Monday, October 31, 2011

September/October 2011 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”

September/October 2011 

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

Jesus set the example. These past 2 months have been filled with answers to the question, “What would Jesus do?” The following are some highlights of brothers and sisters you have prayed for who are doing their best to follow His steps:

Since the property adjacent to IBBM-Tepic that “houses” the horse trough we have been using for a baptistery during the past decade has been sold, we asked ourselves, “Carmen, José Luis, Rafael and David are ready to obey and follow their Savior’s steps in baptism; what would Jesus do?”  I guess He would have inflated a borrowed swimming pool and filled it in my front yard, which is across the street from the Tepic church, and turned it into a church-wide celebration complete with accompaniment by a violin quartet of budding young church musicians. The kids enjoyed the happiest swimming party ever afterwards.

It did not make sense, humanly speaking, for the Tepic church, IBBM, to add one more task to the already endless list of “things to do” in our “own back yard.”  It was not reasonable to invest funds we didn’t really have. It was not logical to get involved in another mission project on the other side of the world, and to reach out to a people we’ve never met; but that’s what Jesus did, and pastor Martín, sponsored by an army of brothers and sisters locally and more than 100 prayer partners from around the world (Thank you!), chose to follow His steps, along with 3 other Latino pastors who traveled to Madrid first, and then Morocco on a short-term mission trip. Martín’s goal was to investigate possibilities for IBBM-Tepic in helping to fulfill the Commission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all the world.

Martín returned to Tepic, exhausted, but invigorated with a renewed “cosmovisión” reporting that in Madrid over 90% of evangelical church members are Latinos, not from Spain. That was a concept he certainly never expected.  Along with his 3 friends, he participated in “Kilometer Zero” preaching and evangelizing in a large central park. After a week of orientation and ministry they left for Morocco; a beautiful country...but with great need for the Truth. Martin was moved by the abundance of people and their religiosity but with obvious emptiness in their hearts. Ministry in Morocco requires constant secrecy, conversation in “code,” and the use of symbols. He returned grateful for the freedom we have in Mexico to meet together and share the truth openly, and he determined to follow His steps so that IBBM will have a greater part in reaching the lost beyond our borders who are lacking that blessing and have never heard.

To God be the Glory – The Purpose for Our Church and My Life was the title of the message Pastor McKeown preached to an overflow crowd at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista Misericordia-Tepic. Pastor Phil has proven by his example that the answer to, “What would Jesus do?” is not always the easiest or most convenient, but to follow in His steps is right. This is the 6th consecutive year that he has left his own flock and our sending church, North Village Baptist, for Tepic to fulfill the commitment he made at Kirt’s funeral to pastors Martín, Nacho and José Luis to stand with them and be present every year (barring divine intervention) at our annual commemoration. It’s not easy for him to leave his obligations in Phoenix, travel in Mexico is expensive and not all that advisable right now, and he despises Mexican food (I know, no one else can believe that either!). His message was appropriate for the year’s theme, but his actions in Tepic consistently speak louder than his words. Steve Evers, director of In Touch Mission International, is becoming a familiar face with an always encouraging message in Tepic, too. Thank you both, for your active answer to, “What would Jesus do?”

Seven men (Érika stood in for her dad, Sebastián, who was out of town.) who have passed the test of biblical leadership and have committed to follow in His steps at IBBM-Tepic, received special recognition this year.  
Lots of people are participating in following in His steps that makes these IBBM-Tepic highlights possible.

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