Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.   Psalm 116:15

       Last Friday, James Innell (J.I.) Packer passed away at the

 age of 93. Packer was a British-born Canadian Christian theologian and author who wrote more than 30 books and hundreds of articles.  Packer was the author of one of my very favorite books, “Knowing God.”  I highly recommend you read “Knowing God” as it has become one of the widest read Christian books since it was published in 1973 (over 1,000,000 copies sold in North America).

The first section is about knowing God and there is nothing more enjoyable than getting to study the God who created us, loved us, and came to earth to redeem us.  “Knowing God” is one of those books that can be read over and over and you will glean more and more of the grandeur of God each time. 

        I also highly recommend Packer’s “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” which is super helpful in explaining (if possible) how evangelism and the sovereignty of God co-exist, and actually enhance one another.  Packer argues that the sovereignty of God in no way inhibits evangelism but sustains it and Packer encourages the reader to evangelize with boldness and persistence.  Packer loved the Puritans and often referenced their writings and encouraged their books.  On my desk is Packer’s “A Quest for Godliness: A Puritan Vision of the Christian Life.”  Honestly, the small print and the 336 pages have kept me from reading it but I’m going to read it soon.  I also want to read Packer’s “Finishing Our Course with Joy” because Packer certainly did that.  Packer was biblically sound, God-focused, and so very heavenly-minded.  Packer was also the general editor of the English Standard Bible (ESV) and the theological editor of the ESV Study Bible (both of which I treasure).  I think the Lord for the gifts that He gave to J.I. Packer and how he was faithful in using those gifts to benefit so many (myself included) in growing in their faith and understanding of God. So, I commend Packer’s books to you.  I’d start with “Knowing God” but wouldn’t stop there.  

       I am excited to start having Wednesday evening services at the church (in sanctuary) starting this evening (July 22nd) at 6:30 PM.  Danny will lead us in a couple of songs (mostly traditional) and I will plan on having a time of prayer and a short Bible-study (usually about 15 minutes).  We will continue to stream our Wed. evening prayer and Bible study online for those who like to watch.  I would invite you to join me in praying about what we should do after our Sunday morning services reach capacity (while social distancing is required).  We had 132 in our second service on Sunday and other than the two front rows, we had about all that we could safely seat.  We are very willing to add a third worship service but determining the best time and logistics is something we would appreciate your prayers.  Maybe we can continue to pray that God will bring a swift end to COVID-19 and we can replace all of our seating and pack the house for the glory of God.  Until then, may God give us wisdom in regards to what we need to do next to safely accommodate those who would like to attend. 

       Finally, if I can minister to you in any way, please do not hesitate to give me a call.  If you need to talk or want somebody to pray, please call.  Don’t forget to be praying for your “one” and continue to plant gospel seeds and look for opportunities to have gospel conversations!  God is mighty to save! 

Bro. Harold