January 9

I am very saddened to report that Eastern European Mission (EEM) has lost another dedicated Christian worker well before her time. Last February Polina Polyakova was killed when she was struck by a bus. Natasha Tsvyashchenko has been EEM’s operations coordinator in Ukraine and has been the heart and soul of EEM’s main office in Donetsk and work throughout Ukraine. Natasha and her husband Nick are well known to those who have worked in Ukraine. We received word on Monday that Natasha had been having headaches and collapsed and could not be revived. I’m sure Nick is devastated, as are all of those who knew this devoted, capable Christian woman. Please pray for Nick and for all Natasha’s family, and for EEM’s work in Ukraine and throughout that part of the world that is so very interested in hearing the gospel it so desperately needs.

South Fork has participated in the Summer Youth Camps in Ukraine over the past three years. Several of those who have been in previous years want to return to this great work in 2011. Others have spoken interest in going for the first time. We will have an information meeting Sunday afternoon, Jan. 23rd at 5:00 for all those who would like to hear more about this incredible opportunity to share God’s love and God’s Word.

This Sunday marks the end of our sermon series on the Psalms. I hope that you have been helped, encouraged and challenged through this study. I hope that you have been moved to pray and sing these wonderful lyrics, appreciating the humanity of the writers, and applying these heartfelt emotions to your own life.

Today we close this series out with a look at “Psalms of Ascent.” The Jews were called to travel to Jerusalem at least three times a year to celebrate and worship God together during their annual festivals. These songs were written to be sung on the road as they joyfully traveled and made the difficult trip to the capital city and the Temple, home of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat that held in a special way the very presence of God. We too are called upon to gather and worship together with God’s people. While God is present with us each moment of our lives, there is something very special and unique about the moments when the church gathers to worship our Savior together. Just how important are those times to you?

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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