Saturday, December 5, 2009

Birthday Present From God

As most of you know, yesterday was my birthday. I had the opportunity to celebrate my birthday in the Jungle of Iquitos. I had a good day with my new family here in Peru. We went out to eat at a North American restaurant here called the Yellow Rose of Texas. Not only was it nice to eat some North American food but it was refreshing to spend some time out with my family here.

Apart from this something very surprising happened, I would call it a birthday present from God. I had taken a mototaxi back home by myself (The motortaxis are basically motorcycles with a two to three person cart welded onto the back). Once we arrived back to the church the driver turned around in his seat and asked me if i went to the church. I told him yes and that I was a missionary here in Peru. Immediately after that statement he asked me, "I have a desire to know and feel the presence of Jesus Christ but I just can't." He also told me of doubts that he had been having of whether or not there is a God. I had the opportunity to share my story and encourage him to seek God deeply in prayer. Also had the opportunity to pray with him. I'm not sure what came of it but I know that God put him in my path for a reason.

For me this is the greatest birthday present one could ever receive, being able to tell and share of the love and presence of Jesus. This experience has refreshed me and shown me again why I am here in Peru. I'm here to serve and to love the people of Peru. Please pray for Miguel (Taxidriver).

Sermon In Padre Cocha

Today I would like to post my first Spanish sermon. Last Thursday we went to a town called Padre Cocha. It’s across the river and a little deeper into the Jungle. First thing in the morning we went to the bay and boarded a boat. From there we crossed the river and arrived at Padre Cocha. We spent the whole day there inviting people to come to our presentation at four that night. At the presentation we had about 150 kids and 50 adults, a very good turn out for a town of only 3,000. We first did a drama then I preached a message. I’m going to post the Spanish sermon then the translation in English. I’m doing this for two reasons. One so that I can remember this milestone in my life and two so that you all can see the progress I have made in the language.

Primero, estoy agradecido de que yo puedo estar con ustedes en su Pais. Me gustaria comenzar con oracion.
First, I’m glad that I can be here with you all in your country. I would like to start with prayer.

Dios, gracias por este dia, el dia que Tu has hecho. Nosotros estamos aqui para un proposito. No solamente para pasar un buen rato, pero algo mas profundo y importante. Estamos aqui para conocerte, especialmente ellos de quienes no han escuchado de Jesus o no le conocen. Gracias Señor, por favor abre nuestras mentes y nuestros corazones a lo que tu quieres que sepamos. En el nombre de Jesus. Amen
God, thanks for this day, the day that you have made. We are here for one purpose. Not only to have a good time, but for something deeper and more important. We are here to know you, especially those who haven’t heard of Jesus or those who don’t know Jesus. Thank You Lord, please open our minds and our hearts to what you want us to know. In the name of Jesus. Amen

Me gustaria contra un poco de mi historia. Mi nombre es Gary, soy de Los Estados Unidos, mi estado es Ohio, y mi ciudad es Lima. Yo acepte a Cristo cuando tenia 8 añitos. Hasta la edad de 15 yo mantuve una relaion constante con Dios. Yo leia mi Biblia, oraba a Jesus. Yo tenia paz y felicidad en mi vida. Mi vida era comleta con Dios.
I would like to tell you all a little about myself. My name is Gary, I’m from the United States, my state is Ohio, and my city is Lima. I accepted Christ at the age of 8. I maintained a constant relationship with God until the age of 15. I would read my Bible and pray. I had peace and happiness in my life, my life was complete with God.

A la edad de 15 yo sali de mi relacion con Dios. Era un proceso largo sobre mucho tiempo. Yo estaba ocupado y yo abondone a El Señor. Mi vida consistia de ganar dinero y vivir para mis ganas y todas las cosa que ofrece el mundo. Lentamente, cosas malas comenzaban a entrar en mi vida. Durante ese tiemppo, me sentia vacio y miserable. Yo queria cambiar pero no podia.
At the age of 15 I left my relationship with God. It was a long process over much time. I was busy and I abandoned the Lord. My life consisted of earning money and living for my desires and all the things that the earth offers. Slowly, bad things started to enter into my life. During this time, I felt empty and miserable. I wanted to change but I couldn’t.

Un dia vino en el cual mi papa me dijo de una mision a Mexico con mi Iglesia. Por supuesto no queria ir, pero mi papa me hizo una propuesta que no podia negar. Entonces, yo fui a Mexico y participe en la mision. Fue un Miercoles por la noche. Estuvimos juntos en la iglesia y cada persona estuvo alabando a Dios. Yo senti que Dios me estuvo llamando a arrepentirme y regresar a El. Me puse de rodillas y me arrepenti de mis pecados. Inmediatamente, en ese momento senti la paz y amor de Dios y ellos excedieron cualquier sentimiento que yo habia obtenido de las drogas o alcohol. Desde entonces yo he estado viviendo para mi Salvador Jesucristo. Su camino y su plan para nuestras vidas son los mejores.
One day came when my dad told me about a mission to Mexico with my church. Of course, I didn’t want to go but my dad made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I ended up going to Mexico and participated in the mission. It was a Wednesday night , and everyone was worshipping God. I felt so strongly that God was calling me to repent and return to Him, so I got on my knees and repented. Immediately in that moment I felt the peace and love of God and they surpassed any feeling I had ever obtained from drugs or alcohol. Since then I have been living for my Savior Jesus Christ, His way and plan for our lives are the best.

Como nosotros hemos visto en el drama, Dios quiere liberarnos de nuestros pecados. Si usted nunca ha escuchado de la vida de Cristo es como sigue. En el principio Dios creo el mundo, hombre, y cada cosa que hay en el mundo. En el principio hombre desobedecio a Dios y desde entonces hemos estado separados de Dios y su cielo (Romanos 3:23). Como vimos aca, nosotros somos pecadores y necesitamos un Salvador. A pesar de esto, Dios le envio a Su Hijo Jesucristo al mundo, para que El viviera la vida perfecta y sea sacrificado en la cruz por nosotros. El cargo el pecado de usted y yo para que podamos tener una relacion con Dios a traves de El Mismo. La unica manera que podemos obtener esta relacion es si creemos que Jesus era Dios la carne y si ponemos nuestra fe en El. Tambien necesitamos creer que Jesus murio en nuestro lugar por nuestros pecados. Dios quiere que usted se rinda y de su corazon a El. Si esta cansado de su vida, Dios le esta ofreciendo una oportunidad para convivir con El. El primer paso no es simplemente una oracion. Usted necesita colocar su fe en Jesus, pero que significa esto. Usted tiene que arrepetirse y creer la Santa Palabra de Dios. La fe es cambio de vida. Cambio de voluntad. Necesitamos colocar nuestra fe en Jesus y todas las palabras de las cuales el nos ha dejado (San Juan 15:1-6). Aqui vimos que si nuestras vidas estan cambiadas, habra cambio de voluntad y forma de vivir. Si usted quiere arrepentirse y comenzar la vida de nuevo, arrepientase y reciba bautismo.
Like we have seen today in the drama, God wants to free us from our sins. If you have never heard of the life of Jesus, it’s as follows. In the beginning, God created the earth, man, and all that is in the earth. In the beginning man disobeyed God and since then we have been separated from God and His heaven (Romans 3:23). As we see here, we are all sinners and we need a Savior. Despite this, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the earth so that He might live the perfect life and be sacrificed on the cross for us. He carried our sin so that we might have a relationship with God through Himself. The only way that we can obtain a relationship with Him is if we believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and if we place our faith in Him. Also we need to believe that He died in our place for our sins. God wants you to surrender yourself and give your heart to Him. If you are tired of your life God is offering you a chance to live with Him. The first step isn’t simply a prayer. You need to place your faith in Jesus, but what exactly does that mean. You have to repent and believe the Holy Word of God. Faith is change of life and change of will. We need to place our faith in Jesus and all the words which He has left us (San Juan 15:1-6). Here we see that if our lives are changed, there will be change of will and change in the way we live. If you want to repent and start your new life, repent and receive baptism.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Impressions 12/1/09

