Category Archives: Mind Dump

Random Mind Dump: Recently…

✪ The weekly mind dump is dead. Sorry. There is so much to be done and I have to choose the better of two good things I could be doing at the moment. Although, I will still send out “random mind dumps” as time permits.

✪ One of the things that we have been doing is making sure that all my sermons are in a reproducible format so that we can help future leaders and assist other churches, as well as use them to edify our current and future church members. You will also get to see the benefit of these lessons because I will schedule one of them to go out every Thursday on the blog (as has been the case).

✪ I recently read Shepherding a Child’s Heart and it radically changed that way I view things, especially my parenting. It has been powerful book in my life recently.

✪ Our two oldest daughters have been enjoying going to Chinese school. We just visited both schools for celebrations recently. Our littlest is speaking more Chinese than English, which is the first of our kids to do that.

✪ The Lord has given us more kids and parents in our services recently. Pray that we can see them saved and growing members of the church. Our church dynamic has really changed over the past year.

✪ I had an old church member contact me. She left the church because she wanted to attend the services of a college fellowship ministry instead. After several months, she realize they were a cult or have wrong doctrine and she wants to come back. Praise the Lord for that.

✪ I have finished proofing the English version of some marriage lessons we have been working on. We are still working on proofing the Chinese version as I finish teaching them at the church. You can download them on the docs page. The ten lessons will also be added to the Firm Foundation Discipleship series. Also, I have uploaded a bunch of other stuff you can have a look at.

✪ We have an intern who has joined us for ten-weeks. She is doing a great job. Pray for her as she continues to serve and reach out to the Chinese people.

✪ There is also a short-term group visiting the city and we set it up for them to teach some of the kid’s English at their homes, one-on-one, as an outreach opportunity. So far the parents have been very grateful for the opportunity and many are coming to church each week now.

✪ God is good. I am so thankful that I get to serve Him! Praise the Lord!

Weekly Mind Dump: Getting Caught Up…

✪ Things have been a whirlwind over the past few weeks. My last Weekly Mind Dump was on January 13, 2016! Some stories are too long for this weekly mind dump, so I will have to write individual posts for those. So it is time to get caught up…

✪ Our new teammates arrived on the 27th, and we have been helping them get setup ever since. They have done great adapting so far and have made tons of progress getting setup for the amount of time they have been in the country.

✪ I watched our home church’s blessing service for this family, and I was reminded of two things: (1) Our home church loves China! Not only have they sent one family to China already, but they were sending another family that night and they have two more who are planning on coming! All of the paid staff including their wives have been to China. Two deacons and their wives have been to China. I would say that our home church cares about getting the gospel to China! (2) Our home church has a common goal: training men! It was a common theme you heard as people got up and gave testimonies about the family that was being sent out–they all seemed to know the mission was to send them to come over and train others!

✪ Our middle daughter turned four years old! She is a character and loves to snuggle and be a goof ball. Please pray that as she grows in her knowledge of the Lord Jesus that she will trust him as Lord and Saviour.

✪ The Sunday before Chinese New Year we had a dumpling making activity! Everyone who was still in town came, and we had a great turnout. I preach the morning service and then we made dumplings together afterwards and ate them for lunch. It is probably something we will try to do every year at this time. Chinese New Year’s Eve was the following Sunday, and our attendance dropped majorly. The “Eve” is the big day of celebration, so most were out of town or with family. We were expecting this but enjoy a good morning service with those who were able to come.

✪ We have one young man interning at the church during the Chinese holiday season. Please pray that God works in his heart during this time.

✪ Chinese New Year has been fun so far. We went out on Sunday night and had a big meal, gave out red envelopes, set off fireworks and even visited a friend’s house in the countryside to celebrate with his family. They were sweet, and we were honored to be invited into their home for the holidays! (We were also a lot less nervous and enjoyed our time much more which was a good indicator of our language and cultural adaptation.)

✪ Our neighbors had to leave for another city unexpectedly so they asked if I could take care of their birds for them while they were away and gave me the key to their house. We are thankful for the relationships and trust we are building in the community.

