"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can most be used in winning souls for Christ."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Congratulations, Brother Martin and Sister Vickie

I would just like to send out a congratulations to Hermano Martin and his wife Vickie on the birth of their son, Adam. We just got back from the hospital and after waiting for about 4 hours, I got the privilege of being the first person outside of the family to hold little Adam. I don't have any of the girly details like how much he weighs, how long he is, or how long she was in labor because, well, I'm not a girl :o) But I did think you'd all like to see the picture I got of Mom, Grandma, and Grandson before I go to bed. He is such a cute little baby. He's got a full head of hair and the cutest little face. Anyway, congratulations, Brother Martin and Sister Vickie!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lessons I've Learned

Today as I was teaching the youth in Sunday School, I noticed a couple of things that God has been using to teach me a couple of lessons this afternoon.

The first thing is really a praise. For one thing, every Sunday we're having more youth come to the Sunday School hour to study with us. This is very encouraging to me, not for number's sake, but because it shows me that the youth are learning, or being challenged by God's Word, or at the very least, understanding what I'm trying to teach :o) We have been studying "How to Think Like Jesus", and I believe these passages from the Bible are really connecting with their needs at these crucial stages of their lives. So praise the Lord for reaching and teaching them and for using and teaching me at the same time!

Another thing I noticed this morning taught me a couple of different things. What I noticed was that at the end of the lesson today, I felt like this lesson really connected with every teen in that room. I'm sure it probably sounds really impressive to all of you uni-lingual people back in the States that I'm trying to teach all in Spanish. But in reality, I just prepare my notes ahead of time with, literally, everything I'm planning to say. So at times, I'm more reading my notes than communicating personally. I mean that's fine and everything (didn't Charles Spurgeon do the same and just read his sermons?), but now I'm starting to get to the point where I can leave my notes more often and just speak about whatever the Holy Spirit is laying on my heart. I always noticed when I was working with the teens at Cornerstone that those were the times when I seemed to connect best with the teens - when the Holy Spirit leads me to speak about something I wasn't planning on speaking about. That way, only God can get the glory for the teaching and its effect on the teens lives, not some clever way I devised my lesson.

Well, anyway, at the end of the lesson today, I put down my notes and just talked to the teens. I tried to emphasize to them when I shared my testimony that I am nothing special - I am not some kind of significant person that God is sending to another country - but that I am only a slave of Jesus Christ. I told them that the only reason that God is leading me and using me is because I made the decision to surrender my life to Him when I was 12 years old. And we've been together long enough now, and I've messed up my Spanish enough times, that they've seen that I'm nothing special. Today we talked about the lives of 4 men in the Bible that God used in a very powerful way - Abraham, Joseph, David, and Saul/Paul. We studied what their lives were like before God called them and what their lives were like after they surrendered their plans and followed God's will for their lives. So at the end, I just tried to communicate to them how much bigger God's plans are for them than any plans they could have for their own lives. And it was one of those times where we really connected. I mean every person in that room met my eyes. There was nobody talking, looking around, or doing other things. It was very powerful to me to see God working in their hearts and challenging their thinking.

That taught me two things. #1 - You can communicate more sometimes through "heart language" than you can through spoken language. I know I messed up my Spanish, probably, when I left my notes, but they all got exactly what I was trying to communicate. #2 - That I still need to work on learning more Spanish. Seeing that it is more effective to communicate heart-to-heart, I really need to become more knowledgable of the language so that I can communicate more fluently and be able to be free to say whatever the Holy Spirit leads me to speak on.

So I am very encouraged today! I am encouraged that God chooses and uses weak vessels. I am encouraged that God qualifies the called. I am encouraged that the youth here are hungry for God's Word. And I am encouraged that God can use me and teach me at the same time. We serve a great and powerful God who gives us the blessed opportunity of being a part of reaping eternal fruit in our world.!

Sunday School Message #4

Introduction: OK, let’s get started. We have a lot to cover today and I want to make sure we have time to finish everything. We’re studying “How to think like Jesus”. We’ve seen so far that in order to think like Jesus, you must have a Heart for the Lost. And last week we saw that you must have a Heart for Prayer. Today, we’re going to study the third area that will help us think like Jesus: A Heart for God’s Will. We’re going to study the lives of 4 people from the Bible and what I want us to see is this – God has a plan for your life, and that plan is greater than any plans you could have for your own life. Let’s begin in prayer and we’ll start studying.

3. A Heart for God’s Will – Surrender
a. Abraham (Genesis 12)
i. Before God’s Call
- We see first of all that Abraham had a comfortable life. He had the typical life of a person who lived in that day. He had a large family who all lived near each other. He had a big herd of animals that provided his income. You could say everything was going well for him. For all we know, Abraham could have lived that life comfortably and happily for the rest of his life. But God had other plans
ii. Response to God’s Call
- In chapter 12, we see God’s call to Abraham. We’ve talked a little about this before, but I want us to review it again now. God spoke to Abraham and said, “Go from your land, and from your parents, to a land that I will show you...” God did not tell Abraham where he was going. He didn’t tell him how far. He didn’t tell him for how long. He just said, “Go…” Now to Abraham, this plan probably did not make sense. It was not logical. Why would God tell him to leave everything that he had lived for? Why should he leave the land where the rest of his family was to go to some other place? But God did offer him a promise at the same time. He said, “I will make you a great nation…” Now I personally believe that Abraham would have still obeyed God even if he had not received the promise. In our lives, when God calls us to do something, our obedience should not be based on a reward. Do you know what I mean? We should not answer God, “What will I get from you if I do what you say?” Our obedience should be immediate and unconditional. In this case, God did choose to tell Abraham what his reward would be, and Abraham had faith in the promises of God.
iii. After God’s Call
- I also told you before that Abraham’s faith was demonstrated again after he surrendered His life to God’s call. After God called Abraham, Abraham immediately surrendered to God, obeyed God, and then continued on. Verse 4 tells us that he traveled through , through , to and then God spoke to him again. Studying the geography of that land, we learn that Abraham traveled over 400 miles before God talked to Him again with further instructions. Abraham continued to show his faith in God’s promises even after he surrendered his life to God’s plans for his life. And in the end, we see that God was indeed faithful to Abraham. He did make him a great nation. He did multiply his descendants more than the stars in the sky. And it was through the line of Abraham that God chose to send His own son, the Messiah, the Savior of the world into the world. The plans that God had for Abraham’s life were much greater than Abraham’s plans for his own life.

