What an amazing month it has been! I have finished my Spanish class, and will start with a tutor soon. I have preached several times in Spanish, and although my Spanish is not good it is improving. It has been very strange times that I have thoughts in Spanish! I have finally gotten to layout a weekly schedule and it has been nice to have some order in a world of chaos here. We go to the park in La Merced on Thursdays where we feed the homeless, drug addicts, and prostitutes. It is such a difficult ministry because you don’t see much fruit, but we are seeing some. There is a guy named Josué that I talk to each week, and we have really become friends. I was really encouraged one week when we walked up and he yelled at me wanting me to come where he was. I looked at Kristy and said “you know you have status when a homeless guy knows your name”. =) Every week when we go to the park he is high from sniffing glue, but the last two weeks he has stopped using it in the afternoons, so we have been able to have a reasonable conversation. I know that doesn’t sound like a big thing, but it is a start. There is also a lady Kristy has been talking with on Thursdays, and a few weeks ago Kristy gave her a bible, not knowing whether she would read it or not, but the next week she came up really excited and said “Did you know that the bible is the sword of God”. She had been reading in Ephesians, but this last week she was high and didn’t look so well. This last week they asked me to preach so I did, and I preached on biblical regeneration, and how salvation is not about praying a prayer, but Jesus radically changing your life. There were a lot of people who mocked me and told me to shut up, but the gospel will accomplish its purpose. This past Saturday we went to the santa muerte church in Tepito, and were given an opportunity to share the gospel with the lady who erected the first idol in 1985. The muerte cult is going hugely, and has now reached the United States. This lady got angry with us and told me I was not to preach there that it is her territory and I had the whole world to preach in , but not there. She also said that those were her people and that I am not to talk with them. I told her that because of my faith I have to preach to these people, and that they are not hers, or that it is not her land but Gods. I also go once a week and reason with the priest of the muerte church about three blocks down the street that I live on. I have reasoned with him that there is no basis anywhere for the muerte, and that it really is ignorant to worship such vileness. They have just erected a new idol in their church and they are calling it “angeló de muerte” which means “angel of death”. He has written a book trying to prove that she is in the bible; he pulls verses out that talk about the angel of death. Before the muerte church had no logic, but now they are trying to establish some, and I believe this new idol will be the next big thing here. I ask that you begin to pray that the Lord will crush this idol quickly, and that it will not be given validity here. It is so sad to see two and three year old babies wearing a santa muerte around their neck. I am so excited that in a few days the group from Grace will be here, and that I will once again get to serve alongside my brothers and sisters.
Food for thought:
I have been preaching through Romans here at our church, and came to verse 5 in chapter 1 “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among the nations,”. My first thought is “What is grace?” Jonathan Edwards once said “Grace is the pleasure of God to magnify the worth of God, by giving sinners the right and the power to delight in God without obscuring the glory of God.” God is at the center of grace! If He were not, and He displayed grace primarily for the sake of humanity it would be idolatry on His part, for He would be placing something above Himself, and He would no longer be God. The verse says “through whom”. Jesus is our propitiation, and did not merely give Himself as a ransom to make salvation available, but He accomplished the work of salvation on the cross. Jesus doesn’t bring people to a place where they can be saved, He saves them. Not only is it impossible for a dead man to take part in salvation, it is dangerous. If salvation is 99.99% God, and .01% man we die and go to hell. G. S. Bishop said “Grace is the provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the axe of justice, so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures, so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him, so blind that they cannot see Him, so deaf they cannot hear Him, and so dead that He Himself must open their graves and lift them into resurrection.” So many times we have taken Gods sovereign work of grace and reduced it to a two minute presentation. The purpose of grace is not to get someone to heaven, but “for the sake of His name among the nations,”. As humans we are merely to reflect the attributes of God that He displays in our lives. The whole purpose in creation is that God would see His reflection and delight in Himself. When God created the tree and said “It is good” He was not saying that the tree itself is good, but His works being displayed. All creation is for the pleasure of God, and we as created beings, and some as created in Christ Jesus, are all for the pleasure of God. How is this truth practical…Some see this truth and say that God is unfair, but rest assured there is no injustice with God. As I walk up and down these streets sharing the gospel I know this; the gospel will accomplish its work. A missionary here asked me what my strategy is, and I told him that I preach the gospel. It is the power of God for salvation, and it will have its way with people. Like I said above, Jesus didn’t come to make salvation available, but to save people. He is good at what He does.
-We have a group arriving here on the 21st, and leaving the 28th. Pray that God would use them to accomplish His work.
-Pray for the work in the park La Merced.
-Pray for the people involved in the santa muerte.
-Pray for my sister in Guam. The Lord is using her in huge ways.
-Pray for our church here in our house. It is called Iglesia Manantial De Vida.
-Pray that the Lord would send more teams down here to work and catch a vision.
-We need a van, pray for the Lords provision if He wills it.
Thank you all for your prayers and support in the work of Sing for Joy here in Mexico City.
Grace and peace to you,