June 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors, Partners & Praying Friends,

In our August 2018 prayer letter I reported that “I was able to meet a Chinese man who was participating in an ESL class at our home church and started studying the Bible with him in Chinese. Please pray for his salvation.” Once I started traveling full time, I turned the Bible study over to my friend who is training to be a missionary to China and already speaks Chinese. Since then, that Chinese man has trusted Christ and I was able to be there to see him get baptized on Easter morning this past April. Praise the Lord for answered prayer.

Special Projects and Needs” Update – Will you consider partnering with us to see the need of this new church plant and the cost of our reentry funded? (All tax-deductible gifts of any amount can be given online or sent to Vision Baptist Missions, PO Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 with a note in the memo.)

  • Church Planting Fund: $10,000
    • Building Rent for one year = $7,000
    • Utilities, Furniture, Materials, Misc. = $3,000
  • Reentry Setup Fund: $20,000
    • Plane Tickets for our family of seven = $6,000
    • Housings Cost for three months rent plus deposit = $4,000
    • Visas and Passport Renewal = $2,000
    • Furniture and Appliances = $8,000
      Washer $1,000; Refrigerator $800; Air conditioners $1,200; Deep freezer $500; Hot water heater $500; Living Room furniture $1,500; Bedroom furniture $1,000; Kids’ beds $1,500.

Praises, Prayer Requests, Updates and Announcements:

  • New Support Update: We continued to see new support sent in this month as our initial target amount materializes. We praise the Lord for this continued increased in monthly support and we are aiming for the next target amount of our support! We are hoping to raise as much of this as we can before our return later this year, Lord willing.
  • Furlough Travels: Sine our last prayer letter, we had meetings in: KS, WI, TN, SC, GA, FL and OH. We also enjoyed our time of learning, encouragement, and teaching at the Vision Baptist Missions Orientation in North Carolina.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in the Him, and to make Him known!  

In His Joyful Service,

Mark

We Cannot Serve Two Masters

  • Devotional: We cannot serve money and God. We must choose to love one and hate the other. Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” God wants people to serve and love Him alone, He does not want the “position of God” in one’s life to be divided. Giving is a way we live out God being in charge of our lives. Instead of letting money control our lives, we control it. We give it to God to show that He is the Master we have chosen to serve.
  • Prayer: Dear God, we ask you today to do a work in our lives.  God you are in charge and are the true King. Help us God to always choose You over money. Help us to love and serve you. Help us each day to live for you and not for money. Help us to show our loyalty to you by being givers. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you God for your love to us. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

We Use Money For God’s Glory

  • Devotional: As believers, we are to joyfully use our money for God’s glory. Many times people think that they can use all their money for their own pleasure, but believers should realize that their money along with everything else in their lives are to be used for God’s glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Money is a tool God gives us to serve Him with. We ask Him for wisdom on how to use the money He gives us and we try to use it in the way that most pleases, honors and glorifies Him.
  • Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the good things You have given us. Thank You for the money that You give us each day. Help us to use the money that You give us in a way that pleases and honors You. Give us wisdom on how specifically to use our money for You. Help us to use all the things You have given us for Your glory. Thank you for taking care of all our needs. We pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.

God Owns Everything

  • Devotional: Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God is the Creator of everything; therefore, He is the owner of everything. Psalm 50:10 says, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” As believers, we recognize this fact and yield not only our lives, but also everything we own, including our money, to God. When we participate in giving our money as an offering to God we are showing that we believe He is the Creator God who owns everything and that we are willing to submit to Him as Lord of all.
  • Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, today we want to recognize you as Creator. We know that you are the Creator and Owner of everything. Everything we posses has come from You. Today, as we give, we ask that You will bless the gift and the one who gives. Use it to further Your Kingdom. Lord, we give today knowing You are Lord of all. Thank you for all that You have given us and help us to give back to You. We ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.

Understanding Speaking In Tongues (Part 5)

Rules That Guide Speaking At Church (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)

  • 14:26-28 Paul ask a question, “How is it then, brethren?” and then goes on to describe what their chaotic gatherings must have been like: each one has a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, or an interpretation. Then he clearly states, “Let all things be done unto edifying.” Edification is the goal of the gathering of every church. So Paul is basically saying, whatever your church meeting is like, if it isn’t edifying then it is wrong and it needs to stop. If anyone speaks in an untranslated tongue there are a few rules to follow: (1) Only allow two or three at the most to speak; (2) they should speak “by course” or successively, in order and one at a time; (3) finally they can only speak with interpretation. But if there is no interpreter, the person who has the gift of speaking in tongues must keep silent in the church. He can’t speak publicly. Instead he can speak to himself (meditate) and speak to God (prayer) silently—obviously with language you can understand not gibberish otherwise the problem is the same, it is unfruitful. 
  • 14:29-31 Another gift that was part of the church at that this time was prophets (Acts 13:1; Ephesians 2:20; 4:11). They also had rules to follow: (1) Only allow two or three to speak; (2) the other prophets were to judge what was said; (3) if one of the prophets who is sitting there and not speaking receives revelations from God, then the one who is speaking should hold his peace or stop speaking and allow the other to speak; (4) they must prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and be comforted.
  • 14:32-33a To clarify any other confusion, Paul states that, “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”—meaning that each prophet can control himself. No one can say they can’t control what they are doing because of the Holy Spirits work in their life, etc. And finally, Paul explains the basis for all of these rules, the character of God—he states, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace”. Confusion, upheaval, disorder are not characteristics of God. Instead, peace and harmony are descriptive of what God is like. Therefore, in all churches of the saints, we should reflect God’s character.
  • Conclusion: Edification is important (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 15:2-3). It is the goal of meeting together as a church. When the church meets together, everything they do should not only edify but also be done in such a manner that it reflects God’s very character—that which leads to peace and not confusion. Speaking gibberish seems to be at odds with God’s character and not in line with it.

