Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Prospero Ano Nuevo!

Well, I hope you all had a much better and healthier Christmas than we did - we were hit with the stomach flu. All of us, in one form or another. I think I got away with the lightest case of it - just an upset stomach and in bed a whole day. All the kids had the up-chucking and 3 of them had the runs also.

But we are all healthy now for the most part. And looking forward to a great New Year's Eve service - the Spanish Fellowship will bring in the New Year at our house. We'll have a potluck (yes, lots of authentic Mexican food made by real Mexican moms and cooks!!! woohoo!!). Then I'll share a short message, we'll do some worship and then bring in the New Year with prayer. And of course, there'll be lots of fellowship going on in between all of this. We are looking forward to tomorrow night (and not just because of the food ;-) hehe).

Anyways, we wish you all a great start in the New Year and may you all experience the joy, peace and grace of our Lord Jesus more this year than ever before! Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

To All a Blessed CHRISTmas!

I just got this song from the parents of my godchild in Germany. They are musicians and wrote this song based on the real meaning of CHRISTmas - Immanuel, God with us. The text is a summary of Luke 2 and Matthew 2, talking about Jesus the Son of God coming to earth as a little baby and how the shepherds left everything to come to worship Him and how the wise men from far away followed the star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Him.

I normally am not the sentimental, mushy type around Christmas time, but this song truly touched my heart. It is a beautiful and artistic reminder of what Christmas is really about - Immanuel. Thanks Kaufmanns for this awesome song!

The fotos are of Becks's olive wood nativity set/collection - it's a tradition with us that I get her a new piece or two every Christmas (we've been collecting them for a few years as you can tell). They come from the Christmas market in Freiburg, Germany (thanks to Jacque for this year's piece!).

Enjoy the song (sorry the text is only in German, but read Luke 2 and Matthew 2 and you got the idea!).

Friday, 26 December 2008

To All a Blessed CHRISTmas!

I just got this song from the parents of my godchild in Germany. They are musicians and wrote this song based on the real meaning of CHRISTmas - Immanuel, God with us. The text is a summary of Luke 2 and Matthew 2, talking about Jesus the Son of God coming to earth as a little baby and how the shepherds left everything to come to worship Him and how the wise men from far away followed the star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Him.

I normally am not the sentimental, mushy type around Christmas time, but this song truly touched my heart. It is a beautiful and artistic reminder of what Christmas is really about - Immanuel. Thanks Kaufmanns for this awesome song!

The fotos are of Becks's olive wood nativity set/collection - it's a tradition with us that I get her a new piece or two every Christmas (we've been collecting them for a few years as you can tell). They come from the Christmas market in Freiburg, Germany (thanks to Jacque for this year's piece!).

Enjoy the song (sorry the text is only in German, but read Luke 2 and Matthew 2 and you got the idea!).

video

Sunday, 21 December 2008

How's My Witness?

Last week, one of my co-workers said something that really got me thinking. He normally is out in the field installing fire sprinklers, but last week, he was working in the warehouse with me. We have never worked together before so this was the first time we spent anytime together. After working together all morning putting together metal warehouse racks/shelves that go up almost 3 stories high (yes, that was fun climbing up that high!), he turned to me that afternoon and said he's never worked with anyone like me before. My first thought was - 'uh-oh, what did I do? Did I do or say anything to offend him?'

I asked him what he meant and he answered - 'there is such a peace about you. I never worked with such a good man.' Obviously he hasn't seem me get upset at my kids yet ;-)! I laughed and said - 'I am not good, no one is good. I am a sinner, a bad man. BUT I have received the grace and forgiveness of God and that's why I have peace.' I went on to share the Gospel with him, just telling him about the grace of God that can change lives and bring peace into lives that were once in turmoil. His only response - 'yeah, all you guys (meaning Christians, I assume) seem to have peace and be at peace.' But before I could go further, we were interrupted and I never got the chance to talk to him that day again. And he's been out in the field again so I don't know when I'll see him again. Please pray for him - he's obviously been touched by God's Spirit.

In any case, what he said really made me think about my witness - so often I don't think I share the Gospel enough, but obviously something is getting through to people! This man noticed something different about me. In fact, that was almost exactly how I was introduced to true Christianity - it was though a co-worker 14 years ago who didn't have to share his faith verbally but simply by his actions, I had noticed something different about him. That opened the door for him to talk to me. And so it is with this man - by my actions (directly or indirectly, I don't know) he noticed something and that opened the doors for me to speak about my Savior Jesus.

So don't be discouraged if you don't seem to be sharing enough or that no one seems to notice your faith. Live full-on for Christ, do those things that please Him, be holy/set apart from the world and be ready in season and out, and He will open doors for you to witness for Him.

How's My Witness?

Last week, one of my co-workers said something that really got me thinking. He normally is out in the field installing fire sprinklers, but last week, he was working in the warehouse with me. We have never worked together before so this was the first time we spent anytime together. After working together all morning putting together metal warehouse racks/shelves that go up almost 3 stories high (yes, that was fun climbing up that high!), he turned to me that afternoon and said he's never worked with anyone like me before. My first thought was - 'uh-oh, what did I do? Did I do or say anything to offend him?'

I asked him what he meant and he answered - 'there is such a peace about you. I never worked with such a good man.' Obviously he hasn't seem me get upset at my kids yet ;-)! I laughed and said - 'I am not good, no one is good. I am a sinner, a bad man. BUT I have received the grace and forgiveness of God and that's why I have peace.' I went on to share the Gospel with him, just telling him about the grace of God that can change lives and bring peace into lives that were once in turmoil. His only response - 'yeah, all you guys (meaning Christians, I assume) seem to have peace and be at peace.' But before I could go further, we were interrupted and I never got the chance to talk to him that day again. And he's been out in the field again so I don't know when I'll see him again. Please pray for him - he's obviously been touched by God's Spirit.

