We’re Back! A New School Year

Introduction and Greeting

Hello faithful family, friends, and followers! It has been far too long since our last update. Initially, Samantha and I had decided to put a hold on our blog over the summer while we traveled to see family and meet speaking engagements, but due to unseen circumstances, it has taken much longer. Much of our last 2 months has involved the flu, allergic reactions, ear infections, strep… all of this on top of prepping for school lectures and Benaiah’s 1st birthday! I have many excuses, but I’ll spare you and just dive right in to what’s going on!

What’s New

First piece of exciting news: our new School of Biblical Studies year is in full swing! Meet the students 🙂

This group has been incredibly encouraging to us staff and it has been evident that they truly have a hunger to know God deeper through His Word. These individuals did the seemingly crazy thing of dedicating 10 months of their lives to intentionally studying their Bibles together. These are 6 individuals that will go out into the world with a foundation in Biblical literacy! What an encouraging thought!

As some of you might be aware, the School is only one of the ways that we seek to minister and encourage Biblical literacy within our community, another way we do this is through our Biblical Narrative Series. This series is designed more like a church study series, where we meet one night a week for two hours and walk through the entire story of the Bible over the course of about 14 weeks. As we began our planning process for this series, our goal was to have at least 25 people sign up. Unbeknownst to us, God had a different plan in mind and we ended up having 76 people from 10 different churches and denominations commit to this program of walking through the story of the Bible book-by-book. Hallelujah!

We could not be more excited, as God has used this moment to renew our vigor and commitment to reaching this community that is clearly hungry to know their Bibles! Please pray that God would use this year to bless the students and their studies in each of our programs.

What’s on our heart today?

This past month I had the privilege of teaching the book of Deuteronomy in our School.

This is an incredibly important book. That’s an easy thing to say for any book of the Bible, but Deuteronomy really sets a theological foundation for the rest of the Old Testament and is quoted often by Jesus as well. In this book, Moses gives a series of speeches, exhorting the Israelites to: Remember God’s covenant faithfulness and the consequences of their sin, to Reflect on their current condition of their hearts and the choice lain before them, and finally to Renew their commitment to Yahweh through covenant obedience.

And with the end of the Pentateuch, we’re given a vivid image of the salvation story. In Genesis we’re introduced to a God who is good, creates, and pursues with love. But also we see a relationship that is broken and in need of fixing. In Exodus we see God freeing his people from slavery, not because of their worth or what they could offer, but simply because they cried out. Through the rest of Exodus and Leviticus, we see a God who dwells among his people, teaching them how to live in right relationship with Him. The book of Numbers shows the consequences of sin and disobedience and a God who relentlessly pursues his people despite their rebellious ways. Deuteronomy ends with an exhortation unto life as the people of God and a hopeful expectation for the fulfillment of a promise that belongs to the people of God. Almost every book after Deuteronomy in the Old Testament points back to Deuteronomy and the message it gives. (And as I’m writing this I’m really starting to nerd out on all the other ways we could go in depth with these books and the way they reflect the story of salvation, but I’ll save that for anyone who wants to send me a personal message and then maybe we can dialogue more and nerd out on the Bible together). And I’ll leave it at that, but suffice it to say that I really love these first five books of the Bible and how they bring life to our understanding of the New Testament! If you’d like a summary of the message in Deuteronomy, I’d recommend reading Ch. 4!

Final thoughts and prayer requests.

As some of you may know, Samantha and I have remained short of our financial goal for being able to work full time for Emmaus Ministries. We were hoping that would change over the course of the summer, but unfortunately that didn’t end up being the case. Because of this, Samantha and I are scaling back our responsibilities in the ministry and are currently looking for part time work. I must admit that this has disheartened us, but God has continued to show us that his hand is at work in the ministry and in our lives and we have hope for the future! Obviously, we would love to come to a place where we can commit full-time to the ministry once again, but we’re trusting that God is using this time to prepare us in some way. Please pray for us as we seek wisdom in how we should move forward in this season and that God would bring us to a place of financial provision and stability.

We would also ask for your prayers over Samantha’s family, as they just lost a beloved family member (Samantha’s grandfather). A man who blessed us personally in many tremendous ways.

Ken Arndt 1925-2019

While we’re still figuring out the details, it looks like Samantha might be flying to Alaska to attend the memorial service with Benaiah, and at the same time I’ll be flying to Virginia to take part in a wedding. Being first time parents, this is a new and terrifying prospect for us, so please pray for safe travels, sanity, and blessing over Samantha’s family as they celebrate the life of Ken Arndt.

Thank you so much for all of your love and support, we feel it. And words cannot express our thankfulness,

The McRae Family

Enjoy some cute pictures of Benaiah and family!

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