Souls Being Saved!

✪ News from China: Another two souls were saved Wednesday night after the Bible study in China. Amen! That is about 8 souls saved since we left China. I love being able to constantly report of more souls being saved in China. Charles, the Chinese pastor, is really a soul winner! Praise the Lord for his boldness.

✪ I am writing this update from NC. I was able to speak to an association of pastors on Tuesday and to a youth group on Sunday night who supports our ministry. We are thankful for every supporter we have and are excited these teens are being taught to get involved in missions.

✪ We had a great time in CA with our supporting church there. They were a blessing to us. Also, we were able to visit Yosemite–which was amazing–especially at this time of year. We are so thankful for our yokefellows and others from our home church who helped take care of our kids so my wife and I could have a trip together.

✪ Last Sunday I was in SC and had a great time at a new church, Lord willing we will be partnering with them, and also at a faithful supporting church that has supported us the entire time we were in China. God is blessing our travels and we are humbled to be able to serve Him.

✪ One of the twins took their first step, can you guess which on it was?

How Can We Be Bold In The Face Of Persecution?

Boldness has the idea of speaking freely or outspoken, being daring and confident. It’s characterized by expressing fearlessness in the face of danger. We are to pray for boldness and depend on the Holy Spirit to empower us to stare into the face of fear as we boldly speak the Word of His glorious grace, knowing that no matter what happens nothing will separate us from the love of God.
Boldness: Proverbs 28:1; 30:30; Slothfulness: Proverbs 22:13; 26:13

Boldness Resides to Speaking, Confidence, And Fearlessness

  • Boldness is the trait of being willing to take risks and being willing to be candid, sincere, truthful, and forthright in our behavior (works, speech, attitude). In the New Testament “boldness” is often connected with speaking. But in the book of Acts “boldness” is almost always connected with “speaking and preaching” the Word of God. We learn two basic and important applications: (1) It takes boldness to speak the word of God because there is a risk of persecution for everyone that does. (2) It takes boldness to speak the Word of God because we have to be honest and straightforward with people about their sinful condition and their need to repent and believe in Jesus. Thus, to “be bold” means to openly, clearly, and freely speak the Word of God in spite of prohibiting or unfavorable circumstances (persecution, human law, etc).
    John 7:26; Acts 4:13; 13:46; 18:26; 19:8
  • Boldness is not only connected with “speaking” but it is also connected with “confidence”. Confidence is the feeling and conviction of firm trust in someone or something. Thus, the core of confidence is trust—to strongly rely on—but trust is only as useful as its object—the person or thing you put your trust in. Thus, a person can boldly speak about (“B”) because they have confidence in (“A”). For example, Paul, Timothy, and Silas said, “We were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God”—meaning they (“B”) dared to tell them the gospel of God in the face of strong opposition and unfavorable circumstances because of (“A”) their confidence in God. Also, in the book of Acts, sometimes when they were boldly speaking the Word of God, it also tells us “in the name of whom” they spoke or who they had their confidence in to speak so openly on the subject they did. Their confidence was in the Lord Jesus.
    Hebrews 13:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; Acts 9:27, 29; 14:3
  • Boldness is also characterized by “fearlessness”. Paul said that, “Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Paul is saying that his boldness which led to persecution served to advance the gospel. Everyone knew that he was in chains for Christ. His imprisonment caused the believers to become confident in the Lord and bold to speak the Word of God without fear. This verse not only connects boldness with speaking and confidence but it adds “without fear” meaning the brethren were more daring. They were now more willing to take risks. The verse evens says, “Much more bold”—meaning that they were overcoming their fear. Fear is a natural reaction to danger, but as believers were are not called to react, but act—take intended action as opposed to responding in an unintended manner.
    Mark 15:43; Philippians 1:12-14

