Hope Church

It was a huge blessing to visit Hope Church on Sunday and share about Brazil.  I enjoyed getting to share with the body even before they officially launch.  Hope Church will officially launch on October 9.  It is so encouraging to see a church that wants to support missionaries even before they officially launch.

hope-church

Sharing about Brazil

One of the blessings was listening to Pastor Matt Moore talk about being led and living by the Spirit from the book of Galatians.  He began with talking about Galatians 3:3 and how we can be saved but feel like we still need to perfect ourselves through our own work.  I was so convicted because this is how I have been feeling at times.  .

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3

He went on to explain how the book of Galatians says that we are not ever going to be able to be perfected by the work of the flesh.  Instead we are to be either led by the Spirit or live by the Spirit.  We can either think of the lists in Galatians 5 of the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit as being check lists of what we do or being lists which show us where our heart is. I am challenged to live and be led by the Spirit.

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

hope-church-1

Encouraging the body to share the gospel

Advertisements

Dinner is Served

I have really enjoyed cooking this month while I am in Sacramento.  It has been good to be able to create some food in my own kitchen while house sitting for my parents.  Two of the best meal’s that I prepared this month were twice baked potatoes and stuffed round loaf.

stuffed-baked-potato

Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

I was thinking about what sounded good and I came up with a stuffed baked potato one night.  To prepare this I got some spicy sausage, bacon, onion, bell pepper, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parmarsean cheese, and russet potatoes.  I began with baking the potatoes and while they were baking I prepared the sausage, bacon, vegetable, and cheese mixture.

stuffed-baked-potato-1

Sausage, Bacon, Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes

I took out the baked potatoes cut them in half, hollowed them out and then stuffed them with the mixture and melted everything together. It turned out great.   I enjoyed the left overs for a few meals also.

stuffed-bread-round

Stuffed Bread Round Loaf

Another night I was inspired to make a stuffed sourdough bread round loaf.  I had seen something like this on Facebook and decided to make my own version of the meal.  I do have to say that it turned out very good.  I stuffed the loaf with Italian seasoned BBQ chicken, bacon, cheese, and meat marinara sauce. After cutting off the top of the loaf I hollowed it out and then layered the stuffing in.  I then replaced the top and baked the entire loaf until it was all crispy on the outside and hot on the inside.  This meal will be made again and it was great to be able to eat it a few more times.

stuffed-bread-round-1

Chicken, Bacon, Cheese stuffed Round Loaf

Thoughtful Worship

While in college I remember singing the song Unchanging by Chris Tomlin.  I was very critical during my college years and this song had lines talking about “we raise up holy hands to praise the Holy One.”  I was thinking about how my hands were not Holy and were instruments that were used to sin and so I took offense to the words that are in this song.  I went to my friend, the worship leader, and talked with him after the service about how I think that this song was unbiblical.  My friend said that he remembered that there is a verse in 1 Timothy 2:8 that talks about lifting Holy Hands.  I was corrected and I will never forget the lesson that my friend taught me that day.

1 Timothy 2:8 “I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”unchanging

While on deputation I have visited many different churches.  Lots of times I have enjoyed singing as a part of the worship service.  I have participated in many different genres of worship from traditional high church, countrified worship, blended worship, contemporary, and a few others.  It normally takes me a little while to get a feel for the song worship portion of the service.  I also normally try and listen to the songs  before I sing them as I like to know what I am singing before I join in.

The other Sunday I visited a church and heard a line in the first worship song which caused me to do a double take.  I heard “We Bless You.” referring to man blessing God.  My first thought was “Isn’t there a passage which says, ‘the greater blesses the lesser.'” I chose to not sing this song but instead I thought of a time in college where I challenged one of our worship leaders about a song that he led us in.

Instead of throwing everything that was said after that I began to think and look at the scriptures because maybe I missed something. The first verse that I found was Hebrews 7:7, “It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.” This began to confirm what I had been thinking.  However, I continued to look at other passages and I found many that blew my mind.  Psalm 16:7, 34:1, 96:2, and 103:1-2 all talk about blessing the LORD.  I will gladly sing that song if I ever year it again, although I do not remember what the name of the song is and can’t find it through google search.

