Monday, February 28, 2011

Thirdj Report from Lima Feb 28

It’s been several days since I sent a report, though I have been sending brief updates on FaceBook and Twitter. I’ve been busy either ministering or preparing to minister, and time got away from me.

Friday afternoon I preached on the children of Israel needing to not look like world before they took the Promised Land. That meant circumcision. Today we experience a circumcision of the heart so we don’t look like the world spiritually. And that circumcision, though painful, is necessary. Response was amazing as the altar was flooded with people wanting to go under the Master Surgeon’s knife and allow Him to cut away that which was not pleasing to him.

Friday night I ministered from Ephesians 5 to the leaders of Emmanuel Bible Church-Zarate. They were in the midst of their VBS, and the leaders had been there since the morning. Just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians church, I prayed that the Zarate church would have wisdom, understanding, the fullness of the Spirit, joy and thanksgiving in their hearts, and an attitude of submission to one another. A season of prayer concluded the service, with many coming forward for prayer for refreshing. I prayed with about 15 to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, it was exciting to see as I watched them all minister to one another.

Marsha and I have a spiritual granddaughter, Laura, in Emmanuel who has been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis (their description) in her elbows and shoulders. I prayed for Laura and she testified she had some relief from the pain. I saw her again last night and she had more freedom of motion but still some pain. Please unite your faith with mine for a complete recovery.

Saturday morning I spoke at the National Prayer Movement monthly gathering hosted by TV/Radio Pacifico, Peru’s leading Christian broadcast outlet. They had planned to televise the meeting nationally and on the Internet, but it didn’t happen, though it was broadcast on the radio and streamed on the Internet. When I preach on prayer, it’s usually about using the Lord’s Prayer as a prayer outline, and Saturday was no exception. The message was well received

Saturday night I preached in a small church on one of the mountains surrounding Lima, sharing on four functions of the Holy Spirit: 1) Conviction 2) Instruction; 3) Direction; and 4)Magnification (glorifying Jesus). Text was John 16:5-15. Our daughter, Maria, was given erroneous directions to the church, so they called a young man with some translation experience who lived in the area. He came and did a fine job. At the altar call we had two or three salvations, and most of the congregation of about 40 came forward to be filled with the Hoy Spirit, including the pastor’s 12-year old daughter. Dad and mom were thrilled!

Sunday morning I was at Pastor Julio Romero’s church, and preached on the Grace of Giving, from 2 Corinthians 9. Emma translated for me (she translated at the VFM Conference) and her husband, David, and two daughters, 18 and 16, were with her. Afterwards we all went out to lunch and I had the chance to get better acquainted with the family. David is a missionary from the US whose ministry is to serve as a pastor to pastors, crossing denominational and doctrinal lines to do so. I’m looking forward to networking with him in the future.

Saturday late afternoon Emma and I ministered at Pastors David and Soledad Liñan’s church in downtown Lima. I preached about false repentance (Saul in 1 Samuel 15) and true repentance (David in 2 Samuel 11, 12). There were about 40 in attendance, and 4 responded for salvation. Praise God.

Then Sunday night I preached to a packed house at Emmanuel Zarate. The sanctuary seats around 150, and it was Standing Room Only. Maria was with me this time as I preached on water baptism. It was Maria’s finest translation she’s done. I’m very proud of our daughter!! About a dozen came forward to receive Christ at the close of the service, and a very large number requested water baptism.

I’m very proud of our first Peruvian son and daughter, Jose and Raquel. Everything they do for God they do with excellence, and it is reflected in their leaders, their building and their ministry.

Today I’m hanging out with our Peruvian kids Jose and Marlene Navarro and their children, then with our other kids, Antonio and Debora Meca and their children, and Maria. Tomorrow morning I’ll attend a pastors’ fraternity meeting. Then tomorrow evening I preach in Pastora Esther Pongo’s church. Wednesday it’s the day with Jose and Raquel, then to Evangelical Church of Christ in San Martin, with my good friend Juan de Dios Huaman, then to airport and home.

Thanks for your prayers and support. God is at work!

Friday, February 25, 2011

2nd Report from Lima!

I wish all of you could have heard Pastor Ronnie Swadley’s message at the Victory Fellowship of Ministries Conference yesterday. Ronnie shared three keys to reaching your goal were:

1. Rejoice (Ephesians 4)
2. Trust (Proverbs 3:5,6)
3. Rest (Matthew 11:28)

I had not heard Ronnie preach before. He did a stellar job…he really knows how to communicate from the pulpit. The hardest part of listening to his message was realizing that I had to follow him! I wish I had taken more notes.

