My call...

Romans 10:13-14 (NLT)
For “EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Six years ago......

Genesis 2:24 - For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Six years ago in a day like today (July 31st) this was my schedule:

  • (8:00 am) I was having a massage in an SPA followed by a haircut, manicure and pedicure.
  • (12:00 pm) I was eating for the last time at my parent’s as a resident.
  • (2:00 pm) I was riding with my best friend and his girlfriend towards Kelly’s house to pick her up.
  • (2:10 pm) I was amazed and astonished by the beauty of Kelly in her bridal dress.
  • (2:30 pm ) I was with Kelly riding all over the city of Monterrey taking our wedding pictures.
  • (6:00 pm) I was signing before a judge, witnesses, family and friends my commitment before the state and law to be the best husband that I can.
  • (7:30 pm) I was standing in the aisle of my home church, tears in my eyes as I saw the most beautiful bride coming to stand next to me and have a moment together before God.
  • (8:00 pm) I was making a pact before God, family and friends to love Kelly for the rest of my life and to make sure she will feel loved my me.
  • (10:00 pm) I was dancing with my wife our first dance.
  • (12:00 am) I was sharing with my wife our wedding cake.
  • (2:00 am) I was heading with my wife, friends and family to some friends house to keep enjoying God’s blessing.
  • (4:00 am) I was having breakfast with my wife and friends as we keep celebrating our marriage.
  • (6:00 am) I was in my house showering, changing my clothes and picking my bags to get ready to go to the airport with Kelly for our honeymoon.
  • (6:30 am) I was dropped at the airport with Kelly by some friends and family.
  • (8:00 am) I was sitting in an airplane with my wife to get ready to fly to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon.

Those were the most exciting 24 hours of my life, and I cannot thank enough God for the wonderful blessing that He gave me. Six years ago I did know that Kelly was a great person, women, girlfriend and fiancee. Today I can attest that she is also an amazing wife, mother and ministry partner.

Dear God, thanks again for those incredible 24 hours that you gave me six years ago, but now I also want to thank you for the ridiculous 52,560 hours that I have been able to enjoy shoulder to shoulder with Kelly.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love and nothing less....

Matthew 22:36-40 - Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Today it was a great and busy day at NBUMC. We started the day by washing cars at a temperature of 94F degrees; but after hearing what those little children of God are going through in Kenya, I would do it again even if someone would add another 100 degrees to the day.

Honestly, it should be embarrassing to try to think that I’m a “good” person because I sacrificed some of my time, resources or physical work for the goodness of someone else in need. The definition or evaluation of “good people” is based on our moral and social standards, and they not only change from region to region, or culture to culture, but they are not necessarily scripturally based.

Jesus didn’t encourage his disciples or followers to be good people; actually non of the prophets of the old or new testament ever revealed a word from God that instruct people to be good. Even those that instructed the people to obey the law didn’t use the term ‘good’. Jesus’ and God’s intentions for humanity is that we LOVE others.

2000 years after those words “Love your neighbor as yourself”, we as humans have created exceptions, rules, standards, qualifications and many other types of distinctions in order to love another human being. (This has absolutely been without biblical support). We have shifted those words and convinced ourselves that we may not need to love them, but just be ‘good’ with them.

We ended the day at NBUMC by hosting a banquet to our brothers and sisters of Restore and the Seminole Spirit Group. It was a great evening and a lot of volunteers from the church made that possible.

What really struck me during the reception, were the words of one of the members of Restore and probably a church member if not a constant visitor. His words were: “I’m thankful with this church, because as a difference with many other churches they accept us”. (For those that do not know what Restore is and what he was meaning; Restore is an organization that treats people that have suffered severe accidents and therefore have special needs).

Someone may think that we are “good people” because we have accepted the people from Restore and other churches don’t. First of all, our accountability to God is not measured by what other churches are doing, but of what we are doing according to our call. Secondly, we are not meant to accept, tolerate or be good with people, we are meant to love them.

Therefore, it was a great day at NBUMC because we as a church are moving in a direction based on loving people and not just simply reflecting that we are good people.

Dear God, please enable us to love others in the same way and measure that you love us, and nothing less.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

prosperity according to Him....

