Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Bad soil that needs to be plowed.

Living in a culture that not only embraces depravity but celebrates it can be arduous. A casual perusal of the news could plunge the Christian into a state of despair. It seems that on every front evil is gaining ground. Regardless of how it seems, Christians should not loose heart. I was recently encouraged through my study of the parables found in Mark's gospel. Christianity is not going to be stomped out. The nations can rage, but the Lord will be victorious. He is working and His kingdom is advancing.

Over the past month and a half, I have been reading through the Pastoral Epistles in the morning while my kids are getting ready to leave for the bus. I will read a chapter or two and last week I was using my CSB Spurgeon Study Bible and once again the Lord filled my heart with peace and hope. I have a love for Valdivia, but it is a very difficult place to do ministry. Over the past year and a half I have had seasons of weariness in the ministry. There have been moments when I have questioned many things in my heart. But last week when I read Spurgeon's comment on Titus 1:13-14 a rushing wave of God's grace swept me into His comfort. Spurgeon commenting on Titus's ministry in Crete said this:

                     This was bad soil, but it had to be plowed, sown; and, with an Almighty 
                     God at the back of the gospel plower and sower, a fruitful harvest came 
                     even in Crete. We need not be afraid of the adaptation of the gospel to 
                     the lowest of the low. If in any quarter of the town the people are 
                     more sunken in vice than anywhere else, there the gospel is to be 
                     carried with more prayer and more faith than anywhere else. Depend 
                     upon it: God can bless His word anywhere.

That was something I desperately needed to hear. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. I would dare to say, that sometimes, we as Christians are so focused on the evil that prevails that we forget that it is the gospel that is powerful. It can, and will, overcome the evil of this world. Our focus or perspective needs constant adjustment. We always need to get our eyes back to where they belong. Get our hope set in the right spot. The Lord is doing great things. When I look at what He has done in the last year and half since we planted the church in Valdivia, I should be nothing but encouraged. When I look at my partners in other locations, hard and dark locations, locations where the soil is bad, the Lord is working. There is much to be encouraged by. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation so we plow and sow and wait eagerly for the Lord to bring the harvest.

I am excited for fresh encouragement and motivation. I have been praying with new fervor for Valdivia and for my brothers in Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Colorado, and Cleveland. Would you please join me in prayer for Valdivia and wherever the Lord puts on your heart. 

Soli deo Gloria

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Holy Spirit

We begin a new series on the Holy Spirit. There is much confusion with regards to the third person of the trinity and so we will take a look at what the Bible teaches concerning the Holy Spirit.

Text-John 14:12-19

Check out our website at

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

In Heaven there will be no more wrong and everyone will be right.

Last week I made a quick post about our ESI program. I also mentioned that on our radio program we are doing a series about the fruit of the Spirit. I briefly mentioned how not all the aspects of the fruit will be needed in heaven and I specifically brought up patience. Along the lines of ESI, which is an interdenominational program that focuses in on the gospel; and the topic of patience which is an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit that I mentioned will not be needed in heaven; consequently, I couldn't help to think about some comments I heard recently. As humans we like to be correct. I think even within my marriage how if my wife and I disagree about something we will be quick to google search the answer to prove each other wrong. Pray for us!!!! But the comments I heard had to do with brothers and sisters in the faith. And I am seeing this so much more as of late within the church. I see lines being drawn in the sand and if you are on the opposite side of the one drawing the line you are dismissed as not even being Christian. How tragic! But we can take heart because like patience, this  will be no more once we get to heaven. Because when we get to heaven we will all find that we were all wrong on certain things. There is no room for such pride in our lives.

You know how we think and how we act here on earth. "I am right and you are wrong!" That is a terrible attitude, yet it can and does creep into our hearts. I see it and deal with it. Now, I know there are certain things where there is NO ROOM for being wrong on. Such as justification by faith alone or the deity of Christ ect. We need to stand on those to the death.  There are plenty of supposed "Christian" ministries and ministers that are very popular who do not hold to biblical teaching. And it is so sad that so many Christians won't speak out about certain churches and teachers for whatever reason. Maybe because they think they don't want to be divisive or whatever. Well there are things we need to be divisive over. And just because people use Christian sounding terms and language doesn't make them Christian. Do people even listen to the words that some of these people say? There are plenty of people we shouldn't listen to or associate with. There are essential beliefs that we must stand on. Those who don't hold those essential beliefs, not matter how Christian they might sound, we are to have no part with.

