JULY 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus the Lord,

As I prepared this July newsletter, I found myself rejoicing over how our Lord has sovereignly caused your paths to intertwine with us. It caused me to think of I John 3:14a, “We know that we have passed from (spiritual) death to (eternal) life because we love the brethren.” Later in this epistle, this Apostle of love further wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” When this formerly agnostic rock and jazz-fusion drummer was born from above in October of 1980, the love of God was unleashed in my heart, like a summer shower saturates the soil! (Romans 5:5) Of course, I am not speaking of my love for the Lord. I am testifying of the amazing, astonishing, and abounding love of God, for a wretch like me, which was shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit! He broke my heart over my mountains of sins against God and then blessed me with the overwhelming reality that God the Son had been pierced for my transgressions and crushed for my iniquities. God shined the light of the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ on my previously sin-blinded mind. For the first time in my life, I could behold the majestic glory of the love of God in the Cross of Jesus Christ for this sin-enslaved rebel. The Holy Spirit graciously planted the roots of conviction, contrition, and conversion in my heart. Moreover, He permeated my heart with the infinite glory of the love of God! As John Newton wrote, “I once was blind, but now I see!”

Precious friends, this same unconditional and irrevocable love of God has been poured into the heart of every born again believer, that we might be living channels of the mighty river of God’s love to other born again brothers and sisters. This is one of the blessed birthmarks of the new birth. The apostle further declared in I John 3:14, that the disciple of Jesus Christ knows that he has eternal life in Jesus Christ because he loves those who have been graciously adopted into the same forever family! The Apostle John was not describing the natural love of human affection, as in the love of a parent for their children. For there are hundreds of millions of unconverted parents who experience and express the ‘common grace of natural love’ for their children. Oh, but John was maintaining that this love is none other than the supernatural, sacrificial, serving, and sharing love of God the Father! This word ‘love’, which John continually employed in chapters 3 through 6 is the same Greek word which is found in John 3:16, “For GOD SO LOVED the world... .” It is the same Greek word which we find in I John 4:8, “For GOD is LOVE”. So, John was reminding us that the love of God (in Christ Jesus) has been unleashed in our hearts, so that we might be a ‘channel of HIS astounding and abounding LOVE’ to other born again disciples of Jesus Christ. “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples if you have (this brand of) love for one another.” Precious saints, this is precisely why our hearts remain overwhelmed with gratitude, over the truth that so many of you have continually exhibited God’s supernatural, sacrificial and sharing love (through the channel of this ministry) to pastors, church planters, and other believers who live and minister in very difficult and dangerous conditions. Your faithful ‘prayers and joyful grace-giving to this ministry have been a perpetual expression of the love of God to us, and to a countless number of fellow disciples in many different nations and cultures! Allow me to give just a few examples of how your ‘prayers and grace-giving have been employed since our last newsletter.

GOD HAS USED YOUR GIFTS TO MEET CRITICAL NEEDS FOR PERSECUTED CHURCH PLANTERS AND THEIR FAMILIES!

Recently, I was contacted by a dear brother in Christ, who I have been working with within a particular state in the nation of India. This servant pastor is an overseer of approximately 150 house church planters. This is the group that I was ministering to in a ‘secret conference’, which occurred at the beginning of the global pandemic. These brothers preach, teach and witness at the very risk of imprisonment and even death, for our Lord has called them to serve Him while living under the ruthless authority of a radical state government. He shared with me about an urgent need. Because of their faith, ten families had been run out of their homes and their village by religious extremists. These terrorists had literally pursued these families until they chased them into a forest. Fleeing to safety without any provisions, these Christian parents and their numerous children were in desperate need of a bore-well, for a clean water supply. Through your faithful and gracious giving, our ministry was able to provide the funding for this critical essential need. Also, we were able to give two other large gifts to a very significant ‘meal distribution and evangelistic outreach’ in another state in that same nation. They are being ravaged, once again, by a new strain of the Covid virus. Approximately 24,000 unconverted people have been fed numerous times, prayed for, and witnessed to, through this tremendous Gospel outreach. Friends, your gifts have been a vital part of this compassionate, evangelistic outreach. The leader of this outreach, who is also a close brother in the Lord, has interpreted for me on many occasions. He is one of the numerous church planters that this ministry supports monthly. He and other Christian doctors and nurses have taken this ‘crisis’ as an opportunity to do God’s work; God’s way; for God’s glory! It was such an encouragement to see Christian medical doctors, nurses, and other believers come alongside this church planter to minister to thousands of physical and spiritual needs, during this time of adversity.

