Monthly Archives: January 2016

BELARUS SCHEDULE (Leaving 2.3.16)

SEE Global staffSEE Global staff during last year’s winter trip

Jeff Galupo and I will be in Belarus from February 3-17. This year we will be joined by Steve Lamm from Grace Church in Santee, CA. Steve is on the Board of SEE Global, which is a mission organization founded by Greentree Church.

If you want to see photos and updates throughout our trip, please follow us on Twitter @PastorKyleHuber, or on Facebook.

You can learn more about SEE Global and Belarus on the SEE Global website.

I have been to Belarus over 20 times since 1999. This is Jeff’s fourth visit. My primary focus will be working with pastors and church planters. Jeff will be teaching the book of Romans at the SEE Global Bible College.

We all would love to have you prayerfully go with us. I will send specific prayer requests on Facebook and Twitter. This schedule of our first week can help direct your prayers as well. I will post our second week’s schedule on Monday, February 8th. Belarus time is 8 hours ahead of our clocks.

Wednesday – Thursday, Feb 3rd and 4th

Our travel to Belarus involves 3 flights covering 5000 miles. We will fly the Atlantic overnight and arrive completely exhausted in Minsk midday. Start your prayers by asking for smooth flights, luggage arrival, and much needed energy, especially during the first few jetlag saturated days

Friday, Feb 5th

I will be teaching a one day course, “What is God Like” at the Bible College. Later in the day we will be meeting with some Belarusian partners about SEE Global starting a new Church Planters School. This is a huge and exciting step for SEE Global. Please pray for wisdom and grace.

Saturday, Feb 6th

I will be teaching at the New Covenant Church training school on the topic of forgiveness, particularly in the context of the local church. This will involve discussion as well as lecture. New Covenant Church was planted last year by Sergei Lukyanov, our partner in Belarus and the co-founder of SEE Global.

Sunday, Feb 7th

Jeff and I will spend Saturday night and all of Sunday with our sister-church in Gatovo. This will be a highlight day filled with a lot of food and great fellowship. Steve will be a couple hours west with their sister church in Slonim.

Monday, Feb 8th

Jeff begins his class at the Bible College. His days will be jammed as he teaches 6 hours per day in order to get though Romans in a week. Ask God to quickly develop a strong connection between Jeff and his students.

Steve and I will be visiting pastors in Nesvich & Novogrudok, which are two of Belarus’ most historically significant towns. These are faithful men who have been struggling for many years to establish churches in their towns. Pray that God will use us to encourage them. Also ask God to bring spiritual fruit to them!

Come back on Monday to get the rest of our schedule

THE UNENDING POWER OF GOSPEL PROCLAIMATION

 

The power of the Word of God can never be overstated.

God’s Word was not only given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is the Holy Spirit who works through God’s Word when we speak it to ourselves and to others.

Even though we may feel the impact of our sharing the gospel to someone may have long since drifted away like smoke from a chimney – that is not necessarily true.

Here is my favorite story which captures these truths. May it encourage us to be faithful with the gospel and in our prayers for the unconverted.

A young boy named Luke Short once heard the eminent Puritan John Flavel (1630-1691) preaching in Dartmouth, England.  When that boy grew up, he immigrated to New England, going through his life without much thought of God.  

One day as Luke Short sat in a field reflecting upon his long life, he recalled a sermon he had heard in Dartmouth as a boy before he sailed to America.  The horror of dying under the curse of God was impressed upon him as he meditated on the words he had heard so long ago and he was converted to Christ – eighty five years after hearing John Flavel preach.    

From Michael Boland’s introduction to “The Mystery of Providence” by John Flavel. Published by Banner of Truth

 

HUMILITY IS RELAXING

 

Pride is a big fat liar!

 Although pride lies to us in many ways, it chiefly tries to convince us that life will be better right now if we will focus on ourselves or assert ourselves.

Bethany Jenkins leads us in the opposite direction in this article, “There’s Nothing More Relaxing Than Humility”.

Pause to think about the way pride takes up enormous amounts of space in our minds, action and emotions. It continually pushes us to grab and fight for self. Think about how exhausting all this can be. Everything from how we react on the highway to how we interpret people’s comments, all become draining exercises when pride is leading us.

Pride disturbs the rest we crave.

Pride does this by sending us running in the opposite direction from where God is moving. That means when pride rules over our lives, we are depending on our own strength and wisdom rather than resting in Christ! Taking what pride wants us to cling to and casting it upon Christ is rest, because we know he will handle it all far better than we can.

It may take a while to get used to this mindset, but try thinking about how this potentially frustrating moment will be much more relaxing, if we simply turning it over to Christ and let his agenda rule our life instead of that no-good-liar named pride.

 

Best 1.5 minute commentary on abortion ever heard on network news

Back in July it was revealed that Planned Parenthood was guilty of the ghastly crime of selling body parts from aborted babies.

In response, news journalist Brit Hume gave what Gospel Coalition’s Justin Taylor described as “the best 1.5 minute commentary on abortion ever heard on network news”.

I agree with Justin and with Brit Hume.