Boldness Relies On Prayer And The Holy Spirit
John 15:18-16:33

  • When Peter and John were released after being arrested, they returned to the other believers and told them everything that happened. Then they lifted their voices together to God in prayer and thanksgiving. This prayer helps us understand that not only did they have confidence in God and who He was, saying, “Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is,” but they relied on prayer and the Holy Spirit for boldness.
    Acts 4:23-31
    • They prayed for boldness in the face of persecution—“Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word”. We also need to pray for boldness. Before and after persecution, we need to pray that God would grant us the boldness need to faithfully proclaim His Word. We are to pray like the believers in Acts and like Paul in Ephesians—that whenever we speak, words may be given to us so that we will boldly open our mouths and fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Paul was an ambassador of the gospel in bonds because of the gospel and he is asking that they pray that he may speak boldly, as he ought to speak. Thus, we also need to pray that we may declare it fearlessly, as we should.
      Ephesians 6:19-20
    • They needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit to speak the word of God boldly—“they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” We also need to depend on the Holy Spirit for boldness. Confidently and fearlessly speaking the gospel in the face of persecution is a work of the Holy Spirit. He empowers us not only to boldly live out our faith but also to boldly speak forth the gospel message even when that could mean potential danger for us.

Boldness Rests In The Love Of God
Romans 8:31-39

  • We can be bold because: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” God was willing to let His own Son, Jesus, die for us to redeem us. If we are in Christ, we know that God is for us. If He gave us Jesus (the greatest gift), He will also graciously give us all things we need (lesser gifts). He made us righteous, thus no on can bring a charge against us. Jesus died, rose again and now He is interceding for us at the right hand of God, thus no one can condemn us.
    Exodus 3:11-12; Isaiah 41:10; Haggai 1:12-15
  • We can be bold because: “Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. We might have to endure persecution, tribulation, hardships, famine, nakedness, danger, or the sword—but none of these things will separate us from the love of Christ. We are to be convinced that neither death, life, angels, principalities (demons, rulers), powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from God’s love in Christ. We are secured in His infinite, unchanging, incredible, and sacrificial love.
    (Paul’s Persecutions: 1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
  • We can be bold because: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” The scriptures says that, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” So even if they martyr us for Jesus’ sake, we are never separated from or will loose God’s love. We have utterly defeated sin, death, and evil through the love of God. We have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Psalm 44:22; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Colossians 2:13-15; Ephesians 1:20-21; 1 John 4:4; 5:4

Review Questions

  • What does it mean that boldness resides in speaking?
  • What does it mean that boldness resides in confidence?
  • What does it mean that boldness resides in fearlessness?
  • Boldness relies on what?
  • Boldness rests in what?

November 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors, Partners & Praying Friends,

Imagine you were born in a communist country. A country that denies the existence of God. A place where there was a very small chance that you would actually hear the gospel. Thousands are born this way every day in China. But this past Sunday, there was a baby boy born to a Chinese man and women who are followers of Jesus. They are leading the church we started in China. Against all odds, this boy was born into a Christian family. He, Lord willing, will be raised by parents who are in love with Jesus. Parents who every day have to truly live out their faith because of the reality of their surroundings—the reality that his occupation is considered illegal by their government. Oh, praise is to God for the changing of a generation and the work He is doing to change lives in China and around the world. 

Please pray or rejoice with us over the following updates:

  • News from China: Another soul was saved this past month in China. Pray for the growth of the church as they disciple these new believers in a growing relationship with Jesus.
  • New Support Update: We have raised an additional 5% of new support this past month which makes a total of 8% raised on furlough. We are at 78% of our new support goal, which means we only need 22% more. We are thankful and blessed by our new partners!
  • Furlough Traveling: Sine our last prayer letter, we have had meetings in: AZ, GA, OH, CA. Again, we were blessed with great meetings and missions conferences. It has been a joy to reconnect with faithful supporters and partner with new ones. There are so many little blessings in traveling and serving God—one of those is making friends all over the country with the same passion of knowing Jesus and making Him known.
  • Family News: Keep my wife in your prayers as she is dealing with a few health problems. Also, we are working on getting all the kids caught up on the doctor’s appointments.

Event Reminder: We will be participating and speaking at the Our Generation Summit in Mt. Sterling, Ohio this coming December 28-29, 2018. This conference is a gathering of Christians endeavoring to further the Gospel of Christ. This conference is open to individuals, couples, families, and church groups. If you are interested in missions, I hope that you will plan to attend. For more information contact us or visit: www.ogsummit.com.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known! 