b. Joseph (Genesis 37)
i. Before God’s Call
- In Genesis chapter 37, we learn about the life of Joseph. Joseph was one of 12 brothers in a very unusual family. We read in verse 3 that his father Jacob loved Joseph more than all of his children, because he was born in his old age and also because he was the firstborn of his favorite wife, Rachel. We see that before God called Joseph to the very special plan He had for him, Joseph would have lived a very comfortable and enjoyable life. Being his father’s favorite son, he was already receiving special treatment over his brothers. And we don’t typically understand the significance of the coat of many colors that Joseph’s father gave him. In that time, to have a very expensive and distinct tunic like this one was a symbol of authority. It meant that this person was the person in charge. It meant that this person is more important than the others. Occasionally, in our society, we can still see this type of symbolism. For example, sometimes in a restaurant or a department store, the manager will wear something that is different or more formal than the other employees. We can see how Joseph’s brothers responded to this when they said in verse 8, “Shall you indeed reign over us?”
ii. Response to God’s Call
- Now for Joseph, the call of God came in quite an unusual way. And in fact, it is possible to say that at the time, Joseph didn’t even realize that it was the call of God. But we see throughout this story that Joseph was completely surrendered to the will of God for His life – even at the times when it seemed that God was not in control or had made a mistake.
iii. After God’s Call
- The story of Joseph is one of my favorite in all of the Bible. He is the only character I have found in the Bible in whom we see no fault or sin. What I mean is that in every situation we find Joseph, he made the right choice and He trusted in the sovereignty of God even when he was unjustly treated. The plans God had for Joseph were to save the entire nation of Egypt, his entire family, and once again, the line through which Jesus Christ would enter the world. Joseph is a perfect example of faithfulness. He lived a life totally and completely surrendered to the will of God, even when he didn’t understand it. The plans that God had for Joseph’s life were much greater than Joseph’s plans for his own life.

c. David (I Samuel 16)
i. Before God’s Call
- Now let’s look at another famous character from the Bible – David. Where was David before God called him. He was out in the fields watching over his father’s sheep, playing music, and writing songs to the Lord. While we really don’t have any way of knowing what David had planned for his life, we see that he was already living a peaceful, typical life of any other youth of his time. He was the youngest of his brothers and was demonstrating a humble and obedient heart to his father.
ii. Response to God’s Call
- David had an advantage that most of us do not have. He was called very specifically by God at a very young age. When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s house that day to visit, God told him to anoint David as the next king of Israel. David knew exactly what God wanted for him and was surrendered to the will of God.
iii. After God’s Call
- But the thing I want us to notice with David was his trust and confidence in the timing of God’s will. Remember, from the time he was quite young, he knew that he would be the next king of Israel. So he goes about his life, continuing as a shepherd of his father’s sheep. One day, he hears that his older brothers and the army of Israel are at war. His father sends him to the battlefield to take food to his older brothers. David obeys. Have you noticed that David never said to his father, “Hey you shouldn’t be telling me what to do anymore, because I’m going to be the next king of Israel.” No, he continued on faithfully and obediently. When God uses him and he has killed the giant, do we see David trying to then claim the throne of Israel? No, he returned home and was faithful to where God had him. Later on, when King Saul starts to get jealous of him and tries to kill him, does he start a rebellion to take over the throne? No. So he flees into the mountains with his men. And then he gets an opportunity that most people would have taken. One day as he is hiding in the caves, King Saul comes into his cave, unaware of David’s presence and goes to sleep. David approaches with his men telling him, “God has given Saul into your hands. Take his life and take his throne.” But David’s response to them is, “How can I touch God’s anointed?” And he leaves Saul in peace. David not only surrendered to God’s plan, but to God’s timing.
- To be quite honest, this is an area that I really struggle with. Through various stages of my life, God has shown me the next steps He wants me to take in following His will. But my problem, then, has always been to trust God with the timing. As you all know, I’m 26 years-old right now. And obviously, I would really like to be married right now. But that has not been what God wants for me yet. In God’s timing, He will bring me a wife, if it is His will for me to be married. OK, so even more recently, I believe that God is calling me to move down here to Mexico and serve Him as a missionary. And to be honest with you all, I am struggling even right now with God’s timing for all of this. If it were up to me, I would go home next month, pack up what I need, sell what I don’t need, and move right back down here. But in God’s timing, it will probably be a year or more before I can get back here full-time. And I am learning to trust in God’s timing for even this next stage of my life. Once again, we see that God went on to use David for great and powerful things, including being part of the line that brought Jesus Christ into the world. Again we see that the plans that God had for David’s life were much greater than David’s plans for his own life.

d. Paul (Acts 9)
i. Before God’s Call
- In this last character, we will see the most dramatic change between the plans they had for their own life and the plans God had for their life. It is the man Saul, later known as the Apostle Paul. What was his life like before God called him? He was a very committed and dedicated Pharisee. He says of himself in Philippians 3 that he was “of the stock of Israel…” When we first meet Saul at the end of Acts 7, he was present and approving of the murder of Steven. He was convinced, as the other Pharisees, that Jesus was a false prophet and that all of His followers were a threat to their religion. Look together at Acts chapter 8 and verse 3: “Saul…” Now look at Acts 9:1-2.
ii. Response to God’s Call
- Somebody read Acts 9:3-8 for us, please. Here we see the very dramatic and specific call of God to Saul, this great persecutor of the church. Notice Saul’s immediate response to seeing Jesus face-to-face. He first says, “Who are you, Lord?” and then asks, “Lord, what will you have me do?” Nobody could describe better what should be our response to God’s call. “Lord, what will you have me do?”
- Young people, hear me. God has a plan for each one of your lives. And God is calling to each one of you, to do something special for Him. What will be your response? Will you answer, like Saul, “Lord, what will you have me do?”
iii. After God’s Call
- I don’t think any one of needs to be told what Saul, now called Paul, went out and did for God after he surrendered to His call. He literally changed the world. He became the world’s greatest missionary. He was used by God to write over half of the New Testament. In the end, he was killed for his faith, having lived a faithful life of service and surrender to the same Lord who appeared to him on the Road to Damascus that day. Again we see that the plans that God had for Paul’s life were much greater than Paul’s plans for his own life.