Your gifts have also helped to supply a new P.A. system to a growing ‘church plant’ in South Africa. A few months ago, I taught the ‘Christ-centered Evangelism’ study to these dear church-planters and many others via Zoom and Facebook Live. In the following weeks, we learned about the glorious blessing that HeartCry Missionary Society had been the conduit to supply a much-needed building for these church planters, which will be transformed into a church building. For years, these two brothers have been faithful to preach and reach out to people in this high-crime area near Capetown. Recently, they have seen a gang leader converted to Christ, along with several others! The following are just a few words of testimony I received yesterday from one of the brothers. “Beloved, I am not sure what the Lord is busy doing, but it is mind blowing! This afternoon a woman, for whom we have been praying for years, made her way to my mom's house for prayer. My mom shared the Gospel with her and exhorted her to repent and believe. She said she wants God to save her and my mom told her that she needs to cry out to the Lord and confess her sins. She did just that. My mom said she has never seen someone change right in front of her eyes like that. This lady is in her late sixties. My mom used to tell us horror stories about her. She sold her daughter into prostitution when she was still a minor and introduced drugs to all her kids. She has been on our church prayer list for years. We buried her son who died from drugs and her boyfriend who also died from drugs. Her daughter is still a prostitute and on drugs. Please keep her in prayer and for wisdom as my mom and other sisters will disciple her. God is so gracious!” This is the third person, who has sought out our church and coming under conviction in less than two weeks.” (Mario Maneville) Dear co-laborers in Christ, our ministry has the opportunity to support one of their full-time Gospel workers, as they evangelize the lost, disciple new believers and will be actively involved in biblical counseling. We are extremely blessed to be a supporter of this thoroughly biblical and church-based ministry. Brothers and sisters, these are only a few of the numerous examples of how your faithful prayers and support are being used in the extension of the Gospel.

Additionally, I have been graced with open doors to continue to preach and teach in India and Africa through the means of Zoom and Facebook Live. Our ministry is still furnishing the funds for the workbook materials, meals, and other expenses, which are connected with these conferences. Although I long for the day, if the Lord would be so pleased, to return IN PERSON to teach these precious church planters and pastors in Kenya, South Africa, and varying different language states in India. But, I must trust in the truth that my Lord is sovereign over these present limitations for gathering assemblies of brothers within these countries. We must pray for these dear saints of God, for India is undergoing a devastating uptick of Covid. Uganda has shut down once again, and Kenya has issued new suspensions on worship gatherings in 13 hotspot counties. Please pray for all of these dear saints of God!

THE ONGOING MINISTRY AT THE MISSION OF HOPE AND THE HOME OF GRACE

Most recently, I completed an outreach meeting at the Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS. This is a ‘faith- based’ addiction recovery program, which has been operating since 1965. A dear brother in Christ, who is a biblical counselor at this program, messaged me after this 3-day outreach meeting, and said that several men are declaring that they have been converted to Christ during those 4 sessions! I am so grateful for the opportunity to proclaim the only message that is able to set the captives free!

I have also been extremely blessed to teach a ‘systematic 13-week study of the Beatitudes’, every Wednesday night when I am home, at the Mission of Hope, located in West Mobile. Last Wednesday evening was an awesome time of ministry, as we completed the 6th Beatitude, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they (and they alone) shall see God". One of the other teachers at the Mission of Hope sent these words of encouragement this week. “The Beatitudes are piercing into the hearts of many men. Brother Ed, God has given you a voice with these men”. Beloved, I consider every opportunity with these approximately 140 men to be a personal privilege, ‘to study to show myself approved unto God; to rightly divide the Word of truth in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to plead with these men to be reconciled to God! Each of these men, who enters into these facilities, possesses a never-dying soul, which is just as valuable as anyone whom I have ever preached to in any church, small or large. I count it an absolute joy to issue the Gospel call and the Gospel commands to these men, who each possess an eternal soul, which is valued more than this entire world! (Mark 8:36) Friends, would you please pray that there will be ‘fruit that remains for the glory of the Lamb’! We realize the ultimate test of authentic conversion will be manifested when they get back out into the world. However, we desire to be faithful handlers of the Gospel call that all men everywhere will repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE LORD BLESSED US WITH GLORIOUS SEASONS OF REFRESHING IN 2 SPRING BIBLE CONFERENCES

