26 March 2011

Edward Payson

I learned of this American pastor of another era and plan to share a excerpt of his in the next few days.  I'm looking forward to learning more of his life.  For now, here is a link to Wikipedia that has a very good biographical sketch and various quotes of his.


In case, for some reason you have trouble with the link, I'm pasting some of the information from this page below.

This is well worth the few minutes of your time!!

Fuller information on Edward Payson:
Praying Payson Of Portland, Maine
By William P. Farley
This is the second of four biographies on important Christian leaders that ministered during the Second Great Awakening (approximately 1790–1840). The last column highlighted Charles Simeon of Cambridge.

A couple of years ago I attended a conference designed to help pastors deepen their preaching skills. The keynote speaker was a national authority on preaching. Throughout his lectures he quoted Edward Payson (1783–1827) of Portland, Maine. I had also read Payson’s works and had been deeply blessed. I was delighted to meet someone who appreciated this great servant of God. After the conference, we discussed our mutual appreciation of Payson’s life and writings.

Although Edward Payson is largely forgotten today, he was well-known in the first half of the 19th century. According to Iain Murray, Payson’s biography by Asa Cummings “was probably the most influential ministerial biography to appear in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.”1 His popularity was so great that thousands of 19th-century parents named their children after him.2

Who was Edward Payson; why was he important; and what can we learn from his life and the times in which he lived? Short Biography

In 1783, Edward Payson was born to Seth Payson, a congregational pastor in Rindge, New Hampshire. From an early age, his unusual intelligence was evident. By age 4, he was a proficient reader. Like most great preachers, Payson’s “thirst for knowledge was the ruling passion of his soul.”3 This thirst was evident in his childhood.

When he was 17, his father enrolled him at Harvard as a sophomore (he skipped his freshman year). He graduated in 1803 at age 20. His classmates ridiculed him for his voracious reading. They said in jest that he had read every book in the Harvard library.

The death of his brother in 1804 ignited his conversion. It was a decisive change for the 21-year-old. Payson wrote his mother about his new relationship with Christ, “I am so happy, that I cannot possibly think nor write of anything else.”4

Convinced that God had called him to the ministry, he began the rigorous spiritual disciplines that would eventually produce such a great harvest. He started the discipline of rising early for prayer and Scripture reading. He immersed himself in books like Jonathan Edwards’ treatise on Original Sin and The Freedom of the Will, preparing himself single-mindedly for the calling that he so keenly felt.

He also began the prayer life that later made him famous. “He prayed without ceasing,” wrote his biographer.5 He “studied theology on his knees. Much of his time he spent literally prostrated, with the Bible open before him, pleading the promises.”6

Payson began to perceive his sinfulness at this point in his life. A typical diary entry reads: “Never appeared so exceedingly vile and loathsome to myself as I did this day. … I felt like sinking into the dust, in the idea that His pure eye was fixed upon me, and that saints and angels saw how vile I was.”7

In 1807, he began a pastoral relationship with the Congregational Church in Portland, Maine, where he served until his death in 1827. Such grace and power attended his preaching that three Congregational societies asked this 24-year-old to become their pastor. One even offered to build a new church for the multitudes that waited to hear his preaching. A typical entry in Payson’s diary during this time reads: “Was not much assisted myself, but what was said seemed to come with power. Many were in tears, and all seemed stirred up; so that, though I went crushed down under discouragement, I came back rejoicing.”8

In 1811, at age 28, he married Ann Louisa Shipman, who bore him eight children. Their family was a model of Christian godliness and was admired throughout New England.

Payson was an effective soul-winner. Unlike many churches today, his congregation did not grow primarily by disgruntled Christians transferring from across town. He also did not consider a person to be converted on the basis of his testimony alone. Rather, Payson, like other pastors of his generation, waited until the novice began to show signs of spiritual fruit. Only then did they consider a person converted and admit him to the Communion table.

With these strict guidelines in mind, in September of 1809, he wrote his mother, “Last Communion, we admitted 11 to the church, and next Sabbath we shall admit 12 more.” He went on, “The appetite for hearing seems insatiable, and our assemblies are more crowded than ever. Many have lately joined us.”9 This was typical of his experience. During the 20 years of his ministry, his church received more than 700 new converts.

What was the secret of Payson’s success? The first reason for his success was prayer. At 26, he notes in his diary, “Was enabled to agonize in prayer for myself and [my] people, and to make intercession with unutterable groanings.”10 He was nicknamed “Praying Payson.” It has been said that the wooden floor at his bedside was worn by his knees from his often prevailing.11

The second reason for his success was his emphasis on preaching. Payson believed the proclamation of God’s Word was his primary job. To this end, he labored in God’s Word and prayer many hours each day. Administration and counseling did not distract him until his time with God was satisfied.

The third reason why he became a successful evangelist was he preached with great passion. Although he preached with great love and affection, he always sought, like Charles Simeon, “to rouse and humble, rather than to comfort them; for, if they can be kept humble, comfort will follow.”12

As his preaching reputation grew, he received numerous invitations to preach in neighboring New England churches. Then offers began to come from larger, more prestigious churches in cities like New York, but Payson refused them all. Ambitious for God, not money or prestige, he remained loyal to the flock God had entrusted to his care.

After his death, many tried to explain the power behind his preaching. “It was the eloquence of truth spoken in love,” noted his biographer. “The words seemed to come from his mouth encompassed by that glowing atmosphere in which they left the heart, and to brand their very impression in every heart on which they fell.”13 The Christian Spectatorwrotethat he spoke “as if from actual observation … as if [he] had seen with his own eyes the spiritual objects he described — that he had heard from Christ.”14 Every preacher who has been greatly used by God has had a similar reputation. Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones noted that great preachers speak as witnesses. They testify to what they have seen and heard, not to what others have told them.