Since tomorrow is the 43rd Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision which created the ‘right’ to have an abortion, Brit Hume’s commentary is worth reading:

“Whatever comes of the revelations about Planned Parenthood and its participation in the traffic in fetal body parts, those revelations will have achieved one thing: they have parted the veil of antiseptic tidiness behind which the abortion industry has for so long operated.

The sight of a senior Planned Parenthood official, and a doctor to boot, discussing the market for fetal body parts in between bites of salad and sips of wine was stomach-turning.

That’s because it laid bare the essentially brutal nature of abortion. Let’s be blunt: abortion involves the extraction and killing of a human life, which within a couple of weeks of pregnancy has a beating heart. Five weeks in, its hands and legs begin to grow.

It is these tiny creatures, and too often ones that are far more developed, that are pulled from a mother’s womb and crushed with forceps.

Oh, but oh-so-carefully, lest body parts that can be sold are preserved. This gruesome procedure shows the extent to which we, as a people, have been anesthetized by the estimated 55 million—fifty-five million—abortions performed since the Supreme Court discovered a constitutional right to that procedure 42 years ago.

Will we as a nation not someday look upon that decision and what it has done to us, not to mention the 55 million, with horror and regret? One can only hope we will.”

WHAT’S IN and STAYS IN

jesusisthesame

 

by Debbie Huber

Every year the Washington Post publishes a What’s In/Out list for the coming year.

It is a prediction of what the author of the article thinks will be “going out” and trends that will be “coming in”.

Most of this year’s list meant little to me in the in or out category which probably means that my interests were on the out list years ago!

Our culture places great value on the latest trends, fashions, beauty secrets, music style, political point of view, “keeping up with the Kardashians”, etc. New ideas and methods are presented for a “happier you” or “a more fulfilling relationship”.

But as the Washington Post list demonstrates, these things go out of style very quickly. Keeping up becomes like chasing after the wind and is an empty pursuit.

But God’s wisdom never changes. His word is the foundation for our lives that will never erode.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8.

He is the same Yesterday:

He loved us even before we were born, dying in our place for our sins. We know He demonstrated that He has power over sin and death. What we read about Jesus in the Bible is still true today.

He is the same Today:

Because He is the same Jesus today, we can live in confidence that He made us His own, that the sins we commit today have been paid for by Him, that His power is at work in our lives and we can cling to Him at every moment. As much as He loved us when He died for us He still loves us today.

He is the same Forever:

The love that He had for us before we were even born, that sustains us now, and He has for us forever. The God that would not let you go yesterday and today will hold you and keep you in Him through eternity and we will be with Him worshiping Him for who He has always been.

 

LET’S TALK

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It may seem awkward at first.

How do you bring it up?

God that is. In conversation. With other believers.

We should also be bringing up God in conversation with unbelievers, but that’s a different article.

When we are with fellow believers, our conversation should never be far from God.

This might include a question we had while reading the Bible, a conviction that encouraged us in small group, something that struck us in a recent sermon, an attitude we struggle with at work, or what we felt while singing worship songs in the car this afternoon.

We will bring up some subject matter, is there anything more worthy or helpful to discuss with brothers and sisters in Christ? Developing this habit will help us to fulfill many of the “one another” passages that are so vital for biblical community:

“Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19)

“Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16)

“Encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

“Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:130

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24)

 

There are many benefits when we frequently talk about God

It will help us cultivate biblical thinking

Our actions will become increasing influenced by what we believe

It will help the truths that we are reading and hearing about God to take root in our mind

Other believers will be influenced to be more God-centric in their thinking

Our children will learn that God really is the biggest person in our life

It replaces wasteful and self-centered conversation

Sin will find it harder to find a resting place in our minds

Our faith is built up as we remember our God stories, and hear them from others

Gospel conversation with people who don’t know Christ might become more natural

God will be pleased

I must confess, I am writing this out of need rather than out of strength. There have been many times when I have realized after a conversation that I wasted an opportunity to be engaged in meaningful God talk with someone.

 

This is a habit worth cultivating.

Let’s help each other improve at it.

We can start by simply asking one another, “What thoughts have you had about God this week?”

This is a habit that has to benefit us. How wonderful will be the affects.

WHY STOP THERE?

File Dec 15, 1 30 46 PM

 

The true Christian community (those who believe the Creator God gave us his Word, which is the final authority on everything) has been rightly disturbed by those in our culture who want to erase God’s lines and allow truth to become what they want it to be.

The biggest area in which lines are being confused is that of sexual identity and transgender fluidity.

But now, the transgender community is flustered because someone dares to go beyond even their tangled lines of identity.

Paul Wolscht is a 52 year old Canadian man with a wife and seven children. But now Paul says his true identity is Stefonkee. And (Paul) says that Stefonkee is not only a female, she is a 6 year old girl.

As a six year old girl, Stefonkee is not interested in a gay marriage, he (I’m sticking with what God made) says he needed a new “mommy and daddy” to take care of him as a little girl. His new adoptive mommy and daddy are supportive of his dressing as a little girl and playing with dolls.

