Posts Tagged ‘John 16’

Our Familia in Cuba Needs Our Prayers!
Mario & Yani with their team of church planters

Our familia – Mario & Yani with their team of church planters. From the top left moving clockwise: Junior & Kendra with Mario & Yany; Jorge & Rachel with Dave; Mario & Yany with Dave; Dave next to Yoiset & Osmeiki

Yesterday (Sunday), Cuba held an election to legalize gay marriage. The results of the election are to be released today. I decided to write about this because it is affecting many of my friends, our familia in Cuba.

Some of the pastors in Cuba are undergoing persecution because the church is opposing the legalization of gay marriage. While I was with my friends a couple of weeks ago, they told me what was going on, and it concerns me. We need to be praying for our brothers and the church in Cuba.

The Challenges of Dealing with the LGBT Agenda
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Pastor Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the gay LGBT agenda making headway around the world. I’m willing to admit that the church has done a poor job of showing love to the LGBT community. We’ve struggled to figure out how to lovingly show that we do not agree with the LGBT lifestyle. I mean the Bible calls it sin, yet there are many other sins the Bible refers to, and in those cases, we seem to more effectively show love and grace to the person without agreeing with what he or she is doing. This is something the church has to do a better job addressing.

I don’t want to focus so much on the overall problem of the church and the LGBT community in this post. My focus here is what’s going on in Cuba and how we can pray for our brothers and sisters there.

While I was in Cuba I learned that the government allowed the gay community to hold a march and to also hold a huge rally in a stadium supporting their cause. When the church asked for the same privilege they were denied.

The church sent a letter to the governing officials stating their case and asking for the opportunity to represent for their view in public. They wanted to present their side of the argument, but they were denied. They were not allowed to organize a march and they were not allowed to hold a rally.

It’s interesting that in 1960 when things shifted dramatically in Cuba that pastors, Catholic clergy and homosexuals were imprisoned. This left the church without their main leaders for a number of years. Most families didn’t even know where these pastors were for three years or more. We can also see the cultural shift here, at one point the government saw the homosexual community as a threat to their society. Now there has been this huge swing, and they are actually promoting the LGBT agenda. They have denied the right of the church to promote what the Bible teaches about the family.

Our Battle is Spiritual
Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

I think that in large part this is the agenda of the god of this world. He is the enemy of the church and the enemy of our soul. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6 that our struggle, our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

Our friends many of whom refer to us as part of their family have come under oppression during these days because they have refused to support the LGBT lifestyle.

I must admit barring a miracle this new law allowing gay marriage is going to pass. Of course, our God is a God of miracles so he can do the impossible.

Great Sacrifices Made for the Gospel
Some of the wonderful friends the Lord has given us that have become family

Some of our wonderful friends that the Lord has given us who have become family. What a precious gift they are!

My heart goes out to our family on this small island. They’ve suffered so much for the sake of the gospel. They’ve made sacrifices so that the gospel might be proclaimed. Sacrifices that most of us can’t even conceive of. Dawn and I admire their commitment to Christ and his church. I feel that it challenges our faith in a good way.

The church in Cuba is growing in large part, because of their willingness to serve and minister despite the huge costs. Christ paid the ultimate price so that we might have life. They are following in Christ’s footsteps so that others might hear the good news and come to faith. I give thanks to the Lord for their example and their amazing faith and commitment to follow Jesus.

Join us in Prayer!
Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Join us in praying for our Cuban familia, made up of many pastors and leaders and those under their care. Pray that the church continues to grow despite the opposition and that the Lord sustains the pastors, especially those who are experiencing persecution. We live in this crazy mixed up world, where men wear beautiful gowns (see Oscars Ceremony Sunday night) and people call wrong right and right wrong.

Our hope is that Jesus is on the throne. He rules! Jesus promised us in this world we would have many trials, but he also said cheer up, because I have overcome the world! (John 16:33) Thank you, Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Crux of Our Faith

The resurrection is the very crux of our faith. In the resurrection, death is swallowed up in victory!

I love this bright day on the church’s calendar!

In Corinthians Paul reminds the church if there is no resurrection, then our faith if futile and we are to be pitied.

Dave preaching at Ministerios Transformation in La Morita Tijuana

We proclaim Christ crucified and our resurrected Lord – Dave preaching at Ministerios Transformation in La Morita Tijuana

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV (emphasis mine)

There are still many doubters. Still many who scoff at the cross, but the good news is that Christ was raised up from the grave on the third day, just as the scriptures said he would! Hallelujah!

Our sorrow and our despair is turned to joy in the cross. Christ lifts us up out the pit of despair, and gives us hope.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”

John 16:20 ESV (emphasis mine)

Those who know rejoice! Our task is to take this good news to the world.

We are the Easter People

My friend and colleague, Danny Kim has reminded me that we are the Easter people. Danny recently shared a wonderful quote.

