Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: 50 Days by Jerry Harris

50 Days: Seven Spiritual Disciplines That Will Shape Your Character is a 50 day devotional book focusing on 7 different biblical characters. It was based upon a prayer the author (Jerry Harris) used to pray on a regular basis:

Give me the Faith of Abraham,
The Humility of Moses,
The Strength of Samson,
The Wisdom of Solomon,
The Spirit of Elijah,
The Heart of David,
And the Love of Jesus.

Each week the reader would read through the story of each character, highlighting evidence of the specific prayer request made in regards to them. At the end of each week the author provides the reader with a challenge to obtain that discipline: worship, fellowship/community, Bible study/reading/memorization, giving, serving, fasting, and sharing Jesus.

We challenged our church to go through this for the past 50 days. It was a good devotion based off a great prayer. If you are in need of a good devotional book and a challenge to your personal spiritual disciplines, this would be a good place to start.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mexico Mission Trip (3 of 3)

Overall, we were impressed with the partnership the BGCO has established with the Guerrero Baptist Convention. To make this a true partnership, they are pairing local churches in Mexico and churches in Oklahoma to truly work together to plant churches. The leader in Guerrero is organized, smart, prayerful, and strategic. Pastors of the church plants were eager to be about the work of the Lord and reach their communities for Christ.
While the whole region of Guerrero is being adopted, we are looking in and around Acapulco for our church plant. It was a bit odd knowing that we were to pick which of the 18 churches we visited pastors/churches we wanted to work with – the pastors we visited knew this was happening too! Fortunately, we had our dates set for 2013 and are working with a church that had already planned a crusade that week. There were several other pastor/church plants more than worthy to work with as well.
I was amazed by some of the stories of sacrifice being made by the pastors we met. One man moved from Cuba to Mexico (without his family, because he felt called of God to Acapulco – his family is try to move to Mexico legally). Several of the pastors moved their families to the neighborhoods they were trying to reach, giving up comforts of their own home for their calling. Pastors were gladly sending members to plant new churches without regard for how big their own church was. The pastors we meet we true Kingdom minded men.
This partnership will not be without its challenges though. Mexico is infamous for the drug cartels and violence associated with them. Many people are scared to travel to Acapulco for this reason, and although it is not nearly as bad as the media portrays it to be, it is a true concern. Also, we will have to deal with people wondering if you can really do a “Real Mission Trip” in Acapulco.
It is my belief that once people visit the city, see the people we will be ministering to, and experience the work God is doing all of this will be resolved. Until, my challenge is to pray for the 15 new church plants, pray for God’s provision and protection, and pray asking God what your role in His work in Acapulco should be.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mexico Mission Trip (2 of 3)

Day 2 – October 23: Sam arrived the night before. We met for breakfast around 8:30, ate with 3 local pastors, and then our church plant tour. Our first meeting was at a weekly pastor’s prayer meeting. Although we arrived late, most every pastor waited for us. The wife of that church’s pastor fixed us lunch (some sort of fish with rice), and we were off. 
We visited 13 different churches that day. It was really encouraging to see the work being done in Guerrero. We did not venture too far outside of Acapulco as the majority of the population is located within a few miles of the primary city. It was nice to meet some new friends. We returned to the hotel worn out a bit after 10:05PM.
Day 3 – October 24: Our day started with breakfast, then we got picked up again by the church planting strategy coordinator for the Mexico Baptist Convention, Calet (he was our host the whole trip). The agenda was to visit 5 more church plants and continue to decipher how God was leading. Much like the previous day, it was constant moving from one church to another, taking time to visit and pray with each planting pastor. The primary difference was that the churches were further spread out. 
The final church we visited was on top the point of Acapulco. Community members do not consider themselves part of Acapulco. There were 120 homes in this neighborhood and it was also the latest target area for a church plant. One widow donated two plots of land to build a church, and a sponsor church is arranging to purchase two more plots of land. The hope is to create a retreat center for churches to use to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Day 4 – October 25: We woke up early and flew home.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mexico Mission Trip (1 of 3)

