To our friends and ministry partners:
We hope you enjoy this newsletter with updates on our family and ministry. Included is a short devotional that has recently been stirring in our hearts and we hope it encourages you in the Lord as well. We also share several highlights from our ministry work last year and a look ahead at what may be coming in the new year.
As always, we're so grateful to have your friendships, prayers, and support.
Josh & Ruth Pauley
In this new year, it is time to follow hard after the Lord. A friend of mine once shared with me an analogy of what it looks like to follow the Lord. He says…
“I once thought following Jesus was like riding a bicycle. That it was about finding the right balance in life. But I’ve learned that following Jesus is actually a lot more like riding a unicycle… because to ride a unicycle one must be constantly falling forward in order to keep going.”
I have never even attempted to ride a unicycle, yet I think my friend is onto something. Jesus didn’t come to bring balance to our lives. He came to compel men to fall upon and depend entirely on the grace of God. The Psalmist writes that his steadfast, rigorous pursuit of the Lord caused him to be dependent upon the power of God to uphold him. Much worldly wisdom chips away at this teaching and if we’re not careful our hearts and lives become lukewarm whereby we esteem balance as wisdom and Biblical self-denial as naive fanaticism.
Ultimately, what Jesus is looking for is an inner-reality, not an outward appearance - He's searching for those with a heart-cultivated, diligent devotion toward Him that overflows into outward expressions of humility and surrender. The person embracing this truth doesn’t think to themselves, “Look at how much I have given to the Lord,” but rather cries, “Oh Lord, what else will You allow me to give to You?”
Ministry Highlights from 2017
In the second half of 2017, we found the Lord leading us to do more outreach and witnessing. We met and prayed with several people who had lost homes and possessions in the flooding after Harvey, we lead several volunteer recovery teams that mudded-out homes around our community, and we distributed new MyPillows to people in the community impacted by the flooding.
We began an outreach effort last year, sending teams into the community to pray with and share the love of Jesus during our prayer meetings. Through these teams we saw several people encouraged and touched by the Holy Spirit with power, including two decisions for Christ.
We began two new weekly prayer meetings, adding to the weekly prayer schedule and seeing more people come from the community to worship and pray together. We had five weekly prayer meetings last year with more than a dozen people attending each week.
We have connected with and started participating in another local healing prayer ministry that holds weekly prayer services in hospital chapels. Hospital staff, patients, and visitors all come to receive prayer and many have been touched by the love of God.
Believe With Us in 2018
The Lord is moving in our midst. We've seen a significant shift in our own hearts and lives just since the beginning of the year and we are believing 2018 is going to be a powerful year for our home, ministries, and community.
Doors continue to open and strategies are aligning as we help steward the growing prayer movement in our community. In the first few weeks of the year we have already started working with others on different community-wide prayer initiatives including worship events for young adults, all-day prayer rallies, and multiple gatherings for intercessors across the community; in addition to our regular work of building upon the weekly prayer and outreach teams we started last year.
Josh is also part of a team that is preparing to take about 20 students (along with their parents) on a trip to Israel in March so that they can gain life-changing perspective on Biblical history and God's promises for the people of Israel.
It is hard to describe all that we're seeing and feeling... a sense of revival stirring with a sense of uncertainty... a shifting, a shaking, and yet a peace as we walk in the confidence of the sovereignty of God and His eternal strategies.
We're honored to get to share this journey and these opportunities with you and invite you to share in the rewards of ministry with us as you prayerfully partner with us in the work.
Partner with Us in 2018
We do the work that you help to support. When we partner together, we share the rewards of friendship and the rewards of ministry together. How great is that!
We do have need of several new monthly partnerships to help us meet some core cost of living increases. This additional support will help us with on-going costs of education and extra-curricular programs for the girls (Rose is now 6 and Nola is 4), increases in insurance and routine medical expenses, and some timely home and auto maintenance and repairs, for example.
For those that would like to help cover some of the travel costs of Josh's upcoming Israel trip in March with the students, we still owe one final payment of $700 for the travel package. Any one-time gift made between now and March will be used to help off-set the cost of this trip.
Rest assured that God has provided for our every need over these last three years and has gone beyond that in blessing us in wonderful ways. We are confident that He will continue to provide for us: yet we also want to make our needs known and continue to invite others into this work that God is doing through these partnerships.
We would be honored to welcome you as a ministry partner.