God did not favor Payson with a long life. In his early 40s his health began to fail. He suffered in great pain for several months. As his suffering grew so did his joy in God. He lost the use of his limbs. Although he was confined to bed and in great pain, the joy of the Holy Spirit inundated him. “I can find no words to express my happiness,” he wrote a friend. “I seem to be swimming in a river of pleasure, which is carrying me on to the great fountain.”15 He died in the spring of 1827. Application

Today’s Christian leader can learn many lessons from Edward Payson. The first lesson is the need for the power of a deep experiential union with Christ. Payson enjoyed great pulpit power because he spent much time in prayer and Bible study. Through these disciplines God spoke, and to the degree that God spoke Payson’s preaching was infused with spiritual power.

Payson’s humility enhanced his relationship with God. He was well acquainted with his sin and therefore, by extension, God’s love. Because Payson was so weak in his own eyes, God’s power was safe in his hands (2 Corinthians 13:4). A fellow minister, who knew Payson well, wrote: “In all my conversation with this wonderful man, I never heard him utter a word that bordered on boasting, or savored of pride; but he seemed to have a surprising sense of his own unworthiness, and of the amazing love of God in making himself known to him. And giving him a hope in his mercy.”16

The second lesson we learn from Payson is the importance of spiritual reading. A quick glance over church history reveals that great leaders are usually great readers. Certainly Payson exemplifies this principle. We will impact our generation to the degree we cultivate our mind, by immersing ourselves in solid Christian books that provoke our love for God and our sense of personal need.

The third lesson we learn from Payson is the proper role of a pastor. Payson would be uncomfortable with the contemporary ceo pastoral model. Although he faithfully administered his church, it was a necessary burden. He gave precedence to the real work — prayer and the ministry of God’s Word (Acts 6:4). His biographer claims that Payson spent 12 hours a day in study and 2 hours in prayer.17 Payson believed this was the pastoral work that brought the results he longed for.

Finally, Payson’s life reminds us of the importance of prayer. His reputation as a man of prayer earned him the appellation of “Praying Payson of Portland” given him by his peers. In our last issue we learned that Charles Simeon, a contemporary of Payson, felt every minister needed three qualities — humility, humility, and humility. Payson’s advice to his fellow ministers grew from the same root. “Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing. … Pray, then, my dear brother, pray, pray,” he told a friend.

Comparing the spiritual fervor of Payson’s era with that of today, Iain Murray writes, “what marked them [Payson and his peers] most was their low views of themselves.”18 Murray then notes how this great sense of poverty propelled them into prayer. He quotes Payson as an example, “Earnestness in prayer … requires a true view of oneself: You cannot make a rich man beg like a poor man; you cannot make a man that is full cry for food like one that is hungry. ”19 Needy people pray. Humility motivates prayer: self-sufficiency hinders it. Payson’s great sense of need and personal bankruptcy led him to the prolonged prayer that was the source of his spiritual power.

Of Payson, E.M. Bounds wrote, “His continuing instant in prayer, be his circumstances what they might, is the most noticeable fact in his history, and points out the duty of all who would rival his eminency. To his ardent and persevering prayers must no doubt be ascribed in a great measure his distinguished and almost uninterrupted success.”

The Complete Works of Edward Paysonare available in three volumes.20 His biography and sermons are rich and illuminating. The clarity and quality of his prose is comparable to that of Charles Spurgeon, and his theology is rich and deep. One admirer has written, “His sermons are easy to read and the reader comes away with a clearer view of our Lord and God. After reading one sermon, you will have a hard time finding an equal who can communicate God’s truths in such a gentle method, yet so powerfully.”21

14 January 2011

Update on the Hamiltons In Brazil

The people we are called to here are the Italian Brazilians. They are middle to upper class of southern Brazil with a very tragic story of abuse and hardship when they immigrated here in the late 1800's. These hardships are a key part of their culture. They are very devout catholics and a very closed culture (even to other Brazilians) and their numbers are over 4 million. Their socialization is historically limited to only relatives. They are an unreached people group with less than 0.5% evangelized. Portuguese is the spoken language of Brazil, but the heart language of the Italian families here is a dialect of Italian. We are just now to the point of Portuguese that we can begin focusing on the Italian language. Our work so far has consisted of establishing and then deepening relationships with the Italians.

We've done some gospel sowing but have learned that ears are closed to the truth outside of a trusted friendship-relationship. God has brought us in contact with some families that we are working hard to develop friendships. Doors are opening . . . one small crack at a time!!

We are so very appreciative of prayers. Because the culture is closed and much time will have to be invested, we sometimes feel discouraged. But God has undoubtedly brought us here at this time to be with these people.

The Discipline of Confession

Bible Study Notes

The Discipline of Confession

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir

Is the Discipline of Confession Working in You?

Principle Scriptures on the Discipline of Confession: Psalm 51; Amos 5:4-6; Romans 5:1-11; James 4: 7-10; 5:16; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:9

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this Discipline of Confession from God’s most precious Word by examining your life and the passages above. Now ask yourself:

1. How do I exhibit a life of confession in my daily life now?

2. What can I do to better be willing, in discipline, to be a person who confesses to God, and also to allow trusted others to hold me accountable?

