The Joy and Reality of Grace


My wife Cindy and I live in the Phillips neighborhood located within a mile of Bethlehem College & Seminary and our church Bethlehem Baptist. Phillips is a beautiful, older, Minneapolis neighborhood, and given its proximity to my work and our church, it’s very beneficial to live here. We love living in Phillips!

However, the neighborhood also has its share of challenges. One of these challenges is that crime is fairly common here. Though my wife and I feel very safe walking about and riding our bicycles in our neighborhood during the day, it’s not the safest at night. As an example, recently Cindy and I had our bikes stolen out of a locked shed in our backyard. This was obviously unwelcome. However, we were thankful that no one was hurt and the bikes were fairly easily replaceable.

Over the next few days, I began to realize that the experience of having our property blatantly stolen had affected me in a way I had not been prepared for. Subtly, I had taken on a fairly pessimistic attitude towards people, especially people living in my general neighborhood. As I began to notice this, I was surprised as I realized just how deeply hurt I had actually felt about the incident. It had made me cynical and depressed, if only mildly so. Before the incident I truly believed that all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23). So, theologically, I wasn’t surprised that some human being had committed robbery, but this robbery had been committed against my wife and I! That made the truth of Romans 3:23 real in a way that it wasn’t before—it hurt.

By God’s grace, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me strength to overcome this pessimistic outlook. Though still believing in the truth of human depravity, Cindy and I still gladly live in Phillips, and are hoping to buy a home here in the near future, or perhaps nearby.

One way that I think the Lord helped me to overcome the hurt of this experience was remembering a sort of polar truth. Though I had been hurt by someone taking something from us, the Lord reminded me of the joy Cindy and I have experienced countless times in being the recipients of gifts and goodwill from others, especially fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. What a joy it is to know that others care for you!

Similarly, knowing that fellow brothers and sisters in Christ care about the mission and students of Bethlehem College & Seminary is a great joy and blessing to all of us here who work day in and day out seeking to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. Your gifts not only benefit our students and school, they bring us great joy knowing that others care enough about us to give. Thank you for the blessing of your support!

Prayer Requests:

1. Please pray for our students as they are now a little over half-way through the semester. This is always a tough point because the workload is high and the pressure to finish papers and projects is mounting, Pray that they would find their joy in the Lord even in the midst of these pressures.

2. Pray also for our faculty as they teach and minister to our students through their courses and on a personal level as well. Pray that they would be the light of Christ to them.

3. Please pray as we enter into the Serious Joy scholarship drive here over the last two months of the year. Pray that the Lord would continue to raise up more and more scholarship partners.

4. Please be in prayer with us as we seek to encourage more and more of our students to consider going the unengaged peoples of the world with the good news of the gospel. We want to see a new generation ignited for the spread of the gospel worldwide!


Chapel Message, October 19, 2016

Join us Wednesdays for our weekly Chapel Service from 12:00-1:00pm.