We had a long day of travel on Thursday 11/19/09 from Arequipa to Lima, Peru. We flew to Lima and arrived at night. Once we had arrived we unpacked and met almost all of the Peruvian 40/40s. My fellow missionary Daniel had not arrived until the next day. The first night was very awkward mainly due to the language barrier and the silence. We spent three days in Lima building our new relationships before heading off to Iquitos. We then left for Iquitos on 11/22/09.

Today marks the start of my second week here in Iquitos. We arrived on Sunday the 22nd. The first thing I noticed is how much more uncivilized the city is. There are dirt roads and the houses aren’t as modern. I will attach some of the photos on this blog. As for the weather it is very different here. Wild, would be the best word to describe it. It’s always hot and humid and it rains about every other day. It’s nice when it rains because it cools down quite a bit. As for the people, they seem to be very friendly. Also they enjoy conversation. One thing that I have noted is that there is much spiritual need here in Iquitos. Drugs, alcohol, sex, you name it and there is an abundance here. The people here need hope. To me they look like prisoners walking around without a reason to live. Please be in prayer about this.

Right now my schedule is as follows. Monday through Friday we have Devotions in the morning at 6, breakfast at 7, then classes at 8 until 12pm. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we have practice at our churches. Each pair of 40/40s has their own church that they attend on these days. My friend Daniel and I attend the church Madre De Dios. It is right in the middle of an area that appears to be in desperate need of the Gospel. During these days we will be discipling people, preaching, and reaching out to the community, all to prepare us for the real deal in Pucallpa where Daniel and I will be planting three churches.

From here I thank you all again for following my progress here in Peru and ask and encourage you to continue praying not only for me but also for the other missionaries here. Thanks so much.

James 3:1-12 The Tongue

Today we’re going to look at the importance of controlling the tongue. I believe that this is one of the hardest subjects in the Bible. Many times we let our feelings or hurts get a hold of what we say. We need to learn the importance of a controlled tongue.

(v1) TEACHING: Obviously not everyone is called to be a teacher. However, those who are called to the teaching position (here in reference specifically to a spiritual teacher) are called to a much higher level of obedience. Here we have a warning of a stricter judgment to come for those who are spiritual teachers. We need to realize, if we are in a spiritual position of authority, we are called to a higher level.

(v2) WE ALL STUMBLE: It’s obvious that we’re all sinners. Here it is stated. “We all stumble in many ways...” However the man who does not stumble in what he says is perfect. Perfect: (Teleios) brought to it's end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, perfect, that which is perfect, full-grown, mature, adult, of full age. We see that the man who has a controlled tongue is able to control the rest of the body as well. Controlling the tongue is a sign of strength.

(vv3- 4) POWER OF THE CONTROLLED TONGUE: James here compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship. The ship is so great but the rudder is what controls every movement. Let’s recognize here how powerful the tongue is. Not only this but the effects of a controlled tongue. If we can control our tongues we are capable of controlling our entire body as well.

(vv5- 6) DANGER OF THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE: The example that has been left to us is that of a forest set ablaze by one small flame. The tongue is compared to a flame set on fire by hell. Although the tongue is small it can do great damage. One word can completely destroy the life of another. If we don’t realize the power that our tongue holds we won’t be as prone to controlling it.

(vv7- 8) RECOGNIZE THAT I CAN’T CONTROL MY TONGUE: Here we see that every specie of animal has been tamed and can be tamed by man, however, no man can tame the tongue. We need to rely on the Lord. He is the only one that can sanctify us and help us to control our tongue. He is the only one that can subdue the “deadly poison” of the tongue.

(vv9- 12) RECOGNIZE THE INCONSISTENCY OF THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE: I love this part of Scripture, James compares the inconsistent tongue to a river of salt water and a river of clean water. A river cannot be both clean and salty. If there is but a small bit of salt in the river it is not clean water. The same goes with us. “With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse me, who have been made in the likeness of God.” What hypocrites we are. It shouldn’t be like this. We need to control our tongue. Let’s ask the Lord today to help us.

CONCLUSION: Today has been a difficult section of Scripture for me. Being on the field It is very easy to become annoyed with others and I am not always careful with what I say, however, God is calling you and I to control our mouths no matter what the situation is. “God, help us today to control our tongue, and control what we say. Help us to treat others for what they are, children of God. Lord thank You for Your Word, thank You that we can know truth. Help us today Lord, we love you. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Real Belief (James 2:14-26)

James 2:14-26. Let´s talk about true belief. I know many people who would be quick to tell me that they are true follwers of Christ. However, when it comes down to it, their actions don´t back up their words.

We live in a world where 33% of the population claims the name of Christ. If so many are true believers why isn´t the world being revolutionized? In Matthew 7:13-14 Christ tells us that the gate which leads to life is narrow and there are few who find it. Christianity is the worlds biggest religion. So if the way is really so narrow, who´s wrong here? God or us?

(v14) USELESS FAITH: What use is a faith without works? Is this a faith that can save us? The word here is save: (sozo) keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, to save from suffering or disease, to make well, heal, or restore to health, to preserve from danger or destruction. James introduces the subject of faith here asking what use is a faith that has no works, can it save you or others from danger?

(vv15-16) PICTURE OF FAITH WITHOUT WORKS: A picture of faith without works is listed in these verses. If you see a person with a need and simply say ¨ warmed and be filled¨, how useless is that. Faith without works is related to seeing a problem or believeing that there is a problem but doing nothing to change or help it. What use is this so-called faith for you or for the person in need?

(v17) FAITH-WORKS=DEAD: Just as in the example, faith works the same way. Faith without works is dead. Just as telling someone to ¨ warmed an filled¨ is useless. Faith by itself is dead and is of no use what-so-ever.

