For 3 years Jesus walked the Earth revealing the Father, proving through miracles and zeal that He is the Messiah, and over those few short years he taught a small rag-tag group of disciples who, through Him, changed the world!
At the “end” of His 3 short years, Jesus hung alone upon a cross; to pay for every sin ever committed by mankind, to break down the “wall of separation” between God and man (He is our Mediator), and to, forever, usher in PEACE between God and the person who simply believes… but that’s just the beginning!
As He drew His last breathe and the words “It is finished” were uttered Jesus gave up His spirit and died. Placed within a stone tomb, his body lay for 3 days… but that’s just the beginning!
On Sunday morning, Jesus arose to newness of Life and bringing with Him resurrection life! Just as Jesus was raised from the dead to newness of life, so that we who believe in Him also have newness of life! (Romans 6.1-7) Praise God that He through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus has given to us New Life, His Life, the Life of Christ! We are completely new creations in Christ! (2 Cor. 5.17)
The moment we believed we were declared righteous before God based upon Christ alone! …But that’s just the beginning! Now we each get to live in relationship with our Creator God, no longer separated by our unpaid for sin (Christ paid for all sin; past, present, future). We are friends of God!
Oh, how amazed I am with all that God accomplished through Christ in 3 years and 3 days!
Friend, you and I, because we believe the Gospel, the Good News, are declared righteous. Right now and forever! because it is not based on anything that we have done but solely upon the work of Jesus Christ!
I hope that is as much of an encouragement to you as it is to me! What an AWESOME GOD who loves us.
3 years coming to an end… but that’s just the beginning!
We can hardly believe that 3 years have already passed for us here at New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI)!
But I’m still amazed with all that God can accomplish in 3 years even through us.
In those 3 years:
- 4 classes have graduated from NTBI – totaling over 200 people with a passion for reaching the unreached people groups of the world! Praise God!
- John has had over 1400 one to one, face to face meetings with the single guys who have passed through NTBI
- Becki has spent 580+ hrs serving the married couples here who have little children in the nursery
- Many young men have decided to let Christ live His life through them and to go where He sends them
- John has spoke in multiple chapels and has taught a class too
- We as a family have become part of a local body of believers, hosting a men’s group, preaching as well as teaching the children’s church
- We’ve watched our children grow up to be more concerned about the things of the Lord
- Our oldest Daughter, Tori, graduated from NTBI and got married
- Chloe was part of the high school softball team, she plays catcher!
- Derek played junior football and loved it!
- Ellie has developed some good friends and loves to go to their youth group on Tuesday evenings!
- The 1st quarter of 2015 holds the potential of having some changes for our ministry here at NTBI.
- John has been asked to join the teaching staff! Through much counsel and prayer, he accepted and will be phasing out of the Dean role. What that really means is that he will be shifting from meeting with the single men one on one, as his major role, to teaching classes to the whole student body, as his major role.
- Becki may have a bit of a change too. From childcare to grading homework and serving in the office.
- All of our kids hope to play a sport this new year: Chloe – Softball, Ellie – Soccer, Derek – Football and baseball.
- Our church here is asking us to be more involved in preaching and teaching over this coming year also.
- We are thankful and continue to trust the Lord for our prayer and financial partners.
So here I sit in my office at my desk, something I dreamed of as a kid but never thought that I would have my own office. Over the years of working, playing, competing in sports, hanging with friends, 4 years of Bible/missions training, raising kids to be adults and working on a marriage so that it will survive the times of testing and suffering, here I sit; finding myself asking the question ‘how did this happen?’ ‘What did all of those past years have to do with today?”
I have spent over 12 years of my life working in a factory setting, day after day doing the same thing. Standing in one spot doing the same repetitive motions and trying to go faster and faster while producing the same good quality products. If that was all I did, if seemingly “mindless” repetition is all that was accomplished during that time of life, I should be most pitied!
Pitied because my eyes would have had to have been closed, (not as I worked of course, I would have lost a finger for sure!) closed to the training that I was receiving. I used to hate hearing the “BEEP” of the Time Clock when I first got to work but on the way out the door at the end of the shift, there is nothing sweeter to hear then… “BEEP”! “Ahhhh, freedom!” Truthfully I don’t miss that sound at all. Yet what great training I was receiving. Training to work hard, to be on time (BEEP), to do a good job, to be concerned, and to appreciate the multiple life lessons that I learned during that time of life. To be honest there was a period of time that I just went to work mindlessly, punched in/punched out, drove home then began to be concerned with life. Looking back I am glad that didn’t encapsulate the whole 12 years of factory work.
“What was that time for?” I have often asked myself. Today I know the benefits of that time. 12 years of training, training for what God has for me NOW. Without all that He has brought me through over the years I would have little if anything to draw upon as the Spirit leads me and my family today.
Have you ever asked “why?” “Why this job?” “Why these people?” “Why this guy or gal?” “Why do I find myself here?
What if I said where you are, what you are dealing with is to help prepare you for the future ministry God has for you?!? Would that motivate you? Excite you? Give you courage to press on?
I hope it does!
Now that you are all excited, motivated and courageous about your future ministry, go into today realizing that, even in the suffering and hardship, you are receiving training! Training from God and that today you can glorify Him with your behavior, reactions and attitude so that you will have opportunities to minister within your current situations.
As we live life here in this fallen and broken world, we can live differently. Live as those who are training for the reward of an imperishable crown.
“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9.23-27)
Today, you and I have a choice. A choice to not train and then run a race that is like the first “BEEP” of the time clock; hard, exhausting, unwanted, even dreaded or a choice to train and then run a race like the second “BEEP” of the time clock; anticipated, welcomed, thrilling, even energizing. Both choices have eternal consequences but only one has eternal, imperishable rewards.
Training is never easy, it shouldn’t be. Training costs because that for which you train has tremendous value!
So as I sit here at my desk in my office typing this I can’t help but realize that the training that you and I must choose is hard. Yet it is what we want to do as we grow in our intimate relationship with Christ! The apostle Paul, in the book to the Philippians, said…
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
LET US, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!
Oh, maybe you never really thought about it… but you and I are in the race, let’s train to win.
We want to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for His faithfulness to us and for your gifts, prayers and support. Because of you, His Body, we have just completed our first semester as staff members at New Tribes Bible Institute!
Here is a picture of the 2012 Graduating Class
As you made know we have been living in a dorm within the New Tribes Bible Institute… WELL…, we are moving out of the dorm and into a townhouse on campus during the month of June.
So we thought we would share some prayer requests:
- We are supposed to be moving in a couple weeks to our permanent housing.
Please be praying for us as we transition one more time. Downsizing is never fun or easy!
Also pray for our kids as they have to sort through their stuff again to make it fit. Chloe and Ellie have to share a room and it is going to be small.
-We also have a few more purchases to make and they are pretty BIG ones. We need washer and dryer, oven and a grill. If you would like to help us with this you can send a gift through our website or mail it to us directly.
A praise is that a staff family here replaced their refrigerator and is letting us use their old one, so we will not have to purchase a new one at this time!
We are still not at the MINIMUM recommended support level so we will be meeting with churches, small groups and individuals this summer. Please pray that our team will grow and that God will be glorified as we share HIS ministry with others.
-Tori is going to college, which means she will be moving out this August. This will be another BIG change for our family. We don’t even know all the things we should ask for you to pray about but I know none of us are looking forward to her leaving. THANKFULLY we work at the college she is attending so it won’t be as difficult as if she were leaving the state or something.
The Bennett family!
Helping to reach the unreached with the Good News of Christ!