But there are other areas, such as eschatology, the coming of the Lord, for example that we have freedom in. While I may have my views on that, I will never say to any brother or sister in Christ, "You are wrong," because I could be wrong. I have seen way too much division over things that aren't worth dividing over. That is one of the great things about ESI. Here is the gospel, we agree on this. The main thing. Some side, peripheral issues, there can be freedom in that. There are things in which we need to be very careful on. But when we all get to heaven, at that point we will be right. All of us. Won't that be great. We are all sinners right now. We all are not 100% correct in our thinking (and it is so arrogant to think you are). But when we get to heaven, then we will all know what really is and there will be no arguing and no bickering no backbiting, no division, it will all be gone.

I don't want to be guilty of theological pride. I see too much of that. It is so arrogant and almost cultish to think you are 100% right in every view you hold. I have seen people break fellowship with others over non essential issues. We should never be so hung up in the non essentials that they become lines drawn in the sand. Someone says, "We shouldn't major in the minors and minor in the majors." In other words, why are so many of us making non essentials the standard for orthodoxy or fellowship? The comment mentioned to me recently was that a group of people were not even believers because of their view of election. You might disagree with another's position in regards to election, but to say that those who hold an opposite view that you hold aren't even Christian is a very condemning statement. In Bridges book, Respectable Sins, he deals with this issue. He writes this:

                      If your Calvinism or Arminianism or dispensationalism, or your view

                      concerning the end time, or your distain for all doctrinal beliefs causes

                      you to feel doctrinally superior to those who hold other views, then you

                      are probably guilty of the sin of doctrinal pride. I'm not suggesting that

                      we should not seek to know the truths of Scripture and develop doctrinal

                      convictions about what the Scriptures teach; I am saying that we should

                      hold our convictions in humility, realizing that many godly and

                      theologically capable people hold other convictions.

I have been blessed by ESI, Kep, Alistair and his team, and Pastor B who have helped develop in me the fact that as Christians we can have fellowship and learn and grow with others even if we have slightly different views on non essentials. As Augstine said, "In essentials unity, non essentials liberty, but in all things charity."

Soli Deo gloria

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

ESI, Patience, and Heaven

It has been a minute since I have taken the time to write anything. There are numerous factors that play into the why's but this morning as I was doing my daily reading I felt compelled to get back to sharing from time to time. As I was getting onto the computer I received an incredibly encouraging email about ESI (the pastoral training program we partner with). We are going to be starting a group here in Valdivia hopefully within the next month or so. Next week Don, Dorian, and Francisco will be heading to Santiago to do a two day Facilitator training crash course. Luckily for Don he has gone through a week course a while back so it will be a review for him. After that we will fire up. The program in Cajamarca is still striving and growing. The email I got shared how ESI is probably now going to be taking off in Spain and Portugal! I can't express how great it is to see these tools being made available for the edification of the church. I am excited to see how ESI will impact Valdivia for the gospel as church leadership here begins to gain a deeper understanding of biblical ministry and how the growth in our own personal walk will impact those we shepherd. And what a blessing it is to see church leaders, from all sides of the theological spectrum, come together with open hearts and a desire to be teachable to the truths of God's word.

On our radio program "Notas de Gracia" we are currently in a series on the Holy Spirit. This week we are covering the fruit of the Spirit. As I was preparing the message I couldn't help to see how several aspects of the fruit of the Spirit will not be needed in heaven. For example, faithfulness. We will not need faith in the heavenly state because we will be there and we will see the Lord face to face and so faith will give way to sight, as the Bible puts it. Here and now we need faith. We need faith to be saved. We need faith to live the Christian life….because.......well…we walk by faith the Bible says.
We are continually dealing with the invisible. We don’t see the Lord and we are in a battle and we are going through this world and we desperately need faith now. And of course faith is a gift of God and faith is developed and increased in our hearts and lives and at times it is up and at times it is down. So we need faith, but when we get to heaven we won’t need faith. Another one is patience. And it struck to the core. Here we need patience, but when we get to heaven we will not need patience. Why? Because there will be nothing there that will try us. We won’t need patience in heaven. We need it now because we live in a world of trial. So many things try us. And you know...…it all starts with ourselves. We are a trial for ourselves, in the sense that we are such great failures. We are filled with so many faults and so we need  patience with ourselves; to put up with ourselves. That is where it starts and then we work it out from there. Yes we live in an ungodly world and we we need patience to deal with it. And sadly, there are times even when we need patience with other Christians and they need patience to deal with you. It works both ways. But when we get to heaven, there will be nothing to try us, no afflictions, everyone will be perfect. Everyone will see things exactly the same. I long for that day. What about you?

Soli Deo gloria