3. What blocks confession from working and being exhibited in me?

4. How can I initiate confession and be disciplined to continually carry it out?

5. What can I do to make confession function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?

· Here are positive examples from Scripture: Lev. 5:5; Psalm 32:5; 51; Mark 6:12; Matt. 10:32; Luke 3:8; Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Tim. 2:8-11

· Here are negative examples from Scripture: Judg. 17:6; 2 Chron. 28:9-11; Isa. 3:9; Matt. 10:33; Mark. 8:38; John 12:42-43; 2 Tim. 2:8-11

The Discipline of Confession is the event of responding to the Gospel's message, then acknowledging our faith publicly. But, as a discipline, confession becomes a continual process where we conform our lives to His Way so our faith applies to our lives. This means we come to the grace, forgiveness, and authority of Christ; because of Him, we keep submitting by the application of His precepts to our lives that result in maturity and spiritual growth. This is a “grace” in that we receive the ability from Christ, and a “discipline” in that it requires the commitment on our part to own up to and acknowledge the sins that show our flaws and faults. Thus, we also continue to lead a life that confesses wrongdoings and is accountable. This means we change our minds and ways so we are a soul at rest in Him, and so our motives, values, goals, aspirations, and plans are about seeking Christ’s Lordship and standing firm in Him, not seeking our own personal agenda. Repentance is before God; confession is before God, then having others hold us accountable to our faith. The distinction between confession and repentance is that confession is taking our repentance and telling someone besides God (of course you go to Him first and foremost!) to hold us accountable.

What happens when we do not practice this discipline? The waywardness of our sinful nature will resume and take control; this allows us, as a “Christian,” to act one way on Sunday and another on Monday, so such things as gossip, bitterness, anger, and withdrawal will engage us to act the opposite of God’s call! When we do not confess, we are not doing what is right; in fact, we are even fighting against God (Matt. 4:17; 27:3; John 10:10; 2 Cor. 7:10-11). This Discipline of Confession is not a ritual or a rigid ecclesiastical construct so others can manipulate us; this was the sin of the Pharisees and the Catholic (pre-Vatican I and II) Church. Confession is liberationnot pretense, bondage, or oppression!

Further Questions

1. How would you define The Discipline of Confession? Are you a person who desires to lead a lifestyle that allows the introspection of other mature Christians in your life? If not, why not?

2. What part does confession play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? How does your confession help you make the right decisions?

3. How does the refusal to be responsible with our faith counteract confession? What is the cost to the Kingdom of God when Christians refuse to confess?

4. What happens when your church does not engage in confession or teach and encourage its people to be people who confess?

5. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to confess?

6. When have you exercised confession the most?

7. In what situation did you fail to engage in confession when you should have? What is the cost you have paid or could pay by not allowing others to hold you accountable?

8. Take a look at your conscience, your regret and grief, and your determination to avoid sin. Do they line up to His Way as they should?

9. Why can’t we serve both our desires and God’s will? Why do so many Christians try with all of their might? What will this double mindedness give them?

10. How much of your life is under Christ’s domain and control? Where do you fail in your judgments and decisions and how can you improve?

11. What issue is in your life that would improve with more confession? Take the time to really, fully examine your life to see if there is any wayward way in you. How much of your life is under Christ’s domain and control? Is Christ your all in all, your authority and LORD? If not, what is?

12. Think through the steps you need to take to put confession into action in a specific instance. For example, what can you do to improve your confessional life and relationship with Christ and others? What are the steps you would take to obtain a good mentor (if you do not have one already) to hold you accountable and also keep you encouraged?

The Discipline of Confession is the obedience to commit ourselves to leading a life that is worthy to be called Christian, as our new life is in Christ. So, is your life worthy? What do you want to do in your life? Does it correspond to God’s Word? Our call in life is to please God. But, we have a disconnect happening, because the Fall of man defaced everything in this world, including our thinking, relationships, and faith! Our sin will block any attempt to seek our Lord; that is why the cross was, and is, so essential. This applies to everyone; even those of us who are fortunate to be saved by Grace are affected by sin. Christ’s atonement means He covered the sin, but it still remainslurking, destroying, and causing us to replace good thinking with bad.

The Discipline of Confession will allow us to recognize, then confess our sins to God and allow others to hold us to it. Confession will motivate us to yield to the work of the Spirit within us. Our confession helps remove the blockage and allows His work to flow. His work is there; the question is, will we respond to it by faith? Sin and confession are not popular subjects. Who wants to be bothered and confronted, let alone be convicted? But, for us to grow and mature, we have to, lest we remain in those sinsand how sad that would be! Sin will cloud everything. It will blind us to truth and from seeing the will of God for our lives.

We have to be willing to declare: I, as a follower of Christ, bought and paid for by His shed blood, must acknowledge my own sinful nature. If this is not in your practice and in your mindset, you will fall way short of His plan and possibly even His redemption for you (not lose your salvation). All of humanity is fallen from God; we are corrupt in our thinking and actions. Unless God’s Grace is not only flowing in us, but is also being emphasized and utilized, we will fail to make the right decisions. Our sinful nature directly relates to our daily lives and how we lead our church. Each of us must commit to ongoing confession in this area, from the trivialities of daily life to battling lust.

Being willing and able to confess sin will renew your mind and prepare you to be a more effective and used-by-God Christian, because you will have given yourself to Godmind as well as body. Just think through what He has done for you, the incredible amount of forgiveness you have received, and your response to what He has done. It should be gratitude that leads you to desire to purge yourself of sin. When we do as we see fit (Judg. 17:6), all we bring on ourselves is strife and confusion that leads to endless hurt. When we have purged the sin, and continue to do so as an ongoing venture, we will have no desire to copy the evil ways of the world. Rather, we will desire to be further transformed and renewed by God. We will be new persons, infused by the Spirit, so that all we think and all we do is pointed in His direction and call. Because of this renewal, we will know what He desires for us, what is best, and what is pleasing and perfect.

