Mid-Term Update

God has a mission to magnify His glory and to proclaim His gospel in all creation. Jesus clearly prescribes His strategy for accomplishing the mission when He commissions His followers to make disciples of all peoples. Go into all the world and make disciples that God’s glory might be magnified and His gospel proclaimed. Missions at Parkwood flows from the mission of God as we seek to participate in His mission through short-term, mid-term, and long-term sending. 

Mid-Term Missions is a missions endeavor occurring in a timeframe of two months to two years. Parkwood currently has three mid-term gospel workers on the field. 

Rebecca was recently sent by Parkwood to serve for the summer alongside Jason Griffin in Surprise, Arizona as part of our Phoenix partnership. She left Gastonia at the beginning of June and plans to return from Phoenix at the end of the summer. She is doing well and serving in the Arizona heat for the sake of the gospel. The Father is granting her valuable experience and using her life and work for His glory. Pray for Rebecca that the Father’s mercy would rest upon her and yield much fruit through the ministry He allows and blesses. 

Esperanza has been sent from Parkwood to an extreme place and frontier location. She is in a secured area where we cannot divulge her name or location for her safety, yet she has willingly and joyfully left home and comfort for the sake of the gospel among a people far from God. Pray for Esperanza and for her family as she is away; pray on behalf of her parents for their peace and that they would be strengthened by their daughter’s zeal and sacrifice for the gospel. Pray on behalf of Esperanza that she will be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove and that her joy will be a never ending fountain springing up unto eternal life. 

David and Carla Demaree and their children were sent out from Parkwood in November of 2015 and are currently serving in Honduras among the Chorti through 2017. David is working in discipleship and training with Edgardo, a Chorti brother leading much of the work among his people. Pray for the Demarees as they have given this period of their lives to serve God’s glory and gospel in Honduras. Pray they will see fruit in their ministry, in Edgardo’s life and ministry, and in gospel advancement among the Chorti of Honduras. 

As our attention is called to these two ladies and this family who have given two months to two years for the sake of the gospel, please pray for them. Thank God that He has called them, and pray for His sustaining grace in their lives. Also, as you consider their going, would you consider your going? Parkwood desires to continue sending increasing numbers of short-term, mid-term, and long-term gospel workers to the nations. Pray for Rebecca, Esperanza, and the Demarees, and pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more workers into His fields that are white for harvest. 

Holding Marriage in Honor

Marriage is under attack. It always has been attacked – look how quickly the design of marriage is perverted in the historical accounts in the Scriptures – and will continue to be attacked. Some opposition comes in the form of pressure from the world to conform to a pagan plan for marriage, or from the calculated attack of anti-christs who desire to destroy the biblical model, and of course from the evil one who seeks the failure of all that is good. The line of attack is recognizable historically and culturally from abdication of biblical roles in marriage and family, to divorce, then the floodgates of no-fault divorce, the prominence of egalitarianism, homosexuality introduced through humorous media, arguments for same-sex marriage, and the current attempt to eliminate gender through opposing male and female restrooms and the introduction of new, non-gender pronouns. The attack on the biblical design of marriage is certainly apparent and continuously demonstrated.

The people of God must return to a healthy conviction of Hebrews 13:4 and faithful application of its principle. “Let marriage be held in honor among all,” writes the author of Hebrews. We call attention to this principle in particular as we reach Matthew 19:1-12 in our study of the first Gospel, making this first Sunday in June not only a significant gospel opportunity as always but also a poignant cultural moment as well. As we seek to live faithfully and respond appropriately in the context of marriage, I would call attention to several recommended resources on the topic of marriage.

The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller

Two Becoming One, Don and Sally Meredith

When Sinners Say I Do, Dave Harvey

God on Sex, Daniel Akin

Sacred Sex, Tim Gardner

What Did You Expect, Paul Tripp

The Mingling of Souls, Matt Chandler

If you prefer a sermon to a book, or find it easier to listen to audio, John Piper has preached “Marriage, Christ, and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God,” a series of  14 sermons on marriage. 

Christianity and Patriotism

How ought Christian Americans view patriotism? Most often it seems our views of the relationship between patriotism and Christianity are based upon assumption rather than conclusion. For many, patriotism is equated with Christianity, where patriotism is an essential quality of Christian belief and lack of national pride is equal to lack of belief in God. So what is the right view of patriotism? 

