September 15, 1998
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is a great pleasure to write you and to share this common bond between your church and mine. I pray that this letter reaches you safely and that it offers encouragement and edification for your service and ministry to the Lord's church. I also pray that your health is improving. Since Anatoly shared with us that you have recently had surgery and that you are recuperating, we have continually prayed for your healing. Remember Jesus said, "All authority has been given in my name" (Matthew 28:18), that means even the authority over sickness and disease. We have been continually claiming the name of Jesus in your life. May He grant to you the fullness of His marvelous power.
How are things going within your church? We are hearing about the economic crisis in Russia, and I can only imagine that you all are feeling the impact of the devaluation of the Ruble in Belarus as well. Hardships such as your nation has faced for the past several years certainly will test your faith. But be encouraged by the words of the Apostle Paul who said,"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9). You must keep uplifting your people and telling them to remain strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is truly victory in Him.
Here in America things are certainly different. Someone once said the main problem with America is that we have the curse of plenty. God has truly blessed our nation. However, that can change, and with the political problems we are currently facing, especially the sin in the life of our President, God's judgment for our sin could come upon us. America is a place where people are too comfortable and highly complacent. It reminds me of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. They were self-secure in the fact that they were God's chosen people, but were forgetful of the life God had called them to live. With blessings comes responsibility. God requires His people to live a life worthy of His calling. Unfortunately, America has not been responsible. It reminds me of Amos 6:1 which says, "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion..." American Christians are complacent to the evil and immorality which goes on around them daily. We have become tolerant of many sins. Please pray that we will stand up against such ungodliness.
Many things are happening in our church right now. Our new Sunday School year began this month. We have goals to increase our class units and to reach more people for Jesus. This past Sunday it was my privilege to baptize 3 people into the kingdom of God - a nine- year-old who's parents are church members, and a man and woman who are trying to turn their lives over to God. Pray for them that they will grow in Him. Soon in our Sunday School we will have a new members class where new converts are discipled about the expectations God has for us as His children. We offer this class as often as needed. We teach about stewardship, spiritual gifts, church life, daily disciplines such as Bible study, prayer and witnessing, and what God expects of us as His children. We also use other mature Christians as encouragers for this new members group. It helps involve them in the church and it helps them grow. How do you train new members in your church? Do you use a specific book or plan, or do you write the materials yourself and teach it? I'm curious to know how you do it.
We are beginning prayer groups in our church. These will be made up of people who commit to pray for me and the vision of the church. Prayer is the one thing that matters the most and the one thing we do the least. Prayer takes time and too many American Christians are deceived into thinking they don't have the time to pray. We have so many new inventions which are supposed to make our lives easier and give us more time. But it seems that the more time we save, the more we try to do too many activities. So those time saving devices only allow us to fill our lives with things that aren't always necessary. So we are going to slow down the pace and spend time in prayer so that we can know God's will for our church. Do you use prayer groups in your church to discern the will of God?
I must go for now. I'll try to write more often and share concerns from our church as well as tell you things we are doing and how we are doing it. Again, I pray that this letter reaches you in good health. I also trust that you will greet your church and encourage them with the Love of Christ.
May God Richly Bless You,
Allan Lane, Pastor