Featured Post

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...

Internet Archive bookmarks for: despond

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Standing Firm on the Way - Acts 24

Paul has been brought to Caesarea where he awaits trial for the alleged accusations.

In this section we see how Paul defends his faith in God "according to the Way" before the governor Felix and his accusers. He focuses on the resurrection of the dead and the judgment of God upon the righteous and unrighteous. Paul also has an opportunity to share with Felix about his faith in Jesus Christ. Felix listened to Paul many times but does not come to belief in Christ. In the end Paul is left in prison for two years and remains there after Felix is succeeded by Porcius Festus.

We learn from this section that our focus should be on how The Way gives us a new life and assures us of the resurrection unto life. Let's not forget that is a judgment to come, and everyone will be judged. Those who believe in Christ will be resurrected unto life those who don't unto eternal separation from God. Let's not be afraid to speak of the truths of God's Word.

Jesus, The Gospel & The Church

What is the Gospel and what is the Church's role in it? Jesus, after resurrecting from the dead, clearly
delineated what the Gospel involves.

There are approximately 7.3 billion in the world today. Of these, about 2.84 billion, or 41.1% of the total are unreached. They may have Christians (about .04%) but the vast majority have not heard the Gospel. Most of these are in the 10/40 Window (Africa, South Asia, SE Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe). - Operation World

The church is growing in Africa, Latin America, East Asia and China. See http://www.thetravelingteam.org/articles/growth-of-the-church

"American evangelicals could provide all of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 7,000 people groups with only 0.2% of their income. If all the missionaries needed came from America, less than 0.5% of evangelicals ages 18 - 35 could form the teams required." - The Traveling Team web site

Jesus, The Gospel & The Church

I.  The Command - (What) John 20:21-23
II. The Recipients - (Who) Mark 16:15-16
III.  The Strategy - (How) Matthew 28:19-20
IV.  The Content - (What) Luke 24:46-47 
Without Christ’s death and resurrection there is no Good News.
 (Acts 4:12)
V. The Strategy - (Where) Acts 1:8

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

What I Learned From McFarland USA

Last weekend we watched McFarland USA and we enjoyed the movie (my 11 year old son who runs with me everyday couldn't stop talking about it). It is based on a true story and though it has some departures from the real events it stays close to real events. The plot is simple but it shows  things to learn about the Hispanic culture and the needs found in so many communities like McFarland. I recently did a few short posts on  Hispanic culture and this movie supports many of the things I mentioned. As a Hispanic (born in El Salvador and married to a Mexican) and as one who also has worked in some of the most challenging schools I could identify a lot with what happens in schools like McFarland. Yet it takes one man (in this case Jim White "Blanco" as he is called) to change the school culture. Mr. White is a man who reluctantly and has no other choice either (according to the movie but not real life) becomes part of the city of McFarland. He learns a lot about the Hispanic culture, helps them by coaching seven boys (in reality there were more but Hollywood took some liberties with the plot) to become cross-country runners and winning their first State title (they have won nine total in White's 23 year career). In the end, coach White stays there (he still lives there according to the movie) even though he has been offered a well-paid position in another city.

I was reminded of several things as I watched this movie that are important for all, especially the Christian community.

1. There are many places like McFarland that need someone to come along and help them find hope. In our country we have many places that need help.  Many of them are poor and from diverse cultures. They are easily overlooked and ignored. As Christians we should care about them because they also need the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel can bring a radical transformation.

2. The value of community. 
No community is perfect but we all need to have a community that is much more than just being neighbors. Community is where people care for one another, support one another and help each other on a daily basis. Mr. White's family finds out quickly the value of community. This is something they never had before and it becomes a strong part of their lives. In Christianity, community ("koinonia") is firmly rooted in our faith in Christ. Yet, this is an aspect that I believe we Christians lack in our churches.

3. The value of family.
This movie brings out an aspect of Hispanic culture that is one its core values. Family is family no matter what. Family holds everything together including the community. We value this as Christians and all believers are part of the family (household) of God. See Galatians 6:10.

4. Hard work pays off. 
Unfortunately, in this movie we have young boys working picking produce in the fields which is hard labor. They do it because they have no other choice. They have to help their family. The boys who become part of the cross-country team work hard to become runners and eventually their hard work pays off. The ethic of hard work is an essential element for believers as well (see Colossians 3:23-25).

5. We need more missionaries in America
Where was this in the movie? In this movie and in the real story, it is a teacher who helps McFarland High School to become good at something (i.e. cross-country). He does this by becoming part of the community and embracing the culture. Furthermore, Jim White states that he "wanted to be a godly man, and I wanted to be a godly example for the kids.” He coaches the boys but also serves them as well. They in turn embrace him as one of its own. Missionaries (Jim White is a Church of Christ minister) have to do this as well but their end in mind is to share the Gospel. We need more Christian missionaries throughout America offering the hope found in the Gospel of Christ.

The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the Film, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the publisher, Walt Disney Pictures, or the graphic artist. Qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Jesus: Kingdom Focused

Running gives me a lot of time to not only pray but think about spiritual things. As I was running I was thinking about Jesus and how he answered questions that people asked or responded to comments made to him.

 He often did not answer what they wanted to hear. The Lord wasn't into
validating everyones questions and ideas. His focus was God's truth and God's kingdom. Our Lord wasn't into politically correct answers either. For example, one time the disciples were so impressed with the temple. They marveled at it. Jesus could have affirmed the fact that it had taken over 40 years for the temple to be expanded. It was a monumental building: "Its foundational walls were constructed using gigantic stones, the largest found being 45 feet long, 11.5 feet high, and 12 feet thick (13.7 m by 3.5 m by 3.7 m)." (ESV Study Notes)

His answer was the temple would be destroyed and no stone would be left (see Mark 13:1-2). How negative!

Then there is the case of the Syrophoenician woman who came to Jesus asking to heal her daughter who was demon possessed. Jesus told her it was not right take "the children's bread and throw it to dogs." (Matthew 15:21-28). She was non-Jewish and as such Jesus was saying she didn't deserve to be given bread that belonged to children and give it to house pets. How culturally insensitve of Jesus! And yet the woman continued to beg and Jesus not only healed her daughter with his word but commended her faith.

In Luke 13 some come to report to Jesus how Pilate had killed some Galileans while they were doing sacrifices and had mixed their blood with their sacrifices (gruesome!). The insinuation here was that these people killed were more sinful. Jesus answers in a very direct and confrontational way. He tells them that they were not more sinful than anyone and he said, "unless you repent, you will likewise perish." In other words, God's judgment will come to you if you don't repent. Harsh!

Many more examples can be mentioned from the Gospels. Jesus life was centered around the Kingdom of God. He offered the Divine perspective. It is important for us to understand that our lives as Christians ought to be kingdom focused as well. We don't need to be rude but we don't have to be apologetic about the truth of God's Word. Our focus should not be to be politically correct but to present God's truth. Many won't like it but this shouldn't keep us silent. We follow the Lord's footsteps.