Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Day In The Home Of A Colombian Pastor

 Actually five days, and this time with Pastor Alberto family in Medellin.  Some pics and a quick rundown are in order.   
I left home for 10 days to split the time between the churches in Medellin and Cartegena preaching and teaching.  Today I left Medellin for Cartegena so here are the pics of the first half of the trip.   
Emanuel (6 years old) and I.  He is Pastor Alberto and Alba's youngest son.
 These trips are always difficult but enjoyable.  I always enjoy what God teaches me when serving our Colombian brethren.

Their oldest son is about 16 I think.  A year or two ago he said that he wanted to play the guitar.  So he is teaching himself and doing a good job of it.  He's a good student and wants to take his daddy's place someday as pastor.  He's trying to serve God; pray for God's protection and blessing in his life.  Actually pray for the whole family.
 I saw a great sign on the door to their kid's room.  "Awake thou that sleepest, and you'll be given light.  Ephesians 5:14"  I think I have the reference right.  Anyway that was their paraphrase of the verse.

Pastor Alberto, his wife Alba, and their daughter Natay.  Here in their home they make clothes for a living.  While there this time, they were working on about 400 plus boys long sleeve button up shirts.  This is how they support themselves.  Thanks to some of you supporting us we were able to help get them set up with commercial equipment in the past.  They do professional work both as seamstress and tailor.  (More pics of their work perhaps in the future.)  But they only make around 2 dollars profit per shirt. 
 We also did pastoral visits.  I wish I had pics to explain the poverty, but the camera stayed at home with Heather.  God gave us a thrilling time as we confessed Christ, his saving power, and prayed together!

A picture in front of the machine we were able to purchase for them thanks to you.  Natay (19 years old) is peeking around the corner.  Pray for her.  She gave her life to God and is growing.  Pray that God blesses and protects her spiritually and in every way.  She and a young man here share affection for each other, help us pray for God's will please.

After sewing the clothes they snip off threads, neatly fold them, attach tags, and then bag each item in celophane.  (Pardon the spelling, I can't remember how to spell that, and this blog spell check won't switch out of Spanish.  Feel free to comment on any corrections in this post and I'll correct it.)

While getting ready to start service Pastor Alberto entered the sactuary early to pray.

His wife Alba soon joined him in pre-service prayer.  Also, they are early risers.  His is often up during the night to pray and she usually up before 4 am to spend a good time with God in prayer and Bible before starting her day with her family and sewing.  Alberto sews too, when he isn't out or studying.

Here is a pic someone took during the service. ( Pardon the quality of all the pics, someone loaned me these pics.)
 Earlier I mentioned these trips being difficult; here's what I meant.  It's always hard to leave my family alone with my wife to care for our five children, homeschool, etc. alone.  But Heather goes on anyway with such a cheery, sacrificial, selfless, and hardworking attitude.  God has blessed me tremendously with Heather.  I love that dear lady so much.  Pray for her right now please.

Alberto, a sanctified man, asked me to preach and teach on holiness the whole time.  This was the last service and God blessed us with His presence and help in a special way.
And now Heather packs for yet another move.  A move to another country.  A move to where we have no home. . . yet.  A move to keep dragging suitcases, children, and school work along.  And sunshine too; she brings a smile and happiness to my heart, our children's hearts, and to everybody else's hearts.  God has used her to brighten a lot of night around this wide world.
This was a precious time of tears and calling upon God.  Different ones testified to God specifically working in their lives.  I believe it.  They testified to God showing them light on specifics in their lives, specifics God wanted changed.
Please keep praying, for tomorrow we start classes and preaching again.  I so need God's wisdom and annointing.  And then next week I get to go home to my dear family.  I love my job as daddy and husband.  So the first thing I plan to do is just to be there for whatever needs they have.  Then Argentina.  So we must keep packing. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hidden wonders of God before my eyes

Have you ever been tempted to think that God isn't doing great works?  In the church world, in politics, in your own life, is God just letting things happen while sitting idly by?

