Monday, January 29, 2007

January 23-29

        We waited all week to see what the Lord would do with the sale of our apartment. But in the end, it looks like the Lord has a different plan. The couple that wanted to negotiate a price was not in the position to do so yet, so we are going to have to begin to move our other options with the bank that will allow us to buy the house in Petrer and then sell the apartment in Alicante. It is a good option, but it is a little bit more expensive in the long run. But we are trusting in the Lord.
        This week I finished up the Bible study with the young couple about raising children. But they are excited to continue! So we are going to talk some about Bible study and other topics they have questions about. They have also expressed interest in moving to Petrer with us. We are waiting on the Lord to do that. I want to make sure that it is really His moving in their lives.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January 16-22

        This week we were able to get back to our Bible study with Lorenzo and Ana María. They continue to grow spiritually and ask good questions. It was also an encouraging week for us about our house. As we have mentioned before, we are waiting on the Lord to sell our house so that we can make this move and begin to have a presence in Petrer (and continue the work, of course). On Friday I was a bit down because it seemed that there was no movement. I asked the Lord for something, and not two hours later, the phone rang. It was a lady who wanted to come see the house. She came on Saturday and really liked it. She will return this next Saturday to sit down and negotiate a price with us. We are praying that all will go well.
        On Sunday I preached here in Alicante. I spoke from Philippians 2 about the humble attitude of Christ which can bring unity in the church. But the fleshly attitudes that are native in us will ruin that unity. Paul tells the believers that nothing in the church is to be done with strife or vain glory. These are diametrically opposed to humility and to unity.

Monday, January 15, 2007

January 8-15

        Much of our activity this last week revolved around an intensive Bible institute class up in the Madrid area. A missionary there asked me to come up and teach on the book of Ezekiel. This book has been a very special book to me, so I was excited to work on it again and take of the challenge of trying to give an overview of the book in a one day class. We traveled up to Móstoles on Friday afternoon. Saturday was an extremely full day. Breakfast was served at the church at 8:00. The class started at 9:00 and we did not finish until 5:00. We had a few breaks of course during the day, including about an hour and half for a wonderful lunch. But the group listened careful and asked good questions. I focused my study of the book on the concept of glory. It begins with a vision of God's glory and a call to the prophet to minister so that people will know that God's prophet was among them. As he preaches, we see that the people reject God's glory, but that there is a constant theme running underneath all of the judgement that God will one day restore his people for his own glory. And finally the last section gives Ezekiel a vision of a new and glorious temple.
        On Sunday I preached in the church in Móstoles on Ezekiel 24: God took away the delight of Ezekiel's eyes, his wife, as a sign to the nation, and yet the death of his wife did not embitter him or cause him to sink into depression [as the fall of Jerusalem did to the exiles in captivity], for obviously the prophet had a greater "delight." He had seen God, and nothing could move him. This passage is a challenge to all of us to place our eyes on the Lord and run the race with patience.

Monday, January 08, 2007

January 1-7

        My parents left on Thursday so we have been working to get back into our routine after the holidays. Last Sunday was my last official day as pastor in the church in Alicante which was very emotional for me. But now I can focus my efforts on starting the new work in Petrer. The first big step, however, is for us to move. Once we are living there, we will be much more effective making contacts and we will have a place to meet with those contacts.
        I had a meeting with the real estate agents on Thursday, and we are going to extend the contract for two months so that we can sell our apartment. This is a major matter of prayer for us! As soon as we have a buyer, we can start setting up the move. The Lord encouraged us because while I was in the meeting with the real estate agent, someone called about our apartment. We are trusting in the Lord that He will sell our apartment.
        Much of my study this week has been devoted to Ezekiel. I will be teaching an intensive Bible institute in the Madrid area this Saturday on the book. When that is over, I need to return to my studies on the Church which are preparing us for the work that we are going to begin in Petrer.

Friday, January 05, 2007

December 18-31

        With my parents here and all of the special activities, I got away from writing my Monday reports. So once again I find myself trying to catch up! We had a great visit with my parents and enjoyed our time together as a family. We also had a good end to the year. The Sunday before Christmas we had a very special day with a church lunch after the morning service. We had good attendance and then we followed it up with a mid-afternoon service. Different members read portions from the Christmas story in Luke and we sung appropriate hymns between readings. It was a very nice time to spend together as a church family. Last Sunday, my father was asked to preach in Elche for the morning service, so we all went and I translated for him. In the evening we finished out our year with a celebration of the Lord's supper. It was a very special celebration for me because it was my last official service as pastor here in Alicante. I have communicated to the church my desire to withdraw from Alicante so that I can focus my efforts on starting a new work in Petrer, about 30 minutes away from Alicante. As we celebrated the Lord's new covenant through the symbolism of that special meal, we recalled all of His blessings to us and the ways in which we all desired to be more faithful in the coming year. It was a beautiful way to finish out a year.
        For our prayer services this month I have been speaking on the prayers/psalms that we find in the first chapters of Luke. It has been a blessing to study Zechariah's, Mary's and Simeon's prayers to see what Christ's birth meant to them. I have also been continuing on with our Bible studies with Lorenzo and Ana María. We are constantly encouraged by their desire to learn and do what is right. They have even expressed the desire to move with us to Petrer to help out with the new ministry. We are praying that the Lord would do His will in giving us the people that He wants us to have.