ukraine under the month of June.

Also, one of our greatest joys is to see our students walking in the truth as well!  It is an amazing experience to work with students for 4 short years and then to see how God is using them in their ministries.  We get to see this often and it is a real encouragement to us.  It is a struggle to know we miss so much time with my physical family (kids and grandkids) in the states, but that sadness is replaced when we see our students ministering here in Ukraine!  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (more…)

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