Friday, December 30, 2016

His Faithfulness (January 2017 Newsletter)

As I look back at 2016 I am immensely grateful for God’s faithfulness and steadfast love. He is truly Emmanuel, the God who is with us. 2016 contained some of the greatest challenges and greatest joys of my life. God has answered big and small prayers and shown Himself faithful again and again.
  In 2016 Hamtramck became the first U.S. city to elect a majority Muslim city council. This corresponds with the Muslim majority population. Of the estimated 25,000 people in Hamtramck most practice Islam and come from restricted nations in South Asia and the Middle East. Now they are here in the U.S. where they are free to practice their faith and free to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. I believe that Hamtramck is directly in the center of what God is most interested. There are cries coming from this city and God is using us to answer them with the blessed hope of Jesus Christ who came to save us from our sins. We are His hands and feet reaching out to our neighbors who are in need of His grace, His forgiveness, His power, and His love in their lives. Your prayers and support are with me here as I search for the treasure of God’s heart—His people.
decmap One of my greatest prayers in 2016 was that God would give me co-laborers and teammates. God went above and beyond my expectations in answering those prayers. I’m excited at working in community in 2017—in evangelism, in discipleship, and in life.
  The map above shows the progress made in door to door evangelism. I have so many stories from passing out Jesus Films and inviting people to learn more about Jesus. I still hear back from friends of friends who have watched a film they received and how it impacted them. A number of people from different religious backgrounds made professions of faith in Christ’s death, resurrection, and Lordship this year. The kingdom of God is advancing.
  I also am privileged to be a part of a number of other laborers ministries in other states and other nations. Through training, prayer, and support I’ve helped others advance the kingdom across the U.S. and in Russia and Kazakhstan.
  I am excited about the momentum leading into the New Year, already there are new opportunities to work on teams to reach refugees, start new ESL Bible studies, grow in healthy churches and see God’s kingdom advance in Hamtramck.
  Thank you so much for your prayers and support. You can find more testimonies and resources at You can also find information about how to financially support the work in Hamtramck. The very best is yet to come!
Read previous Newsletters.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Gospel I Preached (November 2016 Newsletter)

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 2 Corinthians 15:1-5

Sharing with my friend H____
Today I shared with a Muslim friend.
I started the conversation with: "This morning I was reading a story in the Injil . . ." and told the story of Nicodemus (which was what I was actually reading this morning).
In response to that story he brought up the final resurrection and that people would be separated.I agreed and shared the Two Kingdoms (a simple Gospel presentation focusing on the Lordship of Christ). He prompted me to write "forgiveness" in the Kingdom of God circle as I was sharing. I asked him if he was ready to make Jesus his King. He said that Muhammad was his king. He also said that he wasn't sure that Jesus died on the cross.
I shared the Prophet's Story (a short explanation of how Jesus was the sacrifice for sin) with him to explain that God planned for Jesus to die on the cross as a sacrifice for sin.
He said, "I have never heard that before. That makes sense, but I don't know what to say about that. I am afraid that I will say the wrong thing. I will have to think about that."
I shared the gospel up front. I challenged him to make Jesus his King. He still wants to be my friend. He still wants to talk about spiritual things. This is a fairly normal encounter in Hamtramck.

Sharing with my friend N____
One of my Muslim friends recently returned from over a month overseas. He called me and wanted to hang out ASAP.
We caught up and then I said, "I want to read you what I read in the Bible this morning." I read John 10:1-18. As soon as I was done he said, "Wow! That is amazing! Even though I am Muslim. I felt that. I felt that when you were reading it to me." He then retold it back to me in his own words without me prompting him. "Jesus promises that all of His followers will go to paradise," he said.
As we were discussing the passage, He brought up that Jesus would return. I agreed and said, "When Jesus returns He will come as King." I then shared the Two Kingdoms with him a second time. When I got to the cross he interupted me, "Yes! I used to not understand that, but you explained it and now it makes perfect sense. I thought 'why would Jesus die' but he died as sacrifice--for humanity--for forgiveness." I agreed and asked him if he was ready to make Jesus his king. "No," he said. "I think since Muhammed was the last prophet that he is king." I told him I would love to continue to talk about that. He agreed. "These conversations are beautiful." He keeps telling his neighbors to read the Bible with me.