Mark 10:23-25 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Ever since I was a teenager I played bass on the worship team of my church in Mexico. My first bass was combination package that only cost me $120.00. After a while playing together, the worship team started getting better every time, and as a result we started being invited to play in several places in Mexico in conferences or churches. As we started getting ready as a worship team during months for a big national conference in Mexico City, I started working during high school to buy a new bass that cost $800.00. One month before the conference I was $300 dollars short, but my desire for that bass turned into an obsession. I borrowed money from my parents after convincing them that it was a need for better worship and a promised that I would pay it back, so I got the bass. (Just for the record, I did pay them back)

The first night at the conference, before the opening concert, all the instruments were settled on the stage. Without any explanation, my bass fell down from its stand and got a big scratch on the head (top part of bass; not sure of its real name). After 30 minutes of crying about my bass, God finally got into me to understand that the instrument (musical object) doesn’t matter; all that matters to him is my heart.

Today I still play the same bass; it works perfectly because has a “lovely scar” that helps me to remember every time that I play that what God wants from me is my heart.

As a musician I know that it is nice to play with good instruments and modern sound equipment, and I don’t believe God is against that. But I do believe that God is more worried about where my heart is and who I am playing for; he deserves every note I play!

In this passage we can see the same principle. God is not against the prosperity of his people. He even promises prosperity for us and an abundant life. But God’s concern is that as humans as we become prosperous we put our heart on material stuff.

The concept of “rich” in this passage it is not to define a person that has a lot of money; it is to define a person that loves and trusts the money more than everything. God wants to give us what we need and even more because he love us, but that will happen as long as we can be able to let him take it back whenever he wants.

Dear God, we do pray that you may prosper the fruit of our hands, that you may make us financially stable and even more according to Your will, but I pray to keep us away from being “rich”.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Facing attacks...

1 Peter 5:8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

On friday night I got a phone call from kelly telling me that somebody broke into the vans and stoled some of the personal stuffs of the mission team (ipads, iphones, ipods, bibles, books, clothe, medicines, etc), probably getting close to $5,000 in value. Later on that night, they couldn’t spend the night in the hotel where they had their reservation, since the van’s incident delayed them and the hotel give away their room. Although they find a place to spend the night, and the break in incident is part of the history now.

Who can imagine or think that when a group of kids and adults decide to go to serve God in a mission trip something bad would happened to them?

Actually that question has an obvious response; the Devil....we don’t really talk about him in churches or in regular conversations, and in some degree I can understand that, since why waist the time talking about him when we can be praising the one the defeat him. But....

In the bible we can read many stories of those men and women that decided to follow and serve God and in many times during their journey, they faced the attacks of the enemy. Jesus warned us about him and encouraged us to remain behold in His promises, as we can read in the gospels. Even the history of the church has shown us that at the same time that God is the King of the universe, Satan is the principle of the world (not for more longer)....but it is until we start facing those troubles when we are serving God that we put all the dots together.

Our faith as Christians is not grounded in the fact that we would not face troubles or attacks from Satan, but that in the midst of those attacks God is with us, and if He is with us, we shall not fear. And is Satan is attacking us, it is only because we are giving him a good reason, which is always great!

Dear God, we lifted you up our mission team as they are serving you in South Dakota, and we know and believe that you are taking care of them; and we declare that the greater the attacks that they are facing, it is only because the greater the impact they are making in your Kingdom.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Humbling Experience...

Matthew 7:1 - "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

A couple of days ago I got a phone call from a member of my congregation. She called to tell me her brother was in jail because he was driving without a drivers license and he would be deported to Mexico the following week. She asked if I would be willing to go and see him and give him a letter from her.

Within the next hour I went to the Roswell Detention Center and in the entrance I discovered they have a new policy about clergy visiting the inmates. Now clergy needs authorization from the chaplain of city hall to enter the jail and visit inmates. After several attempts to convince the guard to let me in due to the urgency of my request he refused and sent me to the chaplain's church.

I drove to the church and as I entered the huge church I saw in front of the offices the reserved parking spot for the Senior Pastor, Dr.... with a $70,000 car parked in the space. I walked into the office to the secretary and requested to speak to the pastor. She sent me to wait for him inside his office. (Note: His office was the size of the entire fellowship hall of my church with a humongous fish tank and really expensive furniture.) As I was waiting for him I sadly was judging this pastor and his life of apparent luxury.

The pastor walked into his office and listened to my situation and dilemma and I was amused by his response. He told me that the process of authorization is long and could not get done that day; suddenly he picked up his phone and called his secretary. He told her to cancel all his appointments for the day because he was going to the jail with me. He rode with me in my car and took me inside the jail with him and he sat next to me for almost 2 hours as I spoke in Spanish (which he didn’t understand) with the inmate.

I felt embarrassed about my judgement and I apologized to God and to him. I was encouraged that there are still people, in the midst of their successful lives, who can put their lives on hold and go to serve the lost, the last and the least.

Dear God, thank you for loving me in the midst of my mistakes, and thank you for shaping me little by little.