What Is Patriotism?

Patriotism has been defined as an emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland. Patriotism, then, demonstrates both consistency and tension with Christianity. Consistent with Christianity, patriotism reflects a gratefulness which flows from recognition of blessing. We do not initially choose our nationality, though it can be earned. In the case of United States citizenship, birthplace nearly guarantees high probability of at least minimal exposure to special revelation. Whereas the birthplace of India or the North Caucasus region, for example, grants much less likelihood of exposure to the gospel. And beyond initial exposure to the gospel, Americans enjoy many freedoms unknown in other parts of the world. For this reason, emotional attachment of an American citizen to the United States is consistent with Christianity. Our emotional attachment, often expressed in terms of love, support, or defense, reflect grateful appreciation to God for his blessing in our citizenship. 

Citizenship, though, raises the critical question of tension between patriotism and Christianity. How can a Christian rightly express patriotism when this land of the free and home of the brave is not the true homeland? In fact, whatever land in which a Christian finds himself is not his homeland. No, this earthly land is specifically not our home, and our citizenship is expressly not in this world but in the next. How then can a Christian rightly be patriotic and have emotional attachment for a homeland when he or she is intuitively and overtly called to long for a better country? The Christian’s loyalty is most appropriately for the eternal home rather than this temporary land (Philippians 3:20, Hebrews 11:6). 

Is Patriotism Antithetical to Christianity?

It doesn’t seem, however, that patriotism is antithetical to Christianity, but patriotism must clearly be articulated by the Christian and for the Christian in a manner distinct from the worldly patriot. Our love for country originates in gratefulness to God and is therefore defined and limited by our ultimate love for God – not His gifts nor our autonomous identity – and our recognition of the essential difference between the gift itself and the Giver of good gifts. So a Christian can certainly be patriotic, but his patriotism must remain distinct from his worship. As we consider distinguishing our patriotism and our worship, consider the article published by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, “Patriotism and the Gospel in American Churches.”

Further Questions to Consider:

Is my patriotism consistent with the blessing and provision of God, specifically that which has been given through the sacrifice of so many military personnel?

Is my patriotism offensive to international visitors or to brothers and sisters of different ethnicities? 

Does my patriotism reflect the call to long for a better country?

Is my patriotism an instigation to focus too narrowly upon this nation when we are called to make disciples of all nations?

Is my patriotism inappropriately equated with Christianity, or is my estimation of America improperly equated with Israel?

Meet Parkwood’s Global Disciple-Making Mobilizer 

Meet David Crane, Parkwood’s Global Disciple-Making Mobilizer. 
David Crane was born in El Paso, Texas and was raised in Cherryville, North Carolina. David is married to his beautiful wife Renee, and they are blessed with three children: Thomas, Zebulon and Mary. Zeb is a writer and lives in Charlotte. Mary is also single and lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a Vet-Tech. Thomas and his wife Leslie are serving the gospel internationally, and they have three children: Judah (5), Sofia (2), and Sarah Renee (born Jan 1, 2016).

The purpose of Parkwood is to glorify God by laboring together for the growth of all believers while going with the gospel to all people(s). It is therefore our desire to increase gospel witness and effectiveness in our community and among the nations. To this end, Parkwood’s missions effort is developing into a more focused two-pronged approach: Local Disciple-Making and Global Disciple-Making. Enter David Crane. David will join the Global Disciple-Making office as a mobilizer to offer consultation and guidance from a wealth of knowledge and experience. 

Crane holds degrees from Columbia Bible College and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He pastored Beulah Baptist Church in Virginia before serving with the IMB for more than twenty years. From 1993 to 2015, David and Renee served in Africa, where the Father called tens of thousands to Himself. He has served as a Personalizer and as a teacher at the Kenya Baptist Theological College. Crane was also a strategic leader for East Africa, coaching and supervising field personnel in five countries.

I encourage you to make David and Renee feel a welcomed part of the faith family at Parkwood, and take every opportunity to get to know them. This wonderful couple is a great addition to our leadership as Parkwood seeks to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching everyone that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Matthew 28:18-29, Colossians 1:28).