✪ Good article to read: 5 Ladies Who Give Women in Ministry a Bad Name

✪ We are praying about buying a van. We need to sell our car and upgrade to something bigger. Something that can hold our family and others so we can use it as a way to help more people. When we get more information about specifics, we will update. Please be praying with us about this.

Weekly Mind Dump: 2016, Boom Shakalaka!

✪ Our annual PHOTO JOURNAL is done, and you can see the pics here, or you can watch the VIDEO version here.

✪ I met with a Korea man who is a teacher at one of the universities. He is using our Firm Foundations as material for an English class he is hosting!

✪ We recently had a foreign girl who considered joining as a member but said she didn’t know if she could because of the danger. Fear is a very real thing here.

✪ We started mobile giving. Why? Hip and cool! Not really… but paying for things through your phone has quickly become a way of life here. This past December they had a special day where almost every store in the city was willing to give you a discount if you paid through your mobile device. We have had people give though it almost every week. Even old members who aren’t in the city anymore! Just as I was writing this, I person contacted me and gave a large offering to the church through our mobile giving. Praise the Lord!

✪ We are giving out the red banners that Chinese people hang around there doors for Spring Festival, but with the following sayings: “来信耶稣,神子舍命爱满尘世,罪人得救乐极人间”! :-)

✪ We have been helping our teammates arrange things on this end before their departure to China at the end of the month. The internet has changed how missionaries move to the field, being able to find apartments and furniture online before ever arriving on the field. I think we visited around 14 apartments or so on their behalf and helped them secure one.

✪ We were able to get custom air filtration machines for our house and the church. The church cost about $900 to do and our house cost about another $900. But we should be able to have clean air all year 24/7 while inside.

✪ Since I finished teaching through Galatians (available here) I have started teaching through Jonah in its place. So now we are going through Matthew and Jonah as a church.

✪ They just now put up the Christmas lights! What! Well, they are actually “Spring Festival” lights. But it always feels weird when there are no “lights” before Christmas and then after Christmas the whole city turns into a Winter Wonder Land! Spring Festival is coming, and the city transforms! This also means we are about to have an exodus as everyone returns home for the holidays… anywhere from three days to four months! But we will also have visitors as a result of it–hopefully!

✪ Our oldest daughter is already out of Chinese school and doesn’t start again until March. But she gets to do homeschool during the break!

Weekly Mind Dump: Happy New Year!

✪ The man who was saved and baptized recently officially joined the church this past Sunday.

✪ The weather has been warmer these past two weeks which means the air pollution has been bad. I haven’t been able to run. I noticed a major difference running on a good day and a bad day. So now I am avoiding the “heavily polluted” days

✪ “PM2.5” is a term that we are starting to hear about more often concerning air pollution. The “PM” stands for “particulate matter” that are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes they are natural, and sometimes these are man-made. Either way, they affect the climate around us and our health. The “2.5” means the particles are very fine with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. These are harmful to use because of their ability to go deep into our lungs or blood streams without being filtered. It is this harmful matter that we are trying to regulate and keep to a safe level.

✪ Today is my wife birthday! Happy Birthday babe! She is a great wife and mother! I love her so much!

✪ Christmas service in the morning went good, but we didn’t have any new visitors come for it. The kids Christmas program brought in several visitors in the evening. Overall we were able to give about 30-40 books about the meaning of Christmas.

✪ On Christmas night, the kids and I went door-to-door in our apartment building and wished our neighbors “Merry Christmas” and gave them one of the books as a present. We passed out 10 more books there. Most were friendly and receptive but others wouldn’t open the door and didn’t want the book. Someone even called security on us. Security knew what we were doing though and it wasn’t a big deal. Three little girls aren’t really that intimidating.

✪ I have studied about Spring festival. I am understanding more about the Thanksgiving/Christmas atmosphere that it creates for Chinese people and why they see it as so important. Also, the beginnings of it has so much in common with the passover story in the Bible. I will probably share a lesson on it in the future.

