Posts Tagged ‘The Gospel’

Even the Rocks Give Testimony
Dave & Dawn in St. Peter's Cathedral

Dave & Dawn in St. Peter’s Cathedral

I found my first trip to Rome to be a spiritual experience. I wasn’t expecting it, but as Dawn and I saw the beautiful sites and history, so much inspired by our Faith, and the Story of the Bible. To see Mary, Joseph and Jesus in paintings and sculptures in the Pantheon one of the oldest buildings in the world, speaks to the longevity, the endurance of the Church. God has preserved His Church.

This truth is even more evident in the Vatican. Regardless of the missteps of the Church over the centuries, it’s amazing to think of how the Lord God Almighty has preserved His Church. The Church today exists in many forms around the world, and although there have been sects and offshoots there are many that still faithfully preach the foundational message of the Gospel.

The Message Found in the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo's masterpiece found in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s masterpiece found in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel is not only beautiful, but it tells the story of the Bible from the Creation of the World and Man to Moses and the Law to Christ and his life, death and resurrection. On the front wall of the Sistine Chapel the largest painting depicts the final judgement something that we tend to shy away from today in our churches. It seems that many churches today are timid and afraid to talk about sin. They either under emphasize sin and it’s effect on the world, or they over emphasize it and forget God’s grace. The other issues the church is reluctant to address today are hell and the final judgment. All these themes are amazingly and strikingly captured in Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

The Challenge of Preaching the Full Gospel in Our Age
Inside St. Peter's Cathedral

Inside St. Peter’s Cathedral

I believe part of the reason we shy from these themes in the church today is that they were not preached with love and balance in the past. We’ve also been influenced by our culture and we live in an age of tolerance. Anything that divides we tend to stay away from.

I understand being sensitive and careful in how we communicate the gospel with our culture. Yet, if people fail to see the darkness of sin and the despair of hell, they will not appreciate fully what Christ did for us. Christ death and resurrection are minimized if we don’t realize how lost we are without his saving grace found in his death and resurrection.

Pray to Grow and Know God in a Deeper Way
Worship in Spirit and Truth

Worship in Spirit and Truth

My desire is to grow in loving God, represented in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I want to know Him more and love Him in a greater way. Jesus says in John 10 that His sheep know His voice. I definitely want to know His voice and be able discern the difference between His voice and all the other many voices calling for my attention. I pray that my love for Christ will exceed my desire for man’s approval. That is not easy. It’s hard to be called names, or for people to think you are foolish when you follow Christ. Yet, this often happens to those who love Jesus. It happened to Jesus himself.

Pray with me and my family as we seek to put God’s kingdom first. I must admit that often I fail miserably. I don’t love as Christ loved, but as He works in me I see transformation and His Spirit doing a Holy and wonderful work in my family and in me. Praise be to God! Thanks for praying with us and for us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Growing Together in the Gospel
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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?
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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.

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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

Incubator Church Planting Training
Church planting incubator training

Church planting incubator training

Pastor Ivan and I met this week to work with on planning and preparing for the incubator church planting training. Next Thursday we start our second phase of the training with 11 men who are involved in different phases of planting a church.

We believe that this training is a huge step forward in seeing our leaders here on the border and in the Baja better equipped to lead their churches!

Ivan went through the incubator training with our partners at the Church Planting Center in Monterrey, Mexico. Now that Ivan’s finished the course he is helping us train others. It’s exciting to see his progression, and to have him as part of our training team.

New Life in a Funeral Home
Dave & Dawn with Pastor Ivan and Rocio and their son Brandon

Dave & Dawn with Pastor Ivan and Rocio and their son Brandon

After the meeting Ivan was sharing with me some wonderful stories of how the Lord is working in his church that he started 2 years ago. He told me about Orlando and Martha Castro and their daughter, Diana.

Ivan and Rocio met Diana a few years ago as they were ministering in another church, and although she is young she has a real love for the Lord. She prayed for her parents that the Lord would touch their hearts. Then about one month ago Orlando and Martha started attending the church. Diana cried with tears of joy when her parents came to the church.

Unfortunately, about a week ago Orlando’s father died. Ivan was concerned that Orlando might blame God and stop coming to church. He felt like he should go visit Orlando and his family, so Ivan and Rocio went to the funeral home to show their love and support to the family. While visiting the family and paying their respects, to Ivan’s surprise Orlando asked him if he wold preach at the funeral home.

Ivan shared the gospel, the love of Christ with all Orlando’s family and friends. After he preached about the hope that we have in Christ he invited them to place their faith in Christ, and eight of them prayed with Ivan and put their faith in Christ! Hallelujah!

God indeed does work in mysterious and marvelous ways. He’s always working, we just have to be sensitive and look for it.

Thank the Lord with me for the wonderful work he is doing through Ivan and Rocio Casados in Tijuana, Mexico!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Mixups & Celebrations!
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Pastor Daniel Nuñez, Dave & Pastor Ivan Casados

It seems that the last couple of weeks I’ve experienced a few mixups!

The exciting thing is that despite these minor challenges the churches are growing, communities are being changed and there is much to celebrate.

Last week Dawn, Hannah and I went to first year anniversary celebration with Ministerios Transformación in Plan Libertador. Unbeknownst to me the time of the service was changed, so that we arrived four hours early. Yesterday, we went to Ribera de Bosque’s second year anniversary. There were a few more mixups as pastor Ivan Casados and I had some trouble with our internet communication during the week. On a positive note, we did arrive at the service when it started this time.

Much Life & Much to Celebrate!
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Pastor Daniel Nuñez

My family and I love our friends at Ministerios Transformación and it is so good to be able to celebrate their accomplishments!