There are many preachers who like to turn the gospel of Jesus Christ into some kind of "easy-believe-ism," where confession is seen as not necessary. Even some good Reformed people do not like this discipline, mainly because of past abuses and that John Calvin opposed it. However, what Calvin opposed was “obligatory” confession, not confession itself; he saw it to be voluntary and a necessary and vital mutual consolation. As you can see from the passages cited, the Bible clearly states that if you want to be a Christian who gives God glory and pleases Him, you must confess! All that you do in life must be a reflection of a life surrendered to Christ. If you are so self-willed in your ideas, plans, and needs that you will not allow the wise counsel of others or God’s introspection upon you, there can be no room for the living Christ. This may mean that others will use you, take advantage of you, get mad at you, ignore you, go around you, ridicule you, and persecute you! But remember, what they do to you, they do to Him! Make sure you are not the one persecuting the Lord by refusing to yield to wise counsel and the percepts of His Word!

The Discipline of Confession will allow us to take a hard look at ourselves and hear what others say, so we can better give ourselves over to Christ as Lord. We will be able to ask Him and others, where and how do I fail in my judgments? And, we will take the personal responsibility to work it out. When we have setbacks, as we all do, we must be committed to restart and continue.

How Do I Practice this Discipline of Confession?

So, what can I do? Do not laugh at sin or rationalize it; rather guard against it. This is where our confession in Christ and being held accountable helps us stay focused, grow, and be the person who is authentic in the faith. Thus, we must allow Christ’s conviction and our accountably to others to examine who we are and who we ought to be. If we are in a self-indulgent life-style, with the desire to live and do as we please, we are headed for trouble and for a life that is sad and pathetic. We may be Christians, sealed by His Grace, but do we serve Him as we “run” our personal lives and His Church? God wants us to “hear this word,” not bow to our pleasure-seeking mindsets, so we can have our personal aspirations of control surrendered to Him, allowing His Lordship to be manifested in all parts of our lives (Isa. 28:7-8; Am. 4:1).

Prior to beginning this discipline, seek out some same-gender people who are more mature and/or further in their walk with Christ than you, and ask them to hold you accountable (if you think there are none, you have pride, or fear, or anger, or perhaps the desire to stay in your sins clouding you, because even Billy Graham has such people in his life!). Perhaps a small group or a mentor will suffice. We have many resources on our Small Groups Channel. Also, as in all these disciplines, be prepared to take "baby steps."

Take a look at your conscience and counsel from others, your regret and grief, and your determination to avoid sin. Do they line up to His Way as they should? Then, realize God’s care, love, and presence is upon you to guide you through this! This is something in which you are not alone; you have Christ and others!

The practice of the Discipline of Confession means we are “on guard” with our faith! We can be aware that when we slip, there are others to help catch us. Of course, the key is to be open and honest to face what is seeking to harm us. We also need to beware that sin is usually gradual and we do not notice; sometimes, we do not care or see this as a problem until severe damage is done. So, realize that this is serious business and we need one another!

What happens when we practice this Discipline of Confession?

When we draw near to God, the ways of the world, the devil, and our pride are pushed further away and we mature. If we draw near to our desires, we seek to serve ourselves and even the devil; then God is pushed further away. Your ability to confess will help you go in the right direction, the choice is up to you.

· Our confession gives us true piety and holiness as we grow further in Christ; it is produced by the Spirit’s lead and our learning, the ability to give and receive forgiveness, and this produces a life of contentment.

· Confession helps us to see how heinous our rebellion and sin are in God’s eyes, so we can see how wonderful His providence is to elect us anyway. God wants us to confess!

· We are to also confess our indifference and lack of trust in Him (John 10:28-29).

· Our confession is a starting point to build and develop character, patience, and dependence on God's grace, as Abraham did by faith; we are accountable for our choices.

· There is forgiveness when we fail−and we will! If an individual or a church (collectively) repents, they can be saved and rebooted to serve and glorify Christ. If not, a church or an individual Christian will close and be a rotten memory to the community and to Christ!

· When we try to live to and by ourselves without Christ, or even try to serve Him without relying on Him, we are showing an incredible amount of disrespect!

· We need to have the right focus and perspective so we can know what God wants us to do! We can do this by learning about our Lord, His obedience, and being willing to go through times of waiting, discouragement, and even suffering, and see them as opportunities of personal growth and faith building and strengthening.

· We need not be frustrated or filled with worry when we have Christ (1 John 4:17-19).

· We have to make a commitment to acknowledge our fallen nature, and be willing and able to confess our sin and repent, which means we do not do it again. It also means to have someone hold us accountable, and that we confess our sins to God.

· When we are not accountable to God and to others, such as a spouse, pastor, mentor, or friend, we are free to sin, which will lead to social and physical disaster. Refusing to deal with sin will lead to pornography, flirting, inappropriate lust, jealousy, and then sexual encounters, relationship breakdowns, and perhaps, the break-up of a marriage that God brought together.

· Are you showing true acceptance of Jesus as your Lord? You can know this by doing what He says (Luke 6:46).

· Living a surrendered, redeemed life is about seeking the Lord’s will, and seeking to glorify Him!

As with the Discipline of Repentance, since these disciplines go together, I have found the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), as well as the Fruit of the Spirit and “the flesh” (Gal. 5: 16-26) are excellent templates to use as tools for our assessment.

Scriptures on acknowledging our faith: Lev. 5:5; Ps. 32:5 Matt. 10:32; John 1:20; Acts 24:14; Rom. 14:11; Heb. 11:13; 13:15

Scriptures on accountability: Proverbs 25:12; 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:8-12; Romans 14: 13-23; 2 Corinthians 12:19-13:6; Galatians 6:1-6; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 5:15-16; Hebrews 3:13

Additional Scriptures on the Disciplines of Confession and Repentance: 2 Chronicles 7:14; 30:6-9; Psalm 34:14,18; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:3-8; Matthew 4:17; 6:33; 23:12; John 20:23; Acts 17:30; 20: 17-21; 24:14; Romans 2:4; 3:9-4:8; 2 Corinthians 7:8-12; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 4:19

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries, www.intothyword.org

17 May 2009

Just keeping things in perspective!