In any case, what he said really made me think about my witness - so often I don't think I share the Gospel enough, but obviously something is getting through to people! This man noticed something different about me. In fact, that was almost exactly how I was introduced to true Christianity - it was though a co-worker 14 years ago who didn't have to share his faith verbally but simply by his actions, I had noticed something different about him. That opened the door for him to talk to me. And so it is with this man - by my actions (directly or indirectly, I don't know) he noticed something and that opened the doors for me to speak about my Savior Jesus.

So don't be discouraged if you don't seem to be sharing enough or that no one seems to notice your faith. Live full-on for Christ, do those things that please Him, be holy/set apart from the world and be ready in season and out, and He will open doors for you to witness for Him.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A Place Without Pain, Tears, Sorrow...

First, we want to say sorry for not posting more often but life has gotten really busy for us here. Becks started working a second part-time job - she works as one of the janitors at church (besides still working for the inventory company). So between the two of us, we work every day of the week, plus homeschooling and ministry on top of that! But the Lord is faithful and has given us strength and endurance for this.

Anyways, I wanted to share a little bit about something that happened last week after service in the Spanish fellowship. During the service, one of the deacons got a call from the wife of a man who is dying of cancer. This deacon had been visiting this man weekly for the last 4 months or so. I went with him 3 weeks ago to visit the man. He has colon cancer and basically the doctors sent him home to die - they said the cancer was so bad that there was nothing they could do for him, except give him pain medication. So he has been dying slowly for the last 2 years. In any case, during service, the wife called and said he was really bad off and that he literally was breathing his last breaths.

So after service, I and 7 other people from the fellowship went over to the man's home to support his wife and family (he's got 2 daughters 10 and 12 I think). We simply prayed, shared some Bible verses and comforted them. Then the deacon who had been visiting weekly had it on his heart to preach a short message. Even though I didn't understand much of Spanish, I could truly see that the Spirit of God was upon him (this man truly has the gift of evangelism) and it was awesome to see God using him. And the fruit - one of the ladies present accepted the Lord with much tears and repenting. Just remember that all the people there are hard-core, traditional Catholics so this was truly a huge step for this lady. So praise God! We know that the angels in heaven are rejoicing over this one sinner who has repented and accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

The man, we believe with all our hearts, is saved though. When he was able to talk months ago, the deacon had shared with him many times and he has accepted the Lord. And the wife also, we think, but can't be sure with her. Well, the day after we visited, last Monday, the man went home to be with the Lord. He is now in a much better place...

A place where 'God will wipe away every tear from [his] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. ' Revelation 21.4

This was the first time I had been with someone who was so close to death, yet it truly was also a joyous occasion as we celebrated with the man as he stepped into the presence of His Lord and King, Jesus. I am reminded once again of the brevity of this life here on earth. And what a privilege we have to be called sons and daughters of the Most High God.

Of course we also mourn with his family as they will miss their husband, father, brother and friend. But we can comfort them with the fact that he will never know pain and sorrow and tears again. So please pray with us as we minister to this family. Pray for them - for comfort and healing but also for salvation for those who don't know Jesus. Pray that the Lord would use this death to bring new life into the lives of those left behind.

A Place Without Pain, Tears, Sorrow...

First, we want to say sorry for not posting more often but life has gotten really busy for us here. Becks started working a second part-time job - she works as one of the janitors at church (besides still working for the inventory company). So between the two of us, we work every day of the week, plus homeschooling and ministry on top of that! But the Lord is faithful and has given us strength and endurance for this.

Anyways, I wanted to share a little bit about something that happened last week after service in the Spanish fellowship. During the service, one of the deacons got a call from the wife of a man who is dying of cancer. This deacon had been visiting this man weekly for the last 4 months or so. I went with him 3 weeks ago to visit the man. He has colon cancer and basically the doctors sent him home to die - they said the cancer was so bad that there was nothing they could do for him, except give him pain medication. So he has been dying slowly for the last 2 years. In any case, during service, the wife called and said he was really bad off and that he literally was breathing his last breaths.

So after service, I and 7 other people from the fellowship went over to the man's home to support his wife and family (he's got 2 daughters 10 and 12 I think). We simply prayed, shared some Bible verses and comforted them. Then the deacon who had been visiting weekly had it on his heart to preach a short message. Even though I didn't understand much of Spanish, I could truly see that the Spirit of God was upon him (this man truly has the gift of evangelism) and it was awesome to see God using him. And the fruit - one of the ladies present accepted the Lord with much tears and repenting. Just remember that all the people there are hard-core, traditional Catholics so this was truly a huge step for this lady. So praise God! We know that the angels in heaven are rejoicing over this one sinner who has repented and accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

The man, we believe with all our hearts, is saved though. When he was able to talk months ago, the deacon had shared with him many times and he has accepted the Lord. And the wife also, we think, but can't be sure with her. Well, the day after we visited, last Monday, the man went home to be with the Lord. He is now in a much better place...

A place where 'God will wipe away every tear from [his] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. ' Revelation 21.4

This was the first time I had been with someone who was so close to death, yet it truly was also a joyous occasion as we celebrated with the man as he stepped into the presence of His Lord and King, Jesus. I am reminded once again of the brevity of this life here on earth. And what a privilege we have to be called sons and daughters of the Most High God.

