Category Archives: Random Thoughts
“¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa!”
I tuned in yesterday afternoon in time to hear multitudes of Catholics from all over the world chanting in expectation of their new leader. Flags were waving all over the Vatican. The cry of the crowd was a cry of enthusiasm, expectation and energy as the new pope was to be revealed.
Then, as the curtains were pulled back, it was announced that the pope was none other than Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis. Indeed, this man is the first Latin American to ever be chosen as Catholicism’s Papal leader.
He is a simple man, choosing to be as much among the people as possible, live a simple life, help the poor and deny many of life’s dainties for the “greater good.”
He led the people in reciting the Lord’s Prayer, then a prayer to Mary.
You could see expressions of hope on the faces of all who listened.
…But is there hope in the pope?
I need to be careful here, because my intention is not to carelessly offend those that hold to the catholic teachings. But could I be so bold as to say, Catholicism, at its core teaching, is leading over a billion people to hell.
Why is that?
Don’t Catholics believe in God? Don’t they believe in the Bible? Don’t they believe that Jesus died on the cross?
Yes, they believe all of these truths.
But what is different between biblical Christianity and catholic teaching? Simply put, it’s a matter of do vs. done.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Christian initiation is accomplished by means of the sacraments which establish the foundations of Christian life. The faithful born anew by Baptism are strengthened by Confirmation and are then nourished by the Eucharist.”
Their teachings go on to express that there are 7 sacraments of the church, and in keeping these sacraments you will have favor with God and earn salvation.
But ask any catholic if they know where they will spend eternity and they always reply, “I don’t know” or “you can’t know” or “I won’t know until after I die.”
Why is that? Because salvation is depending on what they do. They are initiated into the church as a baby when they are baptized, they go through confirmation as a child or young adult, and they take the communion. They confess their sins to the priest, pray to Mary, pray to the saints and other idols, and help the poor, but it comes down to one question: What is their salvation depending on? DO or DONE!?
Friend, there is no hope in the pope. He is just a man. He may be a nice man, but he is a man who is leading people down a religious road straight to an eternity that is separated from God.
Salvation is only by grace through faith. It is either grace or it is works. It cannot be both. Jesus already bought our salvation, and offers it as a gift to all who will believe on him. Why are you trying so hard to earn it?
If you have never been biblically saved, if you are still trying to work your way to God, if you don’t know for sure if you’re eternity will be Heaven or Hell, I challenge you to do one thing. Repent.
Repent of your sin and your faith in works or religion. Then believe on Jesus. Run to Jesus. Throw out any other hope that you have and cling to the cross where Jesus paid for your sins. He says he will forgive you. He will accept you. He will make you his child and an heir to all promises. He promises to give you life. Don’t wait any longer.
The Bible says in John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
You have God’s word on it. He never breaks his promises. Don’t wait any longer. Believe on Jesus.
Christian, maybe you agree with all that I’ve written here. Would you pray with me for the billions around the world that are deceived by religion? Would you pray with me that God would raise up more laborers to take the GOOD NEWS to them, that Jesus paid it all? Would you pray that God would open their eyes, that they would know the truth, and this truth would make them free?
“Daaaadddaaaaa!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Come here Daddy! I need you!”
It was 4 AM this morning. My precious 2 1/2-year-old daughter Amira was crying in desperation. So, what’s a good dad to do? Down to her room I went.
At first sight of me she seemed relieved, and immediately she exclaimed, “I need some milk.” We talked some, quenched her thirst, and the conversation quickly went from her dry throat to more pressing issues.
“I need to sleep with you in Mommy’s bed” (funny how that works, isn’t it?). “No dear,” I replied, “you can stay in your bed. Just a couple more hours until the sun comes up. Your bed is nice and comfortable!”
“But there are monsters on my wall.”
She said it in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had to try to keep from chuckling.
Turns out, the monsters were not just on her wall, but also in the closet, under the bed, and on the ceiling, she told me. Honestly, I don’t know where she got that idea, but she was fully convinced of the infestation.
I showed her how safe her room was, that monsters weren’t real, then I assured her that God is in our house and he keeps the monsters and other scary things away. She got tucked in and slept for a few more hours, and woke up nice and cheerful as if nothing had ever happened. Thank goodness.
How many times do we act the same way? All around us there are “monsters” out to gobble us up. Maybe not the big, hairy, green ones, but our fear manifests itself in other ways.
- I can’t try anything new because I might fail
- I can’t witness because people might reject me
- I can’t give to the church or missions because I might not have enough for other bills
- I can’t speak to anybody about God because I might make them angry, and I might even be persecuted
It shows up in missions all around the world. May I be bold to say, Fear-based Christianity and fear-based missions is sin.
Why is it that the most frequent command in Scripture is to fear not? I believe that there are 2 prominent reasons:
1. Fear causes us to magnify a lie instead of Jesus
What is fear? It is worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet! Satan whispers a doubt, a lie, an unfounded anxiety, and we swallow it. That’s why we find the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
Anything that makes itself greater than my God is an idol and must be torn down. Tear down your fear. Bring your thoughts into captivity. Trust Christ.