Conclusion: So the one thing I want all of you to learn from this lesson today is this: God has a plan for your life. That plan is greater than anything that you could dream or want for yourself. And there is only one thing that you need to do to begin to learn what that plan is. You must surrender your will to God’s will. You must be willing to do anything, to go anywhere, and to seek God’s will every day. Why would God show you His will for your life if you were not willing to do it? Now understand, He will not show you His whole plan for you all at once. He will lead you one step at a time, through His Word. And we’ll be talking about that more in a couple of weeks. God has a plan for your life, but you must be surrendered to that plan. Ask God in prayer every day, "Lord, what will you have me do?" Let’s pray…

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunday School Message #3


2. A Heart for Prayer
Intro: Before we start today, I’d like somebody to remind me what we’re studying in this class. “How to Think Like Jesus”. And what was it that we talked about last week? A Heart for the Lost. Because remember that if we are going to think like Jesus, we must first of all develop a love for the lost, like Jesus had. Today, we’re going to study the second thing we need to think like Jesus – A Heart for Prayer. So let’s begin in prayer.

A. I Jn.5:14-15
Look first of all at I Jn.5:14-15. In this passage we learn that God answers our prayers because we are His children. Let me ask you this: Can God answer the prayers of a lost person? The answer, I believe, is yes. We can see times in the Scriptures and throughout history that God has answered the prayer of an unbeliever, but it was always with the result that they believed on Him and then received Him as their Savior. God can answer the prayer of an unbeliever, but He is under no obligation to.

B. Jn.14:13-14
Next, look at Jn.14:13-14. Jesus tells us here, “Y todo lo que pidiereis al Padre en mi nombre, esto haré, para que el Padre sea glorificado en el Hijo.” In his life on earth, Jesus was always trying to bring glory to His Father. And so He does when He answers our prayers. All of Jesus’ life was lived for the purpose of glorifying His Father. We’ll be looking at that area more in the next two weeks.

C. Lk.11:5-8,9-13; Matt.7:7-11
Look now at a passage in Luke. In this passage, Jesus asks the people He was teaching, how they would respond if they knew that somebody had a need, or even just a desire. He says, which of you who has a friend who is hungry would refuse to give him something to eat? The answer is obvious. None of us would do that. So Jesus then says, “If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to those who ask you, how much more will your Father who is in heaven?” God our Father loves us. And He is ready and waiting to give us the things that we ask for. But His desire is for us to ask those things of Him; then He will give us those things He already wants to give us. What a privilege we have in prayer to call upon the power and love of our Heavenly Father.

D. Mat.6:1-13; Lk.18:10-14
This next passage speaks not only of prayer, but of our Christianity in general. Matthew 6:1 says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus was speaking here of the religious practices of the Pharisees. Listen to what this passage says about them. When they came to the temple to give, they would sound a trumpet so that everyone would gather around to see what they were giving to the poor. Jesus says, “They have already received their reward.” The praise they received from men was the only reward they would receive. Jesus says, “When you give, do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” The idea He is trying to communicate is that your giving is a personal matter between you and God. We are to give what God tells us, to whom God tells us, and when God tells us. And consider this. Someone once said, “You have never truly given, until you have given to somebody who can never repay you.” Jesus said, “When you do anything for the least of people, you did it unto me; and when you don’t do something for the least of people, you didn’t do it unto me.” Then Jesus applies the same principle to prayer. He says, “Don’t be like the Pharisees, who stand in the temple and on the street corners and pray loudly with long prayers so that people will hear them. But when you pray, go into your closet and pray to your Father who hears in secret and will reward you openly.”
He then gives them a sample prayer, which we know as “The Lord’s Prayer”. Jesus did not intend to give them some type of magic words here, but rather, a demonstration of our attitude in prayer. In this prayer we see worship (“Our Father…hallowed be thy name”), surrender (“Your will be done”), petition (“Give us this day”), repentance (“Forgive us our sins…”), guidance (“Lead us not into temptation”), protection (“Deliver us from evil”), and praise (“Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever”). When we pray to God with this attitude, He hears us.

E. Jms.4:2-3
Look now at another passage in James very briefly. This passage tells us first of all that often we don’t have what we need, because we have not asked for it. I ask you this, as I often ask myself: “Is prayer to you a first reaction or a last resort?” Too many times, I find in my own life that prayer is just a last resort. It’s like, “Well, I’ve tried everything else, so I guess I should just pray about it now. But no, prayer should be our first reaction to any situation. Then notice in verse 3, that it is possible for us to ask for the wrong reasons. In this case, God will not answer out prayers. Biblical prayer is not like a genie in a bottle who will grant us any 3 wishes we want; biblical prayer is to request the right thing for the right reasons and receive the answer from our Father in heaven.

F. Lk.18:1-5; I Ths.5:16
When should we pray? I Thessalonians 5 tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” We have talked about how Jesus would often teach in parables. Well look at this parable in Luke 18. Luke tells us, “This parable Jesus taught that men should always pray and not lose heart.” It is the story of a widow who comes to an unrighteous king, begging for justice against her enemy. The king refuses, but she continues to beg him. Time and time again, she asks him. Then eventually, the king grants her request, so that she will stop asking. This is the attitude we should have with God in prayer. Never give up. Pray and pray and pray and pray until God answers, because He has promised that He will.

G. Mat. 21:21-22; Jms.1:5-8
Now comes the most important element of prayer – faith. If we are to learn to pray effectively, we must pray with faith. This is something that God has been teaching me in the past few months. Matthew 21:21 says, “If you have faith and do not doubt… whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

H. Eph.3:20
Lastly, listen to this verse about God’s power to answer prayer. “Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”

I. A prayer of Jesus – Gethsemane/John 17
As we close today, I want us to examine one of the prayers of Jesus. We know from the Gospels that Jesus was often in prayer, regularly and consistently. We one of those prayers is actually recorded for us in John chapter 17. It was Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Have you ever wondered what Christ was praying for that night, when He saw the cross before him and his disciples all around Him? He prayed for so long that they fell asleep 3 times. We see in His prayer His human fear combined with His humble surrender. He prays in Mark, “Father, if it is possible, take this cup away from me; but not my will, but yours be done.” Look now at His prayer in John 17. “Father, the hour is come. Glorify your son, that your son may glorify you.” Again we see that Christ’s main desire on earth was to bring glory to His Father in heaven. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world,” Jesus prayed for His disciples. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Now listen to this: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” Who is that? That is you. Jesus prayed for you. He prayed for me. Because somewhere, if we were able to follow the trail all the way back, we have heard about Jesus through the testimony of the 12 disciples. Peter preached the gospel at Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved. They then went out across the world preaching the gospel. And that same gospel was passed down through the years, and eventually, somebody told you about this Jesus. You believed on Jesus through the testimony of the disciples. Jesus prayed for you in the garden that night. What an amazing thought!
So if we are going to think like Jesus, we must begin by developing a Heart for the Lost. And then, we must have a Heart for Prayer. If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, needed to spend time in prayer, how much more do we? Remember that one of Jesus’ purposes for coming to earth was to give us a perfect example to follow. A heart for prayer will help us to think like Jesus. Let’s pray…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Cual Es La Mejor? (Which Is the Best?)"