Of course we also mourn with his family as they will miss their husband, father, brother and friend. But we can comfort them with the fact that he will never know pain and sorrow and tears again. So please pray with us as we minister to this family. Pray for them - for comfort and healing but also for salvation for those who don't know Jesus. Pray that the Lord would use this death to bring new life into the lives of those left behind.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Wiggle-Butt

Dariah has learned a new dance this past few months (not sure from where!) that has kept us laughing so hard, we almost pee our pants every time. It's a combination Hawaiian hula dance, belly dance and mosh pit slammin'. We just call it the wiggle-butt.

Here is just a small taste of what she can do. Notice how her hips seem to have a mind of their own - seems like she almost dislocates them with her rubberband-like moves! Doesn't it look like she's got invisible strings attached to both sides of her hips and that someone is yanking on them randomly?? And of course, she gets some encouragement from Taliah and Zachie Boy...

PS - turn up the sound to get the full effect.
PPS - click on the play button /arrow if it doesn't play automatically.

Wiggle-Butt

Dariah has learned a new dance this past few months (not sure from where!) that has kept us laughing so hard, we almost pee our pants every time. It's a combination Hawaiian hula dance, belly dance and mosh pit slammin'. We just call it the wiggle-butt.

Here is just a small taste of what she can do. Notice how her hips seem to have a mind of their own - seems like she almost dislocates them with her rubberband-like moves! Doesn't it look like she's got invisible strings attached to both sides of her hips and that someone is yanking on them randomly?? And of course, she gets some encouragement from Taliah and Zachie Boy...

PS - turn up the sound to get the full effect.
PPS - click on the play button /arrow if it doesn't play automatically.

video

Friday, 28 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are off to my parents to celebrate Thanksgiving and my mom's birthday - just happens to fall on the same day this year! Pray that you all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with family, friends and whoever else!

And hey, I am thankful for all of you - thanks for your prayers, support, help, advice, encouragement, care and love! Love you all!


Happy Thanksgiving!

We are off to my parents to celebrate Thanksgiving and my mom's birthday - just happens to fall on the same day this year! Pray that you all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with family, friends and whoever else!

And hey, I am thankful for all of you - thanks for your prayers, support, help, advice, encouragement, care and love! Love you all!


Sunday, 23 November 2008

God Trusts Me?!?!

From the previous post, I thought God was done speaking to me on that passage in Hebrews. But as I have been thinking about it a bit more these last few days, I think He's not done yet. In fact, I know it. Something else just 'occurred' to me...

When the author of Hebrews says 'the race that is set before us', it also implies that God has GIVEN us this race or this life, right? Or rather, that He has ENTRUSTED us with it. Ponder that for a moment. I did and it truly encouraged me. Think of it, God TRUSTS me enough with this life to live, with this race to run that He has set it before me - has given it to me, has entrusted it to me.

In Christianity today, aren't we so often bombarded by these haunting questions - 'do you trust God? Do you trust God with your salvation, life, finances, family, career, etc.? Where is your trust in God?' It is almost cliche-ish, isn't it? Of course I do, why do you have to keep asking me? Now then, doesn't it blow our minds to realize that God trusts us?!?

For example, my kids aren't quite old enough, but I can imagine one day entrusting my car to one of them to use (not that we have our own car at the moment). Imagine what they would feel like - 'wow, my dad trusts me with his car! He's gonna let me drive it!' They would be on cloud nine! Elated, excited (well, at least until they start paying for the gas themselves ;-) ). Simply by the fact that I set my car keys before them, saying to them - I trust you with what is mine.

Now turn that around and apply it in our relationship to our Heavenly Father. He trusts us enough to run this race that He gives it to us! He has set this race, this life before us, saying to us - 'go ahead, run the race, I trust you to run it well! Live the life I have created you for - I trust you with what is mine.' WOW! GOD, the Creator, the Almighty trusts me, a loser! Whooohooo!

How would that make you feel? Cool, huh? So don't worry too much that your trust in God isn't as strong as you would want it to be (or as strong as someone else's). Rest and rejoice in this - God trusts YOU, He's shown it already by giving you a race to run, a life to live, a faith to walk.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

God Trusts Me?!?!

From the previous post, I thought God was done speaking to me on that passage in Hebrews. But as I have been thinking about it a bit more these last few days, I think He's not done yet. In fact, I know it. Something else just 'occurred' to me...

When the author of Hebrews says 'the race that is set before us', it also implies that God has GIVEN us this race or this life, right? Or rather, that He has ENTRUSTED us with it. Ponder that for a moment. I did and it truly encouraged me. Think of it, God TRUSTS me enough with this life to live, with this race to run that He has set it before me - has given it to me, has entrusted it to me.

In Christianity today, aren't we so often bombarded by these haunting questions - 'do you trust God? Do you trust God with your salvation, life, finances, family, career, etc.? Where is your trust in God?' It is almost cliche-ish, isn't it? Of course I do, why do you have to keep asking me? Now then, doesn't it blow our minds to realize that God trusts us?!?

For example, my kids aren't quite old enough, but I can imagine one day entrusting my car to one of them to use (not that we have our own car at the moment). Imagine what they would feel like - 'wow, my dad trusts me with his car! He's gonna let me drive it!' They would be on cloud nine! Elated, excited (well, at least until they start paying for the gas themselves ;-) ). Simply by the fact that I set my car keys before them, saying to them - I trust you with what is mine.

Now turn that around and apply it in our relationship to our Heavenly Father. He trusts us enough to run this race that He gives it to us! He has set this race, this life before us, saying to us - 'go ahead, run the race, I trust you to run it well! Live the life I have created you for - I trust you with what is mine.' WOW! GOD, the Creator, the Almighty trusts me, a loser! Whooohooo!

