Baby Dedication

The good news.  I survived the baby dedication on Sunday, the baby did great (I didn’t hold him during the service which contributed to that result), we had a houseful (around 30, including about 20 guests), the gospel was shared, and my Spanish held up (or out).

The better news.  During the lunch and fellowship time afterward, one of the great-grandparents on the wife’s side, was overheard repeating the gospel message to one of the aunts on the husband’s side, including what sounded like a prayer of salvation!  I didn’t catch that, but Bethie caught a little of it.  Praise God for using the service to share the Good News!

I kept it simple.  We began with a word of welcome, we went around and introduced ourselves by name, and then dove into the program.  There were three songs interspersed between the main points: The importance of the family (both the physical family and the spiritual family) using 2 Timothy 1:1-5 and Esther 2:5-7; the importance of the parents using 1 Samuel 1 (the baby’s name is Samuel and was named after the Samuel from the Bible; the mother here was not supposed to be able to have children, but like Hannah she prayed and prayed for a baby, and God graciously gave her their own baby Samuel); and finally, the importance of the Scriptures using 2 Timothy 3:14-15 and the gospel tract, “El ABC’s de la Vida” (“The ABCs of Life”).  I asked different believers in the group to read these passages and one of our young men read through the tract.

The main idea of the message was that this baby dedication was not for the baby because he didn’t know what was going on.  The dedication was for us…for the family of the baby, for the spiritual family of the baby (the church), and for the parents.  We are all responsible to help the baby Samuel to grow up hearing the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus.  So, just to be sure we all knew our part in Samuel’s spiritual journey, we’d better be sure to know what we’ll be sharing with him as he grows up.  At that part, we went through the tract together.  Of course, I knew there were a number of unsaved people present, so this was a good way to encourage them to hear and consider the gospel for themselves.

I think it went well.  Praise God for using it in the lives of those who attended.

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MK Camp 2015 – the pics

Now that I’ve gotten through the weekend event (baby dedication) and have uploaded both of my weekly papers that are due tonight, I have time now to go through the pics Bethie took during the annual MK Camp held this past week.

It was unfortunate that I couldn’t attend, but I got a lot of school done and as a half-introvert, I greatly enjoyed a rare couple of days with the house to myself!  Since I wasn’t there, I can’t really report much on what all happened or didn’t happen at camp this year.  Bethie was in charge of the crafts again so that’s when most of these pics were taken.  You’ll probably notice some “disposable” glass Coca-cola bottles.  I do know that the kids used a homemade template to cut their bottles and made Coke drinking glasses out of them.  Cool!

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Getting Ready

We’ve been busy for the big event.  Tomorrow’s house church meeting will be a first for our group.  We’re having a baby dedication!  Since I really didn’t come to Mexico with the idea of being a church planter, all these things are new experiences for me.

If you are a merciful type, please feel free to pray for me!  It should be a great experience, but knowing my challenges with Spanish, and expecting over half of our group coming to be special guests for the service, well, there’s a little bit of pressure to not stumble too badly with the language.  Normally, I’m not too concerned.  Our group is patient and gracious about those shortcomings of mine.  So, hopefully, I’ll be understood and clear…clearer than normal!  The gospel will be shared!  I’ll have more prepared notes than usual which will help.

After the dedication service, we’ll enjoy a meal together.  A “pot-luck” dinner for all my Baptist church friends, and a “pot-providence” dinner for all my reformed church friends.  Haha!  (I picked up that term from a Reformed Baptist church years ago…they always pointed out, “We don’t believe in luck.  God provides our daily bread.”  I have to say, I agree with that!)

As you can see from the pics, we’ve got more chairs (I invested about $200 in more folding chairs, so we’ll have them for this event and future events too).  You can also see that Beth was busy burning things on the stove.  We’re used to that.  :)  Seriously, she was making “rajas con crema” which requires roasting large poblano peppers on an open flame.  The end result is delicious with strips of roasted pepper, corn giblets, ham, and lots of sour cream.  We already tried it on some corn tortillas!

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MK Camp 2015

I don’t have time to post much yet about the 2015 MK Camp that ran from this past Tuesday to Friday, but I did want to let you know that I still intend to post some pics.  For now, here’s just one pic from the final chapel with the older kids.