In His Joyful Service,

Mark

DOWNLOAD THIS PRAYER LETTER AS A PRINTABLE PDF

Where Is Our Loyalty In The Face Of Persecution?

Our loyalty in the face of persecution is in Jesus. He is the ultimate authority in our lives. As believers, we pledge our allegiance to Him above all else and strive to remain loyal to Him in all situations—even the hard ones, in spite of the outcome.

Believers Know That Jesus Wields The Ultimate Authority

  • All Power: As believers we live out our lives and fulfill God’s mission in this world under His authority. Jesus’ authority supersedes all other authority structures and governments. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to the disciples and told them that, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”—absolute and sovereign authority. From this position of authority, He commanded them to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Thus, the church has been God’s active witness in the world since then. And since then, as they have fulfilled this command, Jesus has gone with them, and will continue to do so through the entire process until the end of the world.
    Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:19-23
  • Counting the cost: Thus, as the church goes forth in their local communities and sends missionaries around the world making disciples, there will be individuals, communities, governments, and nations that reject Jesus’ authority and persecute those who come in His name. But we have a declaration from the King of kings and the Lord of lords to go forth into every part of the world where there are people to reach with the gospel of Jesus—there is no where we can’t go carrying the good news. But this will come at a cost because even though all people need the gospel, they aren’t always welcoming to it. Thus, to obey the command of Jesus we have to be willing to endure persecution if necessary. For example: God tells His prophet to go into a land with a hostile government. He gave him a specific duty to do (sacrifice) for his protection against the government (undercover) in order to carry out his ultimate mission (anointing). So the choice is left to the believers: obey God and possibly suffer persecution because of it or disobey God.
    1 Samuel 16:1-13
  • The Apostles’ Example: The Jewish leaders questioned Peter and John, saying: “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, told them very clearly that His authority was “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” and He continued to tell them that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” They understood that they were going in the authority of Jesus, were eager to declare He was the ultimate authority and willing to suffer for it if need be.
    Acts 3:11, 25; 4:1-12

Believers Pledge Their Allegiance To Jesus Above All Else

  • Believers pledge their allegiance to God over man to fulfill His mandate. When the Jewish leaders saw the boldness of Peter and John they commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus so that it wouldn’t spread further among the people. They had to choose who to obey: God or man? They responded by saying they, “Cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” They were released and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Then as the apostles were doing many signs, wonders and teaching they were arrested again and asked, “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?” Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
    Acts 4:13-31; 5:12-42
  • Believers should obey the government but ultimately pledged their allegiance to Jesus. God has ordained the authority of the government so that mankind will have order and be protected from evildoers and their unjust causes. God has also ordained the authority of the government to be in accordance to His will. No government is autonomous, but they are all under the sovereign rule of God. No government has the right to make a law that is contrary to the commands of God. Therefore, if the government is carrying out the function that God has established for them to do, we who are under their authority should be subject to them (even though they are not perfect). Only when the authorities over us are commanding us to do something that is contrary to what God has commanded or prevents us from obeying God, should we choose not to obey.
    Romans 13:1-4; Proverbs 21:1