2. Fear causes us to miss God’s will
When fear controls your life, the Devil gets the victory because you’ve already given up. “There’s no use in trying.” many might say. When we think of reaching the world with the Gospel, what is the greatest hinderance? We have missed it because we’re dominated by fear. Paul told one of the young men he mentored in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:
“6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
He had to remind Timothy of something that was forgotten. Fear doesn’t have to own you. God has something greater for you. The power to defeat that fear is already in you. If you don’t squash that fear, you will miss God’s plan for your life!
Christian, What’s your fear? What’s the “Monster on the wall?” What’s lifting itself up above Jesus in your life? What’s holding you back from doing God’s will? It’s time to lay it aside and trust Christ. It’s time to live boldly for the ONE who gave all for us.
• Wednesday – Sunday of this past week was spent in Zachary, LA at Grace Baptist Church. I don’t know of many other churches that are so given to missions! What a blessing it was.
• On the way to Louisiana last week I was able to stop by Pensacola Christian College in FL to see my brother Zach. He’s a music major in his 3rd year there… love that guy!
• We’ve picked up two new supporters (and a couple other “hopefuls” as well!) over the last two weeks. I believe this puts us right at 50% — Praise the Lord!
• Iglesia Bautista El Faro, the Spanish church we started in GA celebrated their 6th anniversary last Sunday. It really killed me not to be there, but I was told that the Lord really blessed in a great way! The Lord is doing such a great job through Pastor Alfonso.
• Hell’s Gates, an outreach event at our home church, has also gone very well. My pastor told me today that 84 people have made salvation decisions so far this month! If you haven’t been yet and live anywhere near Georgia, you should definitely make plans to go. There are only two weekends left. Let me know if you have any questions.
• IN THE NEWS: Please be praying for Colombia as they begin peace talks with the FARC rebel group today in Norway. This has been a highly anticipated event that has brought many mixed feelings amongst Colombians. May God’s will be done.
• PAST POST TO CONSIDER: Colombian Fruit
• FROM THE WORD: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
• Some pictures from the week:
Thanks for keeping up with us. We’d love to hear from you… just comment, message or email us to let us know how we can pray for you. May God bless!
- It has been North Carolina week for us!
- Started out this week’s meetings at Community Baptist Church in Siler City, NC for their Missions Sunday.
- I was blown away by the generosity and heart of this dear church. It’s exciting to see people who love Jesus and His mission
- I preached and presented our ministry in Sunday School, then a director from BIMI (another mission board) preached the main service.
- This man is a member of the church near Chattanooga that I went to as a child! It’s crazy how time flies… I remember him well.
- Sunday evening I preached and presented our ministry at Pleasant Plains Baptist in Apex, NC.
- What a fine group of faithful people. It was a joy to be there and meet these folks.
- Wednesday I was privileged to be with the people of Temple Baptist in Mount Airy, NC
- (This is the “Mayberry” of the Andy Griffith Show) — It was cool to stroll around town while in the area.
- After the service here, they, along with 2 others this week, expressed their interest and plan to take us on for support. Praise God!
- Also, God met a huge need through an unlikely source. I’ve been without a computer for a little while, and a young man said God laid it on his heart to buy me one with some extra money he had. What a huge blessing! Thank you Joseph.
- I think it’s easy to feel spoiled as a missionary. We’re way blessed beyond what we deserve, that’s for sure.
- Video to consider: Do You Suffer From D.I.M.S.?
A few pictures from the week…
I’ll be starting a regular posting of where we’ve been and what’s going on with us as we raise support to go to Colombia. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this type of update.
∙ We enjoyed being fairly close to our home this past week after being on the road for quite a while
∙ I attended a conference Tuesday and Wednesday in Atlanta in Spanish geared toward evangelism. It encouraged me to see hundreds of Hispanic pastors and their members excited about reaching others for God’s glory.
∙ Last Wednesday I presented our ministry at Good News Baptist Church in Candler, NC with Pastor Steve Smith. Great meeting and great church!
∙ Sunday Morning I got to preach twice while at Trinity Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA for their missions month. What a fun time we had with these dear people (and they gave us several pints of strawberries… Amira’s favorite!). The last time I was at this church was on my 11th birthday when my parents were part of their missions conference. My, how time flies.
∙ Sunday evening we had the rare privilege to be at our home Spanish church (where I had pastored) and to interpret for my Dad as he ministered there through an evangelistic Chalk art presentation.
∙ Anabel had a follow-up appointment with her eye specialist who was the one to recommend the treatment for her tumor. She was very impressed on how Anabel has improved! We won’t go back there for another 6 months. Next week we’ll see the Pediatric Dermatologist that oversaw her treatment at Egleston Children’s Hospital.
∙ My trusty Macbook computer has officially died after 6 years of hard use. I thought it was just the hard drive, but I took it to a repair place and they said it is the logic board/magsafe board. Anyways, repairs will cost hundreds more than it is worth. Time to save up for another. Pray God provides for this need.
∙ I was able to witness to two young Mormon missionaries yesterday after helping them jump off their car battery. Matthew 5:43-48 and Proverbs 25:21-22 come to mind. Pray that these men will trust Christ as their Savior.
∙ We’ve had 3 new financial partners just added to our team. Praise the Lord!!
Thank you for all for keeping up to date with our family. It means so much to us and we are very grateful.
How can we pray for you? Let us know in a message or comment.