How would that make you feel? Cool, huh? So don't worry too much that your trust in God isn't as strong as you would want it to be (or as strong as someone else's). Rest and rejoice in this - God trusts YOU, He's shown it already by giving you a race to run, a life to live, a faith to walk.

You Running YOUR Race?

Have you ever read a passage of the Bible so many times it almost loses it's impact? And then one day you read it again and wow, it hits you hard! Like a sledgehammer against a windshield? Well, it happened to me this past week with a passage that I know I must have read over 50 times. In fact, I have even taught on it and preached from it several times. But it just spoke to me yet again. So now that you're wondering what passage it is...

Hebrews 12.1-2 - 'Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.'

All these years as I read it I focused on the endurance part of the first verse - that the Christian life is like a long marathon that we run with endurance. And in order to run the race, we must get rid of all that hinders us. And that is true. But I never really noticed the last phrase of verse 1 - 'the race that is set before us'.

Now maybe you are thinking - 'so what, isn't it obvious?' Well, it wasn't so obvious for me until just recently. The point is that we are all given a race to run that is different that any one else's! We can't run our neighbor's race nor can he run ours. God will only count us faithful when we run OUR race. So it's no use to compare our race or life to someone else's; it's no use to try to copy someone else; it's no use to try to be/become someone else - to please God. It should stop us from thinking or saying - 'if only my life (or faith, walk, race, etc) were more like his / hers'.

This really encouraged me this week to run MY race well and with endurance. Not to get depressed because others might be further along in their race and also not to get prideful thinking I am further along in my race than others! The key is that I am looking at Jesus (not others) and running MY race (not others').

Just like Jesus ran His race - all the way to the Cross. Just like Paul ran his race. Just like Luther ran his race or Jonathan Edwards or William Carey or Hudson Taylor or Moody or Spurgeon or anyone else. In fact I want to say like Paul at the end of his earthly life - 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith' (2Tim 4.7). Amen.

Are you running YOUR race - the one that God has set before you? Or are you still trying to run someone else's race? Or are you trying to be someone else? Are you even in the race? ;-)

Friday, 21 November 2008

You Running YOUR Race?

Have you ever read a passage of the Bible so many times it almost loses it's impact? And then one day you read it again and wow, it hits you hard! Like a sledgehammer against a windshield? Well, it happened to me this past week with a passage that I know I must have read over 50 times. In fact, I have even taught on it and preached from it several times. But it just spoke to me yet again. So now that you're wondering what passage it is...

Hebrews 12.1-2 - 'Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.'

All these years as I read it I focused on the endurance part of the first verse - that the Christian life is like a long marathon that we run with endurance. And in order to run the race, we must get rid of all that hinders us. And that is true. But I never really noticed the last phrase of verse 1 - 'the race that is set before us'.

Now maybe you are thinking - 'so what, isn't it obvious?' Well, it wasn't so obvious for me until just recently. The point is that we are all given a race to run that is different that any one else's! We can't run our neighbor's race nor can he run ours. God will only count us faithful when we run OUR race. So it's no use to compare our race or life to someone else's; it's no use to try to copy someone else; it's no use to try to be/become someone else - to please God. It should stop us from thinking or saying - 'if only my life (or faith, walk, race, etc) were more like his / hers'.

This really encouraged me this week to run MY race well and with endurance. Not to get depressed because others might be further along in their race and also not to get prideful thinking I am further along in my race than others! The key is that I am looking at Jesus (not others) and running MY race (not others').

Just like Jesus ran His race - all the way to the Cross. Just like Paul ran his race. Just like Luther ran his race or Jonathan Edwards or William Carey or Hudson Taylor or Moody or Spurgeon or anyone else. In fact I want to say like Paul at the end of his earthly life - 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith' (2Tim 4.7). Amen.

Are you running YOUR race - the one that God has set before you? Or are you still trying to run someone else's race? Or are you trying to be someone else? Are you even in the race? ;-)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

CCM Spanish Fellowship

I have only been serving as interim pastor in the CCM Spanish Fellowship for a few weeks now, but it seems like we have grown close relatively quickly. The people are wonderful - so hospitable and loving. They have accepted us as the pastor family fairly quickly and are just grateful that they can continue as a ministry. They have become dear to our hearts as we are getting to know them more and more.

I wanted to thank those of you in Germany who have been praying for them as they went through the church split. They are on the road to healing and are truly taking steps forward as a fellowship. And the people of the Spanish Fellowship also thank you for your prayers - they are so amazed that you are praying for them!

Anyways, here are a few fotos of the 'new' Spanish Fellowship. We had a great day today as we got into God's Word and were challenged to reach out to people like Jesus did. And after church, gathered for a meal together. I pigged out on authentic Mexican food - my favorite! I had 3 tostadas, lots of fiery hot salsa, chips, a hot dog with jalapenos and jabenero chiles and a yummy cucumber and jicama salad (sorry I don't remember what it's called). Man am I stuffed!



Marco - one of the deacons and my translator





















CCM Spanish Fellowship






Miguel - another deacon and translator



















Mmmm - lots of Mexican food!

Monday, 10 November 2008

CCM Spanish Fellowship

I have only been serving as interim pastor in the CCM Spanish Fellowship for a few weeks now, but it seems like we have grown close relatively quickly. The people are wonderful - so hospitable and loving. They have accepted us as the pastor family fairly quickly and are just grateful that they can continue as a ministry. They have become dear to our hearts as we are getting to know them more and more.

