Monday, August 28, 2006

 

CPM conference

We spent the weekend with our regional leadership in a conference designed to teach locals the principles of a church planting movement. They shared lots of information with our people in a short amount of time. The teaching was divided into two weekends and a combined total of 50 or so participants. One couple from our church came to the conference. The goal is to obey the great commission by making disciples of all nations by involving every believer in the great commission. That means that people are organized into small groups, or either small groups are gathered. We then evangelize through interactive stories. Afterwards, those that accept the message that we have to share stay in their small groups, are baptized, and equipped to go out themselves to do the same.

The steps to our work are prayer, gather and win lost people in a way that will be catalytic, or begin a chain of churches that will be reproducing more churches. In order to be effective, we need to get to the gospel quickly, have an intentional plan from the beginning, use methods that are reproducible, emphasizing family and intimate friends. We need to base the training in obedience, make it simple, have goals of multiplication, saturate areas with new works, disciple mentors and form networks that will keep the process going.

It is necessary that the national believers catch the vision and join us in the work if we are to accomplish our goal. Many churches here are not interested in this idea because it does not grow their church, and these independent groups have no one to control them and teach them the rules. Instead, when a question arises, they are given the Scripture passages that address such questions, and they have to depend upon the Holy Spirit give them understanding of these passages. God's word is powerful, and that He speaks through His word. We can trust our people to His care. He will speak to them directly. His plan from the beginning was to have a priesthood of believers, a chosen people with whom He can show His character.

I have spent a lot of time sharing my faith in Sajonia, the area of town where I work. I have also been working with the youth of a church in another part of the city with the hopes that I can use them in the ministry. My goal is to take the church youth on mission trips in that area of town. Although they are not ready to lead Bible studies, they should have no problem doing open air concerts, skits, prayer walks, or even tract distribution in that area of town.

I started working with the youth because I felt that I could use them in ministry; also, there was no one else doing so, and the youth were bored and felt abandoned. The Lord has provided others to work with them, so my purpose is to equip this team to do the youth work, and invite them to do evangelistic events. One couple was at the CPM conference that our regional leaders taught this past weekend. They were challenged to enlarge their vision, and join the work. I look forward to what lies ahead for all of those that were in attendance.

Next month, we plan to take the youth on a retreat with other churches in the area so that they can learn how to organize themselves into cells. I am convinced that God changes lives when people meet regularly in small groups and apply God's Word to their lives.

Monthly events are planned between now and December, and after that, I will work through the youth leadership that I am now establishing to continue the ministry. The end of May, my family and I will go on stateside assignment and be in the States until the end of October. We look forward to seeing many of you then!!

In the month of November, we are planning a concert in the park in Sajonia. The goal is for them to hold a concert for those in the park, while I hand out invitations to start a small group Bible study.

Monday, August 21, 2006

 

Rolling Stones child care

There is an impinada shop across the street from our house that plays the music that I listened to as a teen. My teenage years were a little turbulant to say the least. At any rate, it is amazing how these songs have affected the ways that I relate to my children. I sing them theology based on the songs. Here are some examples, maybe you will rember these oldies, but semi-goodies...ok, not really:

1. No you can't always get what you want, no you can't always get what you want. (-that's all the song that I sing -repeatedly).
2. You left me, just when I needed you mmmost.
3. You can't get no satisfaction! (libertys taken to change the subject.)
4. It's a heartache, nothing but a heartache.
5. Every step you take, every move you make, I'll be watchin` you -can't you see, you belong to me!
6. We are family, got your brother here with me.
8 where, oh where have the little shoes (or whatever) gone, where o where could they beeee?
9 I can't drive, 25(original author sang 55) -(I only thought New Orleans had bad streets, and poor drivers)!!
10. Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky top, ain't no telephone bills... (-we live in a dirty city a long way away from home!)

You have to understand, I have two children ages 2 and 4!!
:)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

 

God who is our help

The God that we serve is so very good to us. Yesterday, He provided so much and I wanted to share with you some of the things that He provided yesterday as our youth shared their program with children in the park.

First, I have already told you about the rain, God provided clowdy skies so that our group would not be too large and unmanagable. This was our youth's first time to do any type of ministry.

There was an emergency need for me to run to the local supermarket and pick up supplies. There was no parking. I had to park on the street nearby, which by the way meant that there were long lines at the check-out counter. As I stood in line, I noticed that a register was beside me with only one man in line. This was not a rapid check out line, and there was no logical reason for there to be only one man in line except for maybe this register was about to close. I took my chances, and got behind the man in line, and he saw that I had only two items and allowed me to go in front of him.

