by Shawn Brasseaux
Beloved, it is rather difficult to fathom that 2011 is nearly expired and that another new year, 2012, awaits us. This past year has been very prosperous in the ministry, and we anticipate what the Lord will do in and through us in the upcoming year. In this Bible study, we will take time to reflect on the events of the past year, and to discuss some of our ministry goals for the upcoming year.
The year 2011 was very prosperous for arC Ministries—we were able to reach more souls this year than we ever have in our six years of ministry. How we thank our heavenly Father for the opportunities we had to teach, verbally and through writing, the precious truths of His Word to family, friends, acquaintances, professors, classmates, and complete strangers. We can only wonder how many souls were edified and saved worldwide.
During the past year, we saw the “rise” and “fall” of our newspaper ministry. For 22 weeks, from mid-December 2010 to mid-May 2011, we were privileged to write weekly Bible study columns in our local newspaper… my, what controversy arose because of it! Convicted souls lashed out at the newspaper and myself, recommending the column’s cancellation. My critics were so annoyed that they “recruited” two Roman Catholic priests to write weekly columns, hoping to intimidate and silence me. Nevertheless, we continued writing “offensive” Bible studies, undaunted by the measures our critics took. Finally, a desperate newspaper editor—a professing Christian at that!—began to censure and edit (water down) the column. Immediately, I objected to the editing of the column, which led to the column being discontinued.
Nonetheless, we are grateful to our Father God in that He allowed us to write in the newspaper for the short time we did, to minister to many lost and spiritually unlearned souls we would have not otherwise reached. The cancellation of the newspaper ministry was one of the tremendous losses with which we have had to deal this past year.
The same day the newspaper column was cancelled, another certain heartbreaking event happened to us while in the ministry, and thus began my spiral into a severe depression that lasted for the remainder of this year. It was a “two-pronged attack” from the satanic policy of evil, and it struck right down to our soul. The newspaper cancellation was the easier of the two events to get over, but how the other major event has haunted us all these months. Honestly, we are bothered daily by the latter event, some days being unbearable with bittersweet memories.
To Satan’s delight, our newspaper ministry was hindered and eventually destroyed. However, just a few weeks after the newspaper column was cancelled, we launched our daily devotional blog, 333 Words of Grace (www.333wordsofgrace.wordpress.com), which has been one of our primary ministry avenues. That blog “333,” now celebrating its eighth month, is an archive of over 200 grace-oriented devotionals covering a wide range of Bible topics. For God’s glory, the newspaper ministry was cancelled, so that the devotionals blog could begin! Had we continued in the newspaper, our devotionals blog would have never been launched.
Saints, this past year, we faced our darkest days. By the grace of God, and your fervent prayers for us, we were able to endure them.
Despite the great stress, extreme heartache, persecution, and months of severe depression, we rejoice that the Gospel of the Grace of God still went forth for His glory. Consider what our Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:12-14 KJV:
“12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
While writing his epistle to the Philippians, Paul was in prison in Rome! The apostle’s imprisonment, upon first consideration, seems like a hindrance to God’s will and Paul’s ministry, does it not? If Paul is in prison, he cannot be out ministering abroad in the Roman Empire. Yet, notice what Paul wrote: “the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” In other words, Paul wrote—The devil meant my incarceration for harm, but God allowed me to go to prison so I could preach in jail! So, had Paul not gone to prison, he could not have reached those in that prison.
Had we not gone through those difficult times, the Gospel would not have reached the places it did. God’s Word will be published, especially during difficult times. Indeed, our suffering for the Gospel’s sake was well worth it, just as Paul said. 🙂
Again, dear saints, how we thank God for “your fellowship in the gospel” (Philippians 1:3-5). We are bound to thank you, whose emails and fervent prayers encouraged us during those painful months. It is through your prayer support that we accomplished what we did. Thank you for allowing us the privilege to teach you. Praise the Lord!
In Philippians 3:12-16 KJV, we read:
“12 Not as though I had already attained [unto the resurrection of the dead, verse 11], either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
As this passage teaches, we all still have much more spiritual growth! The events of this past year, though painful, were used to strengthen us, to teach to depend more on the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ and less on ourselves. Romans 5:1-5 KJV reaffirms:
“1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
The tribulations through which we went gave us patience, our enduring those difficult circumstances brought about experience, and that experience in those situations gave us hope, for hope makes us confident, since the love of God is “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.” The love of God sustained us, allowing us to endure the struggle, the spiritual war between good and evil, our Christian ambassadorship in this present evil world.
Through the suffering, we have gained great insight into life matters, insight we would not have gained without personally experiencing those matters and applying sound doctrine to those matters.
And so, as Philippians 3:13-14 said, “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Beloved, “we press toward the mark!” We desire to grasp a better understand “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” In order to continue the spiritual growth, and learn more of what God wants us to know, we must endure another year, with its accompanying troubles.
Human nature causes us to shrink away from such suffering, but God’s grace teaches us “bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 KJV).
This upcoming year will be quite strenuous on us, so we ask that you pray for us, and rest assured that we will be praying for you. We have a number of ministry projects that need to be undertaken. There is much writing to be done, much videoing to be recorded, and much speech to be uttered.
Lord willing, this coming year, we hope to contribute hundreds of studies to the advancement of young-earth Biblical creationism as the most plausible scientific viewpoint, to the appreciation for the King James Bible’s authority as God’s preserved Word in English, to make known dispensational Bible study as the key to Bible understanding, and ultimately, to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour and the true God.
How we anticipate the Lord’s coming for us, and while we continue waiting for Him, we have been entrusted with “the ministry of reconciliation” so that we may proclaim “the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)—that Christ Jesus came to die for our sins, be buried, and be raised again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This is the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God that we declare unto you who have never trusted exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour!
As 2011 fades into the recesses of memory, and 2012 becomes a reality, we should keep this sound doctrine in mind: Beloved, like the difficulties of this past year, “the things which [will happen unto us will fall out] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel!” Lord willing, in 2012, we hope to “continue fighting the good fight of faith…” no matter what else it may cost us (1 Timothy 6:12).
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM arC MINISTRIES!