Archive for August, 2008

Book Review: For the Sake of His Name (AR08)

Book by David M. Doran et. all

Review by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Being introduced to this book as the one to read for missions this year and last has been such a beneficial blessing to any others and myself who have been given the privilege to serve on the missions teams, especially in giving direction in how we should tell others the Gospel message.

For the Sake of His Name is a book that spells out unashamedly that the local church is to be the driving force for the sending of missionaries, and should be training up men and women to strap up and go out in the hopes that His glory would be made great. This is a message many have not heard today, and are in desperate need to hear the Scriptures and heed them to go in the manner and with the method that Christ has provided for us. This book lays out the landscape for modern missions today by taking a look at the past, dealing with the Student Volunteer Movement, warts and all. Students, with great and godly desires to see Christ worshipped among the universities, sought to bring about a missions mindset among other colleges, leading to a movement that began to stir up many young missionaries to countries to proclaim the Gospel. The dangers that came from their zeal were unfortunate, in that it led to a downward spiral of doctrine and the loss of clarity in the purpose of missions as laid out in Scripture. This led to a culture of pragmatic and social agendas, a gospel that spoke much of the kingdom of God here on earth without consulting the king Himself, and a loss of accountability from the local church, the body that Christ Himself died to establish for the propagating of His Name and glory. The fear is that many people in the church, students as well as adults, are blinded by what God Himself speaks to be the major goal of missions: His Glory upheld on His terms.

The authors move on to redirect their readers back to a biblical view of missions and a Christ-centered focus on the Great Commission—one that leads to disciples, not decisions, and churches that reproduce themselves among the nations, and not just numbers. There is grave concern that many in the church are losing hope in the authority of the local church and are turning to missions agencies to be the primary senders of missionaries, without goals or directions that will be honoring to Christ. There is also a proper emphasis on what needs to be proclaimed by believers truly desiring God to be worshipped and magnified, not serving a message that will ease the consciences of men, but one that will stay true to Scripture and seek to please the One who made and saved us, pointing to Christ as the goal of the Gospel and not an eternal change of address.

They also address the many challenges and views spread outside and even within the church to draw people away from being uncomfortable and lead to a non-confrontational life of Christianity. Middle knowledge, open theism, and other inclusive views of salvation lead many to not have a passion for Christ to be exalted among all the nations, leading many to think the work of missions is not as important as what we thought in the past. Doran et. all, but forcefully, draw out the testimony of Scripture to lay those claims to rest, and to push for a prayer-led, Scripture-devoted cause for missions work among local churches, both in supporting and in supervising missionaries to being faithful to Christ’s entire command to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching and observing all He has commanded His disciples.

This book has been an eye-opening work on the state of global missions today, and the dangers that come from believing subtle falsehoods that are widely being accepted in evangelicalism today. The authors are not afraid to come to Scriptures to describe the depravity and sinfulness of man, and the exclusivity of Christ in true salvation. They also plead with members in the church to become global students, to bridge the widest gap, not just by going to another country and getting to know the people, but to depend upon God by the study of the Word and prayer, to stop thinking of their own land as their only mission field, and to fight for God to be desired more than anything else this world has to offer—showing the world who is really worth living for. I hope everyone who reads this review will have an opportunity to read the book, think through their own decisions and look to the Scriptures to see how to follow God for the sake of His Name.

Monica Claudia Lizzarraga Interview (AR08)

by Susanna Chang

Monica Claudia Lizarraga is the wife of one of the leaders at Iglesia Biblica Misionera (IBM).

Tell me a bit about yourself and your family.

I was born and raised in Tucuman, and I have five sisters and one brother. My husband Julio and I are both 42 years old, and we have been married for the past 17 years and we have four children. They are Fabiana (23), Eliana (16), Ezekiel (14), and Florencia (12).

When did you become a believer?

I grew up going to various churches until the age of 12. I stopped attending church altogether from age 12 to 21, but when I saw one of my sisters attending youth group at a local Christian church, I wanted to go back to church. It was then when I examined my life and began to see a need for God. When I went out to the church, the pastor shared the gospel with me, and it was during that time that I became a believer.

What brought you to IBM and what caused you to stay?

My brother in law was in charge at the church during the first years, so that is why I initially started attending. The church was different from the previous churches that I had attended because they actually taught from the Bible, and they offered discipleship which was new to me. These components caused me to grow in my faith in and knowledge of the Lord.

How long have you been attending IBM?

I am 42 years old now, and I started attending at age 26, so that makes it…16 years!

What is your role in the church?

Currently, Norma and I are in charge of ministering to the women at the church, and we are reading about God’s holiness. My husband and I also do ministry in two of the barrios (neighborhoods) here in Tucuman.

