January 2011

4 reasons outreaches are life changing

As I reflect upon my week just spent in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I am realizing afresh what a life changing experience a cross cultural missions outreach can be.Our team of fifteen from Bridgewood Community Church, took some time last Saturday morning before our departure to debrief. The clear consensus was that each of our lives was unalterably touched by God through our relationships with one another, and especially with the people of Cabo.

As is typical of most forays into a strange place and immersion in a different culture, we shared common fears and worries. Would we be able to make the necessary adjustments in the accommodations, food, time schedule and the many demands put upon us to complete our ministry goals? How would we be received by the people we had come to serve? How much of a challenge would the language barrier be in our communication with one another?

In retrospect we can see how all of these fears were allayed by the faithfulness of God. It never ceases to amaze me how everything on an outreach can end up working out for good and for His glory. God’s just-in-time breakthroughs and provision always prevail. And divine connections, the providential meeting and bringing together of key individuals, always delight.

Why are outreaches so life changing?

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More news from Cabo

Greetings from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Our Bridgewood Community Church missions team continues to stand in awe of all that God is doing here in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I feel like John when he wrote in his Gospel that if everything Jesus did were to be recorded there would not be enough blogs in the world to contain it. (John 21:25)

Since my last report, two days ago, we have seen Him touch so many lives and accomplish so many amazing things. Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights:

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News from Cabo

Dios te bendiga! God bless you from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Since arriving mid day on Saturday, our missions team of fifteen from Bridgewood Community Church have all joyfully jumped right into action. The needs here are great, but God in His grace has prepared the way and we are thankful for the opportunity to serve Him and the precious people here.

The little missions church of Alpha y Omega is the focus of our week of service. It is located in a very poor neighborhood of what is becoming the sprawling metropolis of Cabo. With the difficult economic times more and more Mexicans are making their way to tourist destinations like this one in search of work. Make shift homes from whatever material can be acquired are springing up in areas where the development of infrastructure cannot keep pace. Many of these neighborhoods, served only by dusty pot-holed streets, have no electricity or running water.

Pastor Juan and his wife Patty founded the Alpha y Omega ministry just five years ago. They are deeply motivated by their concern for neglected children and desire to bring healing to adults ravaged by the hopelessness of sin. Both Juan and Patty have personally experienced the pain and suffering of those to whom God has called them to minister. But both have also experienced the amazing power of Jesus who has healed and set them free.

Juan was born into a family where he was one of the youngest of eighteen children. His desire to make something of himself turned him into a driven man pursuing a government career at the expense of his marriage and family. He ended up separated from Patty but Jesus came into his life in his mid forties, restored his marriage and called him into the ministry.

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5 ways God makes us holy

“Discipline…produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Does a loving God spank His kids? You bet! It is the last resort of a discipline process He uses to conform us to the image of His Son. Spanking is just one of five basic means God uses to communicate to us what is right and wrong, the consequences of our choices and how to get right with Him. All His means of discipline are motivated by His love for us. He wants to protect us from harm and prepare us for faithful service, but ultimately His purpose is to make us holy. “God (disciplines) us for our good in order that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10)

Here are the five basic ways that God disciplines and trains us in holiness.

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Why God can trust you with the keys

“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord . . . for whom the Lord loves He reproves.” Proverbs 3:11-12

Can God trust you with the keys to His car? It all depends on how well you have responded to His discipline in your life.

In a recent post I established the fact that God’s discipline in our lives is an expression of His love. (A revelation of discipline and love) Since that is true, how then do we recognize His discipline and come to embrace it with an obedient response?

The goal of God’s discipline is to conform us to the image of His son, Jesus Christ. That transformation process is meant to move us from a self-centered lifestyle to a Spirit-controlled life. The Holy Spirit, as the Third Person of the Trinity, is the transformation agent who implements Jesus’ will and Lordship in our lives.

It is helpful in understanding God’s discipline to consider why and how a good parent disciplines their children. If you think about it, a parent’s discipline of their child stems from their loving care and a desire for their well-being. Good parenting essentially expresses itself in protecting a child from harm and equipping them to live productive lives. As a child matures into a young adult, parents exercise less external control as the child learns the internal governance of self-control. The test of a parent’s success and rite of passage for their son or daughter is handing them the keys to the family car.

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