I wanted to thank those of you in Germany who have been praying for them as they went through the church split. They are on the road to healing and are truly taking steps forward as a fellowship. And the people of the Spanish Fellowship also thank you for your prayers - they are so amazed that you are praying for them!

Anyways, here are a few fotos of the 'new' Spanish Fellowship. We had a great day today as we got into God's Word and were challenged to reach out to people like Jesus did. And after church, gathered for a meal together. I pigged out on authentic Mexican food - my favorite! I had 3 tostadas, lots of fiery hot salsa, chips, a hot dog with jalapenos and jabenero chiles and a yummy cucumber and jicama salad (sorry I don't remember what it's called). Man am I stuffed!



Marco - one of the deacons and my translator





















CCM Spanish Fellowship






Miguel - another deacon and translator



















Mmmm - lots of Mexican food!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Sí Señor, Le Seguiré! (Yes Lord, I Will Follow You!)

Well, after another week of serving the Spanish Fellowship (and Becky was able to be there this Sunday to meet the people), we decided to say 'Yes, Lord - you opened the doors and so we will follow You'. So for now, I am the pastor of the Calvary Chapel Murrieta Spanish Fellowship! I still think God has a great sense of humor taking us from Germany and now allowing us to serve Him in SoCal, with the Hispanics! So until God calls us out somewhere else, we are serving here in this capacity. So I guess we better start learning Spanish.

As you know, when the previous pastor was asked to step down, he left and took a bunch of people with him. That was why I was asked to come in as interim pastor. My church was ready to shut down the ministry, but I asked them to give it one more chance. They agreed, but only if I and only I would lead this fellowship. So here we are.

It was encouraging to see that today the Spanish Fellowship is still healthy and growing. There were more people in service today than last week. And there were several new people too. But more importantly, it was a blessing to see people jumping in to serve. When the previous pastor left, he took the worship leader and one of the deacons. So there was quite a few holes in the ministry team. But last week and this week, I saw people just stepping up and serving. One man will start doing worship, while his wife does sound. The remaining deacons will rotate and translate Wed and Sun for me. Another young lady took over as greeter. An older man (in his 80's) helps out with ushering. Another couple brings coffee and snacks every week so we can fellowship after service. That to me is the body of Christ pulling together! So pray for us as we start this new adventure!

Oh, and to clear something up that some have asked - this is not a paid position, I receive no salary from the Spanish Fellowship. I just want to help them. I work full-time doing construction type work Mon-Fri, (40-50 hours a week). Then I teach at the Spanish Fellowship on Wed and Sun and try to meet with the Spanish men on Sat mornings. Becks and I also have a part-time job doing inventory on the weekends. This is not so regular but it could be a lot of hours at times (just depends on the season). And we still teach the kids/youth at the Arabic Fellowship on Friday nights. So that is life for us in SoCal at the moment. It's not what we expected, but then again, I had never expected to be in Germany either! ;-)

Sí Señor, Le Seguiré! (Yes Lord, I Will Follow You!)

Well, after another week of serving the Spanish Fellowship (and Becky was able to be there this Sunday to meet the people), we decided to say 'Yes, Lord - you opened the doors and so we will follow You'. So for now, I am the pastor of the Calvary Chapel Murrieta Spanish Fellowship! I still think God has a great sense of humor taking us from Germany and now allowing us to serve Him in SoCal, with the Hispanics! So until God calls us out somewhere else, we are serving here in this capacity. So I guess we better start learning Spanish.

As you know, when the previous pastor was asked to step down, he left and took a bunch of people with him. That was why I was asked to come in as interim pastor. My church was ready to shut down the ministry, but I asked them to give it one more chance. They agreed, but only if I and only I would lead this fellowship. So here we are.

It was encouraging to see that today the Spanish Fellowship is still healthy and growing. There were more people in service today than last week. And there were several new people too. But more importantly, it was a blessing to see people jumping in to serve. When the previous pastor left, he took the worship leader and one of the deacons. So there was quite a few holes in the ministry team. But last week and this week, I saw people just stepping up and serving. One man will start doing worship, while his wife does sound. The remaining deacons will rotate and translate Wed and Sun for me. Another young lady took over as greeter. An older man (in his 80's) helps out with ushering. Another couple brings coffee and snacks every week so we can fellowship after service. That to me is the body of Christ pulling together! So pray for us as we start this new adventure!

Oh, and to clear something up that some have asked - this is not a paid position, I receive no salary from the Spanish Fellowship. I just want to help them. I work full-time doing construction type work Mon-Fri, (40-50 hours a week). Then I teach at the Spanish Fellowship on Wed and Sun and try to meet with the Spanish men on Sat mornings. Becks and I also have a part-time job doing inventory on the weekends. This is not so regular but it could be a lot of hours at times (just depends on the season). And we still teach the kids/youth at the Arabic Fellowship on Friday nights. So that is life for us in SoCal at the moment. It's not what we expected, but then again, I had never expected to be in Germany either! ;-)

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sí o No, Señor

Well, it's been 2 weeks (2 Wed and 2 Suns) now since I started teaching at the Spanish Fellowship at our church. It's been fun and the people are awesome! They are going through a very tough time as a fellowship and are so blessed to have any one come to minister to them.

One older gentleman (he's 80) came up to me last Wed and gave me a huge hug and said thank you for coming. And with tears in his eyes, he said he wished I could stay with them permanently. He then said, he would teach me Spanish! One of the deacons asked (with a grin on his face) if temporary / interim pastor meant 2-3 yrs! Haha.

In any case, the leaders of the Spanish Fellowship have asked me to become their pastor! It seems that they are very willing to work with me, if I would lead them. And from what I understand so far, it seems like my pastor and our church would support that, but only if I would lead the fellowship. So it seems like I need to make a decision! Wow, I totally did not expect this at all!

