GPBC Team Europe: Milan Update Part 3

As we depart Milano, we felt even more united in spirit and mission with the Fiores and Schaafsmas.  Their ministries at Punto Lode and Punto Luce are simple: glorifying God by making and maturing disciples of Jesus.  Although they make many creature comfort sacrifices to serve in Italy (and have for decades), their strong church family more than compensates.  Such love for the Lord!  Such joy!  Such passion!  Here are a few takeaways:

  • Need for workers/interns– While these churches are filled with active believers who are effectively sharing the gospel, there is a great need for help with discipleship and practical ministry needs.  They just don’t have enough people to effectively build relationships and share the gospel with the population.  It’s not a cliché: the harvest is ripe, and the workers are few. 
  • Radio station– Many of you will be familiar with the ongoing saga surrounding Radio Vita, the only Christian radio station in northern Italy.  Punto Lode and Punto Luce own the radio tower and maintain it.  The legal battles over this radio frequency are ongoing.  By God’s grace, the courts have consistently ruled in favor of Radio Vita.  Pray that this would continue, and that the opposition would concede defeat.  Check out the photos of us “inspecting” the tower.
  • Punto Luce building needs– Punto Luce is a church plant sent out from Punto Lode.  It’s their “Highlands Campus.”  The have completely filled their building space, and literally have no room for growth.  They are researching options to rent new space or possibly buy a building.  Please pray specifically for wisdom for Punto Luce as they make plans and decide how best to continue the mission.

One final note.  The day we arrived in Milano, Michael and Nina had dropped off their two sons to head to college at Wheaton in Chicago (their daughter was already there).  Nina shared with us that she was sad, as any mom would be, and prayed for encouragement.  When we arrived, I shared that our main goal was to encourage them.  I had no idea God sent us as a specific answer to prayer.  His ways are far beyond our ways!

GPBC Team Milan Update: Part 2

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one…

Ephesians 2:14a

After 2 more days with the believers here at Punto Lode and Punto Luce, here are some of my observations:

1.  We are one.  In both churches on Sunday we looked at Ephesians 2:14-18 and how Jesus has made peace for us with God and peace with each other.  The end result is the creation of the church- a united body of believers from all people groups.  We have felt the unity of the body with the believers here in Milan.  

Joan Fiore (right) with Giusy and Dominico.

2.  A glimpse of what’s to come.  Italian culture is post Christian, with a healthy dose of Roman Catholicism.  The evangelical church here stands in stark contrast to the culture.  This is both a challenge and a blessing.  It’s a challenge because life and ministry can seem like an uphill battle.  But these believers are strong in their faith.  It’s a blessing because there’s greater clarity on who is a follower of Christ and who isn’t.  There’s hardly any middle ground.  I believe this is where the culture in the US is headed, and we can learn much from these Milano believers.

Some of the believers from Punto Luce.

3.  The nations are here.  Chalk this one up to ignorance re: Milan, but we worshipped with believers from: Italy, Romania, Brazil, Nigeria, Peru, England, Argetina, Ecuador, and the good ole US of A. Not represented were a recent influx of people of Morocco, a ripe field for the gospel here in Milan. We also heard that others from Bolivia, Egypt and more were out of town.  Talk about a great chance to make and mature disciples !

Sam Fiore explaining the Roman Catholic practice of praying for the dead and praying to the saints to Sarah and Lindsay.

Me and a faithful brother and elder Giorgio who translated.  The word on the street is he improved my sermon quite a bit.

GPBC Team Europe: Milan Update Part 1

By God’s grace we safely arrived in Milan after successfully catching the train from Zurich.  Sam Fiore and Michael Schaafsma welcomed us in typical Milano fashion: with a cappuccino. 

Joan Fiore and Nina Schaafsma met us at the Schaafsma home, and we enjoyed a fabulous Italian meal with them.  We immediately caught up on ministry matters, and the fellowship was even better than the food (which is saying something, don’t get me started on real Parmesian cheese and legit prosciutto).

After dinner we shared the encouragement cards from GPBC with both families, and we all were brought to tears.  God’s timing, as usual, was perfect.  The strength of past relationships with the saints at Green Pond was evident.  The body of Christ truly is worldwide.

The two churches we will be with here are called Punto Lode (Point of Praise) and Punto Luce (Point of Light).  These churches are lead by a plurality of elders, with Sam and Michael providing pastoral leadership for each.

One remarkable fact: only 7% of the population of Milan were born here.  It’s a city of immigrants both from within Italy and outside of Italy.  Punta Lode is a church family made up of Italians, Peruvians, Romanians, Brazilians, and recently Nigerians, to name a few.  God has brought the nations to Milan, and as a result of the ministry of the Fiores and Schaafsmas the gospel is being exported to some of these nations. 
After dinner Michael read Colossians 1 and we had some impromptu worship time, which was a great way to end a loooong day of travel and a great evening of Christ centered fellowship.  

More ministry updates to come.  Needless to say, God has sent us to the right place at the right time.  Please continue to pray for the Fiores and Schaafsmas as they minister.

Pray for Team Europe

Over a year ago we started talking about sending a small team from Green Pond to visit and encourage our European missionaries.  So we formed a small team consisting of myself, my wife Lindsay, Kelli Whritenour our Deacon of Missions, and Sarah Witten our Global Outreach Intern.  We have been making plans, booking tickets, gathering supplies, etc.

