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.