Friday, September 20, 2013

7 week furlough

In October we are going back to the States for furlough.  We will be in the States a little over 7 weeks.  We are excited and nervous and every emotion that you can imagine.  We are so blessed that the Lord provided for the whole family to go back.  This will be the first time Arianna has ever been to the States.  We are looking forward to encourage and be encouraged.  We have a busy schedule but we also have some leisure times mixed in as well.  It will hard to leave the church and all our peoples here.  Praise the Lord that we have some good leaders and teachers who are going to be leading and shepherding the flock here.  Be praying for this time that it fruitful and restful and a time of great fellowship.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Looking to our victory

This sunday I will be teaching a very heavy text from Mark 8.  It is the section where Jesus calls anyone who wishes to follow him to deny themselves and pick up their cross.  This is a call to anyone who wishes to be a follower of Christ.  This is not just for the missionaries or the pastors.  This call, this demand is required of all who wish to be a disciple.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated, 

“When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”

That is true and that is something to seriously ponder, but what we must also realize is what Jesus had declared right before issuing this sobering call.  In the previous few verses Jesus told his disciples that the Son of Man will suffer and die and be buried, but listen to this, will rise again.  Jesus did not stay dead and neither will those who deny themselves and take up their crosses.  Yes, the Christian walk is one of suffering for those who pursue godliness (2 Tim. 3:12), but we also know that this life is not the end.  This suffering here and now is temporary.  Of course that does not make it easier as we are going through tribulations and persecutions, but it helps to have the proper perspective.  So the call to deny yourself and take up your cross is a call to follow Christ to death, but as Calvin said, "Death is the way to life and the cross is the way to victory."