What are you doing in each barrio?

I have been doing ministry in Juan Pablo for the past four years. Currently, I am discipling two women in that neighborhood, and we are studying and memorizing scripture. It has been a challenge as the people there have not been coming out consistently. We have also been running a kids’ program in the neighborhood of Toledo for the past four months. This is a more dangerous neighborhood, and it is difficult when I hear what the kids go through. I just want to rescue them and shelter them. It is our hope that through ministering to the children, we can evangelize to their parents.

What has God been teaching you?

I have been learning a lot personally! As I minister to the women, I am challenged to have a deeper relationship with God, and as I work with the kids, I see how God can do anything in the lives of these young children no matter how difficult their situation might be.

Okay, one last question! What do you like to do for fun?

I love taking individual walks with my children and finding out what their needs are. God puts it in my heart to make sure that they are doing spiritually well. We also talk about what they are learning about in their devotionals.

Do you have any prayer requests?

Yes, please pray for my family. We want to study at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Monte for a year, but in order for this to happen we need financial support for everyday living. Also, my husband Julio and children, Eliana and Ezekiel, have been going through several health issues, so pray for their health and wellness. Pray that God would prepare our hearts for whatever it is that we will go through.

Ready for Some Culture Shock? (AR08)

by Naomi Yu

Inevitably, anytime you travel to a different part of the world or get exposed to a different culture, there are adjustments that need to be made, because things are just done differently than what we’re used to. Included below is what I found to be the Top 10 cultural differences or “shocks” that the team and I noticed and experienced during our time in Argentina. Because I am a teacher, the information is laid out into what’s called a ‘T-chart’ or ‘Compare/Contrast diagram.’ On the left is what we typically are used to in America, and on the right, I’ve included how these very same things are done in Argentina. Hopefully it will make you want to go and experience it for yourself one day.

American Greetings
We greet one another with a ‘Hello!’ You give people a wave and a verbal “hello,” and maybe just maybe if they are a closer friend or relative, you give them a hug. But bottom line, whatever you do, its one quick movement because everyone needs their personal space.

Argentinian Greetings
They greet one another with ‘Hola!’ AND…There is no such thing as personal space in Argentina. Everyone gives and receives hugs and kisses to everyone, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a guy, girl, young, old, or a child! Standard procedure is when you see someone, touch your left cheek to their left cheek and make a kissing noise.

Our Bathroom Etiquette
In America, the golden rule is, always throw the tissue paper you used into the toilet and make sure to flush after taking care of business.

Their Bathroom Etiquette
In Argentina, never throw the tissue paper you used into the toilet, but instead deposit it in the little waste basket to the side. And don’t flush, because it doesn’t really work anyways.

Our Standard Meal Times
The average American eats breakfast from approximately 7-9 AM. It’s supposed to be your biggest meal of the day, but who really follows that rule anyways. Lunch is usually taken from
around 11-1 PM, and Dinner from 5-8 PM.

Their Un-Standard Meal Times
In Argentina, you better get ready to eat late and eat heavy. Breakfast is served every morning from 7-9 AM. Lunch is usually taken from around 1-3 PM. But dinner was served usually from 9:30-11 PM, and it was usually the heaviest meal of the day!

Table Manners
Common eating rules go like this. You first eat the main dish, then dessert and fruit afterwards if they are available. You should eat the food clean off the plates and upon finishing, you put the dishes used into the sink and throw away any loose trash into the trash can.

Table Madness
In Tucuman, you are served the main dish, then either dessert or fruit afterwards. If oranges are served, be sure not to throw the peels away. Instead, guard them with your life because you can be sure an orange peel fight will break out, and you will need to stock up on as much ammo as possible!

Transportation
Everyone in San Diego pretty much owns a car and drives themselves to get from place to place. We rarely utilize the carpool idea because its just more convenient to drive ourselves and do things on our own time/schedule (although things might change now that gas prices have gone up!).

They Call It TRAFIK
Pretty much no one in Argentina owns their own car and they do a lot of walking to get from place to place.

Vehicle Regulations
In the states, we have strict rules to follow about not permitting more than 5 people into a standard sized car. Cars that are bigger than the standard follow the “depends-on-how-manyseatbelts-there-are” rule.

What Regulations?
In Argentina, there is no such thing as a person limit. In fact, they probably have strict rules about not driving and wasting gas if the car isn’t packed. Their golden rule to transportation is, pack as many people as possible that would fit into the vehicle. Doesn’t matter if people are standing, sitting on top of each other, squeezed tightly…keep packing and pushing until everyone is in!

Owning Pets
In the states, people who own dogs usually keep them safe inside the house or in their backyards. When it comes time to take the dogs out for a walk, they are hooked to a leash for containment purposes.

