Monday, June 16, 2008

June 10-16

This past week Jamie arrived. She is a student at BJU who is studying missions. She will be with us all summer to have some first hand experience with missions. So far she has fit right in with the family and the ministry. Right off the bat she has been spending time with the women in our little congregation. And the people have accepted her nicely. This weekend was a very special time. A lady we met in Alicante years ago came up and spent the weekend with us. She is a believer and a very special friend. Two years ago I preached her husband's funeral. For the last year and a half, she has been in Argentina, but she returned last week and gave us a call. We had good opportunities to talk about spiritual things and encourage her.

This week the ladies had their prayer time/Bible study as usual, and I did the study with Sergio. Unfortunately he was away for the weekend, so he wasn't in any of the services yesterday. We had a special treat on Saturday evening. We were going to drop by and visit Lorenzo and Ana María, but as we got near their house, we saw them coming towards us with Gospel flyers in their hands. They were out passing out tracts as a family. What a blessing it is to see believers involved in sharing the Gospel in this way. So we split up the flyers and helped them pass them out. On Sunday Lorenzo and Ana María were not in the service here because they went to Alicante. The pastor there asked them to come and share a testimony with the church, since the church gave them an offering a few months back when Lorenzo was out of work. But their absence was made up by a few visitors from the church in Elche. We continued our series on Moses, looking at the excuses that Moses gave for not wanting to do God's will. In the evening we met at Lorenzo and Ana Maria's place for our last study in the series on the church. We looked at several signs of a healthy church.

June 03-09

After last week's contact with Carmen, we were excited about the possibility of her coming to the ladies' Bible study. But unfortunately she did not come this week. We will continue to pray for her and seek opportunities to share Christ's love with her. I continue to have good opportunities in the Bible study with Sergio. He suddenly started wearing a crucifix a few weeks ago, so we talked about it last week. He claims to be saved, but it is always good to go back over the gospel, and the crucifix provided the perfect opportunity as I shared with him the importance of Christ's death AND resurrection. Maria Eugenia thinks that Sergio will soon be leaving to spend the summer with his family in another part of Spain, so we must take advantage of every opportunity the Lord gives us with him. He came and spent the better part of Saturday with our family.
On Sunday I continued our series on Moses. We looked this week at the problems that Moses had as he was beginning his mission. He had a wonderful start, but he got ahead of God, and there are always problems when we get ahead of God, no matter how good the thing may be that we are trying to do. For our evening service we watched a gospel film and then had some time to talk about it afterwards. It was good to see how people were able to relate its message to the sermon from the morning.

May 27-June 02

Last week my parents left. We had a good time with them and were able to do some special things. I was especially appreciative of the advice and encouragement that they gave us. On Wednesday we got back into our normal schedule. I had the Bible study with Sergio and David while Maribel met with the ladies for a time of prayer. On Thursday I met with a Christian man from town who called me two years ago after receiving a tract in his mailbox. I have prayed often for his unsaved wife, but the Lord put it on my heart to invite them over for lunch on Saturday. He was skeptical whether or not she would come, but we prayed about it and he promised to talk to her. To make a long story short, he and his wife spent a wonderful day with us and another Christian family from the Alicante church. After lunch we had a short devotional in which I presented the plan of salvation. She listened carefully and is interested in meeting with the women for their time of study.
Yesterday in our service, after celebrating the Lord's table, we started a new series of sermons on the life of Moses. I have called it, "Why so many problems?" We looked at all of the problems surrounding Moses' birth. The solution for his parents was found in their faith, according to Hebrews. They trusted God and He used that "problem" to prepare Moses for his future service for God. In the afternoon we finished up out discussion on spiritual gifts with the second half of last week's study on the gift of tongues.

May 20-26

Last week I prayed very specifically about Lorenzo's work. I asked the Lord to give him a job this week if it was His will. I was really hoping that he would find work here in Elda, but the Lord answered in another way. They called him from a company in Alicante, and he is starting work today. This means that he has to travel almost an hour on his motorcycle to get to work and then another hour in the evening to get home. The hours are long, but at least he will be earning money. It doesn't seem like a long term job, but it is the answer to our prayers. Last week Lorenzo came to my Bible institute classes with me since he was not working yet. We were covering James and Hebrews. It was a special blessing to go through these books.
This was the last Sunday that my parents will be here, so it was nice to have my dad preach. He preached about the "complaint" sections of Jeremiah. It was a good message for our congregation. It reminded all of us that we must keep our eyes on the Lord and His promises to us. In the evening we met at María Eugenia's house for our study. We talked this week about the gift of tongues. We looked at the book of Acts and then started to look at 1 Corintians 14. We'll be coming back to this study next week, Lord willing. All of the believers in our little church are first generation Christians, and all have had at least some contact with Charismatics, so it is important to make sure that we have a firm base to understand the Scriptural focus on gifts.

May 13-19

Maribel and I celebrated our anniversary this past week. How we praise the Lord for these thirteen years the Lord has given us together. Last year we had to celebrate our anniversary in the hospital, so this year it was special just to leave the kids with my parents one night and go out together on a little date. We had many of our other normal activities this week. Marbel met with the ladies for a Bible study and I had our Bible study with Sergio. My Bible Institute class continue to go well. This past week we finished up the Pastoral Epistles. This week we will be starting the General Epistles. We have finally finished the construction project downstairs. So we had Lorenzo and Ana Maria over on Friday to help clean up all of the dust and dirt.
Yesterday we had good services. Unfortunately, Maria Eugenia and Sergio were out of town because of a local holiday. We were happy to have a family up from Alicante to visit. I preached my second message from Colossians about seeking the things from above. This week we looked at 3.2-4. There are two phrases there that really catch my attention: our life is hid with Christ in God and Christ is our life. We talked about several practical aspects of seeking the things above, like how we can do it, why we can do it, and why we should do it. In the evening my parents went down to the church in Elche and my father preached there. So it was just Lorenzo's family and mine. We met at their house and watched a Christian film together and then had a time of prayer.

May 06-12

On Tuesday my parents arrived. They will be with us over the next three weeks. But we had a weekend with plenty of activity. On Saturday Maribel organized a ladies' tea for Mothers' Day. She as well as the other ladies in the church invited neighbors and friends over to our house. She also asked a lady from the church in Murcia to come up and speak to the group. We had a wonderful lunch with the lady and her husband, and the ladies had an excellent meeting. I was very encouraged by the fact that several of our neighbors came. One of our neighbors has studied quite a bit with the Jehovah's witnesses, and she asked a lot of questions. Another neighbor took a Bible with her and promised to read it. Yesterday God blessed in our services. María Eugenia had her grandkids with her over the weekend, so we had extra children. I preached from Colossians 3 about seeking spiritual things. After the message, we split up and the adults spent a time of sharing and singing while Maribel took the kids and reviewed the message with them. In the afternoon we continued our study on the Church. I spoke this week about the temporal gifts. This was a very important part of the study because several in the group have had some contact in the past with charismatic groups, so I want them to understand clearly what the Bible teaches. The Lord blessed and there was a very good spirit.