God provided an older Paraguayan lady from the church to go with us and help the youth to face their fears and go play the games with the children, get to know them, and build friendships. I was busy talking with the adults, and do not have the same influence over the youth that this lady has.

Although no New Outreach groups were started as a result of this event, I feel that I was able to use the youth group in ministry, and I was able to make some contacts with adults for future ministry.

Monday, August 14, 2006

 

Day of the child

The youth of the church that my family and I attend have lots to offer, but have not been challenged to go beyond their walls to share their faith. About a month ago, two of the youth leaders approached me to say that they were ready to be involved in missions. We planned an event for this morning. We were to go to a local park and provide live entertainment, games, junk-food, juice and hard candy with children who would be playing there with the hopes that we could build bridges with adults, and maybe start a church. For the youth, this was to be a low-risk type ministry, and we have lived with anticipation since it was planned last month.
This morning we arose to a very cloudy sky. 60% chance of thunderstorms this morning tapering off as the evening went on.

Here, when it rains, there are no underground pipes that carry the water to the river. The streets become the rivers! Generally when it rains, no one here goes anywhere unless it is absolutely necessary. I expected that the event would be canceled. However, when I send the youth that organized everything a text message asking if she thought there would be anyone at the park, she responded that the group was ready for two hundred people, and it wasn't raining yet so we were going.

We went, and everyone seemed to have a blast! The youth sang songs, played some games, just as planned. They acted out a skit found in Luke 10:25 and following. The children sat and watched with enthusiasm as robbers attack the lone traveler. They identified with the victim as others passed by and did not offer help, and were silent when someone offered help.

An adult leader asked the group questions about the story, such as what was the greatest commandment. After they answered, he asked "and the second". He then asked the group how Jesus answered the question about who was a neighbor. We had a great time there.

While they were working, I began to talk with the adults in the group, and introduce myself, and tell them who I am and why I was there. I invited them to organize a group who would be interested in studying God's Word together. I had no takers. I have learned that one offer is not sufficient. It takes a relationship. However, I introduced myself. When they see me, they know who I am, and that I belong to a group. They know that I have a family, because my family went with us today.

It is now almost 4PM, and still has not rained. God answered my prayers that He would keep us dry today for our event.

Next month, the youth group has been invited to go to a camp that will teach them how to organize themselves into cells, and grow.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

 

Power of a small group -testimony

At the age of eighteen, I entered the United States Air Force, and spent nine years there. I had grown up in a Southern Baptist church, and knew all the rules, speech and even many of the stories. Although I was a believer, I began to question foundational beliefs such as the existence of God, and the validity of the Bible. I began to watch the people around me, and I noticed the differences between my sheltered childhood and the real world; or should I say their real world. I began to notice that they were determined to defy the control that God had on their life. They were not happy with who they were, nor were they happy with what they had or didn't have. They were never satisfied.

I attended church services regularly on Sundays, but that was not enough for me. Then, the Lord showed me a serviceman's center. This was a ministry that reached out to the military and their families. I began to function as a member of a small group. I had already been prepared by the Air Force, because we worked as a team. This team concept transfered to my expression of faith easily as I attended the serviceman's center.

As a group, we studdied Navigator's materials, memorized Bible verses together, ministrered to others together. We also studied Precept Bible study materials written by Kay Arthur. I learned
to witness in church as a teen, but had lots of practice while serving alongside my brothers and sisters there at the serviceman's center.

During the time that I attended the serviceman's center, I also attended church and Sunday school as regularly as possible, however, growth, accountability, effectiveness, and life-changing strength came from our Lord, funnelled through my brothers and sisters in the faith that I rubbed elboes with daily.

As time passed, I grew in my walk with the Lord, and was eventually relocated to Alaska, where I served my last two years in the Air Force, for a total of nine years. During those last two years, the Lord gave me the privilege of discipling 8 other GI's who were younger in the faith, and life than I was. God allowed me the privilege of seeing His power funnelled through our group to change lives, mine included. During this time, He taught me to respect authority.

By the time that I left the Air Force, I had grown in the faith, was sure of what I believed and why. My faith had been tried through the fires of doubt, and the heat of Military lifestyle. As a result, I was sold out on the New Directions' idea of small groups of people meeting together outside a building and callling it church. God works through the elements found in a simple church, and there is no way to hide. I studied the concepts of New Directions while in Seminary at New Orleans (NOBTS)1992-2001.

