Wednesday, May 27, 2015

East meets West meets South and Arizona, too! May 2015

God Bless all the visitors that come to Rancho Santa Fe Mexico Mission and that work in various communities and with other pastors. It is our delight and pleasure to have you help in this area of Mexico. Your work is valuable and such a blessing to so many. You are all part of the miracle.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Street Eating: To Do Or Not To Do

Some people are confused about eating on the streets in Mexico and I can understand that. The government says not to do it. They don’t advertise reasons telling one how to detect good places from bad, or any other thing; they just tell us not to do it, flat out. But, I will say this, some times I’ve have been happy to have eaten where I did and other times, much less than happy. One can get amoebas, bacteria and even food poisoning from poor kept, prepared or served foods. But, you probably wouldn’t eat in a place that looks that dirty, I would hope. I’ve seen how one place cut the meats, and then the cheese with the same knife, only wiping it off with dirty towel between cutting the meat and cutting the cheese. Also, if the stand you are going to eat at has no running water, it’s not the place to for you to chow-down. If the mayonnaise and condiments are kept at high outdoor temperatures; that’s also a sign that you should move on to a different food stand. Take note, if there is not a restroom at the vendor’s spot, don’t stop to eat there. If the place is busy with lots of people, looks clean, has lots of napkins and the sellers look presentable and have their permits readily visible, then you’ve probably found a safe place to get a quick taco, burrito or quesadilla. Just keep your eyes opened. And, don’t settle for something you don’t really want to eat. Nowadays there are lots of one-stop-quickie-type markets that sell fast food at a very low price. Plus, most of them have all facilities you would likely find in any indoor restaurant. But, again, remember that the Mexican government says, don’t eat in the streets. They seem to know what they are talking about. Buyer, please beware.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Christians: Going To Church Is Important

Fellowship: Human beings are, by creation and nature, social creatures. No one lives absolutely isolated from everyone else. Interaction with other people is indispensable for our mental health and civic wellbeing. Even though fellowship with others might be difficult, still it is necessary for us as humans and even more so as Christians. Here are some verses that have taught me to seek fellowship for myself and to provide it for others. We need each other, plain and simple. As a pastor, I care for my congregation and I try to show each and every person in the fellowship that they are important to me. I want them to be well-taught, to be instructed in righteousness and to be prepared for all good works. "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1. "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--- and all the more as you see the Day approaching," Hebrews 10:24-25. "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved," Acts 2:46-47. Spiritual battles are going on all around us. We often find ourselves in the thick of it. So, please pray for us in Mexico and for all the people to whom Rancho Santa Fe and El Camino Agape seek to minister to. The battle is too big for us alone, the enemy is too evil. We need your help, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” James 5:16b. But thankfully the battle belongs to the Lord and He will obtain the ultimate victory! 2nd Chronicles 20:15; Psalm 60:12. Most of all we need the help of the Lord, Psalm 20:7. We really appreciate your fellowship in prayer, interceding for us makes a positive difference. Alabado sea nuestro Dios. May our God be praised!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Pinata Is So Much More Than Just Fun

The Moral Of The Piñata
The original piñata was a decorated clay pot, called a canter way-back-when. Which, in times past, represented the devil, who often changes himself to an angel of light, a mask, 2 Corinthians 11:14, “And no wonder, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of light,” to entice humanity. The first piñatas looked something like an early space vehicle, like Sputnik, with seven points, each with flashy ribbons. These points or cones represented the seven deadly sins, greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath and lust. Painted beautiful and bright, with flashy decorations, the piñata was indeed tempting. The candies and fruits placed inside represented the many temptations of wealth and earthly pleasures. With all of this, the piñata reflected various theological virtues in the religious instruction of both adults and children. The blindfolded batter represents the foremost force in confronting evil, which is faith, Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” The people congregated near the contestant twirled him or her around to confuse the sense of direction and space. Life often leaves us reeling. Sometimes the spins numbered thirty three in memory of the life of Christ. Other times, 39 revolution like the stripes Jesus suffered before going to the cross. The voices of others cry out guidance: ¡Más arriba! Higher! ¡Abajo! Lower! ¡Enfrente! In front! (Some call out false directions to further disorient the hitter.) The piñata served as a symbol of Hope. Psalm 147:11, “The Lord delights in those who fear Him: Who put their hope in His unfailing Love.” With the piñata hanging above their heads, people watched towards the sky or heaven yearning and waiting for the prize. The stick for breaking the piñata symbolized virtue, as only good can overcome evil. Once broken, the candies and fruits represented the just reward for keeping faith. The piñata embodied, Charity. With its ultimate breaking, everyone shared in the divine blessings and gifts. Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. The moral of the piñata: all are justified through faith. Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Friday, May 15, 2015

Asking For Help

It is really hard to ask someone to commit to building a house for a pastor in Mexico that they don’t know. And, I have never done that. But, over the years, as funds have come in, we have helped to build over 50 small concrete block or wooden houses. Each house built honestly changes the lives of the people helped by these homes. It takes up to $4,000 dollars to build a tiny new shelter using local labor. Each project creates short-term work for several people, as well as builds a new sense of community as neighborly hands truly serve each other and the Lord.
We use only Christian laborers and we construct these buildings just for church families. In this case, it’s for a pastor and his family. Juan, Ellie and Nicole, work in El Zorrillo, near Ensenada and are currently living in a little borrowed basement space. Juan was a Bible student, now graduate and has been pastor and mission helper for the past ten years. He has struggled hard to earn enough money to finish his house on his own, but to-date, he hasn’t been able to do that. I am now asking God to send laborers to pick-up a bit of the load and help him finish his house. Your prayers are certainly appreciated as I know the prayers of a righteous person can do a lot of good. James 5:16b, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Still Working On His Plan “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (perfection, godliness or Christ-likeness): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:13&14. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you,” Romans 12:3. These are only two of the many verses that I repeat in my mind anytime I think of myself as something even slightly important or useable or needed in this world…because, I am not. Everything, anything and all that I have or can do or am able to possibly achieve, is only due to God’s great and abundant grace, mercy and undying love for sinners, such as am I. Over the last 30 years of ministry, I have eagerly focused my spiritual activities on preparing myself (and hundreds of others) for the call of God in whatever way He may choose to lead me or use me. During this period of time I have had the blessing of being involved with many godly pastors; hundreds of growing and going missionaries and a multitude of visiting groups all working to help this mission to teach God’s Word. I have been blest, privileged and honored to lead this ministry, which, as anyone can see, is so much bigger than just this one man.
This is a ministry that runs on faith, hope and prayer. And, it has progressed, expanded and matured in to a ministry focused on spiritual advance, discipleship, leadership, revival, prayer, and biblical literacy. There is no mega-strategy that we are working from, except this: Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The main area of emphasis is in getting people to accept Jesus, to walk with the Lord and to live out their lives in sincere service the Risen Savior. Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.” 1 John 5:11&12, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” Thank You All for joining me on this fantastic journey in to the Lord’s Harvest. There is no other thing I would like to be doing. This is just great. Sure, it’s not always high-hilarity and pure fun but even at that, it’s a great thing to be involved in.
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.” God Bless You for being wise!