Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Facing Resistance in the Jungle

Please pray for our work in the jungle. We are going on May 23rd to June 3 but problems arose. The village we teach at is about 120 people with only 12 or so believers. The unbelievers don't want us there.
The village Chembo is in an uproar about us coming. The unbelievers rose up against us and the jefe is refusing to allow us gringos in the village. Miguel, the Peruvian we work with in Satipo, is searching for a place to preach in Atalaya, which is a nearby jungle town. Miguel and his father in law have to go to the other 7 villages and invite the people to come to Atalaya but Chembo is against us and they are telling everyone not to go. The devil's schemes to stop the Gospel from penetrating the Amazon.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Return to the Jungle

I seek your prayers for the month of May because we have a lot going on. I have the privilege to preach to our church on May 19th and then I preach in the mountain town of Jauja on the 23rd, the jungle town of Satipo on the 24th and then in the village of Chembo, deep in the jungle, on the 28th. It is a tremendous amount of work to prepare, write, translate and preach sermons in Spanish, at least for me at this point in time. Hopefully after I'm fluent, this will be easier. I really need the unction and power of the Holy Spirit.  Tim, Joe and I leave for the trip into the jungle on May 23rd and we return to Cuzco on June 2nd. We are meeting Scott Dollar and his translator, Adin in the mountain town of Jauja.  Scott Dollar will be preaching in Satipo and will be teaching all day, everyday in Chembo.  Joe, Tim and I will preach in the evenings.  We have all our permissions from the jefe and the tribe is expecting us. Please pray.  For those who have not seen our last trip to the jungle and what we are to expect this time, here is the VIDEO

Monday, April 15, 2013

Introduction to a Peruvian Birthday

I must tell you what a birthday party is like in Peru.  We just returned from Pastor Wehrner's 8 year old twin boys birthday party.  We received the invitation on Saturday which said the party was from 5 to 7.  First I must tell you that any kind of Peruvian schedule is always in a secret code that you have to decipher.  For example when you read that the party is from 5 to 7pm it really means the party will start anywhere from 5:30-6 and it will end around 8:30.  We were there at 5:30 because we are catching on to the code but we were one of the first people there.  At about 6pm most of the people had arrived.  There were about 45 people crammed into a small living room.  Everyone had a chair to sit in, which was important because of the events that unfolded.   The party went as follows:

  1. The party host, Lupe, started things off by belting out a few songs and then brought the kids with gestures.  They sang multiple songs for 15 minutes.
  2. Prayer
  3. Time for the first snack.  Everyone is served.  They would never do a buffet style because the Peruvians are very hospitable and like to serve.  So everyone was served a snack.
  4. Another round of songs with the kids.
  5. Time for the second snack.
  6. Played a game with everyone.
  7. Time for another snack
  8. Played another came which involved a balloon being passed around while music played.  If you had the balloon when the music stopped then you were punished.  The punishment was usually an embarrassing game or something funny you had to do.
  9. Prayer
  10. Chicha morada, which is a drink made from purple corn, was served for the drink.
  11. More songs and games.
  12. Sandwiches were now passed out.
  13. Kids sang, ate and removed the balloons from the wall and began beating each other.
  14. The floor was now covered in food and spilled drink which gave the kids opportunity to slide across the floor, which they did.
  15. More games and singing.
  16. Wehrner takes the opportunity to preach to the 45 people and exhort all the parents in raising their kids in the way of the Lord.
  17. The twins now where brought forward and each got to pick a person out of the crowd and make them do somethings.  The first twin picked Tim Killillay and made him sing a song.  The second picked Chase and he also had to sing a song.
  18. More games.
  19. Dinner is now served to each person.  Chicken, a potato, and a beet salad.
  20. More chica morada is served.
  21. Time for the cake.  The lights go out and everyone gathers around the cake.  Two big candles are lit and blown out by the twins and then two giant roman candles are lit.  I'm sure these fireworks are illegal in every State in the US.  The candles shot flames and sparks 3 feet in the air. We were slightly worried the house would catch fire but it never.
  22. More games.
  23. Cake is served.
  24. More chica morada
  25. Gift bags were now given to all the kids at the party.
  26. Almost everyone balloon was popped.
  27. Party finally ended.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where two or three are gathered.....what Matthew 18 does not mean

One of the most miss-quoted verse in the Bible, after Jeremiah 29:11, is Matthew 18:20 which says:

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
This verse has been butchered by every small group gathered to study the bible to mega churches to even solid expository preaching churches.  I have witnessed countless times someone stand up before the service at church or pray before a bible study in a home and quote this verse.  They say that because at least 2 or 3 Christians are in the same place then Jesus is with them.  Others twist the Scripture just a little and say that when a group of more then 2 people is gathered, Jesus is with them in a special way.

Even a well known writer tells a story in his book on prayer that he put out an extra empty chair for Jesus in the prayer meeting because Jesus promised to be with a group of two or more people.
This, of course, brings up a questions.  What if there is only one person?  Is Jesus not with one person?  Does their have to be at least 2 people present for Jesus to be present?  Does Jesus somehow lose His attribute of being omnipresent when there is only one person?  Is Jesus not really omnipresent at all times, which would mean that He is not omnipresent? 
The problem with this interpretation is that the text has absolutely nothing to do with Christians gathering as a church, in a bible study or in fellowship. 
Let's look at the context: 
15“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
If we read the whole context of the passage we will see that this passage specifically refers to church discipline. It is a promise for guidance for the two or three who confront, and a promise for the church to claim wisdom and restoration for the erring brother.

The MacArthur study Bible commentary is helpful:
18:20 two or three. Jewish tradition requires at least 10 men (a minyan) to constitute a synagogue or even hold public prayer. Here, Christ promised to be present in the midst of an even smaller flock—”two or three witnesses” gathered in His name for the purpose of discipline. 
The New King James Bible commentary explains the context very clear:
Thus in the context of verse 20, Jesus is presenting the process for dealing with sin and maintaining unity in the church (verse 17), which was yet to be established. It starts with private confronting in verse 15 (one on one), moves to group adjudication in verse 16 (two or three), and is finalized by the church in verse 17, the highest court of appeal on earth for spiritual accountability. In verses 18 and 19, Jesus strongly reinforces the legitimacy of this process of discipline in the family of believers by stating that, when it is done properly, they will be accomplishing on earth that which has already been determined as the will of God in heaven.
Thus in verse 20, Jesus summarizes this whole process of discipline by affirming that when it is carried out according to His directives, it has the power and authority of His almighty presence.
Please feel free to quote this verse but quote it correctly.  Don't use it in the context of church worship, bible studies or fellowship.  You are using the Bible wrongly.  Use this verse correctly in the context of church discipline.