Read the rest of the November 2016 Newsletter.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

For the Sake of the Elect (October 2016 Newsletter)

Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. NKJV
So I patiently accept all these troubles so that those whom God has chosen can have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. With that salvation comes glory that never ends. NCV
That’s why I stick it out here—so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory. MSG
2 Timothy 2:10

I am consistently challenged by Paul’s commitment to others. He not only was willing to suffer for Christ, he was willing to suffer for the church. He was not only willing to suffer for his brothers and sisters, he was willing to suffer for the lost. He endured. He stuck it out. He accepted trouble because he believed in the power of the gospel to change lives. He believed it was worth it. He laid down his moments, hours, and days—his life. He had a vision of salvation and eternity in glory with Jesus.
This month I have had the joy of walking with Christ through joy and difficulty. I’ve been blessed to help other workers in other harvest fields. I have had the privilege of bringing the gospel to those who haven’t heard it in the place God has called me.
I was blessed to be invited to be part of a mid-level training for Church Planters in Seattle, Washington. We had a phenomenal time encouraging the church planting teams, training in new tools, and exchanging best practices and ideas. Along with the training and spurring one another on to love and good deeds was deep fellowship with the family of God.
San Antonio
After time in Seattle, I flew to San Antonio to spend two weeks with my mentor Chuck Wood and labor in his harvest field. I was deeply blessed to get to be a part of Chuck’s daily life and routine, to learn from his example, and to be a part of his church community. Chuck and I went out to share the gospel several times and saw one woman tearfully give her life and Christ and one man zealously become involved in disciple-making and church planting. I was also blessed to join one of Chuck’s teammates who was leading church planting on college campuses. We shared the gospel on a nearby campus and nearly everyone we shared with was interested in studying the Bible with us.
My friend in Russia has been actively sharing the gospel and making disciples. While I have the honor of training him in tactics and methods, I am always inspired by his example as a husband and father. He works a full-time job, cares for his family well, and makes disciples in his neighborhood. This month he is traveling to Siberia and to Turkey to train believers in the disciple-making methods he has been learning. He also invited a believer from a Muslim background who lives in Kazakhstan to join our online training. I’m so excited to be used by the Father to help my brothers in Christ and to be equipped by them as they pursue a movement of the gospel in Eurasia.
I also was blessed to be able to encourage and help train a team in a middle-eastern nation online. Pray that God would encourage and inspire their faith.
I am happy to be home in Hamtramck sharing the gospel, training believers, and finding new brothers and sisters in Christ to team with. I’m still knocking on doors, leading discovery Bible studies, and trying to love my neighbors. I don’t know if I have ever been more convinced that the best is yet to come.

Read the rest of the October 2016 Newsletter.
Read previous Newsletters.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fully Trained Disciples (September 2016 Newsletter)

The newsletter is earlier and shorter because of travel. Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Serving Jesus (July 2016 Newsletter)

“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”
Luke 17:8-10

The last month and a half have been whirlwinds of evangelism. We finished sharing the gospel on a number of new streets, started four new Discovery Bible studies, and have partnered with several other ministries to display the image and glory of God in Hamtramck. Two months ago I was knocking on doors almost every day by myself. Today I have so many Bible studies I will soon run out of time to manage them all. Two months ago I had few evangelism partners. Today, I have several young men who are eager to go out and share the gospel with me.

Ramadan came and went with a flurry of activity. In spite of the time of fasting and prayer among our Muslim friends, many were open to hearing the gospel and considering learning more about Jesus. We had kind and inviting responses from many.

H____ invited us in and gave us refreshment. He's Muslim but believes Jesus died as the sacrifice for sin. He is not sure about the resurrection or Jesus's Lordship. He was excited to study the Bible with us, and has been faithfully listening and hosting us in his home since. H____ told us his story of growing up in a war torn country, showing off the shrapnel wounds he has across his body. After hearing my testimony, he also shared his own struggle with mental illness and his pursuit of God’s mercy. H____ introduced to his neighbors and told them to read the Bible with us and he has plans to introduce us to more neighbors.

My friend Andrew S. had a dream a month ago about a specific house in Hamtramck. He felt that God wanted him to share with the people who lived in that house. I told him, “If you need a buddy, I would love to go with you!”
We went and knocked on the door and the man who greeted us immediately said, "I know you!" Two years ago I had prayed for his damaged rotator cuff and he was instantly healed (that story was in the April 2014 Newsletter…/0B4Gp5HabTdUlY0xhZWxEcE9iR…/view…). He had asked, "How can I become a Christian?" But I never saw him again after that. Two years later God reconnected us through a dream Andrew S. had. We have been back to M_____’s house multiple times since then, but haven’t yet found the best time to meet with his night shift schedule. We feel encouraged that God has given us the green light to be persistent to share His love with M_____.

In the midst of all of this I thank God that I get to be a son and a servant in his house. I am privileged to be in midst of what God is most interested in. I know that I am an unprofitable servant who has only done his duty. I know that Jesus deserves so much more. Please pray as we pursue the vision of #noplaceleft and seek to see Jesus receive all that He paid for.

 Read the rest of the July 2016 Newsletter.
 Read previous Newsletters.