(vv18-20) SHOW ME YOUR FAITH: If someone were to tell you ¨show me that you believe it´s going to rain today¨, what would you do? Would you simply say, well, it´s on the forecast or the sky´s dark. No, if you truly believed that it was going to rain you would go outside with your umbrella. This would demonstrate that you believe it will rain. This is the same idea of verses 18 through 20, the only way for someone to truly see your faith is by the actions that you exhibit. Look at this, the demons know and believe that God exisits but they aren´t justified before God. Simply saying that you believe in God is not good enough.

(vv21-25) ABRAHAM: Let´s go to Genesis 15:1-6 then to Genesis 22. We see the justification or salvation of Abraham. At first he simply believed the promises of God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Then in chapter 22 we see that his works proved that he believed God. He heard God´s call and obeyed, showing that he truly believed God. In other words his faith was perfected by his works. We also have the example of Rahab being justified in Joshua 2. This is the kind of faith we need in order to be justified. Not that we are justified by works but that our faith is true and because of that we have works to back our faith up.

(v26) JUST TO MAKE SURE: In case the point isn´t very clear James brings it up again. Faith without works is dead, useless, caput. We need to examine ourselves. Do we have the works to back up what we believe? If not, we have reason to fear and reason to get on our knees seeking the Father in prayer.

CONCLUSION: Jesus has something to say in John 15:1-11 concerning this subject. He is the True Vine and we are just the branches. If we truly abide in Him and Him in us we will bear fruit showing that we are of the Father. If we are not bearing the fruit of the Father we are children of the Devil. There is no inbetween. Where are you at? Examine yourself to see if you are of the faith. Some good Scriptures for self examination are Galatians 5:18-26 and 2 Peter 1:4-11.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Partiality (James 2:1-13)

James 2:1-13 is about the sublect of showing personal favoritism. It´s very easy for us all to judge based on appearance or by the way someone acts but Christ tells us not to make distinctions among ourselves. In this section we will be instructed on how we are supposed to live and deal with those whom we would like to judge.

(v1) NO PERSONAL FAVORITES: Here the verse is very straight forward and also introduces the subject. In your faith, don´t hold an attitude of personal favoritism. This is actually the word for respect of persons, partiality, or recognizing of faces. One example: There´s a judge who has a good friend named Jack. One day Jack commits murder and has to stand before his friend the judge. The judge is expected not to recognize his face, or in other words, judge according to the friendship that he has had with the man. Likewise we are not to act out of the recognizing of faces.

(vv2-3) EXAMPLE OF PARTIALITY: Here we see a poor man and a rich man who are in the assembly or synogogue. The rich man is given the better seat and the poor man is neglected. Obviously the person here has deduced that the rich man is better and therefore deserves the better seat. Ok, this example is very specific but let´s look at the heart issue. Have we ever seen someone who looks, talks, or acts funny and because of that we´ve neglected to treat them correctly. And instead of talking to them we talk to the person who appears to be normal. The heart issue is judging someone based on outward appearance and then acting or treating them in a wrong way.

(v4) RECOGNIZE WHAT YOU´RE DOING: You have made Distinctions: (Diakrino) to separate, discriminate, prefer, withdraw from one, to oppose. And you are now a judge with evil motives.

(vv5-7) GOD´S PERSPECTIVE: The person that you´re discriminating against just might be the person that God has chosen to be rich in the faith. And the person that you show preference to just might be the one who blasphemes your name.

(v8) EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW: If we love our neighbor as we love ourself then we will be doing fine. (See Luke 10:25-37)

(vv9-11) RECOGNIZE THE SERIOUSNESS: Not much to say here except that if we think this issue is petty, we´re wrong. Partiality is sin and if we commit partiality we are considered to be sinners.

(v12) BE CAREFUL: Now that we realize how serious this issue is, we should be careful as to how we live. We should speak and act in accordance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The love that He has showed us should compel us to love as He did.

(v13) JUDGMENT OF GOD: If we do not show mercy we should fear the judgment of God. Because, ¨...judgment will be merciless for the one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.¨ But what exactly is mercy? Mercy is kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted, mercy is holding back a bad thing that someone might deserve, mercy is what Christ did for us. We deserve Hell but Christ showed mercy towards us so that we could live with Him in Heaven.

CONCLUSION: This week let us show mercy and love towards those less fortunant. Those who look, smell, and act funny. This is what Jesus has called us to.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Taking Responsibilty (James 1:19-27)

Today we get to a hard section of Scripture. Not so hard to understand but convicting and hard to live. This section is about being slow to anger and speech and being quick to listen. Also that the Bible is not meant to be read and studied but to be lived.

(v19) THINK: Many times in life I want to be the first one to speak and the last one to hear. This section of Scripture is very convicting and straight forward. Be ¨... quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.¨

(v20) ANGER OF MAN: Many times people would say that they had righteous anger, or that they only did something because God had instilled a righteous anger within them. I believe that this verse is very straight forward, ¨...the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.¨ I would go as far to say that every time we are angry there is either selfishness or some ungodly motive behind it all. This is why we need to be quick to hear and slow to anger.

(v21a) PUT ASIDE THE OLD: The first word that this section starts with is therefore. As my Pastor in Florida would say, ¨What is the therefore there for?¨ Therefore, (since the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God) we need to put aside Filthiness and Wickedness: (Kakia) malignity, ill will, desire to injure, depravity, wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, evil, trouble.

(v21b) RECEIVE THE NEW: After we put aside the old we need to receive the new in Humility: (Prautes) mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. We need to receive the word implanted. In the Greek the word ¨word¨ does not sound like the Gospel, in the Greek it is Word: (Logos) sayings of God, decree, mandate or order, what is delcared, a thought, declaration, a word of speech. We need to Receive: (Decomai) to take with the hand, to take hold of, to take up.

It sounds like the word is the Word of God. We need to not only hear the word but also receive it. It´s interesting how the Greek actually makes it sound to be a tangible action. We are called to change.

(v22) BE A DOER OF THE WORD: This passage is very straight forward. We are not called to simply read our Bibles or listen to sermons. We are called to change! If you are reading the Word and nothing is changing, something is wrong. The ones who only hear delude themselves.

(vv23-24) THE HEARER

(v25) THE DOER

(v26) THE TONGUE: If we claim to be Christians and do not control our tongues our religion is Worthless: (Mataios) devoid of truth, force, success, or result, useless, of no purpose. That´s a tough word. If we don´t bridle our tongue our so-called religion is worthless.

(v27) CORRECT VIEW OF RELIGION: True religion is lived out. Helping those who can´t help themselves. Not only this but keeping yourself ¨unstained by the world.¨

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Temptations (James 1:13-18)

James 1:13-18 is all about the temptations that we face. It goes to say that life brings temptations in various forms and it is crucial that we have a proper view or understanding of the temptations we face.

