Monday, August 1, 2011

Sproul, Driscoll, Chandler, Tchividjian Discussion Panel

Thought this was to good not to share. Good stuff!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gaining The Big Picture

It's been a month now since my wife and I left the states and traveled to the La Limonada slum in Guatemala City. I still reflect on our week there, it's hard not to. There are some experiences in life, that no matter how far you are removed from them, those experiences will forever be etched into your mind and not only into your mind but into your nose and ears as well. I didn't think that going into a slum would be that big of a deal. I've seen some rather poor parts of the world and I assumed this place would be no different, I was wrong.

The first thing I noticed when traveling into La Limonada was that it seemed to be cut off from the rest of the city. It was like we were entering a different country. I was told that this was almost the case. Most in Guatemala totally disregard the people of La Limonada as citizens of Guatemala City. The "roads" in the slum are really large sidewalks and sometimes very small sidewalks. There is trash everywhere. I'm not talking some litter here and there but a lot of trash. Dogs and cats roam the slum, all are underfed and full of only God knows what kind of parasites. So far it pretty much looked like other poor locations of the world that I've seen, then I got to higher ground.

During the week, we visited and prayed with several families. We had a chance to hear their stories, see first had what they were struggling with and see the joy God had placed into their hearts. It was on one of these visits that I was blown away. Myself along with a friend and some staff from Lemonade International went to a home of an elderly gentlemen. We talked with he and his caretaker. We were able to provide him with some medicines that he desperately needed and prayed over him. It was truly an honor.

His house was located near the top of the ravine (where the slum is located in). We walked up and when we got out his front door I turned to look out over the slum. My heart sank as I took in how big this place really was, and I really couldn't see the full scope of it even then. This place was huge which means the problems that it's facing are huge as well.

Though the problems in La Limonada are great, the hope that many that live there have is even greater! God, through the sweat and tears of many very special people, is doing some great things in the hearts and lives of many.

Thankfully, ours and Gods perspectives are not the same. Where we see chaos, God sees clam and does the calming. Where we see despair, Gods sees hope and is the hope. When we see true joy and a peace that passes all understanding, we see God.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Week In Paradise

Last week I had the privilege of working with some of the greatest people in the world! OK, one of those people was my wife, but we were able to minister along side of those who work with Lemonade International.
My wife and I, along with three others form our Aftershock group, we're in Guatemala City. More specifically in the La Limonada slum. We spent the week in two schools that are operated by Lemonade International. We had time to meet and talk with the staff, through a translator, teach and minister to the children of the slum and go on home visits within La Limonada.
There were many highlights to the week, and I'll post my thoughts on those in the weeks to come, but there was one highlight that stood out.

For the last 7 months our family has been sponsoring a boy in La Limonada. It has been a great joy to write letters back and forth, send him gifts and really just spoil him. I say our family has been sponsoring because, yes, our kids get involved too. They write him little notes and color him pictures, they consider him their older Guatemalan brother. Anyway, we were able to take him, his mom and little sister out to pizza, and spoil he and his family a little more. It was truly a blessing for us.

I'm writing this post first because it is the most important one. There is a huge need in the La Limonada slum of Guatemala City, HUGE. You don't know if you're not made aware, so I'm making you aware. If you go to the Lemonade International website, you'll find many ways that you can help support the ministry. Please choose one and get involved. I titled this post "A Week In Paradise" because, really, that's what it was. God is doing a great work in that slum and the people there have beautiful hearts and beautiful stories.

God bless!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nothing To Say...

I'm not quite sure why I haven't written on my blog in a while. It's certainly not because I haven't wanted to. Maybe because I really don't think anyone is really reading it. There have been plenty of things that I'd like to weigh in on. Sometimes my opinions are far more than they should be. Go ahead, ask me anything, I'll let you know how I feel about it.

Grace. Maybe that's it. Over the last several months, God has really been pressing. He's been pressing me to extend grace to people, that in the past, I never would have given it a second thought.

Lots of people blog nowadays. Many use their small pedestal in this cyber world to verbally beat up on people. Or to throw their opinions around trying to shock their small group of readers hoping their opinions get echoed throughout the internet world.