✪ Pray for young men to be raised up to lead this church and help us start more churches. We have several young men serving in the church but none have made commitments to full-time ministry.

✪ It is New Year’s eve eve…so, “Happy New Year!” Pray for us and the ministry here as we head into the new year!

Galatains is finsihed! Check out the Docs page to download the sermons in English or Chinese.

Weekly Mind Dump: Merry Christmas!

✪ We had one baptized on Sunday! Praise the Lord. We were able to find a new baptistry that has a metal frame and much better quality than a kiddie pool to use for indoor baptisms in the winter.

✪ We also invited some friends from Harbin down to spent some time with for the holidays and also asked Pastor Levi to preach for us on that Sunday. He did a tremendous job! God has given us a unique relationship over the years since he was my Chinese teacher for over two years. He and his wife were a blessing while they were here!

✪ I asked the church to pray about giving a special offering to be able to bless them this Christmas. I was blown away with how much they gave. It was probably our largest single offering! (We also started “mobile giving,” where they can scan a QR code and give instantly. Four people gave this way this past Sunday. We are trying to keep up with technology as it is moving so fast here.)

✪ The Christmas celebrations start tonight! We have a team Christmas party with our Chinese and American team. Then tomorrow we have our family Christmas time. Friday and Saturday we will be having Christmas with family in the States over FaceTime. Sunday is our Christmas service and outreach. Its is going to be a busy and enjoyable few days!

✪ I got a call from a supporting church to let us know they had been praying for us and did a special fundraiser for us. It was such a blessing and answer to prayer!

✪ I love reading the Bible. God has been teaching me so much lately! Are you reading your Bible?

✪ It has been warmer than usual this winter. Which might sound good, but for Northern China, it isn’t good news. They burn coal here for the heat, and when the weather isn’t cold enough, the “smog” doesn’t go away. So the past few days have been very polluted. Polluted to the point that it is advised not to exercise.

✪ A man in the church is building custom air filter machines to filter all the air in the church. This is going to cost us about $900, but it will be cheaper than buying the machines and will efficiently filter the air to grade 1 air quality. This will make it healthy for the church members and create a healthy space to work during the week. If you would like to give towards this need, please let me know!

✪ Pray for Sunday, I am preaching about the God who became flesh versus idols.

✪ Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Weekly Mind Dump: Document Dump!

✪ This is my second time writing this because for some reason when the page loaded WordPress decided not to save my document. Last week was busy (Christmas Shopping), and I didn’t get around to writing an update. I have my schedule worked out now for the rest of the year and through the beginning of 2016.

✪ Last week I started a Bible Class on Wednesday nights for guys who have a desire to learn more about the Bible and how to study it. It is a no-pressure class, but just a time to enjoy studying the Bible for those who want to take the next step. We had three men show up. Praise the Lord. One of the men who came wasn’t a Christan, but he has been around for a while now. Since we were studying about devotions, I asked him about his faith, and he informed me that he made the decision to trust Jesus last week! God is so good!

✪ God has saved three young men in the past six months! Praise Him! My wife also had a part in helping the man above understand the gospel. He attended her bible study with the girl that brought him to church. My wife has been faithfully taking a group of people through our discipleship lessons on Sunday afternoons.

Document Dump! We finally finished proofing and uploading a bunch of documents that we have been working on. We are now making them available on this blog. You can visit the Docs page to see everything that is available for download. This batch of documents includes: Holidays, The Gospel, Church Guidelines, Offering Devotionals. Each document has several lessons in it. We also updated Firm Foundations and Revelation.

✪ Social Media Outreach: We started sending out my written sermons on social media twice a week. Pray they will be used to reach new people. If you would like to receive them (in Chinese only) please let me know and I will tell you how to sign up.

✪ We have two Christmas outreaches coming up that we want you to pray for. First, the Sunday following Christmas is our Christmas service. We will give everyone in attendance a free book. Second, we are having a kids program on that Sunday night. The kids will sing the songs that have been learning. Please pray we can use these to reach new souls!

