Year 1 Complete

The Lord has been abundantly gracious to lead us to the completion of our first academic year. He has provided a warm place to live, a lovely new church family, and many new friends. Westminster Theological Seminary now feels more like a home away from home. So far, year one of seminary has been a great experience.

Words can not express what a huge blessing these past months have been. Silas is growing strong and speaking more words and opinions everyday. Natalie is doing well and at her work at the resterant…really well and enjoys the nature of the work. The Lord seems to have given her favor in the eyes of her fellow servers and the management. Our time together has been well spent and we seem to have grown closer together through this academic year. Even though I loved my job as UC Davis the stress compared with the Westminster M.Div program is equally high but not the same. I enjoy the Westminster stress more than the UC Davis stress…I’m not sure if that makes any sense but there it is.

Natalie’s visit to California went well and by God’s grace Natalie’s mother’s surgery went well. And while Natalie was away Silas and I had the chance to make some great father-son memories. Some fun memories and some not so fun.

Natalie is now involved in the music ministry at Trinity and I am participating as a pastoral intern. Thank you all for your prayers and if you wish to serve and encourage us please simply let us know either by text or with a phone call that you are praying for us.

P.S. – Due to a few requests here is where we have been and what we are looking at next semester:

It is almost unreal to think how fast and see how much material has been covered in this past year:

First academic year completed only by God’s grace…thank you for your prayers!

Intro to Apologetics, with William Edger
The Ancient Church, with Carl Trueman
Orientation to Ministerial Formation, with Timothy Witmer
Prolegomena to Theology, with David Garner
Mentored Ministry Integration (case studies), with multiple professors
Gospel Communication (sermon prep and present), with Mark Salade
Church Growth and Church Planting, with Bruce Finn
Doctrine of God, with Scott Oliphant
Counseling in the local Church, with Mike Emlet
Mission of the Church (missiology), with Mark Sarasino
Medieval Church, with Carl Truman

…and here is what we are looking at in the Summer and Fall 2015:
Greek 1, with Brandon Szerlip

The Reformation, with Carl Trueman
Greek 2, with Brandon Szerlip
Intro to the New Testament, with Brandon Crowe
Expository Skills and Evaluation, with Richard Hughes
Church Dynamics and Pastoral Practice, with Tim Witmer

I am looking forward to next semester’s classes!

Finally please pray a praise for God’s provisions through two grants that have been awarded. I am prohibited to talk of them in detail, but I can call you to rejoice with us!

Pray for ISIS leaders to become Christians

Today is an age of both great peace and great terror. We Christians in America live in great peace compared to the terror our brothers live in other nations – particularity those in ISIS territory. ISIS is an increasingly popular and powerful Islamic terrorist group. Some of you have heard of the butchering of Christians that ISIS broadcasted about a week ago, among other later grotesque broadcasts (murdering of women and children).
America and other nations are predicting that its power is growing as followers from Europe and USA join their cause (to have a pure Islamic country and the death of Christianity). It is also predicted that this war with ISIS will continue for years – not months to come.
Now that we have gotten a splash of cold water in our face and we begin to wake up to the realities most Christians face daily, you might be asking yourself; “What do I do to help?”.
I believe the answer to that question is – first we must pray!
Today Muslim leaders are turning to Christianity. Most of these have encountered God through some miraculous intervention, often in the form of visions or dreams. By the means of prayer and God’s people:
• More than 6,000 new churches have been planted among Muslims in 18 different countries.
• Hundreds of former Sheikhs and Imams, now Jesus followers, are boldly leading great movements of Muslims out of Islam.
• Forty‐five different “unreached” Muslim people groups, who a few years ago had no access to God’s Word, now have over 3,000 new churches among them.

Christians we must believe in the power of prayer and pray for our Muslim neighbors – both in the city and in the world. The organizing of Christians into focused intercessory prayer groups is vital. We must lead others into greater prayer ministry. All‐night prayer meetings, prayer walks through Muslim villages and towns, and even email and text messages should be utilized to organized on behalf of Muslims.

If you take time to take a closer look at some of the Muslim people groups you will see widespread disillusionment and discontentment with Islam. Many Muslims find no assurance of paradise in the Qur’an. They are searching for the God who answers prayer, seeking a personal, loving relationship with God that is absent in Islam. The primary strategy for reaching Muslim seekers is prayer, Bible study and obedience‐based discipleship. Discipleship represents relationships with God, Christ, and other disciples.

Make intercessory prayer the highest priority. When a leader was killed like Ben Laden another arose just as bad, and the cycle continued. Today the leader of ISIS is known to be Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. He reminds us that we are in a spiritual war so let us engage with prayer. Pray for the conversion of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, that he might come to faith in Isa al Masih (the Qur’anic term for Jesus the Messiah) as His God and redeemer. If God could save a sinner like you and me then He can do the same for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Let us add him to our prayer list and see what God will do.

isis leaders