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Pardon me for the delay in getting the blogpost out this week. I have been in Virginia celebrating my youngest brother Matthew Love’s marriage to Callie Middleton of Staunton, Virginia this past weekend. The wedding, in Amelia Court House (town), was very pleasant, and God held rainstorms away. Summer is winding down here in the mid-Atlantic and autumn is coming. Already I can feel a hint of cool in the air, both in New York and Virginia. Andy Woodard has arrived in New York and will be taking my place at the mission around Labor Day.
Thankfully, we had a good chapel service without an interruption last Tuesday. I preached out of 1 Peter 1, and in the introduction I overviewed Peter’s discipleship and God-appointed ministry in Christ’s founding of the church. Thursday’s chapel message did not proceed as smoothly though. A couple of ladies walked out of the service that day, misinterpreting Galen’s message out of the Gospel of John as anti-Semitic and finding it objectionable. How I was saddened that these two dear ladies think of us as anti-Semitic. I do not know exactly why the Holy Spirit of God has worded the text of John 5 the way He has. But this I know: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” A holistic reading of the Bible and the interpretation which comes of it gives light and salvation, and it leaves no place for anti-Semitism. The entrance of God’s words is ultimately positioned for our salvation, our realization of God’s righteousness and glory and our own sinfulness. The entrance of God’s words leads to our humbling in repentance and our faith in God’s Saviour to the world. This Saviour came first to the Jews and also to the nations, and this latter not to exclude the former. God's revelation ultimately leads to our love.
In pause from the above lines, I now take up a theme which I have written about several times already in recent weeks. Sometimes the best things come when we are not expecting them.
Before I left New York for the wedding, about a week prior actually, I was walking toward the Punjab Deli on a Thursday evening for some dinner. Realizing I was more in need of exercise than food, I kept walking for enjoyment along the Hudson River Park. As I walked from 26th Street south toward the Battery, I came upon an old Lighthouse Service tender ship (pre-Coast Guard supply ship to manned and unmanned offshore navigational-aids), still equipped with its original steam engines and asbestos. The tugboat-like ship is open to the public on Thursday evenings. Of course I looked through it for a good while, all until a movie shoot kicked me out.
Continuing the account, I kept walking toward the Battery until I came to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. I rode the ferry across to Staten Island, looking over at the Statue of Liberty and then the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn and wondering what is out in that great ocean beyond that bridge. Sometimes I wish I could sail out there. Arriving at the ferry terminal on Staten Island and debarking, I saw a Dairy Queen among other eating places in the terminal. By this time I was hungry and went in and ordered a banana split Blizzard. A soccer game was being broadcast on television—Guadalajara versus Bayern Munich. Without thinking much, I started watching it. A man began watching with me and at one point asked me if I needed anything from the condiment counter. I thought he must be the restaurant owner. In time, I began conversing with him. I found out this man, named Mohammed, is actually a computer programmer and that he had just returned via bus from the Midwest where he had gone on a two-month sabbatical. We eventually talked about spiritual things. Wow. I wasn’t at all expecting such a conversation or friendship, but I felt immediately as though God had appointed that meeting. This man told me he hopes to see me in Heaven one day. I told him I hope to see him there. We both cordially told the other it had been a pleasure meeting, chatting, and watching the soccer game together. I got back on the ferry perhaps an hour later, feeling like a million bucks!
A man named David was walking past our church on a Sunday afternoon a week-and-a-half ago. He later told me he had looked at our church just before the service was to start and realized again his need to attend church somewhere. Our friend Big James saw him and encouraged him to come inside. He came in for the service and told me later he had been wonderfully blessed. This man’s insight into the Word of God, his humility, and his understanding of the Christian life indicated to me that he wasn’t speaking from the place of a novice. Pray for this man, if you find yourself inclined to do so. Pray for all who minister the Word of God in New York, “that great city” here in America.
A dear Spanish-American lady in her 80’s has found a place to serve the Lord at our church and tells me she rejoices to see the Gospel work going on at the church on 26th Street today. She wants to help as she is able, and I have told her that her presence in itself is a great help. Her forthright but kind words in the service of the Gospel are an encouragement to me.
Intern Galen Balinski formally joined Manor Gospel Fellowship a week and a half ago and will be functioning in a more permanent role with the mission for the time-being. Galen, with the blessing of the church, has been accepted to study at Southern Theological Seminary’s Manhattan branch campus and has found great help from the school toward paying his tuition, this being based largely on his involvement with our inner-city mission.
I want to talk briefly in closing about the encouragement I have received recently in reading the words and actions of Gospel minister Mr. William Lutz, as presented in Christmas Carol Kauffman’s Hidden Rainbow. If you have never read this book with its true account of the lives and conversion of John and Anna Olesh in pre-World War 1 Croatia (not then called by that name), you ought to give it a read. The missionary from Budapest, spoken of in this book, who ministered in Daruvar is a good example of wisdom with an excellent spirit and diligence in the Gospel work when faced with opposition. Give the book a read if you can. I mention also: a couple other good reads are the 1923 unabridged biography of William Carey by Samuel Pearce Carey and either of the two books on James O. Fraser, missionary to western China. If I were restricted to ten books to read for the rest of my life, the Kauffman book and the Carey biography would be among the ten. (I’d also want my Hebrew and Greek Bibles and lexicons and my English Bible and concordance. I’d want a hymnbook and a systematic theology.)
Pray that God would continue both our ministry of the Gospel and our ministry to the needs of the under-employed, poor, and widows through our food pantry. We are thankful to Him for supplying the provision for our pantry and for the generosity of three Trader Joes supermarkets in donating their leftovers to us. Many people utilize our food pantry: people living on fixed incomes, some out of work altogether, some of retirement age, and some whose needs arise from elsewhere. We host a large number of immigrants. Pray that the language barriers will not be insurmountable.
I am including a link to Pastor Bill's Sunday sermon from this last Sunday. These will start appearing more regularly here at NYGM's site within sermonaudio.com. http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sermonID=813141354450
With that I will sign off.
May God bless the readers of this blogpost.
Posted by: Christopher Love, NYGM Intern
Dr. Bill Jones
Dr. Bill Jones has helped in the establishment of two churches in otherparts of the country and served as Pastor for 14 years. The past few summers, Bill has...