September 30, 2008

August & September Update

We had many great opportunities to speak and share Christ in August and September, and we are praising God for what He has done (and for what He is going to do in the future). Normally when we are in the middle of sharing Christ with so many people, we experience alot of spiritual warfare and difficulties and challenges, and August and September were no different. We had many victories, and many challenges and problems as well. But as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:14 "But thanks be to God who always leads us victoriously in Christ, and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him." This verse says it all. God is our victory, and He is always faithful.

In the past 2 months 4,981 people accepted Christ, including 2 school coordenators, 94 teachers, and many other adults. We spoke in 6 schools, and we had a People Sharing Jesus seminar in a church in Sao Bernardo, and I was able to preach in 2 churches. We worked with the following churches when we visited the schools: Igreja Batista Vila Gerti, Igreja Batista Ipiranga, Igreja Evangelical Da Fe, Igreja Evangelica Batista Vila Antonieta, Igreja Batista Luz Para As Nacoes, and Igreja Batista Ministerio De Reconciliacao. And we have many more good opportunities to speak and share Christ in schools and other places coming up. God is good ! We thank everyone for their prayers, and we always need them and we very much appreciate them. Here are some photos of our visits in some of the schools.

September 27, 2008

Sports In Brazil

There is no doubt about what the main sport in Brazil is. Soccer (futebol) is king in Brazil, and Brazilians are crazy about it. You see people playing everywhere. And they are very passionate about their favorite team. You always know when a professional game is going on, because there is alot of fireworks whenever a team scores.

Basketball is popular, as is volleyball and Formula 1. On regular Brazilian tv you will only find soccer, but on cable tv you can find some NFL football, baseball, basketball, and NASCAR races. We have to watch college football (my personal favorite) and college basketball on free internet sites.

September 24, 2008

Are You Successful ?

What is success ? Most people define success in terms of achieving goals, acquiring wealth, and having prestige, favor, status, and power. "Successful" people enjoy the "good life" - being financially secure, emotionally secure, being surrounded by admirers, and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Their example is emulated and their accomplishments are noticed. Most people's definitions of success only deal with the "here and now" of this life. Even in many churches today the definition of success is in terms of numbers, size, dollars and prestige.

But success is measured and defined differently by God. God's measure of success involves our obedience and faithfulness to Him, regardless of opposition and personal cost. His measure of success is whether or not we are being loyal to Him in our personal relationship with Him and in our life, and whether we are accomplishing His goals & purposes for our life. Some examples in the Bible:

Jeremiah was an absolute failure when judged by people's definition of success. For 40 years he served as God's spokesman, but when he spoke no one listened and responded. He was rejected by his neighbors, his family, the priests and prophets, friends, his audiences, and the kings. He was poor and underwent severe deprivation to deliver God's messages. He was thrown into prison and into a cistern. But in God's eyes he was a success. He faithfully and courageously proclaimed God's word and His messages, and he was obedient to his calling.

Jesus was also a failure, if you measure his life here on earth by people's measure of success. He had little in material possessions, and did not even own a home. He was rejected by most people, and was even hated by some. The religious leaders of the time despised him. Even his friends and those closest to him deserted him. He was accused and found guilty of things he did not do. He was beaten, spit on, cursed, mocked, and he suffered terribly and died the most horrible kind of death known to man at that time, death on the cross. Measure him by the way most of us measure success, and he was a failure. But in God's eyes, the redemption and salvation of all of mankind was accomplished through His son Jesus. By God's grace and great love for you and I, He sent Jesus to pay for our sins, and now the gift of a restored personal relationship with God and eternal life can be ours - all because of Jesus Christ.

"God's call is for you to be his loyal friend, to accomplish His purposes and goals for your life" - Oswald Chambers

"Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - God (Joshua 1:8)

"He who pursues righteousness (close & right fellowship with God) and love, finds life, prosperity, and honor." - God (Proverbs 21:21)

September 21, 2008

Our 1st Brazilian Wedding

Last night Nancy and I went to our 1st Brazilian wedding, where our friends Jaqueline and Eduardo were married. Jaqueline has helped us alot in our ministry as an interpretor when we have spoken in some schools, and both are members of Igreja Batista Vila Gerti in Sao Caetano. The ceremony was different than an American wedding, and it was a very nice ceremony. The people in the wedding party are the parents and relatives, and unlike the US they all do not wear the same outfits. The reception was alot of fun, and was very similar to an American reception. In fact most of the music was American music. It was a great privilege to be invited to Jaqueline's and Eduardo's wedding, and we had a great time.

