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February 2019(updated)

Volume 15, Issue 2

Pastor’s Corner

3Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. 4Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. 5Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. 6His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. 7Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

These verses come from chapter two of the OT book known as “Song of Songs” (aka “Song of Solomon). The title of the book comes from 1:1, which literally states: “Song of the songs which to Solomon,” but the structure implies the word “is.” So the usual translation is “Song of songs which is Solomon’s.” The Latin word for song is “canticum” from which we get the word “canticles,” another title for this book. Some English translations have kept the title “Song of Songs” (e.g., NIV, TNIV), but many have changed it to “Song of Solomon” (e.g., NASB, AV, RSV, NKJV).

Based on the superscription (1:1), the prevailing opinion has been that the book was authored by King Solomon, who reigned between ca. 971 to 931 B.C. The book contains many references to king Solomon or to a king (cf. 1:4-5, 12; 3:7, 9, 11; 6:12; 7:5; 8:11-12; 1 Kings 4:33). And those who believe Solomon is the author take these as confirmation. However, Richard S. Hess, an OT scholar and professor at Denver Seminary, believes the writer is unknown and could have been anyone, even a woman, and that the female heroine viewed and described her lover as a king like Solomon. Duane A. Garrett, a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, believes that the book was written either “by Solomon” or “for Solomon,” by a court poet of Solomon’s day. Some scholars have even argued that the book is a collection of songs written by multiple poets, but that view is unsupported by the text.

This book has received more varied interpretations than perhaps any other book in the Bible. Garret points out that many scholars believe it presents the reader with the “greatest hermeneutical challenge” in the Old Testament. And one popular interpreter has called it “the most obscure book of the Old Testament.”

Interpreters have understood the Song of Songs in various ways, as an allegory, an extended metaphor, a drama with either two or three main characters, or a collection of wedding songs. Others have thought it is a collection of pagan fertility cult liturgies or an anthology of songs extolling love. At a minimum, it can be agreed that it is a love poem or a collection of love poems.

Garrett argues that the book is not an allegory. However, he admits it lends itself to allegorical interpretation.” Those who interpret the book allegorically – and it has been suggested that majority of interpreters do – believe that what the writer said is only a symbolic husk for a deeper spiritual meaning that the reader must discover.

Jews interpret this deeper revelation to be God’s love for Israel, as did some Christian interpreters. Christian scholars have frequently seen it as Christ’s love for the church or of Christ’s relationship with believers – sometimes in Israel and sometimes in the church. However, the text itself does not indicate that we should interpret this book differently than any other Bible book. And Warren W. Wiersbe has correctly asserted: “All things are possible to those who allegorize – and what they come up with is usually heretical.”

The Song of Songs is the first of the five “Megilloth,” which are the five scrolls read by the Jews at various feasts. They read the Song of Solomon on the Sabbath of Passover week as a historical allegory beginning with the Exodus and ending with the coming of Messiah.

Probably God’s primary purpose in inspiring this book of the Bible was to give us revelation concerning the way love between a man and a woman should look. The characters in the book usually behave toward one another the way men and women in love should conduct themselves in attitudes and activities. Given that we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this month, now may be as good a time as any to spend time studying Song of Songs.

Blessings, Pastor Tony

Pastor Visitation: If you would like a visit from Pastor Tony, please call 620-951-4438 ©

Halstead Bible Fellowship: email address:

Please join us in worship at 112 West 3rd Street, Halstead, KS, – Sundays at 9:45am.

Bloodmobile at the Catholic Parish Center: Monday, February 11 – 12:30-6:30.

Halstead Bible Fellowship and Crossroads Church responsible for community support.


In Our Family

Pray for: The Henderson family on the passing of mother/ grandmother, Maxine Hedrick;

Paul Page; Jean Luchenbock’s brother; the polar vortex weather hitting the east coast

Give Praise for: Jean Kennedy who has completed all treatments for cancer; Linda Hamilton who is now cancer free; John Haspels work in Ethiopia

February Birthdays Happy birthday to You!


1 Zoe Oppriecht 13 Steve Randall

6 Ginny Loeffler 15 Heather Haspels Kebede

9 Linda Hamilton 23 Bob McDowell

13 Zion Oppriecht 27 Desta Oppriecht

Missionary Updates:

John & Gwen Haspels,

Dear Prayer Warriors, Thank you so much for your prayers. John got off safely to Ethiopia last Friday and had a good trip to Addis. He stayed a few days with Heather and Habtom and the kids in their new home and was able to enjoy the time there. Then he moved to the Bethel synods compound to get ready to go down to Tulegit. He met with friends there and found the roads and Suri country to be quiet so he will travel with Mattias (Suri Baale translation) and his YWAM team to Mizan tomorrow. Please pray he will have a good sleep before he drives. He has had a misunderstanding with an old friend and it is weighing on his mind. It has to do with a request for help that we felt unable to give to and caused a lot of anger. We are blessing this man and ask that you all too bless him and John with peace and forgiveness. We know it is the enemy trying to spoil the trip. Otherwise John is fine and will be working with Mattias and his group in evangelism and will also be working on the new termite proof church in Kibish. It is a large congregation and the church will be much bigger than any we have done so far. Pray for peace and joy as they work together with the strong congregation there in Kibish.

