American Sniper and the Gospel… And YOU…

My wife and I saw the American Sniper movie this week (for our anniversary!  She loves me…).

I will say that this movie was difficult to watch, yet amazing.  I was struck, but not surprised, by Chris Kyle’s devotion to his country and his fellow soldiers.  You can tell it’s not that he enjoyed taking a life – it’s that he was the most effective person at keeping his men alive.  You can debate that – but the truth is, whether or not he was there, the war was happening.  So given that, he sacrificed as best he could in his flesh – at risk to his marriage, to his family, his very life – for the sake of others.  Wow…

You think he wanted to?  I don’t believe he did, or any other brave soldier does.  But they put the mission, the duty, the obligation, before their personal interests.  Wow…

THAT’S THE GOSPEL!  Whether or not we are involved, or want to believe it – the war is happening.  Satan is real, and he is doing all he can to steal, kill and destroy – to devour you.  You can choose to debate that – but look around you.  We have all seen the evidence of this – in our lives and the lives of others around us.

God knew this when He created us.  In fact – He ALLOWS satan to do this!  I can’t explain why.  But I know that it wasn’t like God was sitting there surprised by it, thinking, “Oh, oops, I better figure this out”.  He allowed satan to do what he did, and allows it today.  He knew this, and that we would reject Him, when He created us.

Get that?  He KNEW He would send His Son to die – FOR YOU – when He created you!  FOR YOU!  Just you, don’t worry about everyone else around you.  It’s YOU He’s after..

Remember the verses I shared in the post about our process to share the gospel?  One of them was Romans 5:8 – For God demonstrated His love for us in this: that when we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ died for YOU, while you were, or are, still a sinner.  You can debate that all you want – but it doesn’t change that fact.  He loves YOU so much that He willingly, joyfully took on YOUR sin, so YOU could have eternal life.

If nothing else, know these two facts:

1. Satan seeks to destroy you

2. God seeks you

Neither is because you are special.  But both are because you are so very special to the Lord.  In 1 Peter we are called God’s “precious possession”.  Do you get that???  YOU are His precious possession!  Don’t you want to be that?

Flight Itinerary! And More!!!

We got our flight itinerary last night!  It’s happening!  Less than two weeks away, wow!!!

Also, we recently received this letter from the pastor in Santo Domingo.  Some things we’ll be doing, some things we will be praying for – and I would love if you would join us in prayer…

Pastor Doug: I hope this mail will reach you on time for tis Sunday training meeting. For the time you will arrive we will have multiplied the church into two groups; one for adults still meeting at my place and the second for Youth (teen and singles) meeting in the church place We would like to team up with you to strengthening both groups. We look forward to activities such music class with those able to share their talents, We hope that for your time of arrival we will have: Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, piano and a drum set. We will do a couple of reach outs in the community next to our church place: for teens and adults. We will focus in increasing our service to the girls home that a previous group visited. this time we would love to take a few girls to receive music and English classes in our building. There will some construction but haven’t been able to finalize details Last time others brought some full Spanish Bibles (besides the NT of Revive) if could do so would be great since we are using them for the group and church meetings I am copying Kristine since she will be involved in those your activities. We will have an event handling up OCC shoe boxes. Knowing that we will have nine teens in the group we would like for them to prepare a couple of skits the type of mimic to share the gospel to young people. Also you or anybody would like to have a couples meeting night with a message for married would be great. Think on meeting that could go to the men about leadership or so. Lot of ideas and needs here, lot of talent there, so I am not worried at all. In HIS name Dago

Why Go? Part 2

In part 1 of this topic, I mentioned a common question that can be asked, with regards to short-term mission trips such as the one we are taking to the Dominican Republic.

” Why go halfway across the world, to do something you can do in your back yard?  Aren’t there people already there, who could do this in their own back yard?”

I covered the first half of the question in part 1, and I will cover the second half, “Aren’t there people already there, who could do this in their own back yard?”, in this post.

YES – and that is our prayer.  We will be there all of a week.  While we are excited to have an opportunity to share the Gospel, we simply won’t have the opportunity to disciple long-term anyone who may accept Christ.  So – one of our goals is to work with our sister church in Santo Domingo, to equip them to tackle this.  I’m told there are many new believers in the local church.  So this will be a tremendous, awesome, kinda scary, opportunity for us to “boot camp disciple” them.  Our brothers and sisters will be with us as we go out and share, as we serve, as we minister to them, and them us  – heck we’re even staying in their homes!

All through this, we will be building relationships with our brothers and sisters in Santo Domingo.  Such a tremendous privilege and blessing to be a part of this!

There is one more thing – going on a mission trip, no matter how long but especially on short-term trips, changes the person who is going.  Most likely more than it affects anyone who is being ministered to, the missionary is being ministered to by the Lord all the more.  And that is the greatest privilege of all…

Why Go? Part 1

A common question that can be asked, with regards to short-term mission trips such as the one we are taking to the Dominican Republic, would be this:

” Why go halfway across the world, to do something you can do in your back yard?  Aren’t there people already there, who could do this in their own back yard?”

I’m going to address this in two parts.  As it really is two questions.  In this post, I’ll address the question, “Why go so far away, to do that which you can, or should, do here?”

This is a tremendous question.  Given our primary mission, to share the good news of Jesus Christ – yes, we SHOULD be doing this in our own circle of influence.  If we are not, then why go do it somewhere else?

I confess, I fail at this so often here.  In one of our preparation meetings, we were asked to think of someone we could practice our evangelism method with, pray about the opportunity to do this – and then do it.  Simple enough!  I was actually meeting an old friend after, so why not do it with him?  We prayed about this, along with others in the group.  Then – nothing.  I was with my dear friend for THREE hours.  And – nothing…  I did bring up our trip, a couple times.  But I never flat out asked, “Hey can I practice this with you?”.  I chickened out…

So do I just feel like a failure, and give up hope?  Do I skip going on this trip?  Does my dear friend go to hell???

I can’t speak for my friend.  That is up to the Lord, and to a certain degree, my friend.  I know the Lord will give me another chance, or someone else, to share with my friend..  He gives everyone every opportunity to seek Him.  He’s so good….

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)

You know – I’ll blow it again.  I’ve blown it with some of you.  Either by chickening out, or by not being there for you, or by being judgmental or condemning, or by trying to force my view down your throat.  And the Lord KNOWS this!  And He so graciously uses our failures, even our cowardice.  And He gives us grace to get up and do it again.  Right here in our back yard.  AND – across the world on occasion….  🙂

If you are someone I have neglected, I am truly sorry.  I never want anyone to ask, “Why didn’t you tell me that?”.  And to be honest – there are some that could.  I love you, and I will do my best to change that.  And I pray that even if I have blown it, the good Lord knows this and has provided you ample opportunity to seek Him.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20)

FULLY FUNDED!!!

Thank you to all y’all who have funded our trip!  We as a team are fully funded!  If you would like to support the local church in Santo Domingo, you can still send checks.  But as for our trip, we are covered, praise the Lord!

God does provide, so liberally, so joyfully…  it really is overwhelming to see him at work……