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. A Song.
There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, And to You the vow will be performed. O You who hear prayer, To You all men come. Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You forgive them. How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth. You water its furrows abundantly, You settle its ridges, You soften it with showers, You bless its growth. You have crowned the year with Your bounty, And Your paths drip with fatness. The pastures of the wilderness drip, And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing. The meadows are clothed with flocks And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

(Psa 65:1-13)

10 May 2009

additional thoughts on mother's day and stress

first posting: Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day for me is also like a sort of New Year's Day. I consider my influence, my attitudes, and my interactions with my children. Do they point my kids to Christ? Am I doing Deuteronomy 6:4-9? What are my shortfalls? How can I improve? And I'm always stricken at the level at which I am so unqualified to be "mom" to these precious little lives. And yet, God has called me to the task . . . a task that only HE is qualified to fulfill.


In my evaluation this year I realize that there is too much stress in our home: stress from moving from homeschooling to children being at school 9 hours a day 5 days a week; stress from being in a new country and learning the language; stress from being so far away from many who we love so dearly and who would be excellent influences in our children's lives; stresses of our belongings being in crates somewhere between Dallas and Fort Worth Texas; stress of constantly saying goodbye to people God puts in our lives and who become so very dear to us and to our children; tremendous stress of much sickness in our family and then just the everyday stress of the busy life of a family of 6.

We have little to no control over these circumstances - - but letting these produce anxiety in our homelife is a choice. It may not always seem like a choice because anxiety/distress is a default of our sinful natures, but it IS a choice. And it is a choice that robs our lives of joy. And, as Nehemiah said, the joy of the Lord IS our strength.

So my Mother's Day resolution is that, even in this very stressful environment, we are filled with His joy . . . the joy of knowing Him, the joy of being His own possession, the joy of opening His Word and being filled with Him. And to be filled with the peace that passes all understanding. God is a God of peace, He Himself is our peace, and we are to let the peace of Christ RULE in our hearts.

I want my kids to learn the power that can be theirs in Him! The Lord grants us peace in every circumstance - - and I am guilty of robbing myself and thereby robbing my children of that peace when I have chosen to be anxious. Sorry God for limiting my children's perception of your power by allowing stress in our home.

And so my "Mother's Day resolution" is for peace.

(Robert's going to think I've gone all hippie now!)

Happy Mother's Day! (CALL YOUR MOTHERS!)

Happy Mother's Day

For me, Mother's Day will never be about me, but about my mom. Even if she beats me to heaven, Mother's Day will be filled with thoughts of her. My mom is a godly woman, and my prayer is that I can have the influence on my children that she had on me. Love you mom!

08 April 2009

Quick thought on pride

Pride flies in the face of God’s glory more than any other wrongdoing. It is an absolute abhorrence to who God is. It is NOT a hindrance or obstacle to the glory of God itself . . . as if any malefaction of ours could in any way impede His glory. But it IS most certainly a total detriment to the one who possesses it because the prideful are blinded to the fullness of His glory and the sin that pride is causes separation from God. And we are all susceptible to it . . . we are all tempted by our fallen natures to be puffed up with pride - - to think more of ourselves than we should, and to desire others to do the same. What beauty there is in a life lived humbly before God - - and how lovely it is to look upon a brother or sister in Christ and see humility and, in turn, to see more of God’s glory.

21 March 2009

A Belief That Has Been Granted

I came across a verse in my normal Bible reading (and many other verses as of late) that has led to my reexamining my long-standing non-Calvinistic position.

First, a few givens:
  • Salvation is of God . . . it is His work of grace through faith . . . a gift to us that we in no way deserve. In fact, on the contrary, we all deserve God's judgment and wrath. This is a Biblical fact that is held by regenerate Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike. (the whole Bible!)
  • God does elect and predestine. The Bible clearly states this and both the Calvinist and the non must believe this as well. (It is the basis of His election that is debated as there are different definitions of the word "foreknowledge".) (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-14)
  • It is God's desire for none to perish but for all men to be saved, know the truth and repent. (I Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23)
Okay, so here's the verse I found: Philippians 1:29 which says - For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
The things that strike me about this verse:
  1. our BELIEF in Him has been granted to us (it doesn't say our salvation, or our ability to choose Him, it says our actual belief)
  2. it has been granted to us for Christ's sake - - NOT ours! (I take to mean His name sake . .. His glory and renown and his purpose)
  3. it has also been granted to us to suffer (again this is for His sake)
I have done word studies on the words "granted" and "believe" and they mean just what we would normally take them to mean. Granted - (χαρίζομαι) to be permitted or granted something/to give or bestow something willingly. Believe - (πιστεύω) to believe, have faith in, trust.

Alrighty then, well if this is true, where is choice? Arguably you could say that God has granted us the possibility for belief. But Paul is writing to believers telling them that their belief in Him was granted to them (it doesn't say the possibility of it).

Interesting!!! - - don't want to get too long so . . . .

more to come:
  1. a closer look at the word "granted" and a look at where else it is used in the Bible,
  2. thoughts on reconciling God's expressed desire that none should perish with His election of some for salvation (and, logically following, His election of others for judgment)
  3. thoughts on how the above can fit with who God is (His attributes and character as revealed to us in Scripture)
  4. thoughts on the word "foreknowledge"
  5. personal testimony

18 March 2009

Who Am I?

Who am I that God would forgive me?

Who am I that God would extend His grace to me?

Who am I that God would chasten me?

Who am I that God would justify me?

Who am I that God would sanctify me?

Who am I that God would call and send?

Who am I that God would indwell?

Who am I that God would bless me?

Who am I that God would reveal more of Himself to me?

Who am I that God would love?

