Our Weekend in Fresno
Dave at Sierra View

Dave at Sierra View

This weekend Dawn and I along with two of our kids, David and Hannah were able to go to my home town, Fresno. Sunday morning I preached at Sierra View Presbyterian Church on Philippians 4:1-9, on The Incomparable Peace of Christ.

God’s Perfect Peace

One of my favorite passages and a wonderful hope filled message. I shared the following three points during my Sermon

Three Keys for Peace
  1. Always Rejoice
  2. Pray in all occasions 
  3. Focus your thinking on what is Excellent

I love the promise that God gives us in this passage in verses 6-7.

The promise of the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus

It’s like the soldiers that are ready, watching over, guarding and protecting the city. The Lord watches over and protects us.

What a beautiful promise of God that he will care for us and protect us. It’s something that should bring us much peace and encouragement. We know that God loves us and he rules over all things, so he has a good purpose for everything that happens.

Even though God doesn’t always respond to our prayers how we would like him to - he does respond how we would if we knew all that God knows!

I’m so grateful that the Prince of Peace promises us a peace that passes our understanding. An incomprehensible peace, because it’s so huge. As we pray God does respond. These are promises that are worth remembering and meditating on.

I pray that they will be a blessing to you as well.

God’s blessing in my hometown

Some of the things that made it extra special for me to be able to be in my home town and preach at Sierra View are that my parents and my brother and his family were able to be there with us! Also, Sierra View has been the church that has partnered with us for the longest, since we started in ministry in 1988. We’ve known each other for a long time.

Thank you Lord for your many blessings and for encouraging me and my family through your people this weekend.

I’m off to Los Cabos and La Paz this Monday morning to help set up our new church planting project in La Paz and to look over the damage done by Hurricane Odile. Pray for a profitable trip and the Lord watches over and cares for my family while I’m gone.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Transformed life!
Dave with Pastor Ivan Casados

Dave with Pastor Ivan Casados

God is on the move on the border in some amazing ways! I always come away encouraged after meeting with the pastors we are working with in Tijuana.

Pastor Ivan Casados shared with me how God is working and bringing transformation in the lives of people in his young church plant. One of the women in his church, we’ll call her Frida, has experienced life transformation as God has entered into her life.

Frida is the mother of four. She had been with four different men, similar to the Samaritan woman. Frida was not a good mother to her children. She would go out with men and leave her children to fend for themselves. Some days they would not have any food and she went out to dance and have fun with her lovers.

She felt like she needed these men, because they provided financial security and made her feel like somebody cared for her. Yet, these men were taking advantage of her, and she was neglecting her family.

Frida is Growing in Her Faith

God pursued Frida and she gave her life to Christ. She told the men to leave. It was hard for her, but now she is headed in the right direction.

Frida’s life was changed and she is now caring for her children. She’s growing in her faith in the Rivera del Bosque church that pastor Ivan Casados leads.

Ivan says that Frida has become an evangelist. She is  telling everyone she works with about Jesus and inviting them to church.

Isn’t it encouraging to see how Jesus changes lives?

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Good News about TJ

Tijuana

I love finding positive news about Tijuana!

The news about this border city just keeps getting better. I think TJ gets a bad rap, because of the past. It takes time for perception to change, even if the city is on an upward swing.

An article titled, The Rebirth of Tijuana appeared in The New York Times Opinion section on Sunday.  Author Sam Quinones writes a realistic view of Tijuana.

Tijuana is not pretty. A city of 1.3 million people, it is chaotic, grimy, unplanned, loud, and it smells bad. It possesses none of the colonial architecture or history of Morelia, Oaxaca City or Zacatecas, across Mexico’s interior. On the contrary, most of its neighborhoods, stacked across alarmingly steep hills, are less than 40 years old.

But Tijuana’s beauty lies deeper, and has to do with why the town is flourishing now.

The Welcome Arch in the Tourist area in Tijuana

The Welcome Arch in the Tourist area in Tijuana, near the border crossing

Quinones believes part of the appeal of Tijuana, and part of what makes it a special place is how far it is from Mexico City. Tijuana is the furthest city in Mexico from Mexico City.

I think it was one of Mexico’s poets, Octavio Paz who said, “poor Mexico so far from God and so close to the United States.” Quinones posits another saying, “Farther from Mexico City, the closer to God.”