Or Not?
In Argentina, no one knows who owns what dog, or if the dogs even have owners! There’s a ton of dogs around and they are always out taking a walk or run. In stark contrast to the states, it’s very rare to see them sitting inside a house or backyard. Another random thing is that you see horses walking around the streets as well at times.

Our Choice of Beverage is…
Most people here drink water with soda, juices, and milk as occasional drinks, due to high levels of sugar content.

Their Choice of Beverage is…
Over there, every meal is accompanied with soda. Your options are Cola, Sprite, Manzana, or Orange Fanta. Also, on a side note, I saw kids as young as 4 years old drinking café con leche or, in other words, coffee!

Drinking Tea
When drinking tea in the states, everyone gets their own separate tea cup with their own individualized flavor and such.

Drinking Mate (pronounced Mah-tae)
When drinking mate (their tea) in Argentina, everyone drinks out of the same cup using the same straw. So even if you’re a germa- phobe, you have to get over it!

“We’re Not Home…”
Over here in the states, the idea of anyone going door-to-door is just not welcomed by many. Whether its for sales purposes, home services, or sharing religion, most do not want to be bothered and will do everything and anything to avoid opening the door to such people.

“Anyone Is Welcome!”
In Argentina, people just seem to be available and hospitable for the most part. They don’t mind you stopping by and ringing the doorbell. They don’t mind taking time to chat and listen to you share the gospel, and if your lucky, they might even invite you inside for some delicious mate tea!

Team Reflections (AR08)

by Stephanie Lim

July 9th through the 24th came and left all too quickly, leaving us with precious memories and lessons God gave us throughout the two full weeks we served Him in Argentina. And we would love to share these with you—may you join in on the sweet blessings we received by the amazing grace of God!

“The first thing I think of when I think of this trip is the church in Tucuman because of how loving they were to us,” shared Ryan Short. And the thirteen of us all wholeheartedly agree. Whether it was one’s first time or one’s fourth time to Argentina, the church unconditionally showed us “love—lots and lots of love,” JR Cuevas commented. We experienced this love in many ways, from the selfless service of young and older women of the church in every meal, to the little kids who would cling to our arms and legs and not let go, to the men and women who would listen patiently to our broken yet improving Spanish. Romi Hong told of a special experience: “Playing futbol with the ladies is always crazy! We always played marrieds against singles among the women. Both sides are very competitive! Very! The younger women have more stamina, but the older women have strength in their hips and curves. Oh my!” Kent Hong shared how this year, “we also spent more time dealing with some personal situations and struggles with church members. Pastor Jorge and Norma really view our church as partners in their ministry, perhaps because they know we are committed to partnering with their church after returning now for the fourth year…they are tireless in terms of trying to serve the needs of the body, almost to the point of exhaustion. We need to be in prayer that the Lord continues to strengthen them and raise up leaders in the congregation.”

God was very faithful to make His Gospel known to the lost in Tucuman. He allowed all of us to joyfully share in five different neighborhoods during a five-day campaign. “What was interestingabout the door-to-door evangelism,” said Ryan Short, “was the willingness of people to accept the Bible as the Word of God, having all authority.” Naomi shared that “It was especially neat sharing the gospel with those who initially seemed so confident in what other people/sources had taught them, yet when we shared with them from the Scriptures, they couldn’t deny the validity of God’s Word and what we were teaching from it.” How great is our God, who is the only one to initiate faith in someone and change hearts to submit to Him! We all realized along with Romi that “God’s Word is powerful to change and convict hearts which teaches me to rely less on my words and to solely focus on the purity of the gospel and its power to save. I cannot save anyone. It is only Christ’s Word and what He finished on the cross.”

As our team of fourteen LBC members were around each other 24/7, it was a joy (and relief) to see that we are all sinners simply saved by God’s grace and striving hard to reflect Christ through our thoughts, words, and actions. From deep and heartfelt conversations to silly moments of goofing off and picking on each other, we enjoyed deepening our relationships with one another as a result of working for the sake of the Gospel. And what a trooper Chris Katsura was! He had an allergic reaction near the end of the trip, but God even used this to allow considerate Ryan Short to “hang out with Chris while he was sick, which was a good time of fellowship and much needed rest.” The surprise of JR and Kathy’s engagement was also a very special memory that brought us together in unity to rejoice and praise God for His goodness to them!!

The glory of Jesus Christ truly is the only one worth living for and serving. As Naomi expressed, “I learned what it truly means to preach the gospel to yourself everyday. Through walking door-to-door, evangelizing, and sharing with others, I was saying the gospel so many times that with every opportunity, it became more real to me. It helped me to remember how imperfect and dirty I am before God. It helped me to really process through the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me.” And what a joy and blessing it was to experience this with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! Praise God for a Christ-centered time in Argentina!!

