To our friends and ministry partners:
We hope you enjoy this newsletter with updates on our family and ministry. Included is a devotional, a report from my recent trip to Israel, and more exciting family and ministry highlights.
Josh & Ruth Pauley
The Rewards of Holiness
Through His commandments, Jesus shares with us from His own wisdom and experience the keys to enjoying the rewards of holiness. Central to this reward is a dynamic relationship with the Father and a life filled with spiritual vibrancy and joy.
Matthew 11:29-30 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Jesus' yoke represents the way He lived and the way He leads. First, His yoke is easy because He sets clear expectations as to how we ought to relate to God and others. In other words, we don't have to guess what kind of life God expects us to live. Second, His burden is light because He helps us by giving us strength and courage when we need it.
The Bible tells us that God will give us a crown of beauty and a joyous blessing as we walk in righteousness. (Isaiah 61:3). In other words, when we aim to obey Christ there is a God-given grace activated within us that awakens our hearts and enables us to not only live righteously but to also enjoy the beauty of relating to God in holiness.
No one has a life as exhilarating as Jesus. He's been anointed with the oil of gladness more than any other (Ps 45:7). Jesus understands pleasure better than anyone. His life and personality flow out of a heart filled with extreme fascination, wonder, hopefulness, jubilation, and affection. And it's this same Jesus who also invites us to share in the rewards of holiness as we set our hearts and aim our lives to live in affectionate obedience to the Son of God.
Israel Trip Update
In March I was part of a team that took 16 junior high and high school students from our church to Israel for Spring Break. For ten days we toured Israel visiting Biblical places like the Garden of Gethsemane, the Jordan River, Shiloh, the Sea of Galilee, Megiddo and many more. We rejoiced as several students on the trip were baptized in the Jordan River. We also toured the offices of the Jewish Agency for Israel, visited Israeli congregations, ministries, and community centers, and shared meals and stories in Israeli homes.
Every one of the students have personal testimonies about how their heart and life has been impacted by their experience on the trip as they encountered God in the land, through the people, and through their unique personal experiences while we were there.
Thank you again to all of you who prayed and provided for this trip and please know that your support has made a real difference in the lives of these students and in the hearts of Israelis who were also very touched by this trip.
We had the joy of celebrating the baptism of our daughter Rose with our family in April. She was so excited to profess her faith in Jesus and decision to obey Him. We're watching her come alive to God's love more and more and are so thankful for His faithfulness to reveal Himself to her in increasing ways.
Community Worship Night
New Haven recently hosted a worship event for Young Adults in the community. I served as part of the planning and hosting teams for this event On Friday, April 13 we opened our doors for the Woodlands One Night of Worship and welcomed over 250 young adults from across the region for an incredible evening of worship in the presence of God.
The Lord's nearness was manifest on the hearts of the people and several gave testimonies of feeling the presence and power of Holy Spirit as He ministered to us. There was a corporate anointing for us to draw near to the throne of God through worship and I sensed that we were creating a sound in heaven that was releasing a generation into a greater glory of God's plans and purposes.
We give the Lord all the credit for orchestrating this wonderful evening and I'm thankful to have been a part of it.