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Heavenly Headwinds!

Leap Day, February 2024

Rowing Against the Wind

Dear Friend,

Title tile - 'Heavenly Headwinds!' depicting wind-tossed wavesSmooth sailing in God’s will? Not always!1

Early in our adult lives, we had the privilege of occasional dealings with two Christian law partners, Norm Juggert and Ken Yee. Norm was the godly son-in-law of a very godly and exemplary pastor (Andy Anderson). I never knew much about Ken’s spiritual background, but in introducing himself the first time, he fixed his name in my memory forever with a self-deprecating joke: “I’m Ken Yee; you know, as in ‘ye of little faith.’”

You’ll recall that the phrase Bro. Ken used comes from the story of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14:24-33 NASB—

24…the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.

27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God's Son!”

Photo of a two-story houseThis is what the Lord provided for us 33+ years ago. In another month, it will no longer be our “home port.”

We have accepted an offer on our home in Chesapeake. The house inspection requires a few minor repairs. But the headwinds are picking up. Our hearts’ desire is to keep looking to Jesus and (with all due respect!) not become part of Ken’s Yee’s “little faith” family.

The disciples had been sent by Jesus “to the other side” of the lake (v. 22). Their boat had already gone “a long distance” (v. 23), but they had been “straining at the oars because the wind was against them” all night (∥ Mark 6:48). They were following Jesus’ orders, but they were tired because of the headwinds that God had allowed.

We don’t expect to have to “walk on water” like Peter did. In fact, Peter’s famous water walk seems to have been a rash “fleece” thrown before the Lord — “Lord, IF it’s You….” We know we’re being sent to Florida. We’re experiencing more than the usual headwinds, but that’s not a reason to “stop rowing.” (And if we liken “rowing” to packing, we will be “rowing like crazy” in order to make the deadline of being out of our Chesapeake, Virginia house by the March 29th deadline.)

We expect even stronger headwinds before this is all over. I used to think that Peter was afraid of the waves; but the passage clearly emphasizes contrary winds, and says, “seeing the wind, [Peter] became frightened” (v. 30). We don’t yet have a house in Florida to which we can deliver our household goods. In that sense, we’re still in the “dark” of “the fourth watch of the night” (v. 25); but the “fourth watch” is the part of the night just before the dawn. The headwinds are a test of faith and obedience.

Please keep praying for us; and if you’re in the neighborhood, grab an “oar” and help us “row” during our four-week packing party!

New Fellowship Address!

Image of the new Finest of the Wheat business card for Florida“Retire” in Florida? No way!
We trust that the Lord will allow us
many more years of fruitful service.

We might not have a new home address. (More headwinds there — an affordable house for which we had hoped to make an offer went under contract yesterday morning!) But we do have a new mailing address for the Fellowship. Effective February 1st, our new mailing address for donations and gifts is:

Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship
P.O. Box 414
Middleburg, FL 32050-0414

Don’t worry if you’ve sent something recently to the old Chesapeake post office box address. Forwarding to the new Florida post office box is supposed to be automatic through August.

If for some reason someone should want to send us a package, it can be sent by just about any means (UPS, Fedex, etc.) to:

Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship
2073 Palmetto St. #414
Middleburg, FL 32050-0414

just exactly that way. The post office will hold everything safely for us until we can pick it up.

“Sheets” (of Paper) in the Headwinds

We’ve been “rowing against contrary winds” when it comes to our writing and publishing ministry, too, but that’s not to say that we’ve been completely unproductive. I have finished a second draft of Repentance: The Love Gift from Above and I’m working to complete a second draft of The Purpose of Grace, both of which will become chapters in The John the Baptist Experience (books 2 and 3, respectively).

Three other drafts of other titles are languishing on the editor’s clipboard, temporarily immobilized by the headwinds. (At least the board has a very strong clip!)

Nevertheless, we have managed to e-publish Percy Gutteridge’s Action, Reaction, Counteraction!, and we just clicked the “publish button” this morning for a Christmas article — Messiah’s Missing Months and the Magi.

Why work on a Christmas article in February? Because one of my hopes for 2024 is to have a complete Advent / Nativity-themed book, The Curious Corners of Christmas, finished by the end of October to be available for the Christmas season. The last chapters of Curious Corners are either in the editing process (one is on that wind-blown clipboard) or in some stage of writing or research.

New Rempt Memorial Service Information

The date for Ray Rempt’s memorial remains the same: May 4, 2024.

For those of you attending in person, please note the change of venue:

First Baptist Church
2717 J Ave
Anacortes, WA 98221

Gathering starts about noon. The service (both virtual and in person) starts at 1 PM PDT. If you have some interest in attending either way, please get in touch with us by e-mail, so we can give Pam some early feedback, and you can spread the word to others.

Sailing Through by Prevailing Prayer

We won’t have to “row” forever. At some point, the winds under God’s control will be at our backs, and we’ll be able to hoist our sail and move forward with much less effort. But whether we’re rowing against headwinds or catching God’s sea breeze, we still need you to join in prayer for us on other matters:

  • Board Members: We have two of what we hope will be three new Florida board members. We’d like to have two different local churches (with which we have worked closely over the years) represented on the board.
  • Why won’t the CPAs call back? The most frustrating thing I’ve faced so far in the transition is CPAs who won’t call back. (Okay, one firm actually did call back, and “only” wanted upwards of $15,000 to help us with our transition paperwork. Yes, three zeroes after the “15” — really!) I’m now moving on to option #4.

Map of Guatemala and HondurasI am looking forward to my next trips!2

  • MAY MISSIONS TRIP: It turns out that the Guatemalan brethren have moved my teaching assignment at the annual pastors’ retreat up to early May, the 2nd through the 4th. (Usually it’s late in the month, over my birthday weekend.) I know the subject matter — a broad, integrated teaching about the Holy Spirit. Please pray for a powerful moving of the Spirit among these leaders!
    • The original plan had been to visit Honduras this March, but I kept getting a “check” against committing to the visit then. Now we know why — March is the month we pack up and move! I’ll explore whether it’s possible to put the two trips together (since Guatemala and Honduras share a common border), so as not to neglect my Honduran brothers.
    • The sticking point is this: Will I be abandoning Denise just at the time when we’re moving into a new-to-us home and I should be helping with the unpacking? Ah, for the wisdom to know God’s timing!

One more time let’s dip our oar into our Gospel “headwinds” story. Yes, these disciples were sent ahead, and went obediently; and, yes, they struggled against the headwinds (clearly allowed in God’s will). Both Matthew and Mark make note that when Jesus finally stepped into the boat, the headwinds stopped (Matthew 14:32 ∥ Mark 6:51). The Apostle John also relates the same “headwinds story,” but with an important addition — as soon as Jesus stepped into the boat, “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going” (John 6:21)!

Are you facing heavenly headwinds? Do like the disciples did (and like we’re trying to do) — row on obediently and take Jesus’ words to heart — “It is I; do not be afraid.” It’s “only” a test of faith!

Thanks for your love, your prayers, your gifts, your encouragement, and your friendship. We’re so glad to have you “on board” as we sail (and row!) into uncharted waters!

Much love in Jesus,

Jim

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  1. Title tile photo is by Axel Antas-Bergkvist on Unsplash.
  2. This map is adapted from a map of Central America provided on Wikipedia.org.
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