Sermon: Do Not Love The World

 

This sermon was preached at Great Plains Gathering. This is the passage this is based on:

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Sermon: What is Greatness?


This is the sermon Anthony preached in December at Great Plains Gathering in Billings, MT. The Bible passage for the sermon is Luke 9:46-48.

Luke 9:46-48:

46 An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Buy a book, support a planter.

Rowan reading

When we started making announcements about how our family is moving out to do church planting this summer one of my dear friends, Ashley, reached out and offered a super creative and kind way to help out! She graciously offered to host an Usborne sale to help us raise funds for the transition and the needs on the field. I’m so thankful for her thoughtfulness and desire to help us raise funding — She’s setting all of this up and ALL the profits that usually go to her will be going to us!

Here is the information that she passed along for anyone interested in buying books and supporting church planting in Montana:

If you are not familiar with Usborne books, you are in for a treat!  This children’s literature publishing company produces books with an educational mindset.  Focused on the development of young learners and readers, each book seeks to take a topic and present it in a wonderfully accessible, appealing, and illustrated way in book form.

You can help the Gorsuch family raise the funds they need for their move and transition onto the mission field, simply through purchasing books for your kids or grandkids…or neighbors, nieces, and any one in between!  These books make great gifts – think birthdays and Christmas too!
25% of your total purchase will go directly to the Gorsuch’s MNA fund.  On top of that, they will also earn free books for their kids based on the total sales!  So as you shop, know that you are helping them get to Montana to spread the Gospel AND supplying Remley with books to teach her little ones.

Shopping is now open: https://f5713.myubam.com/326961

If you would like to purchase any books specifically for the Tamasin or Rowan, then please send your order to: ashleyhbelknap@gmail.com  I will send you a special invoice and shipping will be free!

Browse through the links below to see some sample books!  Happy Shopping!

https://f5713.myubam.com/


Note: I (Remley) have catalogs and order forms if you’d prefer to look at the books and purchase offline. Just let me know.And again: a huge, HUGE thank you to Ashley for managing all of this!

What’s next?

Edited_Anthony

Anthony graduated in May and, since right around then, the question started popping up in various different forms: What are we doing now that Anthony has “The Degree”? That’s a good question!  I haven’t been trying to dodge it, we’ve just been praying and working a lot behind the scenes and I’ve forgotten to post anything here. Sorry!

That’s okay. So what’s up?

Last summer Anthony and I went to England to explore the possibility of helping with church planting there. While we aren’t going to England, we did learn a lot about church planting there and got a chance to observe how a passion for reaching the lost through the gospel, a conviction that the body of Christ grows best through the work of the local church, and a vision and love for the local people make a powerful combination. It was that conviction that led Anthony and I to begin to pray for God to open doors for us to be a part of church planting in Montana.

In September of last year, we began the lengthy prayer, research, and application process to be assessed by the Presbyterian Church in America’s (PCA) Mission to North America (MNA) Church Planter Assessment Center. We were accepted to the center and, in February, we attended and received a provisional recommendation for church planting in Montana. The “provisional” part is because they recommend that Anthony gets some training in some particular areas before breaking out as a planter alone. In the PCA, this training is usually provided in an 18-24 mos. apprenticeship.

A what? 

An apprenticeship. It’s a fancy word that means Anthony will pursue ordination, shadow and serve an existing church planter, and prepare to launch a new plant. It’s done in these phases and is sometimes called a residency. Sort of like how people in the olden days would train under someone who was really good at something to learn from what they’re doing. But instead of blacksmithing or cobbling, it’s church planting.

Josh Charette at Great Plains Gathering, a plant of Rocky Mountain Community Church, has kindly volunteered to be the planter who Anthony will serve under. We have a flyer outlining more information about the whole thing. You can look at it here.

The short version?

We’re moving to Billings, Montana in August. While there,  Anthony will apprentice under Josh at Great Plains Gathering so that, Lord willing, he’ll be equipped to plant a church in Montana in 2 years.

I didn’t actually ask for a short version. Is there a long version?