Authority, Decency And Order (1 Corinthians 14:34-40)

  • 14:33b-35 As in all churches of the saints—meaning the following principles will apply to all churches—women should remain silent in the churches, because they are not permitted or allowed to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience—to be in submission—this isn’t a new principle but also mentioned in the law (1 Corinthians 11:3-15; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). Since the reason for them not to speak is because they need to be in submission, it seems this prohibition for speaking in church is focused on speaking in an authoritative manner, such as judging what the prophets were saying, speaking in tongues, or any kind of lead teaching or any type of speaking that brings down male leadership in the church. Thus, in this context, it would be a shame or disgraceful for women to speak in the church, So Paul tells them to learn by asking their husbands at home.
  • 14:36-38 Paul is teaching the church with authority because he knows that some might not like to read what he is writing to them. Again he sarcastically ask them, “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?”—meaning were they the original source and authority for the Word of God, of course not. So Paul goes on to say that if any person thinks they are “a prophet, or spiritual” they should acknowledge that the things that Paul wrote unto them are “the commandments of the Lord”—they have the full authority of Scripture like the Old Testament. If anyone be ignorant—refuse to acknowledge this truth, we are to let him be ignorant—ignored, not acknowledge, not recognized (they are not to be a part of this discussion because they reject Scripture).
  • 14:39-40 Finally, Paul ends the discussion by summing up his key points: (1) they were to covet or be zealous to prophesy; (2) they were not to overreact and forbid people to speak with “foreign languages” but it was to be allowed to accomplish its purpose as a sign to unbelievers and in church according to the rules—especially translation; (3) they were to let all things be done decently and in order.
  • Conclusion: Paul’s teaching is authoritative and supersedes all human experience. Those who aren’t following what Paul has said are not obeying the commandments of the Lord. They weren’t to forbid tongues because it had a necessary purpose but also it wasn’t the gift that Paul told them to pursue—prophesy was.

Answering Hard Questions

  • What if I spoke in tongues and it made me feel better and more joyful etc? This is your emotions and emotions don’t tell us what truth is. For example, you can listen to a good song but it has nothing to do with Jesus and it can make you feel good. We can’t just do things because it makes us fell better, energizes us, etc.
  • You can say that tongues don’t exist today, but so many people around the world speak in tongues, how can you explain this? It is true that there are people all around the world claim they speak in tongues. But there are two type of tongues: false and true. “False tongues” are the gibberish nonsense that most people claim to speak. The problem is that these false tongues can’t be verified because they are not human languages. A person might claim the gift of “interpreting” but their interpretation can’t be verified either. This is convenient for those who want to speak in false tongues because there is no standard to be compared to. Thus, this also voids one of the purposes of speaking in tongues—to confirm the word that is preach with signs and miracles. How does speaking gibberish and someone claiming they can translate it confirm the word being preached? Miracles are supposed to be obvious supernatural workings of God that are undeniable (like healing a blind man, not healing someone with a cold). On the other hand, real “tongues” are authentic human languages and therefore they can be verified by the vast number of people who speak that language. How many people today claim to speak real “tongues”? Not many, because this claim can actually be verified. Thus, we most who claim to speak tongues today are just speaking gibberish.
  • Doesn’t the Bible says to “forbid not to speak with tongues”? Yes, but it is referring to speaking in real “tongues” and not a false “tongue”. The Bible never encourages speaking in gibberish. We don’t forbid people to speak in real tongues, but we think it has already ceased people don’t have this gift. If someone want’s to speak at church in a foreign language they can if they follow the rules—especially that it needs to be translated.
  • If I spoke in tongues before but now I am told it is wrong, what was I doing before when I was “speaking in tongues” and what should I do now? Hopefully, you are convinced by the Bible that there is a false way to speak in tongues. If you were speaking in tongues before and it wasn’t a real language then you were just speaking “happy gibberish” or just sounds from your current language that are often repeated over and over again (which Jesus gives us a warning against when praying in Matthew 6:7). You should recognize this and choose to not spend time in emotional babble, but instead focusing your efforts in prayer and Bible study with your mind fully concentrated on it.
  • Why are tongues and prophesy compared? Both are gifts from the Holy Spirit, one means to speak in a foreign language supernaturally and the other means to speak God’s revelations supernaturally but not in a foreign language, thus in your native language—which is also the most likely the language of the people you are talking. So it is comparing “native languages” and “foreign languages” or “language understood by the hearers” and “language not understood by the hearers”. Thus, prophecy is proven to be superior in gift for communication, pray, praise and spreading the gospel.
  • Are the tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians that same gift of tongues? Yes, it is the same gift of the Holy Spirit and not two different gifts. A detailed comparison proves this.