The Purpose of TwoFour

We are about to try something new for Providence Church. Starting Wednesday, March 31st, we are going to start meeting twice a month as a core group, allowing for our two community groups to come together as a corporate gathering.

Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month, we will meet at the Buckingham Community Center from 7-8:15pm (map). We are calling it our TwoFour Meeting (so that we’ll never forget 2nd and 4th Wednesday). The Purpose of our TwoFour Meeting is as follows:

1.    To better communicate our Purpose & Plans. Up to this point, we gather only when worshiping with Grace Baptist, our sending church. Communication has been limited to emails and blogs. TwoFour will give us more opportunity to communicate and plan heading forward.

2.    To PRAY and seek God together. TwoFour will be a prayer meeting, if it will be anything. We are begging God to use us to plant the gospel in East Lee county. We desire to do nothing as a new church without depending on God to do it.

3.    To worship through Scripture, testimony & song. A portion of TwoFour will be devoted to hearing from God’s Word, hearing testimonies of what God is doing in our lives, and singing hymns and praises to God.

4.     To foster unity between our two community groups (and future groups). TwoFour will allow us to bond together those actively living for Christ in our community groups.

5.    To invite others in the area to come and join us. Those who know our members well are more likely to attend a community group when invited. TwoFour, however, gives us a place to invite those whom we have relationships with, but do not know as well.

6.    To provide training/practice for responsibilities that will involve launching a Sunday morning service. There is a real sense that we will need the experience and practice setting up and leading a time of worship as a new church. TwoFour gives us this opportunity at a smaller, less formal level.

We have the facility rented from 6:30-8:30pm. We will need some people to come help set chairs up at 6:30pm. There is a nice playground outside for kids to play on while we are setting up. The service begins at 7pm!

The Valley of Vision

Last month I purchased a little book published by Banner of Truth called The Valley of Vision. It is a collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett that were taken from men like Thomas Watson, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeon, David Brainerd, Richard Baxter, and John Bunyan, men who lived for God between the 17th through the 19th century.

Each morning after I read God’s Word and before I pray, I read an entry from The Valley of Vision. I have been refreshed and encouraged to read these prayers, from men who obviously experience the gospel. I have also been challenged in my own prayers. Too often, in my opinion, my prayers have been mechanical, stale, and shallow. I have used this book for my private devotions and, have read it during family worship. Many times, I read these prayers and feel as if they are consistent with what is going on in my own heart. It is as if these men of old are giving me a course on prayer.

This morning I read this prayer called “Divine Mercies” and I had to share it…

‘O Eternal God,
Yours is surpassing greatness, unspeakable goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’
as number Your favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank You for personal mercies,
a measure of health, preservation of the body,
comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food  and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
the days that add to my guilt,
the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me–
the sun which sees my misdeeds,
the darkness which is light to You,
the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
the good angels who have been provoked to leave me,
Your countenance which scans my secret sins,
Your righteous law, Your holy Word,
my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
my neighbors, myself–
all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
‘Father, I have sinned’;
Yet still I live, and fly repenting to Your outstretched arms;
You will not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
You will not condemn me, for He died in my stead,
You will not mark my mountains of sin, for He levelled all,
and His beauty covers my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to His cross,
hiding in His wounds, and sheltering in His side.

Providence Church: Planting Update 4

Its been ten months since we hit the ground running in partnership with Grace Baptist Church to plant a new church in SW Florida. We have much to praise God for, and much to submit to Him in prayer. Mary and I will make sure to post an update on the family sometime soon. In the meantime, here’s an update on the church planting efforts and requests for prayer:

1. Leadership – There are now four of us men meeting weekly to plan and pray concerning the forming of Providence. These three men and their wives also joined Mary and me at the Global Church Advancement Conference in late January. Thank you for praying. In our last update before the conference, we had two couples attending with us. But God surprised us, and sent a third couple. I wrote a review of this conference here. (We enjoyed ourselves and had some team bonding at the conference too! Right: Kelly getting “framed” by Crissy at Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ. Left: Me trying to fit in at the Apple Store.)

During the month of February, we have been meeting to continue what we learned together at GCA, discussing Vision, Focus, Philosophy, Purpose, Values, Styles, Models and Launching Plans relating to the formation of Providence Church. Please pray for these men, (Jamie, Frank, & Kelly) and for the eleven families currently involved as we depend on God in starting PC.

Also, we now have two potential new community group leaders. Please pray God provides two new host homes to start groups. Our current two groups are going well. Two new groups would double our gospel-centered home groups!

2. Gospel – The central purpose of our community groups is to continually impress the gospel upon our hearts and for us to Continue reading