Thursday, April 21, 2022

April 2022 Update

Greetings! Thank you for praying for me and for the work God is doing among the indigenous peoples of Colombia and throughout the world. Please continue to pray that the word of Christ would speed ahead and be glorified, that the gospel would advance unhindered, that many would come to faith in Jesus, and the gospel will demolish any and all barriers raised up against it.  


This month, I had the opportunity to visit a jungle town in the eastern part of the country. We were able to work with an indigenous pastors and help him and other leaders translate a few Bible stories into several indigenous languages. Pray for the indigenous groups in that area, many of which have little gospel access. There is potential for future trips to the area to continue getting the storiees of Scripture into the indigenous languages. 


Continue to pray for the thousands of displaced indigeous living in the city parks. They are living in very poor conditions. In one park, we have been able to make weekly visits to one family for prayer and a simple Bible study. We usually come with a few food items for them as well. In another park that's just outside the city, we have been doing an English class as an entry into the community. We are in the process of organizing a relief project for those in both parks, providing food and hygeine products. Pray that the project will go smoothly as material needs are met. Pray that local believers will become involved in the project and in the ongoing ministry with the displaced. Pray that relationships will be developed that lead to many coming to faith in Christ. 

Continue to pray for the Wounaan work. I am meeting with one believer and his family with whom I am continuing to study 1 Peter. There is a small Wounaan church in Bogota, but many of the Wounaan are still unreached. Pray that the Wounaan believers can reach out to their own people with the gospel.  


Also, continue to pray for "Mike" and his family. He is beginning to open up to gospel discussions. Pray that God would open up his heart to receive the gospel and trust in Christ. 


Please pray that local churches would be mobilized to minister to the indigenous in Bogota. 

Thank you again for your prayers. Prayer is vital to the work. May God’s grace and peace be with you all. 


In Luke 19:1-10, Jesus is passing through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. He has just told his disciples exactly what was going to happen there (Lk 18:31-34). He's going to fulfill everything the prophets have written. He's going to be delivered over to the Gentiles. He'll be mocked, ridiculed, and spat upon. He will be killed. But on the third day, he will rise again. And it is important to remember that as we look at the story of Zaccheus. Jesus has set his face like flint toward Jerusalem where he will bleed and die for our sins. 


Zaccheus is a rich man (cf Luke 18:24-27). He is a chief tax collector. As a tax collector, he would have been seen as a traitor to his own people. He has a Hebrew name (it means pure, innocnet), but he's working for Rome and cheating his own countrymen. He's heard that Jesus is in town and wants to meet him. But he can't because of the crowd and his short stature. So he runs ahead to a place where Jesus would pass by and climbs a tree. 


When Jesus got to the tree, he looks up and says to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for it is necessary that I stay in your house today." He calls Zaccheus by his name. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who calls his sheep by name (John 10:3). Here, he is calling out to a lost sheep (cf. Luke 15:1-7), calling him by name (cf. Isa 43:1), and a sheep for whom he will soon lay down his life (John 10:11). He calls out to him and says he must stay in his house. 


Zaccheus responds with much joy. He hurries down and gladly receives Jesus. Many people, however, begin to criticize Jesus because he's staying in the house of a sinner. But this is wonderful news for us because we are sinners. Jesus is a friend of sinners like you and me. He recieves sinners and eats with them (Luke 15:2). He gives rest for those who are weary and heavy laden (Mat 11:28).


Zaccheus is now a changed man. He gets up and says that he will give half of what he has to the poor and return four times the amount of anything he's robbed from others. But his confidence is not in giving to the poor nor in returning money. His confidence is in Jesus. In Luke 18:9-14, we see a Pharisse and a tax collector praying in the temple. The Pharisee is trusting in himself in all that he's done. The tax collector is crying out, "God, have mercy on me a sinner!" Zaccheus is trusting in Jesus. He knows he needs mercy and grace. His giving to the poor and returning money are the fruit that follows faith. 


Jesus responds by saying that salvation had come to this house. And indeed it had, for the Savior himself was there. Truly Zaccheus is a son of Abraham. True sons of Abraham are those with faith (Gal 3:7). Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Rom 4:3). 


The story ends with a declaration of Jesus' mission: To seek and to save the lost. That is why he came. This same mission continues for the church today as we go out into the world seeking the lost and proclaiming the Savior who died and rose again to save all who believe. 

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