Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday morning thoughts

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" And stopping, Jesus called them and said, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34 ESV)

This morning during our Bible study we discussed this passage throughout a study on the questions that the Lord Jesus Christ asked during His earthly ministry. Before I note anything on this passage, I do wish to say that I am so thankful for Kurt who leads this study each week. The brothers that participate are such an example and blessing to me and my family and I am forever indebted to them.

One of the many things that strike me about this passage is the simple, yet striking fact that throughout the entire counsel of Scripture we have this simple example, that God gives grace to the weary, the weak, the destitute, the rejected, the poor, and the lame. You see, those are exactly the kind of people who are "looking for something." I know that there is more that could be said about this. The statements above in no way mean to imply that the "poor" means those without financial means, though it certainly doesn't exclude them.

You may read this passage and say "yes, Jesus had the power to heal." You may say, "yes, this is one of those miracles that we heard Jesus performed." You may be asking "why are you talking about this passage?" Well, there is great hope in this passage. You see, this passage, like the entire account of Scripture, is saying something to you and to me about the very nature of God.

It is very interesting indeed that the lowest person in the eyes of that society (those who were begging) are those exactly to whom the Lord extended His grace when they called out to Him for the help that they sought. (More to say about this in the future).

Therefore, if you find yourself as those whom society has rejected, either because of your low standing by birth or because of something that you have done in the past, call out to Him, just as these guys did. It doesn't matter if society tells you to keep quiet and to keep yourself "down", call out to Christ, and not only will He hear you, He will heal, and forgive. This is surely the greatest news ever reported in the history of this world.

In Christ,


Aaron


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Saturday, April 28, 2012

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35 ESV)

There are many things that can be said about leadership. One of the distinguishing qualities of a leader that we discussed in our c-group last night was the mark of being the "lead servant" of all. Our discussion actually centered around what does "genuine biblical maturity" look like. After much discussion, we came back around to this point and made some observations. (Not exhaustive, I must admit, but just some thoughts).

Maturity in Christ is demonstrated not by the number of books you have read, conferences you have attended, or the amount of time spent at Starbucks discussing the "deep truths of scripture." (Admittedly this is a little sermon that I am choosing to direct at myself.)

One way of thinking about maturity is the ongoing renouncing of your own desires, and freely giving of yourself to be taken advantage of, spit at, laughed at, mocked, and even killed, for the sake of laying down your lives joyfully in the service of others. For the Christian specifically we are talking about the fact that you and I are not our own, we have been bought with a price, and we have an obligation to do good to all (as we have the opportunity) especially the household of faith. (Galatians 6).

If we desire to look at an example, we can find no greater example to follow than the Lord Jesus Christ. The older I get and the more I think on the scripture that I read, the books I have studied, I keep coming back to this. Though I am a big fan of reading great books. We should read biographies, autobiographies, and all those other helpful resources. Still there can never be anyone greater that we must study that the Lord Himself. Christ Jesus, God the Son, humbled Himself, becoming as one of us, came to us, and is the only one who has lived on this Earth who ever truly suffered unjustly and did not lash out in doing so, but rather freely gave his life away in obedience to His Father and for the sake of His people. What an example.

I finish this post with restating, if you and I need an example of how to "share hope", "share the faith" learn what it means to be a "man" or anything other desirable quality, you will find no greater example than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Worthy of our time and consideration.




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Location:Want to be a leader?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 12:7

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV)

So here I am sitting at the St. Louis Bread Company, looking over my Bible Reading for the day and as I am reading, some thoughts came to my mind concerning the verse.

We can be assured that the "manifestation of the Spirit" as mentioned here in this passage is never for selfish reasons. It is clearly stated in the entire context of this passage that God works in and through His people so that they might be a blessing to others. God gives "gifts" to us that all people might be blessed and that He would get the glory.

