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There is a universal language; we all know it, we all understand it. We can see it and hear it in every voice, every country, and every culture. This universal language binds our hearts together as a human race and runs even deeper with those of the family of God. On a recent medical mission trip to Puebla, Mexico I was daily reminded of this language that had the ability to tie two cultures together and make a week of unforgettable memories. This week brought the sight of couples holding hands, babies crying to be held, laughter and music, food and fireworks, worship and weariness. We’re not altogether very different from each other. We may be separated by manmade lines and feel the uneasiness of not understanding each other’s language, but we know life and we know happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, fear, and joy. We all know emotions – because we are all, everyone, created in the image of God. His image displays emotions – emotions that knit the people together even though our cultures are worlds apart.

To sum up this recent trip in a blog post is quite difficult – I just wish you could have been there!! On the statistics side of things our trip went incredibly smooth – barring the process through customs with the medical supplies. Our hotel was absolutely wonderful – hot water and a toilet – all a plus!! The food – delicious – but my family has had their fill of corn tortillas and my children are still asking for vegetables. The area was very safe and our group enjoyed the culture, outdoor markets and nightly fireworks – the loud kind!! We visited two villages during three days and were able to see and share the gospel with over 350 people. We worked along side a local church, Iglesia Bautista de Hananeel, to provide an outreach event to the community by offering access to medical care, eyeglasses, and pharmaceuticals. However our real motivation for the trip was to assist this church in establishing community with local villages and bringing them the gospel of Christ.

You know when you set out to be a blessing and when the task is all said and done you’ve been blessed in return? That’s the essence of this mission trip!! God pours blessings on each of us as we experience His Presence in other cultures. One of the trip highlights for many on our team was the Sunday worship. The church was full and their hearts were genuine. We were honored to experience a baby dedication of Pastor Estorio’s own grandchild. What a precious time of commitment we witnessed. Singing in Spanish is not something most are good at; but the tunes are recognizable and we sang along in English – Shout to the Lord All the Earth Let Us Sing – Power and Majesty Praise to our King! I’m singing it now, aren’t you?? Prayer time was personal – requests were patiently heard and as the Pastor led the congregation in prayer, everyone prayed – out loud!! Everyone lifted up his or her heart corporately in prayer, making their requests known to our God audibly. It was a unique, humbling, worshipful experience.

Glen Locklear, most affectionately known as Senór Glen, led our team. He was a fantastic leader, always striving to keep us fed, on task and safe. We couldn’t have experienced this successful mission without the proper planning of Glen and the team is grateful! Our team was made up of folks who truly knew what it meant to embrace flexibility and to serve God with their whole hearts. It was a blessing to serve alongside each one.

Mission trips take due diligence; not only on the part of the mission’s leader but individual diligence as well. If you are interested in sharing God’s love and the Gospel on a mission trip begin now! You will need to complete a six-week Mission’s Training Course. The next training session begins on Sunday, September 25th. You will of course need a passport. You will need money for the trip, but please don’t let that hinder you – there are scholarships available. You will need a desire to go and tell others about your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. I encourage each of you to consider taking a trip to bring the Gospel and encouragement to other nations. I promise you will go expecting to serve and come home feeling refreshed and in awe of how God is everywhere.

 

Posted by Tracy Smith with
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Received this e-mail the other day and thought it was pretty “fleek”.

Hey Pastor –

I wanted to share an interesting incident with you. I’m sending this on behalf of my son, Dakota… he took a political science college course this summer that deals with World Politics. One morning, a few weeks back, the class launched into a discussion on religion’s place in politics - about which nearly everyone seemed to have varying opinions. Eventually, Christianity’s involvement in Government came up – to which the professor stated: “Jesus was never involved in government issues…”

At that point, Dakota’s ears perked up. He was thinking, “Did I really just hear her say that? We JUST had a sermon on that.” With that, he raised his hand and began explaining the organizational approach Rome took to “governing” the countries under their rule and the role of the local leaders. He went into the Sanhedrin, Sadducees and Pharisees. He made the points about Jesus’ involvement with these groups and His role in clarifying God’s Law and its applications in leading His people. As he went on, the professor eventually began to give ground. Dakota could feel the class turning to listen intently to the exchange. It wasn’t argumentative or sarcastic and, at one point when another student attempted to divert the conversation to another topic, the professor prevented it and asked Dakota to continue.

Dakota went through nearly every facet of the sermon. As he was later relaying the encounter to me, I was a little taken aback because Dakota was bringing up points that I had heard, but hadn’t retained top-of-mind. He had absorbed them, however, and apparently unleashed them all on his professor and her class. In the end, his professor conceded that she would look more into what Dakota had stated and think it through. Again, there was no arguing or anger in the discussion, rather a mere exchange of fact vs. opinion.

Anyways, he and I both got a kick out of watching God in action. It was nice that we had the moment to discuss how really outstanding it is to look back and see what God had planned for in advance. He had the right person in the right place at the right time – prepared with the right information. All it took was a little observation and the courage to go ahead and speak up. Dakota asked that I relay the story to you.

Jason and Dakota

You know, that’s pretty encouraging and uplifting. To see God preparing a young student for the right place and right time to spread the right message. Good stuff. Just what I needed to hear. That’s one of the reasons why we read the Bible and that’s why we ask the Lord to give us an awareness of what He wants us to say and to do, wherever we might be. Dakota actually applied what He learned from the Bible to his life. I would have never made that specific application suggestion in a sermon. No, he was ready to apply it to his life, as the Lord wanted.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,Ephesians 4:15 (ESV)

One of the challenges we face in our day to day living as Christians is sharing with others a Godly perspective. It’s easy to be intimidated into silence and not speak what we know to be true. The world on the other hand is not afraid of sharing their worldviews which touch on every area of life from the least important to the most important; what’s life all about, what is sex all about, marriage, how should it be defined..., even the presidential elections. The attempt to control human thinking has been a constant goal of the evil one throughout history. Satan has always been the father of lies and he knows that the way to make the world a mess is to confuse human thinking. Have you noticed the world is a “hot” mess at the moment? The attempts at this mind control are found in movies, music, business, media, and yes, even sensitivity classes that are mandated to be attended by the “uneducated” (Godly) having been sentenced by godless judges whenever you hold to the Biblical position of marriage. (Can anyone say George Orwell’s 1984.) And of course we find this conflict often in the educational system; especially in the classroom. Sometimes it’s intentional...sometimes it’s not, sometimes it is with the bully whip, sometimes it’s subtle. Sometimes it’s a big deal topic, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it presents a whale of an opportunity to bring the focus on Jesus and what the Bible says. That’s what happened with Dakota!. It was an opportunity that he seized, and he did it with a humble spirit and confident inner strength that comes from the Lord. But it should be acknowledged that it will always remain a constant challenge for the Christian to step forward and speak.

It takes a love for God and a love for people. It takes knowing what God thinks and what He says through Bible study and prayer and then to step forward and share it with others who may not hold to that position at that moment. And did I happen to mention to do it with love and humility? Opening the door for dialogue and a change in thinking is a noble and Godly goal in a public setting. We are, whether we like it or not, engaged in a battle for the mind as a disciple of Christ. We know our life mission includes being the salt and the light in the world. We are the ones who are to be bold and loving as we impact the world for good, for God. It’s an exciting way to live...even “spices” up Political Science. It can “spice” up your life as well.

And, to be honest, as a side note... it’s pretty “snatched” that someone remembers something from a sermon. :)

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Matthew 5:13-15 (ESV)

By Pastor Ralph Sawyer

 

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with

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