I am so thankful to have wonderful friends who took the time in college to correct me.  I hope that I am able to continue to remember previous lessons that I have learned.  I hope that the LORD graciously continually trains me to learn.

You sound like your Father

Son’s will often imitate their fathers actions and words.  This was what began to run through my mind as I saw my fathers running path. As I was contemplating how I follow in the footsteps of my father running last week I began to think of other ways that I imitate him.  Many times during this month I have been told that I sound like my father.  At lunch the other day they said that I have the same speaking cadence and sayings as my father.  We imitate our parents in many ways and it is a privilege to sound like my father and use his words.  As I by my dad’s wall of fame in his house I think that I have lot’s to live up to.

father-words-1

My Father’s Wall of Fame

One of the ways that I imitate my father is through his idioms.  Below are three of my favorite sayings that my father uses which I find myself using.

“It is only money”

“It is what it is”

“If it is the right thing to do it is the right thing to do”

As much as it is flattering that I sound like my dad it would be even more flattering if I sounded like my Heavenly Father.  As I read the bible it is filled with the words of my Heavenly Father.  I hope to be have people say in the future that I sound like my Heavenly Father in the future.  Below are some of my favorite verses that my heavenly father uses which I find myself using.

Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now. not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

 

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”

 

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 ” His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of his sinful desire.”

 

2 Corinthians 7:10-11 “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”

I pray that people would say that they hear my heavenly father in the way that I talk.

 

In My Father’s Shoes

It occurred to me the other morning that I am following the path that my dad laid out for me along the levee near my parents house.  For the last 8+ years my dad has run along the levee about 6 days a week.  It is amazing to think that he has been so faithful to do this 4 mile trek that he has worn a path in the gravel that cover’s the top of the levee.

fathers-path

Running Path on the Levee

I have a father who is a good example to follow.  He not only strives to stay physically fit but he also works on being spiritually fit also.  My father has led and still leads bible studies like the Tuesday Morning Men’s Group.  I am striving to be physically and spiritually fit like my earthly father.

Tuesday Morning 2.jpg

Tuesday Morning Men’s Group

An even better example than my earth father is my heavenly father.  Jesus understood this when he spoke what is found in John 5:19.  Jesus does what he see’s his Father doing.  Jesus followed what the Father was doing and did likewise.  I desire do the same.  To see what the Father is already doing and then to simply come and partner with him in the work that he is already doing.

John 5:19 “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

30 for 36 Let the Countdown Begin!

I am so close to being at 100% support.  I am so excited to be this close.

bc_30for36

Countdown to 100% Monthly Support

I was looking at my monthly support and I am at 67%.  To put that in numbers I am $1,080 per month away from being fully supported.  This makes it really easy because I am a mere 30 families at $36 per month away from clearing this hurtle.  I am going to start a 30 for 36 campaign to count down reaching 100%.

One of the other hurtles is that I need to be at 85% monthly support by October 24 to be able to attend the last required training at the ABWE headquarters.  That is only 17 families at $36 per month to meet this goal.

The last financial hurtle is that of one time costs.  Currently I have 57% of the one time costs.  This leaves approximately $16,765 to raise before the end of December to be cleared to leave in January 2017.

Will you consider helping me to reach these financial goals?

ABWE Online Giving for One Time or Monthly Support

My ABWE account number is 0170101.

I will be posting updates every time I see a new sign up on my ABWE finance page.

Disclaimer: All numbers are based on what is reported on my financial report at ABWE.  These numbers do not include pledged money.

