Dear brethren and friends,
We give the Lord thanks for all our dear brothers and sisters who faithfully pray for us and support our mission. God has been gracious to us, and we hope and pray you are ever experiencing greater outpourings of grace and blessings from on high as you seek to glorify the worthy name of Jesus Christ, counting this world as dung and rubbish that you may gain Christ. Are you living for Him?
Only one life; twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last!
And when I’m gone how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life had been burned out for Thee!
May the Lord help us and make us willing in the day of His power to glorify our risen Savior in the midst of a twisted and perverse generation.
Here is an overview of what is happening:
First, an update on the family. Baby Josiah is now 4 months old, and growing a lot. He has been healthy, with the exception of the sickness he now has which is causing a fever and congestion. Your prayers for our little guy are so much appreciated. Lina is doing well. The 4 boys are doing well. Cesar got beat up the other day by an older kid because he was preaching to him. Cesar actually managed to seat all these kids down that he went to school with, and as they were seated in a row, he got out his Bible and began calling out their sin and preaching the Gospel to them. Our 4 boys, even though they’re homeschooled, have to go to school every so often to take periodic tests for the sake of academic advancement recognized by the government, so they preach at recess! They actually stand up with a Bible and passionately open air preach to all the kids. Then they come home with stories about how they were persecuted, cussed at, and mocked by the other kids, and how the teachers rebuke them and forbid them to preach. Cesar actually got walloped pretty bad and had an ugly wound on his shoulder from being slammed into a wall by a bigger kid who got angry at him for preaching and telling him that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. No one told them to do this, and yet they keep doing it. Lina and I have never told them to preach at school, yet they keep doing it. Yet I want to be careful not to discourage them and quench their zeal. Please pray much for these little guys. Please pray for Lina also, who is consumed with caring for baby Josiah.
We have started a new church plant. I have been travelling to Mexico City every Saturday since the first weekend of November in order to preach and hold meetings in a hotel conference room. It is a long story how all this came about, but the providence of God lead us launch forth in this new endeavor. On that first weekend in November, I was expecting just a small handful of people to show up, and to my surprise, over 100 people came to the meeting! We have a steady attendance of about 80 people now every Saturday evening. In addition to preaching, I have been meeting with these people personally and am seeking to help them and counsel them on many issues and struggles they have. There is scarcely a meeting that is not interrupted by an outburst of tears. Some of these people seem to demonstrate a real hunger for the Word. Many of these people come from bad churches (I will spare you the details) and are desperate to be a part of a biblical church, and a good handful are new converts. They are growing in truth and sanctification and we have been blessed to hear of the conversion of some of them recently.
So you may wonder how I’m able to preach in Mexico City and in Guadalajara at the same time? Well, I take a bus to Mexico City early on Saturday morning, arrive Saturday afternoon, preach on Saturday evening, then take an all-night bus back to Guadalajara and arrive in Guadalajara on Sunday morning, and then preach in the church in Guadalajara and spend the Lord’s Day in our church. It is exhausting. The Lord has been helping me and our labor in the Lord is not in vain. Thankfully, Brother Aaron Block has been helping a lot with preaching and has been a great blessing to the work.
I know some are thinking that this is too much work and therefore, is unwise. But how can we leave these dear precious babes in Christ to the wolves? How can we throw their precious souls to the dogs? I tell you, there is no labor that our Lord is not worthy of. I say this solemnly, but I fear that some think this sort of thing is extreme and unwise simply because they’re lukewarm, and would never consider pouring out all their strength for the sake of the Gospel. We think too much on our comfort and on preserving the commodity of our nice little brand of American Christianity rather than the proclamation of the Gospel and the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. We want a crown but we won’t take up the cross; we want heaven but we won’t confront and suffer the rage of Hell; we want happiness but we’re weak and anemic in Gospel holiness. Our whole value system seems to be the opposite of Jesus’ and Paul’s. I’m sick of nominal Christianity that is all talk but no power, all psychology without a true experience of Biblical Pnuematology, all exegesis of the ancient text but no living example of applying that text to experience and walking in real New Testament Christianity. And then we say it’s all OK and justify our sickly, weakly, anemic, prayerless, heartless, and pathetic Christianity by blaming it on the sovereignty of God like good orthodox little Reformed boys and girls and say, “Well I guess it’s just not the Lord’s will that souls get saved, churches get planted, and strongholds of the devil get devastated”. It makes me want to weep, scream, and vomit. Oh Lord, save us from ourselves!
(Please excuse my preachy, frustrated rant, and pray for me, and pray for more God-sent laborers to help us.)
The church plant in Guadalajara is growing. We currently have about 7 people who are being considered for membership, who I have been meeting with to inquire into their testimonies and understanding of the Gospel. Some of these are in the process of awaiting baptism. Four of these are recent conversions. This seems like a lot of people to have at once, but they’ve basically come in a wave; and this after quite a period of stagnation with regards to numerical growth. We have seen many visitors come and go in the meantime.
