Friday, August 10, 2018

We are Listening . . . and Learning

As I read the scriptures the other day, I paused at a verse in which Jesus was encouraging learning.  At least that is how it spoke to my heart.  In Luke 8:18 Jesus said to his followers, "So pay attention to how you hear.  To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.  But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken from them."

Listen to HIM! 

In the very next chapter, with Peter, James and John looking on, Jesus was transfigured. . .  He was transformed for a few moments displaying his magnificence and splendor... His Glory!  And then, after he had that brief and devine conversation with Moses and Elijah, the Father's voice declared, "This is my Son, My Chosen One, Listen to Him."

This passage led me to contemplate just how blessed some of us are who have opportunities for learning available to us or even offered to us at every turn, while some believers in distant lands would be thrilled if they could only obtain a copy of the Bible.  How grateful we should be.  Many of us have several Bibles in our homes AND the opportunity and the resources at our fingertips for going deeper.    

Growth, Encouragement and Fellowship

During the past few months we had several opportunities, not only for learning, but for encouragement and fellowship.  

*   Eddie and Esteban Gatica, an IBP graduate who is now a pastor and presbyter, attended the UAD (A/G) National Leader's Retreat where both international and national leaders taught from their particular areas of expertise.  The highlighted speaker for this event was Sixto Porras from Costa Rica who serves as the Latin American Regional Director of Focus on the Family.

IBP Alumni Pastors

*   In June, Eddie and two staff members/IBP grads, Fabian Moreyra and Jonathan Sepúlveda, attended a "Se Libre" (Be Free) Conference hosted by prominent author and speaker Josh McDowell.  This conference addressed the huge and growing international problem of pornography.  It is so sad to see that this addiction is ruining lives and families.
Thankfully, in recent years concerned leaders have been examining this problem in depth and formulating strategies for defeating this addiction and restoring men to freedom and wholeness.

"The Conquer Series" (by Ted Roberts), five videos which explain in detail the problem and offer a solution, will be shown at our Bible School so those going into ministry will have some education to help themselves and those seeking to be free! 
*   Mentoring - Part of our ministry in recent years has been that of one on one mentoring.  Or two by two if we both are meeting with a married couple.  Pray for God to give us wisdom as we come along side younger ministers and allow God to use us to encourage and inspire these precious servants.

*   July offered opportunities for fellowship and also challenges.   It started off with a sectional pastors retreat.  These are whole day events where we gather for food and fellowship at one of the area churches which serves as host for the day.  One minister among us comes prepared to share a devotional from God's word. 

*   Also in July, there was a special called pastors meeting held to talk about a law that was soon to be voted on in Argentina that would legalize abortion if passed.  Eddie was there to witness pastors of all denominations attend this meeting in support of Life!  Later in the month, SI A LA VIDA Marches (Yes to Life) and other Pro Life gatherings took place all over Argentina where Christians came out in droves to stand and fight for life.  For now we are glad to report that the law to legalize abortion DID NOT pass.
A common theme that was used throughout Argentina was "Salvemos Las 2 Vidas" or Let's Save Both Lives" in response to the opposition which argues that abortion saves the mother's life. 

Of course, this is only the beginning of something that is sure to surface again in the next go around.