Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Student Sponsorship

Several of the youth in the church are in the process of writing university entrance exams for September. I'm glad that I'm not the one going through it, but there are many people who wish they could afford the cost of schooling - not just at the university level, either, but for primary and secondary school as well. There is no free schooling here, and this is a barrier for many children and teens who can't afford to pay. Compared to the cost of schooling in the States or Canada, the prices here are very low:

* Primary school: $85 (government school)-$700 (private school)/year
* Secondary school: $105/year
* High school: $310/year
* College/university: between $500-$3000/semester, depending on the school and the program of study

As I've also mentioned, we are starting a missions school here in September. We are anticipating that there will be students who will want to come but are facing financial barriers. If you want more information about how you can sponsor a student in the missions school, email me at, or the school director, Paul Ellsworth, at Please pray about how God can use you to help the students here, both in regular school and in Bible school, and give them not just a better future, but the future that God has planned for them.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Believe and Do Not Doubt

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
(James 1:5-8)

Last night Stephen shared this passage of Scripture with the young adults group. Many times we ask God for things and then wonder why we don't get them (and I'm speaking from experience!). Sometimes we ask with wrong motives; other times our motives may be fine, but we lack the faith to believe that we will receive what we ask for. One argument that I always have with myself is that, "Well, I try to take a realistic view of the world. I know God can do anything, but how do I know that he will do what I'm asking? Sometimes the answer is 'no'." I asked Stephen about this, and he reminded me that our view of reality is not necessarily God's reality:

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." (1 Cor. 13:12)

" 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'."
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

Even if the answer is "no", we won't know this unless we ask in the first place - and we definitely won't receive anything if we don't ask at all!

Many times we don't receive what we ask for because we are indecisive and undetermined - as James says, "a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Pretend you're on the beach right now, standing on the shore with the waves coming in around your feet. They come in...and then they go back out. In again...and back only constant thing about them is that they keep going back to the place they started. Even in violent storms like hurricanes, when there is massive flooding and water comes deep inland, what eventually happens? It goes back out - it never stays in its new place. What good is it if we ask God for something, but later take it back or change our minds? Jesus said the same thing over and over again in the Gospels:

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
(Matt. 21:21-22)

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
(John 14:13-14)

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." (John 15:7)

"If you remain in me...". First, we need to seek the will of God and then we will ask for things according to his will, not carelessly or selfishly. This is why James says that we should ask for wisdom - if we seek God and simply ask for the wisdom to know his will, and then obey, all the rest will follow.

To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. (Ecclesiastes 2:26)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Outdoor Evangelism

Last night the youth group traveled to a nearby town to do outdoor evangelism. We arrived at about 6pm and went door to door inviting people to come to the presentation. The service started shortly after 7 in the town's central square. We sang two or three songs and then the drama team performed 5 skits. There is no speaking in any of the dramas, but the message of the Gospel and salvation is conveyed with great impact. After the dramas, Stephen spoke for a few minutes, emphasizing that only in Jesus can we find fulfillment and peace. Several people from the audience came forward for prayer and to give their lives to the Lord. The simplicity of the whole event was what stood out for me - we didn't spend days or weeks planning this, we didn't pass out flyers or take out newspaper ads - we just hopped on a bus, knocked on some doors, and presented the Gospel to those who came. God had already done the hardest work, preparing the hearts of the people who came and who responded to his call; we just had to be there, willing to serve him.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Día de los Niños

In Mexico, the month of May is full of holidays: Mother's Day, Teacher's Day, Worker's Day, Student's Day and, yesterday, Children's Day. Kids all over the country receive candy and gifts and numerous parties and celebrations are held. We made a special trip to Cartonlandia, where we give out the Saturday breakfasts, to give out chocolates to the children to celebrate this day.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matt. 19:14)