Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update with some Funnies

#1 - The Bible study in our home is going well. There are 5 teenagers and 2 adults who have been faithfully hearing a gospel truth each week. Lesson 1 was on the authority of Christ, lesson 2 on the crucifixion of Christ, and last week we studied about the resurrection of Christ. Tonight our study will take us to a definition of grace - I can't wait as this is of utmost importance in a culture where grace is dependent on works! Ironically 6 of the students have been coming because of me, right? Wrong. One of the adults has relentlessly pursued his friends to come. Trust me - I am delighted that they are here - no complaints. The last two studies have been interesting though. Imagine yourself teaching the lesson, when all of a sudden you are interrupted, so that a student can clarify something or explain a brand new idea vs. maybe asking a question. He is interesting in that he will explain the whole thing with all confidence, many times using information I have shared with him in private, and then at the very end say something like - correct me if I'm wrong David. You must believe that I am delighted this is happening! My prayer is that he will repent and believe in Christ so that these truths will be a personal reality to him and he will go on to teach himself!

#2 We have recently been watching the Confederations Cup - a soccer tournament among 8 teams. The tension in the room is always high - especially anytime Brazil plays. Little did I know this enthusiasm was contagious. It seems my son quite enjoys Brazilian goals as well. See for yourself.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ransomed, Resurrected, Called

Just a quick reflection from a book our families are studying together on Sundays. Yesterday we addressed the question: "How are we born again, or how does God regenerate us?" Notice these three verses in I Peter 1.

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,

Because of our depraved hearts and sinful rebellion against God, he bought us back with His Son's precious blood - imperishable.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The resurrection births us to new life and our life becomes his life in us. Our new birth is a result of his new life in the resurrection!

23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

The abiding word of God is what makes the effectual call in our lives to see the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ! Praise God for making me alive unto salvation!

There is a reference in each text to imperishability. We are united to Christ in these works, and our union is imperishable. This is the only imperishable reality a human can experience in this world! Rejoice in the imperishability of your salvation today - not even a bad day, or a bad performance on your part can alter your status as a genuine believer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Day God Planned for Me

I left home around 10 with intentions of dropping off a package at the post office, paying a bill, updating my military status and getting my car inspected. This was a little more ambitious than I thought. I pulled number 43 at the post office - only 3 in front of me - great - this should be quick. Number 41 walked up with his package - and only a package - no tape, and no address! Meanwhile a disgruntled number 42 decided to fill my ear with his thoughts about number 41. I waited a full 10 minutes with my tiny little sealed, addressed, package. Ok - now let's go to the bank to pay my bill. This time the wait would be longer - 10 in front of me. I got comfortable, reading a good book. Meanwhile I watched a teenager walk in and right up to counter to be seen. Not sure what was going on there. I decided to get some information for my next stop with the guy after me as we clearly had some time. He was well-intentioned and being new in town- I believed him. After 30 minutes at the bank, my agenda took me across town, across the bridge, into down town Florianopolis. I arrived at the military joint only to find it closed for lunch. So I had some food and headed back an hour later. Sargeant Djalma kindly informed me that my need would take me back across town - close to where I began. Ok - here we go. I arrived at a very small office - one desk, two computers, and 4 employees - 2 outside smoking - 2 helping another person. My sense was that of an invisible man. My need seemed to take a back seat to any distraction in the room - phone, mail, interesting conversations of any sort. After a good while, my situation was made clear and simple. Here's what you will do: I need a copy of your social security, your license, a proof of residence, your birth certificate, your military document, and a picture. All this simply to do internet research on my situation which could take anywhere from 3 days to a month. Ok - that makes sense. "Just another 45 minutes and you will be set to go." Let's go get a car inspection - this should be quick! Honestly, an hour and a half went by quick in light of the rest of the day! I'm also not suprised that I've failed the inspection. "Just head back once you've made this $100 fix and we can sign you off."

If you've read this far and think I'm venting - your wrong. I strongly believe that God planned this 8 hour adventure, to prepare me for 1 hour this evening. I arrived home looking forward to some fellowship with my brother and family. God decided to wrap up the day by bringing a freind to the gate - who came for a Bible study. How did my day prepare me for this? I confess that for part of the day - I objected God's sovereign plan for me. There seemed to be a conspiracy against the flow of my day - let's slow it down - however possible. By the end of the day though, the Lord had granted me an incredible level of patience to sit down and calmly share His Gospel graciously. The result: a clear understanding of the cross, repentence, and faith. Glory be to God. He has crafted my day for His purpose and for my good. My advice to you: never take a bad day for granted!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Long-overdue Post

It's hard to believe that almost three months ago we left the city of João Pessoa to move 3000 km away toFlorianópolis. We are glad for the year God gave us at Valentina Baptist Church and thankful that we were able to leave them with a Brazilian pastor. The church members hosted a going-away lunch for us and we were touched by their many kind words, gifts, letters and even tears at our parting. This is Pastor Gildo and his wife Lúcia.

The search for a house to rent in Florianópolis took longer than we thought and there were many obstacles in the whole process. In fact, there were times when I think we both wondered whether God actually wanted us to move there or not. But everything has worked out so well and our house is only 10 blocks away from James and Christen's house (David's brother and sister-in-law with whom we will be starting a new work here). Here are some pictures of our new home.
David's study (Gabriel loves to mess in Daddy's top drawer -- so much fun stuff in there!)

Part of the kitchen/dining room

Our bedroom looks out onto the front street

Gabriel's room

Our living room

Our house -- I love the contrast of the pine tree and the palm tree

We went on an outing a couple of weekends ago to a place someone recommended to us. Just the drive itself was so beautiful and we were amazed at God's creation over and over again. Here are some pictures to entice you to come visit us sometime.

On a different note, pray for us this week as we begin a series of Bible studies in our home. It's a six-week study that uses the book of Mark to explain Christianity. We have gone out several times this past week to invite our neighbors and hand out flyers. Pray that people will come and that many will be saved. Several have said they will be here, so we are encouraged by that. Pray for wisdom for David and James as they lead these Bible studies and for Christen and myself as we teach a class for any children that may come. We are excited about what God has in store for us. Thank you for your faithful prayer and support!