Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily) on our background and on Grace Español . Tyler Morning Telegraph...
Internet Archive bookmarks for: despond
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I will begin posting pieces of each letter, mostly the concepts that I strive to convey to him.
The Road Less Traveled
I never thought that the day would come, but here I am writing from your bedroom. And there you are in Washington D.C. excited and getting adjusted to your new life. I am excited with you, but I also miss you a lot. Many times I have thought of you being here and almost called your name out loud. It will take some time to get used to not having you around. This house feels the emptiness you have left upon your departure. Now to what I’d like to share with you about the road less traveled. You have taken this road. It is less traveled for several reasons. One of them is because you are unique. The road can symbolically be the path you have taken. No two paths are alike and thus yours is as unique as everyone else’s around you. But there are also other reasons. It is a road less traveled because you are a Christian young man. The words that the Apostle Paul told young adult Timothy are true for you as well, “from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Today I read this verse: "He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” ""(Matthew 17:5 ESV) It just resonated after reading it. God speaks these words at what we call the transfiguration of Jesus on top of a mountain. Only two people are present, Peter and John. God speaks to them. Of all the things He could have said, he says, "listen to him." Why? Jesus is the very Word (logos) of God (John 1). When He speaks, God speaks. God didn't say this because Jesus needed to be reaffirmed. The disciples needed to it. They needed to understand that Jesus is the Word of Life. Listening to him and believing his words bring life: "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24 ESV)
You will hear many voices from friends, preachers, churches, commercials, the internet, but you only need to hear one voice, the voice of Jesus: "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. "(John 10:14-16 ESV)
Listen to Him.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I couldn't help to feel sad for John the Baptist. His life was cut short by an evil man and women. But God knew this would happen. Jesus hears of it and goes away to be alone. He doesn't attack Herod nor does he start a revolt. He knows God's purposes. Evil men will not stop God's plans. Jesus knows that his life will also end not too long after John's. Jesus will not be defeated by death, he will rise and by his death many will receive God's gift of salvation. John the Baptist is not dead either. He is very welll alive in Paradise. He is enjoying fellowship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that there hasn't been anyone as great as John the Baptist (Matthew 11). For a good reason.
This made me think about several things. Ministry. Our ministry may not last long. Many prophets in the Old Testament were called for a specific time and purpose. Once they accomplished what God called them to do, they were done. Many suffered much to the point of death. It also made think about the consequences for speaking for God. Not everyone will receive God's truth. Those who reject God's truth will fight back to the point of getting violent. Finally, it made think how evil can get a hold of people even as young as 12 years old. Evil does not respect age.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I have been looking at jobs in churches, and I just don't get it either. Why do churches look for "professionals" to do God's work? Their qualifications go page after page. Scripture has simple qualifications for pastors (I Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9). I just know also that none of the Apostles with the exception of Paul would have qualified under the "professional requirements", though his record before becoming a Christian would probably have disqualified him too. Jesus would not have qualified for any job either. I don't think I am on par with Jesus or his disciples. Nor do I think myself better than any of the pastors of churches with large numbers. But I don't think I am inferior, though at times I sure feel this way. I wonder whether I have the same faith. The words of the apostle Peter come to mind in 2nd Peter 1:1 where he says we have the "same faith" as all the apostles. Thank God! It makes me feel better.
I admit that I have applied to some of these churches, most of them under 1000. But I know I probably won't be considered for any of them. Why did I do it? I guess it's to test whether there is a church out there that is open to God's leading. I know I sound presumptuous with this last sentence. I can't believe either that everyone "hired" by these churches are actually what God wants. I am not saying they are not either. I know God still uses us in spite of us. His work will continue in his church. I'm just trying to find out if maybe I have a part in any of them. The experiment will be over soon I'm afraid.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
"The Cause of Spiritual Stupidity" - "Unspoken Sermons" George MacDonald
If a man forget a thing, God will see to that: man is not lord of his memory or his intellect. But man is lord of his will, his action; and is then verily to blame when, remembering a duty, he does not do it, but puts it off, and so forgets it.
Distrust is atheism, and the barrier to all growth. Lord, we do not understand thee, because because we do not trust thy Father—whole-hearted to us, as never yet was mother to her first-born! Full of care, as if he had none, we think this and that escapes his notice, for this and that he does not think! While we who are evil would die to give our children bread to eat, we are not certain the only Good will give us anything of what we desire! The things of thy world so crowd our hearts, that there is no room in them for the things of thy heart, which would raise ours above all fear, and make us merry children in our Father's house!
When I trouble myself over a trifle, even a trifle confessed—the loss of some little article, say—spurring my memory, and hunting the house, not from immediate need, but from dislike of loss; when a book has been borrowed of me and not returned, and I have forgotten the borrower, and fret over the missing volume, while there are thousands on my shelves from which the moments thus lost might gather treasure holding relation with neither moth, nor rust, nor thief; am I not like the disciples?