Well, the transgender movement is outraged! Stefonkee is making a mockery of being a transgender person, by throwing in his age confusion issue (transageism). I guess they think his age confusion issues are silly.

In this excellent article on the story, Carl Trueman accuses the transgender movement of “whining like a bunch of, ahem, six year old girls” (pun fully intended).

The homosexual and transgender community have wanted to erase God’s lines. But now they are angry, because once the lines are gone – once truth is no longer concrete – anything, literally anything goes.

Perhaps God knows what He is doing after all.

 

CHRIST FORMED IN YOU

Christ_formed_in_You_series_featured-659x345

 

Every Christian is meant to become like Christ.

Every Christian one day will see this come to a complete reality.

For every Christian, that day has not arrived – yet.

These truths should make us interested in reading the book, Christ Formed In You by Brian Hedges. This is because we all need help in this process.

“Christ Formed in You” provides both solid biblical rooting and helpful practical guidance in this all important process facing every Christian.

Here is a sample, under the category of “Ten Ways to Kill Sin”:

1. Yield yourself to God
2. Accept that the battle never ends
3. Take God’s side against your sin
4. Make no provision for the flesh
5. Use your spiritual sword
6. Aim at the heart
7. Replace sin with grace
8. Stay in community
9. Look to the cross
10. Depend on the Spirit

Becoming more serious about becoming more like Christ is not only a worthy process – it is an entirely good process. Christ is entirely good and so is being entirely committed to him!

Here is another encouragement, the power of God is what makes this possible happen. We don’t have to (and cannot) pursue this purpose in our abilities or wisdom.

I recommend that you read “Christ Formed in You” with a highlighter and notebook in hand. There is also a study guide of this book for use with small groups.

GETTING TO BUSINESS

lovethyneighbor

SERMON LEFTOVERS 1.11.16

‘Life is about what Christ is doing’

 

Philippians 1:12-18

When we are in a place of hardship, limitations or uncertainty, our impulse is that we NEED to get out, because nothing good can happen here. However, when we serve what Christ is doing, every situation becomes fruitful

 

Paul Describes His Imprisonment (vs 12-14)

We can imagine the concern and interest of the Philippian Church

Yet, the only details Paul is interested in sharing are about gospel mission

The central issues for Paul are how he is serving the gospel, and how the gospel is “advancing”

Paul’s tone is not just positive, it’s victorious

We are not to have a ‘success model’ that is separate from Christ’s kingdom: our success and his kingdom success should be the same concern and joy for us

“But what if my life is in a bad place?” How are you defining ‘bad’?

  • A bad place is when we are in sin and pushing God away
  • We may be in unpleasant place, but can still be a Christ advancing place

In Paul’s hardship, limitations and uncertainty, gospel mission is advancing in two ways

(1) The gospel was advancing to unbelievers

The Imperial Guard was an elite force, and Paul was a mere prisoner, yet he has gotten the attention of this “whole” group

From 4:22 we know the gospel had advanced into Caesar’s household

(2) The gospel mission was advancing in believers (v14)

The church could have slunk back in fear, but Paul’s example led them in the opposite of “boldness”

Paul was limited, but the Holy Spirit was not, because God is all powerful, ever active and fully sovereign

Until the “day of Christ” arrives, the gospel will not stop advancing, because God has people to save

The gospel was not advancing despite hardship, it was advancing through it!

The Philippians may have wondered if their continuing support was being wasted

In v12 Paul lets them know that that the opposite is happening

No effort for Christ and his kingdom is wasted because He reigns

 

Sadder Than Paul’s Chains, Were the Actions of Some Believers (vs 15-18)

First, we need to piece together what is taking place

  • They are among the “the brothers” mentioned in v14
  • They are not false teachers, because Paul always confronts and condemns them
  • These are believers preaching out of envy (v15) and selfish ambition (v17)

It seems that they are Christians who want to be known for having bigger ministries than the famous Paul

Once again, for Paul this situation is seen through the eyes of gospel mission

He didn’t approve of the heart in these believers, but he approves of the gospel being declared

There are churches we may not want to attend, because we disagree with their approach to ministry

But if they are clear with the gospel, we should take joy in that reality (v18)

Last week, we saw Paul’s joy was rooted in the progress of the gospel rather than circumstances

We never lose our reason for joy, when our reason is the reign of Christ

If your reason for joy is in other things, then your joy will come and GO

 

Paul Wants the Church to Be Encouraged

His circumstances included chains, but his words include “advance, confident, bold, without fear and rejoice”

This is because the key phrase in Paul’s heart is “for Christ”(v13)

In vs 1-18, Paul refers to Christ twelve times, God four times, and the gospel four times

As Christians, we need to grasp that everything is meant to be about Christ!

v21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”

  • He is worthy of this being true for us
  • It is wise and good when this is true for us
  • God is serious about this being true for us

As a Church family, we want to show grace toward one another as we struggle to grow, but we also want to be zealous to grow

None of us live for Christ in everything and at all times.

But we all can be moving in that direction

1. Live by God’s word; it incessantly points us to Christ

2. Pour your life into gospel mission “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21)

3. Be a worshipper! Your love for Christ and your interest in his kingdom will increase