There’s much life in these churches. Pastor Daniel Nuñez preached a grace filled and wonderfully challenging message. After the service he invited those who wanted prayer to come up to the front. Dawn, Hannah and I were able to join in and pray for some of those that asked for prayer. It’s so fulfilling to be able to minister as a family.

I love seeing the Lord work through Dawn and Hannah!

New Life in Christ
Celebrating finishing the roof on the church

Building the Ministerios Transformación Ribera de Bosque church two years ago

After the service Pastor Ivan asked me if I could share with some of the people that I prayed for. A brother and sister, Jose Luis and Rocio.

A family from the church invited them to come, and Jose Luis and Rocio just started coming to the church in the last few weeks. I asked them if they were to die today if they knew for sure that they would go to heaven? This opened the door to further discussion about how they could be sure.

The wonderful message of the grace and work of Jesus Christ. It’s a life changing message. After explaining the gospel, I asked them if they would like to place their faith in Christ, and they said yes! Alicia their friend who invited them to church came over with us.

Then we led them in prayer to give their lives to Christ.

A wonderful experience!

One of the things I love most about the ministry is leading people to Christ. It’s so exciting to see people’s eyes light up and come to faith. It was extra special that we could do it in their new church. Pastor Ivan and some of the others in the church came over and congratulated them and told them welcome into the family of God.

There is much new life in these churches, and it’s always a privilege for Dawn, Hannah and me when we can participate with them.

Celebrate with us! Pray that the gospel will continue to go forth in a mighty and powerful way in Tijuana, the Baja and Beyond!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

 

Ministerios Transformación Terrazas
Pastor Mario Perez and his wife, Mara

Pastor Mario Perez and his wife, Mara

God is on the move in Tijuana, and working through churches like Ministerios Transformación Terrazas.

The Lord richly blessed our time with Pastor Mario Perez and his wife, Mara and their congregation in the community of Terrazas.

God’s Healing Work
Dave enjoying preaching and exhorting the church

Dave enjoying preaching and exhorting the church

Dawn, Hannah and I first began spending time with Mario and Mara a year ago. Three years ago they lost their 8 year old daughter. It’s been an extremely painful journey for them as they go through healing themselves while ministering to others. Yet, we do see God showing up and ministering to them in deep ways.

As they experience God’s loving touch they are able to pass on the blessing to others. We are glad that we’ve been able to be a part of the healing process as we join them on their journey.

This Sunday the church was full of life. It’s always an encouragement, a blessing to preach in the church of friends like Mario and to see the Lord show up in a special way.

The people responded as their eyes lit up while they listened to the message of the gospel. Christ makes us whole. He gives us an identity and a purpose. We all need hope in this world that is filled with darkness. Yet God’s love shines through!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)

Prayer & the Hope of Revival
Hannah and Dawn praying for one of the women in the church

Hannah and Dawn praying for one of the women in the church

After the sermon many came up for prayer. Dawn and Hannah were able to join me in praying for the people. It always fills my heart to see the Lord work through my wife and my daughter!

I believe the Lord is going to use the Terrazas church and many others like it to start a revival fire in Tijuana that will affect the nation of Mexico. God desires to touch the people of TJ and Mexico in a special way. We want to be part of His powerful work.

Pray that it will be so! God do you transformative work, Hallelujah.

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

 

Transformed by the Gospel
Sharing the love of Christ through prayer and medical care

Sharing the love of Christ through prayer and medical care

Last Saturday when Hannah and I were ministering with Redeemer San Diego and La Nueva Jerusalén in Ensenada was definitely a highlight on the year. It filled my heart to see so many different people come together from different cultures to serve people in need.

Sarah Oh giving dental care

Sarah Oh giving dental care

Another reason it brought satisfaction to my soul was the special blessing of being able to minister with my daughter. What a high privilege to pray with people, and share the gospel with them. Then to see the Lord use my daughter to lead 7 people in prayer to receive Christ! Wow! Hallelujah and Amen!

Close to 80 people attended the medical clinic and each of them were shown the love of Christ in a real and tangible way through the medical team that treated them. I thank the Lord for such a loving and caring group of medical professionals and staff from both sides of the border!

Good News on Good Friday!
Sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way through the medical clinic

Sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way through the medical clinic

As I write this today on Good Friday I think of the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ made for us on the cross. When Hannah and I shared the gospel with the people I found it ministered to my soul as we explained the importance of Christ death and resurrection. Of course, without his death, there would be no resurrection.

I don’t like the darkness of Friday, but I’m praising the Lord that the story didn’t end on Friday.

On Sunday Jesus Rose from the grave! He defeated sin, death and Satan on the cross! Hallelujah!

God’s Spirit spoke to me through the message of the gospel as I shared it with people who had not yet come to the savior. It was so encouraging to see their eyes light up as I explained the hope we have in Christ.

Our Sin Nailed to the Cross

I’m reminded of what’s become one of my favorite passages over the last year, which is found in Colossians 2.

And you (I was or We were), who were  dead in your (my – our) trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us (me) all our (my) trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us (me) with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2:13-15 ESV (parenthesis is my personalization of the passage)

The late Jack Miller, founder of World Harvest Missions used to speak of preaching the gospel to ourselves. This passage helps us to do that, and when I share the gospel with others I’m reminded of the significance of Christ death and resurrection for my life. Christ died the death that I should have died, and he lived the life that I couldn’t but should have lived, so that I might have life everlasting.

Rejoice with me friends, even on this dark day when we stop to remember the sacrificial death of our savior!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org