Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dad's Christmas letter

We don't always get around to writing Christmas letters, but this year, my father did. It came out so well I thought you all would be blessed by it. -- Daniel

Well here we are again – the end of another year. This year has been a year of growth, physically and spiritually. Physically a little too much growth around the middle – so I now exercise most mornings upon rising and eat less – especially at dinner. I have been working less in town, so I have been sitting too much in front of the computer.

Early this year we finally found a church home. We visited a lot of churches in the process and have made a lot of new friends. The church is not large, but it is growing slowly. The music is basically hymns and some choruses. Our pastor and the adult Sunday school teacher both have a passion for the word of God and love to teach/preach expositionally. We are being fed the word of God every Sunday. Currently Pastor Jim is preaching through Leviticus and it is really exciting what we are learning. For the month of November I have been reading the book of Leviticus over and over and am learning just how serious God is about our worship of Him only! For the past 2 years I have been reading a different book of the bible over and over for the entire month - this method has really changed my life and walk with our Lord. The richness of the scriptures really begins to rise off the pages of the Bible when reading this way!

Another benefit that we have enjoyed at our new church is that Ann can listen to the Sunday school and church services at home by using Skype over the internet. We put the Skype program on the church’s computer so that whenever the computer is turned on the Skype program starts up. All Ann has to do is connect like doing an internet phone call and she can hear everything. Often Ann connects others to the church services – people who cannot also go to church, sometimes people in China listen with her. On Sunday evenings we all listen from home – we are 20 miles each way from church. If you would like to see or hear a sermon go to:

Pastor Jim’s passion is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Gospel has also become our passion. Every sermon contains a presentation of the gospel. We have no altar calls, just an invitation to meet with the pastor or a deacon to discuss what God is doing or has done in your life. To become a member, you must have a genuine salvation experience with our Lord, with evidence of a changed life. There must be fruit. And you must be able to present the gospel to others. Such as the following:

The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all His ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin.

Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is separated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnation in hell at the hands of God.

But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of His great love, sent His eternal Son born by the virgin Mary, to die as a payment for our sin and a substitute for the sins of rebellious people like you and me.

And now, through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and His willing death on the cross as payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following Him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in His sight, have eternal life, and receive the Spirit of God as a foretaste of the glories of heaven with God Himself.

In these last days, the gospel is really all that matters. Most of all, the way we live our lives should be a real demonstration of the gospel. The four spiritual laws are good, but they do not go far enough.

The question is NOT: “Do you know you’re a sinner?” But “Has God changed your heart so that you hate sin?” “Do you now hate the sin that you used to LOVE?” “If you do not have a new relationship with sin, you do not have a new relationship with God!

The question is NOT: “Do you want to go to heaven?” Everybody wants to go to heaven; they just do not want God to be there when they get there. The question is: “Has God changed your heart so that you desire Him?”

Have you become a new creature with new desires? Have you grown since you made a decision for Christ? Do you continue to repent – even daily? A mark of true Christianity – When we sin, we grieve and repent for it. The desire of your life will be that you want to be like Jesus. Do you want to be with the people of God?

Once a month Daniel and I go to the local jail (400 inmates) and do two or three church services. Sometimes we meet old friends? Anyway, we love this ministry and opportunity to serve others and present the gospel to those who are usually open to hear the truth of the gospel.

We are still living in the mountains of Arizona where you can see the stars and enjoy fresh air most of the time. We have a beautiful view of the red rocks of Sedona in the distance. Traffic is usually very mild except on the freeway on the weekends.

Our health is fairly stable and we enjoy walking most days. We have a walking group of “old folks” that enjoy serving each other and the community. All three of us enjoy encouraging people and customers over the internet using “Skype”. Our hearts desire has been to spend our lives for “Jesus Sake”.

Anyway, we are still learning new things every day – so life is never boring. We are not able to travel very far, so we are at home most of the time. God has blessed our home businesses in remarkable ways. He loves to prove that His ways are the best, so we try very hard to be in the center of His will – a great place to be!

May our Father in Heaven bless you in remarkable ways during this coming year and give you a fresh testimony of His faithfulness to you and your family that you can share with others and encourage them greatly. Our MOTTO: It is ALL about JESUS!

Love, Ward

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