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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…]

Snapshots from Perú

How Are They Alike?

Here's a Peru question for you: What do these three men have in common – the son of a Japanese immigrant, a young American missionary, and a former Marxist guerrilla? Answer: They all love the Lord Jesus and each one pastors a church where we ministered in Peru. Another question: What do the three of them have in common with you? Answer: You helped make ministry to their leaders possible!

Listening to the teaching in Lima

Thank you for [click to continue…]

O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee

Washington Gladden
(1836-1918)

O Master, let me walk with Thee
In lowly paths of service free;
Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care.

Help me the slow of heart to move
By some clear, winning word of love;
[click to continue…]

Christians, Awake! Salute the Happy Morn

John Byrom
(1691-1763)

Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
Whereon the Savior of the world was born!
Rise to adore the mystery of love
Which hosts of angels chanted from above;
With them the joyful tidings first begun
Of God incarnate and the Virgin’s Son.

Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
Who heard the angelic herald’s voice: “Behold, [click to continue…]

Thanks to God for My Redeemer!

August Ludvig Storm
(1862-1914)
translated by
Carl Backstrom
(1901-1984)

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a mem’ry,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny! [click to continue…]

22 Down, 15 to Go as We Go to Peru

Not Too Hurried to Be Thankful!

Yes, we're time-crunch busy in getting ready to leave for Perú next week, and, yes, more funding for that trip would be a blessing, and, yes, I need to be spending time on preparation of our new teaching modules. (Sleep is overrated anyhow, right?)

BUT!

The three books in the Bible-study set for Quilalí pastors, Spanish versions of Strong's Concordance, Matthew Henry's Commentary and a Bible dictionary.

The three books in the Bible-study set for Quilalí pastors

How can we go running off to Perú in nine days without expressing a profound THANK YOU to all of you who have given towards the Quilalí pastors' reference book project?! If you'll recall, I shared about this back in July when I wrote about The Sacred Treasure House Initiative. (Check that link for the background.)

There are 37 pastors (representing over 50 churches, since not a few are responsible for more than one church), in the region of Quilalí, Nicaragua who don't have basic Bible-study tools in Spanish. And by basic, I mean:

  • A Strong's Concordance for simple look-up and elementary word studies in Hebrew and Greek;
  • An illustrated Bible dictionary for background. (Who were the Assyrians? Where's Jericho? What's an ephod? When did Solomon reign?)
  • A one-volume commentary to shed a little light on difficult Bible passages.

To the best of my knowledge, none of these brothers has been to [click to continue…]