What a fantastic first day at Carver Park in Milwaukee. Our aim was to be seen by and connect with the people of the Brewer's Hill area. Friend of Sinners Mission Church was warmly welcomed by our neighbors, and we felt very blessed by them. We were able to share lots of food, books and music. Please pray for these precious people! In this photo, E-Pub Evangelist Bart Helmbreck talks with Tyrene about the power of Jesus to transform lives. It is a great joy to share the good news with each other and with others at the park.
In the second photo, Bart plays the guitar while Kim, Eliya, Pastor Rodney Campbell and Sherry sing. Dan and Lavoris play dominoes in the foreground. It was a wonderful day to be in the park. Behind the one taking this picture was a neighborhood reunion in picnic area two; former residents of the neighborhood who get together every year, and consider themselves family even though they've moved away. But their kids still live in the area, and many of their grandkids enjoyed our cookies and chips. What a blessing to connect with this group of strong neighbors. God certainly answered our prayers. Please continue to pray for us as we build friendships.
Pub Evangelists (Left to right) Dan, Bart, Ben, Blake and our visiting fellow minister of the Gospel MSgt Pablo of the Salvation Army (and his son). Pray for Pablo as he ministers to youth on the South Side. Pray especially for our Pub Evangelists, for strength, protection from harm, and perseverence in the gospel.
Dan, Blake, Solomon and Bart are shown in the below picture from our "E Pub" gathering last Thursday. With Summerfest in full swing we were unable to find parking at our usual meeting place, and moved south. We never made it to a new pub, as Bart ran into Russell and Blake was able to evangelize a woman on the streets nearby. When Dan finally met up with them, the conversation was in full swing. Solomon joined us later, and we were able to sit down and talk about future plans for the church plant as a nearby Greek restarurant.
Scouting for a park is done! Sherry and Dan have been looking for a park for summer evangelism that would allow us to grill, have power, and the all-important bathrooms. After ruling out Kilbourn Park and Gordon Park in the Riverwest area, we were both somewhat discouraged. But then we visited Carver Park. It has all the amenities we need! There was some grafitti in the men's bathroom that may have some meaning beyond its artfulness. Please be in prayer for our evangelism team and for the Park and its users who we are soon to meet again and again (hopefully!).
Last Tuesday, Dan expected to spend time signing the Milwaukee Declaration. But there was a last minute move to add ambiguity to the language in order to allow some churches, which openly condone homosexual relationships, to be identified as married within the church. Dan and other pastors objected to the redefinition of marriage, while also expressing our need to reach out and minister to those trapped in sin, whether homosexual behavior, greed, or any other sin. The Milwaukee Declaration is not yet signed. Please pray for the council of pastors, that they remain both compassionate and Biblical.
Dan and Sherry participated in the monthly BASICS (Brothers And Sisters In Christ Serving) team meeting last Thursday. BASICS in Milwaukee is a powerful alliance of evangelical Christians working to evangelize and care for Milwaukee, and is assisting in the Friend of Sinners church plant. During the meeting there was much discussion about the turn of events in the Milwaukee Declaration meeting, some of which was recorded here (VIDEO). The team also discussed man successful ministries currently active in Milwaukee, including those who minister in the midst of suffering.
H.O.P.E. Fest: State Park Fairgrounds was the location of H.O.P.E. Fest, 72 hours of continuous prayer for Milwaukee Revival and the spread of the gospel. The event was sponsored byThe Captive Project, one of the ministries assisting in the planting ofFriend of Sinners Church. Dan was honored to preside over the second 24 hour period of prayer. The experience of praying for 24 hours was instructive and filled with joy. "I worried it would be a burden, emotionally and physically" said Dan, "But it was neither. It was a time of joy."
43rd PCA General Assembly: Sherry and Eliya help set up the WI Presbyterybooth for the exhibition hall at the PCA's General Assembly in Chattanooga. The WI Presbytery consists of 7 churches planting 4 more. It's quite an undertaking! This booth was designed to bring visibility to the other Presbyteries of the PCA so that we can inspire more prayer and financial support. It was more successful than we hoped, as many friends old and new signed up for this prayer letter, and we discussed financial support with many. We even raffled off three cheese hats for eager fans of WI!
Preaching: Dan preached on John 15:18-27 last Sunday. If you would like to hear the sermon, click here.
We met at St Francis Brewery Monday. Most of those there are members of the Core Group for the church. Keep praying for us as we use our Pub Evangelism efforts to build our core group for the church plant and train guys for evangelism.
No one came for our Thursday meeting. Disappointing, but not everything is a success in church planting. Please keep praying!
Midwest Connection conference
What a great conference! Dan felt challenged, pushed and encouraged, as did Sherry. Rev Thurmond Williams touched our hearts and encouraged us greatly. Thank you for praying!
Keep praying for our ability to move downtown, and for our patience.
Created in the image of God. Given the command to take dominion, and be fruitful and multiply. What a great identity! What a great mission! It makes you wonder why Eve and then Adam would throw it all away for food. What - Were they not having enough joy already? Did they not find completion in their daily relationship with God?
But of course, the fall was more than a violation of God's command. It was a denial of His sufficiency. It was a failure to trust His sovereign will.
The temptation of the serpent began with an attack on dominion. "You mean, you can't eat from any of the trees of the garden?" he asks. The temptation continues with an attack on her image. "You will be like God," he promises. Wait! She's already like God! But Satan understands that he can attack her identity in order to get her to focus on herself instead of God already reflected in her. In both cases, Adam and Eve had to stop believing God, and begin to trust in themselves instead. They had to see sufficiency as their responsibility. They lost faith and certainty in God's sovereign will for their lives.
Satan attacked image and mission. Adam and Eve both fell vulnerable to this deceitful attack.
And so do we.
Your identity and mission must reflect Christ, who is the true restored image of God. Can you do it? Of course not. But with Christ in you, the answer becomes a confident "Yes!"
The key to restored righteousness is Christ in you. Confess him as your risen Lord today, and follow Him. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved from the punishment you deserve as the result of your failure to reflect His image and fulfill His mission. Even more wonderful, Jesus gives to you His righteousness - He who perfectly shows His image, and perfectly fulfills His mission.