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The Contender

"It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3 

October 2017

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“O Israel, reTURN unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity…I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

They that dwell under his shadow shall reTURN; they shall REVIVE as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, what have I to do with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Hosea 14:1; 5-9

reTURN

So many of you will be receiving this letter at February’s closing hours! Just one month ago, I opened January’s correspondence with the words of Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest unto me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

Pastor Richard Owen Roberts kindly received my call just 30 minutes prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump. In answer to my question: ‘what are you musing upon at this very moment?’ He answered me with the quoting of this text and spoke his words with a real sense of soberness and hope. His ‘hope’ was conditional upon God’s mercy towards a remnant that might yet truly turn to the true knowledge of God.

I’ve continued in reading Hosea throughout February and still muse upon it, daily. Its closing words noted in my letter’s introduction reveal the promise and the beauty of what repentance and revival will bring! While I’m fully aware of the context of Hosea’s prophecy, the Apostle Paul reminds the 1st Century Church of this: “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Corinthians 10:6,11) Our real concern ought not be ‘what the first 100 days of the President will reveal’; but, that we measure ourselves by the sobering standard of His holiness. Our nation, as any, may rise or fall; it is our obligation as individual believers and the household of faith to ‘fall on our faces before Him; that (by His mercy) we might yet be revived to the praise of His glory!

Scotland

Just days ago, Sue and I joined with several team directors and instructors from the United Kingdom and South Africa, to conduct a Pointman Leadership Institute, Youth Seminar at Dumfries House, Comnock, Ayrshire (Scotland).

More than 45 youth from this humble, struggling region were chosen to attend through the caring leadership and vision of the ‘Police of Scotland.’ What a joy and privilege to pour truth and encouragement into the hearts of Scotland’s youth.

Africa

In our teaching, reference is made to a wonderful African tree: the Baobab. It produces a ‘super fruit’ and has been found to live over 2000 years. What is most significant is its root system that reaches more than 3 times deeper than its height.

While the Baobab Tree may reach to 75 feet; its roots may reach into the fertile soil more than 250 feet. The application for these precious young people challenged them to examine their own lives and called them to think upon the soil (principles); roots (character) and (visible behaviors/fruits) of their own lives.

Coatesville

Just prior to our going to Scotland, we hosted another gathering of 16 young men who averaged 19 years of age and have been under the faithful mentoring of our own staff and that of the Parkesburg Point.

Pointman Leadership Institute’s ‘team director’ Why Duvenhage (Cape Town, South Africa) led the training with the able assistance of Joshua Crans, Jason Jarvis, Grant Wise, Heinrich Botes and Dwayne Walton. Sue faithfully hosted us with most excellent meals and the willing help of David Grow, Don Harvey and Mary Brubaker.

Chester County Prison

On Wednesday, February 22, it was my wonderful privilege to recognize 13 women from our own prison who have been helping me with crafting a similar curriculum and initiative called: “ReTURNing Hearts.” The core reality of everything I’ve tried to capsulate in these 3 paragraphs has been the central theme of applying truth to the hearts of precious lives. Whether underprivileged youth in Scotland, or young men from our city’s families, or incarcerated women; the urgency is for applying truth to the listening heart and to pray for the ‘turning’ of the listener to a life of praise and honor to God. Opportunities abound!

Philadelphia Prison

It wasn’t many weeks ago that Heinrich and I had the opportunity to address 90 men in the Philadelphia Prison System. The Corrections Officer helped me greatly when she shared that all of these particular men had been charged with very serious crimes. In my opening remarks from God’s Word, I asked them to raise their hands to indicate if they were ‘fathers.’ Not surprisingly, more than 85% of their hands went up! It is this reality, the pandemic crisis of fatherlessness that consumes the precious lives of children and youth. Malachi 4:6 needs to be loudly proclaimed:

“And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Need

Threading through all of my rambling is one subtle theme: there is urgency for each one of us to confess our desperate need of His mercy. Per chance, if we heed the admonitions and exhortations so powerfully given in His Word; we might yet see a revival in the land. One thing is certain, “where there is no vision (no word from God), the people perish: but he that keepeth (guardeth) the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)

I left myself no space to share our great needs; yet, I’ve given you a brief report of what concerns us and what spends us, daily!

Thank You for Loving Us!

 Jack Crans

Important Dates for Prayer

The following dates are of particular importance, especially for your prayers on our behalf:

• April 23rd – 27th: ‘Fusion Conference’ Heart Cry for Revival at ‘The Cove’, Ashville, North Carolina. We want some of you to join us, for sure...

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