Unworthy of His forgiveness

Unworthy of His grace

Unworthy of His chastening

Unworthy of His justification

Unworthy of His sanctification

Unworthy of His calling

Unworthy of His sending

Unworthy of His indwelling

Unworthy of His blessing

Unworthy of His revealing more of Himself to me

Unworthy of His love

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
(Psa 8:3-9)

07 February 2009

It's Been A Long Time!

I began blogging in August of 2007 when we first felt called to go overseas. Since training in Virginia and coming to Brazil in November, I've stopped . . . but am beginning again today. A friend of mine has just begun blogging, and it helped me realize how important a communication piece it is.

A QUICK UPDATE: We've been in language school for almost 3 months now. We've learned a lot of Portuguese, with much more to learn. All four children attend the same private school. But best of all, God is faithful, His Word is essential and our purpose here is clear.

A QUICK APOLOGY: to those who were faithful readers of my blog and were anticipating keeping connected through it after our going abroad. Sorry for the lapse in time . . . I'm back!

But you are a chose race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, SO THAT you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1Pe 2:9)

and (just for fun) A PORTUGUESE LEARNING DUCK:

22 December 2008

Feliz Natal!

Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders *said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has OVERCOME so as to open the book and its seven seals."
(Rev 5:4-5)

Celebrating Christ this Christmas!

10 November 2008

Hello from Brazil

Sorry for the lapse in posting anything. The internet connection I have tonight is actually an unsecured one that I could tap into from my bedroom. We're awaiting our own internet access. We arrived safely in Brazil this past Wednesday and have settled in pretty well. I'm sitting up in my bed with the bedroom window open from our downtown apartment on the 13th floor, and I can see lights out my windows from the city below. It's amazing! We are doing very well.

So far, we have experienced grocery shopping, visiting the local padaria (bakery) and even to some specialty stores in the couple of blocks close to our apartment. Everyone we meet is very friendly, even though we are quite obviously unable to communicate apart from the very small handful of words we know now.

On Saturday we visited the private school that our four children will be attending. They start at this bilingual school in the morning (Tuesday), and Robert and I begin formal language training tomorrow as well. Please pray for the kids as they are a little nervous about the new school.

Our apartment building has a swimming pool and our family went swimming on Saturday. It was a wonderful time. After about 30 minutes of it being just us, two other families (moms with children) came out. The children made instant friends with our kiddos, and I was able to communicate with the moms (named Virginia and Gabriella) who spoke some english. It was a very fun time for everyone, and the children are confident that they will have many friends here. Both ladies gave me their apartment numbers and expressed interest in helping us in any way with language, finding doctors, etc.

While we are a long way from our people group (the Italian-Brazilians of southern Brasil) we ask that you continue to pray with us for their salvation. As for our time here and now, please pray for our ability to quickly acquire enough language for basic communication and to share Christ with those whom we are developing relationships with in our apa
rtment building.

Some differences that you might think are the most weird - -
  1. there is no hot water in the kitchen, so dishes are handwashed with cold water and soap. This is the most common way of washing dishes here.
  2. there is no clothes dryer . . . NO ONE has a dryer . . . all clothes are hung to dry
  3. slightly warm water is available only in the showers with an electric heater that is located right in the shower head
  4. no air conditioning . . . just ceiling fans - - WHEW!!!
  5. no tap water on toothbrushes before brushing
  6. everyone speaks Portuguese and we don't understand it (yet!)
These differences are already becoming less weird to us. . . we are adjusting well . . . (except for Samuel (2 years old) - - but maybe the school routine will be good for him).

Thank you again for your prayers. There is just no way to express the deep gratitude we have for them.

I would love to hear from any of you. Email anytime - my address is kerri@hamiltonsinbrazil.com. I'll check email and answer as I can find internet connection!!!

in His AMAZING love & grace,

04 November 2008

Flying Out Today!

This is my last posting from this side of the equator . . . at least for 3 1/2 years or so. This adventure began in August of 2007 . . . and today we get to go!!!

Our children are excited to be riding their first airplane. With backpacks loaded with favorite toys, activities and snacks, they are soon to be international travelers. The rest of the Hamilton stuff is partly in crates in a warehouse in Texas (of which we will see again in Brazil in about a year) and 13 duffle bags in the front room of the missionary house we have been living in for the past 2 1/2 weeks.

We will be met at the airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, by our director of language studies and our friend Chris who we met and grew to love during our training time in Virginia.

More than all else, we are very blessed that God has called us to a specific task, we are privileged to follow Him in obedience and we are UNQUALIFIED for the task of reaching the Italian-Brazilians of southern Brazil with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, more than all else, we ask for your prayer support. God is already there . . . we're just following Him. He is the One qualified to win the hearts of the people there who are so deceived. Please pray for God to use us in whatever way He desires in reaching these people, and please pray for us to learn to speak Portuguese quickly!!!!

15 October 2008

On The Road Again: From Alabama to Texas

What will YOU be doing tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m? We will be driving to Tupelo, Mississippi for breakfast with kids in pajamas. After clothes, brushed teeth and breakfast in Tupelo, we will drive to Memphis, TN for gas and a potty break. After Memphis, we will drive to Little Rock, AR where we will eat lunch and go the the Little Rock Zoo!!! After the zoo, we will drive to Texarkana, TX where we will spend the night. The next morning we will leave at 7:00 to arrive in Bells, Texas in time to have lunch with my dad.

Our time in Alabama has been great . . . very memorable for us and the kiddos. We have more goodbyes to say here, and then onward to family and friends in Texas.

WONDERFUL news! - our visas have arrived. They are waiting for us in Texas as well. We hope to soon have a leave for Brazil date - - it will most likely be first week of November.

How Could God's Glorification Have Anything To Do With My Satisfaction?