Wonder no more.  Check out the lesson of these two verses. 

"O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!"  (Habakkuk 1:2)  At times it may seem like we pray and pray and nothing happens.  Through human eyes we may not see God work the way we want to see Him work. But then three verses later...

"Behold ye among the heathen and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you." (Habakkuk 1:5)

Right now, the puppets on the stage of history can do nothing without God's permission.  God is bringing much greater wonders to pass than we can even know, and it is far beyond that which could be explained.   For it is not that which we see with our eyes.  It is Spiritual, a GREAT work, and He is doing it in our days before our very eyes.  And we get to witness it.  I  see even now some of these great wonders by faith.  Praise God!!  See it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Notable quotes about the Bible

Abraham Lincoln: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book."

W. E. Gladstone: "I have known ninety-five of the world's great men in my time, and of these eighty-seven were followers of the Bible. The Bible is stamped with a Specialty of Origin, and an immeasurable distance separates it from all competitors."

George Washington: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

Napoleon: "The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it."

Queen Victoria: "That book accounts for the supremacy of England."

Daniel Webster: "If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."

Thomas Carlyle: "The Bible is the truest utterance that ever came by alphabetic letters from the soul of man, through which, as through a window divinely opened, all men can look into the stillness of eternity, and discern in glimpses their far-distant, long-forgotten home."

John Ruskin: "Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart."

Charles A. Dana: "The grand old Book still stands; and this old earth, the more its leaves are turned and pondered, the more it will sustain and illustrate the pages of the Sacred Word."

Thomas Huxley: "The Bible has been the Magna Charta of the poor and oppressed. The human race is not in a position to dispense with It."

W. H. Seward: "The whole hope of human progress is suspended on the ever growing influence of the Bible."

Patrick Henry: 'The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."

U. S. Grant: "The Bible is the sheet-anchor of our liberties."

Horace Greeley: "It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."

Andrew Jackson: "That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests."

Robert E. Lee: "In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength."

Lord Tennyson: "Bible reading is an education in itself."

John Quincy Adams: "So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year."

Immanuel Kant: "The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity."

Charles Dickens: "The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world."

Sir William Herschel: "All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths contained in the Sacred Scriptures."

Sir Isaac Newton: "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history."

Goethe: "Let mental culture go on advancing, let the natural sciences progress in ever greater extent and depth, and the human mind widen itself as much as it desires, beyond the elevation and moral culture of Christianity, as it shines forth in the gospels, it will not go."

Henry H. Haley, Haley's Bible Handbook" (Michigan: Zondervan, 1965) pp. 18-19 found online here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Step into an enchanted world

It's been said to the youth:
"Never look at study as an obligation, but rather an opportunity to enter into the beautiful and marvelous world of knowledge." 

How much more lovely and mysteriously fantastic is this world in the spiritual realm!  The treasures gained from crying after God and studying His Word are invaluable and indescribably precious.  

"Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:3-5)

T.M. Anderson said, "We discover the eternal things of God in direct proportion to the measure of our seeking in prayer."  For Jesus in reference to prayer said, "He that seeketh findeth." (Luke 11:10)  "The things of God knoweth no man save the spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:11)  In other words, Mr. Anderson is saying that we do not discover the things of God by mere chance.

At the rate you are seeking, what of God will you discover?  
You may be enamored with the unfathomable God.  

"God, may our searching reflect the worth of what is hidden to the eyes of the world."        - Phillip

Friday, September 9, 2011

Progress: Formational Classes in Colombia

In July we had the honor of hosting a fellow GHM missionary (who also served in Russia & Romania) and class professor (who also teaches at Wright State University) Daryl Hausman and his daughter Brittany in our home. And finally some pictures. We had four days of classes on Holiness along with 4 services that week with Daryl, Alberto, Luis, and Rigoberto preaching.
What a happy time when Daryl and Brittany arrived at the airport!

