My last update came from Wuhan China just two weeks ago. I was reflecting on how God put the right people, in the right place and at the right time, to show His miraculous love and His perfect plan. Today, July 23, 2015 is no different. I will focus here on Psalm 8, but first, the rest of the story in China. God “just happened” to place 14 pastors in Wuhan at a church from all over China on the same day we would meet a pastor whose son “just happens” to be attending Moody in Spokane, Washington. Then, we are invited into the meeting to meet these pastors and to present what we would like to do for Chinese students here in the United States. Each pastor was moved by Dave Ladines’ presentation and asked when we would begin. God is at work my friends and this leads me to the depth of Psalm 8;
1 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Notice David’s words in the beginning verse and ending verse. I wonder what this song sounded like when it was put to music by David or one of his music directors. I know what it sounded like as a worship song growing up. It was one of my favorites at church growing up!

David is overwhelmed by the majesty of God because of one very crucial realization found in verse 4, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them.” David was moved by the care and concern God took in creating us, His greatest creation of all time. Greater than the universe and its expanse… greater than the skies and the seas around us… greater than the mountains and valleys… greater that all of the animals… the greatest of all His creation. God tells us in Genesis 1:26 that we are created in His image. We are the only part of all His creation created in His image. We are a reflection of God and His great masterpiece. It was as if He created as an artist everything else around us and then placed us in the center. That God was mindful of us and placed us in charge of His creation on this earth.

I find this truth to be deeply encouraging. And yes, it can feel overwhelming at time, yet I find my purpose and value in this Psalm. On September 4th, Gretchen and I will head to Nigeria Africa together. At first it was just going to be me joining a team for an evangelism conference in Jos. But, God opened the door for Gretchen to join the team. The overwhelming reality of Psalm 8 for me is this; I have been asked to teach four main sessions of the conference involving somewhere in the realm of 2000 Christian leaders and many teenagers. I am overwhelmed at the responsibility of this and yet I am reminded of my purpose. God is the one who created this moment coming up in Africa. God is the one who is assembling everyone in that place and God is the one who will have to speak through me. Now, I tell you all this for many reasons. Reason one, pray for Gretchen and I as we go. I am thankful for the opportunity for the two of us to minister together over there. Gretchen will be the photographer and could quite possibly sing and teach as well. Reason two, my hope is to encourage each attendee of their identity in Christ so pray that I am succinct in what I say, since I will also have a translator. Reason three, It is because of you as you support Apprentice Ministries with prayer and financial gifts that this is going to happen. This final reason still astounds me when I think about it. I want to make sure that everything Gretchen and I do with the finances you give is productive for the kingdom of God. Because you pray for us and because you support us, I am reminded daily of God’s care and concern for each one of us.

Finally, I will focus on Psalm 8 at the conference in Nigeria. My hope is that in the midst of so many people being killed in the city we will be teaching, the Word of God will penetrate hearts and display the love of God expressed through His Son Jesus Christ and His work of redemption on the Cross. I will keep you informed in the days ahead about the future of China and students coming here to be discipled. Gretchen and I will also return to China in November to minister in churches in Beijing and Wuhan as well. Again, I cannot stress to you enough how much your prayers mean to us. I sense God’s presence and work daily and I sense your prayerful concern and care as well. If Gretchen and I can do anything for you anytime, don’t hesitate to ask. We love you all and can’t wait to see what heaven will look like when we are all together some day in Glory!

All for Jesus,

Dan, Gretchen, Corbynne, Simeon and Samuel