Works of the Father from the journey of a pilgrim:
I wanted to take a few minutes and write you all of you who faithfully support and pray for the ministry of Sing for Joy, and share with you some of the great things that the King of Kings is doing here in Mexico City.
About a month and a half ago, along with one of two of the IMB missionary’s daughters, and a couple of their friends, I went to the streets of la Merced to preach the Gospel to prostitutes. This is something that got started with the group that came in December, and has begun to flourish as an incredible ministry. That day we met a lady named Ely, and after a lengthy conversation found out that she had worked there for 20 years as a prostitute. Since that day I have been going back and talking to Ely often, I go on Tuesday mornings, and Paco, Kristi and I go on Thursday evenings. We have had several great conversations with her, but the one this past Thursday really made her examine her life. We invited her to church and she said if someone would meet her there she would come. Since I have been here many have said similar things, but often times it is not true, and when we go meet them on the streets they are nowhere to be found, or they are passed out drunk, so I didn’t have much confidence in her. It was Friday and I was in my room reading over my sermon for that night that I had labored so hard for, and was looking up as many words in Spanish as I could so I could try to preach with proper Spanish. The Lord spoke so heavily to me and said I was preaching the wrong message, and after telling God that it is impossible to change now because I had already written it out and didn’t have time to write another one, He rebuked me and showed me how small I am, and how weak my faith is, and I set out to preach Matthew 14 that he had placed on my heart. Because I had that struggle with God I walked into church just as we were starting, and Ely was sitting by Kristi! I don’t even know how to describe the feelings going through my heart in that moment!! Here sat a lady that made the woman at the well look like a saint in WMU, and God had made her come to church. That night I preached without notes and with few errors solely by the grace of God, and for an hour and a half Ely heard of the truths of the Father. After church she sat with us, drank coffee, and talked for almost an hour. She told us she would bring her kids with her this week. Please pray for the salvation of Ely! If she will be saved it will be through the preaching of the gospel.
As was stated above, when the group from Grace was here in December we started the ministry to the prostitutes, and the first day we went to the streets Katelyn, and Vasti (IMB missionary’s daughter) had an amazing conversation with a girl named Karen, she has worked there for a little over two years, and is a rough situation. Since the group has left she is another girl that we have had the opportunity to have more conversations with that have been fruitful. Two weeks ago Paco, Kristi, and I were in La Merced and began to speak with her once again. As was so with times before it was a lengthy conversation, and she realized truths of the Lord that needed to be applied to her life. Towards the end of the conversation we had really made a connection with her and I could see hurt in her eyes as she was realizing truth. I told her that I would be praying for her, and Kristi asked if she had a Bible and she said no, so I told her I would bring her one. I went out every day that week looking for her to give her the Bible, but she was not there. Last Thursday as we went to the streets we wanted so badly to see Karen so we could give her a Bible, but she wasn’t there. It had been a week since I had seen her, and I was worried something had happened to her. We approached a girl that stands close to where Karen normally is and asked her if she knew Karen, and she said yes, that they are friends. I asked where she was, and she said “about a week ago she said she was leaving and not coming back.” I have no idea if that means she left that kind of work, or if she just went to another place to work, but I give God praise for the work He is doing in her life! Please pray for Karen’s salvation. Pray that God would continue to place people in her life that will be faithful to preach the gospel. If Karen will be saved it will come through the preaching of the Gospel.
About three and a half months ago I met a guy named Josue. He lives on the street and is a drug addict, and really has a rough life. He lived in L.A. for a few years, and thinks he is in a gang. The Lord just made a connection between Josue and I. I am not sure why he began to cling to me, but others had tried to get close to him, but he just blew them off. Although I do not understand the sovereignty of the Lord I do praise Him for it. Every week I would meet with Josue and share the gospel with him. The whole time I would share with him I would have to pull his hand from his nose to keep him from sniffing glue, and some days he was more sober than others, but most of the time I felt like he didn’t understand much of what we talked about, but we just had a unique relationship. I remember one day I walked into the park and I heard someone yelling my name, and had no idea who? It was Josue! That day I looked at Kristi and said “You know you have status when a homeless guy knows your name!” I have not seen Josue in over a month, and was not sure where he has been, but last Thursday as we were coming back from the street I passed him, and he had new clothes that he bought, gained around 20 lbs., new hair cut, and was going to buy food. I know that these are not huge spiritual changes, and he is still just as far from God as he was, but it shows that something is changing in his life. Please pray for the salvation of Josue! Pray also for him that God would place more people in his life to preach the full council of God to him. If he will be saved it will be through the preaching of the Gospel.
