The Lord called this to head back to the United States to work with our association of churches and work with the pastors here as part of the Grace gospel fellowship and we had twelve wonderful years doing that and I retired and so the Lord is sending us back and would like to share a little bit about the ministry we’re going to be doing it about Bolivia itself.
Turn off on turn off on OK Ariel ups I’m going to fire OK Bolivia as you see is a landlocked country in the middle of South America a country of about eleven and a half million people there are a number of languages in Bolivia a number of indigenous languages but the main language spoken and understood by eighty eight percent of the population is Spanish so that is the language that we work in there’s a lot of economic disparity in Bolivia as well forty five percent of the population of Bolivia is under the international poverty line of two dollars or less per day the what they would consider middle class we would consider maybe upper lower class here in the United States but there are those who are rich as well people who own businesses people who work for the government and steal the money from the people. That’s this is recorded is it.
And and those who have been involved in the coca crop which is a major crop there in Bolivia Coke of course not that which produces cocoa but that which produces cocaine and so that’s very much a part of the economy in Bolivia but the majority of the people do not have those resources seventy eight percent of believe US population is Roman Catholic a a religion that is very works oriented there is no salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone none of that in Bolivia and instead. It is you have to work you have to fulfill the rituals of the Roman Catholic Church and in the end if you make it if you find out the you make it that’s good if not then you’re in purgatory and you work your way or other people pray for you so you can get out of purgatory but the teaching of Scripture of salvation by grace through Christ is not there so there’s a lot of people walking around in darkness a lot of the Roman Catholics in Bolivia a number of the men especially are nominal Catholics in so they only go to church on Christmas and and go to the mass on Good Friday but that’s about it for for a number of them ten percent of the population would be what we would consider evangelical Christian which is any of the whole gamut of of Protestant denominations and with that of course there is a group of grace churches with which we work.
Our journey back to believe us started really last April when I announced my resignation from the grace gospel fellowship where I had served as president for twelve years came to a point in time which I was reaching retirement age they G G F has a new vision new goals and I felt it best with me turning sixty six to have a younger man in that role who could see that vision to its fruit fruition and so at that time perfectly we made the decision to step down we stop the Lord where would you have us to serve you thought of a number of options working in smaller churches here in the states and things like that but as the Lord led us through our prayers we came to see that there were some real needs in Bolivia right now when I was there originally in Bolivia when we were there originally in Bolivia one of my main ministries was theological education and with that I set up a training center in which I was training people for the ministry and training. Existing pastors to be more effective in their ministry over the years that training centers died out and so it was not happening anymore and the Bolivians asked Grace Ministries International our mission to please send somebody down to reopen that training center but not so that the missionary would run it anymore but instead so that the missionary can train them to run it so that in the future it will be able to keep going when I or other missionaries are gone so as we are praying the Lord kind of directed us and in in that way it could be very easy for us to step into that role because we know the people we know the language and be able to fit right into that law so do a lot of ministry training the picture on the bottom with the young people those young people were involved in the two thousand and eight Beijing Olympics not as participants as athletic participants but they went with a group called Y Y M or Youth With A Mission and they put on dramas and did other things to present the gospel to people who came to Beijing for the Olympics and some of these young people were from our churches these four young people who are there with Kathy and me and at that time when they came back they said we want to do more of that we want to be reaching more of the world with our message of grace and so what we will be doing is working with a number of these young people and with adults as well to train them so that they can minister not only in their own country but to go to the surrounding countries of Argentina Peru Chile impaired why in-service missionaries from Bolivia to those countries Kathy will be doing a lot of work with women’s ministry says she has done in the past.
OK I had a little music going on there I was great.
Kathy Kathy in the past. Done a lot of work with women’s ministries these are some pastors wives were there with her the gal in the back with a white hair is Mary Sue Reed and then a very sure reader are our partners in ministry down there in Bolivia and we’ll be working with them but a lot of the women in Bolivia.
