The Contender – A Cry From Jack’s Heart

August 2018

Philippians 3:18,19 (“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory in in their shame, who mind earthly things.”)

“Am I A Soldier of the Cross?” is an old hymn that asks a timely question: “Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb, and shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His name? … Sure I must fight if I would reign; increase my courage, Lord; I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Thy word.”

The Deliberate Use of Brackets

Approximately 100 high school and college young people from Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia recently served in embracing about 100 boys and girls from Coatesville, Pennsylvania at Camp at Old Mill. Calvary Chapel’s mission-team studied through the entire book of Philippians during their week of intensive, costly ministry. I had the joy of addressing their hearts following their week-long-study of Philippians and shared Philippians 3:18,19 as my personal heart-cry to them.

The deliberate use of brackets in this text is there for a reason; it was carefully placed in the original language of the New Testament. While most all students of Philippians summarize the epistle as emphasizing the ‘joy’ and ‘rejoicing’ of the Christian, the Apostle Paul in this brief noted portion is actually weeping.

My hunger for a greater understanding drew me to a message by the late Martyn Lloyd Jones. His sobering (recorded) message on this text was entitled: Enemies of the Cross.

Am I an enemy of the Cross? Answering these questions may helpful to decide:

  • Do I mind earthly things?
  • Do I glory in what is shameful to God?
  • Is my belly (my natural, sensual desires) my God?
  • Is destruction my end?

TO KNOW CHRIST AND TO MAKE HIM KNOWN cried out to all of us from the front wall of the old camp’s chapel while I was speaking and still calls each of us to understand Paul’s tears. Paul was consumed by the Cross:

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11)

Grace was so costly to Jesus Christ! It seemed a costly grace to Paul. What of me?

The comparison of the two Pauline texts noted above describes two very different behaviors of those professing faith in Jesus Christ. There is a coming trial that shall test every one of our confessions (of what sort it is) and I know that all that shall endure is that which is wrought in Christ, alone!

Am I a soldier of the cross or am I an enemy of the cross?

It’s most sobering to muse on this; but time and perhaps only eternity will make manifest who and what shall endure! (2 Corinthians 4 and 5 will be most needful for deeper musing)

August’s Fourth Sunday Night Solemn Assembly

On Sunday, August 26 at 6pm we will be joined by Ken Welborn, Executive Director of Foreign Service Fellowship, a non-profit, non-government, evangelistic organization, based at the United Nations in New York, whose goal is to assist in fulfilling the Great Commission by reaching the ambassadors from the 193 UN member-states. Read more about Ken Welborn here.

We will also be greatly blessed by the singing of Clair and Charlene Leaman in this our final Fourth Sunday Night Solemn Assembly of 2018. While rains may have eclipsed some of our anticipated blessings in the meetings of June and July, God is still on His throne and we invite you to gather with us for what will be another night for the preaching of God’s Word with urgency.

As I write, children from Grace Baptist Church of Brooklyn, New York arrived at Camp at Old Mill for their annual Summer Boot Camp. I can assure you that the oft’ rising waters of the ole’ Brandywine River and inclement weather definitely did ‘not’ hinder the uncompromised and faithful teaching of the Word of God.

Every single week since mid-June we’ve experienced the joy of seeing at-risk children embraced by the costly and unfailing mercies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of you reading this letter have been a major part of this with us. Thank you.

Upgrading Camp at Old Mill

We have been blessed to begin plans for upgrading the camp’s bathrooms, games room and chapel areas. There is even discussion about covering the outdoor basketball area. Upgrades on lighting and even the water system will clearly be within the scope of our prayerful planning.

Beyond what God has already provided, there is a ‘matching gift’ now before us of $22,000.00. Since writing to you in July we’ve received $8,500.00 towards this timely grace. I’ll write no more of this, but am laying the opportunity before you and most importantly as God might will.

Ministry at Chester County Prison

I want to turn my heart to Chester County Prison in these closing thoughts.

Heinrich Botes has taken on the role of in house pastor/chaplain at this prison. County Corrections Gospel Mission (CCGM) is partnering with Onesimus Ministries in this undertaking and we continue to see both the opportunity and the peril of such a ministry. I long to share with you the dangerous reality of present day missions and desire an occasion where we can meaningfully communicate the exciting blessings, but also, the perilous, daily work that constantly rises before us.

We need you to be praying and interceding for all the work that is being poured out in the Chester County Prison and in the lives of both prisoners and staff. I can assure you that we face very real, spiritual warfare and the future beckons our most careful planning, diligent labor and prayer. Dearest loving friends, please hear my heart!

Counting the Cost and Counting His Blessings!

Jack Crans, Director   Job 42:1-6

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