Believers Exercise Abiding Loyalty In Hard Situations

  • Our loyalty to Jesus will be tested. The wicked will test to see if we truly pledge our allegiance to Him or if we will renounce Him. There are numerous situation in which this can happen, but we are going to look at the following two Old Testament examples that encourage us to exercise abiding loyalty in hard situations.
    • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego remained loyal to the true God when they were commanded to worship an idol. King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and commanded all the people, nations, and languages to worship the idol when the music was played. Whoever would not worship the idol when the music was played would be cast into a burning fiery furnace within the same hour. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego only worshipped the true God, thus they refused to obey the kings order to worship the idol. Instead, they made a very calculated risk and told the king that, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us…”—meaning they believed that God could deliver them from being persecuted. Then they said, “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods…”—meaning that even if God chose not to deliver them from being persecuted they wouldn’t worship the false gods or idols. The three men were cast into the fire but God did a miracle and delivered them. This caused the King to repent and bless the true God.
      Daniel 3:1-30
    • Daniel remained loyal to praying to God even when it was made illegal. Certain government officials were jealous of Daniel and tried to find something against Daniel to tell the king, but they could find no fault, so they said, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” They knew He was faithful and loyal to God. So they tricked the king into making a law that would force Daniel to have to choose between his loyalties: the king or the living God. Daniel remained loyal to God and was cast into the lion’s den because of it. But God delivered Him and the king made a decree, that in every dominion of his kingdom people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.
      Daniel 6:1-28
  • Abiding loyalty means that we pledge our allegiance to Jesus even if we don’t know the result. Every believer will receive different types and degrees of persecution. King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, planing to persecute them. He killed James the brother of John with the sword. Then he proceeded further to take Peter also, but the Lord had delivered him out of the prison. Why did God deliver Peter and not James? We don’t know but both men exercised abiding loyalty to Jesus.
    Acts12:1-17; Romans 1:16; (Another example, Jeremiah was delivered but Urijah was killed: Jeremiah 26:10-11, 20-24)

Review Questions

  • What kind of authority does Jesus have?
  • Should believers obey God or man? Why?
  • What are the two Old Testament examples of “loyalty” being tested?
  • What were the different outcomes of James and Peter? Were both loyal?
  • Believers should pledge their loyalty to whom above all else?

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

✪ News from China: Another man was saved on Sunday night. Amen! That is about 6 souls saved since we left China. God is using them in great ways.

✪ I have been presenting in OH this past week as my family stayed back. My wife does a wonderful job with the kids when I am gone on trips like these…I don’t know how she does it!

✪ My wife and I are headed to CA today for a meeting this weekend. We are excited about spending time together and visiting one of our supporting churches. Pray for those watching out kids while we are gone, they probably need it more than we do!

✪ Our oldest daughter loves to read. She is reading quicker every week it seems, but thanks to Amazon Prime we are able to keep her stocked up with books.

✪ Our little man has had a fever and cold, pray for him.

✪ Ohio Sunrise this past Sunday morning on the way to church. “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–23)

Who Is Promised To Be Persecuted?

There is a promise for everyone who will live godly in Christ Jesus to suffer persecution. Everyone involved in preaching the gospel will suffer persecution. All believers can expect to suffer persecution because Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law but not from the cross—which means suffering for Jesus’ sake

Everyone Who Will Live Godly In Christ Jesus

  • Paul’s Prescription: After Paul recounts to his disciple Timothy how Jesus had delivered him from certain persecutions and afflictions, he tells him that, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Thus, Paul was saying they every believer can expect to suffer some degree of persecution, because every genuine believer should be striving to live godly lives in Christ Jesus.
    2 Timothy 3:10-13
    • “In Christ Jesus”—To be “in Christ” means that you have repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus. You are identifying, associating, affiliating, uniting and standing with Jesus and all that He stands for. We have a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we love Him, believe in Him, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
      1 Peter 1:3-9
    • “Live godly”—Godliness is to have the right attitudes, actions and beliefs. It means that we are living out our faith according to the will of God in all areas: doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, and patience. Our manner of life is characterized by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
      1 Timothy 4:7-10; Matthew 6:33
  • Suffering for Jesus is part of God’s will for the life of every believer. Paul says that God has gracious given to us that, “In the behalf of Christ” or for the sake of Christ we should “not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”. This means that no only has God given us the ability and opportunity to believe in Him, but He has also given us the ability and opportunity to suffer for Him. Suffering for Jesus is part of God’s plan for us.
    Philippians 1:29