I forget that it is live things God cares about—live truths, not things set down in a book, or in a memory, or embalmed in the joy of knowledge, but things lifting up the heart, things active in an active will.
If you let thought for the morrow, or the next year, or the next month, distress you; if you let the chatter of what is called the public, peering purblind into the sanctuary of motive, annoy you; if you seek or greatly heed the judgment of men, capable or incapable, you set open your windows to the mosquitoes of care, to drown with their buzzing the voice of the Eternal!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
I have been reading a book called Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels. I came across it reading a review. It has led me to read, think and dialogue within me (and even with God) the book of Jonah. I will not be reviewing the author’s book, there are many out there. But I will present some of my thoughts and some point of views contrary to what I am reading in the book Surprised by Grace.
It is interesting that Jonah means dove. A dove according to the ESV is a symbol for “Israel as silly and senseless.” Much like Jonah. Son of Amittai means “son of my faithfulness.” It is as if God was already telling Johan how He saw him.
The book opens very briskly. God speaks to Jonah to go to Niniveh and tell them about their evil. Niniveh was the capital Assyria and was North of what is now Baghdad. We know that God is a compassionate God but we also know He is just. Why Jonah refuses to go and immediately decides to run away from God’s presence is something we are not told. I find the tenor of these verses comical. I can picture this in my mind. God says go to Niniveh and Jonah goes the opposite way to Tarshish. He runs as fast as he can and gets on a ship. Comical because who is he fooling? He knows he can’t run away from God. It is very childlike, or maybe he is just acting like a dove, silly and senseless. What does God do? He could have taken care of him. He could have punished him; instead he will teach him a few lessons and make him see his foolishness. Very much the way God deals with us when we act silly and senseless. We think we can run away from Him, that we can hide from Him.
Jonah gets in the ship. But God raises a great wind (God is sovereign, Lord of heaven and earth) that causes the ship to almost break up. The mariners are not believers in Yahweh (God) but at this point they all start praying for their lives. In their desperation they turn to chance and superstition. They roll the dice to figure out whose fault it is what they are facing. And you guess it. It falls on Jonah. While they do this Jonah is sleeping like a baby. They wake him up and begin to question. Jonah admits he is a prophet of God who is running away from Him. He realizes it is his fault. I believe Jonah is a believer in Yahweh. He is not a pagan. He has been a successful prophet (2 Kings 14:23-28). But he has rebelled against God. He doesn’t agree with what God wants to do. I think he knew that if he spoke the Word of the Lord in Niniveh, people would turn to Him. He was full of prejudice. He should have understood God’s grace. But we are like him as well. We think we know better than God. We think we know who deserves to be a Christian and who doesn’t.
They ask Jonah what they ought to do. He tells them to cast him in the ocean. I don’t know what he is thinking. But I think he wants to die. The men don’t do that immediately. They try to get away from the tempest without resorting to throwing this man in the ocean. Then they pray to Yahweh. It is my belief that these men have become believers of Yahweh at this point. They ask forgiveness for “killing” this man who they will throw into the ocean. They offer sacrifices to God. As soon as they do this, the tempest stops.
It is interesting to me how God uses those who are called his “servants” or followers even when they are foolish. He uses Jonah in his rebellious state to proclaim His name to the sailors. He uses us even when we are rebellious. God also uses those who are not believers to show us mercy and compassion. The sailors cared for Jonah and tried to save him. But Jonah didn’t care about them or about Niniveh.
Friday, April 30, 2010
I'd like to see
Stop for me
I look at you
What you do
You've grown so too
Hold it there!
My little boy is gone
I don't know where!
Please time, stop fleeting
Let me enjoy
My boy is growing
Too fast, too fast
My heart is beating!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
We are Christians. In fact, the name comes from the book of Acts. It is there where the believers in Jesus were called Christians (Acts 11:26). It was a label applied to them because they followed Christ. So it is obvious that Christians follow Christ or Jesus Christ. But it is interesting to note that many Christians are still following or imitating the Super Stars of Christianity. I will restrain myself to mentioning names but there are many that follow the teachings of a particular person to the point that they speak like them and think like them. I remember our pastor who used to say that there were members of a particular church that used to say, "My pastor is Dr.____" They said with so much pride. There are many nowadays that have forgotten that we don't follow a man or a woman, we follow Jesus. You don't think this is true? Do a search on a particular preacher or teacher and see what people say (of course, they will have critics as well, but that is not the point of this blog). Observe what people say about the pastor of the church you attend. Go to a Christian Bookstore and see who are the Super Stars. Just take a look at Study Bibles with their names. I know, it is natural you say. Yes, but for how long? We must value those are gifted in teaching but we must understand that our role as Christians is to show ourselves approved as God's workman who accurately handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). We must be like the Bereans (Acts 17:1) and examine everything we are taught by others. We compare what they say with what Scripture says. You will be surprised to find that not everything they say is clearly taught in Scripture. If not, then we know we must follow what the Scriptures say. I am often perplexed why people write the words (i.e. notes) a preacher says about Scripture as opposed to what their explanation of Scripture that is given.
