On Sunday we were privileged to participate in the fifth anniversary celebration of the church in Queztal.  Jerry Kinman is the lead pastor of this church but he has a staff of three Guatemalan men who help him by serving in various ways. Lord willing one of these men will assume the pastorate within the next two years.  Our family was honored to participate in this special celebration. On Saturday we helped decorate the auditorium, hallways and fellowship hall with streamers and balloons.  We also helped aunt Karen bake and frost two big sheet cakes.  On Sunday Emma and Ellie were able to sing the song “Jesus Thank You.” in Spanish.  They did an excellent job and have very good harmony.  I was able to preach while Jerry translated.

I preached from Col 1:24-29 and encouraged them to ask five diagnostics questions of their church to make sure they wouldn’t “break down” as they continue their journey as a church.  The Lord gave me the analogy of the city bus system.  I asked them how many have been on a bus when it broke down.  Literally everyone in the room raised their hands. We all agreed that the riders have a right expectation that the owners of the bus do regular maintenance in order to provide reliable transportation.  I told the church that people who come to your church from the community will also expect their church to do regular check up to make sure they don’t stall along the way.  The five areas to check were from the passage were: 1) Their motivation. 2) Their Message 3) Their methods 4) Their mission, and 5) Their means.  (The alliteration works in English but not in Spanish).   Paul reveled that his motivation was the reveal the mystery to the Gentiles.  His message was Christ is the only hope. His methods was balanced proclamation.  His mission was to help people be like Jesus and his means was the power of Christ which was already working in him.  Several in the room were encouraged by the message.  The analogy to the Guatemalan bus system helped me connect the truth to an audience I was unfamiliar with.

20160131_103838[1]Prior to the message I presented Brother Jerry with a stone that Brian O’Grady took from the property seven year earlier.  I told Jerry that this stone reminded us to pray for the church that would one day be built on that sight.  But now we no longer need that stone because it is “dead”.  Now that we have visited the church we have meet the “living” stones (the people according to 1 Peter 2: 5).  We can not forget the dear people of this church who have come to Christ and are struggling to mature and do the Great Commission in a difficult place.  In the message I told them that my prayer for the church will shift.  No longer will I pray that God will establish a church on the property.  From now I will pray that God will mature the church that gathers on that property.

After the sermon and invitation the church sang happy birthday in English and Spanish and then enjoyed  a meal together.  My girls helped Aunt Karen pass out anniversary cake to the 160 in attendance.