(v13) GOD DOESN´T TEMPT: This verse is very straight forward. God doesn´t tempt anyone. It sounds like when James wrote this letter that one problem the early church was having was that the people were blaming God for their temptations. We should have a correct view of who our God is. He cannot be tempted by evil. I love the passage in 1 Timothy 6:15b-16 that says " He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the KING of kings and the LORD of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen." Our God dwells in unapproachable light and we should never dare to associate Him with the evil in our lives. All that said, don´t associate our God with our temptations, it brings Him lower than what is His rightful position.

(v14) WE´RE THE PROBLEM: We need to take responsibility for our own sin. It´s the lust of our flesh that entices and carries us away.

(v15) RECOGNIZE THE SERIOUSNESS OF SIN: The order of sin is that lust first takes over. Once the lust has convceived or given birth then sin comes forth. In practical terms this is when we allow our lusts to drive us so far as to commit the act of sin. Next, once sin is accomplished or perfected, death is brought forth. It is somewhat difficult to know exactly what the term death implies, however the Greek means death of the body, implied misery in hell, or the body in hell. Many people will argue that once you´re saved your salvation is eternal and secure. I don´t know the answer but I do know that if you are living in sin you should be very afraid of the wrath of God. I believe the Bible leaves the question of secure salvation somewhat unclear for a reason.

(vv16-18) CORRECT VIEW OF THE FATHER: Do not let the Enemy deceive you into believing that God is anything but perfect and holy. ¨Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.¨ Not only does God give us cool stuff but He has saved us (v18) by the word of truth. Technically said, He has given birth to us. Remember the awesome salvation and call that we have through Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 1-3). God is good, let´s not think otherwise.

Conclusion: I believe in summing up this section of scripture it would be fair to say that we need to have a correct view of the Father. Not only during our temptations but during everyday life. Knowing the character of God is vital for believers. When things are looking bad and we have no where else to turn we need to remember that our God has our best interest in mind. Even when it hurts us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trials (James 1:1-12)

James 1:1-12 is all about the trials that we face in life. As believers trials are a reality. Trials come in various forms: financial, other people, accidents, sickness, etc. We all know that life gets hard and trials come, but what´s the purpose behind them? Why doesn´t God just take them away? In this section of James, we have a hand book on trials.

(v2) HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE: Trials are a cause for joy not a cause to feel bad for yourself. We have to be happy during our trials? No! Joy is not always connected with a happy feeling. Joy is knowing that God has our best interest in mind and that He has not lost the power to deal with our problems. It´s kind of related to peace.

(vv3-4) HAVE THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE: Not only should we have joy during our trials but we should have an understanding of what trials do for and in us. Trials produce Endurance: (Hupomone) steadfastness, constancy, endurance, a patient and steadfast waiting for, a patient enduring, sustaining and perservering. Also trials bring a believer to be Complete: (Teleios) brought to it´s end, finished, full-grown, adult, of full age, mature. Without trials we would be lacking in certain areas of our spiritual life.

(vv5-8) KNOW YOUR OPTIONS: Trials can get tough and James tells us that ¨if any of you lacks wisdom (concerning trials), let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach.¨ God will give us the wisdom during our trials if we ask Him in faith. A definition of faith is seeing it the way God does. When we ask we must not doubt and when God gives us the wisdom we must conform our view to His.

(vv9-11) TRIALS SHOW NO FAVORITES: This sections is somewhat difficult to understand but I believe all that James is trying to say is that trials show no favorites. That they fall on both the rich and the poor.

(v12) REWARD: It´s a big help during our trials if we can keep our eyes fixed on the prize. Here James tells us that the man who perserves under trials is blessed. ¨Once he has been approved he will receive the Crown of Life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.¨ This is the same Crown of Life mentioned in Rev 2:10-11. Let us be faithful ¨...even unto death¨ and He will give us the crown of life.

Conclusion: We must know that we shouldn´t always try and find the quick way out of our trials. God just might be trying to perform a work in us. Let´s take the truths from this passage and apply it to our lives today.

New Series of Blogs

There hasn´t been much new going on lately, therefore I haven´t been putting up any new material on my blog site. However, I´ve been studying through James and I want to post the things I´ve been learning. Not only that but also the things that I will be putting into practice. Many times we read the Bible and discover truths but we don´t change. These 11 posts will stand as helpers for me, not only to remember what I've learned but to remember to live it as well.

The book of James has 11 subjects or themes. So I will be putting up 11 posts over the next couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy and also that you are challenged along with me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


My time here in Arequipa is passing very rapidly. After I finish this next week I will have been in Peru for one month. Learning a new language is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It seems that I have a lot of ups and downs each week. Some days I feel like my Spanish is great and others I can't understand a lick of it. I believe that learning this language has taught me quite a bit, mainly patience. For me it's learning to remain under the frustration of miscommunication and at times no communication. Please pray that God will continue to give me patience and endurance for the race set before me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Update 9/12/09

I've been very busy for the past two weeks. My schedule is full of Spanish school and lots of meals with my family. I believe I'm picking up on the language but at times it gets frustrating. Hearing Spanish all the time and not being able to communicate thoroughly and effectively is definitely a chance to learn patience.

Not much new has really been going on here in Peru. I've been making a few friends in the community here and there. It's a good chance for me to practice my Spanish by speaking with them. I've also signed up at a local gym and go there every once in a while to workout. Each week church has the same format and things don't change too much, same songs, same routine, but I enjoy it.

One thing I really like about Peru so far is the fact that everything is so cheap. I bought a nice sock hat last night for $2.33.

Again not much new but I will try and stay updated on the important things going here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Travels to Peru

Right now I'm sitting in the Lima, Peru airport waiting to fly to Arequipa. It's been a long day! We flew out from LA yesterday at 1:50pm. We had an 8 hour flight from LA to Lima and are about to leave for Arequipa at 4:30 am.

The past few days have been interesting. Here are a few things that I've been up to. On the 27th we had a Wednesday night youth service at the Nazarene church in LA. I led worship for my first time at this 7 pm service. Also, on the 28th, as an ending note in LA we got a chance to go to Huntington Beach for a few hours. We were able to go swimming and play volleyball with some strangers there. It has been an interesting trip so far and I feel very close to my team, even though I've only known them for about five days now.
Please pray for continual unity and bonding amongst our 40/40 team members.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today was a good day! We had class from 9am-12pm then broke for lunch. We then resumed class at about 1:15pm-4pm. Today we focused on communication, travel tips, spiritual gifts, and various other topics. After class we all hung out, played cards, and talked. Then at 6pm we had dinner. My highlight of the day was our devotion at 8pm where Pastor Kevin spent time sharing about his life and also speaking from Genesis 12. After this we spent time praying and sharing together. This really got me excited about the time I will spend with the other 40/40 missionaries. I'm really looking forward to having great fellowship with the other missionaries to Peru.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I flew into LA, California yesterday. I'm here for four days at a Cross-Cultural Orientation with the other 40/40 missionaries. It is a basically a crash course for us before we leave for Peru (a few things we should and shouldn't do while we are there). Last night all I did was situate my items and introduce myself to the others that are here. Today, we had class from 10am-12pm. Then we broke for lunch and resumed class from 1pm-5pm. We talked a lot about life in a different culture. We have three more days here until we will ship out to Peru. God is good!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Preach the Gospel

Once again God has been faithful to reveal things that I need to work on. God calls us all to proclaim the Gospel (life, death, and resurrection of Jesus), however, this isn't always easy. Many times it can be awkward, it can contradict feelings, even bring persecution. No matter what it may bring God calls us to be faithful to preach and to stand firm in our message.

