Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Away From Home

So it's Christmas Eve right now, and I'm having a hard time lying about not being home sick. The truth is I am homesick because I have been very close to my immediate family throughout my upbringing and this is the very first Christmas that I had ever spent apart from them. It's a bit emotional on my part and I am positive that it may be on theirs as well.

One of the things we used to do together on Christmas Eve was wait up until midnight, itching to open up the gifts that our parents had gotten us.
I remember years ago getting a Nintendo 64 for Christmas and being so excited about it. I valued it so much because my parents were poor, and it was really rare that we got something so pricey. But better than the gifts, was the time we got to spend together as a family. As we have gotten older we valued that time more and more because we spend less and less time together and more time apart, I guess it's a part of growing up.

As of right now, Monica and I left the land that we have been used to, the land where our
awesome family is, and we left because we have some things that we had to do for Jesus, things
He had asked us to do far away from home. As I was grieved in my heart and shared what I was
feeling with the Lord, He spoke to me and reminded me that there was a couple He knew very well that had gone through something very similar to us.

We don't really know if they were really in love while they were engaged, all we know is that their marriage was arranged and they were set to be married soon. One day though to their surprise, Mary ended up pregnant, all this without Joseph laying a single hand on her. And so they were given the responsibility of doing something for Jesus, to raise Him and protect Him just as God had asked them to do. Part of what came with that package was to leave their home. They left their home, their family and all their loved ones and while Jesus was still in Mary's womb they took the long trip to Bethlehem, where the Messiah was to be born. In a way, I understand the emotions that they were feeling, having to part ways with their loving families and close friends, it's not an easy thing to do. But even then, they arrived in Bethlehem and Jesus was born.

And so how is it that my wife and I can relate to this couple? They spent their first Christmas as a couple away from their family and close friends because they were busy doing something for Jesus. It was not an easy thing for them to do just as it wasn't easy for us and it isn't easy now, but it is amazing to see the fruit out of their obedience to the Lord. Jesus, the child they raised, eventually died for the sins of the world so that we can be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven. As down as I feel I can't help but imagine what the Lord is going to do through us here in Montana. We can't see that far down the road and still don't fully understand what we're doing here, but we're going to have faith and hold on, because in the end we know it'll be worth it.

And so, even though we miss our families deeply, this step of faith did not go in vain. We know we're supposed to be here but just know fam, we do miss you very much. Remember though that it wasn't even easy for Mary and Joseph to spend time away from their families, their first Christmas was in a Manger full of animal poop and stinky animals!! But just know that if you hold on like they held on and let God do what He wants to do, amazing things will happen.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers, we miss you.

Merry Christmas/ Happy Birthday Jesus

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why Be Obedient?

"And being assembled together with them, He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which,' He said, 'you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:4-5

Before Jesus death and resurrection, His disciples were not commited or faithful when they were placed under pressure. When being told to pray in the Garden, the pressures of sleep got the best of them and instead of praying they shut their eyes and drifted into dreams. Even after Jesus had resurrected, on the Mountain of Galilee, He had given the disciples what we call, 'the Great Commision' of making disciples all around the world and baptising them. Instead, Peter influences some of the disciples to go fishing.

Jesus in this Scripture gives His disciples another command after failing to keep many of His commandments.

This time though, Peter and the disciples decided to carry out the order that Jesus had given. The order was to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And in carrying out this order, the world was turned completely upside down for the good. In their simple act of obidience, the Spirit came and made a huge impact to Jesus' disciples and to the Church.

Instead of struggling in the flesh, the usually disobient disciples were given power in place of their weaknesses to do a work for God.

The reason why Peter was waiting in Jerusalem may have been a mystery to him, all he knew was something about a 'Spirit'. But it was all clear to him when the Spirit came, it shows because he spoke about it in Acts 2. He was even able to address the questions that had grieved many of the believers at that time; why Jesus died, when Jesus resurrected, why Jesus did not establish His kingdom at that time and why He ascended instead of stayed.

When the Spirit came and used Peter to address these burdensome questions, the scriptures say many were 'cut to the heart' and asked, 'what should we do?'. Peter responded with what was never really clear to him before, but clearly understood now, and could explain perfectly. He responded by saying, "Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."(Acts 2:38-39)

Something we can learn is that like Peter we need to finally decide to obey by faith, especially when we don't understand. In time the Lord will accomplish what He set out to do. In turn, we'll bless others as we share with full understanding what God has done. People will be cut to the heart, people will be blown away and people will be saved.