This question I asked the youth last Sunday. And it is the question I have been asking myself for the last year or so. We were talking with the youth about God's perfect plan for their lives. I heard this question in a sermon, but now I don't remember who said it or where. But God has used it in my life and continues to use it.

I am here to decide if God wants me to come here permanently to serve Him here in Mexico. I have surrendered my life to serve God full-time in whatever capacity He will allow me. And in seeking different ministries to serve in, there are many good options. So it is with life. There are many good things that we could do. But... "Which is the best?"

Thus have I seached the Scriptures for God's thoughts on our lives. He says, "Go into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY creature." He says, "You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and to the uttermost parts of the world." Paul says, "We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God Himself were making His request through us: Be reconciled to God." John says, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." It has been accurately said that there is only one thing here on earth that we will not be able to do in heaven - and it is for that purpose that we are left here on the earth. It is to tell sinners that they can be reconciled to God!

I don't think any Christian would disagree that we are called to be a witness to the lost. But again, I take the question even to location of ministry. "There are many good places you could serve God, but which is the best?" In this, I do remember very vividly an illustration that was given when I was in college. A man was preaching about Jesus feeding the 5,000. He said this: "Imagine this situation. Jesus has prayed and broken the bread and fish as the disciples begin to help distribute the food. They take the food to the families closest to Jesus and when the baskets empty, come back for more. Then they take the food again to the people closest to Jesus. Again, they run out before all the people have eaten. They get more food from Jesus and again, feed the same people. How long will it be before the people in the back begin to cry out, 'Jesus, what about us? We're hungry, too! We need to eat! Jesus, what about us?"

How many times have you been witnessing in the States and encountered somebody who has NEVER heard the name of Jesus, somebody who has never seen a Bible, or somebody who is literally crying out for a Savior? For me, it has been rare - in fact, almost never. But leave the country! Abandon the spoiled, selfish American Dream and get out into the real life of most of the world - one lived somewhere between hunger/poverty and a hard-working life with basic needs sufficiently met. Where is the best place with the most potential for reaching the lost? In my view right now, it's anywhere outside the U.S.

Brother Randy said something to me the other day that was very eye-opening. He said, "You know brother, this thing about following God's will isn't as hard as we make it out to be. God just opens and closes doors and we're supposed to walk through them." So for me, thus far in my thinking, God is opening doors for me to come here. And until He closes them, I'm going to walk through them. And looking at my life NOW, in considering many good ministries, "Which is the best?" I have nothing to keep me in the States. Possessions? I have a few, but what are they, other than distractions to keep me entertained and passified while the world dies and goes to hell. Family? Nothing means more to me in the world, but to be in Mexico, I wouldn't be much more out of contact than in the States, given that they are still traveling and I am not. Church? Absolutely, I have the best church family I could ask for. But they also have such a vision for the world and a philosophy of missions, that I would be no less a part of our church if I were here in Mexico full-time. What else do I have to go back for? Nothing.

So has God prepared me for Mexico? Now, I am 26 years old, single, looking for where God could use me, and now can speak Spanish (still learning, yes, but well enough :o) And the phrase that always is a comfort to me is this: "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called." As a preacher in college said, "God chooses the boneheads." God chooses the weak vessels, so that He can be glorified through them. God always makes His will unmistakably clear. But right now, I don't see why I wouldn't come back, I don't believe I shouldn't come back, and I can't see how I won't be coming back. If God closes the doors, so be it. But as of now, they are open wide!!!

Jesus said, "Open your eyes and look to the fields, for they are white already unto harvest. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into the field."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Seek and To Save

This Saturday, April 12th, we gathered at the church to go out on visitation, like every week. But a couple of things I saw today inspired me to write what I had seen. Some Saturdays we go to the town center and hand out tracts to people. One Saturday we visited all of the church members. This week it was time to go knocking on people's doors. I was reminded of the passage I was studying for Sunday School - that Jesus was intentional and deliberate in seeking the lost.

The first thing I saw was so convicting to me. It was Joaquin. He is 8 years old and he lives at the ranch. When we arrived at the section of town where we were going to knock doors, we split up. I was expecting little Joaquin to join up with one of the adults or something. But no, he took his stack of tracts and walked right up to the first house and knocked on the door, just as if it were his best friends house. What a coward I am! The last time I knocked on a door was in Canada and I was afraid to do so without another one of the guys from the hockey team with me. I, along with many other Christians in America, have been a spiritual coward.

The next thing I saw was a reminder of the power of prayer. You know, sometimes we have to wait days, months, or years to see answers to our prayers. But I was reminded yesterday that God is able to answer a prayer in an instant. Adrian and I went up to a house with a big white gate and called out to anyone inside. A lady named Marcelina came out to see us. She has been raised Catholic and had already heard of all the Scriptures Adrian and I were sharing with her. As Adrian explained the plan of salvation and her need for a Savior, I would pray specifically for her and see God answering prayers within seconds! She looked confused as Adrian explained that she needed a personal Savior and not a priest. I prayed, "God help her to understand..." Her countenance began to change and she began to nod her head in agreement. Adrian explained to her that it is a decision that needs to be made at a specific point in time. He asked her if she wanted to pray right then to receive Christ. She backed up and said, "Well, I just don't see why it is necessary, because I already go to church." I thought that maybe she felt intimidated by this American and another stranger. So I prayed, "God give her the courage to make this decision now." So Adrian talked to her for a few minutes and again, she began to understand and nod in agreement. When he asked her again, she said yes she understood, and yes she wanted to pray right then. So she prayed and received Christ that day.

What an amazing God we serve and what a privilege we have to be involved in the saving of souls. But what a responsibility! Don't be afraid. Don't fear. You are a beggar who has found the Bread of Life. Now go and tell other beggars where to find it as well.

My New Brothers and Sisters

I wanted to post the names and ages of all the teens in our youth group here at Iglesia Bautista La Fe so that all of you will be able to pray for them specifically by name.