So please pray for me, us. Is this what God wants? Or what I want? Oh and by the way, I have a job now. Actually 2 jobs - 1 full-time and 1 part-time (I'll post about the jobs later)! And Becks also works part-time. So that would be another thing to consider - with 3 jobs between the 2 of us, plus the Arabic Fellowship on Friday nights, and now possibly the Spanish Fellowship - when will we have time for anything else?! So please pray for us.

PS - the title is Spanish for 'Yes or No, Lord' / 'Ja oder Nein, Herr'.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Sí o No, Señor

Well, it's been 2 weeks (2 Wed and 2 Suns) now since I started teaching at the Spanish Fellowship at our church. It's been fun and the people are awesome! They are going through a very tough time as a fellowship and are so blessed to have any one come to minister to them.

One older gentleman (he's 80) came up to me last Wed and gave me a huge hug and said thank you for coming. And with tears in his eyes, he said he wished I could stay with them permanently. He then said, he would teach me Spanish! One of the deacons asked (with a grin on his face) if temporary / interim pastor meant 2-3 yrs! Haha.

In any case, the leaders of the Spanish Fellowship have asked me to become their pastor! It seems that they are very willing to work with me, if I would lead them. And from what I understand so far, it seems like my pastor and our church would support that, but only if I would lead the fellowship. So it seems like I need to make a decision! Wow, I totally did not expect this at all!

So please pray for me, us. Is this what God wants? Or what I want? Oh and by the way, I have a job now. Actually 2 jobs - 1 full-time and 1 part-time (I'll post about the jobs later)! And Becks also works part-time. So that would be another thing to consider - with 3 jobs between the 2 of us, plus the Arabic Fellowship on Friday nights, and now possibly the Spanish Fellowship - when will we have time for anything else?! So please pray for us.

PS - the title is Spanish for 'Yes or No, Lord' / 'Ja oder Nein, Herr'.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Little Miss JabberJaw

Just wanted to share a conversation I had with Dariah not too long ago. It's amazing that she is really talking now, using complete sentences sometimes - and she's not even 2 yet! We kinda talked about dinosaurs, spiders and her ABCD's (that's what she calls them). Notice her facial expressions. And not to mention the drool (and snot) now and again. I guess she really needs to lubricate her lips! Enjoy.

PS - Auntie Doro, you need to teach her some German!

PPS - as always, if the video doesn't play automatically, click on the 'play' arrow in the lower left.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Little Miss JabberJaw

Just wanted to share a conversation I had with Dariah not too long ago. It's amazing that she is really talking now, using complete sentences sometimes - and she's not even 2 yet! We kinda talked about dinosaurs, spiders and her ABCD's (that's what she calls them). Notice her facial expressions. And not to mention the drool (and snot) now and again. I guess she really needs to lubricate her lips! Enjoy.

PS - Auntie Doro, you need to teach her some German!

PPS - as always, if the video doesn't play automatically, click on the 'play' arrow in the lower left.

video

Saturday, 18 October 2008

¿Donde Es El Baño, Por Favor?

I know the title is not correct Spanish, but my keyboard lacks the proper keys to write it correctly. So why the Spanish? Well, it just so happens that I am now (on a temporary basis) teaching the Wed night and Sun morning services for the Spanish Fellowship that meets at our church. Wow, bet you never saw that one coming! I sure didn't!

Our church, CCM, needed someone to fill in as pastor/teacher on short notice, so I was called up to bat. How long I will be doing this, I am not sure. Probably for a couple weeks or so, but it could go on longer. In any case, I think God has a great sense of humor - going from German to Spanish was not what I had expected! Now I find myself watching the Spanish channels on TV to see if I could understand anything! I actually took 3 years of high school Spanish - but that was over 20 years ago! Yo no comprendo / entiendo!

Yesterday was the first night I taught at the Wed night service and it was kinda fun. I wasn't sure how they would receive a yellow boy (that's Asian for you uninformed) teaching in English with a Spanish translator - interesting. But it went really well and I have to admit, it makes me really want to learn Spanish to communicate with the people. (Ok Isa, where are ya when I need ya!)

So I'll keep you updated as to how this all turns out. And don't be surprised if I start posting in Spanish now and again. Yo tengo que practicar. ;-)

PS - I fixed the title, I hope.

PPS - if you're wondering what the title means...it means 'where is the bathroom, please?' That's about the only Spanish I remember from my 3 years of classes! Hahaha!

Friday, 17 October 2008

¿Donde Es El Baño, Por Favor?

I know the title is not correct Spanish, but my keyboard lacks the proper keys to write it correctly. So why the Spanish? Well, it just so happens that I am now (on a temporary basis) teaching the Wed night and Sun morning services for the Spanish Fellowship that meets at our church. Wow, bet you never saw that one coming! I sure didn't!

Our church, CCM, needed someone to fill in as pastor/teacher on short notice, so I was called up to bat. How long I will be doing this, I am not sure. Probably for a couple weeks or so, but it could go on longer. In any case, I think God has a great sense of humor - going from German to Spanish was not what I had expected! Now I find myself watching the Spanish channels on TV to see if I could understand anything! I actually took 3 years of high school Spanish - but that was over 20 years ago! Yo no comprendo / entiendo!

Yesterday was the first night I taught at the Wed night service and it was kinda fun. I wasn't sure how they would receive a yellow boy (that's Asian for you uninformed) teaching in English with a Spanish translator - interesting. But it went really well and I have to admit, it makes me really want to learn Spanish to communicate with the people. (Ok Isa, where are ya when I need ya!)