I am so very grateful that some of the churches within FL, TN, LA, TX, and Al, have begun to hold ‘extended meetings’ in recent months. Here are a few words of testimony from two of the meetings, which both occurred in FL. The first is from my dear brother in Christ, Jeremy Tatom, Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Steinhatchee, FL. Pastor Jeremy testifies “Once again, the Spring Conference at Fellowship Baptist Church in Steinhatchee was a great blessing to all who attended. You are such an encouragement to us! We consider the partnership that we have with Ed Lacy Ministries, to be a true blessing from God to our church. As a pastor, your visit could not have come at a better time. I was in need of sitting under Biblical teaching to be fed, strengthened, and refreshed. Providentially, the series that you delivered on the topic of ‘The Full Armor of God’ came at just the right time in the life of our church. In this world, our adversary is continuing to attack us with flaming arrows of doubt, discouragement, distraction, and despair. Thank you again, my dear brother. We always look forward to the next time that you will serve us the Word of God. Meanwhile, we will be praying for you, that many doors of opportunity will open and remain open for you to proclaim the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and also to be able to continue in the training of pastors around the globe to rightly handle the word of truth. Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Also, the following word of testimony is from my dear brother in Christ, Robin Thomas, Pastor of Joppa Baptist Church in Trenton, FL. “Your love for the Lord and concern for His people is always evident in the ministry of the word. I thank you, in the Lord, for your willingness to bring such rich and powerful truth to us. The ‘Redeemed to Worship’ series was a welcome refreshment after the turmoil of 2020, which caused us to examine every aspect of our worship considering the events of the past year. The fresh reminder that we live for Christ (Philippians 1:20-21) laid the groundwork for a wonderful week in Christ. It served to remind us that the supreme purpose of our lives is the worship of our Lord. As the week continued, Joppa was encouraged to worship with ‘heat and light’ (from John 4) and to offer Him our reasonable worship (from Romans 12). The Spirit of God powerfully spoke to our church through the final evening and your teaching from Job.

We were all personally and corporately reminded that it is both our duty and privilege to worship God in the dark valley of adversity. Never were these precious truths of God more needed for a church family than for us. We have recently seen a significant loss of life within our Church family. We conducted eight funerals in eight consecutive weeks to begin 2021. This included our loss of the sudden death of our much beloved worship leader. We desperately needed encouragement to worship God in a new and fresh manner. Brother, God used you to lovingly bless us with that profound and powerful message. Our souls have been refreshed! Our hearts have been encouraged! Our worship has been refocused on the Giver of life, even and only upon our Lord Jesus! Dear brother, many believers in this church have been encouraged to continue in their walk because of the ministry that the Lord has so graciously given you. I pray for your continued faithfulness to complete the work God has provided you. You are indeed a faithful brother and mentor to this pastor. Joppa Baptist Church loves you Bro. Ed."

GOD IS ABLE TO MAKE ALL GRACE ABOUND TOWARD YOU

Our Heavenly Father has extravagantly bestowed the funds that have been necessary for ministry, enabling us to be a channel of blessing to scores of pastors’ and church planters’ conferences, ongoing financial support of church planters and Gospel workers on four continents, numerous constructions of church buildings for needy church planters in third world nations, and basic supplies of food and water. In every opportunity afforded to us, we have as our primary goal, to be pleasing to the Lord, as the seed of the Good News of the Gospel is scattered in every outreach.

Oh, precious friend, our God has accomplished all of these things, through His faithful people whom voluntarily, joyfully, and bountifully support this ministry with your love, your intercessory prayers and your financial gifts. The promise found in 2 Corinthians 9:6 stands faithful. – “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”. This elementary and indisputable precept declares that the spiritual harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown. Brothers and sisters, the eyes of this itinerant preacher has seen a magnanimous spiritual harvest in 20 nations, in the lives of untold thousands of people, because of your love, prayers and ‘grace-giving’ to this ministry. Almost daily, I receive testimonies, by phone, email or Facebook, of ‘lasting spiritual fruit’ in the lives of numerous pastors, church planters and believers, which are directly connected to your partnership with this ministry. Dianne and I are acutely aware that, each gift that you have given to this ministry is primarily offered to God, for the extension of His kingdom and the magnification of His Son! Beloved ones, please know you are loved!

Thank you for your faithfulness in all of these things. The way you have partnered with us on this journey is no small matter. You are such a blessing to us; and you have made friends and increased your spiritual family through your love, your prayers for us and for others, along with your faithful giving toward these outreaches. You have been such a tremendous source of encouragement to us, as well as a great testimony of the love of God that has been shed aboard in your hearts. We are looking forward to that soon-coming day, when we will worship the Lord and the Lamb together forever in glory. But until that day, may we all declare together, “Thanks be to God for HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT”!