Fun things to do?
Over the past few weeks some of the guys at church have expressed wanting to hang and do something. The women have their own bible study every week. So I though why not, let's go do something. So I asked them what they wanted to do on a Saturday evening. Maybe sports but no gym or park is open on Saturday evenings that we know of so it would have to be something different than that. So one of the guys suggested playing pool. So that is what we ended up doing. There is now only one pool hall in Autlan. There was one that was really nice that closed down due to the owner skipping town after there was a warrant for his arrest for who knows what? So the only one open was one right downtown. It ended up being only three of us who went. The other guys had things come up at the last minute. So we played. As I observed the men that were there (only saw one woman in the two hours of being there) I realized just what this place was for them. An escape. There were probably over 100 men. Some playing pool, others playing another game played with a while, yellow, and red balls on a table with no holes, and even some playing dominoes. It was clear to me that these men where from various different back grounds. Some were very clean cut while others had been doing construction that day. Various different ages of men as well. I think what struck me the most is: "where do men go to have fun?" I could see how men would want to go to bars to hang out with the guys and drink. There aren't many options here. One of the guys wanted to go hiking in the mountains but you can't do that in the dark. So your options are very limited. There is a new movie theater in town, but 5 different movies to choose from. So now I am trying to come up with some creative ideas of what we can do. This is a real need here for any of the Christian men here. What can we do to have fun without sinning or being tempted to go back to old ways of living? I would greatly appreciate your prayers on this. I have found that if men aren't connected to other men they fall away. We all need friends who will help us become better men and to be holy in a culture that is so against it.
If you are not our newsletter list please let us know. We would love to add you to the list. I usually don't post them here but with the fairly important news we just sent out I felt is was important to add it here.
A lot of you probably didn't know we were in the process of adoption. For the last year we had been in the process of an open adoption of a little 6-year-old girl. She had been living with us for almost a year and the adoption was to be finalized in January. Just days before the final court date, the biological mother changed her mind. It was an unexpected turn of events. We honestly did not see it coming, which I think made it even more shocking for us. I remember when she first came to live with us and I tried to guard my heart in case the adoption did not pan out. I quickly realized you cannot guard your heart from such beautiful things. We quickly fell in love with her and became dad, mom, brother, and sisters. It was so easy to make room for her in our home and in our hearts. This has been such a difficult time for our family, as we miss her dearly. We ask for your prayers for our family as we work through this heartbreak.
It is still our desire to adopt and we are currently on a waiting list with the local government.
We have been living in Mexico for 8 years now. Every summer we come home for a few weeks. This year we have decided NOT to travel home. This is mostly due to financial reasons, but we also have a lot of other smaller reasons why not traveling home this year will be good for us. We will most likely be home some time next winter. We will miss seeing all of you this summer.
We had our yearly church Christmas party and had a good time of fellowship with the church members, who also had brought some of their unsaved family members. This is a good evangelistic opportunity. We had one grandmother come who is now attending our weekly Bible studies, among a few others. Every church event we have, family members are encouraged to come. With much skepticism, they come having their preconceived ideas of what we "Christians" teach against the catholic church. With the truth of God's word, the Lord begins to open their spiritual eyes and they begin to experience a relationship with Jesus for themselves.
John 4:42 (after Jesus met with the Samaritan woman): They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." (ESV)
Sugar cane time
This time of year we deal with the same thing, ashes falling from the sky like black feathers floating down to earth. This causes such a mess. Especially when you are trying to sweep it up. Have you ever swept ash before? It is wispy and blows in the wind. If I could describe it, it would be like raking up a pile of leaves in the yard and then the wind just blowing it back to where you just raked. You may have heard us talk about it before but this ash is dirty as well for the laundry we hang in the sun. You have to shake off the clothes as you take them down off the line. We are also right now in the middle of our drier season so we won't have rain for months. It is around this time everything turns brown from lack of water. So the ash is a result of the sugar cane being harvested. Before they cut it down with machetes they burn all the leaves off as well as anything else that might be lurking around in the sugar cane fields. They cut it down and then load it on to a truck to bring it to the factory to be processed. Sugar cane is one of the major crops raised here.
