Hello from Santiago!
This morning our teams are back out at the work sites.
Additionally, one group of folks has gone back across Lake Atitlan to visit Vina studios. Vina is an organization through Wycliffe which works on audio and video presentations of the Scriptures and the Gospel. Obviously Bible translation into languages which don’t have a copy of the Scriptures is of great importance; however, it is not useful in written form for those who are not literate. So Vina works so that all (even those who can’t read) can know the Scriptures and the Gospel.
Yesterday was a fun and busy day for us. After breakfast we had a little free time. Then we had our worship service at 11. Clifton Hickman (one of our graduated seniors) spoke on evangelism. Then we gathered at the pool for a picnic (hamburgers and hot dogs). After lunch we broke into groups to walk into town for shopping and sharing the Gospel. When we returned, a group gathered to hear Wayne Huff demonstrate the process that occurs to begin understanding an unknown language, developing an alphabet, etc.
Then at 5 we all gathered and split into two groups. One of us went to a worship service at the church at Panajba (within walking distance of our hotel). It is a church plant of the Alfa y Omega church and was celebrating their 20 th anniversary yesterday. It is also one of our work sites where we are doing construction. At the service, Jon Dansby shared a greeting on behalf of Christ Chapel, and Chris Cole (one of our graduated seniors who is fluent in Spanish) translated for him. The other group went to a worship service at La Colonia. They were installing a new pastor. So Pastor Abraham (the head pastor at Alfa y Omega) preached. Wayne Huff lead the prayer of dedication for the new pastor. At each service we only stayed for the singing and prayer (about 45 minutes). Dinner was a little late but worth the wait… tacos! We then split into two groups again. The guys all met together. And the girls all met together. Some of our seniors discussed priorities in our lives and then we met in small groups to talk about what we need to work on when we get back to Fort Worth.
I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to come back to Santiago year after year and see some of the same folks and see the progress and changes over the year at the places we work. Caroline Dorris was most excited about coming back to Guatemala to see a little Guatemala boy she befriended last year. She saw him last night and gave God the glory for that at our meeting last night. The worship services were also meaningful for us. Though the language is a huge barrier, we are united as brothers and sisters in Christ because of the cross of Jesus Christ. We (and they) look forward to rejoicing together, without language barrier, in heaven one day. I am aware as I have written often about the cross of Jesus Christ and the Gospel that I have not been very clear as to exactly what I am talk about. Therefore, I have included an explanation of the Gospel below. May what Christ has done sustain and encourage your heart today…whether you believe today for the first time or are reminded again of the work of Christ on your behalf. As always, thanks for the prayers. Please keep them coming.
Soli Deo Gloria,
High School Director at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas
I. Bad News
A. God is holy.
1. verse: Isaiah 6:3: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”
2. illustration: Let’s say you have a perfectly white sheet and it gets a stain. It must remain spotless, or it ceases to be perfect. God cannot allow any sin into His presence without judging it.
B. You are a sinner.
1. verse: Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2. illustration: One person may be in the valley of sins, another on the mountain of our own good works. Attaining God’s standard is like trying to reach for the stars for both. Both fall equally short. No amount of good works can save us.
C. The wages of sin is death.
1. verse: Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.”
2. illustration: You work for wages at your job and get paid what you earn. Because we’re sinners, we work for sin. The wages of working for sin is death. We are working our way to eternal separation from a holy God.
II. Good News
A. Christ died for sinners.
1. verse: Hebrews 9:27-28 “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people”
2. illustration: You have liver cancer. I have a good healthy liver. We transplant: you get my clean liver and live from my good liver and I receive your sick liver and die from your cancer. Christ took our sins and was punished, dying in our place. He was our sin substitute.
B. You can be saved through faith.
1. verse: Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
2. illustration: When you sit in a chair you are using your faith. You believe that it is strong enough to hold you up, but believing that is not enough, to use faith you must sit in the chair. We must believe that Christ is good enough for our salvation and we must stop trying to work our way to heaven.
Have you believed this?