Rosa Yarely -14
Ana Elizet -14
Ana Isabel - 14
Tomas - 18
Jose Luis - 18
Mario - 18
Israel - 20
Michel - 14
Jesus - 17
Marisela - 15
Claudia - 17
Luis - 17
Salma - 13
Manuel -18
Fransisco - 17
Diego - 17
Luis - 16
Ernesto - 14
Nancy - 15
Yadera - 18

Just for a bit more information, y'all from Cornerstone will remember the boys - Jesus, Diego, Mario, Fransisco (Keeko), Sergio (Keko), Jose Luis (Pepo), and Tomas. Rosa Yarele and the Ana twins were both also here last summer and some of you will remember them from this picture. Oh and Sydney, I told Rosa today that you said to tell her hi, and she says hi back. She remembers you, too. She showed me a picture of you and Christina on her cell phone and said, "This is Sydney, right?" Luis, Salma, and Manuel don't go to church, we invited them off of the streets to come help us clean up the ranch and then invited them to our youth activity at the church and they all came. Michel is a guy I want you all to pray specifically for. He is the newest boy living at the ranch. He came last summer, just after all the groups left. He is VERY quiet and withdrawn. But I have noticed him in Sunday School. He is paying attention and listening to me just so intently. I told Brother Randy about it, and he was very excited. He told me that Michel is always in his Bible for long amounts of time every day and every night. God has got some great plans for that guy! I believe he is a missionary-in-training. Please pray for me and all of my kids!

Sunday School Message #2


Intro: OK, we’re going to start now. I am very excited and very grateful for the opportunity to teach all of you. But remember that I am still learning Spanish, so if you don’t understand me, just tell me and I’ll try to tell you another way, ok? Well, I have been thinking about what topic we should study in only 2 months. I want to help all of you in the biggest way possible in so short of a time. So I want us to study something from the life of Christ. Do you remember last Sunday how I told you that I have a great burden and love for teenagers because I believe that you are in the most important years of your life and that the decisions you are making now are going to change the rest of your lives? Well, it is because of that that I want us to study this topic. Because we don’t have much time together, I want us to study something that will help you to make your important decisions in the way that Jesus would. For the next 8 weeks, I want us to study “How To Think LIke Jesus.” Why is it so important to know what Jesus would think? Do you remember when many people would wear those bracelets that said “What would Jesus do?” You will often see that phrase in a Christian book store or magazine. That is a very good question to ask ourselves in our lives, because as Christians, we are commanded to be followers of Christ. In fact, the very word “Christian” means “little Christ”. The Bible commands us to “be followers of God as dear children.” So if we are to live holy lives as Christians, we must learn to make our choices in the same way that Christ did. And the only way for us to know why Christ made the choices He did, is to study and learn how Jesus thought. If we can think like Jesus, we will make our choices as He would.

Therefore, in our study today, I want us to examine the thing that was always first in the mind of Christ. Today I want us to examine the mind of Christ and His attitude toward the lost. We’re going to look at several passages of Scripture to try and understand how the Son of God felt about sinners.

The first is in San Lucas 19:10. In the most basic sense, why did Jesus come? Look at what this verse says. Somebody read that for us please. “To seek and save that which was lost.” Jesus Himself tells us his exact purpose for coming to this earth. He came here for the purpose of seeking and saving every person who was lost. What does this verse tell us about the great love that Christ has for the lost? You all know what the Bible says in San Juan 3:16. For God so loved… If we are to think like Christ, we must begin where He began – with a deep love for the lost. Now I will admit, it is often hard to love an unbeliever. Right? When we see a person experiencing the results and the punishment for their sin, it is repulsive to us. It is hard to love a man who lies in the street, smelly, and dirty from the alcohol he has been drinking. It is hard to love a person who has robbed, abused, or killed another human being. But when Jesus saw the world that He had created, He saw sinners who needed a Savior. I remember this one time when my family and I were at a park in Ohio. Well, as we were standing in line together, we saw these two men who were obviously homosexuals. One of the two was wearing nylons, makeup, and lipstick. So my first reaction was disgust. My brothers and sisters and I were talking about the two and how disgusting they were together. But then I remember my dad turning around and saying to us, “They just need Jesus.” And I realized He was right. The love that Jesus had for sinners is something that is not natural to us, and we need to ask Him in prayer to give us that kind of love.

Let’s look at another passage in San Lucas 15. The first thing we’re going to see in this passage is something that you will often see in the Four Gospels. The sinners gathered to hear Jesus teach; the Pharisees murmured and talked bad about them. Jesus often taught the people through parables, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, and in this chapter He teaches 3 stories that all mean the same thing. The first is the story of the lost sheep (4-7). Notice especially in verse 7 that Jesus says that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than 99 people who need no repentance. And remember what two crowds Jesus is talking to. There is obviously nobody who does not need repentance according to other passages in the Bible. But Jesus was referring to those Pharisees standing around who thought that they needed no repentance because they were already righteous. The second is the story of the lost coin (8-10). Notice in this passage the diligence with which the woman was searching for the coin. Jesus didn’t merely walk around Israel hoping to find sinners to save. He was active and diligent and intentional in his pursuit of sinners. The third story is that of the lost son. (11-32). Notice in this story the depth of sin the son committed and the amount of pain that must have caused his father. He took all of his inheritance, moved to a far-away land, wasted his money, and eventually returned with nothing. Yet still, we see that the Father was ready, waiting, and excited for his lost son to return. This is the attitude of Jesus towards the lost.

Look now at San Mateo 9:35(36)-38. Though Jesus was constantly surrounded by people, He never became cold to them or inconsiderate of their needs. He was moved to compassion by the multitudes. And then, He gives us a wonderful view of His heart as he sadly replies, “The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” If we are to think like Christ, we must never lose that vision that was constantly on His heart. As one of my teachers in college used to say, “Walk slowly through the crowd.” That means to be sensitive to those around you. Don’t just go about your life, busy and preoccupied, ignoring the needs of people around you. Learn to be sensitive to people in your life and take every opportunity to tell somebody about Jesus.

Also in San Mateo 9:10-13 we see Christ’s attitude toward the lost. He said that those who are well so not need a physician, but the sick. Again, we must see past the rough, dirty exterior of sinners and learn to see them as just another sinner who needs to be saved. Tell me this – when you are going fishing, what must you do first? Will you catch the fish first, or clean it first? You have to catch it of course. So it is with the hearts of men. God will capture their heart first; then He will begin to clean up their lives and change them to look more like His perfect Son.

