Thursday, February 28, 2008

Made it into Mexico

Well, Aaron asked me to keep things updated here on the old blog, so...I'll let you know what I know when I know it. For those of you that are the friends & family of John & Charlie, if you want more details, or if you have questions, please leave a comment in response to the messages, including your email address, and I will contact you asap.

The team members met up in Texas today at about noon. They headed for the Enterprise rental to pick up the van, then made their stop at the storage unit to pick up the tents, and finally dashed into Wal-Mart for a few last minute necessities. Everything went well except for the fact that my wonderful hubby left his driver's license at the rental place! EEK! Enterprise was so helpful...they brought the license to him! Soo....all is well. Thank you Lord!

Then it was time to head for the border....finally. They made it across the border at about 5pm. I have not yet heard any details about how they were accepted, but I am certain that the report will be very favorable.

Aaron normally calls me around bedtime when things settle down. However, tonight there seems to be a problem with the phone service. He sent a text message saying that he couldn't get a call to go through. He also said that camp is set up and that they are getting ready to hit the sac.

So, that's all for now. Please continue praying for the people of this village. Carmen is the woman that professed faith in Christ in she ripped the saint of death from around her neck and denounced her previous beliefs. Also, for the school teachers (sorry, I don't know their names,) that they might be saved. They run the school and what a wonderful thing it would be for them to begin teaching the Bible...the the school! Also, for the pastors from neighboring areas that will be joining together to pray & fellowship. This will be a true time of encouragement to them as well.

And last for tonight, please remember the young men/boys that have spent much time listening and discussing and just being open to hearing the Gospel. For much of my life, I was of the belief that a mission trip was going somewhere and trying to get as many people as possible to say a prayer. I now realize that I was totally wrong. DUH! Showing someone Christ can (& does) take time.....and patience.....and persistence! Please pray that the Lord might be Magnified in Centenario this weekend. And that our team's patience & persistence will be seen by the people as nothing less than a sincere desire to show them our LORD!

Love to you all~ Rachel Sutton

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thoughts on Bates Creek Camp

Some of you all know that I am working with a team of people to administrate this year's camps for the Jefferson Baptist Association. Below you will find an article that is going out in this month's newsletter for the association. I ask you to pray for me, as well as others who are working on this.

To God Alone be the Glory!

I am writing this letter to you so that you might be challenged, along with those who are going to be attending this year’s Spring Student Conference. The theme this year is “Don’t Waste Your Life.” This is a message that I most desperately need to hear, and this is the message that needs to be the cry to our young people in our congregations, as well as the lost young person who lives next to you. Don’t Waste Your Life! Life is short, and it will soon be over! Are you ready to give an account for what you have done with your life that God has given you?

This year’s spring conference along with our summer camp will closely be related in theme. Both of those theme’s are related in the sense of it is our desire to urgently present before our young people the plea to follow Christ. Not just for the lost, but for those who are born again! Forsake this life, and you will save it for eternal life! Don’t Waste Your Life in this world! Below you will find a quote (pages 12-13) from a book by Pastor/Teacher John Piper, of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The title of the book is “Don’t Waste Your Life.”

Another riveting force in my young life—small at first, but oh so

powerful over time—was a plaque that hung in our kitchen over

the sink. We moved into that house when I was six. So I suppose

I looked at the words on that plaque almost every day for twelve

years, till I went away to college at age eighteen. It was a simple

piece of glass painted black on the back with a gray link chain

snug around it for a border and for hanging. On the front, in old

English script, painted in white, were the words:

Only one life,

’Twill soon be past;

Only what’s done

for Christ will last.

To the left, beside these words, was a painted green hill with two

trees and a brown path that disappeared over the hill. How many

times, as a little boy, and then as a teenager with pimples and

longings and anxieties, I looked at that brown path (my life) and

wondered what would be over that hill. The message was clear.

You get one pass at life. That’s all. Only one. And the lasting measure

of that life is Jesus Christ. I am fifty-seven as I write, and that

very plaque hangs today on the wall by our front door. I see it

every time I leave home.

Let me encourage you to participate in this year’s Spring Conference and Summer Camp. That’s right; every single member of every single congregation in this association can participate. How? First, pray for the leaders and those who will be attending. Pray for your next door neighbor who doesn’t know Christ and consider discussing this very theme with them and invite them to the camp. Perhaps the Lord is leading you to help sponsor someone financially? Secondly, advocate that the young people of your church attend these events and that they come hungry, ready to receive the Word of the Christ that by believing in Him, will have life in His Name!

To God alone be the Glory!


Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Good News about Being a Sinner

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

In a discussion with a college student and another man last night, I was reminded again of this passage in Timothy. Now, this passage certainlly deserves much time and attention, as does the whole of the Scriptures. However this passage struck me again as we were praying and struggling together over a common theme among many whom would consider themselves "Christian"especially evangelical.

Friends, one of the sweetest and greatest doctrines that you will find in the Scripture, is the doctrine of the depravity of man. Without going in to a systematic theology lesson here, I sense it would be better to just simply summarize some of our discussion last night and it's relevance for me and for you as well.

We live in a day and age where common man does not realize, nor accept that he is a sinner. Our "fast-food evangelism" goes something like this. We give people a list of questions, and their ability to say "yes" determines whether or not they are "saved." You know what I'm talking about, we ask people questions like:
  • Do you know that you are a sinner?
  • Do you know that Jesus died for sinners?
  • Do you want to go to heaven or hell?
  • If you want to go to heaven, then pray this prayer.

The result is a staggering. You have many people report that they have made their decision because they do not want to go to hell, so they have decided to "invite Jesus into their heart" so that they can go to heaven. The whole time they are decieved. Folks, we have got to understand what it means to really know that we are "sinners." We are fully deserving of God's wrath. There is none who is righteous, the thoughts and intentions of man's heart are only evil all the time. God is Holy, and we deserve to be punished for our treason against the creator of the universe. You can rest assured that every single person apart from Christ will be sent to hell because God will punish them and bring about the due peanalty for their sin.

However, inbedded in this we find a great relief. Friends, if you recognize and understand that you are this sinner that Paul is talking about, you are blessed! When God releals to you that you deserve his wrath, anger, and punishment and this will certainlly be your fate if something is not changed. Then you find the scriptures that remind you, Christ died for the ungodly, while we were dead in our tresspasses and sins, without God, without hope in this World. It is by grace that we have been saved! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Post from Michael Schembre

Below is an e-mail from Michael Schembre, a young man who used to be a member of Rockport Baptist Church. Please pray for him as he shares his heart and prepares to make a return trip to Mexico. This is the first of what I hope will be many posts from people who have been to Mexico and who are preparing. Also, please be in prayer that the Lord would supply the finances for Michael for this February.

Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,
After prayer and consideration, I feel that God has led me to write this letter first, in response to what Christ has recently done in and through me, and also because I feel that I simply can not contain the joy that is in my soul and the fire that God The Almighty has lit within me. I first want to say to anyone who will be receiving this email who has prayed for my soul recently or in the past, thank you so very much, for I know that much of what Christ has recently done in my life has been in response to prayer, and I am eternally grateful to all of have cared enough about me to lift my name up in prayer with concern for my soul.
After praying about what I should include in this letter, I feel led to share a little background to sort of set the stage. I first moved away from home this past summer (summer of 07). When I first moved away, if I'm honest I was mainly just excited to get away from my Christian parents so I would be finally be free to do some partying without the stress of trying to hide it from my loving parents. So that is exactly what I did for the first part of the summer. I partied and put my head down and ran away from Christ as fast as I could. I was living with my brother (whom God in his providence had saved the winter before) and some other roomates. My relationship with him was very wierd, because he didn't want to judge me, but yet God had changed his life so we had little in common. Since my brother had been saved he had started going to Karis Community Church in Columbia, Missouri (and since had joined the worship band playing the piano) The last thing that I wanted to do was go to church. I had spent my whole life in church, Sunday after Sunday, and this was my one time to get a break from it. But because of the guilt that I felt (mainly due to my brother urging me to go), towards the middle of the summer I started going with him. Every single Sunday I went, there would be a moment during the worship service when I would feel God pricking at my heart, and every single Sunday, by the end of the worship service, I would be an absolute snotty, teary mess, completely broken down and at the end of myself. If I'm honest with myself, every Saturday night I would lie in bed dreading the next day, knowing that God was going to break me down once again. I began to experience a very scary and heavy presence every single time I stepped into that church, and I knew exactly what was going to happen the next day in church. One night during the summer, after time and time again of God bringing me to the end of myself, and me continuing to run, and then repeating the same process again and again, something amazing happened. I was sitting in my room and thinking, and God spoke mightily to my soul. I knew at that moment if I did not "get off the fence" and commit to Christ, He was going to cut me off forever. I felt it was my last chance, and I knew that I must stop living a lie, and look to Christ.
God began to work in my life, and used the leaders of Karis to guide me through the very hard time that I was going through. I began playing the violin with my brother in the worship band, and soon began to become more and more deeply involved with the people of Karis. Things were really starting to turn around, and God was starting to work in me. But of course, as all Christians know, there was and is still much trial to come. When college started, a whole new wealth of temptation presented itself to me, and me being the week feeble man that I am, began to let satan convince me that my freshmen year at college would only come once, and I needed to take advantage of it. I began to fall right back into the same trap that I had fell into time and time again, and my walk with God began to suffer. The leaders at Karis new that something was up, and they, as well as many people from back home, I know were in prayer for my soul. Just as is going to happen many many times in my walk with Christ, God once again had to bring me to the end of myself. My first semester was pretty shaky at college, as I was struggling with resisting the wealth of temptation that college presented and staying involved and faithful with the church that I had joined. When I came home for Christmas break, I was still greatly struggling with following God, and trying to escape a past of seeking man's approval. Many people from home and at Rockport Baptist Church (the curuch I was at before college where my dad is the worship pastor) had very encouraging words for me, and God used many people to help me and give me wisdom through a controversial time in my life and I am very grateful for my Christian friends back home.
When I went back to college, Christ really began to due serious work in my life. I knew that it was time to grow up, and God began to give me incomprehensible strength in resisting sin at college that I had previously struggled greatly with and that was standing in the way of spiritual growth. I began to fall more and more in love with my Christian friends at Karis church, and God was using them to disciple me, and teach me. I began to develop a heart that loved to cry out to God in prayer, and study his word. I began to focus on my school work, church, and my Christian relationships rather than on being a typical immature dumb college freshmen. I started growing more and more in my walk with Christ, so much so that I almost wasn't prepared for how much work God was going to do in such a short period of time. One thing that has caused so much growth, is God providing so much accountability for me through Karis (but more on that later). A couple weeks into this semester, I began to experience things that I have never before experienced through God's unfailing grace. I recall several days in which I would come to my dorm room after a 10:00 class, and throw my bookbag down, thinking I was maybe going to catch some sleep before my next class, and the next thing I knew I was on my face on the floor in tears crying out to God in prayer for long periods of time. I had never experienced the power of God in such a way, and I was loving every second of it. I began to depend on prayer to get me through the day, and I began to get serious about studying the word and following Christ with my whole heart. The more I let go of my pride, and committed my life up into Christs hands, the more I began to experience amazing grace. These past couple of weeks have been absolutely a turning point in my life. God has began to put many people in my path to witness to, and God continues to throw me on my face in humbleness and prayer and give me a heart that is no longer ashamed of my God or His gospel...THANK GOD THANK GOD THANK GOD. Thats all I can say right now. As I look at my life right now, and then contemplate where it could be, I am absolutely humbled and amazed. I look at my "friends" at college, seeking for joy through alcohol, sex, and themselves, and know that apart from God's unbelievable grace I would be right there with them. I am so humbled at the church God has put me in and where I am at in my relationship with my church. Just to walk you through a typical week up here at college (in regards to my church): Sunday I obviously have church where I play in the worship band and meet new awesome people seemingly every week, Wednesday we have community groups at different Church member's humble homes, where we go through a lesson, then go around confessing and praying with one another, Thursday I have worship band practice where we also confess and pray and hold each other accountable as a worship team, and then usually on Friday or Saturday I meet with my accountability partner where we go through a very serious and hard (but awesome) accountability session confessing and crying to God in repentance for our sins throughout the week, as well as discussing different ways to assist each other in areas of struggle. God obviously knew how week I am for He has been so faithful in providing accountability for me as a young Christian who needs it sooo much. How gracious is God in providing so much loving accountability for my life that has been so very beneficial to my walk with Christ, especially at a hard time like freshmen year in college? I am again humbled and amazed.
So now to the main point of this letter..(long intro huh!) As I stated, these past couple of weeks have been absolutely incredible in my life. God is revealing so many new things to me daily, and growing me in ways I could never have imagined. Just an example, today I was driving home from a Q and A session with Dr. Shriener (part of our theology weekend at Karis) and I began to pray and was trying to really comprehend the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the blink of an eye, like scales were removed from my eyes, a revelation occurred in my soul and I began to realize like never before how in the world the sacrifice of Christ makes me counted righteous in Christ's eyes. I know it sounds basic, but I can not explain how clear it became. It sounds radical, but I can only be honest about what God is doing in my life. These types of these have been happening a lot lately, along with God putting many people in my path that I have been able to witness to and be a light to (including my roommate who last night I presented in great depth the gospel and walked him through some scripture...It was a very humbling and awesome time) and also just really giving me a needy heart for prayer. A couple of weeks ago when all of this kind of started happening, I really felt that God was preparing me for something for He was using me mightily as well as growing me more rapidly then I could really comprehend. One night I called my brother in Christ Aaron (and also my old youth pastor) and told him what God was doing and expressed that I felt that God was preparing me for something. Interestingly enough, he presented me with an oppurtunity to go on a mission trip with him to Mexico. I prayed a lot about it and God made it obvious to me that this is what He was preparing me for. God's sovereignty is truly amazing. I am not writing this letter asking for money (though if God leads you to take part in His work by giving, I will accept with humbleness and gratefulness)but rather asking for prayer that God would work mightily in Mexico in the hearts of the people there, and also to ask for prayer for God to continue to do mighty work in my life coming up to, through, and after this trip. I know that prayer has gotten me where I am, and prayer will sustain me. I have just felt so much joy in God for what He has done, I simply could not go another day without sharing God's grace in my life with other people. Thank you so much for reading this letter, and I ask sincerely for your prayers. College is still a wealth of temptation, and the devil tries to tempt me daily, but with the awesome accountability that God has provided for me, prayer, grace, and prayer from other brothers and sister in Christ (such as yourselves.. hint hint) I know that God will continue to sustain. Please keep me in your prayers, for God is doing a great work in me and I know He is going to use me mightily for His glory. I am passionate when I say I want to be a humble servant of the Most High, and I have a desire that is completely God given to be used in a way that makes me look like the nothing that I truly am, and makes God look like the everything that He truly is. What an amazing, all sufficient God.
In sincere love,
Michael Schembre
P.S. Please also keep my roomate in prayer as I know that God is using me in his life. His name is Greg. Thank you so much again.

Mission to Centenario - February/March 2008

I received some information over the past few days, and would like to pass that information along. First, let me thank you for praying for the team of us that have been working in this area. It is very obvious that you have been praying as the Lord has been moving through your prayers over the past 48 hours especially. Here are some things to mention.

First, I received a message from a teacher near Centenario, in the town of Emilio Zapata. This teacher had previously offered his classroom for us to teach his students whatever we like. He mentioned to me that he is looking forward to our return at the end of this month. (You must know that I haven't heard from this teacher since our trip in June of last year.

Secondly, I received a phone call today from a brother who works in the area and he told me that he mentioned to a few of the local Pastors about the idea of having a "mini conference" for them during our summer trip. The Pastors not only mentioned that they would like to participate, but they would like to contact their Pastor friends and ask them to take part as well. Praise the Lord! I am going to go in to more of this mission idea in future posts. For now, please be in prayer that we might be able to be a blessing to Pastors and congregations in Mexico. Pray that there might be those that will be committed to the true Gospel to partner with us in teaching, preaching, and supporting.

Finally, I am going to ask some of those who have participated in trips before or who will be going with us in the future to write a post on here to share with others the work of the Lord in this region of Mexico! To God Be the Glory.

Rachel will putting together information for you as we will be posting live updates from Mexico during our trip at the end of this month!

In all things...Christ Preeminent!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Grace Bible Conference/Camp Meeting

Paul Washer; Mike Morrow, Charles Leiter, Mike Williams

Seeking God
"You will seek me and find me. when you seek me with all your heart,"
Jeremiah 29:13

Conference begins Thursday, April 10th at 7 PM

Continues through Sunday Morning, April 13th.

Lunch and Dinner Provided for Registrants Friday and Saturday

Space is limited so please register
or call
(636) 464-1460

Grace Bible Conference/Camp Meeting is a ministry of Rockport Baptist Church, Arnold, Missouri