Dear Friends of ABR:
We are living in days of confusion and complexity as we experience the daily upheaval that is going on in Western culture. In every community and townhall we are discovering direct challenges to the Christian values our country was built upon. As post-modern thought and post-Christian beliefs continue to re-shape our nation we wonder if there will be anything left we can hold on to for security. Thankfully, it is the Lord Himself who is our sure foundation, and the unchanging promises of His Word are our strength and true security! As I paused to write today I was reminded of David’s words in Psalm 127:1: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Our security will always and ever be in the Lord our God!
In spite of the many difficulties and challenges we face, we must let our light shine forth, and allow the Lord to use each one of us to impact our broken world. In the past year, many of you have done just that as you have remembered to pray regularly for your church and the ministries you are involved in. I am, of course, especially grateful for your prayers and support for ABR. Nothing is more important to me than to know that we have an ever-growing team of faithful prayer warriors. More than ever, we must all realize that the ministries we are engaged in will only see success by the power of God. Your prayers for ABR pleases God, and I have no doubt that there is joy in His heart as His children come before Him in worship and prayer and to pour out their hearts before Him in supplication. The work of ministry at ABR must only ever be God’s work, and the breakthroughs we have seen in this past year have only been possible because we leaned fully on His mighty power to open doors and to face the spiritual battles before us. We give Him all the glory!
I write today to thank you for being a partner and friend in the work and ministry of ABR. Our volunteer team has grown dramatically, as both here at home and in Israel we have experienced a surge of interest and participation in the work of rediscovering the evidence for God’s great works in history, works He first revealed to us in His inspired Word and now in the soil in Israel. ABR’s rich history of searching for the lost cities of the conquest, and our current work at Shiloh, are outreaches under the sovereign direction of our Lord. They involve the cooperation of His people as they excavate ancient sites under the hot sun in Israel or come to our home office to help our staff with administrative tasks. In all these things, your prayers and tireless support have allowed ABR to have a real impact for the glory of God.
I write today to thank you for your wonderful financial support for ABR. Every year we experience miraculous provision for each door the Lord opens and for each project He gives us. Thank you for giving, we could not fulfill our mission without your sacrificial financial support.
And the doors God has opened have been extraordinary. Let me take this opportunity to share some of the amazing things that are going on here at ABR.
The Excavations at Shiloh
In our second year at Shiloh we expect 140 volunteers to assist our professional dig staff as we continue to work in uncovering this amazing site that is integral to God’s acts in history. The Tabernacle was erected at Shiloh, which was the center of Israelite worship for 300 years. The ark of the covenant rested there, and it is the only biblical site where God directly challenges us in Scripture to come and see what He did there, as His judgment fell upon His rebellious children. We urge you to pray for the team that will be on-site at Shiloh in May and June! Please go to BibleArchaeology.org or DigShiloh.org to see the weekly reports that will be posted on our work there. And consider joining next year’s team of diggers; it proves to be a life-changing experience for so many who join the team!
We are thrilled at the creation of a new traveling exhibit with our partners at the University of Pikeville, in Kentucky. The World of Jesus exhibit was revealed at the ABR annual banquet in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in April, and then at Grace Baptist Church near Baltimore, Maryland as part of ABR’s seminar with our friends at Faith Theological Seminary. We trust this new exhibit will be a great way to impact God’s people as they see the many amazing artifacts and replicas that wonderfully illustrate the world of Jesus in His earthly ministry.
We also celebrate the amazing journey of ABR’s first exhibit, Khirbet el-Maqatir, The History of a Biblical Site, which has been traveling across the US to many universities and seminaries and providing God’s people with an amazing view of ABR’s archaeological work in Israel and our search for the Conquest city of Ai. The exhibit is currently at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Bolivar, Missouri and is slated to be on exhibit at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2019.
Digging for Truth – Our new television show
ABR has begun a tremendous project with our friends at WBPH TV in Allentown, Pennsylvania to produce a new show called, Digging for Truth. Each episode is being created in a beautiful state-of-art studio and the first shows have already been produced and released. If you have not seen Digging for Truth, we urge you to go to our website and click on the banner for the program. We also have links on our ABR Facebook page. This is an amazing opportunity and we believe it will be one of the very best ways to share the work of ABR and to proclaim the reliability of the Word of God to a skeptical world!