When we present the Gospel we are to be firm in what we believe, unwavering in our commitment to follow Him. We must be clear to those we minister to. We must leave no room for misunderstanding. First it's important to build a bridge in the conversation, a bridge from the physical to the spiritual. Once the bridge is built we must make it clear that people need to repent and get their hearts right with God. They must know that Jesus is the only God, the Only One who can save sinners, and that no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). They must make Jesus the Lord of all their life. Once people come to know the Lord we must provide follow through for them. They need a place to be plugged in so that they can grow in the Lord and not fall away from the faith.

I thank God for showing me the urgency in sharing the Gospel. I know I don't do it enough but I will push on to the high calling God has placed upon us all.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Be Filled

Lately God has been teaching me the importance of being filled with His Holy Spirit. John 15:4-5 tells us that the one who abides in Jesus Christ bears much fruit but apart from Him we can do nothing. Also in Philippians 3:3 we see Paul telling those at Philippi that "we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and put no confidence in the flesh." Also in Ephesians 5:18-19 we are commanded to be filled or dominated with the Spirit.

I know for me it's easy to go through the week in my own strength. Living simply the physical life and going through the motions spiritually. Half-heartedly praying or reading my Bible not really thinking about what it means. However, this past week I have really been asking and seeking the Lord for His Holy Spirit. I've been finding out that as I diligently seek God and ask He obliges me. The results are astounding for we see in Galatians 5:22-23 that all good things come from the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

If you're reading this and you feel like your spiritual life has been dry lately I urge you to diligently ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. He says in Luke 11:9-13 that He will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Seek God about this and I know you will start to see a difference in your life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


As I lay in bed tonight, I felt the need to write (in the form of a poem) about an experience I had the other day. Over the past couple of days I have been under attacks of doubt and depression concerning my going to Peru. Despite this, God gave a me a very short glimpse of His peace which carries me through all the trial.

It was short but refreshing
It was sweet and nourishing to my soul
I was unsure but not after that moment

It was Your peace...
That which comes down from above
That which surpasses all understanding
It sets my feet straight on Your path
It renews my mind in an instant
All doubt and fear vanish

In the presence of Your peace only things of You can stand
That which is not of You is suddenly wiped away
And with Your peace I will go to this foreign land
With You by my side, hand in hand
Take me to Peru

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Heading to Peru

This post is coming kind of late. I got a call the other day from an Extreme Nazarene employee telling me that I have been accepted to go to Peru. It's been about 2 months since I first looked into 40/40 and now I know I'm accepted. At first I wasn't 100% sure that Peru was where God wants me but during the interview for this trip I felt like God gave me a peace about it all. To wrap this up I just wanted to let all you who follow this post to know that Peru is the next step of the journey. I'll keep this blog updated as long as I have the ability to do so. I would appreciate your prayers before I leave and especially while I'm down there. Thanks!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Story of the Bible

The Story of Two Marriages
By: Gary Crites

*The Bible is made up of 66 books, all of which contain various stories. Contrary to popular belief the Bible is a library not a book. However, this library has one main overarching theme. That is the story of two marriages, a love story.
*In the beginning God created the earth, the heavens and all the inhabitants thereof, namely man. Out of all mankind God selected one man, Abraham, through whom He would consecrate one people to be a holy bride for Himself, namely Israel. God chose them, gave them all they had and entered into a holy and eternal relationship with them. However Israel was unfaithful to God time and time again. Their adultery disgusted God so much that He chose to separate Himself for a time from Israel. Because of this separation God instituted another marriage between His Son Jesus and the church. The purpose of this marriage is to make Israel jealous and turn back to God in the end (Revelation).