Missions Preparation Highlights (AR08)

by Ryan McAdams

Like each year past, we spent hours and hours in preparation for this trip. We had many sit-down-and-talk meetings, but we also did quite a few activities as well. Each one of these prepared us for various situations we might encounter while in Argentina. Of course, taking a trip to Argentina, we had to face the omnipresence of football (the international flavor). So, in addition to acquainting ourselves with Boca and River (the two most popular football clubs in Argentina), we needed to accept the reality that we would have to humiliate ourselves on the pitch (soccer field) as well. We did spend some time practicing the beautiful game, and many members of our team did in fact improve their skills. But, we didn’t take a missions trip to play football from nine to five every day. And while we tried to work as a team on the pitch, we had to get to know each other through other methods as well. Each preparation session did have an aspect of building our intra-team relationships, but year after year, the missions garage sale seems to foster relationship-building quite well. This year’s garage sale did not deviate from the molds of the previous years, and having the relaxed-yet-unified atmosphere again helped to bond the team as we laughed with each other, but also learned to work with each other to achieve the common goal of having a successful garage sale.

Our most significant preparation, however, came as the result of our planning meetings. Sure, we had to plan various performances we would do, like the skits, songs, and body worship, and we even had to all come to the understanding that anything could change at any moment (e.g. we might not even use our skits). But, we had to keep in mind that we primarily go to Argentina to share the gospel message. And with that, we kept our focus in the planning meetings on prayer and the gospel. Keeping our focus on prayer helped us maintain our perspective on the larger picture of honoring God in whichever situation we found ourselves and helped us prepare to adapt to changes because of our trust in God. As well, the simplicity of much of our preparation helped us to keep in mind that the essence of what we would do on missions would hopefully not differ greatly from our normal church lives back home.

Once we realized we couldn’t possibly prepare for everything we might face working in Argentina, we more fully understood that we must depend on God’s provision and protection for our entire time there. Knowing our God is great, we could trust on him to use both our preparation and our time there, in spite of our inadequacies, to work for his glory.

Team Leader’s Reflections (AR08)

by Eugene Park

Any team member will tell you that there is so much joy in going to Argentina and ministering down there. Every year that we see them it’s like we’re coming home to family. The years that we’ve spent developing relationships with them have helped foster this feeling. But the true bond we have is our bond in Christ. It’s such a joy to be able to minister to and alongside the same people each year.

One of our main objectives down there was to help them with their campaigns in the barrios of UTA, SMATA, 24 de Septiembre, Juan Pablo Primero, and San Pablo. The team worked really hard to evangelize to these communities. During the day we went door to door sharing the gospel and in the evenings we had special evening programs filled with gospel centered movies, skits, and a gospel presentation. I really appreciated the team effort in reaching out to the people there. During the evening programs, every member of the team was engaged in conversation with the locals. The heart they had in sharing the gospel was so encouraging to see.

Another objective of the trip was to minister to the church. As we’ve done in past years, we brought resources and books to help the church leaders. But this year, we had a chance to minister to the church members as well. Apparently, the girls in the youth group have had issues lately regarding gossip and friendship. So Norma (Pastor Jorge’s wife) asked if our ladies could take the youth girls and counsel them. So we set aside two afternoon sessions over the weekend for our ladies to mentor them through small groups.

Kent and Romi also had an opportunity to counsel a couple who weren’t married but had a child and lived together. The man would occasionally come out to church because his brother is a church member. But one of the Sundays he came with his child and the child’s mother. Kent and Romi took the opportunity to speak with them individually and challenge them in their beliefs and lifestyle. Hopefully God does a lasting work in their hearts.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that this trip is more than just evangelism—it actually fulfills our MVP statement. We’re making disciples of Christ through our efforts. We’re assisting the local church in planting churches in the different neighborhoods. Because very few people actually own a car, getting around is difficult. That’s why planting churches in each of the neighborhoods is important to Pastor Jorge. And we also show our love for God and people through the sharing of His Word, the centrality of Christ in everything we do, and the reaching out to the people of Tucuman.

Being team leader this year caused this trip to be a lot more stressful for me than in years past. In the past I would rely on the decisions made by Mike Chon or Pastor Patrick and support them fully. But this year I was the one who had to make the final decisions, knowing that my decisions affected the whole team and I would be accountable to the elders for my decisions. It really helped that the team supported me through the whole trip. I am very thankful for this year’s team. They were a joy to work with and I hope to see many of them go back to Argentina again next year.

Dios te bendiga!

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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