The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma has entered into a partnership with the Baptist Regional Convention of Guerrero, Mexico with the hope of planting 15 churches by 2015.   October 22-25, Rick and I traveled with the Volunteer and Partnership Missions Director of the BGCO to tour the Guerrero Mexican state and meet some local pastors. First Baptist Jenks is considering a partnership to work with church plants in Guerrero, Mexico. The following will be a series of post detailing our trip and explaining what we are hoping to accomplish in our partnership:
Day 1 – October 22: We traveled from Tulsa to Acapulco. Our plan was to meet up with Sam Porter in Houston, and meet some Mexican pastors when we landed. Sam’s initial flight was delayed and he did not make it to Houston in time to catch the flight to ACA, then he missed his connecting flight in Mexico City, and ended up arriving over 8 hours late. Therefore, when Rick and I arrived at the airport, we simply went to the hotel and took it easy that afternoon. We got there around 3:45 and waited for Sam to arrive for dinner at 8:00, then found out he would not get in until after 10. Unfortunately, Sam's had a terrible day missing flights in OKC, HOU, and MEX, for us though it led to a pretty easy day since our tour guide was MIA... sorry Sam!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Heart Like David

Sunday, October 21, 2012, I had the opportunity to preach on “The Heart of David.” This was part of our 50Days Toward Spiritual Fitness Challenge we have been doing as a church. God revealed five characteristics of David that were used to challenge the church, they are: Humility, Example, Adoration, Repentance, and Training. In order to obtain a heart like David, I followed the lead of the author of the devotional book we are using for this study and challenged the people to increase the personal devotion in Scripture disciplines (reading, studying, and memory, prayer, and fasting. God taught and challenged me greatly in this message and it is my prayer that resonated within the hearts of the church as well. Click here to listen to the message.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: 10 Who Changed the World by Danny Akin

A friend of mine, Jarrett Stephens, recommended this book to me and I am glad he did. Danny Akin takes 10 great missionaries are correlates their story with a portion of Scripture that he exegetes as well.  There are many tremendous details of famous missionaries’ stories I had not heard, as well as introductions to missionaries I was not familiar with. Without going into great detail about each chapter, I am going to give you the name of the 10 missionaries and the key takeaway I had from them:

1.     William Carey – Not His Own
2.     Adoniram & Ann Judson – All Good Even When Life Is Not
3.     Bill Wallace – Sacrifice Today for the Eternal Tomorrow
4.     Lottie Moon – Living and Loving Loud for the Gospel
5.     Jim Elliot – Passionate Persistent Pursuit of Proclaiming
6.     George Leile – Slave to the Gospel (True First Modern Missionary)
7.     David Brainerd – Unashamed Self-Denial
8.     Eric Liddell – Surrendered Champion
9.     John & Betty Stam – Courageous Glorification in Life and Death
10. James Fraser – The Prayer Missionary

This is one of the true first books I have read just to read since I graduated from school. It was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about missions, missionaries, passion for Christ or His mission. This is an encouraging and challenging read for followers of Jesus.

Book Review: Your Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

This is a good little book that a man born without any limbs. It is meant to encourage the reader and provide them with hope, regardless of whatever difficulties they might be facing. Nick has become an international speaker who travels around the USA, China, Korea, etc. sharing how he has overcome his adversity and his love for God. The subtitle is good too, “Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life.” This is a book that you could read yourself and pass on to someone else who is in need of a pick-me-up… and if nothing else, it will make you feel good about reading a book from cover to cover in about 15 minutes! Here is a video of one of his talks:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Coleman's TD Run (One of them)

Coleman is playing UpWard football this year. I know, I know, he is only 4 but the kids loves sports and I was not going to tell him no on this request! It has been fun (and trying at times) being a coach on his team, working with they Pre-K Bengals (what a terrible name)! Here is a good video Christy took of one of his TD runs this Saturday (10/16/12).