And many of the women Bolivia have husbands who don’t really care for very much are don’t take care of them I should say it’s a macho society the men there feel like you’re not really a man if you only have one woman and so they’re playing around a lot there’s a lot of drinking with some of these men too and these women need to hear from other women who know God’s grace and who could share with them what God can do in their lives and what God can even do in their marriage as they commit themselves to them and so Kat to him and so Kathy will be working again with women’s ministries and we’ll both be involved in mentoring with with various people in the area the young lady that Kathy has there by her side in this picture was a woman whose children went to the Awana group at one of our churches and Kathy was working with Sparky’s in in the water group and she was this lady just kind of sat and watched her kids as they were going through this and Kathy went up to her one day and she shared her life with her really her husband it was a really and they were really married it was cohabitation more than anything but the husband and the father of her children and some of the struggles that she was going through Kathy shared Christ with Sago D.N.A. It’s a good deed and how they came to know Christ that begin growing in her understanding of the word as Kathy spent time with her the man with me as Santos Ortega who is one of our pastors his story is is extremely rigid mean but I’m not going to share that right now because I don’t have time that that Santos when. First went down there was a caretaker in one of our schools he wanted to go into ministry but he didn’t have a high school education the only had three great came to me and said can I study with you I said yes you can and so Santos by the time we left in two thousand and four was a pastor in today he would I would say he would be the most highly respected pastor of all of our churches in Bolivia because of his knowledge of God’s word is his solid teaching of the gospel of the grace of God in Scripture and also the fact that he is living a godly lifestyle in his life is is a testimony even to other pastors in our churches we ask for your prayers as we continue to go about visiting churches and as we relocate as well there’s going to be a lot of things a lot of changes when we go back to Bolivia for us and getting our government residency we don’t know how the new orders here in the United States which are going to limit immigrants at times how those things will end up affecting those of us who go overseas because other countries like to reciprocate and so we could be praying for that pray for our family as well we are leaving behind for adult children their spouses and eleven grandchildren and that’s not easy for us but it’s also not easy for all of them one of our daughters who lives close to us has battled depression and other physical problems and it’s been tough for her to think about her number one caregiver her number once of the area of support her mother leaving and going to another continent she’s doing better right now bed but it’s a struggle so if you would pray for our family we appreciate it and for the Church of Bolivia as we get settled there.
Outside in the four year there we have a table in which we have a few little things about Bolivia but we also have two things we’d like to call your attention to. One of them is a sign up sheet in which you can sign your name what sign up sheets are for but also you can give us your mailing address so that we can have Grace Ministries International send you are by annual or semiannual I should say prayer letter but we’re also sending out a monthly update of our ministry we’d like to encourage you to put your email address there so that you can hear what God is doing right now as we prepare to go Lord willing early March but also as the ministry goes forward we also have back their copy of our per card suite encourage you to pick one up and put it on your dart board so they could remember to pray for small or refrigerator or wherever else so thank you very much. Well I’ve got only twenty minutes.
So we’re going to get into God’s word out what we’re here for so what I’d like to ask you to do is first of all turn to second Christians chapter five in your Bibles second Christians chapter five I am using the New King James today if you’re using apps that’s what I’m using but if you’re using her real Bibles or not they’re all real Bible fact you’re using the paper edition second create the in chapter five and then I’d like you to put your bowl ten or something else in that spot once you get there because that’s where we’re going to spend most of our time but I’d like to begin in first John chapter four first John chapter four.
Let’s have a word of prayer and then we’ll look together in God’s word Father we thank you for the privilege of being here this morning for sharing the opportunity to share from your word. And to share father would not only what you’re doing in our lives Kathy and mine but what you desire to do in each one of our lives as believers a pretty father that you will speak to our hearts the Holy Spirit will have freedom father and. Each one of our lives you direct us as you desire us to be directed rabies things in our Saviour’s name even number of years ago the Swiss theologian Karl Barth a man who was a very world renowned theologian who had studied Scripture and studied theology a lot was traveling through the United States in news visiting a seminary in in San Francisco and he was doing a lecture and then he had a question answer time during that question answer time in one thousand nine hundred eighty two one of the seminary students asked him this question Dr Bart he said Can you sum up your whole life work in theology in just one sentence Wow I mean here’s a guy who has been studying and studying in stabbing and this kid smart alec seminary student said Can you sum it all up in just one sentence Dr Bart Paz for a moment and then he said. Jesus wants me this I know ALL FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.
