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Tyler Morning Telegraph - Galdámez brings church planting, education experience to Grace Español

Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Monday, November 22, 2010

A Review of "Jesus Manifesto"

Jesus Manifesto written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is not really a manifesto that Jesus wrote, obviously.  The subtitle is "Restoring The Supremacy And Sovereignty of Jesus Christ" which is what the whole book is about.  If I could summarize the whole book in a few words it would be that Jesus Christ is (or should be) our life, past, present and future. We are reborn in Him and we live in Him day to day and forever.  The authors' attempt is to bring the preeminence of Christ in everything we do, including the Church. The following quote grasps what the authors try to help us see: "Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ. When things go wrong, it's not because we don't understand certain doctrines or fail to follow particular commands.  It's because we have lost our "first love"...or never had it in the first place." (p. 39)
The first chapter is a survey of how Christ is presented in the whole Bible. So He is not just part of the New Testament. They show that today's church is preoccupied with teaching Christians a whole list of do's and do not's but the centrality of the Bible is on teaching Christ.

In chapter 2 they survey the book of Colossians as it shows the preeminence of Christ: "Christ is the all and in all." (Colossians 3:11).   They write:  "Christianity is a relationship wit Jesus the Christ.  When things go wrong, it's not because we don't understand certain doctrines or fail to follow particular commands.  It's because we have lost our "first love"...or never had it in the first place." (p. 39) 

Chapter 3 uses the book of Colossians to write a biography of every Christian, in other words, what positionally we have been declared by God. In chapter 4 they show how we are in Christ's death and resurrection and how it manifests in our daily living. They argue that our calling is not to be like Christ but to live His life already in us.  In other words, we are incarnations of Christ: "The truth is that if we fully understood what it means that the very being of God wants to take residence in us and share our life, we would all be reluctant incarnations." (p. 75) 

In chapter 5 the authors argue that traditional trends that focus on theology or ethics to explain what the Christian life is all about misses the point, or more direct, misses Christ.  Christ is the "real thing."  In chapter 6 they show that Jesus is not a cause nor a program.   Our focus should be on the "face" (in a spiritual sense) of Christ and when we do that, then we can reflect that unto others.  

Chapter 7 is a description of the church as it is the "embodiment and instrument for displaying the kingdom of God." (p. 107) and our time should be spent "figuring out our relationship to Jesus, and what He is doing in the world. Why? So we can join Him in what He's already doing." (p. 108) They also discuss the issue of social justice (and mercy) in relation to Christ.  

In chapter 8, they talk about the forgotten tree of life.  They assert that many christians are focused on learning about right and wrong that they forget to eat from the tree of life, Jesus Christ.  "He is the most exciting person in the universe, bar none.  But we are speaking about the real Christ, not the shallow, anemic, insipid "Jesus" that's so often promoted today." (p. 136)  

Chapter 9 is titled "A House Of Figs" which refers to Bethany.  The authors use Bethany to show that it was the place where Jesus was received and it symbolizes a home for Christ, what "the Lord is looking for in every city across this planet." (p. 146)  I believe the authors stretch this concept a bit too much.  In the last chapter they discuss what they see as a false dichotomy between the Christ in the Gospels and the Christ in the Epistles.  "The gospel that's so often preached today lacks a revelation of Jesus Christ.  The contemporary gospel boils down to a fire insurance policy, a Santa Claus God, or a performance-based religion.  As long as we stay on that plane, we'll never see or comprehend the staggering enormity of our Lord." (p. 170)  The Jesus of the Gospels is the same one from Colossians or from any other book in the Bible.  The Christ of the Gospels is the same one who will one day come in all power and glory.  The book concludes with an afterword which is in a form of a personal letter from the Lord using Colossians 1:9-3:16.

The book is filled with Scripture, especially relating to Christ, something the authors see lacking in many books.  Many of the passages are quoted but the references are footnoted to the back of the book.  I found the book very refreshing.  It helped me see how Christ should be everything to me in everything I do or say or write.  Thus, I am more conscious of this.  It helped me see that my purpose in life is to live the life Christ has given me and to reflect it unto others.  It is not a particular ministry or job.  It is to live for Christ, living as an expression of His life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

18 Years Ago - My Son Reaches Adulthood

My wife and I are very thankful that today our son turned 18 years old.  He is now a first year college student at American University.  We are very proud of him, for the type of gentleman he has turned up to be.  I am posting entries of my journal in Spanish that I wrote 18 years ago.  I recently read them and I was quite moved.  It is hard to believe that a tiny person born then, is now 18 years old and a young adult.

November 18:

2:15 pm - I was able to see Misael

 "Al ver a Misael  mis ojos se llenarón de lagrimas. Por primera vez pude ver a nuestro pequeño por el cual habíamos estado orando mucho." -Journal

"Después que limpiaron a Misael, la enfermera lo puso en manos de Patty. Allí en manos de ella pude contemplar su rostro y agradecer a Dios en mi corazón por traerlo bien y a salvo.  Le hablaba a Misael y parece ser que reconocía mi voz porque habría sus ojos un poco pero los cerraba por el resplandor de la luz. En mi mente decía: 'Por fin puedes verme, por fin puedo verte.'  Recordé lo que el Salmista dice en el Salmo 139 "No fué encubierto de ti mi cuerpo...mi embrión vierón tus ojos" Aunque yo lo ví por primera vez no fui el primero, sino el Señor."

"Después se llevarón a Misael a otro cuarto para pesarlo, medirlo, etc...allí en la encubadora pude contemplar cada una de sus partes. ¡Que hermosas son! "...y en tu libro estaban escritas todas aquellas cosas que fueron luego formadas, sin faltar una de ellas.' Que obra tan maravillosa del Señor. No hay palabras para expresar lo grande y maravilloso que es el Señor. Estoy muy agradecido contigo Señor."

"Misael pesó 7 libras, 14 onzas y medio, 22 pulgadas."

"El primer día casi no nos dejó dormir, pues despertó muchas veces. El segundo día fue mejor. El tercero, aún mejor, etc. Creo que poco a poco está aprendiendo a distinguir entre la noche y el dia."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Letters To My Son: Virtues

What are some virtues that I find very crucial for you at this period of time? The first one is prudence.  It is interesting that the word prudence comes from the word foresight.  That is what prudence is all about.  It is foreseeing how our choices have consequences and making sure our decisions are right.  There are times when we do the best we can (with the help of God of course) and yet we fail to see the possible result of our actions.  I have often told you that it is important to always think what could happen, good or bad, in a situation before carrying it out.  The book of Proverbs (which might be a good book to read now) talks a lot about prudence (Proverbs 1:4, 8:5). At this time of your life many young people don’t think prudently.  Impulse, desires, entertainment, and fun are the motivation and prudence is forgotten.  Our desires our not bad but as you know they can lead us the wrong way, to the wrong action, to the wrong habits. Please exercise prudence.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Letters To My Son: Words of Advice To A Christian Gentleman In His First Year of College

Before leaving college I told my son I would write to him a letter once a week. I told him I would write it but mail it "snail mail", not send it in any electronic way. This attempt is a challenge especially when I can't think of something I have not told him already but I am striving towards this goal. Hopefully, some day, he will have a book to share with his children when they go to college as well.
I will begin posting pieces of each letter, mostly the concepts that I strive to convey to him.

The Road Less Traveled
Dear Son,
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)