Dear friends and family in Christ,
I wanted to take some time to share with you some of the events and developments in our family across these past several months. It has been a time of significant growth, change, and transition, sometimes painful, as God works in us both to will and do to for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We had wonderful meetings and services in churches across the U.S.A. last fall. During these busy months of travel, Trina was at home caring for her father, Lou Graham, in the final months and weeks of his life. It has been a blessing for all of us to have Trina’s parents living next door to us here on our homestead here in the hills of Tennessee, and this has allowed for us all to have precious moments together these past nearly seven years and then especially in the final days of his life. Lou had COPD or emphysema for the past several years as his condition continually declined and then significantly worsened this fall after he contracted pneumonia. He was placed under hospice care in the home on November 7 before going to be with Jesus on November 26 after Carey I arrived home two days earlier to see him before he fell asleep in the Lord. We all gathered together for a beautiful funeral service in Dayton, OH, Lou’s place of birth, on December 4. This was followed by a meaningful ceremony with full military honors at Dayton National Cemetery, where his body now lies. We grieve his loss and also thank God for his life and the legacy in Christ that he left behind. Trina’s mother continues to live next door to us and we are thankful for the days we have together and for the grace of God, which continues to carry each one through the loss and give hope for the future in Jesus Christ. We do not grieve as others who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13)!
I am deeply thankful for my family. Trina continues to work full time from home in the field of medical billing. I am proud of who she is, the works she does, and the increasing responsibility that has been given to her. Only Jesus can maintain the balance of being a wife, mother, daughter, homeschool teacher, employee, bookkeeper, and all-around servant that she is to so many, all in the spirit of Christ. Chaili will soon complete her first year of college at Trevecca Nazarene University here in Nashville. The only word to describe her experiencing is “thriving.” She loves college and has excelled in her studies, while also finding a special love for being in gospel choir. As is normal for Chaili, she also finds ways to be a blessing and show the love of Jesus to most everyone she meets. Carey is nearly finished with seventh grade and continues to travel with me nearly two-thirds of the time. Our homeschooling allows us the flexibility to get schoolwork done in coordination with the travels, and it is a privilege to have him with me and get to disciple him. He is becoming a voracious reader, like his sister, but also loves outdoor activity and building things.
In addition to the travel, studying, and writing, it has been my joy and privilege to begin teaching classes live online this year with The Potter’s School (TPS), an online Christian school serving over 3,000 homeschool students around the world. This year we began a new series of courses at the school called Logos Study, in which I take a chapter of the Bible and teach high school students about being immersed in the Word for an entire semester. Each week I present a truth from the Word while also demonstrating how to use various Bible study tools and encouraging students in their own use of them. Our goal in these courses is to really disciple students and to reproduce young men and women who are seeking Jesus in the Word as a lifestyle. I wish I could share here the remarkable testimonies we receive nearly every week from either students or parents. It has been life-changing. God then surprised us last month when the school asked me to begin next year teaching the full-year Bible Survey course, a overview of the entirety of scripture over the course of the whole school year. We are deeply grateful for this amazing opportunity to point students even further to Jesus and to encourage them in a love for Him and His Word. It will be a challenge as I prepare for this class over the next several months, and I am in much need for prayer for Him to do something through me that is beyond my ability to accomplish.
Through all of these experiences in the past several months, it seems that God continues to increasingly place the emphasis of discipleship and equipping on my heart and in opportunities before us. He brought about a few occasions last fall in which I was given the opportunity to do the same kind of equipping in churches that we do with students in the online classes. One of those instances was a multiple-church event in Georgia where I was asked to teach Sunday School teachers and other church leaders about Bible study tools that are available to them. In two churches where we were during the fall, we had class time during which we demonstrated Bible study tools. In those same two churches I also preached one of the evening services in a new way, showing people on a projected screen some of the Greek words and where in the tools I was finding the meanings or grammar of those words. There was tremendous response to this experimental mode of presenting the Word, and I may be trying it in an even more extensive way in at least one church this spring. If you wish to know more about this or have any questions about this kind of presentation, please feel free to contact me.
If it is something that the Lord places on your heart, I would deeply appreciate prayer for Jesus’ resourcing, guiding, and anointing in some areas He has placed before us at this time. As mentioned earlier, I will be spending the next several months preparing for the new Bible Survey course with TPS in addition to the regular Logos Study courses. At the urging of some of our friends, I am also currently working on a 1-year day-by-day devotional which we hope to have in print in the next few months. This devotional will take at least three of our current books and break them down into daily “bite-size” pieces. We are praying about some other avenues of sharing and equipping, but these, along with upcoming meetings, are the areas of immediate need for God’s moving and touch.
We thank you from our hearts for the prayer across these months and for encouragement we receive from you. Would you please let us know how we can be in prayer for you? I am more aware than ever before of the battle in which we are involved and of the significance of these days and the relationships He is giving to us. Every day matters; every day is a gift as He has called us to live it out with a holy calling. May God give to you, your family, and the Body of Christ where you are the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, and may the eyes of your hearts be “flooded with light” (Eph. 1:17-18),
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father