Monthly Archives: July 2011
Wow, what a great week at Vacation Bible School! We were honored to be at our home church’s summer kids program most nights this week and let me tell you, God worked in amazing ways! The theme was “Boot Camp — Get In The Lord’s Army.” Several hundred kids attended, over a hundred teens and adults from Lighthouse helped pull it off, and at least 44 kids spoke with counselors and made professions of faith, making Christ Jesus their Lord and Savior.
It was very odd to just walk into a VBS at Lighthouse and not have much to do with pulling it off. Very different from years past, no doubt. We were able to help with crowd control and decision counseling, and praise God, both Aubrie and I were able to lead a few children to Christ!
Pastor Blackstock also announced that the offering from the penny march would go toward my friends Will Hill (missionary to Japan), Beth Johnson (missionary to Morocco) and us (missionaries to Colombia, of course). What an honor! Thank you guys, we love you!
Remember what Christ said:
“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:10
With about 3 months left until local elections in Colombia, at least 21 political candidates have been assassinated just this year by illegal armed groups. Perhaps they stood for issues that were against the group’s agenda. Perhaps they were vying for control over an area already controlled by these groups. Perhaps they were simply in their way. At this rate, I really don’t know why anybody would have a desire to be in the Colombian government!
It burdens me when I read headlines like these about Colombia or other parts of the world, knowing that they so desperately need Christ. If we could only get them the Gospel it would change everything!
Check out what Paul said in 1 Corinthians:
“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
If you are familiar with the story of the Apostle Paul, you’ll know that God really took him from one extreme to the other. He killed, imprisoned and persecuted God’s people until Christ became his Savior, upon which time he then became a catalyst for new church plants, leader training and early church edification. Not to mention God used him to pen at least 16 books of the New Testament portion of the Bible. Incredible.
Now, though the people who are responsible for the violence in Colombia aren’t necessarily targeting Christians (though they’ll take out whoever stands in their way), could you imagine what God could do with their lives if they ever became HIS disciples!? That passion that once was used for a violent political agenda would be channeled into a purpose for God’s glory! We would never know the full impact of a life that is won for Christ. As one man put it, “You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can never count the apples in a seed!”
But what is standing in the way between these extremist groups and others becoming sold out for God and where they are now?
They don’t have the Gospel!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” 2 Corinthians 4:3-5
The Gospel is what changes people. It is the story of Christ’s undying, sacrificial love demonstrated for us on the Cross, paying for our sin. It is the truth that only He can save, only He can change, and only He can give us hope.
The Gospel is powerful.
The Gospel never changes.
The Gospel is our most effective weapon against the dark forces that have blinded the world.
The Gospel is what needs to be preached.
But, the Gospel is being hidden.
We haven’t taken them the hope we hold so dearly in our own lives. How shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach except they be sent?
Pray that we can get to Colombia soon. Will you pray about coming with us?
Ever since I can remember, Vacation Bible School has always been one of my favorite times of the year. From the awesome Bible stories, memory verses, fun songs, prizes, skits and more, it’s always such a blast! Please be in prayer for my home church as they kick off their annual VBS tonight at 7 PM.
It is always humbling to think of so many kids coming into the church and hearing the Gospel clearly for the first time. Pray that everything will go smoothly. Pray for all the counselors as they work with the children that are being dealt with. These children’s eternity is at stake!
May God move in their hearts.
May the Holy Spirit convict them of their sinful state and need for Christ.
May all their trust be placed in what Christ has already done to pay for that sin.
May Christ be magnified, glorified and exalted above all else!
Jeff Bush, the missionary to Argentina that was robbed this week, just wrote this on his blog. I thought I’d pass it along to keep you all up to date.