Marriage One
*The Old Covenant or Old Testament is comprised of 39 books. All of which show the development of God’s chosen bride Israel. We will first see how God created all that exists today. How He made man to be a holy and sinless creature, one that He could have an intimate relationship with. We will see how sin entered into the world and devastated man’s relationship with the LORD. After God created man He went into a selection process (Genesis 12-22) in which He instituted a promise between Himself and Abraham. A promise that through Abraham’s line God would choose a people to be His bride for eternity. After this promise we will see God’s people face a period of 400 years in which they are oppressed and enslaved by the Egyptians (Exodus). After the 400 years is over God will raise up a deliverer, namely Moses, who will set God’s bride free. Once again, God’s people will face various trials and temptations as they trek through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. During this period God will give His people a three part law in which they are to obey in order to please God. After time well spent in the desert, God’s people eventually arrive in the land and take it over one piece at a time. After a long period of conquering the land, Israel eventually settles down and establishes a temple in which they are to worship. Although Israel is extremely blessed by God she is constantly in a cycle of sin and adultery. As a function of God’s grace He gave His bride warnings and time to repent. Through the prophets God warned Israel of coming judgment if she did not get her act together. God gave Israel more than her share of chances to repent, however, she forsook God and hardened her heart towards Him. God eventually divorced Israel and sought another way to get His beloved bride to come back to Him.
*The first book of the Bible is Genesis or Bereshit in Hebrew. It is written by Moses, God’s chosen man to deliver Israel out from under Egypt’s slavery. This book tells us of a number of historical events such as the following: creation, the fall, the flood, the biography of Abraham, the roots of God’s bride Israel, etc. In the first chapter of Genesis we see that God created the earth and all that is in it. He created light, water, plants, animals, fish, sky, and everything we see around us today. Although all of this is important, in chapter two we see God create something very special, something in His own image, someone named man. The account of the first person created was that of a man named Adam. God created Adam a holy and sinless creation, one that He could have an intimate relationship with. After God made Adam He placed him in a Garden called Eden (Genesis 2:8). The only instructions God gave to Adam upon putting him in the Garden was to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). Although Adam was created to have a relationship with God, God realized that it was not good for Adam to be alone so He created a suitable helper for him, a woman named Eve (Genesis 2:18). This relationship was perfect and holy because it was created by God and under His submission. Although the relationship was perfect, man did manage to find a way to destroy it. A character named the Serpent enters the scene in Genesis 3:1 and tricks Eve into eating from the tree which God commanded Adam not to eat (Gen 3:3). Eve obliged and gave some fruit to her husband as well and he ate (Gen 3:6). Immediately their eyes were opened and they knew both good and evil (Gen 3:7). God, being holy and not able to cohabitate with sin was moved to push Adam and Eve from the Garden. This is the account of the creation and the fall.
*In Genesis twelve through twenty-two we see the beginning of God’s selection of Israel as His chosen Bride. We could call this the engagement period of the first marriage (1850 BCE). In this section of Scripture God makes nine promises with Abraham concerning Israel. In the first promise (Gen 12:1-3) God tells Abraham that he will become the father of many nations, but first God wanted Abraham to leave the land he was living in and move to a land that God would show him, later known as Canaan. In the second promise (Gen 12:7) God tells Abraham that He will give the land to his descendants (the 12 tribes). In promise three (Gen 13:14-17) God’s reinforces the fact that He will give the land to Abraham’s descendants, yet not only will He give the land to them but He also tells Abraham that they will possess it forever. In promise four (Gen 15:5) God tells Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars of the sky. In promise five (Gen 15:13-16) the tone changes from positive to negative when God tells Abraham that his descendants will be enslaved for four hundred years. Promise six (Gen 15:18-21) maps out the land that God will give to Israel. In promise seven (Gen 17:1-21) God explains the covenant He will make in much more detail. In promise eight (Gen 21:12-13) God promises Abraham a child named Isaac. God tells Abraham that through Isaac his descendants will be named. The last promise God gave in this selection process is in Genesis 22:16-18. God promises and swears by His name that He will greatly bless and multiply Abraham’s descendants. In this section it is very clear that God will create His covenant, an everlasting covenant with Israel. This is the account of God’s selection of Israel.
*In Exodus (Shemot in Hebrew), the second book of the Bible, we see the fifth promise of God to Abraham come true (Genesis 15:13-16). The Israelites are enslaved by the Egyptians for a 400 year period. Although this goes on God never forgets His promises or His people. In Exodus chapters one through three we see God raising a leader to deliver the Israelites, his name is Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible. After Moses is trained God sends him on a mission to retrieve Israel (Exodus 4-11). Pharaoh is most obviously opposed to this idea and hardens his heart towards God and His messenger Moses. Because of this God sends ten plagues to devastate the nation of Egypt, each plague proving the Egyptian gods to be powerless. After the tenth plague Pharaoh decides to let Israel go and Moses then leads them out into the wilderness on a forty year journey which will eventually take them to the Promised Land, a place called Canaan.
*During the long journey God gave Israel a three part law in which they were to obey in order to please God (1500BCE). The law consists of civil, criminal, and constitutional codes of law. The civil code is found in Exodus and Numbers. This code of law instructed Israel on how to live while on the camping trip in the desert. The criminal code found exclusively in Leviticus is a series of sacrifices. This code was a method of worship and atonement of sins for the Jewish people. Lastly, the constitutional code found in Exodus 20-23 and Deuteronomy gave Israel their identity, it’s what made a Jew a Jew.
*During the wilderness journey the Israelites became rebellious and exceedingly sinful. They were given many chances to repent and turn from their wicked and adulterous ways, however, they decided to live in their sin and forsake God. Because of this God made Israel wander in the desert for forty years until the whole generation that came up out of Egypt died off. Their sin had cut them off from entering the Promised Land. However, their children, if obedient would inherit the land and experience the promises that God made to Abraham back in Genesis.
*Upon close arrival to the land of Canaan Moses, God’s chosen leader of Israel, died and did not enter Canaan due to his sin in Numbers 20:11. Along the camping trip Moses had been preparing a leader named Joshua. Moses knew that his time was short and that he would have to pass on the leadership to another after he was gone. This is the account of the slavery and deliverance of God’s bride Israel.
*In Joshua we see the account of Israel entering, conquering, and dividing Canaan. Entering Canaan is the first section of Joshua. This section starts in chapter one and goes through chapter five. It gives us the account of the Israelites entering the land of Canaan. At the beginning of chapter one we see Joshua has now assumed command of God’s people and is ready to lead them into Canaan. In chapter two Joshua sends people to spy out the land so they know what to expect. In chapter three after they cross the Jordan River they finally set foot in the Promised Land. This is the climax of the first section of Joshua. In the second section, conquering Canaan (Joshua 6-12), we see the judgment God brings on the nations that are living in Canaan via His people Israel. The nations that lived in Canaan upon Israel’s arrival were exceedingly sinful and the time had come for their removal from the land. This is the part of the book where Israel takes hold of the land God has for His bride. It paints a beautiful picture of a marriage in which God sweeps His bride off of her feet and takes her home to the place that He has prepared for her. This marks the account of the inheritance of Israel.
*Although God had selected Israel (Genesis 12-22), delivered her (Exodus), and given her an inheritance (Joshua), she still forsook God and chose a life of adultery and sin. The book of Hosea sets up the picture of Israel’s sin for us in a very graphic yet understandable way. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute in Hosea chapter one and Hosea obeyed God. The prostitute went on being an unfaithful wife yet Hosea remained a faithful husband. God used this as a picture of Israel in the mid 700’s BCE. Although it is ahead of the time of the Judges (1300-1050BCE), it sets up the scenario for the book of Judges. In the book of Judges we see the infidelity of Israel. We will see how Israel’s sin hurts God, yet in the midst of their sin God is still willing to help His bride.
In the book of Judges there are seven cycles of sin. Each cycle includes the following pattern: sin, slavery or servitude, supplication or prayer, deliverer or deliverance, and peace or rest. The ironic thing is that seven is the number of completion and that is the number of the sin cycles in Judges. During this period of Israel’s history God raises up 13 judges or leaders for Israel. Each judge acts as an agent of God’s grace in this sinful period of Israel’s life. Towards the middle of each sin cycle Israel is either in slavery or servitude to another nation. The judges that God raises up will the deliver Israel from her oppressors. This part of Israel’s life is very important. It shows us God’s faithfulness to His bride Israel. Even though she was not true to Him he was and has always been true to her. This section of Israel’s life foreshadows the need of the second marriage. Since God’s love, faithfulness, and wrath were not enough for Israel to straighten up, God will eventually have to institute another method to get His bride back. This marks the account of Israel’s adultery.
*After the period of the Judges (1300-1050 BCE), Israel seems to be in a downward spiral of self-destruction. Israel does not want to rely on God to be her leader so she asks for a king to lead her instead. We see in 1 Samuel eight that Israel demands that God give her a king. God gives her what she asks for although He knows it would be better if they chose Him as their Captain. The period after the Judges is known as the United Kingdom period and spans from 1050-928 BCE (1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings 1-11). The United Kingdom period is defined as the time when both Southern and Northern Israel function under the rule of one king. After 928 BCE both the Southern and Northern Kingdom split and are ruled over by two different kings. The United Kingdom period is comprised of three main kings, Saul, David and Solomon (found mainly in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings 1-11). Saul is the first king and he seems to be a promising man (1 Samuel 9-15). He has all of the promising physical characteristics. He even starts off with a great walk with the LORD. However, he ends up in a downward spiral of sin and disobedience to God. During the reign of Saul God starts to raise a young shepherd boy named David to take the throne (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel). Although he’s small in stature and not physically the ideal king, he’s God’s anointed king. Eventually, around 1000 BCE, David takes the throne and rules for about forty years. David is pronounced a man after God’s own heart and is even promised by God that Messiah would come through his line. This is again foreshadowing a need for the second marriage or new covenant. After David, his son Solomon takes over the throne and is extremely blessed by God in the beginning of his reign (1 Kings 1-11). God lavishes on him wisdom, power and wealth. Yet sadly, Solomon is eventually taken down by his lust for women who serve foreign gods. He reigns for about a forty year period and then dies a sad death due to his severed relationship to God. All three kings constitute the United Kingdom period and are all recorded in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings 1-11. This marks the account of the United Kingdom.
*From the year 928 until about 430 BCE about half of the books in the Old Testament were written. This is the period of the Divided Kingdom, more specifically the time when Northern Israel and Southern Israel (Judah) split. Part of Israel’s sin included that they did not give their land the Sabbatical rest that God commanded every seventh year. For seventy Sabbatical years they did not give the land rest, therefore God chose to have Israel carted off to other countries for a four hundred and ninety year period so the land would have the rest it needed. In Daniel nine we see the prophecy of the four hundred and ninety year captivity period. In the year 722 BCE the Assyrians came against Northern Israel and took them into captivity. After this only Southern Israel (Judah) was left standing. Even though Judah survived God did not remove their judgment from them. In 606 BCE the first wave of Babylonians came against Judah, then a second in 597 BCE, and lastly a third wave in 586 BCE took them out for good. This completed the captivity of Judah.
*In this period God poured out so much revelation on His people through the prophets. God showed them their sin and disobedience and even gave them many chances to come to repentance. About half of the Old Testament is made up of the prophets which were written during this period. There are a total of four Major Prophets and 12 Minor Prophets in the Old Testament. Almost all of the Major Prophets are written during the time and perspective of the captivity. The Minor Prophets were written mainly after the captivity but still in the time of the Divided Kingdom. The prophets are a great picture of God’s grace toward His people. They show us that God wants to live in peace with His bride and that He wants the best for them. This marks the period of the Divided Kingdom.
*In the end of the Old Testament God eventually leaves the temple in Jerusalem and divorces His bride Israel for a while. God will then institute another marriage that which is portrayed in the New Testament between His Son Jesus and the church. The purpose of this is to make His people Israel jealous and turn back to Him in the end (Revelation). Although God separates from His people for a short time the Old Testament writings show us a great picture of who God is. Although He judges, He does so to bring us closer to Him. Although there are penalties He institutes them for our benefit. He is a loving God that wants the best for us. This marks the account of the second marriage.

