Wednesday, July 19, 2023

July 2023 - Update

Greetings from Colombia! I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for praying for me and for the work God is doing among the displaced indigenous peoples of Colombia. 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 that the gospel would demolish any and all barriers raised up against it. Pray that the name of Christ would be great among the nations.

Last month, I had a trip to Mexico for some meetings. I had a great time seeing friends I haven't seen in a while and meeting new friends. I was able to relax some too. Part of the meetings were cut short due to a small covid outbreak. But I remained healthy. 

Last month, I also moved to a new apartment. The owner of my previous apartment didn't want to renew the contract, so after seven years (the longest I've ever lived in one place), I found a new apartment. I'm now on a 15th floor apartment with a great view of the city. I like the location, and it's near public transportation.

Continue to pray for the work I am doing among the Embera groups (Katío, Chamí, Dóbida). They are living in very poor conditions in a shelter and a park. My team has divided up the work between the park and the shelter. So I have been focusing more on those in the shelter. Each visit is a little different. We have taught a few English classes, told Bible stories, played games with the kids, given out medicine. Pray for our visits that many deep relationships will develop and that the gospel will be clearly communicated, understood, and received. We are also seeking to get a place near the shelter where we can have various meetings with the indigenous and hope to establish a consistent time with them.

Continue to pray for the Wounaan. I have been meeting with "Silas" and his family.We are still studying through Mark together. There is a small Wounaan church in Bogota. But many of the Wounaan are 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. Life is hard as he struggles to make ends meet. I have helped him some in getting a few thermoses and a cart so he can sell coffee on a street corner. Pray that God would open up his heart to receive the gospel and trust in Christ.

Continue to pray for Daniel and his family from Bethania Church as they minister in their neighborhood Las Cruces. I have been helping them in this for some time now. They have Bible studies for the neighborhood children on the weekends. They are in the process of planting a church. Pray for them as they seek to reach those in Las Cruces. 

In two months, I will be returning to the States for a five-month furlough. Please pray that the next two months will be fruitful. Pray that my time in the States will be fruitful as well as I spend time with family and speak in churches. Thank you for your prayers and support. Prayer really is crucial to the missionary task. Pray for me. Pray for the lost who need Christ. Pray that the gospel would spread throughout the world. 

In John 10, Jesus declares Himself to be the Good Shepherd. Throughout the OT, a shepherd was a dominant metaphor for rulers, kings, and leaders (e.g. Gen 48:15; Num 27:17; Psa 77:20; 2 Sam 5:2). Jesus is contrasting Himself with the religious leaders who sought to destroy the sheep (e.g. John 9:34). Jesus as the Good Shepherd will search for His sheep, bring them in, care for them, feed them, strengthen them. There are many allusions here to Ezekiel 34 and Jeremiah 23. In those prophecies, after condemning the wicked leaders, the LORD promised that He Himself would shepherd His people through the Messiah. When Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, He is saying plainly He is the Messiah.

Jesus also says he will bring in other sheep, referring to the Gentiles. He is the Good Shepherd for all who believe. And He is now bringing in sheep from every tribe, nation, people, and tongue into one flock (10:16). He came to seek and to save the lost. So we proclaim Jesus to the nations. We go to the nations seeking the lost and preaching to them to Good Shepherd who laid down His life to save sinners. He is full of kindness, mercy, and grace for all who believe.

Jesus is the Door of the sheep. He is the only way to God. He is the Good Shepherd who has come that we may have life. How does He provide that abundant life for sinners deserving death (Rom 6:23)? By laying down His own life for us on the cross (10:11) and rising again (10:19). Some refused to believe Jesus (10:24-26), claimed He had a demon (10:19-21), and were ready to kill him (10:31), but others believed (10:40-42) and were saved. They same is true today as we proclaim Jesus as the only way, as the Good Shepherd who gave His life for us. But any other message will only kill and destroy.

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