So I'll keep you updated as to how this all turns out. And don't be surprised if I start posting in Spanish now and again. Yo tengo que practicar. ;-)

PS - I fixed the title, I hope.

PPS - if you're wondering what the title means...it means 'where is the bathroom, please?' That's about the only Spanish I remember from my 3 years of classes! Hahaha!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Danke Freiburger Freund(e)!

A couple weeks ago, we got an unexpected package in the mail - actually it was for Jesaiah. Most likely a belated birthday present for him. We opened it up and it was a huge LEGO set - almost 1400 pieces that make a bulldozer complete with motors and a remote control!

It didn't come with a sender name except for 'Friends from Freiburg'. So we don't know exactly who to thank for it but will just post this to thank all who were so thoughtful and generous. After we got back from Oklahoma, Jesaiah and I sat down and started putting it together - actually he did most of the work and I only helped when he couldn't figure it out. It was great father / son time.

What you see in the fotos below took him 2 and a half hours to put together, but he LOVED it so much! So again, thanks so much for your generous gift! We'll be putting it together over the next weeks and will post the final product.





Monday, 13 October 2008

Danke Freiburger Freund(e)!

A couple weeks ago, we got an unexpected package in the mail - actually it was for Jesaiah. Most likely a belated birthday present for him. We opened it up and it was a huge LEGO set - almost 1400 pieces that make a bulldozer complete with motors and a remote control!

It didn't come with a sender name except for 'Friends from Freiburg'. So we don't know exactly who to thank for it but will just post this to thank all who were so thoughtful and generous. After we got back from Oklahoma, Jesaiah and I sat down and started putting it together - actually he did most of the work and I only helped when he couldn't figure it out. It was great father / son time.

What you see in the fotos below took him 2 and a half hours to put together, but he LOVED it so much! So again, thanks so much for your generous gift! We'll be putting it together over the next weeks and will post the final product.





Saturday, 11 October 2008

Back in SoCal

We're back in SoCal now, we had a great time in Oklahoma, but now it's time to get settled back into life here in hot and sunny Murrieta. We'll be posting some photos soon, so thanks for being patient.

In the meantime, enjoy this comic - don't you find yourself searching for EVERYTHING on Google? I do, well now I use Yahoo and get paid for it - made about $15 so far just from doing my normal searches from Yahoo instead of Google (ask me how if you want to join the fun)!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Back in SoCal

We're back in SoCal now, we had a great time in Oklahoma, but now it's time to get settled back into life here in hot and sunny Murrieta. We'll be posting some photos soon, so thanks for being patient.

In the meantime, enjoy this comic - don't you find yourself searching for EVERYTHING on Google? I do, well now I use Yahoo and get paid for it - made about $15 so far just from doing my normal searches from Yahoo instead of Google (ask me how if you want to join the fun)!

Monday, 6 October 2008

To Be Continued...














We are in Oklahoma (since last week) to visit becks' parents and family. Unfortunately we don't have much time to post a lot during our trip. So we promise to post more when we return to SoCal. And we have a few photos to put up when we have more time.

To Be Continued...














We are in Oklahoma (since last week) to visit becks' parents and family. Unfortunately we don't have much time to post a lot during our trip. So we promise to post more when we return to SoCal. And we have a few photos to put up when we have more time.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

If You Wanna Walk on Water...You've Gotta Crawl First

I can relate to this at the moment - we've gotten outta da boat, but it sure doesn't feel like we're doing any water-walkin' yet. Just a few inches of crawling. But at least we're not sinking...yet.

Anyone else feel like I do? Anyone? Hello? Am I the only one who feels like this? I can't be the only one outta the boat?!

Anyways, have a great day! We're flying out to visit Becks' parents for a week or so. Don't know if we can keep up with the posting from there.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

If You Wanna Walk on Water...You've Gotta Crawl First

I can relate to this at the moment - we've gotten outta da boat, but it sure doesn't feel like we're doing any water-walkin' yet. Just a few inches of crawling. But at least we're not sinking...yet.

Anyone else feel like I do? Anyone? Hello? Am I the only one who feels like this? I can't be the only one outta the boat?!

Anyways, have a great day! We're flying out to visit Becks' parents for a week or so. Don't know if we can keep up with the posting from there.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Evolution or Creation

After church, at lunch while we were eating pasta and basil pesto (mmmm, one of my favorites), the kids and I got into a lively discussion about evolution and creation. I really don't know how we got onto that topic, but we really got deep into the discussion. Well, as deep as a 4, 6 and 8 year old can get. It was so awesome to hear them getting all excited to outdo one another to see who could come up with reasons why evolution isn't true and creationism is.

I just listened and encouraged them to think about this or that, plus I had to often (very often) 'exhort' them to also EAT! And to NOT talk with their mouths full of green, orange and yellow pasta -imagine with me what that would look like all mashed up with basil pesto, mixed with a little apple-berry juice and sometimes dribbling out the sides of their mouths and you can see why I had to interrupt and tell them to finish chewing and swallowing before speaking! ;-)

Anyways, we finally finished and summarized our findings. They came up with 2 good reasons why we can't believe in evolution...

(1) because there is really no proof. Jesaiah hit the nail on the head when he asked, 'if we came from monkeys, then who made the monkeys?' Of course we took that even further back - 'if we came from single cell life, then who created that?' Good question. No good answers for evolutionists.