Website and Publication
We are happy to report that our new website is well on its way, as we are about 2/3 of the way through this project. We hope to have it ready to be rolled out by the end of 2018. Thank you for your gifts and prayers in support of this major upgrade. It is expensive to bring our website up to a professional standard and function that will allow our outreach to be much more effective. The new website will include many features that will make navigating the site a much more intuitive and enjoyable experience.
Bible and Spade magazine has seen dramatic growth in readership as ABR memberships and subscriptions to the magazine continue to grow on a record-setting pace. Thank you for spreading the word about our flagship publication! We urge you to get a gift subscription for your pastor or your Sunday School teacher, as it will provide cutting edge insights into the Bible and the world of biblical archaeology. Please remember that Bible and Spade is a publication that ALWAYS affirms the Word of God…it does not include articles from those who do not believe the Bible. This difference is important, and you can be confident you are sharing a publication you can trust.
Every Spring ABR celebrates God’s blessings on our ministry with our friends. This year we were thrilled to have our own Director of Excavations, Dr. Scott Stripling, as our keynote speaker. Dr. Stripling shared about the discovery of the skeletal remains of 8 bodies (7 women and a boy) in a cave hiding system from the AD 70 Roman attack and destruction at Khirbet el-Maqatir. These Israelites had been murdered by Roman soldiers and it wasn’t until ABR discovered them, that they could then be properly buried. The story reached international proportions and we were happy that we could be a part of this amazing discovery…and of the beautiful final outcome at their burial. This is just one example of the incredible stories that we share each year with our friends at the ABR banquet.
Staff Research and Projects
Dr. Stripling has already departed for our second dig season at biblical Shiloh! This year he will have several opportunities to represent ABR as various media sources will be interviewing him concerning upcoming projects. He will welcome Appian Media to the dig site as they begin production on their new film series, Search for a King, that will be broadcast sometime next year. The series will follow this theme from Shiloh to Bethlehem, and ABR will be represented well in this wonderful new project. In addition, the new Patterns of Evidence: Moses film crew will be on site at Shiloh as well. Although ABR does not hold to the various chronological theories of the film’s producer, we celebrate these films in their effort to engage thinking skeptics and those asking questions about biblical history. We also expect CBN to visit with us as they share with their viewers about the importance of Shiloh. And finally, we are thrilled that our friends at Faithlife/Logos, the makers of the recently released feature film, Fragments of Evidence, will be filming for a new movie focused on the evidence for Israel’s ancient history. Dr. Stripling will be a historical consultant for the film, along with Dr. Craig Evans of Houston Baptist University. All these opportunities are being made possible because of your prayers and support!
ABR staff member, Henry Smith continues his ground-breaking research on the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, establishing beyond doubt, that the author of Genesis intended the numbers in these biblical passages to be understood as real chronology, and not to be dismissed as partial, symbolic or irrelevant. Henry and Pastor Jeremy Sexton have thoroughly investigated the critical texts to offer a compelling case for the original numbers first given through the Spirit’s inspiration. Henry’s conclusions have the power to completely change the discussion on several critical issues regarding biblical chronology and in understanding how archaeological evidence fits the biblical timeline with great precision.
Please pray for the ABR staff as they are slated to make several important presentations at the annual meetings for the Evangelical Theological Society and the Near East Archaeological Society taking place in November in Denver, Colorado. These gatherings are important times of fellowship with iron-sharpening-iron conversations, and we want the Lord to empower our staff to make an impact while we are there.
As I share these exciting developments I am aware the I am just scratching the surface! Our passion is to do original fieldwork and research that puts on display God’s amazing acts in history, and that affirms that His Word is true and trustworthy from the first word in Genesis to the last word in Revelation. And we are thrilled that you are a partner with us in this noble and important adventure, as together we seek to point all to the greatness of God, to His love, and to the salvation He has provided in Jesus Christ His Son. Thank you for praying for us as we continue this important work.
As I conclude this review of ABR’s ministries, I want you to be aware that June 30th is the end of our fiscal year and we again will need your help to finish the year well, with full provision to meet our ministry needs. Our goal is to raise $80,000. We will need gifts large and small from the entire ABR family. Please consider the most generous gift you can give at this time, and we will be most grateful. As always, I would remind you that ABR shows extraordinarily care in the use of every gift that is entrusted to us. Thanks again for your support and help to meet this important year-end goal.
I am grateful for you and I appreciate the privilege of sharing this important update and appeal with you. As always, I am available if you have any questions or concerns about the ABR ministry, or if we can be of service to you.
For the Gospel,