June 13, 2011
Greetings from Northern Utah, where it still can't quite decide whether it's winter, spring, or summer! But regardless of the season of the year (or of our lives), Jesus is faithful, and His mercies are new every morning, whatever the skies might look like.
We indeed serve a great and mighty God! Over the years, God has seen fit to place a number of unique ministry opportunities in the path of our small body of believers in this little storefront church on Main Street. We often ask, "Why us?" (Thank you, Lord, but why us?) Maybe it's just an example of how God takes pleasure in using and including the small, weak, and unlikely things of this world in His work. His glory shines all the brighter when there's no competition...when it's obvious to anyone watching that none of the glory belongs to anyone except Him!
CELEBRATING THREE YEARS OF BROADCASTING...
This week marks the third anniversary of the television program, Polygamy: What Love Is This? which has been produced by the volunteer efforts of many people from Main Street Church and other area churches. Doris Hanson, the host of the show and director of A Shield and Refuge Ministry (our outreach to Mormon Fundamentalists & Polygamists), continues to amaze us. She bravely faces the live studio cameras each week, deftly cuts through the rhetoric, and boldly proclaims the gospel of grace to an estimated 30,000-50,000 prime-time viewers each Thursday evening. (And if you're outside of Utah but want to catch it live, you can do so now by live streaming video from the website!)
When we first began producing this program in 2008, we figured we'd give it a try for a few weeks...half a dozen, maybe ten episodes...after all, who would want to watch a talk show about polygamy? Now, three years and some 150 episodes later, we are getting a steady stream of feedback, and most importantly, God is using it to draw people to Himself. What we've found most surprising is the number of mainstream LDS who have been impacted by the show, even though the Mormon fundamentalists are our primary target audience. But whether the viewers are fundamentalist or mainstream (or anyone else), there is nothing that gives more joy and satisfaction than to see people freed from bondage and entering into a relationship with the One who sets the captives free! And there is nothing more humbling than to know that God can reveal Himself amid the clumsy efforts of people like us, in the process.
If you're interested in watching an "update" on the ministry of Shield and Refuge, Doris recently gave a moving and riveting Sunday Morning presentation at Main Street Church, and that can be viewed right here on streaming video. You really should check it out! (If her presentation were a book, you'd not be able to put it down!)
UNVEILING GRACE's CONTINUING IMPACT
You may recall that about 3 months ago, we released our newest film, Unveiling Grace, which was made specifically to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with Mormons through the testimonies of eight former Latter-day Saints who have become ardent followers of the biblical Jesus.
Distribution has evened out as we enter the summer months, but we continue to hear from a steady stream of individuals and ministries that are now using and distributing this film, and are reporting that it is having a deep impact on many seeking Mormons. We hear directly from Mormon seekers, as well; some have told us that watching it was the final straw to push them out from under the false teachings of Mormonism; others have told us that it has prompted them to begin questioning things and to seeking the truth about Jesus. We also hear from Christians who say that it has encouraged them and helped them to better understand the struggle many Mormons experience. Some have reported that it has even changed the way that they share Jesus with Mormons!
Our next goal with Unveiling Grace is to expand its audience--by getting it audio-dubbed into Spanish. Within a few weeks after its release, we began getting requests for it in Spanish. The Spanish-speaking world is where Mormonism is growing the fastest. Subsequent releases will include Spanish subtitles, which is an improvement, but our real desire is to have it skillfully and professionally dubbed, once funds for this become available. (If you're interested at all in contributing toward this endeavor, click here for more information.)
A NEW SHADOW IN TOWN
Most of the residents of Brigham City are thrilled about the construction of a new LDS temple here. This week the white steeple went up, which immediately turned the temple into the tallest and most prominent building in town. It's now visible for miles around.
To those of us who seek to share the truth of Jesus Christ with our Latter-day Saint friends and neighbors, it is a sober reminder of the constant presence of religious bondage that looms over practically every aspect of the culture here. Brigham City, like most semi-rural towns in Utah, is upwards of 90% Mormon. Because our church has a history of engagement with Mormonism for the sake of the biblical Gospel,
we are quite often presumed to be antagonistic, hateful, and "contentious."
Antagonistic? Hateful? God forbid! These people are our friends, neighbors, and family members. We love them and want them to know the love we have received through Jesus Christ, and that's our only motivation.
But as for "contentious," well, the Bible tells us that we are to contend earnestly for the faith--the one faith that was once for all handed down (Jude 1:3).
It's not an easy task. It would be so much easier to stay quiet, be unobtrusive, to not rock the boat. It would certainly make life much more peaceful here, for all of us. But that is not what God has called us to. So please be praying that we would continue to lovingly, courageously, and creatively make His truth known, through the various ways and venues that He has given us, so that some will be drawn to Him, in spirit and truth--to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord!
May God bless you abundantly!
--Scott, for Main Street Church
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