(2) and because it takes God out of the picture as our Creator. Wow, can you imagine that coming from kids!? They understand it! Taliah said 'people don't wanna worship God so they make statues to bow down to and worship and that's not good because God said in the Ten Commandments not to worship statues.' RIGHT! And I love Zachie's response to that 'yeah, and God is gonna get angry! (But you gotta see it with the hand motions he was doing - just imagine Zachie, at his most excited, loudest and pumping his left arm up and down like he was gonna karate-chop someone to pieces!). But He will still love them and will never leave them and stay next to them.' Ahh, out of the mouths of babes...

I can't remember who said it first, (maybe it was me!) but it was pointed out that God created us because He wants to love us. And if we take God out of the picture and out of our lives, then we miss out on God's love! That's one to chew on.

And Dariah's response to all this? 'Spoooon! Spoooon! Daddy, mo juss, mo juss' - in English that would be 'please pick up the spoon that I dropped (actually it was a fork, but hey, she's not even 2 yet). And please may I have more juice, Daddy?' Or maybe that was what I was hoping she would say. ;-)

In any case, it was a great Sunday afternoon dining table discussion. And you just gotta cherish moments like these when you can say - yes, they do understand what we (and others) have been teaching them. And yes, it is all worth it.

Evolution or Creation

After church, at lunch while we were eating pasta and basil pesto (mmmm, one of my favorites), the kids and I got into a lively discussion about evolution and creation. I really don't know how we got onto that topic, but we really got deep into the discussion. Well, as deep as a 4, 6 and 8 year old can get. It was so awesome to hear them getting all excited to outdo one another to see who could come up with reasons why evolution isn't true and creationism is.

I just listened and encouraged them to think about this or that, plus I had to often (very often) 'exhort' them to also EAT! And to NOT talk with their mouths full of green, orange and yellow pasta -imagine with me what that would look like all mashed up with basil pesto, mixed with a little apple-berry juice and sometimes dribbling out the sides of their mouths and you can see why I had to interrupt and tell them to finish chewing and swallowing before speaking! ;-)

Anyways, we finally finished and summarized our findings. They came up with 2 good reasons why we can't believe in evolution...

(1) because there is really no proof. Jesaiah hit the nail on the head when he asked, 'if we came from monkeys, then who made the monkeys?' Of course we took that even further back - 'if we came from single cell life, then who created that?' Good question. No good answers for evolutionists.

(2) and because it takes God out of the picture as our Creator. Wow, can you imagine that coming from kids!? They understand it! Taliah said 'people don't wanna worship God so they make statues to bow down to and worship and that's not good because God said in the Ten Commandments not to worship statues.' RIGHT! And I love Zachie's response to that 'yeah, and God is gonna get angry! (But you gotta see it with the hand motions he was doing - just imagine Zachie, at his most excited, loudest and pumping his left arm up and down like he was gonna karate-chop someone to pieces!). But He will still love them and will never leave them and stay next to them.' Ahh, out of the mouths of babes...

I can't remember who said it first, (maybe it was me!) but it was pointed out that God created us because He wants to love us. And if we take God out of the picture and out of our lives, then we miss out on God's love! That's one to chew on.

And Dariah's response to all this? 'Spoooon! Spoooon! Daddy, mo juss, mo juss' - in English that would be 'please pick up the spoon that I dropped (actually it was a fork, but hey, she's not even 2 yet). And please may I have more juice, Daddy?' Or maybe that was what I was hoping she would say. ;-)

In any case, it was a great Sunday afternoon dining table discussion. And you just gotta cherish moments like these when you can say - yes, they do understand what we (and others) have been teaching them. And yes, it is all worth it.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Forbidden Fruit

Thought this was pretty funny. I like the warning at the bottom - hahaha.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Forbidden Fruit

Thought this was pretty funny. I like the warning at the bottom - hahaha.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Kid's Ministry

Now I am not talking about Children's Ministry with that title above, but about kids actually getting out there and ministering to others. So often we think that kids can't do anything, that they can only receive (i.e. in a Children's Ministry setting for example). We think that they are too young, not able or simply don't want to minister. But in all actuality - they can and do want to!

I took the two older kids with me this week when I went to help out at the Feeding Ministry. This is the second time they went with me and had been asking for the last few weeks to go again. So right after they got home from school, we went out to help set up. They helped get the tables set up, then the tent / pavillions set up. When the truck delivered the food, they helped unload and sort the food. And lastly, they stood for an hour handing out food to the people who came thru. Taliah handed out cat food and Jesaiah got to hand out bags of something that I have no idea what it was! But they loved it!

My desire was for them to see how blessed they / we are - we have food, clothes, beds, shelter. And to be thankful and count our blessings. And I think they are beginning to see that more and more. They really were good helpers today. Next time, I will take them with me when we pray for the people - as the people are waiting to get the food, we go down the line and ask if anyone needs prayer. Then we simply bring their request before the Lord. It's interesting the people you meet - this week I met a lady in her 70's who had eye surgery (cataracts) - and guess what, she's German! She married an American (Ammie to you Germans) and has lived in the USA for the last almost 50 years! And her husband died back in 1972 (I think - anyways it was a long time ago) and she has been alone since.

Another lady I met was a psychologist for the State of California, but is out of work now. Two years ago, one of her patients got angry and tackled her from behind, injuring her back. The State gave her 2 years to recover / be healed and come back to work. She didn't recover in time so they laid her off. She now has no house and lives in her truck with her dog (a GERMAN shepherd). Wow.

So yes, we are totally blessed and can and do count our blessings every day. All I can say is 'but for the grace of God, there go I'. Or you. Have you counted your blessings today? Today, have you thanked God for the food you ate, the bed you slept in, the clothes you wore (and got dirty) the friends and family you have around you or the life you have? Conviction.