January 12, 2003
Greetings, dear Shannon!
I love you!!! You have been in my thoughts as I reflected on Christmas past while putting away the Christmas decorations that were so beautifully displayed in our home as we celebrated the birth of Christ. I'm sad that unbelievers have made "Christ-mass" so secular, but I'm glad that believers have continued throughout the centuries to celebrate the birth of our Savior with a display of generosity and hospitality that honors our Lord. Even the Saint Nicholas tradition has merit if children are taught that Nicholas was a wealthy Christian who wanted to reward children for being good.
I'm delighted to see that the members of my church seek to glorify and serve God in all that they do. For example, one member likes to play soccer, so he is going to take a group from our church to play soccer in an Eastern Asian country as part of a "Cultural Festival" sponsored by missionaries who are in this Muslim country on non-missionary professional platforms. Another member, a Princeton graduate who founded Christianity.com, likes to go to the Starbucks on Pennsylvania Avenue to read and socialize. He rented the second floor of this Starbucks from 8:00-9:00 on 9, 16, 23 January for a series of talks/discussions to address the questions (1) Do Christians commit intellectual suicide? (2) Is Jesus the only way to God? (3) Will following Jesus mean the end of my freedom? The Lord is using him to bring unbelievers to faith! Ryan, who was on the fast-track to an upper management position at Accenture, gave up his extremely well-paying job in December to become an intern at our church. He has found an earthly "paradise" in this full-time ministry of service and study of the Word. I'm so honored to be able to support him in his ministry. Shannon, I want to support you in your ministry. I know that you depend only on the Lord for support, but He uses humans to provide the food, clothing, and shelter that you need to survive. I understand that your elders teach you that contact with parents results in falling away from the "church." I am NOT asking you to leave your church. I just wonder why the members of your church seem to be afraid to establish communication with members of other churches. I agree that falling away from the "Church" universal is grievous, but I wonder how strong your church is if members have to "hide" from other churches and family members that love them and want to support their ministries. I'll not rest without an answer.
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