I have been blessed this week with seeing the Lord work in very special ways!! Pray for me to keep the joy and not let the problem in Ethiopia steal it. John asked me to write to our friend and ask again for forgiveness. Thank you so much for lifting us up before the Throne! God is our joy and our peace!! Gwen

John & Joy Haspels, AIM, Nairobi, Kenya:

Online giving page:

Dear Friends,

We hope you had a blessed Christmas and are seeing God’s work in your lives in the New Year. We enjoyed an excellent time with all our kids home, but the New year has started with a sprint. After a series of meetings last week, this week has seen two medical evacuations and an attack on a Nairobi hotel. One of our short term missionaries, a young man, was flown from Dukana and rushed into surgery with appendicitis. The other evacuation was a mother of 7 who was rushed to Nairobi because of an unknown illness. Only by prayer did she pull through as she was unresponsive with a VERY low heartbeat before the medevac.  Thank you to MAF and AIM Air for bringing our people to hospital.

But we praise God! Despite the heavy spiritual attacks that our people are feeling right now, the gospel is going forth and the response is exciting. Some key points for Praise:

  • Northern Bible Training Center opened its doors on the 7th January with 4 students all from unreached people groups. More students were accepted but had trouble with travel so the numbers may grow. We pray this group will develop into the leaders of the young churches in Northern Kenya.
  • More than 15 Samburu women and 1 man have been baptized. These are the start of a small church in a remote location known as Lchekwei. The Samburu are no longer considered an unreached group, but there are large pockets of Samburu in very remote locations that have never heard.
  • We have been given two locations in the area of the Hurri Hills. These are two places where the villages are asking for churches to be built. Pray for the missionaries as they try to find the balance of helping the believers build but letting them lead the way.
  • In Dukana area, village after village is asking for our missionaries to come share the gospel but they don’t have enough hours in the day. We thank God for bringing another couple to join that work. The Lord is drawing the Gabra to him, we need more workers to point out the path. Pray that most of those workers will come from the community itself!

Your prayers are what continue to sustain us and our people. Thank you. Keep praying for the mother of 7, she is doing much better but has a long road ahead of her. Pray for two new couples to our unit who are in orientation right now preparing for ministry. Pray protection on all our missionaries as the spiritual battle has been fierce in this new year.

Thank you,

Go Bless!

John and Joy

Just a thought: This was written by the husband of the mother of 7:

“Sitting on the sidelines are those Westerners and the Digo who are watching this all unfold. They are wondering why are we here in the first place? They are thinking well, it is Africa and there are diseases there. However, they are also seeing over a thousand Christians come together in unity of prayer and God is glorified.
We are battling a spiritual battle that has manifested itself in very real physical ways. May God continue to be glorified both through the Western audience that witnesses the healing of Jesus, and the peace of Jesus that sustains us. May God also be glorified among the Digo as he demonstrates his power over their spirits and the way that he takes away our fear.”

John, Joy, Acacia, Charlie, Sianna, Tierra Haspels

Habtom, Heather, Faith, Hope & Josiah Kebede, Box 1111 (c/o John Haspels), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: *

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We are blessed by your faithful partnership.

Habtom, Heather, Faith, Hope and Josiah

Anne Adrian, ISI, Lakeland, Florida

Hello my dear Partners, Family & Friends!

I wanted to send you a quick update in order to secure your prayers for not only our upcoming events, but some important needs coming down the road.

  • Our Welcome Back party in January had to be postponed because of scheduling conflicts, so we are holding it a little late, but it will be this Saturday, Feb. 2nd!  Please PRAY for good connections and deepening relationships!  We have a good number coming, especially from Florida Polytechnic; we’ll be playing all sorts of games that should be intriguing to the students (lots of Logic games – techies love those!! 😊)

  • The rest of the spring we have a professional indoor soccer game, a kayaking picnic & an End of Classes Party planned, as well as opportunities to serve individual students with their felt needs – ie: grocery store runs, airport pick-ups when we can & connecting them with our volunteers in the community.  PRAY that God will use all these venues to build relationships & initiate spiritual conversations.

  • PRAY for the Bible studies that are ongoing – Stacie (Kenya) has joined my little group & a fellow student involved with InterVarsity is holding a Bible study with a Brazilian young man, while reaching out to some M*lim men on campus.

  • Our International Women’s Connection will meet for the first time this year, Feb. 14th at my home to talk about LOVE – in particular how they met & fell in love with their husbands.  PRAY that as I share what the Bible says about love that it will spark good conversations where we can point to Christ.  I’m also encouraged because slowly but surely other American women are getting exposed to this wonderful opportunity to “reach the world in our backyard”; this semester we will have child care which we hope will enable us to have deeper conversations & we have one, maybe two new women coming to help out.  PRAY that these women & others will catch this vision & come alongside me to build friendships with the ladies.  Most of the internationals are faculty wives from Florida Polytechnic; there are more wives that we are not reaching yet.  PRAY for open doors to expand this ministry & for a better, more central place to meet besides my home.

  • TRUE Retreat will be in Central Florida (Oklawaha), May 15-19.  I am the Prayer Coordinator again so I’m recruiting those who feel called to be a part of our prayer team now & later on-site.  PRAY for all the aspects of planning that are going on now; for God to call students to attend & Christian Internationals to be Student Coaches.  I will be presenting TRUE for the first time to our students this Saturday – PRAY that God will open hearts & that many will be interested enough to sign up.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer for this strategic ministry!!

God’s blessings in the New Year to each of you!

With love & joy,


For those of you who prefer to give online: Thank

Loved with everlasting love,

Led by grace that love to know;

Gracious Spirit from above,

Thou hast taught me it is so!

O, this full and perfect peace!

O, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease,

I am His, and He is mine.

Everlasting love

George W. Robinson/ James Mountain

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