Internet Archive bookmarks for: despond

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hispanic Culture: Familia Es Familia - Staying Close

I have another blog over at Word Press which I started a while ago related to the Hispanic culture (the term "Hispanic" is also used in general way and though many nationalities-including non-Hispanics- share most of the distinctives, there are exceptions) titled Stuff Hispanics Like and Do. In it, I shared some generalizations, some humorous, that for the most part are true in our Hispanic culture. As Hispanics become part of the American culture, change happens especially in subsequent generations and they become bi-cultural, thus exceptions become apparent. However, many of the generalizations remain true and some will always be part of the Hispanic culture.

These series of posts will continue the topic of Hispanic culture disntinctives in a more serious tone and also include some implications in sharing the Gospel.

In Hispanic culture family is the most basic and important unit. Nothing is more important than family. Individualism is discouraged over the benefit of the whole family. It may not be a perfect family, but Hispanics have a saying, "Familia es familia." This means that though the family experiences difficulties and problems, family is always there for you. Members in the family are expected to support each other and help each other. Children once grown up are encouraged to stay at home or close to home. Going far away for school is discouraged (I
tried). Even when married, parents expect their children to stay close. Some even encourage them to stay in the same home. Grandparents or "abuelitos" play a very important part after their children are married. Usually grandparents raise their grand kids while the parents are working (it happened in our case).

During special events, all of the family gathers together usually at the grandparents home or whoever are the patriarchs of the family. Food is plentiful (a matter for another post) and everyone enjoys the time together.

The implication when sharing the Gospel with Hispanics is that we have to address them as a unit and not as individuals. The family should be seen as a unit when presenting the Gospel. This means using their primary language to share, attending social functions to get to know them, and providing church events (including the church service in Spanish) that focus on the family as a unit is indispensable. This is key in church growth among Hispanics churches. Hispanics churches usually are made up of extended family units, this all a result of the unity that binds them together.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keep Speaking, Don't Be Silent - A New Church In Corinth - Acts 18:1-17

Here is the audio recording for Acts 18:1-17 taught during our Sunday School hour at Village Bible Church.

It is easy for us believers to be quiet about our faith. We don't want to offend people. We want to live quiet lives. But our calling is to proclaim the Gospel in good and bad times. God is with us. He always will. We should not be silent, we should keep speaking.  This was the case with Paul in Corinth.

From this passage we learn four things:

1. Ministry happens with others not in isolation. We learn from Paul that we need others to serve the Lord, especially in sharing the Gospel. Paul always had partners in ministry and were helpful in every aspect he was involved.

2. The church belongs to the Lord. We see how Paul never stayed in any church too long. The longest was between a year and a half to two years. He trained leaders and left them as shepherds of the church.

3.  The Lord is sovereign and he will use us until he accomplishes His will.

It is not about us, it is about doing the will of God. We may experience persecution but the Lord will be with us no matter what.

4. We are called to be steadfast in our service to the Lord.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Greatest Marriage Ever!

Saturday my son married a wonderful young lady. It was an amazing experience. I had the privilege of officiating the ceremony and it was such a privilege and joy at the same time. As a father, I am amazed what the Lord has done in his life in spite of my weaknesses. Of course, God has also used many other people to help him become who he is now. For this, I am grateful as well.

I used the passage in Ephesians 5:22-32 to speak of their roles in marriage. In this passage Paul speaks of the wife's and husband's role in marriage as a microcosm of the relationship between Christ and The Church. There was so much joy in my son's wedding, this was so evident. It was a memorable event. All sorts of emotions were expressed, but all related to the joy of seeing two dear people getting married. Yet, this in no way will compare of the celebration Christ will have with his Church. Revelation 19:6-9 says:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (ESV)
My finite mind cannot grasp what this event will be like but I know it will be the most splendorous. Who will be part of this? the Bride. This is The Church. Those who are believers, followers of Jesus. They have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ. How does one become a follower of Jesus? Let me share the words given to those present at the wedding:
"Dear Family and Friends, we are thankful for your presence this afternoon and for sharing this special moment with us. As you seat here I'd like to tell you about God's plan for  you. His plan is not just for you to be here and witness the joining in marriage of Misael and Alex. God created you. He created you to have fellowship with Him. He created you so that you live for him and not for  your self nor for any other thing. Yet many of you here, know that you don't have this relationship with him. You are very religious or not religious at all. The Bible says that we all have sinned and because of our sin we are separated from God. As sinners we deserve God's judgment. Nothing that you do or do not do can change that. But God hasn't left us hopeless. The Bible says that God loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save us from our sins and  restore our relationship with Him. Most of you know that Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead. Most of you believe this in your mind. What you must know is that this was done for you. For your sins. He died, was buried and rose from the dead so that you would not have to live separated from God ever again. He took your sins on the cross to free you from them and from the judgment of God. He did this so that you can now allow him to be the ruler of your life. How do you do this? you must repent of your sins. This means to turn away from your sins, from your way of living, from being the ruler of your life. You must turn to Christ in belief. When you turn to him in faith he grants you forgiveness and eternal life. He becomes the ruler of your life. He becomes your boss. You become his follower. This is what Misael and Alex and many of us here have done. We follow Jesus. We live for Him and in Him. It is our prayer that you would open your heart to the Good News of God today. Open your heart. Let Him in. He is calling you to come to Him today."
If you are not certain you have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, read the words over. Let God speak to your heart. Believe in the Good News today. Why would you not want to be part of the greatest wedding of all time?