Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Soccer Tourney

Last night Sarah and I laughed about quite a few things. The night before we had gone to a renewing of the vows wedding ceremony for some colleagues of ours. At the wedding a little boy asked us, "When you laugh, do you laugh in Portuguese, or English?" We laughed and then I told him that when I am on the computer it depends on if I am writing in English (lol, haha) or Portuguese (hehe,jajaja).
We left the wedding early enough to attempt to get a good night's rest before we woke up in a flurry of preparation for the soccer tournament. All week I had seen that the weather forecasts called for rain but I had not given up hope, until 45 minutes before the tourney was to start when it began to downpour. I called and canceled everything, and then went to the field to meet my friends and tell them it was canceled. By the time three of them had showed up the rain had stopped. The three meteorologists then predicted no rain for the rest of the day despite the full cloud cover (and forecast of rain all day). On top of that, they said that they could not do the tournament any other day and talked me into still playing. So I called everyone back and we went on with it. Three teams showed up and we started playing with a light rain that turned into a heavy rain by the second half. Then we played the second game in a lake (and the field we use is all dirt inside a tall fence). It was muddy and sloppy to say the least.
The main purpose of the event was to share the gospel a little as well as to invite the guys to study the Bible. That mission was accomplished and we had one young man that was interested in possibly coming to our Thursday night Bible study that we do at our house. So even though the tournament was not all that I imagined it would be, and much shorter, we still accomplished the main purpose and for that we give praise to the Lord.
We then went back to our house and I handed out the prizes, said a little something about being there to share about the Bible, our Pastor here gave his testimony, and then we ate (all took place in our car port because everyone felt bad about entering the house).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Keeping balanced

There are all kinds of Christians in this world. There are Christians who say that they are free to do certain things and then there are Christians who say that all Christians need to go by a set of rules. They should read their Bible, pray, go to church, be involved in the church, witness to others, tithe… Then there are other Christians who say that God does not care what church you go to, or if you go to church, what matters is your relationship to Him and that you are trying to do good for Him. Then there is a new generation of action believers which believe that you should be constantly doing good, loving your neighbors, giving to the poor, living modestly, and not worry about preaching about Jesus, just show Him in your life. Some believe that you just need to believe in Jesus and what He did and then you can live however you want to live. Then there are all kinds of different Christians who believe all kinds of different things.

So what is the right way to live? Is there one set of beliefs that is right within Christianity? I mean we have dozens of different denominations. Each denomination has a variety of beliefs held within each church. Some will focus on reaching the poor, some focus on the KJV being the most important Bible version, some say to work on discipling others, and some focus on evangelism and reaching the most amount of people they can, some are geared towards serving its members, while others serve those outside the church walls.

The Reason for God by Tim Keller talks about people who do not believe in Christianity because Christianity is narrow and non-inclusive and that Christians push their beliefs on others and that is not right. Tim Keller refutes that by saying that those people are doing the exact same thing. By saying that they don’t believe Christians should promote their faith, they are promoting their own beliefs (of not being pushy) and pushing them on others. He makes a great argument and I would highly recommend his book to read it all. But the reason I bring his argument up is that I think that this happens within Christianity as well. We argue our own position often and try to get others to do the same. I find that I am personally greatly influenced by what I have read recently. For example, I just read a book on loving others, hating war and injustice, and feeding the poor (amongst other things) and it really affected me to the point of changing some of my thoughts and actions. And I could agree so much that I buy more books on the topic and get more involved in those aspects of Christianity. Does that mean that I have found the right way to live as a Christian? But what if I read another influential book on the Spiritual Disciplines and how I should live as a Christian and I started getting into those? Would that be the right path to take considering the author shows great proof from the Bible on why I should do those things? I could go on and on with more topics, but what is the right one to focus on?

And that is where I think that we need to have a balance in our Christian life. Maybe I am speaking for myself, but my tendency generally is to read something and be greatly pulled by it to the point where it starts to take over my life. But if I read something and add it to my tool belt, I think that is where I am going to be more effective. I think that too often within Christianity, we focus on one part and that leads to self-righteousness and judgment of others. For example, within a lot of churches I have been in, I see people who are faithful to church, always dressed nicely, always volunteering, and always with an attitude that they are the troopers in the trenches for God. They then look down on those who are not as involved in church and assume that they are not as spiritual. But on the other hand I have seen those who believe that the church is broken and needs to be fixed and that they are more righteous for being outside of the church, with a right relationship with God, than in the wicked church that is full of hypocrites. I think that we need to be careful not too focus on one aspect of Christianity and look down on others who focus on another part.

Recently I read an email in which someone mentioned not pushing God’s Word down people’s throats, assuming that is what I was doing. I know what that person means, but I really do not think that is what I am doing. I am here to teach the Bible though. That person says that we need to follow Jesus’ example of loving the poor and living with them and fighting injustice because Jesus did that. I agree that should be a part of our ministry, and since I have read that book, I have tried to make it more of a part. But Jesus’ primary ministry was teaching. Look at the gospels and see how much he taught in there. He met people’s needs through miracles and a couple of times providing food for the multitudes, but His primary job was teaching.

I think that God has equipped many different people with many different passions in life. Passages that talk about our spiritual gifts show how we are all one body with different parts to it. We need people who will serve as hands and feet, administrate, teach, lead as Pastors, feed the poor, encourage others, be hospitable, visit the hospital, pray constantly, counsel others, and so many more things. We need to recognize our gift, even focus on it, but also not be afraid to work on other areas as well. And most of all, we should not think of ourselves (and our gifts) more highly than we ought to.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Recently I heard the news of another person in ministry who had fallen into adultery. This was the second time this year that I heard of someone I knew personally that had done this. In both cases though, the church has responded with such amazing grace. In the past with these situations, I just hear of rejection by the church, but now I think that the church is starting to give the proper response.
But the real reason for this post is my response. I am almost jealous. This person said to me recently, "those churches do not really understand what true grace is," which struck me profoundly when it was said, even before I knew of the adultery situation. This person explained the grace given to her after her sin through their spouse, church, and colleagues. They better understood God's grace and I do not believe that I have ever experienced that much grace in my life. So as Paul said in Romans 6, "Do I sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!"
So what it comes down to, I believe, is understanding God's grace in allowing us not to fall into sin. And also an understanding of the sin that we do commit. A good reading of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) should cure that when we learn that hate is like murder and lust like adultery. I have no reason in the world to even think of myself as more morally righteous than this friend of mine or anyone else for that matter. Paul said in Romans chapter two that if we think that we can judge others sins it is like we are judging ourselves, because we are just as guilty of them. So I must understand my humanity, as well as God's grace in sustaining me from being the horrible sinner that I have the capability of being.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Preparing for the best

So last week we had salmon and shrimp during the week and also bought walnuts. Why? Omega 3. Apparently Omega 3 helps develop the brain in the baby and is especially good during the third trimester. So as an investment in the future, I plan on getting a lot of salmon and walnuts. We also need to play Mozart. Why? Maybe a nice scholarship to college is in the future if we buy it. Also, less time needed in help with homework.
But what if you know this stuff and just do not do it? Are you saying that you want your kid to be dumb or does it just show your apathy? I know that I do not want to destine my child for failure, but does not buying those things really reveal that?
ok, so I am kind of joking about meaning to get your kid to fail. I know that no one actually means to do that.