In This update...
Is the Gospel Making a Historic Impact?
Mexico has traditionally been known as a gospel-resistant country, steeped in tradition, and skeptical of Christianity -and it still is. Paradoxically, it is also known for its false Christianity, for hyper-charismania, and for being a seedbed for all kinds of cults. Not to mention being notorious for the mafia, drug-trafficking, mass-massacres and kidnapping rings. But in the midst of such obstacles, the Spirit of God is crashing down walls and calling out His people, causing them to unite in the biblical gospel. We are thrilled to see the beginnings of what appears to be a movement of biblical churches such as has never before occurred in the history of Mexico as Christ, the head of the church, is strategically saving and positioning His dispersed people all over the nation. Indeed, these are the best of times and these are the worst of times!
It is interesting how the Lord is using the internet to accomplish this. The internet has been likened to "the printing press of the 21st century". Just as the printing press revolutionized the world, and became the medium by which the truth of God's word exploded in the 16th century Reformation, the Lord is using the internet in Latin America and around the world for the spread of the gospel. We are certainly seeing this in Mexico, as there are believers scattered abroad who are listening to solid biblical preaching online by some of our favorite Bible teachers (like John Piper, Paul Washer, John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, R.C. Sproul, etc.). This is producing an awakening which is unprecedented in Mexico, and souls are getting saved, and believers are getting jolted with the power of truth as their eyes are being opened to see the glory of the gospel of grace. However, in many cities, there are no churches which believe in the glorious truths that these believers are hearing online. So this leaves many Christians in difficult situations, without a church in their locality with which they can identify, and without fellowship with other like-minded believers. Many of them write to us through Cristianismo Bíblico, our online ministry, seeking a biblical church, and requesting that we go to their cities to plant a church and help them. We have received many such requests from cities all over Mexico, where there are groups of believers meeting together to fellowship and exhort one another but are lacking pastoral oversight and are in need of much instruction.
Paul told the Colossians to pray "that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ" (Col. 4:3). He also requested prayer from the Thessalonians "that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored" (2 Th. 3:1). We are requesting the same prayer for our ministry in Mexico and by God's grace, are seeing something of its fulfillment come to fruition, at least in a small measure. Yet our hearts long to see what we've not yet seen -a real awakening, genuine revival and historic outpourings of the Holy Spirit move across this dark land and sweep multitudes into the Kingdom of God! Please keep praying for this. Our God is a faithful God, a mighty God, a living God, who hears the cries of His people! Our prayers are not falling on deaf ears. We are entering into a time of harvest in Mexico that has never happened in its history.
Conference with Emilio Ramos in Mexico City
We were recently able to host two conferences back to back in January. The first was a conference with our beloved church Comunidad Bíblica de la Gracia in Mexico City. We were blessed to receive Emilio Ramos, pastor of Heritage Grace Community Church of Frisco Texas, who did a 3-day conference on the theme, "Christ in All of Scripture". The focus was specifically geared toward equipping us with the theology of a Christ-centered view of Scripture and with the practicality of how to study the Bible in such a way so as to faithfully apply a historic-redemptive hermeneutic to the texts of the Old Testament so as to see their ultimate fulfillment in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Emilio gave us 5 messages on this theme, together with a few question and answer sessions. We were greatly edified and encouraged. Below you can see a video they made of their trip:
We are grateful for Emilio and Trisha Ramos and their friend Felix who came down to serve in Mexico. I have learned much from Emilio and his preaching ministry, and highly recommend his sermons which can be downloaded on their church website. Hopefully we can get them back down in the future!
Conference with Tim Conway in Guadalajara
The weekend after Emilio's conference, we hosted another conference in Guadalajara with Tim Conway, pastor of Grace Community Church of San Antonio, Texas.
Seeing that our church building was too small to accommodate all the people, the Lord provided a beautiful property for us to have the conference on:
Brethren came from different places all over Mexico to attend the conference. About 300 showed up for the conference. The times of fellowship were wonderful.
The conference theme was on "Combating the Errors of Hyper-Calvinism". Why this theme? Tim had a burden to guard the purity of the gospel against the tendencies of many young believers to hold to the doctrines of grace with a lopsided view of divine sovereignty which undermines the importance of human responsibility. This tendency can be very subtle and tends to first eat away at a church's prayer meetings, evangelistic zeal and missionary vision, and this can be fatal to true revival.
As Phil Johnson notes in his excellent article on the subject:
It is almost inevitable that many believers, upon being awakened to the doctrines of grace, struggle to maintain a proper balance to keep the flames of zeal for Christ burning with white-hot passion. As Tim taught, the errors of hyper-Calvinism can so subtly influence our thinking, even without us being hyper-Calvinists per se, that it is necessary to teach on the subject and expose the nature of these errors. Tim's burden was for the extension of a pure gospel in Mexico, and for a missions-movement to be raised up among our churches. He preached 5 messages over the 3-day conference, and was able to spend time teaching, fellowshipping with, and counseling believers outside of the teaching sessions.
Tim Conway's report of his trip to Mexico is as follows:
It was such a blessing to have brother Tim with us. The Lord is igniting fires in Mexico and we look on with eagerness and expectation to see what He will do next. We have many plans on the horizon if the Lord wills, and hope to begin hosting an annual fellowship conference for all the brethren in Mexico, with the first one starting this Fall. We are expecting a greater turnout for the next conference, and hope to invite several seasoned preachers to come down and preach. Your prayers for this are greatly appreciated.
See more photos below (click on picture to enlarge and see description):
From time to time there are brethren who inquire about our financial situation and ask if we need support. For those who have asked, the truth is that at this time, we are struggling to cover all our expenses. The Lord has been so faithful, and we're confident in His faithfulness to continually provide, but if you would like to help support us, information about that can be found on the "Support" page of this website. We are thankful for so many faithful brethren who pray for Mexico and hope to rejoice together with you in glory as we will one day be able to see the fruit of our labors, to the praise and glory of God. Please receive our affectionate "thanks" from the bottom of our hearts.
Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria,
In Christ -Josef Urban
MAY THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!