Pastor Alberto and his family (from Medellin) greeting the church.  Here greetings and introductions are an important part of the service.

Daryl and Brittany (middle & right) with interpreter bringing greetings from our home church in the USA.

Daryl Hausman (right) getting ready to preach on entire sanctification.

Some of the girls and young ladies present in the services.

One of the midweek services during the singing.

Heather and Kimberly (as well as the rest of us) enjoyed having Brittany add her talent to the music.

A panoramic view of one of the evening services.

Some who were present at the classes along with some of their families.  Daryl & Brittany Hausman from the USA, Pastor Luis from Peru, Pastor Alberto and family from Medellin, Pastor Jimmy & wife Farly from Bogota, Heather & I and our children, Pastor Edermin from Bogota, Lay Leader Rigoberto & family & Nancy from Cartegena.

Diligent note-taking students.

Professor and Minister Daryl Hausman teaching with his interpreter.  We so appreciate the sweet presence of the God's Holy Spirit Who melted our hearts, gave us precious unity, and moved on our hearts with a hunger to seek after Him.  What a wonderful and invaluable time this was!

Another classroom shot.  We were honored to have Edermin Cortez and his wife and son join us.  (foreground)  Edermin is a national pastor who works with Raymond Shreve.

The day that Daryl and Brittany left we had some time to do a bit of sightseeing.  This is the dining room of of the Quinta of Simon Bolivar.  You history buffs know that he was known as "The Liberator."  "He played a key role in Latin America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire, and is today considered one of the most influential politicians in Latin American history. Following the triumph over the Spanish Monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Latin America, a republic, which was named Gran Colombia, and of which he was president from 1819 to 1830. Bolívar remains regarded in Latin America as a hero, visionary, revolutionary, and liberator. During his lifetime, he led Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia to independence, and helped lay the foundations for democratic ideology in much of Latin America."  (Wikipedia)
After seeing Simon Bolivar's house, we went up the mountain for a bird's eye view of Bogota.  Afterwards we went out for a coffee (sort of a Colombian thing) and then sadly said our goodbyes and I took Daryl and Brittany to the airport.

Thanks for praying for this special time.  These deliberate times of teaching and preaching are important in the Spiritual formation of the Christian Nation Church here in Colombia.  And it's not just important for our local churches but with the visiting of other pastors this time (and they hope to come back), these times are important for the edification and the formation of the holiness church here in South America.  Please keep up the prayer support.                              - Phillip

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weak in the human. Mighty in God.

Do you hope to serve others in some kind of ministry?  Do you feel inundated with problems that threaten your effectiveness in ministry?  The following should help you see possibilities for success where you never found it before.
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.     (selected from I Corinthians 4)
A quick summary and then the punchline: 
God not only has called us to ministry, but He's had mercy on us.  This is a calling to: 
- Show the same mercy on others.
- Speak the truth in love.  
- Exalt Christ.
- Experience weakness, trials, and affliction:
          So that the power is of God not of us.
          To receive abundant grace.
          To be renewed daily.
          To bring about eternal glory.
          To keep our eyes off the temporal and on the eternal.

So weakness, trials, and afflictions make your ministry more effective!  Keep the faith and welcome these blessings from God; you'll be even more fruitful!
                                                                           - Phillip

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Current affairs: The US empire will be replaced.