Our walk with Christ is a community project. (Thank you Paul Tripp for reminding this of that)! In this passage we are reminded again that we are not islands unto ourselves, but God has places us where He has placed us, and for those of us in Christ Jesus, He has given us gifts for the common good.

I pray that today you and I might consider how you and I might use our gifts, for the common good that Christ might be glorified and that in Him all the nations of the Earth might be blessed!

In all things...Christ preeminent!

Aaron


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Random thoughts from the Memory

It is another busy day here along the US/Mexico border and with most of our days we are running busy in different directions. So, here are some random updates.
Ligonier Ministries Specials
On this blog and in different locations previously I have referred to a wonderful resource by R.C. Sproul entitled "Taste of Heaven." This helpful book provides some excellent insight in to the subject of worship. This, along with others are available as part of the $5.00 Friday special. Visit the online store now
Little more on Mexico/Gideons
I failed to mention something very encouraging that we noticed during our trip to Mexico earlier this week. It appeared that the Giedons made a sweep through the very commercial market area because we saw groups of people reading Gideon Bibles (in Spanish) as well as saw several copies sitting at booths.
For Your Joy/Other Resources
Previously donated funds were used to purchase a case of "For Your Joy" booklets in Spanish. This little booklet by Pastor/Teacher John Piper answers many questions such as "What did Jesus have to die", "How can God love me" and "What does it mean if I don't love God." This week we have been able to place copies of this book at a few local businesses and they have been taken by interested persons. Yesterday we provided a handful to a Pastor visiting from Reyonsa, Mexico.
A special thank-you to those who played a part in providing a case of "Pilgrim's Progress." These were used by a congregation in Mexico and the Pastor sends his thanks!
Thank you for those who are committed to seeing that good resources are provided to all peoples of all languages!
Memory/Computer Updates
There has been a good response from supporters desiring to assist with the purchase of RAM for the two computers at the congregation where we are currently working. This, along with the purchase of an internet router will allow us to participate in online meetings and set the congregation up with online teaching and training by extension. This seems wise to me to recommend to them as this will make a good use of resources.
As I was typing this report I was informed that so far $225.00 was given toward this cause. We praise the Lord for this!
Debbie Ferrell at artistdf@sbcglobal.net can answer any questions concerning these projects. Please feel free to contact her if she can be of assistance. Again, thank you for your partnership in this endeavor.
There are so many other items that can be shared, but for now please just continue to pray for the work going on today, the Bible studies tonight and tomorrow night and our men's breakfast for tomorrow morning!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rebounding and redemption





The other morning, Billy and I were playing basketball and we were teaching Olivia some things in basketball. (Well, really Billy was teaching basketball, I was just teaching vocabulary - LOL). I would tell Olivia what we called it when the basketball is shot, doesn't make it and one takes possession of the ball. After teaching her a few minutes later I would ask her again. "Olivia what do we call it when someone misses the shot and someone must get the....." I tried to help her with the "reeeee" and she looked at me and said "redeem." After we had our laughs we explained to her that it was "rebound." That little incident kind of set a tone for some things later in the day.

In the evening yesterday several things happened. Rachel and Olivia went and served disaster relief workers their evening dinner while Rick continued teaching the second half of his "sound technician" training. While all of this was going on Billy and I met with a few young men for a Bible study and discussion.

In our Bible study, in Spanish, we first read from Psalm 1 and discussed the importance of reading, thinking, and "meditating" on the Word of God. From there we followed up by reviewing the first two catechism questions from the Baptist Catechism. We then went in to working on memorizing the order of the books in the New Testament. Then we turned our attention to the book "A young man after God's own heart." This gave us a well-rounded education for the evening. After all the "teaching time" was over we played some basketball on the property.

Back to the matter of "rebounding and redemption." One of the ways that we are teaching others here is by simply reading through the scriptures and other books taking time to stop and ask if basic words are correctly understood. For instance, we have discussed words such as "Soberano" - Sovereign, "Discipulo" - Disciple, "Inmutable" - Immutable, and many others. It has been refreshing and also very enlightening to me personally.