✪ I am reading books in what I am calling “available in China” series. I will post the new list of books as I read them here so it can be a useful resource for those working in China and wanting to know what is available.

✪ The Purpose of Christmas – This is one of the books in my “available in China” series that I finished reading. It is a short and to the point gospel presentation that uses Christmas to point to Jesus and the glorious gospel. From the book: “The entire reason for Christmas is the love of God. God loves you so much that he came to earth as a human so you could get to know him and learn to trust him and love him back.” [1]

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear – This is one of the books in my “available in China” series that I finished reading. I loved the first chapter. It is worth buying and reading just for that. The following first few chapters are also good, but the book gets sort of repetitive and just descriptive of situations towards the end. To me the meat was in the beginning of the book. From the book: “Jesus doesn’t condemn legitimate concern for responsibilities but rather the continuous mind-set that dismisses God’s presence. Destructive anxiety subtracts God from the future, faces uncertainties with no faith, tallies up the challenges of the day without entering God into the equation.” [2]

✪ The girls are at such a fun age. We are really enjoying the holidays with them. They each have their own personality and are growing so fast. I love them so much. It is awesome being a dad. Please pray with me that the Lord will save them.

Weekly Mind Dump: Stuffed!

✪ We had a great Thanksgiving, and I hope you did as well. My wife prepared an incredible meal, a feat she did almost single-handedly, and we enjoyed it with friends. I am stuffed! (And thankful for a wife who can cook!)

✪ We also had a great Thanksgiving outreach at the church on Sunday morning. We had over forty people attend and a great number of people participating in bringing food to share. I preached a salvation message answering the question: “Do you matter?”

✪ After the meal on Sunday, we gave anyone who wanted to a chance to give thanks. Several who gave thanks said they weren’t Christians yet but they are thankful for the church and are learning more. One girl who has come for a long time now, but hasn’t made a decision, asked us with tears in her eyes not to give up on her and to keep helping her. Please pray for their salvation.

✪ We had a decent turnout for the movie night, with a couple young unmarried couples coming. Everyone seemed to enjoy the film. We will discuss the topic of marriage next week in our English Corner.

✪ My wife is doing an excellent job leading the kids club and teaching the older kids. Our teammates are doing a great job with the younger children. We are hoping to do a Christmas outreach with the kids if everything can come together by the end of the month. Please pray for this.

✪ We are starting to send out my sermons or written messages out on a favorite social media that most people use here. We are hoping that it will encourage believers and also reach those who aren’t willing to come to the church. We have over 200 people that are signed up and will start receiving them.

✪ About to be finished with my study through Galatians, although I will still be teaching it for a few more weeks. We will turn the English and Chinese sermons into material that others can use. I was thinking about doing Jonah next.

✪ There are several books available in Chinese that I haven’t read, so many of them are making my reading list now so I can see if I can recommend them or not. I would like to purchase several books for our library at the church and also to give out to our members to help them grow. If you would like to help give towards this, please let me know.

✪ We are still trying to raise more personal support. Please continue to pray for us about this and consider partnering with us.

✪ We are looking forward and planning for some short-term trips coming next year. If you are interested, please let me know. God bless!

Weekly Mind Dump: Thankful!

✪ The young man who was saved three weeks ago was baptized two weeks ago and join the church this past week. We are excited about what God is doing in his life.

✪ There is another man who has been coming to our church for a while and came to our “guys’ night” this past Friday. He isn’t saved, but he is on the road. Please pray for him.

✪ My wife has been preparing to make a going-to-be-great-thanksgiving-meal for Thursday. We will take the day off that day, won’t make our oldest go to school (even though everyone else does) and enjoy time with family and friends, and, of course, enjoy eating turkey.

✪ Please be praying for Sunday. We are having a special outreach Thanksgiving activity/pot-luck dinner. We have tried to get more people involved and invited several. I am preaching a gospel message, and we are praying that God uses it to see more souls saved!