Okay, a verbal comment was made to me after my last hosanna post . . . that I must have been reading John Piper lately. What I wrote at the end of my post was this:
"what an amazing thing that we find such pleasure and fulfillment from God getting praise. It seems that it should only be for His pleasure, doesn't it?"
I was merely pointing out the vast, immeasurable abundance of grace that God has toward us . . . that in our glorifying Him we would experience such fulfillment and pleasure. That's an amazing thing . . . astonishing and humbling.

What I wrote is not the same as Piper's famous line that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." I don't understand or subscribe to this viewpoint. (Hedonism is it?) Maybe I don't have a full grasp on it. It just seems too much about my satisfaction in God - - which is a bonus. It's really all about God and His glory. I truly think God's glorification is not contingent on our satisfaction in Him. He is glorified in everything . . . in all creation and created beings. Even through those who choose not to worship Him!! I believe God is equally glorified by both the execution of His wrath on sinful man as He is by the pouring out of His mercy and grace and love upon the redeemed.

Now don't take me wrong. I'm not bashing Piper. He has tremendous insights, he's written some incredible books and it is my great desire to one day be able to cross reference Scripture as half as well as he does.

I'm just one who is
struggling with the right approach to God . . . not as one desiring to be satisfied in Him, but as the wretch that I am - - saved by His grace that I in no way deserve, and approaching Him in confidence as an inadequate, obedient servant. The satisfaction in Him that I find is a product of His grace, but not a motive of my heart.

I would love to hear from others on this.

14 October 2008

Hosanna! (part 2)

"Hosanna" . . . . it is first used in Psalm 118:25-26:

O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
(Psa 118:25-26)

John Piper has this to say about it:

And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when somebody pushes out off the diving board before you can swim and you come up hollering: "Help, save me" … "Hoshiya na!"

But something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na. The meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by the exclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The cry for help, hoshiya na, was answered almost before it came out of the psalmist's mouth. And over the centuries the phrase hoshiya na stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, "Save, please!" But gradually it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!" It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can't keep it in.

Man oh man, what it would have been like to be there at that moment - - as Jesus entered Jerusalem and received praise for who He is and why He was there . . . the very town who SO rejected Christ (Luke 13:34-35). What a moment in history His entry into Jerusalem was, with the laying down of coats and branches and shouts of Hosanna. I would love to have seen it. I would love to have been there throwing down branches and getting down on my knees to shout Hosanna with hands lifted high!

But what better time it is now! As believers, we have the Holy Spirit alive and active in US. We are living in this dispensation of grace and it is a time to proclaim to all that salvation has come!
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
(1Jn 1:1-3)
Another thought - - in light of the joy that comes from looking at this moment when Christ was celebrated with shouts of Hosanna for who He really is - - what an amazing thing that we find such pleasure and fulfillment from God getting praise. It seems that it should only be for His pleasure, doesn't it?

13 October 2008

Hosanna! part 1

Oh the beautiful word that Hosanna is! - - and one, like so many others, that is only fitting for our Lord.

In case you haven't happened to read recently the account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem just prior to His arrest - -here it is:

When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. "If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'" The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!" When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee." And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He *said to them, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN." And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus *said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?" (Mat 21:1-16)
The Bible says the scribes and pharisees became "indignant" when they heard the children addressing JC with this word "Hosanna". It's a word worth taking a look at.

First . . . there is NO English or Greek word "Hosanna". It is transliterated from the Hebrew הושענא which is like
hoshiya na . What gets my attention is the rage that this word evoked in the pharisees, and Christ's description of this word as praise which God had prepared for Himself - - of which David even prophesied about in Psalm 8:2.

This word has my attention!!!

12 October 2008

leaving Alabama

We've been almost two weeks in Jasper, Alabama - - visiting my husbands family. It's been a great time. This Thursday we are headed to Texas where we will stay until we go overseas.

Just tonight we said goodbye to Robert's dad. He's leaving on a business trip early tomorrow morning. The words of his goodbye were incredible . . . fully supporting our obedience to God's calling, warning that times will get hard, and exhorting us to not get discouraged, but keep an eternal perspective. And all of it spoken with a heart of love that is transparent and genuine. Whew! - these goodbyes are tough . . . but what a privilege to follow God. He is abundantly graceful. And what a blessing to have the support of family.

Onward with news . . . . we tracked the overnight package from the consulate and learned that our visas sit in a small post office in Texas, awaiting my dad to pick them up on Tuesday!!!!

As for God's providence . . . . we have a house in Whitesboro to live until we leave for Brazil. It is a house belonging to First Baptist Church of Whitesboro. There are beds for all of us, towels, dishes, internet, even a vehicle if we can sell the Suburban. We will arrive there Friday night and stay through our departure date to Sao Paulo, Brazil, which will most likely be the first week of November.

Thanks for your prayers. I hope to begin blogging regularly now that we have complete our orientation for field service.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the frangrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 2Cor.2:14-16

29 August 2008

Hello from Virginia!

It's been a long time since my lost blog. Time to blog is practically non-existent for me for the time being. Our schedule is full, and when we're not attending a session or a special class our children are our priority.

Here is a quick update: I love it here! Our family, along with other families and single adults are attending an orientation to field (overseas) ministry. The training that we are receiving (including our 4 children) is phenomenal to say the very least. We live in a quad with 3 other families . . . each of us having our own apartment, with a joined living area. We eat meals together at a cafeteria. Our children attend a special school designed just for them while we attend sessions from the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our quadmates, in addition to 4 singles, make up our small group. On Sunday mornings we meet together, worship and have time in God's Word together. We are all currently going through the book of Acts (go figure, as we are preparing for church planting abroad). It is a great place for prioritizing, learning, fellowhsip and prayer.

