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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Crown the Year with Goodness - 2014

"You crown the year with Your goodness;
Your ways overflow with plenty." Psalms 65:11

Looking through my short journal entries for 2014, I see how it has been full of twists, turns and changes. We've had job changes, deaths of friends, enjoyable trips and events, a wedding and many challenges. But in all of this, we are certain that God has crowned the year with goodness. Every good gift comes from Him. He has overflowed our lives with "plenty." We are grateful to Him. Nothing that is now would be without Him. Nothing that we have would be possible without Him. He is sovereign over our lives and nothing that happens in 2015 will change that. Our job is to trust Him in every circumstance whether good or bad.

We are grateful to the Lord:

For giving us His grace in Christ. My wife and my children are in the Lord's path and we are thankful for this. Many in our immediate family are also walking with Him. Our little ones continue to learn about walking with Christ through the catechism they memorize on a weekly basis. Our little girl has learned how to read at 4 years old. Our 10 year old has become a runner even as he struggles with his ADD/ADHD. Our oldest boy, now a married man, continues to grow in the Lord and our oldest daughter is lukewarm in her faith. We will continue to pray daily for them.

We continue to pray for those in our family that have not come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. We are seeing God's hand on some and we pray that they would be awaken from their spiritual slumber. We will pray that 2015 be the year of salvation.

My wife and I completed our 23rd year in our marriage. God has continued to work in both us, building our character and teaching us how to love each other. We are thankful for God's grace in allowing us this time together.

We are thankful for his bountiful material provision. We have been given more than plenty in spite of job changes and additional expenses. We continue seeking to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us.

We are thankful for our church family where I have served as elder this year. We have enjoyed serving with faithful men of God. I have learned much from all of them. We are honored to have so many godly men and women as our friends. Our pastors are also faithful to the Lord and to His church. I am thankful for those in our Sunday school who have listened and participated as we have been learning from the book of Acts. It has transformed me and I pray it will transform them as well. We hope to finish this book in 2015.

This year also marked my 5th year running six days a week an average of 3-4 miles. My 10 year old boy has also began running with me and doing well.

My 22 year old and I have almost finished reading together our second book and having Skype sessions to discuss it. We read Here I Stand and are two chapters short of finishing The Anabaptist Story.  I cherish this time with him as we learn together through the reading of these books.

We are very thankful for the wedding of our second born. This was perhaps the highlight of the year. What a God honoring ceremony! We are so thankful for the life of our son and his faithfulness to the Lord. His growth in Christ is evident. We are thankful for his beautiful wife who is part of our family. We couldn't be happier. She is a woman of God as well. God has given us great in-laws as well and we marvel at how He has orchestrated all of us being family.

We are praying that in 2015 some major changes happen in our family in relation to serving the Lord. Once again, we are trusting in the sovereignty of God. Our lives belong to Him.

As we begin the year 2015, let's give thanks to our God for his goodness shown in 2014. Join me in praying that in 2015 we would be faithful to the Lord, acknowledge Him in all our ways and have Him direct all of our paths.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hispanic Culture: Tiempo

Hispanics (as other cultures as well) are notoriously known for being late, according to those who go by their watches and not by the Hispanic cultural watch.  If for example, you invite someone to a party they will can show up two or more hours late.  I’m not kidding here. Not too long ago we went to a birthday party that started at 5 pm and we arrived after 5pm and only a few were there. People arrived a few hours later. To Hispanics, this is not late. Their focus is on the event and being part of it and enjoying the moment.

They see time differently, especially as it relates to social events. When Hispanics invite to a social event they tell ballpark beginning time but no end time. Time is at best an estimation (9:00 am means between 9-10 am).  This drives people crazy, especially those who adhere to “American” time.  It is rude to be late. For them, parties start on time and end on time. Not so, with Hispanics. Parties have an estimated beginning and no end.  The party ends when everyone leaves.  

Hispanics are not always late to everything.  Most get to work on time. For the most part, the social events are the ones that have a different "clock".  Don’t be surprised next time your Hispanic friend is not on time.  Remember he carries a watch, a watch you can’t see. It’s internal. You can’t change that!

When reaching Hispanics with the Gospel it is important to understand that they will be likely late for church. Some do learn to be punctual but many will continue to arrive late no matter what. It is important to not make it a serious issue that ends up discouraging them to attend church. Services in Hispanic culture run longer than your typical American church. Worship is longer and spontaneous, the preaching is longer and things linger for a few hours. Hispanics don't mind this because once again, time is relative. It is the event that is important.