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An American Invitation

 

Denise & Jim Kerwin at the Iowa Holiness Association Camp 2018Denise and Jim at Iowa Holiness Association
Camp Meeting 20181

I do a lot of travel in order to teach the Bible. In the process of traveling and teaching I learn a lot. And I think what I learned while I was ministering in Iowa recently will give an important, additional focus to our ministry going forward.

It's only in the last four or five years of my overseas teaching that people have begun to think of me and treat me as a “missionary.” That label came as a surprise, because I hadn't thought of myself as a missionary, but rather as an itinerant teacher. Lately 95% of my teaching has been in foreign countries, so I've had little involvement with the spiritual needs of my fellow believers in the United States and Canada.

Context in the Cornfields of Iowa

One on one teachingJim and one his favorite students2

That's why my week of ministry as the Bible teacher at the annual Iowa Holiness Association camp meeting was such a wake-up call. I went there with a burden from the Lord: “Don't tell them what you do overseas; teach them what you teach there.” So, [click to continue…]

He Will Fill Your Heart Today to Overflowing

Leila Naylor Morris
(Mrs. C. H. Morris)
(1862-1929)

1 Kings 17:14-16— “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, ‘The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.' ” 15And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.16And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.

2 Kings 4:2-5— And Elisha said unto her, “What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?” And she said, “Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.” 3Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.” 5So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.

Are you longing for the fullness
Of the blessing of the Lord
In your heart and life today?
Claim the promise of your Father;
Come according to His Word,
In the blessèd, old time way.

Chorus:
He will fill your heart today to overflowing.
As the Lord commandeth you,
“Bring your vessels, not a few.” [click to continue…]

Hushed Was the Evening Hymn

James D. Burns
(1823-1864)

Hushed was the evening hymn,
The temple courts were dark;
The lamp was burning dim
Before the sacred ark,
When suddenly a voice divine
Rang through the silence of the shrine.

The old man, meek and mild,
The priest of Israel, slept;
His watch the temple child,
The little Levite, kept,
And what from Eli’s sense was sealed,
The Lord to Hannah’s son revealed.

O give me Samuel’s ear, [click to continue…]

Best.Trip.Ever!

Yes, Best.Trip.Ever (Despite “Doing a ‘Denise'”)!

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9-

Jim Kerwin and Denise Kerwin with matching injuries.His & Hers:
One friend accused us of taking the
“they two shall be one flesh” thing a little too far…

I probably shouldn't say this, because only God can judge the merits and results of a given missions trip. But right now, my post-Guatemala “high” is such that I want to call last month's Guatemala trip the Best.Trip.Ever!

This is despite the fact that I had two rather blatant spiritual attacks during the trip. One was a disconcerting bout of dizziness and related vision problems as soon as I arose from my seat after the plane taxied to the gate in Guatemala City. The other, as many of you know, was the pratfall I took on the first day of teaching at the pastors' retreat. (I missed a step down.) The results of my face-plant were [click to continue…]

Holy Ghost, We Bid Thee Welcome

Leila Naylor Morris
(Mrs. C. H. Morris)
(1862-1929)

Holy Ghost, we bid Thee welcome.
Source of life and power Thou art;
Promise of our heavenly Father,
Now thrice welcome to my heart.

Chorus:
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
Holy Ghost we welcome Thee;
Come in power and fill Thy temple— [click to continue…]

Keep Calm and Hurdle On!

Marathon Leg #2: Nicaragua

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9-

Map of Nicaragua overlaid with a 'Keep Calm' meme.…and that's just what we did!1

“The hurdles? Jim, last I heard, your analogy for the 50-day Spring Olympics was the marathon.” Yes, well, somebody altered the rules and started putting up hurdles (guess who!?) and even a detour (guess who again!) throughout our Nicaraguan adventure last month. As my dad used to say, “That ain't kosher!” After last month's round of spiritual warfare, it was to be expected, right?

Nevertheless God blessed and that trip is now stamped and filed as “Primary Mission Accomplished.” Here are the hurdles and what the Lord did to help us jump them.

Hurdle #1: No concordances delivered, but…

Quilali pastors awaiting the distribution of Bible-study reference booksPastor Norlan addresses the pastors
about the upcoming study-book distribution2
Pastors Nelson and NorlanPastors Nelson Cardenas & Norlan Avila helping prep the books for distribution3

Remember when we [click to continue…]

No More Veil!

Emma Frances Bevan
(1827-1909)

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

Matthew 27:50-51 nasb

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:19-22 nasb

No more veil! God bids me enter
By the new and living way.
Not in trembling hope I venture;
Boldly I His call obey.
There with Him, my God I meet—
God upon the mercy seat!

