"...for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." Revelation 5:9
It is my hope this letter finds you in good health and experiencing the abiding joy of relationship with our God and Father during the Lenten season. As we enter springtime, our hearts delight in extended daylight, rebirth and growth. At BrookLink we are humbled and thrilled to be celebrating ten years in ministry and are steadfastly focused on why this ministry was created a decade ago.
I had departed Wisconsin on a lingering summer day in early October, and returned to a blustery fall day just a handful of weeks later. The usually long transition, from a summer to a fall mentality, happened this year in a matter of moments. As I drew in a few breaths of crisp air and admired the changing color of the leaves on the trees, my posture turned to one of gratitude.
It was a very satisfying day and one that brought great encouragement to leaders serving in a terribly difficult place. Thank you for the role you are playing in equipping and empowering church leaders serving in hard places.
My father taught all of us three basic principles of sailing. The first was: sailing is all about dependency. All the training, effort and experience will do little good if there is no wind. Likewise, spiritual growth is not guaranteed through following techniques or gimmicks, but through daily and conscious reliance and dependence upon the ‘wind’ of God’s Spirit.
According to Open Doors USA, a human rights organization that monitors Christian persecution worldwide, the country I visited ranks high as a place where Christians suffer for professing Christ. It is not unusual for Christians in this part of the world to be detained, imprisoned or even to face death for their allegiance to Jesus.
It’s hard to miss the heart-breaking stories of the day-to-day crisis developing across the European Continent regarding the tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing oppressive regimes. The continent of Europe is facing enormous challenges politically, economically, ethnically, and even spiritually.
Recently BrookLink was invited by 222 Ministries to teach and train a group of Iranian church leaders in Athens, Greece. All of them had a story to tell! For a whole week my friend Paul Sinclair and I were teaching these men and women about God as our Father—a heavenly Father, whose extravagant and costly love set Him apart from even the best of earthly fathers.
It is a great privilege to minister here in Greece with Lee and Terry Heyward of BrookLink to Iranian and Afghan refugees. Actually, it has been a complicated trip, and we barely understand ourselves who we have been with!
It’s Thursday afternoon here. I’ve just finished three hours of teaching, or should I say, leading the group in a robust exploration of Luke 15:11-32—the Story of the Prodigal Sons. They have gathered in small groups to study this passage in depth. Paul and I have also used Rembrandt’s famous painting, “The Return of the Prodigal” to engage their imagination!