Letter to the Saints

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The Last Together for the Gospel

A few weeks ago Mark and I departed for the United States for the last Together for the Gospel Conference. We gathered with over 10,000 pastors and church leaders in Louisville, Kentucky to be edified under the Word and encouraged one last time to remain faithful to Christ and his work. One surprise Mark and I both received, as well as a few pastors from UCCD, was Covid–19! By God’s grace, we’re all recovering. But for now, I want to reflect on three encouragements from T4G. 

Old Friendships

I didn’t know it when I left for the States, but T4G was like an old reunion for me. In God’s providence, I ran into my old youth pastor, Brian Richardson. He was my youth pastor from 6th–12th grade, and then he was the first boss I had when I entered ministry in 2009. Brian and I have lots of differences theologically, yet how refreshing it was to see him and his son–who I taught in Sunday school for two years. I was reminded of the deep unity the gospel brings. No matter our differences, Brian and I share the most important truths together. I’m so thankful for his investment in my life.

I also ran into my old college pastor, John Crawford. John is a dear brother who has become a ministry mentor to me. He is gentle, kind, and wise beyond years–a man I hope to become. What a blessing to run into him in the line to get a drink of water! John was the man I first saw true expositional preaching under. He walked us through the book of 1 Peter and I will never forget it.

I ran into over 20 ‘old friends’ while at T4G! Some of my friends were going through really difficult times and needed encouragement. Others–fresh in the ministry and excited. I left reminded of the rich friendships I have. What a blessing to labor for the gospel knowing that others are doing the same thing in different contexts.

Preaching

As one who preaches, it was refreshing and strengthening to sit under good preaching for three days straight. Every single message left an impression on me, and I only desire to continue faithfully opening up God’s Word and re-revealing God’s Word back to you. What an incredible, weighty, and joyous task it is to preach from and before God!

New Friendships

Recent and newer friendships were formed while at T4G too. It’s amazing how many people you can know through social media or through another friend, yet never meet in person. T4G provided a unique time to grab a meal, sit down over coffee, and share ministry burdens and blessings with new friends. Even as we walked down the street we would run into people and share ten minutes of edifying fellowship. So many pray for the work in Dubai, and so many have come through and seen it for themselves too. 

All in all, I left T4G encouraged and ready to keep laboring for the gospel here in the Middle East. While T4G has come to an end, I’m glad Mark and I got to be at the last one. I don’t think we’ll ever forget it!

With love,
Michael Abraham

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God or Money?

Trust God, not money, therefore be generous.

Last night, Pastor Harshit from Satya Vachan Church in Lucknow, India taught our church on What Jesus Says About Your Money. Have you ever considered that topic before? I found his talk to be encouraging and convicting, reassuring, and challenging. He worked through Jesus’ teaching about money from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5–7. I’d encourage you to take some time this week to sit at Jesus’ feet in the Sermon on the Mount and learn from him. He’s the king, this is his kingdom, and we are all his subjects–How should we then live?

Examine Motives (Matt. 6:1–4)

Giving and generosity aren’t means to impress God, and if giving and generosity are used to impress people, we actually get nothing. We may want the praise of man and on this earth we might receive it, but in heaven–nothing! Harshit showed us these startling truths from Matt. 6:1–4. Before we consider generosity or stinginess we must examine our hearts. Why do we give? Who are we seeking to please? What are we hoping to gain?

You Can Store Up Treasure in Heaven Or On Earth (Matt. 6:19–21)

All of us are storing up treasure. Harshit urged us to consider where that treasure is being stored. Is it in heaven, or is it on earth? On earth, it will be destroyed by moths, rust, and thieves. Maybe not in your lifetime even, but eventually! But in heaven, it’s untouchable. Heavenly treasure is the securest, safest investment you could make. And where your treasure is located simply reveals what your heart loves. Follow the money. There’s always a trail. Many of us are willing to sell our souls now for financial gain that will just betray us later in life. Jesus offers us a better way.

You Can Have a Good Eye or Bad Eye (Matt. 6:22–23)

If you consider this section of the Sermon on the Mount in light of Prov. 22:9 and Deut. 15:9, it becomes clear why Jesus transitions from the location of our treasure to the health of our eyes. Harshit reminded us, good eyes are generous and bad eyes are stingy. If you see someone in need and choose stinginess, you harden your heart. If you see someone in need and choose generosity, your heart only grows. Is your heart hardening or your grip tightens? Or is your heart growing as you open your hands?

You Can Serve God or Money (Matt. 6:24)

Lastly, Harshit reminded us there are two masters to serve but we have to choose. Will we serve God, or will we serve money? Will we love God, or will we love money? Generosity can’t wait until you have an emergency savings settled. Generosity can’t wait until you get that job promotion. Generosity can’t wait until you get out of school or out of debt. Ultimately, generosity only reveals which kingdom we are living for and which king we submit to.

Be Generous, Don’t Be Anxious (Matt. 6:25–34)

If you choose to give, rather than to hoard, you have no need to be anxious. God, your Father, provides bread, drink, and clothing to his children. It might be roti and not butter naan. It might be water and not juice. It might be used clothing and not designer. But he takes care of his children, and he’s called his children to take care of one another and the world, through acts of generosity that reflect how generous he is.

With love,
Michael Abraham

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