A special Christmas season message from ABR Executive Director Scott Lanser.
Christmas Season 2012
Dear friend of ABR,
I wanted to begin my Christmas letter this year by highlighting the great ministry opportunities and accomplishments experienced under the leadership of the staff of ABR. Immediately the Lord reminded me of the powerful account in Acts 16 of how He led His apostles into Macedonia through the vision of the Macedonian man: 'Come over and help us..' was the message delivered to Paul in a dream. We often skip over the earlier part in this passage where the Lord forbids Paul and his companions to go into Asia, and when trying to pass into Bithynia, the Holy Spirit did not allow them to go. How powerful and clear is the leading of the Lord! And how often do we steal His glory by exalting in our own accomplishments and endeavors, instead of exalting in His leading and working. In essence I felt warned in my spirit to express to you the amazing power and leading of the Lord over ABR, and to exalt in the miracles He has performed this year. Make no mistake, the activities that the staff, associates, and volunteers have been involved in are of extraordinary importance, but they are not for our glory or honor, but for the glory of God alone.
We may ask, 'so who is calling out to ABR, 'Come over and help us'?' We are clear that it is this generation that is lost in a sea of skepticism, pseudo-scientific propaganda, the 'assured results' of humanistic reasoning and a false self-reliance. Autonomous man, using the wisdom of this age, is bombarding this generation with wave upon wave of intentional distortions of history and truth. So what has the Lord told us to do at ABR? To proclaim the truth and authority of the historical accounts in holy Scripture, to defend the gospel, and to provide careful reasoning, backed up by archaeological research, for the Bible's veracity and dependability. The charge we have is from the Lord and we will follow the Sprit's leading in these challenging days!
What has the Lord accomplished through us this year? Our 10th season of digging at Khirbet el-Maqatir continues to provide evidence for the Conquest of Joshua which is blatantly denied by secularist historians. Every dig season that we work to uncover this ancient site we weaken the bold assertions of those who want to re-write biblical history. ABR continues to hammer away at critical subjects like the historicity of David and Solomon, the distortions of Bart Ehrman and his attacks on the Bible, resurrected gnostic nonsense like the 'Jesus' wife' fragment, the Jesus family tomb, and many others. Consider the impact that our website has had upon the tens of thousands of visitors who read the hundreds of articles on critical subjects found there. Our writing, teaching, and scholarly work has moved ahead full-force through seminars, church appearances, presentations at the Evangelical Theological Society and the Near Eastern Archaeological Society, and our continuing publication of research through our magazine, Bible and Spade, as well as articles being published in popular and academic literature. This year marked the beginning of the creation of new video projects and our own biblical/archaeological curriculum. These are just a few of the many activities that ABR has been involved in this year. These activities are under the leading and direction of the God's Spirit and we seek the Lord each day for His continuing direction.
What role do our friends and supporters play in the Lord's mission through ABR? This year we have had all that is needed but we have been under intense pressure to have the resources necessary to accomplish the multi-faceted tasks the Lord has set before us. Candidly, I must tell you that we have seen a 15% decline in giving overall, and we have been hard pressed to meet our ministry goals, especially for our new projects. Can I count on you to help us in this Christmas season to make up for our shortfall? I am convinced that if everyone receiving our Christmas appeal would respond generously we would not only be back on track, but we would be in a healthy financial position as we enter 2013.
The new curriculum project and our new video resources are expensive to produce, but these resources are what is needed to have a much more significant and powerful impact on this generation. May our children and grandchildren know that we took a stand for truth and for the word of God, so that they too will pick up the torch of truth and fight the good fight for their generation. Thank you for your help at this time. The stakes are high and the need is great, but our confidence is in the Lord and His mighty power and provision for this ministry.
As we gather with our families this Christmas, may the Lord remind us of the amazing ways His hand has led us. Indeed, we can all be confident that the Spirit of the Lord will continue to guide us throughout the New Year as we continue to serve Him, seeing His purposes fulfilled in our lives.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Associates for Biblical Research.
Celebrating the King of Kings,
Associates for Biblical Research