Everyone That Is Sent Forth To Preach The Gospel

  • Paul’s Example: Before Paul told Timothy the prescription for persecution, He recounted His own personal experiences with persecution. Thus, he exemplified what it looked like to suffer persecution for living godly in Christ Jesus. Paul was a man that lived on mission. When he was at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra he endured persecutions and afflictions. The one common denominator that Paul had in each of those cities where he was persecuted was “preaching the gospel”. Thus, one aspect of “living godly in Christ Jesus” is to be preaching the message of Jesus.
    2 Timothy 3:10-11; (Antioch: Acts 13:14-45; Iconium: Acts 14:1-5; Lystra: Acts 14:6-19)
  • Jesus’ Warning: As Jesus sent out His disciples out on their first preaching mission, He tells them that He is sending them out “as sheep in the midst of wolves”. The disciple easily understood what this meant. In this scenario the sheep is the one in danger. Wolves attack sheep. Wolves kill sheep. Wolves eat sheep. His disciples already have determined enemies. They are being sent on a mission in a dangerous environment.
    Matthew 10:5-7; 16-17
  • The Disciples’ Example: The gospel is made up of words and these words have to be spoken. As we speak these words, some will believe and their lives will be forever changed, but others will retaliate against us. This is what happened as the disciples and church was on mission in the book of Acts. They taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They taught in the name of Jesus. They stood in the temple and taught the people. They filled Jerusalem with their doctrine. They preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. They preached the gospel boldly in different cities in the name of Jesus. They stood up in the crowds and congregations and spoke boldly in the Lord. They reasoned with people out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom they preach unto them, is Christ. They turned the world upside down.
    Acts 4:1-4; 17-31; 5:17-42; 6:8-7:60; 9:20-29; 9:29-31; 13:14-52; 14:1-6; 14:19-22; 17:1-9; 21:26-40; 23:12
  • The Church: There was great persecution against the church at Jerusalem that caused the people to scatter and Christians were being taken out of their house and being put into prison because they were the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and preached in His name. Thus, they were scattered everywhere and used the opportunity to spread the gospel everywhere. (Stephen is connected to this church.)
    Acts 8:1-4

Jesus Died To Redeem Us From The Curse But Not The Cross
Curse: Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14-15; Cross: Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23

  • Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law but not from the cross—meaning suffering for Jesus’ sake. But what does it mean if you are a believer and you haven’t suffered any persecution? First, know that everyone person will experience differing kinds of persecution—some will be mocked and others will be jailed. So just because you haven’t been persecuted in the same manner as someone else doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Second, you need to ask some questions: (1) Are you “in Christ”? (2) Are you living godly? (3) Are you preaching the gospel?
  • Are you willing to be persecuted for Jesus’ sake? If not, maybe you need to be reminded of the following two warnings in the Bible:
    • The Stony Places: The Word of the kingdom goes forth and a person hears it and receives it joyfully without hesitation but it doesn’t take root and thus it can only last temporarily. When tribulation and persecution (times of testing) come about because of the Word of the kingdom, this person just as quickly is offended by it and rejects it. He does not care to take up his cross and follow Christ anymore. Heaven sounded good but persecution doesn’t is his attitude. Your faithfulness during persecution will tell what kind of ground you are.
      Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21
    • False Teachers: Paul reviews the problem of the hypocritical false teachers in the midst of the Galatian churches. They are teaching them to be circumcised as a requirement for salvation with the motivation to live comfortable lives that avoid persecution from those who find “the cross of Christ” intolerant and offensive. False teachers avoid persecution instead of being loyal and embracing the suffering for Jesus.
      Galatians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 1:18

Review Questions

  • What is Paul’s prescription?
  • Is suffering for Jesus part of God’s will for the life of every believer? Why?
  • What was the one common denominator that Paul had for being persecuted?
  • What was Jesus’ warning?
  • What are some question you need to ask if you aren’t suffering for Jesus’ sake?

Picking Pumpkins in Arizona

Ministry: ✪ Another great week of furlough as we have been traveling in Arizona and Georgia. I was so blessed by the churches we visited in each State. My Family was able to go with me to Arizona. The church there has been supporting us for nine years or so. ✪ Blessed to be hearing from many new supporters. ✪ Also, pray for a lady that I was able to witness to on my way to the airport.

Family: ✪ Pray for my wife as she has been having some dental work done. ✪ The twins are growing like crazy and I love seeing their personalities develop. All our kids are great and such a blessing. They are enjoying their time in the States learning American culture, like visiting the pumpkin patch in the fall…but as MK’s they get to visit them in different States, like Arizona!

Picture: We were able to visit the Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona and the view was absolutely amazing! I love looking at God’s handiwork!

View from the Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona