Archive for the ‘missions’ Category

Haiti: An on-the-ground assessment

The following is from Ron Pierre, board President for Baptist Haiti Mission:

So many of you are inquiring regarding the situation in Haiti and particularly at the mission. I’ve just now been able to make telephone contact with one of our missionaries, Chris Lieb at Baptist Haiti Mission. Thankfully, the connection was clear and intact long enough for me to inquire as to the current situation. I honestly do not know where to start, the conditions in Haiti are desperate and deteriorating by the moment in spite of all that we hear relative to the aid that is “pouring in” from the US and other countries. I am simply going to list some of the things he was able to relate to me without regard to sequence. Those of you who have been there and/or are familiar with the compound in Fermathe will better understand the conditions, however, all of you will gain a sense of the severity of what our people face.

* Our hospital is filled with people 250-300 people lying in the halls, many, many with serious injuries that need immediate attention, more people outside and surrounding areas with a constant flow coming in.

* Our doctors are exhausted, most all of our staff are assigned to the hospital.

* Thousands of people sleeping in the park just below in Petion-Ville, afraid to return to their homes.

* At least 10 to 15 thousand people are sleeping in the park near the airport with roving gangs of hoodlums attempting to steal whatever “aid” arrives before it gets to the helpless people.

* People all along the roads with serious injuries, multiple fractures and puncture wounds; bleeding and unattended.

* Chris passed women grasping their dying children in their arms, after a while it becomes overwhelming because there is not a thing that you can do about it..

* Countless small children wandering about without any parents or adult oversight.

* The initial stunned calm that was over the population is rapidly turning to despair and in many cases anger. There is a real danger of things turning very ugly, potentially for those who are beginning to arrive to help.

* For most of the “search and rescue” people that have arrived or will arrive, it will be far, far too late to save lives. The stench of death everywhere and is overwhelming. Many places have seen no help whatsoever.

* There are piles of bodies in many roads and some have become “roadblocks” in and of themselves. [Haiti]

* Many people are simply in shock, most have lost at least one or more family members.

* Vehicles are abandon, roads are blocked or down to one tight lane as large chucks of the mountain have fallen.

* Chris gave out about 100 very large heavy duty tarps today to be used as temporary shelters and it got very ugly as the last ones were dispersed. The actual process of giving out aid is going to be quite dangerous the longer it takes to reach the people.

* There appears to be no oversight of the “teams” arriving. They are equipped but do not know where to go or how to get there. It may improve but it is going to continue to be a big problem.

* Medical supplies are running low at our hospital; I asked for a list of the supplies that they need we can be a bit more specific in our requests when aid does arrive.

* We have a need for anesthesiologists and orthopedic surgeons. Any medical personnel would be a blessing.

* Chris commented that he has seen things over the past several days that he hoped he would never see and would chose never to see again.

* Many people are simply walking around in what is really clinical shock.

* Everything is closed down; no stores, no markets, water is in tight supply and is running out fast.

* People walk up and down the mountain just looking for their families; there is no transportation.

* The Samaritans Purse people were supposed to arrive today with Greta Van Susteren of FOXNews.com. The plane circled for about an hour but could not land. They returned to Miami.

* The same was true for several other planes caring supplies and aid for the mission. We desperately need a pump and water filters that are coming in.

* All in all, there are no words to describe what is taking place, the TV news gives inadequate for those of you who know Haiti, the conditions, the culture, the people.

* Two of our churches in PAP have been completely destroyed, we do not have reports on the many churches in outlying rural areas yet.

* Most every school in PAP is destroyed, personnel killed. It will be a long, long time before there will be any schools in PAP.

* Our chaplains have been ministering to every single person who comes to the hospital; scripture is read and they pray with each and every one. We do have some very dedicated people.

* Our mission families are all accounted for and remain uninjured; we need to uphold them in prayer during these times. God certainly gives the strength and grace when needed. They recognize that the tasks before them are humanly impossible; They also recognize that prayer is the greatest asset they have in this trial.

* We are trying to keep the website current with pictures, video, and various other feeds . . . . go to http://www.bhm.org. It may be a bit slow due to traffic but it does function. [Haiti] Our thanks to all of you who have inquired, emailed, called, and written and otherwise displayed your love and concern, this has been equally overwhelming! It is now almost 2:00 am Friday morning EST and time ready ourselves for a new day. Again, I close with Psalm 20, verses 1 and 2: “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!” –R.A.Pierre

[HT: Phil Johnson]

Evangelism training question

Has anyone used the evangelism training course from Matthias Media in their church? I am very familiar with their tracts but would like to know if anyone has found the “Two Ways to Live” course to be helpful. Was it something that your congregation was able to understand and implement? Did everyone use a training manual? Did you use the DVD in the training or only in preparation? What were the strengths/weaknesses if any?

Off to Russia

I am leaving Friday morning for Russia. I will be teaching a seminary class called “Preaching the Gospels and Acts” all next week. As some of you know, we had a very difficult trip last year (I would rather not relive the details here) so please pray for me and a fellow leader who will be traveling with me. If we have a good Internet connection, I may try to post some pictures and updates. I hope the rest of the guys will keep our readers entertained while I’m away.

