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Check out our spring newsletter for an update on our ministry happenings.
Larger / Printable pdf version: spring 2017 newsletter
For a recent update on our ministry happenings and things we are working on, check out our winter newsletter below.
Larger / Printable pdf version: winter-2017-newsletter
We praise You, O Lord, for Your greatness. Your might is beyond comprehension, and You reign over all the universe, yet You care about the daily needs of our family.
We praise You for granting us health and pray that we will use the strength You give us always to serve you.
We thank You for creating our unique personalities, granting us unique talents, and giving us opportunities to use them. We are grateful to You for opportunities to be creative – planning, writing, acting, singing, cooking, building, teaching, preaching. Our efforts are a tiny reflection of Your mighty creative acts, yet You use us for Your glory.
Daily we thank You for home and food. You control the rain and the sun, and this summer You chose to withhold the rain, yet miraculously You still blessed us with an abundant harvest. Our best efforts in the garden are useless apart from Your blessing, and we humbly thank You for fruitful seasons that fill our hearts with food and gladness.
We thank you for work and for play, for children’s laughter and for grandparents’ stories, for heaven and the joyous expectation of seeing loved ones again so that we do not have to sorrow as those with no hope.
We thank You for the peace that comes from knowing that Your will is always best, even when it isn’t easiest, and treasure Your promise to give us all the resources we need to live for You.
You are our strength, our sustainment, our joy, our peace, our guide, and our Savior. For all of these we praise and worship You.
After a couple weeks of camp, we were able to take a week of vacation to rest and be refreshed before we hit back at a few more full weeks. We were able to relax and enjoy the water. It was so warm some of the days that we really wanted to be in the water. Waterskiing is one of my favorite things to do and I was able to waterski at least once each day while we were there. Actually, everyone in the family got to go waterskiing at least once during the week.
Of course, it wasn’t all just sitting around relaxing. I got a few pictures for some new inspirational backgrounds to add to the website, and I also preached on Sunday in the chapel on the lake. The chapel was pretty full, with around 167 in attendance from several different provinces in Canada, a bunch of different States, as well as a couple from Singapore. It was a great time of worshipping the Lord together in His beautiful creation. I was also encouraged to hear reports of individuals taking on the challenge from God’s Word in the message to put their priorities in proper order, with Christ being first place.
It was fifteen years ago that I got down on my knee with a diamond ring and proposed to Shawna there on the shores of Aylen Lake. The spot where I proposed hasn’t changed much, but our lives have changed and our family has grown through the years as you can see from the picture below taken in the spot where Shawna and I were engaged. We have five wonderful children.
We have been trying to get some communication items taken care of as well as some final details on the next couple weeks done here these past two days. Then tomorrow, Sunday, August 7th, we will be ministering at Maple Avenue Baptist Church in Elmira, NY, followed by assisting with another week of camp on Monday through Saturday. On August 14th we will be ministering at one of our supporting churches, North Eulalia Baptist Church in Coudersport, PA, then we will head to First Baptist Church of Belmont, NY, for August 15-19 to run a VBS. Please continue to pray with us that God will work in hearts and draw many to Himself.
We like to find special ways to celebrate Easter as a family. While researching science experiments for camp this summer, we came across this demonstration that fit perfectly into our Good Friday family devotions. Even better, it worked right the first time!
We put a coin on the plate to represent us, then some water, which we tinted blue to represent the sin in our lives. The candle represents Jesus, the Light of the world. Placing a vase over the candle causes it to draw the water into the vase before extinguishing the candle (We’ll let you research the scientific explanation for that!), visually illustrating Jesus taking our sin upon Himself when He willingly gave up His life on the cross for us.
We have been excited for some new snow, so my son, Blake, and I headed out on the trail to enjoy some riding in God’s awesome creation. We also had another purpose for our time out on the trail, and that was to get some pictures with the snow still on the trees to be able to do some more scenic winter background pictures with Bible verses. Blake certainly didn’t need any convincing to get out on the snowmobile. It is something that we both really enjoy doing.
This picture with 2 Chronicles 16:9 on it is one of the pictures we were able to take while we were out on the trail. You can see more of the pictures we took if you go to our Inspirational Backgrounds page.
Christmas is an amazing opportunity to focus on God’s work in our lives! As a family, we are always looking for new ways to incorporate this focus into our celebrations, and thought maybe some of you would enjoy some of the resources we’ve come across.
One favorite is a names of Jesus advent chain. Each link of a paper chain has a different name of Jesus, and each night of December you remove a link and study what that name reveals to us about our Savior — the gift given on Christmas. You can find a link for a pdf file of these names in fancy script and some devotional suggestions here: http://www.spelloutloud.com/names-of-jesus-advent-chain.html
Another favorite for us is the special family devotions Focus on the Family produces through their Thriving Family ministry. Several years of these are available here: http://www.thrivingfamily.com/free/advent-calendars
If you’re looking for some encouragement and instruction in the importance of making family traditions a platform for teaching your family about God, Noel Piper’s book Treasuring God in Your Traditions is excellent. You can buy it in a nice hardcover format, or it is available as a free pdf download on her husband’s website: http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/books_btgt/btgt.pdf
On the Inspirational Backgrounds tab of our website, you can also find some Christmas themed backgrounds for your electronic devices. These backgrounds have a Scripture verse relating to Christ’s birth.
Merry Christmas! May your family’s celebrations make clear to all that when you celebrate Christmas, you celebrate the birth of the Savior.
*We are not fully endorsing these other ministries, but do find these resources helpful.
Brooks Family Thanksgiving Psalm
Now thank we all our God…
Eternal and unchanging,
Loving and leading, our
Savior and Shepherd
How wonderful You are!
Almighty in power,
Defeated by none, Your authority is
Displayed every day
As we seek Your face
In Your Word and Your world.
Every day as we
Look around us we see
Outstanding displays of Your creation —
Hills cloaked with trees, creatures poised and alert —
Inexhaustible examples of Your
Mighty hand at work, sustaining our world.
Each stress and success we experience
Leads us to Your loving arms,
Reminding us that You alone
Offer the strength and guidance we need
In this life.
Jehovah, You are the One we praise for
Eternal life and a relationship with You,
Healing us from the penalty
Of our sin, for which we stand in awe.
Victory over sin was granted
And gained through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Our
Hearts rejoice because of Your love for us.
Rejoicing doesn’t stop with just the spiritual healing, but
Also the way You have provided
Physical healing from cuts, bruises, colds, and even
Healing from Lymes. May we
Always rejoice in You!
Just when we think we are at the
End of our resources, You Send more —
Health and opportunities to work with our hands,
Overflowing boxes of apples, crates of corn, and other produce,
Victories in small (or not-so-small) battles,
And the encouragement of fellow believers.
How many times You have supplied
Just what we needed, not always in extravagant amounts or comfortably
In advance, but adequately and
Right on time, so we can learn that You are
Enough, and You faithfully
Heed our every need every time.
Joyfully we recall Your constant care.
Every day it is demonstrated to us. You have provided a cozy
Home in the woods and food on the table.
Over and over You have shown Your care through having
Various friends providing for and helping us
All through the year, like moving all our belongings.
How great is Your care!
Remembering Your protection is
Another way You demonstrate care, like in the many miles on the road.
As we look back through the year, we are reminded of
How Great You Are!
Psalm 103:1-12 “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.”
* Names of God used in the Brooks family Thanksgiving psalm with their meaning
El Shaddai: Lord God Almighty
Elohim: God, Mighty Creator
El Roi: God who sees me
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord who heals
Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord will provide
Jehovah-Raah: The Lord my Shepherd