Dear Grace Church and Friends,
Thank you for praying fore Molly, the kids and me over the past few days. From Tuesday morning until today I spent time alone in Northwestern Wisconsin (near Hayward) at a beautiful cabin (think luxurious log-home/resort) for the purpose of prayer, Bible study, reading and communion with God. On Sunday I asked you to pray for me, confident that He would bless me more if you were praying. I am quite assured that many of you did, indeed, pray for me. I thought it would be encouraging to you if I shared some of the fruit of my time.
Here are some evidences of grace that I wrote in my journal:
1 - Sweet fellowship with God - true communion through prayer, reading and meditation on God's Word, truths and works...2 - I was given good health and alertness - not sleepy during me time3 - I benefited from a great setting - beautiful, comfortable, great to reading chairs, quiet4 - My family at home did very well; they were willing to send me off and pray for me ( and were people serving them by asking if they can make a meal for them)5 - The knowledge of friends and church praying for me was a great encouragement to me6 - A diligence from God was given to me to spend my time wisely in reading, praying and journaling7 - The prayers and pursuit of a vision and "holy ambition" as a pastor was a great help in focusing my time and energy and proved fruitful (if you want to know more what I mean by this - see this Sermon "A Holy Ambition" - I have been praying that God would speak to me and give me a particular burden that would drive me)8 - The use of my Kindle was a great blessing and help to me in the accessibility of books and comfort to read longer in comfort9 - The confirmation from God regarding a holy ambition - more to come...10 - The knowledge that the cabin that I stayed at was being provided to me by dear friends who are part of the congregation and who love and pray for me (thank you Joe and Suzanne Tromberg)11 - The help of sporadic breaks to provide variety to my time - Fox News, whirlpool (yes, it was luxury), a good cold run in the country (I love running in sub zero conditions)12 - Freedom and protection from temptations of the flesh and other distractions that would draw me away from my purpose.13 - Good sleep in a very comfortable bed...
Yes, it sounds like I was really suffering for Christ while I was up there, right!
I profess to God and to you my gratitude for these things with a sure knowledge that I don't deserve this form of grace and mercy but I rejoice that He (and you) have extended it to me.
For those who are interested, here are some things I read while I was away. I am so thankful for the time and ability to read and pray.
The Holy Scriptures:
- 1 Peter
- Romans 8
- Psalm 145 (spent a lot of time on this passage)
- Psalm 23 and 46
- Deuteronomy 4-6
- John 6, 12
- Isaiah 55
- Psalm 115
- Also - my read through the Bible plan.
Books Other than the Bible:
- Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan - Great book that reminded me of the brevity of this life and the pilgrimage that we are on until we die or He returns. This books reminded me of the spiritual warfare that we face as Christians and our need to fight the Enemy with the spiritual weapons that He provides for us.
- Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan - Here the puritan John Bunyan gives the account of his salvation and his internal wrestlings with his own guilt, sin, and freedom that he found only at the foot of the cross through the Gospel. He also gives the account of his calling to be a preacher, his imprisonment for preaching without being licensed by the State Church in England (think 1660s) and his 12 year imprisonment because he insisted on obeying God rather than man in fulfilling his calling as a preacher of the Gospel. In prison he wrote books that have impacted generations of Christians.
- The Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham - After being impacted by his sermon that we listened to at the parenting seminar last fall I wanted to read his book on the same subject - The Centrality of the Home in the evangelism and discipleship of the children. This was a very impactful book for me to read as I consider our calling as a church and families to raise our kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton - I didn’t read this book in its entirety, but it provided a great break in my reading. Chesterton reflects on what is wrong with the thinkers of today. He has a tremendous chapter about the ethics of Elfland in which he talks about the importance of the "fairy tales" in their shaping of his imagination as it relates to the REAL world that God has "magically" made and continues to sustain.
- Helping Children to Understand the Gospel by Sally Michael and others - This book is printed by Children's Desiring God and is a book that every parent should read, be familiar with and use in their home. I was moved to pray for my kids and the kids of Grace church as well as their parents.
- The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory (1886) - I had this book recommended to me by Douglas Wilson and I am more than halfway done. This book is a very helpful read for every parent (no matter what stage they are in), Church teacher, pastor, elder, or anyone else who has a desire to pass on knowledge to someone else in an effective way - I hope that includes you. As a preacher it has been very insightful. I hope it helps .
Ok, if you are actually still reading, I will close with another thank you.
Together with you in the Greatest Cause,
Pastor Daniel Patz