I know that it has been a Little over a month since the last update, and for that I am sorry. There has been so much going on here as will be expounded upon below. I do want to start this update by saying thank all of you so much for your prayers and support. The Lord continues to reveal to me the importance of the church, and the prayers of the saints in the church. There have been days when I have really struggled, or that my heart is just broken because of a conversation I may have had on the street, and when I get to my room and check my e-mail or facebook and there will be a word from a saint, and that night I rest with ease knowing that there are ones who are on their knees in the battle front fighting the war for me. Thank you so much for struggling with me. Please do not grow weary in that work that the Lord has called you too.
I will try to make this as brief as I can without excluding the works that the Lord has called me to share. My parents arrived here on December 17th, and began to labor beside me as we planned for the group to arrive the following week. It was a great reuniting with the folks that the Lord used to enter me into this world, and truly a blessing that the door for them to come was opened. We worked in the streets of Tepito and La Merced for a few days, and they got to meet the treasure of a family that the Lord has permitted me to live with. The girls (Karen and Lizet) fell in love quickly as their Grandparents from the States spoiled them with “muchos dulces” or a lot of candy! The group arrived on the night of the 21st, and I was so encouraged to see the faces of my brothers and sisters! It was encouraging to hear of the works of the Father in their lives! It is amazing this institution of called the Bride of Christ! For a week the group absolutely labored with all they had. I think it was a different experience for us all, partly because we had all been a part of those mission trips that tried to see how many people we could get to raise their hand and repeat a mantra that did absolutely nothing to their lives but give them a falsehood of the true gospel, and a false hope of eternity. Because our work here is different, in that we are about preaching the truths of the Great Text, and the full council of God to people who don’t know for the sake of His great name among the nations, and not to report a bunch of numbers, as we discussed the work of the week we all had a sense of contentment that we had labored for His name and not for our own story. I think the day that stirred my affections for His name most was on Christmas day we went to La Merced to talk with prostitutes on the street, and had really great conversations! I think one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life was Katelyn and Vasti (a daughter of an Imb family here) standing on the street and talking to a girl named Karen for probably an hour or so. It warmed my heart such godly women truly investing themselves in the good works of the Father! I don’t say that to elevate their work over any other person here, it was just one of those moments. I say this with all sincerity; this was the greatest mission team that I have worked with. I hope that as you all that came read this you hear the genuineness of my heart and know that I welcome each of you back and long for the day that our eyes meet again. The airport was just as hard as the day that I left. We are trying to put together a trip for a group to come spring break, and need more people to come. Please commit to praying about if the Lord has called you to be a part of that group.
There have been so many opened doors to share the holiness of the great God. Briefly I will share of the new things happening here.
1. We started when the group was here we started going to La Merced to talk to the prostitutes, and it has been an amazing ministry. One day while we were there a guy approached and seemed a little strange, like he wanted to talk or something. I asked him what the deal was, and found out that he is a worshiper of the santa muerte, and was the guy that is over the girls there. After much discourse he asked “What do I need to do to be saved?” So we shared the truths of God, and although God has not saved him yet he was open to talking again. His name is Mark, but I call him Nicodemus J.
2. I am also starting two Bible studies on the attributes of God. One will be with the men of our church, and the other will be with a couple of young guys in college that the Lord really has His hand on. Please pray that these would be fruitful.
3. I have started teaching an American History class twice a week to a high school group of missionary kids. I am really happy to have the opportunity to pour my life into the lives of young men and women.
Food for thought:
The Kindness of the Lord
“Do you suppose O man- you who judge those who do such things and do them yourself-that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead to repentance?”
What is the kindness of God? So many people in the world equate the Lord’s kindness with His provisions, but the truth of His kindness often times denies us of the things we think we need as provisions. In this passage Paul is addressing the church in Rome to prepare them to be the church that sends him on his journey to Spain (Romans 15:28). The book of Romans is the greatest theological treaties in the world, and he spends the first three chapters explaining the total depravity of humanity. The fault we find him addressing in this particular passage is that there are people in the church approaching the sin in others lives, but committing themselves to those same sins. Many of the Jews in the church thought just because they were part of the nation of Israel that they could do as they pleased because they saw themselves as foreknown. So he writes” do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance” because the people thought they being chosen would receive their idea of kindness from God, but like most today they had a graven image of what the kindness of the Lord truly is. We need to understand that everything God does is for Him and His name. Humanity is not at the center of His kindness He is. Jonathan Edwards said it like this “The great end of God’s works, which is so variously expressed in scripture, is indeed but one, and this one end is most properly and comprehensively called THE GLORY OF GOD!”. His kindness is no exclusion. Today we have gotten so far from the doctrine of forbearance the we do not even presume on it, but that just because a person has read a prayer on that back of a card that the love of God will outweigh His justice. That is heresy! God cannot leave one attribute to elevate or display another. “Not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead to repentance…” This last year I have learned, now please understand when I say learned I am not speaking that I fully know but have small understanding, of the kindness of the Lord. To expound on the previous statement; the brilliant Puritan John Owen said “We know Him by what He does than by what He is-by His doing us good than by His essential goodness; and how little a portion of Him, as Job speaks, is hereby discovered.” He is saying that we don’t know the essentialness of the attributes of God, but merely their essence. This is not a bad thing; it is the result of God being Holy, or as literally translated in the Hebrew “cut” or “separated”. There is nothing like Him! Nothing! Therefore, I have learned of the essence of His kindness. It was His kindness this last year that did not permit me to get married, His kindness that made me leave friends and family. For those things have brought repentance in my life. It was the kindness of the Lord that called for Polycarp to dance in the fire of his death, His kindness that called for the life of Ambrose. It was the kindness of God that called for two Moravian boys to sell themselves as slaves to tell of His name among the slaves. The kindness of the Lord lead Nathan to approach David in his sin, and Paul to exhort the church at Corinth to give a man to satan. Truly He is kind! Often times when a man who is called by God to exhort a congregation through the Word of God about sin they call him mean-spirited, but the man who tells you the most truth is the most kind-loving man in your life. Oh, church be so careful not to try to conform God to who we think He should be, but conform your life to the text of Scripture, to the image of Jesus, by the renewing of your mind daily working through the text striving for godliness. When the Lord does an act of kindness in your life do not fall into the superstition of calling it a work of satan, but rather welcome it and repent. His kindness is not meant for our pleasure, but that when He sees the life of one of His elect He would see the great reflection of Himself and delight in His sovereign work. Truly He is kind!