Many of us recognize that as the children saw and the wonderful thing about that truth the Jesus loves us this we know for the Bible tells us so is that even though it is so simple that a child can understand it is also so profound. That a world renowned Philo G. because say this is up everything that I have learned in my study of scripture and my study of theology in first John chapter four the Apostle John writes about this love of God in verse nine when he says this in this the love of God was manifested in this the love of God was made known toward us that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. God’s love is. Revealed in the fact that he has sent Christ His only Son into the world so that we might live through him and this love that describes the love of God is not a sentimental Hallmark kind of one of I don’t know how many of you get the Hallmark Channel we don’t anymore we got rid of the cable but.
Valentine’s Day is coming so every time you turn on the Hallmark Channel there’s going to be a sappy Hallmark movie you know in fact you don’t even have to have Valentine’s Day You know I mean it’s all year long on Hallmark.
God’s Love isn’t a sentimental love in that same sense God’s love is a gut wrenching love God’s love is a painful love. It’s a sacrificial love and John goes on and explains this in the next verse in This Is Love first hand says Not that we loved God but that he loved us in sent His Son to be the pro pca Sion for our sins that an ID says the atoning sacrifice we read and say well OK the propitiation for our sins whatever. What does propitiation mean propitiation means the Jesus Christ when he came to this earth took upon himself. The wrath of God for our sins. He bore God’s wrath for our sins Romans five eight The apostle Paul puts it this way. The god demonstrate is love for us in this while we were still sinners Christ died. For us first Timothy one fifteen the apostle Paul says Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners how by. Taking upon himself.
Our punishment do us for take it upon himself the wrath of God that we so much deserve the Bible says and second Christians five twenty one you could turn over now to second Corinthians fifth chapter five but in verse twenty one it says this that that God made him Christ who knew no sin to become sin for us so that in him we might be made the righteousness of God so that Christ took our sins upon himself.
Very in the penalty burying the ping of the Cross and the pain of the Cross wasn’t the fact that he was nailed but yes there was pain in that the physical pain but the real pain of the cross was Jesus Christ taking upon Himself that wrath of God pain the penalty for our sins and at that time when Christ come right out my God my God why have you for saken May God had turned his back on the son who had been one with Him for eternity because he was carrying your sins and mine upon that cross and in exchange for that. We have received as we put faith in him the righteousness of God so that we could stand before holy God as holy and without boy before him. That’s a hard love. But it’s the love of God and the above of Christ for us. And so Paul writes and second Christians five Verse fourteen look there if you would please.
For the love of Christ compels us the Law of Christ motivates us to love of Christ pushes us. On because we judge that if one died for all then all died you know the most common verse that talks about this love of Christ I think is probably John three sixteen I mean if you ever heard of John three sixteen I mean if you ever watch football games church.
Many of us have memorized that if you have say it with me I’m going to kind of do King James a share so that we can eat together but John three sixteen say it with me for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life and we love that person only we love the fact that God that God so loved me the gun love my family the God love my friends so that he sent Christ to die for us and when I was a young person I learned that I could substitute my name for those who so whatevers and I learned that I could say God so love frosty then he gave his one and only Son so that a frosty believes in Him Frost he won’t have to perish but Frosty could have everlasting life and that is exciting and that is true but you know what the problem is we forget to take our name out of that equation. And we hear that first and we keep thinking Jesus was me he died for me and we get so focused in that that we miss what Paul says in the latter part of. First fourteen of second Corinthians five for the law of Christ motivates or compels us because we don’t judge that one died for me is that what it says no one died for whom.
Some of you can yet this is not rhetorical OK this is audience participation that one died for all. If you ever thought stop to think who is included in that all.
In that all are Bolivians Bolivians who are sell us for God as Paul writes of the Jews in Romans ten but Dizzee all not based on knowledge because they seek to establish their own righteousness. Instead of receiving the righteousness that comes from Christ but it’s not just the Bolivians included in that all of the Syrian refugees. Christ died for them.