✪ Our English corner outreach is going well now. We have been messing with the different formats, and we have found one that finally works and meets the goals that we have for it.

✪ This Sunday night we are also doing another movie night. The last one seemed to get people thinking.

✪ First snow! It snowed Sunday morning/afternoon. The girls and I went out after church and played in it. There wasn’t enough to make a snowman, but we did have a good snowball fight.

✪ Been studying more about “PM 2.5” and the dangers of it, what causes it etc. It has been interesting. Air pollution is one of the biggest problems in China—when considering health. Although, the air quality has gotten better since the temperature dropped and it snowed.

✪ Recently Read: Revelation Unveiled – I have mixed feelings about this book. It seemed helpful at times and others times it just seemed to be unveiling things out of the text or adding into the text what wasn’t there. I didn’t agree with all the conclusions but it helped to read his perspective. From the book: “The book of Revelation makes it clear that Christ and Christians are the ultimate winners in the game of life.” [1]

✪ Happy Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for! Praise God!

Weekly Mind Dump: The Proud Made Humble

✪ Yesterday, after the second service a working man in his late twenties knelt on the chair he was sitting and confessed his pride to God and begged for forgiveness. He stood up with forgiveness and knowing that he was now a child of God! Praise the Lord! God is so good!

✪ He is one of the guys that I asked you to pray for. Thank you for praying!

✪ We will probably baptize next week.

✪ This was a great end to our anniversary Sunday at church. We are thankful for God giving us one year since we officially organized as a church.

✪ Each week we are seeing more kids come to the kids club on Sunday morning as the word is spreading.

✪ The new English corner outreach (about an hour away) isn’t working out as we hoped, so we are canceling it until further notice.

✪ We had several unbelievers in our service Sunday, please pray for their salvation!

✪ Our middle daughter decided the she speaks Chinese now and just talks away in Chinese.

✪ Our oldest daughter has started learning to write characters in school.

✪ Our youngest daughter is just a rascal who thinks she owns the world. :-)

Weekly Mind Dump: Halloween

✪ I learned something really important this week: If there is no agreement on what “right and wrong” are then there is not sense in arguing.

✪ Christmas is already showing up here. Since they obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, the merchants commercializing the holidays skip ahead to the next holiday! But I love Christmas, so it is okay.

✪ Recently Read: The Facts on Halloween (The Facts On Series) – This short book helped with some of the information I was looking for, but I didn’t enjoy it and didn’t found myself answering the “rhetorical questions” opposite of what they would answer them in the book. The logic didn’t seem to make that much sense, but I understand the viewpoint they are trying to get across. From the book: “In conclusion, Halloween, poltergeists, witchcraft, and spiritism are all closely connected. This means that however innocent Halloween may be at one level, at another level its innocence is lost altogether.” [1]

✪ We had a good turnout for our Halloween party on Sunday night! Over 50 people came out, and we had a fun family friendly activity. In the end, I told them the reason that we have so much joy is because we know Jesus, and He changed our lives. Each child also received a tract in their candy bag.

✪ This month marks the official first year anniversary of the church here. We are having a special friend day for the first service and the Lord’s Supper in the second service. Please pray that we will have visitors on Sunday and that we can clearly present the gospel to them.

✪ We had a great time with my mother-in-law while she was here. The girls were sad to see her leave. She is a great example of serving.

✪ We started a guys’ hangout on Friday nights. It has gone well. There are two guys who I think are close to making a decision. Please pray for them.

✪ I was “rebuked” recently about why I am wrong about the prohibition of women pastors. It is simple….you see… all English and Chinese translations are wrong. The translators deceived us by their misunderstanding of the original languages. (Seriously!)

✪ I preached on being salt and light Sunday from the Gospel of Matthew. It was a needed reminder of a responsibility to spread the gospel and impact the world around us!

✪ We are helping our teammates make plans to come at the beginning of the next year! We are excited about them coming. Please pray with us, that God will raise up more Chinese and American labourers!