Friday, August 11, 2006

 

I was recently tagged

I was tagged by J. Guy Muse. and was asked to answer these questions on my blog. here are the questions and the answers:


1. One book that changed your life: Several come to mind. When I read the question, I thought of those that God used to call me to be different, and make a difference. Gospel according to Jesus by John McArthur

2. One book that you've read more than once: Francis Shaffer's How shall we then live would have to be at the top of the list.

3. One book I'd want on a desert island (other than the Bible): Survival guide: desert living for dummies 101 by anybody!! Overcoming Missionary stress Marjory Foyle -assuming desert does not mean deserted.

4. One book that made me laugh: My children's reaction to a few of their favorites such as a fleas sneeze -It's the best answer I have

5. One book that made me cry: Real men don't cry -seriously, I don't remember crying over a book, at least not recently.

6. One book that you wish you had written: Created to Learn or Called to teach William Yount Culture Shift David Henderson

7. One book you wish had never been written: Codigo divinchi and left behind series One offers no hope, the other takes lots of liberties in giving hope to believers that I personally do not see in the sacred text. Others would disagree, and they can answer the question too. :)

8. One book that you are currently reading: Screwtape letters CS Lewis El Hombre Que Dios Usa Henry Blackaby

9. One book that you've been meaning to read: El Poder del Perdon John McArthur is next on the list. and eventually, The Problem of Pain CS Lewis

I was also asked to tag 4 other bloggers. So, I have found it interesting looking at different blogs to come up with four names, I think however, I will just tag two people, if the laws of the land will permit me to do so. I don't have a reputation of staying inside the boxes that people have.

Kris and Tonya Dixon, http://krisandtonyadixon.blogspot.com/ -lots of pics and family news
Micah Fries http://www.friesville.blogspot.com/ -great mix of humor and truth

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

 

the ordinary

One thing that I enjoy about being a missionary is the freedoms that we have to study the context of our people, and follow Gods direction for reaching them. There are some similarities for each of us, but we really are given a lot of freedoms to choose how we are to engage the people. In contrast, my parents worked at a textile mill. I remember their frustration that every day was the same assembly line. Same problems, same solutions. At least from my young perspective, it seemed to be the same song, different day. I remember as a child, praying and asking God to please help me to have a job that would challenge me to boldly go where no one has already written the manual. Where I could explore, try new things and seek God's direction on how to accomplish a task.

Maybe your job is to plug into the assembly line of the mundane. Maybe, you work at a textile mill, or other job that always seems to have textbook answers. This is not a bad thing! It was just bad for me. I knew that I would not be happy with that type of a job. Maybe you are, maybe you are not satisfied with your work. We all travel different roads in this life, meaning that He has a different plan for each of us. I am much more mature now, and feel certain that what I longed for as a child and youth was that sense of adventure which only comes as a result of an intimate relationship with the Father. His guiding eye becomes the manual that we follow.

There is no satisfaction like that of watching a new convert make drastic commitments for Christ, or the passionate prayers of someone who has just found his first love. Knowing that God allowed me to play a part, large or small, in the new birth of the brother in Christ simply because I shared a tract, was friendly or prayed for him is an adventure that I would not care to trade for anything else.

Any believer has the potential to begin listening to the voice of the Master each morning, and following His directions. Even textile workers can spend time with the father. They are where the people hurt, are mistreated, abused, and often neglected. Every country in the world has these problems. The only answer is in a risen savior. We are the only ones qualified to offer God's perspective on any given situation. Whether we are talking to friends, coworkers, relatives or complete strangers we have the privilege of working with the Father to bring about a life changing encounter with the very God of the universe.

In His adventure,

Friday, August 04, 2006

 

Letting go of disciples

I think that everyone who is involved in discipleship eventually finds himself with the need to pull away from a disciple. In Mario's case, He feels the need to belong to a traditional church. The only ones in his neighborhood have serious doctorinal problems. He shared with me this week that he felt that God wanted him to attend one of them, to which I responded that they have different beliefs, and if he chooses to go there, that's fine, he can learn from them. Because of the differences, I would not continue to teach him. I let him know that he needs to choose whether to attend that church, or work with me to start another church in his neighborhood which is doctorinally sound. For now, I am back to square one in the area of town where I work. I spent this morning walking, praying and seeking God's direction.

I took his Bible to show him a passage, and glanced through it quickly and noted that the passage was already highlighted. Several of my favorites were already marked in his Bible. Here is a guy that knows the truth, yet wants to hang on to a traditional church, even at the expense of sound doctorine.

I suppose that if he choses to go, he may. I can work with someone else. However, my prayer is that he will note the differences, and choose to return. Please join me in this prayer.

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