Marriage Two
*Marriage two was alluded to many times in the Old Testament. It would be the coming of the Messiah (Isaiah 49-55). Since we’ve looked at Israel’s past and have seen their unfaithfulness to God (Hosea), we understand why God will institute another marriage to bring His people Israel back to Him.
*Marriage two is also known as the new covenant or New Testament. In this marriage God sent His Son Jesus to earth, to live, to die, and rise again. This was the initiation of a beautiful relationship between Jesus and what would later be known as the church. During Jesus’ ministry He chose twelve main disciples, ones whom He would teach and train. They would later become leaders or founders if you will in the church that we have come to know, even today. This marriage is unique in the fact that it replaces the old criminal code back in the book of Leviticus. No longer are sacrifices offered to God (Leviticus) because Jesus is our sacrifice. Also, Jesus allows us direct access to the throne room God. Proof of this is in Matthew 27:51 when the veil was torn. This was a sign that we would now have direct access to God, no longer would a priest have to mediate for us but only the High Priest Jesus Christ. Not only does the new covenant promise eternal life and salvation but also a relationship with the Lord in which we are cleaned and sanctified. This sanctification process (Romans 6-8) is one of the factors that will make Israel jealous leading to their return to the LORD in the end of the age (Revelation).
*In the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), also known as the Gospels, we see the initiation of the second marriage. We see the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus the very Son of God, born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25), is the mediator of the second covenant, the One through whom we have direct access to the Father. Jesus’ main ministry does not start until He is about thirty years of age. Although His ministry only lasts for about three years, Jesus fulfills all of the Messianic prophecies and characteristics that are in Isaiah forty-nine through fifty-five and other O.T. passages. During Jesus’ ministry He has twelve main friends or disciples, those of which He will eventually trust with starting His church. When Jesus reached the age of 33 His ministry started to create much controversy. The Pharisees and Sadducees were not particularly fond of Jesus since He taught things contrary to their belief and the belief of that day. Eventually Jesus was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to crucifixion, one of the worst ways to die in that time. It’s important for us to know that Jesus completed life as a sinless and holy being, if this were not true than He can not be our perfect and holy sacrifice and the Christian faith would be void. Jesus carried out the sentence in obedience to God’s plan to redeem all mankind. By dying on the cross Jesus took the sins of the world upon Him and became the one-size-fits-all sacrifice which offers salvation to all of mankind. That is, for all who would call on His name and choose to make Him Lord over ALL of their life. This marks the initiation of the second marriage.
*The Apostles (now eleven after Judas betrayed Jesus and hung Himself) were the main founders of what is known as the church today. Jesus entrusted His disciples with the responsibility and privilege of starting His church. Most of the records of the Apostles journeys in starting the church are recorded in the book of Acts. After Judas hung himself, Jesus appeared to a man named Saul (Acts 9:3-9), later known as Paul, and commissioned him to be a disciple. Paul became one of the main founders of the church. He is credited with being the first apostle to bring the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. He also wrote thirteen epistles in the New Testament, most of which are to churches that he started. Although Paul boosted the church in its early stages, all of the other disciples were also very key in the transmission of the Gospel. It’s important to know that almost every one of the disciples died a horrible death for what they believed in. The Christian faith, or the second marriage, is based on the testimony of believer after believer that was willing to pay the price because they knew that their life had been changed by Jesus. This marks the early phases of the transmission of the Gospel.
*Contrary to popular belief the church DOES NOT replace Israel’s role. God instituted the church as a means to make Israel return to Him. The relationship between Jesus and the church is the picture we should follow for forming a marriage in the way it should be. To be considered part of the church you must first accept Jesus as Lord over all of your life and then allow Him to work in your life daily to clean and sanctify you. In the end times (Revelation), we see that Jesus comes for His bride. The whole time up to the end He prepares her, justifies her, and sanctifies her for the purpose of presenting her before the Father as a pure and spotless bride. This marks the definition and characteristics of the church.

