Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther’

Growing Together in the Gospel
IMG_6381.jpg

Dave leading a Session on the Gospel, the Cycle of Renewal

God’s deep love for us is beyond comprehension. His grace is indescribable. The more we ponder what Jesus did for us on the cross through his death and resurrection, we find ourselves marveling at such an amazing and sacrificial love. These are all aspects of the gospel.

I’m sure it’s not too hard to believe that even ministers need the gospel. Actually, that’s a key point, the more the pastor understands the work of Jesus on the cross. The more he meditates on the depth of such love, and what it means for us. As he applies it to his own life, he is more effectively able to share it with others.

This was one of the key themes we covered last week during our incubator training. It fell to me to cover explaining how each of us is renewed by the gospel. We talked about the cycle of renewal – the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, we respond in repentance, which leads us to faith, which leads us to worship, and in response in faith and adoration we obey.

Some of the simplest points of the gospel are also the hardest to apply. I’m not sure why, but I think one reason is that there’s something in us that thinks we can earn God’s favor. We quickly forget, it’s through grace. That’s why Luther said, “we have to beat the gospel into ourselves,” and that “all of life is repentance.” A number of people have also said that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves.

How Do We Reach Our Neighbor with God’s Love?
IMG_6373.jpg

Jorge Aleman leading the group through a discussion on philosophy of ministry

Another theme that we covered was how to develop a philosophy of ministry. Related to that is the importance of considering the seeker, the not yet Christian in all our activities. In other words, when you are planting a church it’s good to keep in mind as you design your activities that there will be seekers there. There will be those who are interested, but don’t yet have faith.

The world is changing and it’s more apparent now than ever that we live in a hostile deeply divided world. The church planter has to keep all these things in mind as he reaches out to the community that the Lord has called him to minister in.

God has given us a wonderful group of guys that are going through the incubator church planting training. It’s always enjoyable to be around this group. I come away enriched from all the interaction.

IMG_6375.jpg

Some of our pastors who are going through the incubator training

Prayer and Opposition

Thanks for praying! We experienced our share of attacks, set-backs as we prepared for the training. My phone died for two days. It’s not easy to live without a phone, especially in the middle of a training event. One of our colleagues forgot his passport, which meant we had to change some of our plans for our prep work. I got sick the week of the training event. The Lord led me to a doctor in Mexico that prescribed some medication, and by the second day I was feeling much better.

The latest setback is our van is not running well, and since it has 208,000 miles on it I’m working with our mechanic to see whether it’s worth it fix it. We will see! Still waiting on that. Dawn and I appreciate your ongoing prayer for that need.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God Works through our Weaknesses
Lindsey, Ana & Rafael working in the the Christmas store

Lindsey, Ana & Rafael working in the the Christmas store

A friend commented after I wrote my last post that I shouldn’t have mentioned I was in a bad mood, or had a bad attitude. They thought everyone is going to wonder why I was in a bad mood.

I think this is a good point, but I felt like it was important to mention my poor state of mind for a couple of reasons.

First, I believe it’s helpful that people understand that it’s God who brings the fruit. Even though you could say that I wasn’t at the top of my game, God still used me. Paul said when I am week then I am strong, because God’s grace abounds and is released.

…”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of the weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:9,10

Pastor Roberto Shim sharing the good news of Christmas with our Spanish congregation

Pastor Roberto Shim sharing the good news of Christmas with our Spanish congregation

I also thought it was significant that the Spirit prompted me to confess my poor attitude, and to repent. After I did that my heart was changed. God began to do an amazing work. This is an evidence of his grace in my life.

Martin Luther said that all of life is repentance. I’m finding this to be true in my life. Also, as rotten as my attitude can be, it’s so freeing once I do confess my sin and my struggle. It makes me wonder, why do I wait so long to turn to God, and confess?

So you might still be wondering, what I had a bad attitude about? It wasn’t any one thing, and it wouldn’t be wise to share it publicly on this forum. Just know that I am a sinner saved by grace, and that God is faithful to use flawed people. I do think confession and repentance are wonderful remedies that the Lord has given us, and I am so thankful for God’s grace. I am so thankful that he forgives, and that he still uses me despite my flaws.