I shared with Billy and Rick last night that some of the lessons that I have learned include:

Don't assume that words are understood

Don't rush the one you are teaching

Take time to read with the person, not just assign reading

Thank you again for following these posts and for praying for all of us. We also enjoyed a nice trip to Mexico yesterday as indicated in our picture above. Thank you also for praying for Olivia. Her bug bite is much, much better and the signs of infection seem to be going away. Praise the Lord!

In Christ,

Aaron

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pray for the those affected by the shooting

Thank you all again for following the blog and keeping up with our mission stories. I must apologize for the fact that many of the blog posts are so lengthy but there is really no other way to keep everyone "up to date" on what in the world is going on.

Let's see, where should we start from the last blog post?

Hermano Pedro and Family
As mentioned by our sister and fellow mission partner, Sarah Weber, Hermano Pedro is recovering nicely at home. Thank you all so much for praying for him and his family. We ask that you remember to pray for them especially given the fact that he is the only one who works in his family of 10. He is going to be out of work for at least one month, if not two or three. For more information, please visit Sarah's blog at: http://drolldigression.blogspot.com/2012/04/update-and-request.html

Discipleship and Resources
If you are one who gives to Psalm 67 Missions Network on a regular basis, or have done so on any occasion in the past, I would like for you to know that some of your donations have gone to provided sound materials to areas that have very little access. One young man (12 years old) specifically asked for a book that would help him study the scriptures every day. He is meeting with us and reviewing the questions and answers during our visits. Other materials that are being used include a Songbook in Spanish developed by our fellow partner in the ministry, John Spencer, tracts by Mathais media, and books (such as the Baptist catechism), which are used for Sunday School. All of the products are in Spanish and are being used in a congregation that has not been able to purchase their own materials in the last 3 years or so. (More will be posted about this at a later date as Billy Jackson (photographer and mission leader in training for Psalm 67) is currently editing a video report from locals here in the Rio Grande Valley who will speak to this need. Pray for Billy as he is currently editing materials from this trip as well as a Bible Conference he recently attended.




Pray for those affected by the shootings
You are probably thinking, "why haven't you discussed this already!" Well, I thought I would share with you that this morning Billy Jackson and I went to the Baptist Campground and volunteered to help serve breakfast to a group of Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief volunteers. They are in the area because parts of the Rio Grande Valley have been declared disaster areas due to the violent storm that went through last week. After we were serving, Rachel and Olivia (our four year old daughter) joined us. As the staff and volunteers were gathering together one person asked for prayer requests. Olivia, having heard us a few days earlier speak of the situation in Mexico along the boarder, mentions "pray for the people in the shooting." I thank the Lord that she would be prompted to remember the people affected by this reality of war. We then joined together and prayed, knowing that the Lord, He is faithful, and He will answer us. Please join us in praying together for the freedom of all peoples and the end to the war in Mexico. Our conviction is that the only way that there will be justice and peace will be by the Gospel transforming persons, communities, and cultures.

We love you all!

The Suttons (and the rest of the team)


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Monday, April 9, 2012

Follow up - A la carte items

Allow me to mention some things sporadically to also bring you "up to date."

Sunday School
Yesterday for Sunday School, Rick lead a group of 9-11 year olds, Billy and Rachel worked together with the younger kids (and also in children's church), and I taught the Adults and teenagers together. In our class we finished going through the "Dos Formas de Vivir" (Two ways to live) tract. After we finished this tract (which we have been working on for a few months now), we began to turn our attention to question #2 of the Baptist Catechism. Having already discussed question #1 about What is the "fin principal" or "chief end" of man, we turned our attention to "What rule has God given man by which we may know how to glorify and enjoy Him forever."

The answer to the question "The Word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments is the only (unica) rule that God has given man by which we may know how to glorify and enjoy Him forever." Here are two quick thoughts on why this resonated so much with me already this week.