Next, we see an interesting story in San Lucas 7:36-50. This story takes place in the house of one of the Pharisees named Simon. Jesus is sitting there with the Pharisees, when this woman comes in to see him. Now this was a woman who was well known in the town for her immorality. In order for us to understand this story, we need to know a few things about the traditions of this country. It was common that when a person received a guest into their home, they would greet them at the door with a kiss. Then they would have a servant with a basin of water who would wash the guest’s feet before they sat down for dinner and fellowship. And last, they would anoint their head with a sweet-smelling oil. It was their way of showing honor to their guest. Although this Pharisee invited Jesus to his house for dinner, he obviously did not show Him the proper respect. Listen to Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ judgmental thoughts (44-47). The Pharisees sat there the entire time that this woman was showing her love for Jesus judging her, judging him, and considering themselves better than her. Jesus answered her actions with forgiveness and their thoughts with correction. Hermanos y hermanas, think about this. In Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees, he said, “She loves much, because she has been forgiven much; but he who has been forgiven little, loves little.” Now think about your own life. Nobody knows who you really are except for you. Right? Have you heard the word “integrity” before? Pastors will often say that we need to be people of integrity. Well if you would like a simple and convicting definition of integrity, it is this: Integrity is who you are when nobody but God is watching you. Think about that. It’s sad isn’t it? Oh we can all put on a good face at church. We can all look, talk, and act like a good Christian when there are other Christians around us. But what are you like when there is nobody else around. THAT is who you really are. We like to think we are good people because we haven’t done “really bad” sins. We haven’t killed anybody, stolen anything really big, or had sex outside of marriage. But to God, all sin is equally sin. There is none of us who has been forgiven little. I want you to think for just a minute about your own life, and your own sins. Think about who you really are. When you do that, you will begin to realize just how much you have been forgiven. And the more you have been forgiven, the more you will love Jesus. Though none of us likes to think about our sins, it is helps to keep us humble and to have a greater love for the One who has forgiven us of all our sins. Let’s look at two more passages and we’re done for today.

San Mateo 24:14. Look first of all at verse 3. Jesus is telling His disciples what things will be like just before the end of the world, when He will return to take us home. In verse 14, Jesus tells them that He will not return until all of the world has heard the gospel. Again we see that Jesus’ heart is for all people of the world to hear the truth and have the opportunity to accept and receive it.

And lastly, turn to San Mateo 28:18-20. This is the passage of Scripture known as the Great Commission. These were Jesus’ last words in His physical earthly body. Have you ever thought what you would like to be said at your funeral? Or if you were told that today would be your last day on earth, what would you want to say to your family and loved ones? A person’s final message will always represent their heart’s deepest desires and feelings. Jesus was no different. As His final words to His people, He commanded them, now us, to go to all nations and to preach the gospel to every creature. This was the heart and mind of Jesus. He came to seek and to save those which were lost. And as His final command to His people, He told them to carry on that mission that He had lived for.

Conclusion: So for the first point in our study of “How to Think Like Christ”, we must remember that The Heart of Christ was for the Lost. In everything that we do in our lives, we must not forget that the people all around us are dying. And although they don’t know it, and some will deny it, they are all looking for God. They are looking for something that will give their lives purpose and meaning. God has placed an emptiness inside of every person leads them to seek Him. And we have the answer! Don’t be afraid to share it! Don’t be so selfish that you don’t share it! We fear rejection; but people do not reject us. Sometimes they reject Jesus, but that is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to share the truth. Somebody once said, “We are beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.” We are not better than unbelievers. But we have found the bread of life. Let us think like Jesus, walk slowly through the crowd, and show other beggars where to find bread. Let’s pray…

A New Experience

Today, I had the opportunity to be a part of something I had never done before - a baby dedication. This morning, Brother Jose Luis and I led a quick service of dedication for the mother and grandmother of little Perla Lisbeth. They came up to the front and I got to hold Perla while Jose Luis gave a challenge of dedication to the mother and grandmother. He then had the church family stand and commit themselves to pray for the family and help them train up little Perla in the ways of the Lord. Then I prayed for her in Spanish. It was what you would call "short and sweet". Praying is one of those things that I usually don't do in Spanish. I mean, I'm not praying to the people; I'm praying to the Lord. But, you know, this is one of those cases where the people want to know what you're praying for, so I prayed in Spanish. Brother Jose Luis just told me about it right before the service, so it's not like I had time to think through the prayer either. Oh well. Again, I am amazed how God will use us and stretch and grow us at the same time! Oh and I know especially all the ladies will want to know that I did get several pictures of Perla. So I'll upload them as soon as I get my camera hooked up.

The service at the jail yesterday went very well. It was only Brother Martin and I this time and we had 11-13 men at the service.Brother Martin led in a couple of songs and then I preached the best that I could in Spanish. It was the first time that I've done so without writing out my notes word-for-word. It was just a basic, simple presentation of the gospel and I told the men that I was not going to share my thoughts and words with them, but the Word of God. So I basically just went through my Scripture Memory verses with them and tried to show them how they can be saved and also what the Bible says about the many excuses that we give for rejecting salvation. At the end, I asked Brother Martin to lead in prayer and give the men the chance to pray and receive Christ. When he did, 9 of them men prayed together with him. The prison ministry is one of those that is difficult to understand how to pray for. Every week, we will have 2 or 3 of the same guys and 4 or 5 new guys. Nearly every time we lead them in a prayer to receive Christ, almost everybody will pray along. So you know, God is the only One to know what is really going on in those men's hearts. But as I told the teens today, our only responsibility is to be faithful to share God's Word with the lost. God will choose whom to save, and when, and where to save them. So I was blessed by the opportunity.

Oh yeah, I wanted to share this with all of you. I also shared it with the group from Cedar Creek during one of our home group meetings last week. God has been teaching me during the last few months how to listen to the promptings of His Holy Spirit in a very real way. What I mean is this. There are often times in my life where I "think" maybe I should do something like witness to someone, give money to somebody, or do something out of the ordinary. But many times, in fact most times, I push that off thinking, "Oh that was just an idea." But I have been realizing that every "thought" of mine to do something good that is out of the ordinary is not my thought at all. It is the Holy Spirit inside of me prompting me to do something for God. I first noticed this the day before I came down here, the day I went out witnessing on the south side of Peoria. I noticed that at times I would have the thought, "Go give that man a tract." And several times, I pushed it off. Once, I only delayed. I was like, "No not that one." But then changed my mind and went to give the guy a tract, but he was already leaving. God showed me that when He promts me, I have ONE chance to obey. And I don't want to miss those chances. So I have been trying to learn how to listen to God in a very clear way every day. And it is so amazing to see the kind of opportunities I'll get.