The Conclusion
*The story of the Bible is simple, yet at the same time all of the issues involved in the context of the overarching theme can become rather overwhelming. The Bible is a practical tool useful in everyday life (2 Timothy 3:16) not a book of old stories and fairy tales. The stories given illustrate principles that show how to deal with life, people, problems, and much more. God wants us to know His Word. He wants you to know that if you follow the rules and instructions in it you will live the most fulfilling and exciting life imaginable. Know God’s Word so you can know Him!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Final Exam

Today I took my final exam here at GCBI. It was 67 questions followed by an essay in which we were to explain the story of the Bible in 6 hours. The only reason I tell you this is because I am going to post my essay in hopes that it might be helpful to some of you regular viewers. Since not all of the student are done I won't post it until after Thursday at midnight when the paper is due. Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coming to a Close

Well, it's been 9 months. Time really does fly by. I can't believe it was 9 months ago that I first set foot in Sebring, FL. When I came to Sebring it looked like such a long time to spend away from home but looking back I can only wonder where the time went. It's truly been a life transforming year for me. If you can spend a year in God's Word and not be changed by it than something is wrong. I've finished this step of my life, but the question is, where will He take me next? Maybe Peru, maybe not, all I can say is that He knows what He's doing. He's doing something, something mysterious and beautiful. He's changing me. He's conforming me to be more and more like Him everyday. Father, thank you that you have an amazing plan for all who choose to follow you.

I want to thank everyone who made this step in my life possible, especially Mom and Dad. I couldn't have done it without you guys, you mean the world to me, I love you. Everyone else who stood and stands behind me I thank you. I hope that my life is an encouragment to all who are around me, a testimony that God can change anyone. Thanks again!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Simplify My Walk LORD

Today will go down as one of those life changing days that only happen every once in a while. I don't know about you, but for me it's easy to make my walk with God way too complicated. My prayer lately is that God would simplify my walk with Him. The answer to that prayer came in a simple package but that simplicity had a great affect.

Today at the second sermon Pastor Randy preached on 2 Timothy 4. I won't take time to break down the passage but the punchline of the message was that believers should focus on 3 keys in their walk with God. 1.) People 2.) The Word 3.) Intimacy with God. This is simple I know, but for me it's what I needed to hear. I'm over here worrying about petty issues in my walk with the LORD when I'm neglecting the necessities to sustain a powerful relationship with Him. God's intention was never to make things confusing for us. I pray that you too can rest in the simple but strong faith that God has called us to as believers

Friday, March 27, 2009

Prayer for Peru

I'm finally back again. Once again it's been a while since I've last posted. I've been rather undisciplined at blogging consistently. Anyways, I've been praying a lot about God's leading after GCBI. It's coming to a close soon and I need to know where God will have me next.

Just the other day my Mom called me and told me about a mission called 40/40. It's a mission out of Extreme Nazarene and their goal is to plant 120 churches within an 18 month period. There will be 40 pairs of missionaries. Each pair consists of 1 American and 1 Peruvian. I started reading up on it and almost started crying. I believe God gave me a burden for it in that moment in time so I ended up applying and am currently awaiting a response from them.

If I get accepted I'll spend 3 months learning Spanish. Then 6 months of missionary training. Lastly 18 months of mission work in which I and my Peruvian partner will plant 3 churches.

If you read this and God gives you a nudging to pray for me, please do so. This is a big commitment for me and I'll need lots of prayer to back me up. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Israel Report

The Israel trip was amazing. I've considered posting about each individual day but I don't want to do that. Only for organization and time sake. However the trip was beneficial to me for a few reasons.

It gave me a better view of the culture. When we read the Bible we tend to put our culture to it. We have to remember that it was written by the Jewish people. They live much differently than we do. When we learn their ways we can interpret Scripture much more accurately.

It brought the Word to life. Reading and studying have went from standard television to HDTV. When you actually see the places and experience them first-hand it adds color to the Bible. Knowing that you saw the sight and smelled the smells somehow helps you to relate with the writer.

Lastly and most important is that it gave me more of a desire to learn the Word of God. Going into Israel I wished that I had spent more time studying and learning God's Word. To learn the significance of the people and places. Since coming back I've been studying the Word more diligently. I've almost wrapped up the New Testament and will start the Old Testament after I finish.

For more pictures of the trip check out my Facebook page.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Israel Trip

I haven't posted anything in over a month. I feel like I had a period where God was revealing things to me and now is the time for application. He gave me more than a few things to work on and I'm still learning to apply those lessons.

Tomorrow at 5:30 A.M. we leave for Israel. I feel excited and humbled that I get the opportunity to go. I'm very excited about all that I'll learn there. After the trip I'll be putting up posts and hopefully pictures of my experiences in the Holy Land.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back 2 School

Today was my first day of class for the Spring semester. I've been surprisingly excited about coming back to school and learning again. Today we went over Jude and Obadiah and I have to admit, I knew very little about either of them. We spent six hours in these two books and it was refreshing to receive the truth of God's Word. I'm excited about starting off this new semester. I believe that over break God has matured me more in the faith and I am starting to appreciate Him and His Word more and more each day. The one thing that does disappoint me about this place is that it's very hard to find a place to spend quiet time with the Lord. It's so crucial that each day I spend time in His presence so that He can transform me to be more like Him. I'm going to have to be more creative and find an escape so I can spend time with the Maker. God bless you, and I ask God that these posts will be a blessing and encouragement to you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Memorizing Scripture

Break is coming to a close very soon because school starts back up this Tuesday(13th). God knew that this break was just what I needed. It's hard living with 11 other students in very close quarters and it wore on me quite a bit. I needed this break to have a fresh touch from the Holy Spirit in my life. God's been teaching me so much over the past month that it's been somewhat overwhelming. The newest lesson/ prompting He has put within me is to memorize more Scripture. I'm starting in Proverbs and am just going to start from chapter 1 memorizing as much as I can. I'm going to write 7 verses at a time on a half sheet of paper and carry it with me throughout the day for maximum memorization. It's important to hide His Word within our hearts and there are three huge benefits from it (There are more, I'm only listing three). If we memorize His Word we will have more Scripture on hand for encouraging, exhorting, reproving, correcting and rebuking others (2 Timothy 3:16 and 4:2). Also we will be more grounded in truth and not as susceptible to believing false doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Lastly and most importantly we can fight the enemy with the Word (Ephesians 6:17). Keep in mind that it's our only spiritual Weapon. If we take a deeper look at Matthew 4:1-11 we'll see that Jesus fought satan with the Word. He didn't argue or reason with the devil. All He did was simply correct the lies with truth and the enemy fled Him.

I hope you take the time to seek God in prayer concerning this matter. God is trying to raise up a generation of warriors for His sake. I don't want to miss out because of a lack of discipline.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back 2 Florida

Well...Christmas break is almost over and no longer am I in Ohio. I left at 3 in the morning on the 3rd of this month for Venice, Florida. My family is staying here for a month but I'll only be able to stay for a week because college starts back up on the 13th. I'm actually excited to go back and continue growing in my relationship with the Lord.

Concerning my post on the voice of God. I have been spending more time in quiet solitude, trying to hear His voice. Although I feel like I haven't broke any ground, I do believe He's telling me to be disciplined in it and then it will bear fruit. If you are reading this post I encourage you to seek the Lord in this manner. It is absolutely crucial to be able to decipher the voice of God over the loud voice of the world. He wants us to hear Him, but great things rarely come easy.