Please pray for the Lord to save more souls. The attendance is probably averaging about 70 on Sundays. Yet our membership is currently under 30. There are people who have sought me out to enquire about salvation, who are being awakened in the meetings. As I meet with them, they often weep and share their burdens, struggles, fears, and sins. They are miserable, somewhat like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress before arriving at the cross. I just hope they make it to Mt. Calvary. A couple of these people are an older couple in their 80’s. A couple of others are as young as teenagers. Even a little boy has recently confessed that he’s lost and wants to be saved. There are a number of people who are in this illuminated, awakened state, recognizing their sinfulness, yet they haven’t yet caught a true glimpse of the glorious free grace of the cross. When the Spirit of God works to save, first comes conviction and illumination, and then comes regeneration. It is regeneration that we are praying for. Brethren, please pray them through to victory! Oh, may they be bathed in the fountain that has been opened for sin and uncleanness, and be able to cry out one day soon:
“He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood!”
On Sundays we typically open the church meeting in the morning with prayer, Scripture reading and exhortation, hymn singing, preaching, and then a fellowship meal. In the afternoon we are currently studying a book together on the Doctrine of God (Paul Washer’s). Then in the evening the church engages in hospital evangelism in which we feed about 200 people and preach the Gospel to them in the open air. On the first Sunday of each month, we also have a members meeting, in which we exhort one another, rebuke one another, talk about issues in the church, pray for one another, and observe the Lord’s Supper together.
The Evangelism Ministry is exploding. We are working with Living Waters’ Spanish ministry (Aguas Vivientes) to train pastors and local churches in Biblical evangelism. In October, Aguas Vivientes hosted their first Evangelism Academy in Spanish right here in the city of Guadalajara. I was given the privilege to preach alongside a few other men from the ministry. We had about 50 people in attendance from about 8 different nations, including a handful of pastors. We were able to teach on the Biblical Gospel and Biblical Evangelism for 3 days, and hit the streets with the whole group for a glorious time of open air and one-on-one evangelism. We’ve received testimonies since then of people who were in attendance who are now teaching evangelism workshops in their churches and leading teams out to the streets to preach the Gospel. This has also opened the doors for more invitations to teach conferences amidst fellowships of pastors in other places.
We have another conference programmed for February in the state of Chihuahua, in which we are expecting about 80-90 pastors to be present, each with some key leaders from their respective congregations. Please pray for this, brethren. This is a huge opportunity to preach the Gospel, teach on evangelism, and distribute solid resources that can potentially affect hundreds of churches. I’m also in contact with a pastor in Nicaragua who heads up a fellowship of pastors, who is organizing a 5-day training workshop for 25 pastors on the Biblical Gospel and Biblical Evangelism in Nicaragua. The training will consist of about 20 hours of instruction, so I hope to be able to expound somewhat in depth on the doctrines of grace, the attributes of God, soteriology, and the practical bearing all this has on evangelism. We have set the date for this conference in April, if the Lord wills. By the grace of God, we are seeing the beginnings of not just a ministry, but a movement. Many pastors write us or call us constantly, churches are being reformed, some churches are being divided over truth, and people are returning to the Gospel. Your earnest petitions and pleas for mercy before the throne of grace are desperately desired for the sake of our poor and pitiful efforts.
The evangelical idol of decisionism is being smashed quickly, as we teach on evangelism and expose this golden calf of the modern church. Though not everybody receives it immediately, we are seeing a surprising amount of receptivity and are seeing some pastors repent of their unbiblical practices. Some of them resist at first, and say that they’ve been in ministry for decades and have never heard these things, but then they later admit that it’s all Biblical –and then turn around and invite us to go to their churches to preach to their congregations! By the grace of God, we are seeing churches being equipped and leading teams out to the streets to preach the Gospel all over Mexico. The Lord is shaking things. I have more invitations for conferences than I’m possible able to accept and must turn down the majority of them. The harvest is great but the laborers few. Please pray for me, my family, our team… and for more laborers.
Recently we were privileged to participate in a DVD giveaway in Guadalajara. The giveaway was sponsored by Wretched Ministries who very graciously sent us 2,400 DVD’s of “La Pregunta Mas Grande”, an evangelistic DVD with a sound presentation of the Gospel in Spanish. Our church went to the streets and distributed all these DVD’s in about 4 hours on December 5th. We had 25 brethren involved and it was a great time of street evangelism.