I've thought about just not blogging anymore and shutting this thing down, but I won't. Why? Because one day I think I'd like to go back and read what I've written. Who knows, maybe I'll be the first one to read some of the things I've written.:o)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gospel Gold From John Calvin

This comes from a stunning preface to Pierre Robert Oliv├ętan’s French translation of the New Testament (1534). Justin Taylor, added line breaks to make it easier to read.

Calvin wrote:

Without the gospel

everything is useless and vain;

without the gospel

we are not Christians;

without the gospel

all riches is poverty,
all wisdom folly before God;
strength is weakness,
and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made

children of God,
brothers of Jesus Christ,
fellow townsmen with the saints,
citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,
heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom

the poor are made rich,
the weak strong,
the fools wise,
the sinner justified,
the desolate comforted,
the doubting sure,
and slaves free.

It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.

It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone.

For, he was

sold, to buy us back;
captive, to deliver us;
condemned, to absolve us;

he was

made a curse for our blessing,
[a] sin offering for our righteousness;
marred that we may be made fair;

he died for our life; so that by him

fury is made gentle,
wrath appeased,
darkness turned into light,
fear reassured,
despisal despised,
debt canceled,
labor lightened,
sadness made merry,
misfortune made fortunate,
difficulty easy,
disorder ordered,
division united,
ignominy ennobled,
rebellion subjected,
intimidation intimidated,
ambush uncovered,
assaults assailed,
force forced back,
combat combated,
war warred against,
vengeance avenged,
torment tormented,
damnation damned,
the abyss sunk into the abyss,
hell transfixed,
death dead,
mortality made immortal.

In short,

mercy has swallowed up all misery,
and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.

If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things.

And we are

comforted in tribulation,
joyful in sorrow,
glorying under vituperation,
abounding in poverty,
warmed in our nakedness,
patient amongst evils,
living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.

Do yourself a favor and read this over and over and over. It’s nutritious!

A big thank you to Tullian Tchividjian for posting the original post of this. It was to good not to share!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Story, What's yours?

So, the other day I decided to write out the process of how I came to faith in Christ. I did this for one reason in particular but found it to be a very helpful process. I was able to see where I had come from and how over the years I had grown in my faith. It was very encouraging as well as humbling to see areas where I really need to work on in my life. I just want to encourage anyone who reads this to try it out. Take some time to put on paper the journey of your life of faith. If anything, in the end, you'll be better prepared to answer when someone asks about your story! If you would like, please share it here in the comments section.

Below in a shortened version of my story.

My Story

I grew up in a Christian home. Both my parents are saved and made sure that church and God were high priorities for our family. Like so many kids who grow up in church, I heard a teacher talking about hell. I didn't really know or understand much about it, but it sounded bad and I got really scared. So one evening I asked my parents how I could go to Heaven because I was rather certain I didn't want to go to hell. Like a lot of well meaning parents they told me to repeat this prayer after them and I would be saved. So I did.

I spent the next 10-12 years doing what any kid does that grows up in church: I went to church every time the doors were open, and sat through countless sermons and special conferences. I had as much information downloaded into my head as I could. I knew all the right answers, how to act and what exactly I should believe, but not always or hardly ever why. It wasn't until sometime in my late teens that I realized something didn't seem right.

I felt God really pressing in on me. I looked at my "Christian walk" and realized I really didn't have one. I had spent years conforming to a pattern of behavior and not into a image barer of Christ. The pull of God on my life became too great and I could no longer resist the grace that he was offering. Like before, I had prayed a prayer. It wasn't some memorized predetermined prayer. It was a prayer of repentance and thankfulness. That's when God saved me.

Over the course of the next 10 years I grew in my faith. Looking back, the growth that I saw was small. God had saved me, I knew that but it still seemed like I was really living my parents faith and not my own. It wasn't until my mid 20's when all that started to change. I started asking questions of why I believed some of the things I did. I asked these questions not just of myself but of pastors too. With none of the answers I was getting making sense, I started really reading my Bible.

I always had read my Bible, but this was different. God gave me a passion to really study his word. To find out what it is God actually said concerning the things I had been asking questions about. Since Gad has given me this passion for his word I come to hold it in a much higher regard than ever before. It's also given me a passion for right doctrine and it put a weight on me to make sure I handle Gods word with care. I love God and my Bible. I'm so thankful for what Christ had done for me on the cross.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Cost of Discipleship

I thought this was a great sermon from Pastor Mark Driscoll. For me was was very challenging. Go ahead, push play, it's good stuff!