2021 In Review
I write to you this last letter of the year with gratefulness. Thank you for supporting the work of this ministry. It’s a unique ministry; we try to highlight the work of other Christians and explain why their work is important. Even though we don’t create all that content ourselves, it takes time, effort, and money to run, and that’s why I’m grateful that you’ve joined us.
We began this ministry with Issue #1 on April 2, 2021. As I write this 40th letter which will go out on December 31, 2021, we have over 230 members. That’s incredible! From zero to 230 in less than a year! Not only that, but the website has had thousands of views this year, and the social media accounts have dozens of followers and interactions this year. I’m so encouraged that this ministry is making an impact.
We also have recently started a Bible Study with, Youtube, a podcast, and the blog. If you haven’t checked them out, check it out when the next one is out. They have been somewhat irregular. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to keep up a weekly cadence, but family, job, and other ministry duties keep me busy.
We also have a few recurring paying members and a few people who have given one-time donations. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This ministry is not free to run and we have some features we’d like to add, such as an audio version of our issues and comments for paying members, but those features cost money. If you enjoy this content and have the means, we would be so honored if you consider supporting us. Membership has several perks if you’d be so kind as to take a look.
Thank you for being a part of this from our very first year, and here’s to a great 2022.
Things You Can Pray About
- That this ministry continues to grow and people grow in their faith through it.
- That we find new ways to defray costs while adding new features.
- That we continue to grow spiritually and God is manifest in our personal lives and communities.
A Prayer for 2022
Father God, thank you for your provision this year. There has been tremendous suffering worldwide and we have struggled with disease, depression, and financial insecurity. We pray that your people would be sustained by your grace no matter their circumstances. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Draw us closer to you this year. Amen.
Read and Reflect 📖
As Christians, we believe hope is an important part of our shared faith as well as our personal walk. But Scripture suggests something more radical: Hope is not the privilege of the naturally optimistic; it is the responsibility of all who believe. Hope is the means by which we align not simply our plans but also ourselves with God. It is how we move toward the future he is preparing for us in order to join him there.
Anderson’s article really made me think. How can we not only passively hope in the future we are promised, but actively work to bring people hope now?
But trusting God with the future does not mean denying our present difficulties or ceasing to plan for the future ourselves. Just as we must avoid shallow positivity, we must also avoid fatalism, especially when clothed in spiritual language.
The present life is, as Anderson says, a blip on eternity, but every moment matters. How can we labor to bring hope because God has secured our future hope? In other words, our future is secure and we don’t have to worry about it, so what can we do now, without fear of the future, that we wouldn’t do otherwise?
- Turning of Days: Lessons from Nature, Season, and Spirit | Hannah Anderson (Affiliate Link) 📚
- Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God's Image | Hannah Anderson (Affiliate Link) 📚
Consider Another Perspective 🤔
Following up on their 8+ hour review of 2020 prophecies last year, the Remnant Radio team (who believe that the “gift of prophecy” continues today) review some prominent prophecies about 2021.
There is far too little accountability for public prophecy in the name of Christ Jesus. The Remnant Radio guys, coming from a place of believing prophecy can happen, try to provide some of that public accountability. It may not surprise you that the “prophetic” videos getting hundreds of thousands of views online did not turn out to be correct. And those who do make these incorrect prophecies very rarely publicly admit their failures.
I have included below a second video reviewing additional prophecies, and a post retracting an endorsement made in the video embedded due to theological concerns.
- Post retracting endorsement of Patricia King because of some theological issues 📃 | The Remnant Radio
- Did The 2021 Prophecies Come to Pass? Testing Prophetic Words From 2021 Isaiah Saldivar & Brian Carn 📽 | The Remnant Radio
Church History Corner ⛪️
One Christian author in history owns the distinction of having been read by popes, Protestants, rock stars, and leading atheists. He lived almost 1,600 years ago and was from North Africa. He is the single most prolific author of the ancient world and has influenced countless Protestants and Catholics. Named after two Roman emperors (Caesar Augustus and Marcus Aurelius), he is known to us as St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430).
Few people have impacted the world like St. Augustine. Dr. Samples shows us how widespread his influence really is.
Challenge Your Brain 🧠
6 Major Religious Groups Compared to Biblical Christianity with Mike Winger | The Beat by Allen Parr 📽 →
This is a lengthy video, but worth it. Allen Parr and Mike Winger walk through six major religious groups (including some you may not expect and may challenge you). You could take them one at a time or if you have a few hours, watch them all through. It’s important to know about perversions of Christianity to help others who may be tempted and to know when we may be going off track ourselves.
Explore the Scriptures 📖
Few verses have been misused and taken out of context like Philippians 4:13.
Nobody likes to lose. Winning is fun but losing is hard. In the midst of a challenging feat we might wonder if it’s appropriate to claim Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” After John 3:16, Philippians 4:13 is one of the most-searched verses in the Bible, and is often linked with athletes seeking to inspire victory and strength. But this common application unfortunately misses its real power.
At its core, this verse is talking about a different sort of victory. How do you respond when you face challenges and hardships in life? Do you have victory in such circumstances? Can you have victory through suffering?
As Merkle shows us, the true meaning of Philippians 4:13 is powerful, but often misunderstood. Reading the entire passage helps us to understand it. Paul is talking about “all” he’s been through and how faith in the Messiah Jesus has helped him to endure. In this worldwide time of suffering and trial, it’s a message we dearly need to hear.
Living This Christian Life 🤴👸
A common misconception within Christianity is that we are not allowed to doubt. This false belief has led many people down the path of deconstruction. The Church should be a place that invites doubt, transparency, and honest discussion. When we doubt in a Christian community, our faith can be strengthened. However, if we doubt in isolation, deconstruction often results. As the Church, we need to come together, express our doubts, and seek answers together as a community. In this episode, we look at Biblical examples of doubt and what principles we can glean from them. We propose that doubting can strengthen our faith when we investigate our doubts in a community.
I love how they walk through Biblical examples of doubt. It’s a powerful reminder that anyone who tells you it’s sinful to doubt or that faith is belief without evidence doesn’t know what they are talking about.
This is completely optional, and everything that is currently free will continue to be free. Thank you for reading The Garden Weekly.
Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️
This story of political pundit David French’s wife—a writer and pundit in her own right—tells the story of unlikely friendship across political and religious lines. I don’t want to say more and spoil the story, so I will just reproduce the first paragraph below. It’s well worth the ten minutes it will take you to read.
I first started following Kathy Kattenburg on Twitter after she showed kindness to me following an article about my sex abuse in the Washington Post, at a time when many of my supposedly like-minded conservatives had not. It seemed like a minor example of cross-the-aisle political civility. But it soon revealed itself to be a lesson in how elusive civility can be these days, especially online, in an age when we’re often told (or telling others) that we need more of it.
Keep Your Mind on Things Above
I will be praying for you this week.
“Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
— Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV)
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