In the robes of spotless whiteness,
With the blood of priceless worth,
He has gone into [click to continue…]

Spring Olympics – Sidewalk Smackdown

Event Synopsis

1 Corinthians 9:24Coverage continues

The first portion of my “Spring Olympics” marathon is in the heavenly record books. Honduras played out differently than I had thought, but even better than I could have planned. I’ll give you a report on that and cover an “Olympic event” that gets very little “sports coverage” — wrestling, specifically the “Sidewalk Smackdown.” (Spoiler alert: Sidewalk: 1; Denise: 0.)

Marathon: Part 1: Honduras

Before we consider this wrestling event in the Spring Olympics, let me report on how “Leg One” of the Spring marathon turned out. This marathon portion was run in Honduras. It didn’t turn out anything [click to continue…]

It Is Joy Unspeakable

Barney E. Warren
(1867-1951)

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory… — 1 Peter 1:8 (KJV)

I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.

Chorus:
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory—
Oh, the half has never yet been told!

I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is [click to continue…]

The “Spring Olympics”

The Honduras Event

A Gold Medal“Run in such a way
that you may win!”

What's that you say? There are only Summer and Winter Olympics, and the Winter Olympics just finished. If only you knew! There's the Kingdom Olympics, where we “compete” to honor the Lord, by doing “my utmost for His highest.” (Thank you, Oswald Chambers, for that unforgettable phrase!) Thus, under the counsel of Coach Paul (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) and the discipline of the Holy Spirit, I've been training for my “events.”

I will be doing a “marathon” of sorts all through Spring, traveling about 50 of the 90 days of the season [click to continue…]

Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign!

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty; [click to continue…]

Jesus’ First Sermon

Copyright © 2018

by Jim Kerwin

a scroll of the Hebrew scripturesWhat is “the acceptable year of the Lord”?1

Every time there is a “first” in the Scriptures, it is good to take note of it, because often the Holy Spirit is laying down a special foundation, or principle, or doctrine. I believe this is true in the case of Jesus’ first recorded sermon, which we will look at today. You will find His message in Luke chapter 4. You can turn there (I’ll give you the verses in a minute) while I introduce the subject.

Part of what I teach leaders when I come to Latin America is the importance of context when they are reading and studying and teaching and preaching God’s word. The two most important points are these:

  1. Every time we come to the Scriptures, as we are reading we must ask ourselves, “What is the context of this verse, this passage, this chapter, this book? What is the context within the text, and what are the historical, cultural, and original language contexts? What do I need to know to fully understand the passage like the first readers did?
  2. The greatest context is that of the entire Bible, which is why I encourage all Christian leaders – indeed, all Christians – to read through the Bible cover to cover at least once every year.

As you turn with me to Luke 4:14, let’s think about the context of our passage. In the previous chapter, Luke 3, Jesus was water-baptized by John; immediately the Spirit of the Lord [click to continue…]

Mulling Milestones, Pondering Peanut Butter

Mulling major milestones

The world says that “time flies when you're having fun.” Yes, time is passing swiftly, but for a Christian walking in the ways of the Lord, that “flying time” affords the perspective and opportunity to see multiplied examples of God's faithfulness. As this new year starts, I am filled with thankfulness over the milestones that 2018 is bringing:

  1. A beautiful brideProverbs 18:22

    Our 46th wedding anniversary. As we greet January 29th, “suddenly” Denise and I are within four years of our 50th wedding anniversary! “Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

  2. My 50th spiritual birthday: My soul's sentiments are best expressed in Charles Wesley's anniversary song. (Follow the link to one of my favorite hymns if you dare!)
  3. Flag of GuatemalaFlag of Guatemala

    Guatemalan 10-year anniversary: Last week it suddenly struck me-my first visit to Guatemala was in 2008. Lord willing, this May will see my 9th visit to teach these sold-out-for-Jesus leaders.

  4. Bible-study book set for pastors in Quilalí, NicaraguaPastors' Book Sets

    36 book sets ordered! Remember The Sacred Treasure House Initiative? Six months later, just this past week, we sent a check for almost $3,700 to the Nicaraguan Bible Society via the American Bible Society for the Nicaraguan pastors' reference books. As the Lord supplies for travel (see below), I will be delivering these books on April 20th and training the leaders in their use. Add these to books in hand and 40 leaders will have their first Bible-study library.

Thank you to those who pray for us and our family. Thank you to those who have prayed for me over the years as I travel. And thanks to you who contributed towards the blessing of these books for pastors. I don't give thanks enough for being allowed to successfully challenge leaders in developing countries to read and and study and marinate in and devour the Scriptures…

…To wake 'em up, shake 'em up,
Teach 'em truth, and when [click to continue…]

Yesterday, Today, Forever

A.B. Simpson
(1867-1951)

Jesus Christ the same
yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews 13:8

Oh, how sweet the glorious message simple faith may claim:
Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same!
Still He loves to save the sinful, heal the sick and lame,
Cheer the mourner, still the tempest—glory to His name!

Chorus:
Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same,
All may change, but Jesus never—glory to His name!
Glory to His name! Glory to His name!
All may change, but Jesus never—glory to His name!

[click to continue…]