Then there is the issue of imitation. The only one we imitate is Jesus. Beside Jesus, I only find one person in the Bible who said to imitate him, Paul the apostle, but he was clear as to who He was imitating (I Corinthians 11:1). We only imitate others to the degree they imitate Jesus. When we do something, we must follow what Jesus told us to do or God or the Holy Spirit tells us to do: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:12) ESV
Be careful who you follow and who you call your teacher or master: "Neither be ye called masters; for one is you master, Christ." (Matthew 23:10). It is Jesus who calls you to follow him (Luke 18:22, Matthew 16:24, Mark 1:17)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
For a while I have thinking about Paul the Apostle. I don't want to talk about how he came to be a follower of Jesus. You can read it here. It is an amazing story. Humanly, he could not do this on his own. He was a religious fanatic bound by Jewish tradition. When he experienced his
transformation he became a Jesus follower. In fact, Jesus appeared to him. You can dismiss this as craziness or an impossibility but you would have to present your own diagnosis. You will have to read all of his writings to make a determination. I am of the belief that his experience was genuine and I accept his testimony. What really has impressed me lately is his
singular focus and life mission. He was a man who had success being religious, if we apply the normal rules of "success". But everything changed after the Damascus experience. His focus was preaching the message of repentance through Jesus. He had no other ambition. He
travelled from place to place teaching The Way of Jesus. Those that believed the message like he had became the nucleus of the churches established in Asia Minor. He experienced many trials like hunger,beatings, threats, shipwrecks, dangers, incarcerations and eventually
it cost him his life. Tradition says he was beheaded under the Roman Emperor Nero. Here is what Paul's mission was: "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the Gospel
of God's grace." His mission and focus was clear. In spite of the fact that what awaited him in the future was incarcerations and affliction, Paul was determined in his life mission. Nothing else mattered to him, not even his life (Acts 20:24).
Elsewhere Paul also said, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).
This has made me think about what I value, what my focus in life should be. I have to say that I have not arrived at this. I have many distractions that take my time, some are necessary, some are not. But as I have aged my focus continues to sharpen. I hope and pray to
arrive at it like the Apostle Paul.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I just came back from our mission trip in Mexico. The youth of our church went for seven days to Nogales México and I went along as one of the leaders. My job was to be an interpreter for those who didn't speak the language but for me it was more than that. This is not the first time I go to México on a mission trip. I have been to several of them and they always teach me something new and make me reflect on my own life path. I always learn to be grateful. Seeing how people live, without water, without bathrooms, without paved streets and with out many other luxuries makes me be grateful. I grew up in this same way up until I was about 10 years old. I lived liked them. Just before I came to America, we moved to my grandma's home and experienced for the first time what it was to have a nice home with showers and bathrooms. But after been here in America for most of my life, I have forgotten what it was like. Going to México reminded me that I need to be grateful. And I am. I also connected with many of the people from Mexico and learned about their lives. I went to visit at least two homes. I always ask questions to learn about them. It gives me a a different perspective as I learn from what they have experienced. Eduardo and Leo where the ones I talked to the most. They shared part of their life stories. I tried to encourage them by listening and showing empathy. I went to Eduardo's house and learned more about him and his family while we worked digging and leveling an area in a neighbors home. I spent time talking to Leo and while we went running on one morning, we talked about life and his relationship with God. There were also several conversations with the children. They amazed me. So many of them were able to share things about their simple life. But more than anything, their love for God moved me. When I found out the church we were helping had mostly children, I was somewhat disappointed. I wanted to have a "normal" church with adults. But it didn't take long to show me I was wrong to think this way. After hearing them the first day, everything changed. These children had more faith than I've ever seen in adults. It reminded me of what Jesus said about them. He told his disciples in Matthew 19:14 "“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV) In Matthew 18:3 he also said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (ESV) He also prayed in Matthew 11:25 "“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children." (ESV) This was so true in Mexico. These children will be the future of the church in Mexico, I can see them going all over the world as missionaries. I believe in them. Jesus believed in them.
I also got a glimpse of the church in community. About forty of us, mostly High School students, ate together, worked together, prayed together, sang together, shared the Lord's Supper together, played together, laughed together. I didn't hear complaints. I didn't see any disagreements. I saw community. It reminded me of what the churched was like in the New Testament. Acts 2:42-44: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common." (ESV) High Schoolers showed me a glimpse of what Christian community should be. I miss it!