On a more personal note, we have been doing very well. The children have transitioned well to the new environment here, and seem to be thriving and sleeping well. We've had illnesses here and there (please pray for Joseph who has been the sickest).

I will be posting in the next day or so some specific prayer requests. I also hope to soon post pictures, and some general information on things we have been learning here. I'm also conspiring a post entitled "Get Over It" - - I'm just needing to work on being a little more tactful!!! I'd also like to blog about witnessing experiences I've had off campus.
May you abound in the richness of the glory of our God! May you rejoice with each new day that we are given to walk in fellowship with Him!

01 August 2008

Hello from Alabama

We are on our way to FPO (Field Personal Orientation) with the IMB (International Mission Board) in Virginia. This is our last night in Alabama. We've been spending time here with Robert's folks, sister, niece and other relatives since Monday evening.

A quick update: the sale of the house went very well (praise God). . . we closed on Friday the 25th. Crating was an experience we will never forget. As of today, we have a couch with things packed to ride on the couch at a warehouse in downtown Dallas in great hopes that when the right size crate arrives, it will actually be crated and put with the other crates.

Our last week in Anna, Texas was crazy - - but also very memorable. We had five evenings with very dear friends and a day with my parents. We are outrageously blessed with the dearest of family and friends.

Tomorrow morning bright and early (I should be in bed) it's "Onward Ho" to Virginia. Since we are pulling a trailer we will be going through Atlanta, South Carolina, North Carolina and then Virginia. It would have been nice to go over the Appalachian's, but we didn't want to tug the trailer all the way up. We should arrive in Virginia on Sunday night, and at the International Learning Center after noon on Monday.

until the next internet connection . . . . . . .

15 July 2008

What Are You Up To?

We are in the process of moving. Boxing, packing, getting ready for crating, inventorying and assigning value to EVERYTHING for insurance purposes. We are saying farewells, staying on top of the details regarding the sale of our house, garage selling, Craig's listing and keeping up with the Brazil visa application process which is as about as extensive as it gets. It's a whirlwind of a time, but we feel peaceful, blessed with the prayers and kind wishes of friends, sleep deprived for sure, but able to stay focused on the big picture. Exciting times and memorable times for sure. It feels like we're flying by the seat of our pants most of the time . . . a feeling I've become quite accustomed to and strangely even enjoy.

Sunday was our last day at Pin Oaks. It was a odd day, but a very good one as well. Many beautiful and memorable words were said to both Robert and myself. We have a few more farewells and a dire need to spend time with my parents who are almost as busy as we are.

The most bizarre experience to me so far is living in a house where so many memories have been made, but now stands almost barren . . . w/o curtains, pictures, many pieces of furniture.

Please keep especially our children in your prayers during this time of transition!!!! Times of closure are coming for them . . . last times to see certain people, certain friends, and certain places that are dear to them.

What are you up to? I'd enjoy hearing.

13 July 2008

Sunday Scripture 3

Hannah's prayer, at the dedication of her son Samuel (whose name means: "because I asked Him of the Lord").

"There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. "Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed. "The bows of the mighty are shattered, But the feeble gird on strength. "Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, But she who has many children languishes. "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. "The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. "He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them. "He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail. "Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed."
(1Sa 2:2-10)

07 July 2008

Contract Pending

Thanks to the many who have been praying for our house to sell. As of about 10 minutes ago, we have contract pending on our house.

What I love best about this is God. It's nothing for Him to bring a buyer in a very bad market to buy the house He has blessed us with these past 4 1/2 years. But additionally, He brought me to the place of faith to be able to say yes, we will go right now even if it means our house foreclosing. I had shared with a number of people (especially my husband) that I would not be willing to move forward in the process of orientation and then going to Brazil until the house was sold. This seemed enormously irresponsible to me . . . even wreaking of poor stewardship.

But He spoke so clearly to us that we were to go NOW . . . and it is ours to obey and then to trust no matter the outcome. Isn't it awesome to serve a God who brings us along to the place He wants us to be? If all goes well with the lending, the inspection, the closing - - praise God! If all falls through at the last minute and we head up to Virginia with house on the market and no way to make the payments - - praise God!

06 July 2008

Sunday Scripture 2

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- for we walk by faith, not by sight-- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; (2Corinthians 5:1-11a)

01 July 2008

For Adoption: Missionary Family of 6

Now how could you resist this opportunity (focus on the children before answering!!!)?

Really and truly, we are looking to be adopted by five churches. By the term adoption, I mean churches who will consider us to be their missionaries by committing to pray for us and our people group. I would even hope for an adopting our people group, the Italian-Brazilians of Caxias do Sul and the surrounding area, and an openness to considering ministry opportunities (mobilization of church members through mission trips) to assist in ministry.

The Italian Brazilians are considered to be an unreached people group, with less than 1% evangelized. Their religion is a mixture of a kind of Catholicism and Mysticism (including witchcraft, voodoo, superstition, etc.). They area a beautiful people, a beautiful culture, in a beautiful land, and yet a stronghold of satan. They desperately need to hear the truth of who Jesus Christ IS.

Most of you who read this blog are active in a church. Please prayerfully consider joining us in the Great Commission - - urging your church to adopt both our family and the Italian-Brazilians of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Churches who choose to prayer-support His work to this people group will receive frequent updates, prayer requests, and opportunities to come to Brazil and join in ministry. (In fact, we will be inviting a group from a church to come on a vision/prayer trip after we finish the year of language school and during our first year with our people group.)

Please do give this careful consideration and prayer. Maybe God will break your heart and the hearts of the members of your church for these dear people who so desperately need to hear the truth.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
(Mat 28:19-20)

29 June 2008

Sunday Scripture 1

I'm starting a new series . . . Sword of the Spirit Sundays! Each Sunday I plan to post only Scripture.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
(2Peter 3:9-18)