OK, back to the jail. After the service, Brother Adrian was supposed to pick me up at 4:40. But I figured it would be longer than that because things always run slow down here. So I waited until 5:00, when a lady was walking by. I thought, "I need to give her a tract." Then I realized that I still had a whole stack of tracts in my pocket from the visitation that morning. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. A lady got saved yesterday morning during visitation. I'll write that in another post, though, because this one is already long. OK, so I'm waiting at the jail when I realized I had a whole stack of tracts. God said, "Walk home." So I did. It was only a few miles, but I got to hand out tracts to SO many people. It was like practice for listening to God. A couple times I saw somebody at a house across the street, out of my way, but God said, "God give them one, too." Later on, Adrian was like, "Brother, I'm sorry it took me so long." But I told him, "Don't worry about it, man. I was supposed to walk home." Oh and also I got a liter of Lala Entera milk, the best milk in the world, on the way home. And this time I didn't throw it up. Oh yeah, that's another story. Right, Cedar Creek?

Well, I'm gonna finish this up now. I've got my Sunday School notes from today too, so I'll post those in a few minutes. I love you all! God is good all the time!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday, April 12th

Hey Everyone,

It's hard to believe that I only have another 57 days here before going back home. Wow, time flies, but it's just another reminder to take advantage of every opportunity I have here. Today I will be preaching at the prison at 4:00 PM, so I could use all of your prayers for that. I'm preaching in Spanish, but it should be pretty easy, because I won't be talking a whole lot except for the verses for evangelism that I've memorized. I just want to give them a simple, clear presentation of the Word of God, because that is what has the power to change their lives, not my words.

Also, I'm walking down to the church in about 20 minutes for our Saturday visitation. That is always exciting because we never know where we will go or whom we will get to visit. Last week with Brother Randy, we visited the houses of several church members and invited them specifically to the morning services that Sunday so that we could take pictures of the entire church family. I also got some video of our visits there and I'm working on putting that together and posting it on Facebook.

My final project for today is to finish my notes for Sunday School and get them all translated into Spanish. Last week I prepared them all in Spanish, but this week I'm trying to prepare them in English and then translate to Spanish. So when I'm finished with all that, I'll post them here in English for all of you to see. We are going to be studying in youth Sunday School "How To Think Like Christ". I told the teens in my lesson last week that my heart is for teenagers because I believe that they are in the most important years of their lives. I told them that they are making decisions now that will change the rest of their lives. And so since our time together is so limited, I want to help them out as much as possible with our Bible studies. If we can learn to think like Jesus, then we will learn to make choices the way that He would. This week we are focusing on Christ's number one concern on this earth - his compassion and heart for the lost. "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost."

This week we had a group of 16 people visit us from Cedar Creek Church in Aiken, South Carolina. I can't even describe what a blessing and encouragement they were to all of us. We were immediately drawn together as a family. They were a huge help to us in ministering in the village of California and also in helping Brother Randy express to the church his goal to begin home group ministries here in Mexico. On Wednesday night, they shared their testimonies of how God has used their home groups in their church and Brother Wes Holbrook even learned "Open the Eyes of My Heart" in Spanish and sang it for the church. It was just a wonderful time of fellowship and ministry with our family from the States.
Well, I've gotta get steppin' so I'm not late for visitation. Not that it would matter, since we're on Mexican time here. If we "start" at 10, that means people start to show up at 10, and then we start whenever everyone comes. Oh well. God is working and your involvement is greatly appreciated. Thanks, my family!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sunday School Message #1

Hey Everyone,
I know that most of you won't be able to read this, but I haven't been online in a while and I want to keep you all posted in any way I can. So I'm posting my notes from last Sunday School, only they're in Spanish. So at least it's maybe a little bit of an update for some of you all.

Intro: Buenos Días. Estoy muy emocionado y muy agradecido por la oportunidad de enseñarles. Pero recuerden que aun estoy aprendiendo Español; entonces si no me entienden, solo díganme y yo intentaré de decirles de otra manera, ok? Y no sé si vamos a usar toda la hora esta mañana, porque la única cosa que quiero hacer hoy es compartir mi testimonio con ustedes y para mostrarles unos versículos que el Señor está usando para guiarme ahora mismo.

