Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prayer Needed...

Hello family and friends! 

We are writing again from our nation’s capital in Washington DC. We have been here about four months now and it has been an incredible time of healing and restoration for us. One of the things that my pastor Mark Dever has showed me in my short time here is that we need to have a more broad and longer view of ministry than looking at short term often times exaggerated definitions of what a successful ministry is.

This is what service review looks like on Sunday nights in Mark's study
Over the last two years, there have been four major pastors in the South Florida area who have been disqualified from the ministry who had big ministries and were all fired by their churches. I pray often for Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Pedro Garcia of Calvary Chapel Kendall, and Frank Hopkins Jr. of Christ Fellowship Miami (my previous church). Whether the reason was adultery or drugs or abuse they were all recognized by their churches as being disqualified from meeting the qualifications of what a pastor should be in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. It breaks my heart because I have seen God use these men in mighty ways. But what God is teaching me is that it can happen to any pastor, even me. This is why the Apostle Peter goes on in 1 Peter 5:8 after he states the qualifications of a pastor to say, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

'Discipling' some young men in the church by making them watch 'The Godfather'
I love Miami. It is the place where I have lived most of my life, it is the city where I became a Christian, it is the city where I met my wife, it is the city where I was ordained at the age of 22, it is the city where I got my first ministry opportunity, and it is the city that I hope to one day be back in serving the Lord. But when I think about the need there and how much Satan has a stronghold there it breaks my heart when he takes out one of the pastors in the city. I understand that Satan’s strategy is to take out the pastors of a city because it affects everyone in their churches and it discourages other pastors in that city but it bothers me so much. I pray for the day when this will not be the case in Miami. I pray for healthy churches and healthy pastors and healthy congregations. This is why I love 9Marks mission of – “Building Healthy Churches”.  

My brother-in-law Paul and sister-in-law Leti visiting from Miami
And this is why Lauren and I have been so grateful for our time at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. We have seen that this has been a good place for us spiritually and we are grateful for the Lord to have brought us here. One of the awesome things that has happened in the last week is Lauren received a scholarship from Houston Baptist University for their Master of Arts in Apologetics degree. The great thing about this program is it can be done online which means that we can stay here in DC if the Lord wills and build on what we have already built here so far and continue to heal and grow.

Interns Class for Spring 2016 at CHBC
So please pray for us to figure this out. I have six weeks left in the internship and I’m currently on paper 58 (out of 79). We are on the last stretch. After the internship we are doing to visit a few friends on the East Coast and then come July 1st we will need to find a place to rent. Lauren and I will also need to find jobs as well. We are grateful for all of you and your support for us. We just want to stay in a healthy church and in a place where we are both growing so that one day when God does send us back to do ministry in Miami we will have that foundation and growth to where we can be in the ministry for the long haul. We love you all and have been overwhelmed by your love and support.

In Christ,

Anthony and Lauren

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