Included in that all are the ISIS terrorists. Christ died for them.
Including that all are the idol worshippers in Southeast Asia Christ died and gave shed his blood for them because he loves them.
And included in that all now you’re see the this is a stretch that included that all are American politicians.
No matter which side of the aisle they’re on Christ died for all he died for your neighbor he died for your classmates he died.
For that person you work with who says Don’t tell me to marry Christmas tell me happy holidays. He died for that atheists next door.
He died for those people who great on you he loves them and he died for them.
And so Paul says.
When we truly realize. What the love of Christ is all about. And that he died for all it compels us. Verse fifteen he goes on and says this and he died for all this is part of the compelling US He died for. All that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Paul is saying here that Christ came. And the Christ gave his wife on the cross so that I will not any longer need to wallow in the mud of myself centered life.
But oh how often we as Christians.
Wallow in the mud of our self-centered life.
How often we want to hang around with those like us and only like us.
How often we want to relate to those who believe what we believe and we’re recall spite of those who have a social agenda that are contrary to ours and when we see somebody who speaks a different language is a language the first thing that comes to our mind is. Documented or undocumented.
The longer living for yourself but for Him who died for them and rose again and therefore from now on we regard this is verse sixteen we regard no one according to the flesh what does that mean they’re not people no he’s not saying that he goes on and explains and says even though we have known Christ according to the flesh yet now we no longer we know him thus no longer what he says it I used to know Christ Well when I knew Jesus was before the Jesus I knew was the guy claiming to be messiah now is out to kill anybody in prison anybody who believe that I knew him as the person Jesus but now I know him as the Risen Son of God and I know him from a spiritual standpoint and Paul says in that same way. When I look at those around me I don’t see them as documented or undocumented I don’t see them as….
Or… I see them as or straight I see them as people I see them as souls for whom Christ died and because of that the love of Christ for them.
As it is for me compels me. It compels me to act because I know. That if anyone is in Christ even that person he will become a new creation.
And so Paul’s life is changed because of this.
I no longer now live for myself I live for Him I realize that my body as Paul writes in First Corinthians six thousand nine hundred twenty is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I. No longer be long to myself I have been bought with a price that price be in the blood of Christ and therefore I live my life for His glory and I see others as he sees them so that I can reach them with the gospel of God’s grace what does that mean in a practical way well it means in a practical way that I begin to have the passion in the compassion the God hath.
God who wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth and thereafter if that is what God desires and that’s what I want to have people come to know him. It also means that I have God’s priorities for my wife.
And having God’s priorities for my wife because to shape the way I think about the things that I do and I want. I live my life for him and for His glory and so in the morning when I get up I read His Word not because it’s a habit that I need to get into it though it probably is but because I want to know his written will for my life in the way that I live in the decisions I make in my attitudes about people and so I stay in His word and I grow but it also means an individual level that each day I see God say God what do you have for me today I want to trust in the Lord with all my heart instead of lead in my own understanding.
I acknowledge him and say God I want you to set the path for me today I want you to direct my life in how you want me. To serve you and I live my life in that way and we as believers live our lives in that way so the god has the freedom to use us in the wives of the people who he wants us to touch for him. Caffyn are going back to Bolivia that’s where God is leading us right now in our lives to go back there to touch the lives of people in that country and we’re excited about that because God is directing but I also know.
That the majority of people are going to be called to go to Bolivia. The majority of people aren’t going to be called to go overseas. But each one of us each and every one of us have been bought with a price. Therefore for each and every one of us our lives belong to God. And for each and every Christian we need to continually offer our lives as a living sacrifice to him daily hourly saying God what would you have me to do. Are you who can I touch for you.
In my life.
Sometimes some of us will sit back and say you know I did that a good that it can’t be the number of years ago and I committed my life to him and I said God wherever you would have me to go and God didn’t lead me into ministry so he I’m on my own you know it’s not the case.