Mi testimonio:
- Yo no soy nadie. Yo no soy algo especial. La única cosa que yo soy es un esclavo de Jesucristo. No quiero que ustedes a piensen que yo soy una persona muy buena o muy diferente a ustedes. Soy pecador igual que tu. Pero espero que cuando oigan mi testimonio, van a entender que el Señor puede usar a cualquier persona quien entrega su vida a Él.
- Mi historia empieza cuando yo tenía 5 años. A esa edad yo recibí Jesucristo como mi Salvador personal. Yo había oído el evangelio muchas veces antes pero esa fue la primera vez que comprendí que yo era un pecador también. Así que, yo hablé con mis padres y esa noche recibí Jesucristo en mi corazón. Esa noche cambió mi destino. Pero hay otro tiempo que cambió lo resto de mi vida.
- Esto tiempo pasó cuando tenía 12 años. En el verano yo fui a un campamento Cristiano en Wisconsin – en la actualidad es el mismo lugar donde yo fui a la universidad muchos años después. ese verano estaba un predicador allí, se llama Tom Farrell, quien el Señor lo usó en grande manera para hablarme . Me acuerdo muy bien una noche durante esa semana. Estaba sentando allí escuchando el sermón y yo podía percibir la presencia del Señor en una manera muy especial. Yo supe que el Señor me estaba llamando para servirle para por el resto de mi vida. No supe adonde. No supe en qué manera. Pero yo supe que Dios me estaba llamando para algo especial. Entonces, en esa noche yo entregué mi vida a Dios para servirle el resto de mi vida.
- Luego, cuando tenía 20 años, mis padres me dijeron que debía ir al colegio para prepararme al servicio del Señor. Entonces, yo decidí a ir a Northland Baptist Bible College y estudiar y prepararme para el ministerio con los jóvenes. Como estaba creciendo, el Señor empezó a darme una carga y un amor por los jóvenes. Pero voy a decirles más sobre eso en unos minutos. En ese tiempo el Señor me guío a una iglesia en Illinois, se llama Cornerstone Baptist Church o Iglesia Bautista Piedra angular. Para toda mi vida, yo estaba viajando con mi familia en un ministerio para iglesias. Pues, después de mi segundo año de universidad, mi familia viajó a Piedra Angular y yo andaba con ellos. E inmediatamente nosotros amamos a esa iglesia. Luego, un año después, mi familia viajó allí también a la misma fecha; entonces yo estaba con ellos otra vez. Y ese verano, yo tenia que trabajar para una iglesia como parte de mis requisitos para la universidad. Así que el Señor me permitió a trabajar a Piedra Angular.
- Entonces, ese año, en Diciembre del 2004, el Señor llamó al pastor de jóvenes de la Iglesia Piedra Angular y dejar la iglesia e ir al campo misionero. El les dijo que se iría en Mayo del 2005, el mismo mes que yo terminaría mis estudios en la universidad. Entonces los pastores de la Iglesia Piedra Angular me llamaron y me invitaron para volver ahora como el nuevo pastor de jóvenes. Para que ustedes sepan, estoy contando los detalles de todo de esto muy específicamente porque quiero que ustedes vean como el Señor es muy claro cuando nos guía y muestra su voluntad. Si estas caminando en obediencia con El Señor, no tienes que preguntarte, “¿Estoy en la voluntad de Dios ahora mismo?” porque tu estas!. Si tu eres un hijo de Dios, tu vas a saber cuando no estás en el voluntad de Dios. Porque Dios no castiga los hijos del diablo, pero el castiga a sus propios hijos.
- Regresemos a mi historia. en ese tiempo, yo no sabía lo que Dios haría conmigo, solo sabía que él me quería para servirle el resto de mi vida. En la universidad, conocí muchos que sabían exactamente lo que el Señor quería para ellos. Uno de mis amigos me dijo, “El Señor me llamo a Brasil para empezar nuevas iglesias.” otro me dijo, “El Señor me quiere como pastor aquí en los Estados Unidos.” Otra hermana me dijo, “El Señor me quiere como maestra de niños.” Pero yo nunca supe así como ellos. Entonces, cuando los pastores de Piedra Angular me llamaron, yo entendí que Dios me estaba abriendo una puerta. Así que, acepte.
- Entonces, yo trabajé allí por dos años hasta el verano del año pasado. Luego, el Señor empezó a guiarme en una dirección diferente. Y esa fue muy difícil para mí. Porque en ese momento, yo no sabia donde El Señor me quería o donde quería que fuera. Pero cuando yo hablé con los otros pastores, ellos estaban de acuerdo conmigo . Así que, yo empecé a considerar otros ministerios. Yo hablé con ministerios de música en Missouri, ministerios para jóvenes en la ciudad de Nueva York, y campamentos Cristianos, y yo pensé viajar con mis padres de nuevo en su ministerio de renacimiento. Y saben, fue muy difícil decirles todo de esto a mis jóvenes en Illinois. Fue muy difícil algunos de ellos. Me preguntaron, “¿Pero porque, Pastor Jon? ¿Porque quieres dejarnos? ¿A dónde vas? No puedes irte; tú eres mi pastor favorito,” y cosas así. Entonces, el ultimo mensaje que yo prediqué a ellos fue de Abram en el libro de Genesis capitulo 12. Búscalo, por favor, si tienes tu Biblia. “Pero Jehová había dicho a Abram: ‘Vete de tu tierra y de tu parentela, y de la casa de tu padre, a la tierra que te mostraré.” En este pasaje, Dios dice a Abram que deje a su familia, su tierra, y todo lo que tiene en su vida, para ir a “una tierra que te mostraré.” Dios no le dijo a donde. Dios no le dijo porque. lo mismo que en mi vida. Pero Abram confió en Dios, así que, mira el versículo 4, “Y se fue Abram.” Abram siguió a Dios. Si estudias este pasaje y la geografía de esa tierra, vas a aprender que Abram viajó más que 680 kilómetros antes de que Dios le hablara otra vez. Esa es la fe. Esa es la confianza. Esa es la obediencia. Cuando Dios nos dice, “Vete de aquí,” tenemos que ir.
- Finalmente, yo vine aquí a México, el año pasado en Junio. ¿Cuántos recuerdan eso? bueno, cuando yo estaba aquí, Dios estaba conmigo. Cada día de muchas maneras, el Señor me estaba hablando. Yo vi la necesidad que tiene la gente de México de Jesucristo. Yo vi las oportunidades para servir al Señor aquí. fue a ese tiempo que yo empecé a pensar que este era el lugar donde el Señor me quería . Cuando yo regresé a los Estados Unidos, yo hablé con mis padres, hablé con mis pastores, y
- hablé con el Hermano Randy. Y todas las personas me dijeron, “Si piensas tu que el Señor te quiere que regreses a México, hazlo.” Así que, aquí estoy!. Estoy aquí por tres meses para buscar la voluntad de Dios, y para aprender y ver si El me quiere mover aquí permanente. Estoy orando que cuando vuelva a Chicago, voy a saber si este es el lugar donde el Señor me quiere o si es otro lugar. Ese es mi testimonio.
- Antes de terminar, les quiero compartir algo de mi corazón. Mi corazón es para los jóvenes, para ustedes. Yo creo que ustedes están en los años mas importantes de sus vidas. Las decisiones que están haciendo ahora mismo van a cambiar el resto de sus vidas. Por ejemplo, están escogiendo lo que quieren hacer con sus vidas. Están escogiendo con quien se quieren casar. Están escogiendo donde quieren vivir. Y yo quiero ayudarles a hacer sus decisiones bíblicamente. Yo quiero que ustedes consideren no solamente lo que tú quieres hacer, si no primero lo que Dios quiere hacer con tu vida. Y he compartido mi testimonio a ustedes para que ustedes puedan ver que Dios quiere usar tu vida también, que no soy especial o diferente. Dios me está guiando y va a usar mi vida solamente porque yo la entregué a él. Y si tu entregarás tu vida a El también, él va a usarte en una manera muy poderosa. Piensa en esto y ya terminamos: Hay muchas cosas buenas que puedes hacer con tu vida. Pero, ¿cuál es la mejor? Escuchen estos versículos: “Todo esto proviene de Dios, quién nos reconcilió consigo mismo por Cristo, y nos dio el ministerio de la reconciliación; Que Dios estaba en Cristo reconciliando consigo al mundo, no tomándoles en cuento a los hombres sus pecados, y nos encargó a nosotros la palabra de reconciliación. Así que, somos embajadores en nombre de Cristo, como si Dios rogase por medio de nosotros; os rogamos en nombre de Cristo: Reconciliaos con Dios. Al que no conoció pecado, por nosotros lo hizo pecado, para que nosotros fuésemos hechos justicia de Dios en él.”
- Podemos hablar de esto otro día, ok? Vamos orar…

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shortest Post Ever

We're going out to the ranch for lunch with the group from the USA. Everything went great today in youth Sunday School. I got to share my testimony and preach all in Spanish and I think they all understood me. We had 16 teens and I've got all of their names and ages. As soon as I can get my computer online again, I'll have pictures and the list of their names so all of you can pray for them. I love you all and miss you all!