We are called to obey
Over the years we have opportunities to disciple young people. Last night was no different. I am doing a study on the basics of Christianity but last night I felt it was important to find out what was going on in this young man's life. After a few questions it was clear that he was evaluating his life and what he was going to do with his life. This is a normal question for any young person. He was not sure what to do with his life. I felt I should share a few scriptures with him which included
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (ESV)
and one of my favorites
Psalms 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (NKJV)
My job as a pastor is direct people to scripture and what God says about life. No matter what God calls us to do, we need to be faithful in the small things. As Abraham had to trust God when He said "Get up and go to the land I will show you." Our walk with the Lord requires faith and sometimes not knowing what will happen in the future. How often does our obedience to Jesus depend on knowing what is going to happen next? I am reminded of a time when I was working with directv as an installer. I had to learn how to do the job right and do it as unto the Lord. There was this one time I actually argued with God about how I was doing the job. I was going to cut corners. But as I argued I realize I was saying I want to submit to God's authority but in that moment I was not willing to do it. So after a few minutes I said "Ok God, I will do it your way. I don't want to but I will." After a little while, I found something that I didn't see before which mad the job go much faster. It is etched in my mind. When I walk in obedience there is blessing that comes afterwards. In the moment it is so hard to submit to what I felt God calling me to do and was going against everything I wanted to do. When it comes to direction in life, do we seek first the kingdom of God or do we seek our own interest? The way of the Lord is PERFECT!!! How profound is this phrase yet with much sadness my unbelief limits the blessings of God in my life.
Getting back into a routine
Ok so one of the difficulties at times is getting back into a schedule or routine. With Jessie's parents who came for a visit, things got out of a routine for a while. I am still trying to get back to some what of a schedule with various different things happening all at the same time. Not to mention throwing out my back carring an 80 ibs bag of chicken food over my shoulder.Thge My goal for the month of March at least once a month update here our blog.
Getting back into a rountine
What is normal?
Jessie has been getting together with the women at church for the last few months. They first started off getting together for breakfast at one of the lady's houses. Then they all asked if they could do a study together. They ended up needing to change it to evenings. So now Jessie is leading a woman's bible study on Wednesday nights. Then on Thursday nights we have the church bible study. (Last week we had 16 people in our living-room!)
The women have decided to spend the day together at the beach. This is no big deal for me. On Saturday they are going to go, but what about the children? I myself will be taking care of my kids which is no big deal. I mean they are my kids. It doesn't happen all that often but I have no fear of taking care of my own kids. This is not the case with the other women in the group. All have expressed how this has been a bit difficult for all of them to get someone to watch their kids either their husband or someone else. After some discussion about what was going on, it was clear that none of the other men were wanting to take care of their kids for the day. The mother-in-laws are going to help out in. Jessie and talked about how this is one of the macho characteristics that shows itself every once and a while with men here. If all of your life you have been taught that the man's job is to work and the woman's job is to take care of the kids and home life, how would this change? Bringing up what the bible teaches about love and how we as men need to love our families to show our family what Godly love is, is one of the many things we influence here. We are studying the books of Romans in our bible study. In Romans 1:28-31
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (ESV)
When we are left to ourselves, we start following what "feels good". When it comes to men, we like to be served. Is this true or not? But what does God call us to do? We are to walk as Jesus walked. Respond the way Jesus responded to those who crucified him. "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing."
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV)
Does this mean in the home? Does this mean in the family? Do we lord our authority over them or do we serve them? That is every man's battle. Peter said we need to lead by example. What kind of example are giving? Are we giving an example of someone who loves Jesus? Do we love in a way that reflects Jesus and how he loved while he walked on the this earth? I do not write this things to condemn us but to challenge us to examine our faith and how we live it out. Do I serve my wife or do I expect her to serve me?