Hopefully, Anthony and I will be updating this place more often with longer bits about the why we’re going to Montana, why planting, why Billings and more but this was a quick-ish update so you could get an overview on what God is doing.

Cool. How do I pray for you guys?

For now we’re not going to use this space for updates on how to pray for us. Rather, I’ve set up an email list that’s easier to keep up with where Anthony will regularly post ways to be praying for our family and the ministry in Montana. If you’re interested in receiving email updates on how to pray for us, you can sign up for that here.

In the meantime, please pray as we seek God’s will with this new and exciting step, look for committed prayer warriors, and find people and churches who want to financially partner with us as we spread the gospel in Montana.
1024px-Billings,_Montana_the_Yellowstone_River

Northern England: A Trip Report

(This is a long-ish letter that we have been sending out about everything we did and what’s up for the future. The difference with this one? We’ve included lots of links in this edition for your enjoyment and pictures that expand when you click on them. Additionally, if you want the TL;DR version, just hit the segments in bold.)

Firstly: Thank You. Yes, you.

At the Peak district

I wanted to thank everyone for the loving support we’ve received. I’ve been encouraged by the gracious encouragement, fervent prayers, and generous donations we’ve been given. It was also a blessing to see how the church of Crystal Springs took care of my mom while she watched our children. It is so great to see the body of Christ at work and humbling to be a recipient of our Savior’s love!

The D-Low

Now that Remley and I have returned from our England Vision Trip, I wanted to take some time to share what we did and what we learned. It was a 10-day trip filled with time to meet the pastors in Northern England, get to know many church members, and experience the culture. The hope was that exposure to these things would help clarify whether our family would fit well. If you want to look at where we went on a map, Rem put together something on Google Maps.

Day 1View of Sheffield

We left the USA on July 9 and landed in Manchester, England on July 10 where Dr. Kevin Bidwell’s wife, Maria, greeted us and drove us to Sheffield. Dr. Bidwell is the pastor who planted Sheffield Presbyterian Church. We spent the first day at their home, getting to know them, their family, and their ministry. We also got to take a hike up a “mountain” to get a panoramic view of the city of Sheffield and took time to pray for God to use the church in that city. We also met a few church members who stopped by the house.

Day 2

The next morning (Saturday), we took a train north into Newcastle where Chris Richards, a deacon at the church in Gateshead (on the other side of the river Tyne from Newcastle), met us. We stayed with the Richards family for the duration of our time in Gateshead and are grateful for their Christian love and hospitality. They were celebrating their oldest son’s birthday when we arrived and were so kind to share their party and cake with strangers from America!

Gateshead MeetinghouseDay 3

The next day we joined the Richards’ and the rest of the Gateshead Presbyterian Church for a full day of Lord’s Day activities. We worshiped with them during the morning service and enjoyed some tea and a fellowship luncheon with the entire church after the service. We then got to rest a little and prepare for the evening service where I preached the sermon.

Day 4

Monday morning, Remley and I were invited to observe a LoveWise presentation for 7th graders at Emmanuel College. LoveWise is an organization co-founded by Dr. Richards and covers sexual education and relationships from a Christian perspective. Emmanuel College is a public high school in Gateshead where, though it’s government funded, a lot of Christian education is done. After the presentation, we met up with Dr. Bill Schwietzer, the pastor at Gateshead and were introduced to Phil Baiden, the pastor at the church in Durham. Dr. Schweitzer took us to lunch in Durham, where we saw the historic Durham Cathedral where N.T. Wright sat as bishop. Afterwards, we went to the Schweitzer’s home where we visited with him and his family and had dinner.

Day 5

The next day we took a train early in the morning to head further north into Scotland where we spent the day in Edinburgh. We saw the Edinburgh Castle, walked the Royal Mile, enjoyed some haggis, and hiked at Holyrood Park. It was a full day of fun “tourist” things. We took the train back to Newcastle that evening and spent our last evening in the Richards’ home.

