Saturday, July 25, 2015

Time with the Body

Wednesday we began a new study with our men and women;  
"A Gospel Centered Life"
So far we are off to a good start and are excited to see God bringing the "Joy of our Salvation" back into the hearts and lives of many!
 Ladies class

 Men´s Class

 Kids Class

 Saturday night we had our bi-monthly men´s and women´s meeting.  
We were excited to welcome 3 visiting families to our studies.
 I had three of our girls help out with the ladies study on I Corinthians 13

 Fellowship times with the body, building relationships and community.

We praise the Lord for the family at Redemption Baptist Church.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Glimpses of God's holiness, my sinfulness and the Cross

We just started a new study with the women on Wednesday nights called "The Gospel Centered  Life".  Last night we looked at this chart and talked about how the gospel becomes more precious to us as we become more aware of our sinfulness and God´s holiness.  

One of the questions in the book asked how our perception of God´s holiness and/or our sinfulness has changed over the past year.  

Today I was talking to James about how I thought the study went last night.  
I have to admit I didn't think I did that great of a job leading the study.  I felt like I was tripping over my words a lot and failing with the language.  

As I prayed, to begin my time with the Lord today, He brought to my attention that I want to make a name for myself... I want to be "famous".  All my concern about my Portuguese is really just putting a pretty cover on the sinful desire to be well thought of and admired as the Bible study leader and Pastor's wife.  

God in His holiness and wisdom is using my second language to keep me humble and dependent on Him.  This weakness forces me to run to Him, like a child, and depend on Him.  My approval is in Him, my service is to exalt His name and not my own.  Is it not 100x better to see God work in people, transforming them, despite my imperfect speaking; than to pridefully take credit as a "great" teacher?

So, how has my perception of my sinfulness and God's holiness changed in the past 24 hours???

I see a little more of the corruption of my heart (Jeremiah 17.9),
I see how perfectly good and holy God is in all that does (Isaiah 55.9),
and I praise Him for His cross where I am forgiven for my pride and empowered to live a life of humbleness.

Friday, July 03, 2015

The Love of Christ Constrains Us...

Any given night on the streets of Florianópolis you see a scene like this.

 Recently one of our young men was burdened to show the love of Christ to these people.  He came up with a plan to organize our people into action.  
-Soup was donated by one man
-A cooler was donated by another
-Cups and lids were bought
-Teens worked together after church to finalize preparations
-5 men went downtown to deliver cups of hot soups to people in need.
Our men were amazed at the reception they received.  Their hearts were touched by the needs physically and even more, spiritually.  Several asked for prayer for injuries or help to leave behind their addictions.  Over all it was an amazing chance to serve the Lord.

Pray for Redemption Baptist as they prepare to return on Wednesday nights sharing their hearts, and their Savior with the 'least of these.'

Monday, June 29, 2015

Women of the Word

The women at Redemption Baptist are just finishing up an excellent study called 

It just came out in Portuguese this year and we were so excited to use this resource to equip our women in how the study the Bible inductively.

As we went through the book, we put the steps into practice in our personal devotions.  Half of the class we spent studying the book and half the class was spent discussing what we were learning from the Word.  We began by studying the book of Jude.  In each class I would give the ladies their homework for the week, (steps taken from the book) and then in our next class we would discuss what we learned in Jude.  After finishing up Jude we decided to start on James.  

By the time we got to Chapter 8 in the book where she does a sample study in James, we were excited to see we were right on track.  The book is done but the Ladies of IBR are just getting started.  We are studying and digging into the Word like never before.  
More than just filling our heads with knowledge, we are informing our hearts and our minds.  We are being transformed as we come to know our God more intimately.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pastor Appreciation Day

Sunday was Dia do Pastor here in Brazil.  
(Pastor's day)

Our church here is precious to us.  We are often amazed by the evidences of Grace in their lives. To be part of a church body where people are learning to live humbly, repenting of sin, seeking the Lord, and loving generously is an untold blessing. 

James would be the first to tell you that he is not a perfect pastor but he really wants to see his people and himself come to know and love God more.  We praise God for his mercy extended to us daily and the we thank him for entrusting us with these precious brothers and sisters.  

 Last night during the service we were presented with these really cool gifts in honor of Pastor appreciation day!  
Thank you God for your generosity to us through the people at IBR. 
We really do feel appreciated! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Happy Valentines Day from Brazil

Friday was Valentines day here in Brazil.  
It is celebrated very differently from what is done in the US.  
Here in Brazil it only for couples, dating or married, children don't participate.  
So our church had a special couples dinner, hosted by the young people!

 Our special menu for the night was chili!  Now chili is not traditionally used seasoning so it was a bit of risk.  But one of our women loves to cook and she had a great recipe.  As you can see from the picture, we cleaned up the chili, so I guess it was a hit!    
 We had a study from the Word and at time of games led by the teens.  It was a great night of fellowship and lots of laughter.  One of the games was hearing the stories of how our husbands proposed to us.  It was lots of fun guessing who's story it was!  
 Happy valentines day from us down here in Brazil. 

And by the way, me and my valentine just celebrated 17 years of marriage this month!  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Iron Sharpening Iron

We recently had the honor to receive 14 men from the state to the south of us for a special time of fellowship and communion.  
These men drove up 6 hours, bringing their fine art of churrasco with them (grilling)! They camped out in our living rooms and joined us for our Sunday morning service before heading home.  
Along with our men and young men we had almost 30 men.  
It was a special time of fellowship and encouragement for all the men.  A highlight of the weekend was the time of testimony, hearing  how God is working, calling men to salvation.  

One of the men has an amazing ministry of reaching the lost.  He starts off by living out his Christianity in his work place.  He then invites men to his home for a 4-6 week evangelistic Bible study.  Over time he has led several co-workers to the Lord and these families are a key part of the church plant there in the greater Porto Alegre area.  
Another interesting testimony was from a young man who accepted Christ as his Savior at a camp.  He went back to his Lutheran church and began sharing what he learned in the Word with several other young men and God began to work, saving and transforming a group within this church.  The pastor of this church began to be concerned that these young men would lead "astray" the others in the young adult group and so she called a Baptist pastor she knew and "turned over" this group to him to shepherd.  This became the core of what will one day become a new church in another suburb of Porto Alegre.

Hearing of God's work in another area gave our men a boost of encouragement to keep fighting the good fight...for in due time we will bear fruit if we do not lose heart!