Exciting to See People Respond to the Gospel

The Lord is the one who brings the increase! We are excited to be a part of that.

There were at least 17 people that prayed to received Christ with a group of us from Harbor Mid-Ciy on Sunday. We are so thankful for such a great group of people that the Lord has given us to minister with at Harbor. I pray that the Lord will give us many more days like that.

The fruit was ripe. Dawn and I were there at the right time. Glory be to God is the highest!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dawn, Dave and David Jr. with Pastor Mauro and his family and friends

Dawn, Dave and David Jr. with Pastor Mauro and his family and friends

David Jr., Dawn and I had a wonderful Sunday afternoon with our friends at Lo Mejor del Trigo in Mariano, Tijuana. One of our friends from Harbor, Matt Dolstein was also able to join us.

Pastor Mauro Lopez, who leads the church has become a great partner in ministry. We’ve enjoyed getting to know him, his family and those that are part of the church he leads.

We Pray that God’s Spirit will Touch the People

Today (Sunday) I preached at the church. I love being able to encourage the people. This church has  been going through some tough times. I felt as I shared with them today that they needed the Lord to meet them in a special way. David, Dawn and I prayed that God would lead me as I preached, and touch the people.

Dave preaching at Lo Mejor del Trigo

Dave preaching at Lo Mejor del Trigo

Several years ago I read that right before Charles Spurgeon would preach he would repeat to himself, “I believe in the Holy Ghost, I believe in the Holy Ghost, I believe in the Holy Ghost.” I keep that in mind and make it my prayer before I preach. This prayer is a cry to the Lord to minister through me and his Word, and also a reminder that I am dependent on the Holy Spirit to touch others.

Our Source of Power

A friend of mine sent me an article this week that warned of ministers today forgetting to rely on the Holy Spirit as they minister. The author brought up some valid concerns.

Here’s an excerpt from Rev. Al Baker’s article:

My brethren, we are in desperate straits in the Evangelical and Reformed world. The church is generally impotent, tame, and woefully lacking in effecting the culture in which we live. I urge you to read the Scriptures afresh and anew, looking at, believing in the ministry of the Spirit. See how many times in the Book of Acts the Spirit is mentioned. I urge you to read Calvin’s Institutes, John Owen’s work on the Holy Spirit, Revival by Lloyd-Jones, and Scotland Saw His Glory by Richard Owen Roberts as a cursory study of the issue. And then let us pray, seeking God until we find Him.

He finishes the article with these penetrating questions, Are we given to unbelief? Do we doubt the power, efficacy, and immediacy of the Spirit? If so, may we repent and believe.

Our Prayer, Our Need

My prayer is that we will believe in the power, efficacy and immediacy of the Spirit, and that we will see the power of the Spirit break forth as we seek and serve the Lord on the border.

The Lord has been teaching Dawn and me more about his desire for the gospel to penetrate deeply into our lives. Luther, who God used to spearhead the reformation, stated that “we need to beat the gospel into our heads.” He also said, “all of life is repentance.” Good reminders! For some reason we forget the power that gospel has to change our lives as well as the lives of other.

Look to Jesus with us, and may we repent and believe.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dave & Dawn on the Border

Dave & Dawn – there is hope through the cross of Jesus

This past week Dawn and I felt like the Lord took us deeper, as we participated in a Ministry of Pastoral Care conference in Wheaton, Illinois.

I also had the opportunity to preach this past Sunday on Genesis 26. Through the conference and this passage, the Lord taught me some awesome truths.

The Lord showed me how man fails in being faithful to trust God. This failure has a bearing on those we love. Man is supposed to protect women and children, yet we often do the opposite. So what do we do? Do we throw up our arms in resignation and disgust? I think not.

God Brings Healing Through Confession

One of the gifts the Lord has given us is the gift of confession for our sins and the gift of forgiveness. That is one of things that we practiced at the conference last week. It was scary to be vulnerable enough to confess to others our faults. Yet strangely we found it freeing. God brings healing as we humble ourselves and confess our sins.