 

 

“and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which
I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19-20).

“praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:3-4).

“Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

Biblical Motivations to Preach the Gospel:

  1. A Jealous Delight in God’s Glory (Acts 17:16-17)

  2. A Heart of Compassion for Lost Souls (Matt 9:35-38)

  3. A Sober Awareness of the Need for Evangelism (Rom 10:14-15)

  4. A Profound Appreciation for the High Calling (2 Cor 5:18-20)

  5. An Irrepressible Excitement about Your Own Salvation (Matt 9:27-31)

  6. An Abiding Confidence in the Sovereignty of God (Acts 18:10)

  7. A Simple Desire to Obey the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)

Kingdom or Church?

I was reading this and thought that the word choice was theologically and practically confusing. Besides it makes a distinction in the here-now that is not helpful. I think I know what he is getting at but the following logic seems forced:

“Among churches today, the conversation – a long overdue one – is
moving from church growth to Kingdom growth,” wrote Ed Stetzer,
director of LifeWay Research, in Outreach Magazine’s July/August 2007
issue.

Then I read this and I see that someone much smarter than I had a similar reservation about this shift in terminology. Although he is addressing another context entirely I think he is wise to ask,

In what sense is the Church a kingdom? Is there a kingdom of Christ
today that is apart from the Church? Is there any advantage to using
the word Kingdom instead of Church? I wouldn’t say that all of the
references to kingdom in the NT are to a future age (e.g., Col 4:11),
but most are, and I just think it’s better to keep the terms distinct.

Mexico City June 2007

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Pablo in Mexico

 

I am having a hard time posting pictures of the conference and our internet connection is spotty so as Nacho Libre would say, “so anyways.” The conference is going extremely well and the kind people here are ever gracious and hospitable. Luis is a translating machine. It is one thing to have a translator but to have one who is a native pastor with a passion for the people makes all the difference. Luis has translated for the likes of MacArthur, Piper, and Mohler so this job is obviously a demotion for him. For those who pastor in the States it is difficult to communicate the hunger these dear people have for the Word. We are rejoicing in the Lord’s work here and as always we are thankful for your prayers.

Blessings to all,
PSL

From Mexico with Love

I just wanted to drop a quick note from Mexico City. I am preaching at a conference here with my host, Luis Contreras, who is probably familiar to many of our readers and contributors. One of my fellow elders from Huntsville, Tim Keeter, is with me and he and I are teaching two sessions each night. This is my first trip to this massive city and the good folks attending the conference are extremely gracious and hungry for the Word. The people work for ten hours a day then sit in traffic for an hour or two and then stay at the conference till 10:30 pm. We will be preaching for another two sessions this evening and your prayers for them and us are always appreciated. I will be posting some pictures late tonight so check back then or early tomorrow.

P.S. The fajitas are amazing!

Faith and Repentance: The Inseparable Link in the Book of Acts

The Bible teaches that faith and repentance are inseparably linked as two sides of the same “saving response” to the gospel. In the book of Acts—as elsewhere in the New Testament—sometimes only repentance is mentioned (2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 17:30; 26:20), and other times only faith is (4:4; 10:43; 13:48; 14:1; 16:31). But regardless of which is emphasized in a given passage, the presence of one implies the existence of the other, for a sinner cannot repent without believing, and he cannot believe without repenting.  

This inseparable link is reflected in Acts 20:21 where the apostle Paul states that he testified “to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the original Greek, “repentance” (metanoia) and “faith” (pistis) are connected by the conjunction “and” (kai), and the definite article precedes only the first noun. The use of only one article to govern both nouns indicates a unity between “repentance” and “faith.” As Greek grammarian Daniel Wallace explains:  

The evidence suggests that, in Luke’s usage, saving faith includes repentance. In those texts which speak simply of faith, a “theological shorthand” seems to be employed: Luke envisions repentance as the inceptive act of which the entirety may be called [faith]. Thus, for Luke, conversion is not a two-step process, but one step, faith—but the kind of faith that includes repentance. 

This inseparable link is also reflected in how conversions are portrayed in the book of Acts: Peter exhorts Cornelius and the Gentiles to “believe” (Acts 10:43), and later they are described as having come to “repentance” (Acts 11:18); while Paul exhorts the men of Athens to “repent” (Acts 17:30), and in response some of them are said to have “believed” (Acts 17:34). 

What, then, must a sinner do to be saved? Repent and believe. Anything less falls short of a “saving response” to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

multi-site churches

I noticed the following provocative statement from pastor Marc Driscoll recently. His statement seems to take a fairly hard-line stance on the issue of multi-site churches. What do you think of this growing phenomenon? (BTW: This is not the place to air your likes or dislikes of the man Marc Driscoll. I am simply noting something he recently penned).

One thing I am certain of following my recent travels is that the multiple-site church phenomenon and video services are here to stay. Dead churches will be revitalized more and more by larger churches establishing services in them through the use of video. An entirely new form of church planting seems to be emerging that, along with traditional church planting, will help to add healthy new churches.

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