Greys MonumentDay 6

Wednesday we woke up early and rode with Dr. Richards into Newcastle, where he works. We spent a few hours in Newcastle visiting the Newcastle Castle, the River Tyne, and Grey’s Monument before taking the train south to Sheffield. We arrived in Sheffield in time to enjoy some dinner at the Bidwell’s with a young lady who is helping start the new crisis pregnancy center there and for me to teach the Wednesday night lesson at Sheffield Presbyterian Church. He taught an overview of the book Zachariah.

ChatsworthDay 7

The next morning, Dr. Bidwell took us on a tour of the Sheffield area. While we chatted and got to know one another, he drove us through the Peak District, took us on a walk through a beautiful forested area, stopped at an English Freehouse, and showed us Chatsworth House (the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire). It was a good day of getting to know Pastor Bidwell and seeing the beautiful countryside surrounding Sheffield.

Day 8

Friday was our London day. We took a train from Sheffield into Kings Cross early that morning and then wandered around London for the day. We saw the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels, The Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey (we went inside!), Buckingham Palace, Brick Lane (a.k.a. Curry Lane), St. James’ Park, Trafalgar Square, and Big Ben. It was another very full day but we enjoyed the opportunity to see such a historic city!

Day 9

The next day as set aside as a day to rest from a lot of the traveling and for me to prepare for preaching and teaching on Sunday.

Hill Top ChapelDay 10

Sunday, I taught the Sunday school lesson at Sheffield Presbyterian Church on questions 146-148 of the Westminster Larger Catechism about the 10th Commandment and then worshiped with them for the morning service. Later, I preached the sermon for their evening service. It was really humbling to preach at the Hill Top Chapel since it was built in 1629 and was pastored by an elder who was one of the authors of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Day 11

We took a train in the morning from Sheffield back into Manchester airport where we flew home!

So… Now What?

We had a great time and enjoyed Britain a lot. We got positive feedback from everyone while we were there and anticipate hearing from the church leaders sometime in late August after they’ve had a chance to enjoy some vacation time, pray, and meet with the presbytery elders. At this point, both Remley and I feel good about serving in England in the future and continue to pray that God would open doors where he wants our family to be.

The fields are ripe for the harvest in Northern England. The state church is the Anglican Church and much of the population has faded into nominalism, agnosticism, or atheism and there’s little to no cultural pressure to identify as Born Again or Evangelical. This means that those who choose to identify themselves this way are passionate about evangelizing and hungry for good preachers to help disciple them. They are a small percentage of the English people but we know that God can take the smallest remnant to build his church. He is a great God!

Things To Pray For

Please pray for:

1. God’s wisdom for our family. We are still praying about the opportunity to serve in England and hope God will open doors to go.

2. The leaders of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales. We hope they’re having a good rest after our trip, a good discussion about our possibility of serving there, and the wisdom on how best to lead the people in their flocks.

Thank you again for your prayers and support for our trip.

With much love in Christ,
Anthony

Gateshead Group Photo

This is a group photo taken at Gateshead Presbyterian Church the Sunday we were there. I’m in the back on the right.

Tony’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Here’s my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.

From alsa.org:

“As of Monday, August 25, The ALS Association has received $79.7 million in donations compared to $2.5 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 25). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.7 million new donors to The Association.

The ALS Association’s mission includes providing care services to assist people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation and a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease. In addition, The Association’s public policy efforts empower people to advance public policies in our nation’s Capital that respond to the needs of people with ALS.”

 

Anthony

Holly Jolly Christmas

Our Christmas was a great, low-key one filled with laughter and family and friends.

We joined our Irish neighbors and our South Korean friend for food, games, and some movie watching. Here’s a glance of what went on:

TamEatingBFast

Eating her Christmas breakfast

AnthonyMakingStuffing

Cooking the stuffing for the turkey

Christmas Turkey

The Christmas Turkey

Guys Playing Game

Playing Battle of the Sexes. The guys won!

Christmas Tree

Our hosts’ festive tree (yay for Christmas!)

GroupPhoto

Group Photo (After Tam went to sleep)

GroupPhoto2

Trying to get everyone in the shot