Friday, October 31, 2014

September/October 2014 Let your light so shine before men

September/October 2014 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.     ~Matthew 5:16

This month marked the 23rd anniversary of the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista Misericordia –Tepic (IBBM). Lots of people, including several visitors, attended the joyous celebration. The message Pastor McKeown from my sending church, North Village Baptist, prepared was appropriate for the occasion. He emphasized the importance of building bridges, outlining what people expect and what they often receive in a church. Several people for whom we have been praying were convinced of their need for a Savior; one was Valentín. He could not hold back the tears, and neither could we as he begged God to forgive his sins and accepted the free, undeserved gift that Jesus offers to those who will believe. His daughter, Gisela, and granddaughter, Paulina, have prayed faithfully that he would be convinced of his need for the Savior. They, and we are overjoyed!

We shared dinner on the church grounds with everyone afterward. There had been so many volunteers the previous week to bring food and serve that some were disappointed because there were more helping hands than need. It was especially moving that Antonio and his wife, Yolanda, from the Huichol village of La Bendición, joined the celebration with two 5-gallon buckets full of cooked, blue corn, the first fruits of their harvest this year, to share with their Tepic brothers and sisters. Quite a few Huichols came. This day was an amazing reminder that when we “get it ready,” God does the job, and He gets the glory.

In our most recent Women of Excellence class, we studied Dorcas (Tabitha) and the example her life sets for our church. We agreed that IBBM-Tepic meets the New Testament challenge for 7 minimum qualifications for a church (outlined by John Piper): 1) members give evidence that they are believers in Jesus as Savior and Lord; 2) believers are biblically baptized; 3) believers assemble regularly;        4) regular meetings are for the purpose of worship; 5) meetings include exhortation from God’s Word; 6) believers celebrate the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice; and 7) church leaders are appointed based on 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 qualifications. 

Our lesson challenge, however, was to examine ourselves and ask if we meet the New Testament qualification for members of a maximum local church -- sacrificial service with good deeds, like Dorcas’, that make it reasonable for people to observe the evidence and conclude as a result that God is real and deserves the glory and their praise. IBBM-Tepic will continue to be a great and growing church as she and each of us, her members, uses what God has placed in our hands, even if it’s only a well-used needle and thread, to serve each other and the world around us in Jesus’ name.

Please pray with us as we go about making preparation for some important upcoming opportunities for service in the next few weeks, especially for the following:

·               Three hundred-fifty plastic shoeboxes are stacked at my house and ready to be filled with useful and fun surprises for this year’s Festiniños children’s Christmas outreach. Friends from two churches have already offered to help with the cost of the contents. A super-energetic team of helpers from IBBM-Tepic plans to do the shopping locally, packing, and then organizing corresponding boxes according to age and gender. Some boxes will be airlifted to remote mountain villages via a UIM airplane while others will be distributed at the IBBM-Tepic OANSA (AWANA) club. We will be using this amazing evangelistic tool again this year to share God’s matchless present, His only son, Jesus, the GREATEST GIFT ever given.

·               Nine Huichol mother-tongue translators will meet in Tepic for the 26th 2-week Huichol Old Testament workshop. The team has been working hard making revisions, getting back translations, consultant checks and test-reading the latest drafts in their communities.

·               IBBM-Tepic musicians, script-writers and actors are hard-at-work preparing for the 2014 Christmas celebration, an annual community Gospel-sharing outreach.

May we, like Dorcas, never forget to be MAXIMUM servants, letting our “light so shine before men, that they may see (y)our good works, and glorify (y)our Father which is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16