Cameron and Dayton are somewhere in this pic, although you can only make out the top of Cameron’s head, and Dayton is in his customary hoody.  No, he’s not a gang-banger…he just likes hoodies, and since he has no body fat, he likes holding in all the warmth he can!  This is not a problem anyone else in our family has.  We believe in a little bit of blubber for warmth…all-year-round!

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Meditation and Music

As the calendar brings us around to our annual remembrance of the cross and resurrection of our Savior, Lord, and God, I’m reminded how important music is to our meditations on and of the Word.  We may be tempted to view music as secondary in importance to meditating on the Word, but when the music is filled with meaning that contains and reflects the Word, it also fulfills the Word.  What does it say in Ephesians 5:19-20?

“…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (ESV)

Need I point out that verse 19 follows verse 18 in which all of this is predicated by the command to be filled with the Spirit.  The very first thing that God wants us to know about being a believer who is not just redeemed, but regenerated to live a life energized and sanctified by the Holy Spirit is that we’ll sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to edify each other and to make melody to the Lord with our hearts!

Do you think music like this is somehow secondary in importance for us?  It’s central to our worship as living stones of the spiritual house built upon the cornerstone who is Christ and as spiritual priests charged with bringing spiritual sacrifices to our God.

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5, ESV)

So, let’s meditate on the Word, in the Word, and for the Word through music that overflows with the Word as part of our spiritual acceptable to our God.

The following song is an old hymn that I remember from my childhood.  I’ve sung it in many different churches, although never quite like this version with a modern arrangement.  It’s such a beautiful meditation that takes us back to the moments when Christ prayed for us before pouring out his love for us through his eternal suffering over those bloody, agonizing hours of taking on our sin.

…and if you really prefer the original, this one is superb:

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A Drop Off

Yesterday afternoon, I dropped off the rest of the family at this year’s MK Camp.  Today, the older MKs, including C & D, are enjoying the opportunity to drop off a perfectly good cliff in a rappelling outing.  They’re in good hands as our co-worker Brock has many years of experience, topped by his mentor and the youth speaker for the week who not only grew up rappelling, but is a world-class mountain climber.  C&D have never done this before, other than a couple of climbing wall experiences, so this should be a great experience for them.  Hopefully, Dayton will not be too scared of the height once he sees it first-hand.  He can opt out, but hopefully, he’ll do it.  If any photos show up by next week, I’ll share them.

I couldn’t stay because I need to get a lot of things done with my hermeneutics class and preparation for Sunday.  This Sunday, the house church will be celebrating our first-ever baby dedication.  I need to do a lot of preparation as the families of both parents will be here for the occasion.  The family on one side is completely unsaved and the family on the other side is probably all saved.  So, we’re looking forward to not only dedicating a baby to the Lord, but to a presentation of the Gospel to some who are likely confused about what that really is.

We’d appreciate your prayers for the MK Camp and the safety of everyone today, for my studies and preparation for the weekend, and for the Gospel presentation this Sunday to be clear and for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in the hearts of the lost who will be hearing the Word, and in our hearts as members of the church and family of God that we’ll take to heart our responsibilities to be spiritual mentors and shepherds for our children.

Thank-you!

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A Daily Reminder

I’ve officially started my 2nd week of Hermeneutics class and with so much to do this week for both class and church, I began reading for week 2 just as soon as I had turned in my last week 1 assignment.  In one of my two textbooks, I’m reading a chapter on historical-cultural elements.  I came across this great reminder:

In the parable of the prodigal son, we think nothing of the father running to greet his returning son. But when we learn that elderly Jewish men were considered much too dignified to run, we begin to see that Jesus is telling us how God feels about and responds to sinners when they come home. If you have ever been in the far country spiritually, you’ll be glad to know that when you decide to return home, God stands ready to “ditch his dignity” and run to meet you.

J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, Third Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 122.

Amazing isn’t it?  The thought of our great and awesome God…Creator of everything…laying aside His dignity to run down the road and meet his prodigal son or daughter coming home in shame from sin and from having rejected his own father’s life by unworthily demanding his share of the father’s inheritance.

And every time we sin…and every time we come back in 1 John 1:9 confession and repentance…every time…our Father lays aside His dignity and remembers the price paid on the cross, when God the Son laid aside His dignity to pay for our sins and to offer us eternal forgiveness.

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t count the number of times our heavenly Father has laid aside His dignity and has run to take me back home.

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