September 18, 2008

August & September Ministry Update

God has opened some great doors for us to share Christ. So far we have spoken in 3 schools in August and 2 in Sept., and we have 1 more next week. I have also had the chance to preach in 2 churches on Sunday nights (Primeira Igreja Batista Central Sao Bernardo and Igreja Batista Cidade IV Centenario in Sao Paulo), and we had a People Sharing Jesus seminar in a church in Sao Bernardo to teach members how to effectively share Christ with others.

So far we have seen over 4330 people accept Christ in Aug. and Sept., including 73 teachers and a school coordenator. God is truly amazing. We have 1 more school next week and an evangelism event with a church on Sept. 27 in the city of Diadema. Please pray for us and for the people we will be reaching out to in God's love.

September 16, 2008

Brazil Photo

Below is a picture of Fernando Do Noronha, which is a series of islands located 200 miles from the northeast coast of Brazil. It is considered by many to be the best place in Brazil for scuba diving.

September 11, 2008

Our Comfort Zone

"Lord, if it's you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water. Come, he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out Lord save me !" - Matthew 14:28-29

The main context of this message is about faith (or lack of) in the Lord Jesus, but this event can also represent something else. Most people are creatures of habit, and most have a comfort zone that they do not like to get out of. Our comfort zone can be a real hindrance to becoming a true disciple of Jesus, and to truly following and obeying Him. Let's say the boat in these verses represents our comfort zone. If you want to go to where Jesus is and to join Him in the work He is doing you will need to leave the boat - your comfort zone. If you are not willing to do this, you will miss the opportunity to join Him in His work, and you will miss the opportunity to see the Lord do great things and show who He is. The disciples saw Jesus for who He really is - the One True God with power and authority over all, and in verse 33 it says they worshipped Him.

So what is hindering you from joining God in His work and seeing Him for who He really is ? A fear of witnessing ? A fear or an unwillingness to try new things ? Tradition ? A lack of faith ? A stubborn refusal to adjust your will to His ? An unwillingness to move away from family or friends, if the Lord so leads ? An unwillingness to move to another country, if God so leads ? Unless you are willing to get out of your "boat" you will miss the Lord and what He is doing, and you will not grow in your knowledge of Him.

September 8, 2008

Bureaucracy In Brazil - Part 2

In July I wrote about bureaucracy here in Brazil, and about the process of getting our Brazilian driver's license ("Carteira da Habilitacao"). We had a Brazilian "permission to drive", but this is only good for 1 year. It took us 3 days just to get all of the documents and things to go with the application, and then we were told it would take 2 weeks for the approval of the application. It ended up taking 7 weeks ! Things move slowly here in Brazil, especially when dealing with the government.

Once we received the approval we had to take a written test (in Portuguese) at a different place about the Brazilian driving laws and about first aid, and then we had to go back to the license department and turn in the test results to them. They told us it would be 2 days until our licenses came in, but it actually took 1 more week. Finally after 2 months we have our Brazilian drivers licenses !

September 4, 2008


Here are some great quotes concerning our relationship & fellowship with the Lord:

"It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (see John 15:1-4)."
- Oswald Chambers

"O the fullness, the pleasure, the sheer excitement of knowing God on earth."
- Jim Elliott

"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things."
- Paul (Philippians 3:8)

"I will give them a heart to know me." - God (Jeremiah 24:7)

"The time a Christian gives to prayer and fellowship with God is not meant for his/her carnal or natural life, but to nourish the life of Jesus in him/her."
- Oswald Chambers

"That which brings the praying soul near to God is humility of heart ... Pride, self esteem, and self praise effectually shuts the door of prayer."
- EM Bounds

"When we try to do the work of God in our own ways, we will never see the mighty power of God in what we do." - Henry Blackaby