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February letter from Alistair Begg

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Dear Friend,

Alistair Begg This letter must begin with a huge THANK YOU for your extremely generous giving throughout 2012 and particularly in the final weeks of the year. Our year-end goal was substantial ($2.5 million) and it is thrilling to report that we received just over $2.4 million in the closing two months.

We have begun the year with a phrase from the Apostle Paul in mind. Writing to the Corinthians, he informed them that his goal was, "to win as many as possible" (1 Cor. 9:19 NIV). As a ministry, we want to seize every opportunity to make the Gospel widely known. There is a direct correlation between your giving and our going. In the closing weeks of the year, we were greatly encouraged to be joined by nearly 400 new Truthpartners and we have room for more!

Last week I declined an invitation to answer a question about how we can make the Bible relevant. My reason is simple. It is not our job to "make the Bible relevant," but instead to show how relevant it is. There is no area of life that the Bible fails to speak to with clarity and relevance. I was forcibly struck by this fact as I conducted a wedding at the end of December. As I introduced the ceremony with phraseology that has been used for centuries, the words seemed to take on new meaning against the cultural background in which marriage is being redefined.

"Marriage was created for the lifelong help and comfort which husband and wife are to give to each other. It exists for the well-being of family life so that children, who are gifts from God, might be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And it exists for the welfare of human society only where the marriage bond is held in honor."

Now just let that sink in for a moment, and it is impossible to miss the fact that for us to uphold this Biblical standard is to increasingly find ourselves at odds with the prevailing amoral climate. The values and standards of God's kingdom may be opposed but not because they are irrelevant. They are too relevant.

It is a reminder to us that the Christian church is essentially countercultural. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come. This truth comes home forcibly in the audio CD which is our February resource. Jerry Bridges very kindly gave me the chance to record the audio version of a new book, "Who am I? – Identity in Christ." It is Jerry at his best and I encourage you to take advantage of this offer. Understanding who we are in Christ is essential in the context of singleness or marriage. Learning to live within God's ordained role as a wife or husband is liberating! It sets us free from wrong expectations about marriage itself.

"We [should not] make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we hunger. To assume so would be to be guilty of blasphemy. Only God satisfies the hungry heart. Marriage is but one of the channels He uses to enable us to taste how deeply satisfying His thirst-quenching grace can be." – Sinclair B. Ferguson.

It is not insignificant for us to be spending the first half of this month considering what the Bible has to say about Love in the Local Church and then to be alert to the need to pray for our pastors and to engage in evangelism, fully aware that God has put His treasure in old clay pots.

The fact that we are all cracked and tend to leak only serves to magnify God's amazing grace!

This comes from one clay pot with my love in the Lord Jesus,

Categories: Letters from Alistair, Ministry Updates, Recommended Resources