I had an intense encounter just as we began the day. Just as the team met together, before we began to pass out DVD’s, a man came up to us. He asked us what we were doing, and we told him about the giveaway. He was happy to receive a DVD. Then he asked for prayer, saying that he was a drug addict and desperately needed God in his life. I began to share the Gospel with him, and as I got to the cross and began expounding on the glories of Calvary, he began weeping profusely. He said, “I believe that”, but then added that in spite of “believing”, he knew he was lost because of his sinful lifestyle. He explained that his heart was so hardened against God that prior to this day, he didn’t want anything to do with God, but that this day he began to feel a great sorrow in his heart over his sin, and explained that he knew it was the Lord convicting him of his need to get right with Him. He also said that he deserved everlasting damnation and was no better than the Devil. I told him that was true, but that no sin is greater or more powerful than the precious blood of Christ, and that the sinless Son of God died as the divenely-appointed Substitute for wretched sinners like us. I explained to him the concept of God’s holy hatred of sin and wrath against sinners, but also that His Beloved Son became the object of that holy hatred and wrath on that cursed tree in order to placate God’s fierce anger and satisfy His perfect justice, and He did it all because of the great love with which He loved us. I urged him to repent and believe the Gospel immediately, to trust in the righteousness which God has provided for unworthy sinners through the death and resurrection of His Son, and to look to Christ alone for an imputed, “alien” righteousness. I was able to explain to him the concepts of justification and regeneration, and testify about how the Mighty God can liberate enslaved addicts from both the guilt and the power of sin. He then asked me to pray for him, so I did. In the midst of the prayer, a demon began manifesting in this man attempting to cast him to the ground, so I wrapped my arms around him and held him up, fearing that if I didn’t he would hit the concrete and harm himself, and then I commanded the spirit to come out in the name of Jesus Christ. A man that was walking by stopped and gazed at us with a dumbfounded look when this occurred, but walked off before I could preach to him. After some more strange manifestations which appeared to signify the exodus of this unwelcome guest of darkness, the man, drenched in sweat and tears, said that he felt the power of God in his body and was shocked by what had just happened. He said that He would repent and serve the Lord. Of course, this man seemed very eager to watch the DVD after this peculiar occurrence. I must add here for the sake of clarification (so that I’m not confused with the hyper-charismatics) that I don’t go around seeking these types of experiences, or to exorcise demons, but in this particular case, the Lord brought about an encounter with an evil spirit that required confrontation. I do believe we have been given authority to trample snakes and scorpions and in these types of cases, we are justified in using it for the glory of Christ. We are in a real spiritual war, and situations like these serve to remind us of the reality of the spiritual that we tend to be so blinded to in our materialistic Western culture.
I preached at a conference in Autlan, Jalisco in October. The subject was the 5 Sola’s of the Reformation, and I was assigned to preach on Soli Deo Gloria. There were a handful of pastors present, and it seems like the Lord is awakening them to the doctrines of grace and purging some of them of false doctrine. Part of this is due to the labors of a couple of other men, namely Paul Walker and Dan Grindstaff, who I’ve been privileged to meet and conversate with. A few of the brethren from our church plant in Guadalajara were also able to exhort a youth group in this place about the dangers of false professions, youthful lusts, wordliness, sexual sin, etc., preach the Gospel, and share their testimonies. Their exhortations were powerful and I believe God owned the time. I am in contact with a fellow missionary who abides in that city who is laboring to the same ends for which we are laboring: To see a modern Reformation and revival of the doctrines of grace and the Biblical Gospel in Mexico.
Our website ministry in Spanish has been exploding recently (www.cristianismobiblico.com). We are hearing from brethren all over Latin America that the Lord is using it to open their eyes to truth, and confirm them in the doctrines they’ve heard from Spurgeon, MacArthur, Washer, etc. Many invitations are pouring in through it to go to different cities to preach in churches and fellowship groups, but they are almost all being denied at this time. People write us from all over asking for a biblical church in their city. Some are driving long distances to meet with us for counsel (from other states in Mexico). We have received testimonies of people’s conversions through it also recently, including some Spanish speaking women in Japan! Others are passing the teachings along to their pastors, fellow congregants, and families. A revolution is going on in at least two different churches right now because of it. Some, who can’t find a biblical church in their city, are tuning in on live streams over the internet to hear Sunday’s sermons. It has boggled my mind to think of how the Word of the Lord is running mightily through the internet. Much of this is due to the constant work and dedication of Brother Aaron, who records the sermons, edits them, and uploads them to the internet.
Unfortunately, we receive so many emails now that Aaron and I can’t respond to them all, so many go unanswered. However, another dear brother in the Lord in Guadalajara is now about to come on board full time with the ministry to help us with everything. We are in the process of changing the whole website, which will update it to the most recent technology, and serve to better organize the content. Then it is our goal to add many more resources, which will increase the traffic. This should be done within the next month, Lord willing.
Please pray for these things.
Soli Deo Gloria,