In the meantime, Europe has been rocked with terrorist attacks and mass shootings.  Germany has been especially hard hit, and half of our time will be spent there.  Tensions are high and people are scared.

People have asked, “Are you still going to go?” (this reminded me of our Israel trip a few years ago).  Yes, we are still going.  I believe that in God’s sovereign plan, he is sending us to minister to people who are hurting and confused.  They are asking tough questions.  What better time to encourage the making and maturing of disciples of Jesus?  What better time to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Who better to minister to those in need than followers of Christ?

Please pray for our trip.  We leave August 17 and return August 31.  We will be visiting ministries we support in Italy and Germany.  Specifically, please pray as we seek to:

  • Encourage our partners in gospel ministry.  We will be spending time with them, helping them with ministry, and even delivering some needed resources.
  • Proclaim the gospel.  Pray as I have the opportunity to preach in three different churches in Italy and Germany.  Pray for clarity and for God’s Spirit to use his Word.
  • Shine the light of the gospel at a dark time in Europe.  We believe God is sending us now for a reason.  We will be having important conversations with people as they try to process current tragedies and challenges.  Pray for wisdom!

I will try to post periodic updates while we are gone.  We are excited to personally invest in the making and maturing of disciples of Jesus worldwide.

Sweet 16

He who finds a wife finds good

and receives favor from the LORD.

-Proverbs 18:22

After 16 years of marriage to Lindsay Diane Boys, I can confirm the veracity of this Proverb.  I admit I enjoy doting on her publicly, even though she doesn’t always like it.  This year I thought of Proverbs 18:22.

English translations dating back at least to the King Jimmy have translated the first line “He who finds a wife finds a good thing…”  Needless to say, wives aren’t things.  In Hebrew, the line literally reads as I have translated it above.  A wife isn’t a good thing, she is good.  Perhaps the Proverb is a reflection on Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for a man to be alone.”

After 16 years, I am in a much better position to understand this Proverb.  Lindsay is good, and good for me.  I am better for knowing her and being in relationship to her for these 16 years.  She is faithful, beautiful, intelligent, sacrificial, hard-working, generous, a great mom, patient, and submissive.  She loves God will all her heart, and loves people genuinely.

My life would have “less good” without her.  She brings glory to God by the way she lives, as a person, as a wife, and as a mom.  On July 22, 2000, by God’s grace, I scored.  Big time.  I found good, because I found Lindsay.

Here are a few old school picts of me putting the moves on her…



Kidsfest Music 2016

It’s finally here!  If you’re not familiar with the music of Seeds Family Worship, you are missing out on a great resource to help children (and parents) memorize God’s Word to music.

All of our Kidsfest music this year comes from Seeds Family Worship.

CDs will be available at Summerfest starting July 6th.  But why wait?  Jump onto our church app and starting listening now!  You’ll find Kidsfest Music under the Media tab.

If you need the church app, download it here for Apple or here for Android.

Introducing Jesse Morgan

By God’s grace, the Pastor of Discipleship and Worship Search Team is excited to introduce Jesse Morgan as a candidate for the Pastor of Discipleship and Worship (copies of the job description are available at the welcome desk).

Jesse is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity, 2015). He and his wife Bethany have two children: Silas (2) and Shiloh (8 months). Jesse enjoys music, bouldering, soccer, volleyball, medicine, ancient history, and philosophy. He and his family currently reside in Louisville, Kentucky where Jesse works as an ER/EKG technician while he and Bethany seek the Lord’s will for a full time ministry position.

Why is Jesse a Great Fit for GPBC & HBC?
We believe God has sent us a man uniquely gifted to meet our needs. First of all, Jesse’s musical ability set him apart. He is an outstanding guitarist, and also plays mandolin. He has experience leading a worship team, singing in concert chorale, and singing with chamber singers. He has studied music theory and even a little conducting. This musical skill set fits our multi-generational congregation very well.

Jesse’s theological depth is another reason we believe he is ideally suited to minister with us. Jesse loves God and loves growing in his knowledge of God through the Bible. His theological depth informs his musical tastes. Like our church body, Jesse enjoys worship music written by Keith and Kristyn Getty (In Christ Alone, By Faith), and Sovereign Grace (O Great God, Jesus Thank You). He has a special love for hymns that have been lost, and like music ministries such as Indelible Grace, he has sought to reintroduce these precious treasures to the church anew.

Jesse also has a shepherd’s heart and a passion to disciple the people of God. Jesse understands the importance of confessing sin and growing in faith. He desires to use his gifts to help make and mature disciples of Jesus. He has a desire to pursue more training in Biblical Counseling, and to use those gifts in our church.

What’s Next?
Jesse, Bethany, Silas, and Shiloh will be coming for a candidating weekend from July 7-10. During this time he will be leading worship in worship services and some special events. We will provide opportunities for getting to know him and his family, as well as a time of Q & A. Watch for the detailed schedule in weeks to come.

After candidating, the pastoral search team and the elders will vote on whether or not to recommend the members of GPBC and HBC extend a call to Jesse as our Pastor of Discipleship and Worship. We will then have a congregational meeting on July 17 to vote on extending that call to Jesse.

Pray for God’s wisdom for Jesse and Bethany and for us as we continue to get to know Jesse, and consider whether or not he is the right man for us. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to seek out members of the Pastor of Discipleship and Worship Search Team: Morgan Storms, Melodee Goodwin, Stacey Poplawski, Laura Vis, Pat Walsh, Marc Fenners, Lucas Vanderploog, or Ryan Boys.