Following Fausto (a short term missionary tale)

80F267FE-2F53-4486-8A94-30597487B57ELast week I went on my first mission trip. Four people from my church joined a team of Christians from all across the United States to go to Loja, Ecuador.  We never met before this trip but came home as if we had known each other for a long time. This statement is also true of the translators that we worked with. My family of brothers and sisters in Christ has grown.

My assignment on this trip was to go with my team member, Pastor Jase, and our translators Christopher and Cyndi, to a town called Catamayo. There we worked with Pastor Fausto.

Upon meeting Pastor Fausto he took us to his church office and asked us a few questions. He asked a little about us personally and some about our theology. Then he spoke some about himself then introduced us to his lovely family. Then he said “Haku” which means “let’s go!”

BD28CD6F-3215-4E06-85EF-828300929090.jpegSo we left the office and followed him. He seemed to know where he was going as if he had walked this path several times. He took us to a man who was sitting in a chair on the sidewalk cutting coconuts. He spoke to him for a minute then turned to us and gestured basically saying “You’re up. Do what you came here to do and share the gospel.” So Pastor Jase shared the his story then God’s story and the coconut cutting man said he wanted to trust in Christ. Praise God!

16080423-7DC7-4DA4-AE4E-BA0DE1569742.jpegWe prayed with the man, got his info for follow up, then Pastor Fausto said “Haku.”  And he was off to the next person. And we followed him.

This was the pattern for 5 days of ministry in Catamayo. We followed Pastor Fausto from house to house. From business to business. From person to person. This man has laid ground work with so many people in Catamayo. He is building relationships. He is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When Pastor Jase and I shared the gospel with people we could tell Pastor Fausto had already spoke the words of life to them. Some just needed us to come water the seeds that were already planted. We even visited people who he has already planted and is watering. His church members know their bible. God is bringing growth.

356DFA11-D774-464A-8043-4C8D3FA512B4The thing that sticks out most as I reflect on following Fausto is how he loves. He can just decide to be content in his church office and pray people come to Christ. But that’s not what he does. Pastor Fausto goes to the people. He talks to them. He cares about them. I don’t think he goes just once either. He keeps going. He brings others with him. He prays over them. He not only tells them about Jesus Christ, he shows them Jesus Christ. This is how I want to be. I want to live the great commission as I saw Pastor Fausto live the great commission.

This is the text that came to my head after 5 days of following Fausto. Paul writes,

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

Pastor Fausto, thank you for showing me Christ as we followed you around your lovely city of Catamayo. I pray to come back and see all the fruit God grows through your obedience.

Haku!!!!!!!

Soli Deo Gloria

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Our Best Offense is a Solid Defense

Last Sunday I had the honor to preach at Island Baptist Church in LBI, NJ.  My good friend Luke Fraser is the pastor.  He is a great man of God and it was a tremendous privilege to be in his pulpit.

I preached on 1 Peter 3:15 and how this vs teaches us as Christians how we are to honor Christ as holy, have an assured answer for people who ask us why, and answer like Christ.

Please take a few minutes to watch.

That 3:16

“For God so loved”  We think we know what love is.  We love our friends and our family and our pets.  But God so loved.  His love is beyond anything we can think of.  Think of a person you love more than anything else.  Nope!  That’s nothing compared to the love of God.

“the world”  This is Jew, Gentile, black, white, Hispanic, Arabic, European, Asian, African, every nationality.  God doesn’t care how much melanin you have in your skin.  He doesn’t care what part of the world you are from.  He so loves people out of every nation, tribe, and tongue.

“that He gave”  Have you ever given a gift?  Think of the most expensive gift you have given.  That is nothing compared to what God has given.  He spared no expense for who He loves.

“His only begotten Son” This is Who He gave.  His one and only unique Son.  Jesus Christ.  Born of a virgin.  Lived a sinless life. Died a sinners death.

“that whoever believes in Him shall not perish”  What do you mean perish?  If you don’t believe in the Son then the wrath of God will be poured out on you because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  The punishment for sinning against an eternal God is eternity in hell.  This is bad news.  But the verse says if you are “whoever” and believe this will not happen.

“but have eternal life.”  Yes!  Believe and you will receive eternal life.  Eternal life with God forever praising the Creator.  You will be forgiven of your sins and set free from being enslaved to them.  You will be given a new heart being born again to follow the risen and living Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord.

Believe today! Now is the time!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Finished

imageThere is nothing a person can do on their own to get right with God. It takes perfection. We are not perfect so we must die. But there is a work that has been done to make sinners right before a holy God. The finished work of Jesus Christ alone saves sinners. When a sinner turns from sin and trusts in Jesus Christ God sees the wage/penalty of sin, which is death, paid in full. Trust in Jesus Christ today.

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Love

cropped-ocean.jpgWe are called to love one another. Jesus says this is how men will know we are His disciples.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

The two greatest commandments He says (paraphrasing) are to love God with everything and love everyone else as ourselves. No one does either. We disobey God showing we can’t love Him as He commands and hence we can’t truly love neighbor. But Jesus fulfilled this and by His love we can love.

Repent and believe the good news.

 

 

Speeding

imageI’ve been pulled over before. The occasions are rare but they have happened. I’m blessed to have a family member who is a police officer. He has given me a PBA card that I hand to the officer that pulls me over along with the required documents. The card has a statement that asks the officer to extend all courtesies. The officer can extend courtesies on the authority of the officer who issued me this card. He basically can treat me as if I was the issuing officer and show mercy on his authority.

Watch this video and see how this is a small picture of the Gospel.

On His authority we can receive mercy and grace.

Turn to Christ and live today. You ticket has been paid!