My message at the conference yesterday was from 2 Samuel 6, “Taking the Ark to Jerusalem”. Key point #1 was David’s Plan A failed, resulting in the death of Uzzah and abandonment of the project. Plan B, which was according to God’s instructions for moving the Ark, required sacrifice:

1. The Levites (priests) sacrificed, carrying the burden of the ark on their shoulders. We must carry the burden of the goal on our shoulders.
2. David sacrificed financially. Six steps, sacrifice a bull and fatted calf, six steps, sacrifice a bull and a fatted calf, six steps…all the way to Jerusalem. Reaching your goal will likely cost you financially. It’s not an expense; it’s an investment.
3. David sacrificed his dignity. He danced before the Lord with all his might. Reaching your goal means overcoming your pride and exposing yourself to criticism.
4. David sacrificed relationship. Because Michel criticized David for his behavior as they brought the Ark to Jerusalem, David withdrew from her. Sometimes those you love won’t understand your passion for the goal. When that happens you may have to make a choice between the relationship and the goal. David’s real goal was not moving the Ark; it was experiencing the presence of God.

God has no Plan B. Rather than ask God to bless our plan, we should ask God to give us His plan, then follow it.

I ministered last night at the Evangelical Church of Christ in San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima’s largest district. The church is now the flagship church of the Evangelical Church of Christ, Pastor Eli having become the President of the denomination. I will share more about his role as President in another blog, focusing now on last night’s service.

My text was Ephesians 3:14-20, Paul’s prayer for the church of Ephesus, and how we can model that prayer. Paul prayed that the church at Ephesus would:

1. Have inner strength
2. Have the power of the Holy Spirit
3. Faith
4. Love
5. Fullness
6. Blessings beyond their imaginations

That is my prayer for the Evangelical Church of Christ of Peru, which is going through some major struggles. (I’ll post in another blog.) Pastor Eli said the word brought him encouragement, and that he knew he could fight the battle.

Today I’m at the VFM Conference, then At Emmanuel Bible Church in Zarate for a leadership meeting. As always, I thank you for your prayers and support. I’ll continue to bring updates as time permits. God bless.

First Report from Lima!


Greetings from Lima!

My flight to Lima was without incident, and I was met at the airport by our spiritual son, Jose Vicente, our daughters, Debora Meca and Maria Momojara, and our friend Pastor Julio Romero. Because our regular hotel had no vacancy on my arrival, I was taken to a different hotel, then transferred to our “Lima home”, Suites Antique, where I will be for the remainder of the trip. I had lunch yesterday with Pastor Julio and his wife, Soledad, and our translator, Emma, as we discussed my itinerary for the trip. Then, last night I preached at Emmanuel Bible Church in San Isidro district of Lima. Emmanuel is one of the larger evangelical churches in Lima, and is the mother church to Jose and Raquel Vicente’s church in Zarate. The Sr. Pastor is on vacation, so the Sr. Associate, Pastor Norberto, served as our host. He and I connected like old friends. It is incredible how the Holy Spirit can, in an instant, bring people together as family.

My message, from 1 Sam 30:1-6, highlighted the challenges David faced and how he strengthened himself in the Lord. In the midst of horrible circumstances, God gave David a Purpose—to rescue and recover all that had been taken, a Promise—that he would succeed, and a Pursuit—he had to do his part to bring success. I concluded with four steps to David’s victory: 1)Brokenness—he had nothing left and nowhere to turn but God; 2)Asking God for help; 3) Listening for God to speak; and 4) Taking action on God’s instructions. Focusing on Brokenness, I invited people to give their broken lives to God in total surrender and receive Christ as their Lord. About twenty new names were added to the Lamb’s Book of Life last night. That’s what it’s all about!

This afternoon Pastor Ronnie Swadley and I will speak at the Victory Fellowship of Ministries Conference. Tonight I’ll be ministering at the new Evangelical Church of Christ president’s church. This is an important time for Pastor Eli and me to meet together and discuss the denomination and my future involvement in it. Please pray for clear guidance by the Holy Spirit for us.

Tomorrow afternoon Pastor Ronnie and I will be back at the VFM Conference, then I’ll minister to the leadership of Emmanuel Bible Church in Zarate in the evening.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Your partnership with us means you share with us in the success of the trip, and together we can give Jesus Christ all the glory. I’ll update again later in the trip. God bless.