Over and over again God uses wicked pagan tyrants to punish His people who have forgotten him.  Likewise today He is employing wicked terrorists and tyrannical governments to chastise nations who once knew but have forgotten God.  For God aims to bring us to repentance.  I think that no matter what our domestic and foreign policy might be, tyranny, injustice, terrorism, and suffering will only get worse in our nation until we once again turn to God.  History shows dictatorial rulers and persecution at times bringing people to their knees and consequently the church grew even stronger. (E.g. ancient Rome, modern China)  We are to pray and labor for “Thy kingdom come.”  In elections and other current events Christians should not get too frustrated (tip: vent your frustrations in prayer) when the worst side of national leadership seems to prevail, for often God uses this to bring about His kingdom.   
We follow the Prince of Peace.  Are current unjust events bringing us to our knees or getting us up in arms?  Oh, you say you’re a patriot?  Just make sure that you don’t find yourself fighting against events that God uses to usher in His kingdom, nor that the great contention involved doesn’t rob you of the glory, faith, and love of God burning brightly in your soul.  And remember, the other side usually has Christian patriots too, who disagree with you.  Something to think about, thanks to my father-in-law is the following, "for Christ's kingdom to come, all other kingdoms must fall." 
"Our Heavenly Father, we turn to thee in repentance, may we do Thy will as it is done in heaven, so as not to frustrate Thee in the ushering in of Thy kingdom." 
              - Phillip

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Darwin Edwards: A Noble Saint Has Gone Home

In Boise, ID when we stopped to see Darwin Edwards and his dear wife Miriam while on Deputation '09
I had the honor of being Darwin and Miriam Edwards' pastor for 5 years in Phoenix Arizona ('99-'04).  Darwin Edwards was exactly 50 years older than I, yet we were the best of friends.  He and I would spend hours every week in Phoenix knocking on doors, passing out tracts, witnessing of Jesus, and inviting others to church.  Heather and I, and our children loved him dearly.  We prayed together, cried together, talked together, and laughed together.  I began to call him "My Christian Grandpa" for he was like a dear grandpa to our family.  We later had the honor of having him visit us here in Colombia, for he loved missions and he loved us, and what a delightful and precious time we had together!

Noah playing with "Grandpa Edwards" when he came to visit us in Colombia in '06.
At nearly 10:00 Wednesday night while preparing for bed here in Colombia, South America, we received the news that Darwin Edwards had died.  (His obituary is here.)  It is at a time like this when I wish that I were in the USA rather than in South America.  We had always hoped for our whole family to be at his funeral for that was his expressed desire.  So almost immediately after hearing the news last night, I went online to see about buying tickets.  It was logistically and financially impossible this late in the game not just for the whole family, but even for just me alone.  So instead of boarding a flight, I wrote a poem.

Brother Edwards in church in Barrio Corinto, Bogota, Colombia.

Having family altar in Colombia.  It was in this visit when we discovered that we were expecting Elijah.  So "Grandpa Edwards" got the news hot of the press -- he was the first one to know.  He had been praying that we would have a brother for Noah.
If any of you get to heaven before me, tell Brother Edwards that I wanted to tell him goodbye, but I couldn't.  But don't tell him that we said, "goodbye."  Better to tell him that we said, "By God's grace, we'll see you later."

Darwin Edwards with Noah on his second and last Colombia visit in '07.
Goodbyes the last time he visited us in Colombia.  How I miss him.
Written upon hearing of the death of my dear friend and Christian “grandpa”

Darwin Edwards

Pause with me, good men, and weep.
A nobler man than you and me
                                                Has fallen asleep
But by now has wakened up in glory.

Heav’n to me will be more sweet,
A place of which he loved to sing,
                                                Now its King he’ll greet,
My dear friend who is blessed up in glory.

Hush all noise, ye saints, and kneel.
Thank God so good for giving him;
Through our tears we thrill
At the thought of him with God in glory.

Money scarce he gave to save
The needy in the name of Christ. 
Now all that he gave       
He now has, plus much more there in glory.

How he loved so much his wife.
He spoke to all about his girl,
The love of his life.
He awaits her in a place of glory.
He often laughed and cried with tears
Whene’er he spoke of his great joy,
His Lord through the years.
And to think he’s with Him, what glory!

“Hear me, all,” I know he’d say,
“Have faith alone in Jesus Christ;
Your sins wash away.
 And do join me in God’s holy glory!”

                                                       - Phillip Dickinson, 8/31/2011
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