Since we lived in Mexico City, it’s an interesting take on the power and influence that the capital city has over the nation and it’s people.

There’s Hope for TJ

Tijuana has survived much of its troublesome past and its beginning to thrive as it makes some positive strides forward.

Quinones finishes his article saying,

Decades after rising from the coastal desert, Tijuana finally has something like a history. More important, it has emerged from its darkest days to return to its roots as that rare place within Mexico where poor people like Mari can find refuge and a future.

We pray that the gospel will further invade this border town and that they will truly draw near to God! O Lord, hear our prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Great Commission

The Great Commission

It all starts with vision!

Our vision for the Border, the Baja and Beyond is to see a multiplication of churches which results in transformed individuals, families and communities.

Christ gave us the Great Commission in Gospel of Matthew.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. –Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

God Works Through His Church
Meeting with church pastors and church leaders in Tijuana

Meeting with church pastors and church leaders in Tijuana

The best way to make disciples is through the church. The size and type of church is secondary, but the church is God’s chosen vehicle. I realize the church is imperfect made up of broken and sinful people like you and me. Yet there is much hope, because of the gospel. The gospel changes everything. The gospel brings transformation!

Since the church is God’s chosen vehicle this is the reason we believe church planting is so vital to the growth of the body of Christ.

Someone has said that Tijuana is the most evangelized city in the world and one of the least churched. This may be an exaggeration, but the point is that many groups come down to do outreach on the border, but much of it isn’t connected to the church. This leads to fruit that doesn’t last. The fruit perishes as it is often choked out by the world.

The One Another Passages
San Ysidro Border Crossing into Tijuana, Mexico

San Ysidro Border Crossing into Tijuana, Mexico

Followers of Jesus are meant to grow together. This is evident in many passages throughout the  Bible. Some of those passages are the one another passages. Here are a few of them written by the Apostle Paul.

  • Members of one another – Romans 12:5
  • Devoted to one another – Romans 12:10
  • Honor one another – Romans 12:10
  • Same mind as one another – Romans 15:5
  • Accept one another Romans 15:7
  • Serve one another – Galatians 5:13
  • Bear one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:2
  • Submit to one another – Ephesians 4:2
  • Encourage one another – I Thessalonians 5:11

I’ve been involved in meetings on Friday and Saturday with pastors and church leaders who are working in a number of cities in Baja California. My hope is that God will work through us to see his kingdom expanded through his church here on the Border, the Baja and Beyond.

O Lord, Hear our prayer. Grow your church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Inconsistency in Living an Incongruent Life
Dave, Hannah and Dawn

Dave, Hannah and Dawn

Sometimes I find myself feeling a little more contemplative. This is one of those times. I suppose the trials that we’ve been going through which I wrote about in my last post is to blame.

I’ve been thinking about how we may understand a theological concept or a truth of the Bible, yet struggle to live out this truth. It seems inconsistent to believe one thing, but then to act in another way. I confess this is one of my struggles.

Lately I’ve been struggling with trusting God in his sovereignty. I believe that GOD Sovereignly rules over the universe. God reigns and rules over his creation. Since God is good and loving this should bring me peace and comfort. For the most part it does.

My Doubts – My Struggles
The Sunset on the Pacific - near Cabo San Lucas

The man who doubts is like the waves of the sea

At times though I have my doubts. I think of a decision I made which seemed the best at the time, but later I realize it wasn’t a good decision. Then I feel guilt, maybe even condemnation. My wife reminds me, “Dave, God is sovereign, good and loving and we can look to him and trust him in this!”

I’m the one with the theological degree, but my wife’s faith exceeds my own.

I strive to be consistent with my beliefs and actions, but I fail. I’m grateful for the gospel and I’m grateful for God’s grace. I need it daily.

Romans 8:28 is a popular passage that is abused at times, but it is true and it should bring comfort to the believer.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)

The Heavenly Father Wants to Give us Good Gifts

If we doubt God’s goodness Matthew 7 is a good passage to remind us of how we compare to God.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11 ESV, emphasis mine)

Jesus is arguing from the lesser to the greater. If we being evil desire to give good gifts to our children, how much more will the all loving God care for us?

Not only does God care, but he is a loving and a forgiving God. Romans 8:1 reminds us that Christ was condemned on our behalf, so I no longer am condemned. Those that are in Christ are not condemned. O Lord, that I would grow in my faith and love you more!