Feeding Yourself

I have found that it is important to feed myself.  There are two components when I think of feeding myself.  The fist is physically and the second is spiritually.  It is important for every Christian to do both because if they don’t they will die.  As a missionary it can be a very lonely on the field and, as I am finding out, on deputation.  If one does not have a specific plan for feeding yourself physically or spiritually than you may have problems.  No plan for feeding yourself physically might mean that you end up eating taco bell bean burritos for a couple of day’s straight.  No plan for feeding yourself spiritually you will likely find yourself struggling with temptations and wondering why you are struggling.

food-1

Cheese Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped, BBQ Meatballs

Feeding Myself Physically: On deputation I have been trying to eat well.  This means limiting the amount of fast food and taking every opportunity to eat a good home cooked meal.  I have enjoyed many good meals all over the United States during deputation.  When I get a chance to cook I enjoy making some good food.  If food looks good it normally tastes even better.  As much as you have to feed yourself physically I am reminded of the necessity of feeding yourself spiritually.  Jesus actually tells his disciples that doing the will of God will help with even our physical hunger.

John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work'”

food

Spinach and Cheese Lasagna Roles

Feeding Myself Spiritually: On deputation I do not have a routine which helps me in my spiritual walk.  The events of each day change so much that the lack of a routine is now normal.  As deputation has gone on I have found myself working to feed myself spiritually.  This has led me to think about categories that I try and practice.  I do not think that a perfect score in a category means that I am doing well spiritually but consistent practice in each category would generally indicate that I am doing well spiritually.

Prayer – Corporate and Private Prayer.  Petitioner and Thanksgiving Prayers. Planned and Impromptu Prayer.  All types of prayer is important and a necessity for feeding yourself.  My planned times of prayer are normally found while I am driving or hiking.  Impromptu prayers are a part of normal every day life.

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Scripture – Personal Devotions. Memorization. Deep Study on a passage or theological topic.  Being in the scriptures regularly yourself is very important.  We need to be exposing ourselves to the life changing word of God at all times. I enjoy listening to the scriptures as I drive all over the country.  As I write this I am convicted that I have not done as good a job memorizing the scriptures as I should.

Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Discipleship – Being Discipled and Discipling others is at the core of what Jesus modeled and taught.  Discipleship will not only encourage you as the disciplee but also as the discipler.  Listen to Paul talk about discipleship in 1 Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all of the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”

Discipleship 4.png

Discipleship with the Guys

Preaching – I have been trained in the study and preaching of the word at The Masters Seminary but there are preachers who I listen to on a regular basis.  Some of those who I really enjoy are Eric Davis, Matt Chandler, Adam Tyson, Jack Hughes, Chris Mueller, and Scott Ardavanis.

Nehemiah 8:8 “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that people understood the reading.”

Deputation and Training Trip Results

Cross Country Trip Map

Cross Country Trip Map

I have completed the majority of the travel during a planned 3 month long support raising.  I have been on the road sense July 6th and will not return to my sending church till the first week of October.

EMC

ABWE Training Diagram

There were 4 goals that I had for this trip:

  1. Attend Training in Harrisburg, PA in July 25-29
  2. Connect with Families
  3. Connect with Churches
  4. Raise Financial and Prayer Support
Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages in Carlsbad Caverns

Trip Statistics:

  1. Attended Essential Missions Components Training at ABWE Headquarters
  2. Personally Presented 58 different families along the trip.
  3. Presented at 8 churches, preached at 1 church, met with 10 additional churches.
  4. Received pledges from 15+ families for financial support and 40+ individuals for prayer support.
  5. Over 10,500 miles driven through 21 states.
Drive

Lots of Windshield Time

The final portion of the trip will be in the Sacramento Area where I will get to visit a couple of more churches and meet with families/friends.

redeemer-bible-church-youth

Redeemer Bible Church Youth Group

I… Me… the Hero

As I share with many different families, bible studies, and churches I am amazed at how quickly and easily all of the stories are all about me.  I have been listening to myself tell these stories sense January and I am surprised at how quickly the stories center around how great I am and not how great God is.

As I younger man I listen to 1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to your elders.  Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Alvin Bible Church 3

Preacher Hero Pose

While on Deputation it is necessary to be telling stories of how the LORD has used you to change people’s lives.  I have been convicted about the way that I present my role in each of these stories, too often I have heard I and Me used way to much.  I am a part of the stories but not the star of the show.  As I share about going to Brazil, I desire not to focus on me but on God who is doing the willing and working.

I absolutely love Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefor, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Carlsbad Caverns

Focus on Jesus not on me