Whether we’re young people or whether Rita we’re retired. God wants each and every day placing ourselves before him again saying God how would you use me. There’s a path former pastor was a prolific writer by the name of John Piper John papers written a number of books one of his books is called Don’t waste your life and in this book he writes about an article that he read in Reader’s Digest in one thousand nine hundred ninety eight so this was almost twenty years ago they read this article it was about a couple that retired early they lived in the Northeast United States they made their millions he was fifty nine she was fifty one they retired they moved down to Florida they bought a thirty foot trawler to go around the Gulf and and when they’re on on land they played softball and collected shells.
And that’s how they spent their lives.
In Piper read that he said well this is a spoof on the America on the American dream you know you realize no this is this is really happening and he has a badge and imagine.
The last thing you do in your wind and Ollie God given life if you’re a believer the last thing you do or don’t last number of years of your life you’re still just you spend playing softball nothing wrong with that and collecting seashells along the Gulf Coast in the day comes in which you stand before. Iced you know the Bema and he says.
What have you done. For be at my work and you say to him look at shallots.
And Piper says it’s a tragedy. It’s a wasted life.
We as believers have been bought with a price God has given us a life to live. But not for South. He died for us so that we would no longer live for self but live for Him who died for us and rose again. So the question that I need to continually ask myself and each one of us as believers need to continually ask ourself is this in my willing. To be his in am I willing to serve him how in where you desire. For somebody here it may mean going to a mission field or may mean serving the Lord in a church as a pastor or as a way worker It may mean being here in Phoenix and supporting missionaries through prayer kind of holding the lifeline for us is as we’re on the field praying for us encouraging us as we’re out there serving the Lord but for each and every one of us it means being involved in his ministry being aware of the people around us in our neighborhoods where we work where we go to school where we shop.
Serving Him being here at this church and seeing the children and the young people and touching their lives not seen him and they get away keep it you know the loving them for Christ’s sake having an impact on lives for his glory.
There’s a missionary a number of years ago a name C.T. stud and he wrote a very long palm. And the final line of each stanza of that poem was this only one life will soon be past only what’s done for Christ will last and it’s a reminder that everything that happens in the course of life. The only things that happen that last for eternity are the things that we do for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And we do that because of his love for us John says that God showed His love that we that it’s in the in this way that he sent his only begotten Son in the world that we might live through him and Paul put it this way. He died for all that those who live should no longer live for self but for him with love them. Who died for them. And who rose again let’s pray together Father in heaven we thank you for this love of Christ.
That caused him to leave heaven’s glory so selfless way.
And willingly. Come to this earth to live a perfect life. To be the perfect sacrifice for my sins for our sins for the sins of the world.
Or God You have called us.
Through our salvation to be yours. Now salvation does not open the door to continue to live.
The world’s way or own selfish way but instead it opens the door Father for us to leave with a life of fullness let me know wife for Your Honor for your glory and touching souls around us for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I pray Father that you will help me. And help each one here to go through this day and each day this week with an awareness of this. And then we will begin to see people not as objects in our way not as those who are against my way of thinking or. The biblical lifestyle but instead of as people for whom Christ died we need to know Him Father may we be involved in their lives sharing with him the hope that is found in Him praying our Saviour’s name.
I’m not going anywhere.
Thank you for that letting the love of Christ compel us to not live for ourselves that’s hard but it isn’t as exactly your supposed to do two quick reminder such as you go now mostly to Sunday school to Matt McFadden Sunday school class you’re all welcome back here after that so we have a luncheon and you get to have an opportunity to ask frosty Kathy more questions and also the second thing is right as you leave the sanctuary they have some sign up sheets so that you know that’s right as I’m writing them so fill up those sign up sheets so that you can get information from them and you can kind of keep track of them and also if you’d ever like to support them financially I know you need as much per support as anything but if you ever give to the Hansens if you give to through to our church through Archer to them through our church that’s hard to say that’s OK it will get to them so if you want to support them you can do that directly or you can even give to the church and doesn’t need to the Hansens and we’ll make sure that it gets there so well as to be dismissed now made the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship always Spirit be with you all amen.