First, we discussed in class that if one is to know and be a follower of Christ, one must do so, only through the Word of God as mentioned in the lesson. It is impossible for a person to come to the knowledge of the True and Living God apart from knowing Him in the Scriptures. The Scriptures alone are sufficient to make one "wise unto salvation." Therefore we cannot understate the need and priority of getting the Word of God in the hands of all peoples of all languages. It is also important that we teach them to obey "everything" that the Lord has commanded us. (Matthew 28:18-20).

Secondly, in an effort to explain in greater detail that the Scriptures alone are sufficient, we looked at what is going on in the context of the Valley community. Brothers and sisters, please pray because there are many that are teaching "Jesus+" or the "Bible+." I can assure you as I assured the hearers on Sunday morning that this is no Gospel at all, but is a teaching of the enemy and enslaves people. For example, while we were driving around Saturday we found that many streets had the presence of Mormon missionaries. There were people absent from the congregation on Sunday morning because they have (since the last time we were here) been lead to a "Jehovah's Witness" service. Though I advocate that we must treat both camps mentioned above as people created in the image of God, we must at the same time tell them and others that they teach a foreign God and not the True and Living God that is mentioned in the scriptures. We can be friends, but we are not brothers in Christ. We must love them, but we do not love their teaching that enslaves people. The camps mentioned above do not believe that the Scripture alone is sufficient. They do not believe that Christ alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These, my friends, are non-negotiable for those who desire to know the True and Living God. They are essential, not because I said so, but because this is the plain teaching of Scripture.

There is so much more to talk to you about. Please pray for our team, please pray for Olivia as she has a little bug bite that we are watching for infection. (Hey, I told you that the information included in this post is going to be sporadic).

In Christ,

Aaron

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Mission Update

Buenos Dias everyone!

Here were are in the Rio Grande Valley again and I would like to bring everyone up-to-date on a few things and specifically ask for prayer in a few different areas.

Here are some thoughts about a few of the days.

Thursday
On our trip south we ran in to a little problem of tornados crossing the highway in front of us. Though we did not personally encounter a tornado, it caused us to stop and wait for the storms to cross before heading south. We later stopped at a familiar place along our normal travel route and spent the night.

Friday
Friday we arrived at the Valley and made contact with the people from the congregation. Rick began a "Sound Technician" class with two people. His impressive training program was developed by him personally and he is now translating the details in Spanish.

Saturday
Saturday proved to be an event-filled day. Billy and I completed our morning jog to the local coffee shop. (I say jog, but it was more like 40% jog on the way there only and the rest was walking). Rick continued with round two of the sound Technician class. In the middle of the day a man who we refer to as "Hermano Solis" was working, cutting trees, when he was cut by a chainsaw, down to the bone. He had surgery later that evening. We were able to be with the family and pray with them, encourage them. Hermana Solis (the wife) was such an encouragement. As we were sitting in the hospital (knowing that the family has been through a lot lately), she asked if we could give her some scripture that she could cling to and find strength and encouragement. It was a joy to see her with her copy of God's word each time we visited.

Sunday
Sunday we all got a very early start and had a full day of plans. We ordered tacos for the congregation for breakfast and fired up the coffee pot for those who would come early. Billy ran the bus route at our previously established stops. We had a great service (about 40 or so in attendance). Enrique completed his first assignment as new "T├ęcnico de sonido" and did a great job, I might add. In the message Sunday, we looked at the subject of baptism and how this relates to a visual reminder of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The day ended up with us resting for a while, then picking up Hermano Solis from the hospital and taking him home to be with his family.

I am writing all of this things to you, now on Monday. There are many other things that I would like to share with you, and by God's grace will do so perhaps in a follow-up post. Thank you all so much for reading, praying, sending, and going. Never forget that those who stay and support us in going are just as much part of the mission as those who go. We love you all!

In all things...Christ preeminent!

Aaron


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