I have also started a bible study with the men from our church that we are starting. We have had 5 of us who are involved, and I am teaching on the Doctrines of God. The first week it was over God being one, and we spent over 2 ½ hours talking about the Trinity. The next week it was about God being spirit, and we also spent over 2 ½ hours talking about why it is important to worship God in spirit and truth. This past week it was over the will and sovereignty of God. It was such an amazing time seeing these men crush their view of God and let Scripture form their opinion of who He is. One of the men in the study said he would like to share a story about his life that showed the sovereignty of the Lord. He told us about how one time his father was sick, and he prayed that God would heal him, and He did. Right when he got finished with his story another man in the study said he also had an example. He said that his dad was also sick, that he had a heart attack, and he began to pray for God to heal him. He told us that at this point in his life he was not a follower of Jesus, and he really didn’t even know what to think of God other than his father was sick, and he wanted him to be better. He said that he prayed for many hours in the hospital for his father, but in the middle of the night they told him his father had died. He said that he knew at that moment if God wants to do something He will and there is nothing we can do to stop it. One of the verses in the study that week was Dan. 4:35 that says “Who can stay the hand of the Lord?” He said when he read that verse it made him think of his dad. God is so good! He is not safe, but He is good!! Please pray for this group of men. We have two men coming that are not converted, and it is my desire for these men to be the leaders of their families. We want to have a men’s conference sometime this summer to teach biblical manhood. Pray that the Lord will open a door for this.
Food for thought:
Normally I write a little theological treaty here for you all to think on and hopefully it draws you to the father, but todays will not be that formal. I want all of you to know that I am doing well, and that we serve a God who is not lesser! He is faithful, and good!! He is doing so much here, and I ask that you do not let anything, not one thing steel from the glory He deserves!! He is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and everything in our lives should scream with a loud voice that He is! There is nothing in the world that is worth the direction of our focus other than Him! Jonathan Edwards once said “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.” If this is God’s end in all his works as I strive to be like him this too shall be my goal. Psalm 101:3 says “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me." It is the desire of my heart to solely set Him before my eyes, and that every moment in my life would be a gaze towards Him! So often I fail at this, and I hate the fact that I cannot spend even one hour fulfilling the greatest commandment, but I have the promise that He will complete me!! He is good and will surely do it. Nathaniel Vincent said “True repentance is when we weep for sin as sin, when we weep for it because it is a defiling thing. It blots the image of God and stains the virginity of the soul.” Oh how I long to truly be broken for sin as that! We should not fear sin because of it consequences, but because He bore our sins, and is forever stained and scared from them. A promise the as believers we cling to so much is “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Heb. 8:12, but what we often do not consider is why or how He remembers our sins no more? Oh, Church! Understand that it is because “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin”! He is forever stained and scared, and those will be remembered for all eternity! The song we will sing in the New Jerusalem will be “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”!! Hate your sin because it blots the image of God!!
One of the Puritans prayed:
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped away from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.
He is my propitiation and I will honor Him as such!! I will not let these light, although even the word light seems too strong in comparison; afflictions skew my view of the weight of glory! The afflictions are eclipsed by His glory, and I will honor Him as such!! In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. The promises of God are too rich to be hindered by afflictions. It is my prayer that as I go out to the world I will live in such a way that I would invite people to imitate me as I imitate Christ! That I would have the freedom to say love Christ as you see my example, love people as you see me love them, morn for sin as you see me morn! Such is not the case now, but He is good and He will surely do it.