This past Sunday night we were coming home from church and as we were walking into the house, Mindy started to close the front door and was surprised when she felt someone pulling it back open from the outside. Immediately a gun was pointed at her and 2 men barged into our house yelling at us to get down on the floor. My parents and nephew had just arrived and thankfully each of our girls was close enough to one of the adults as we were made to sit down on the floor. The thieves started asking for money, cell phones, etc. One of them went over to my wife and tried to pull her necklace off and asked for her wedding rings. Then one of them took me upstairs to our bedroom and made me give him money that we had saved back and started dumping out stuff from drawers and closets in our room. They found our computers and emptied out my wife’s jewelry box. During this time my wife and parents and the children were downstairs with the other thief. My wife asked him if he believe in God and he said, “Yes.” She then told him, “I will tell you what is the most valuable possession we own. See that Book over there?” he went over, picked up her Bible and thumbed through it. Before they left as they were packing up our belongings, he started to put the Bible in the backpack and the other man told him, “Don’t take that (the Bible)!” He said, “But this lady gave it to me.” And he put in the bag. It was very ironic as they were stealing important things and he acted like he needed to take it because my wife had given it to him. May the Lord use that Bible to speak to his heart of his lost condition. When the other one brought me downstairs he again started to wave the gun around and asked where the “big money” was and said that he was “sent” to our house because someone has been watching me. They obviously thought they were going to get more than they did. I told him that the money goes to the construction at the church (which he had already referred to our church, knowing that much about us). He didn’t believe me and both of them started to go through everything downstairs putting things in their pockets every now and then. They started filling up my backpack with our computers, camera, cell phone and took our wedding rings off our fingers. They found our passports but when I asked him not to take them, he left them alone. I also asked him for a credit card that he had taken with some of the money and he very kindly gave it back! For a few minutes I was able to talk to him about the Lord and he listened, probably more so than the average person on the street! Finally after about an hour they decided they weren’t going to get anymore. The older one lifted up some duct tape of ours that he had found in a drawer and was going to tie us up. I begged him to not touch my girls and although it sounds crazy, he started to walk over and then just set the tape down. I believe the Lord blinded his understanding as he just put the tape on the table and said, “Ok, let’s go.” Before leaving, he said, “If you report us to the police, we’ll be back to take your daughter.” They then proceeded to go out the door in what felt to most of us like the end of a very bad dream. We all gathered together and through many tears, we thanked the Lord for protecting us. Our 9 year old daughter, Lydia, got her Bible and suggested we read a passage from Psalms.
After having talked through this, my wife said, “Whenever I imagined that something like this would happen, I always imagined that we would all be hysterical and panicking, but somehow the Lord gave us all a peace as if we were just calmly watching it happen in a dream.” Even our daughters were very calm during the time that the men were in our house. Only once towards the end did they start to cry. And our VERY active 15 month old Alexa, “somehow” sat quietly on her Papaw’s lap for close to an hour without moving!! We see now how God protected us and kept us safe as many people have told us that usually when they come in unmasked, many times they kill or will do something so you cannot identify them. We believe that the Lord held their hand from touching and harming us.
We ask that you would pray for us that the Lord will give us back a sense of security in our home and will allow the girls to not be afraid. Pray for the protection of all missionaries on the field where wickedness abounds so much more. Although we had many earthly possessions taken away from us, we are not so worried about any of that. We are just thankful that we have each other and no one was harmed! So many of you have been kind in sending emails, saying you are praying for us and some have even taken up a love offering to help with our needs. We want to thank you for this. Our fellow missionaries have been kind enough to allow us to borrow a computer. And our churches in Argentina have showed us their love in so many ways. We may not be able to answer every email as our computers were stolen and some emails were never received, but we have read everything received and thank you so much for loving us!
Here to Serve,
Jeff and Mindy Bush and family
Today, all over the country of Colombia, people will be parading, celebrating, partying, and honoring its nation’s leaders and military because July 20th is their Independence Day!
If you’d like to read a brief history of how they gained independence from Spain 201 years ago, click here. It’s a very interesting story, no doubt. Here’s a hint: it involves a flower vase!
Colombia is a beautiful country with very kind people. But it is a country that needs the Gospel, just as much as the rest of the world! They don’t need more religion. They already have loads of that. They need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They don’t need to hear more facts about Jesus, but they need to hear how they can be personally saved by His redemptive work on the cross.
It’s probably safe to say that 90-95% of all Colombians have never heard a true presentation of the Gospel. Will you pray that we can raise our support and get there soon? Will you pray that more laborers would surrender their lives to take this message to Colombia and around the world? How about you?