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

― Pope John Paul II

Sharing the love of Christ through prayer and medical care

Sharing the love of Christ in Ensenada through prayer and medical care

We are not a hopeless people, and although we are a people of faith it is a grounded faith. Faith based on the reliability of the very Word of God. There’s so much historical evidence, so many miraculous works throughout history that we need not doubt.

I give thanks and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that he was willing to die a terrible death in our place so that our sins might be forgiven. I praise the Father for loving us so much that He gave us His only Son!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

Dave & Dawn

Happy Easter from Dave & Dawn

Hebrews 12:1-4 ESV (emphasis mine)

Life is not easy, but let us not grow weary or fainthearted. Look to Jesus and don’t ever take your eyes off of him!

Happy Easter! He is Risen! Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

The Church Marches Forward in TJ
Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading the missions service for Ministerios Transformación

Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading the missions service for Ministerios Transformación

As the church advances there is often opposition. Should we be surprised? I think Jesus even promised us that in this world we would encounter trouble. Then he goes on to say, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b ESV)

Often with growth comes trials and tribulation. The church should be encouraged though, because we are on the winning side! There is victory in Jesus!

My friends at Ministerios Transformación are growing. They are going to be planting church #27 in March, and we are going to help them plant church #28 in June. It’s exciting to be connected to something that the Lord is blessing in such a powerful way. Yet, this ministry does encounter opposition along the way.

Worship & Missions
Praying for Jesus & Lucina Acosta

Praying for Jesus & Lucina Acosta

Last night (Saturday) I was able to be with them for their missions service. They bring all the churches together to worship and thank the Lord for what he is doing. Pastor Daniel Nuñez the leader of Ministerios Transformación also challenged the churches to give towards the next church plant, which is already in process.

I love that the church is always thinking about multiplying as they work towards their goal of 50 churches.

We had the new church planters Jesus & Lucina Acosta come up in front of the church, and we prayed for them. All the pastors laid hands on them, and blessed them as they start this new endeavor. Jesus and Lucina went through our church planting assessment in November, so it’s wonderful to see them progressing towards the actual launch of the church.

Christ’s Promised Peace Even in Trials
The Sunset on the Pacific

The Sunset on the Pacific

Pastor Daniel gave me a chance to share for a few minutes during the meeting. I felt like I should seek to encourage them as I knew over the last couple months they had lost a few churches. They’ve been through a huge trial amidst the advance.

I shared something I heard a few years ago, that dogs don’t bark at park cars. When we are moving, when we are advancing for the kingdom of God we should be prepared for opposition.

In John 16:33 the same passage that I quoted above Jesus begins the verse saying, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.” Christ promises us peace in him. He is the prince of peace. Yet we are in a war, and the prince of this world battles against us. He seeks to thwart the advance of the church.

We are more than conquerors in Christ. John writes, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, ESV)

The church continues to march forward into the battle. We are overcomers in Christ, more than conquerors!

I give thanks and praise to the Lord for the work he is doing in Tijuana and the growth of the church through Ministerios Transformación. Remember to hold them up in prayer. Pray for Jesus and Lucina Acosta as they start this new church.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

There is Hope
David, Hannah & Jon with Daisy having some fun

David, Hannah & Jon with Daisy having some fun

It’s been hard to write about ministry happenings while we’ve been going through this trial. I’ve found it hard to focus, and believe it our not, it’s emotionally draining.

The good news is that things are getting better. We are not out of the woods yet, but there is greater hope! Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness.

Encouragement from Our Friends

I met with my good friend and the lead pastor of Harbor Mid-City church, Stephen Phelan today. The time we spent together was a real encouragement to me. I’m finding as I travel this road that knowing that he and many others are concerned for us and praying for us lifts me up.

The day before I saw Stephen I spent some time with one of my close friends, Tom Steller. Thank you Lord for the special friends who help bear our burdens and walk on this journey with us.

When I was with Stephen I shared with him that we’ve seen the Lord bless us more and bring us more fruit in ministry this last year than we’ve experienced in a while. On the other hand, we’ve also had some huge trials in our family over the last several months.

The Battle & Greater Perspective

It shouldn’t be a surprise that we are in a battle. Our enemy doesn’t play fair. It is also true that we live in a broken sin filled world.

Another friend sent us a couple of inspiring verses that go a long ways in giving us a greater and more positive perspective.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. —Deuteronomy 31:6

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

Dave, Hannah and Dawn

Dave, Hannah and Dawn

One of the things I like about Jesus’ words in John is that the trials aren’t a surprise to Jesus. He says we will experience tribulation. It’s just a part of life, but he doesn’t leave it there. There is hope, because Christ overcame the world.

Jesus gives us hope. When you feel pummeled by the trials that come your way remember the risen savior. Look to Jesus.

Lord, whenever I am afraid I will trust in you (Psalm 56:3).

God is building his church, and things are looking brighter.

My family and I are grateful for all the support and prayers we’ve received. We definitely do need others. Thank the Lord for the great friends he has given us.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org