Americans value individualism, and this cultural value has found its way into the church. We’ve lost the importance of living out our lives in community. Therefore, in many ways even in the church much emphasis is given to what I do individually to grow in Christ. I don’t mean to disparage the importance of that, but we don’t want to lose sight of all the one another commands in Scripture.

Love one another, Bear one another’s burdens, confess to one another, etc.

A loss of a sense of the value of community is one of the reasons we don’t confess our sins to one another today. Part of the reason as well is a wrong application of confession in some churches, which lead to seemingly rote and meaningless acts.

Confess to One Another

It’s wonderfully healing to confess our sins to God, and to one another.

James tells us,

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. — James 5:16 (ESV)

God Uses Prayer and confession to bring healing

God Uses Prayer and confession to bring healing

The Lord promises healing as we confess and pray for one another. Tell me, why wouldn’t we talk God up on this offer? I would like to urge you today to take the risk. Find someone safe that you can pray with and confess your sins to.

There are so many hurting people in the church today, so many in need of counseling. Much of the reason for this relates to either sins committed against the person or by the person. Obviously, it’s more complex than that, and I do not mean to minimize your pain if you’ve been hurt deeply. Yet I do believe God can and will bring much healing as we bring our sins to the Lord and ask him to enter in and to touch us.

Martin Luther said that, “all of life is repentance.” Let us repent for our sins, look to Christ as we confess, and receive his healing touch. Let’s walk in freedom together!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Rodrigo & Nancy, Dawn & Dave, Martha & Abraham (from left to right) pastors, ministers, pastors wives

Some of our pastor friends and their wives: Rodrigo & Nancy, Dawn & Dave, Martha & Abraham (from left to right)

In my discussions with my pastor friends in Tijuana, they are asking me questions about the gospel. They love the powerful message of the gospel, and they are hungry to learn more. This has me studying more about this subject.

What is the Gospel?

The question, “what is the gospel?” has led me to the book of Galatians. One of the best commentaries ever written on Galatians was penned by Martin Luther. I’m reading the, Commentary on Galatians, by Martin Luther, published by Fleming H. Revell a Division of Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1924, 1988.

Luther says we need to beat the gospel into our heads, because we are so prone to forget it. I enjoyed beating the gospel into my head today. It is so powerful! The great thing about studying these truths is that it strengthens my heart as well.

On pages 38 and 39 of Luther’s commentary he addresses the fact that Christ has taken our sins. Galatians 1:3-5 says,

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Dave & Dawn with pastor Leo and Gloria Nevarez (they pastor in Rosarito)

Dave & Dawn with pastor Leo and Gloria Nevarez (they pastor in Rosarito)

This is mind-blowing that the God of the universe, Jesus Christ would give himself for our sins. Wow! Christ gave himself for sinners, for those that are unworthy and those that deserve God’s wrath. He didn’t give himself for the religious, the moral, or the righteous. I don’t mean that there is no hope for them. I mean we all are in need of Christ, but if you are relying on being religious, moral or righteous to be justified before God, then you are lost.

A great example of this is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18. The Pharisee thought he was righteous, because of what he did for God. The tax collector was repentant of his sins. He recognized his need for a savior. He said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13b)

The Accuser versus The Gospel

Luther addresses how our enemy seeks to trip us up. The devil seeks to accuse those in Christ saying, “you are a sinner, and therefore you are damned,” p. 38. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus already paid the price. He was damned for us. “Christ was not only given for other men’s sins, but also for yours,” p. 39. It is a personal salvation that we receive when we are in Christ.

There are many benefits to having received the grace of the gospel. Paul at the beginning of the passage speak of grace and peace. Those are two of the many blessings believers receive. Luther states, “there is no fear, but sweetness, joy and peace of conscience,” p. 39. If you feel condemned, if you lack peace it is most likely our enemy the devil deceiving you. Remember he is called the accuser of the brothers. He is the father of lies.

But praise be to God, Jesus defeated Satan on the cross!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org