Thanks For Your Prayers!

Thanks so much for holding our family up in prayer. Things are getting better – that’s where I struggle to trust, but it’s also where I see The Lord show up and rescue us in our hour of need.

In His Grip, Dave

Diasolifeontheborder.org

Our Daily Struggle
Jonathan, Hannah, David Jr., Dawn & Dave

Jonathan, Hannah, David Jr., Dawn & Dave

The Lord’s Spirit touched Me as I read a devotional reading this week on Romans 7. This passage addresses our struggle with sin.

Paul recognizes that apart from Christ there is no good in me.

Romans 7:18-19 (ESV),

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

One problem we can have is thinking too highly of ourselves. I know that I can fall into thinking if I just try hard enough I can overcome an area of sin in my life. If I just do it differently, and obviously the Christian must take responsibility for his actions, but we grow in grace. We grow best as we apply the gospel to our daily situations.

Our Need for Jesus

Jesus said apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5b). NOTHING. did you catch that? He didn’t say we can do some things or a few thing, but zero, nada! We need Jesus to be at the center of everything we do.

Most of us struggle to believe Jesus. As I mentioned above in regards to my own challenges, and the thought if I just try a little harder. If I would just pray more, or read the Bible more, or go to church more. These are all good and important disciplines, but the key is am I trusting in my effort, or in God’s work in me? Is it all on me, or am I leaning on Christ?

Christ Alone
The Sunset on the Pacific - near Cabo San Lucas

The Sunset on the Pacific – near Cabo San Lucas

Oswald Chambers said, “the only way to keep true to God is by a steady persistent refusal to be interested in Christian work and to be interested alone in Jesus Christ .” (Oswald Chambers: The Best from All His Books, vol. 1, p. 381

Chambers words are a helpful reminder that as I serve in ministry my chief interest should be Jesus Christ. This is the gospel message. As Luther said, we must beat the gospel into our head. He said this, because of our propensity to forget.

I would just like to encourage to you dear friend to seek God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all of your mind and with all of your strength. Do this in the strength and power of the Lord. Recognize your weakness and God’s great strength.

Let’s grow in Christ together! We need each other!

Join Us in Prayer

As I write this post our family is undergoing a huge trial. I can’t share the details of the trial in this forum, but I would ask you to pray for us. We need the Lord’s comfort, wisdom and strength.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

God’s Mission in Wyoming & Colorado and Beyond
Dave sharing about missions on the border with Cheyenne Moutain Presbyterian Church

Dave sharing about missions on the border with Cheyenne Mountain Presbyterian Church

This last weekend I was in Lander, Wyoming and Colorado Springs, Colorado. While there I had the opportunity to present what God is doing on the border, in the Baja and around the world.

The Lord strengthened my spirit as he opened doors for me to challenge pastors, leaders and interested church members to consider the cause of world missions. God has been reminding me that part of my calling is to ring the bell for missions.

I find that most of us get so focused on where we live and work that we fail to look up and see the marvelous works God is about all around the world.

World Missions on the Border

I love what I do and our work on the San Diego – Tijuana borders. It’s the largest bi-national city in the world. The needs are overwhelming, yet the church is growing. There is advance. God is at work.

We have helped start three churches in the last three years, and we are connected to other new works. There are four new works we hope to start in three different cities in Baja California in the next three years.

Transformed Lives
Dave with Pastor Ivan Casados

Dave with Pastor Ivan Casados

These churches represent transformed lives and works of compassion. One of my favorite stories is How the gospel is reaching a family in Ivan Casados church, which we just help start. last April. Joanna tried to commit suicide. One of her neighbors who attends Ivan’s church found out about it. She shared the gospel with Joanna, and invited her to come to church. Joanna came to Christ and her husband has also started coming to church.

They are new believers with a lot of challenges. They are in need of much prayer and care, but God is making a difference in the life of this family!

The Encouraging Advance of the Gospel

When I interact with other missionaries who are serving around the world I hear their stories. Stories of how the gospel is entering in and transforming lives.

As you pray for, support financially and bring the blessing of encouragement you play a part in God’s bigger and ever-expanding story around the world. You are connected to the expansion of the Lord’s kingdom where you and as it goes into the outermost parts of the world.

Praise be to God!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org