Archive for April, 2009

Since Gospel for Brazil was founded in 2004,  God has begun to bring the light of His Son, Jesus Christ to an area called “The Heart of Darkness.”   Adults who have walked under the oppressive darkness of satan for years have found deliverance through the Truth of Christ.  But it’s the children that God has started a fire in, a passion for Christ.  Entire families are finding Jesus because of the relationship that their children have with Christ.  Often God can work best through the innocence of children.  Gospel for Brazil founded the Seeds of Hope program to continue building young disciples, as well as meeting their humanistic needs.  Here is a little background (taken from GFB website) and an update from our founder, Joe Carr (copy from his website – link to right). 

Seeds of Hope springs from the foundation upon which Gospel for Brazil was built—a calling to plant churches among the unreached in northeastern Brazil. And that is why the impact of your sponsorship is so powerful. The philosophy behind our children’s outreach program has a twofold approach:

  • First, we put Jesus Christ at the center of all we do.
    It is a fact: Whether healthy or sick, rich or poor, people face eternity without Christ if they do not know Him. Therefore, our highest goal is to share the message of salvation and forgiveness through Christ. The ministry of Seeds of Hope is simply a natural extension and outflow of that desire. So when you meet your sponsored child’s physical needs, you also do much more. Your gift of compassion helps break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and superstition.
  • Second, we take a “big picture” approach.
    Each child we educate is part of an extended family. As these boys and girls begin to understand God’s love, expressed to them in very practical ways, they take the message home to fathers, mothers, siblings, uncles, aunts and grandparents. As a result, hearts and homes previously resistant to the Good News are now open to the witness of native missionaries like never before. Your love and care reach far beyond just one individual. As you extend hope to your sponsored child, that same hope is passed on to many more.

In addition, we send 100 percent of your child sponsorship donations directly to the Seed of Hope programs on the field without deducting anything for administrative costs.

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The Seed of Hope initiative that Gospel for Brazil oversees is moving along at quite a clip. For example:

  • The town has ceded to GFB a community building that will be used as kitchen and cafeteria for feeding the children. Equipment (stove, refrigerator, freezer, etc.) needs to be purchased; tables, chairs, pots, pans, plates, utensils, etc. have to be procured; cooks and helpers need to be hired; and, the building needs a “cosmetic” face job.
  • A house has been given to GFB to use as the Seeds of Hope House. Measurements need to be taken, plans drawn up and temporary actions taken to make the house usable. We will undertake serious remodeling during the trip scheduled in August.
  • Communication between sponsors and children need to be “tweaked.” We’re inviting all sponsors to send letters to their children and we’ll be bringing back letters from the children to their sponsors.
  • We’ve been invited into several different communities to see works that are in progress and participate in them. An evaluation needs to be made in order to determine the Spirit’s direction.
  • We have the opportunity to include more children living in the proximity of Ubaúna in the Seeds of Hope program. For those who’ve seen Paxólas, the areas are even more destitute, if you can fathom that!

Please go to www.gospelforbrazil.org to sponsor a child today!!!

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Recently I was driving over the bridge that connects Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands.  The sun reflected brilliantly on the saltwater river below and the marsh seemed to go on as far as I could see.  It was a beautiful day.  The type of day that made me want to keep going past my destination, past my day full of clock-watching, never enough time to get the all the work done type of duties that when finally done, make me realize how short life really is.  If I kept going on highway 80 going east, I would  drive straight to the beach, where the only deadline would be to finish the greatest sand castle ever, just before the tide washes it away. 

Life  is a balancing act between the have-to-do’s and the want-to do’s.  Sometimes, by the time you finish the have-to’s it leaves very little time for the want-to activities.  The type of activities that make memories and really matter.  The things that songs say, “take your breath away,” and truly make life worth living.  This is when you remember to take notice of a beautiful day and soak it all in and make yourself stop long enough to “smell the roses”, or in this case hold the shell up to your ear, watch the waves crashing ever closer and closer as they rush back toward the great vast ocean, feeling the wind with the droplets of ocean water brushing across your skin.

But I have to veer off and snap back to reality, as usual.  The rushing around and the deadlines and the responsibilities of life consume me and before I know it, life as we know it on earth is slipping through my fingers faster than I can soak in the moments… as the moments become days and the days become months and the months become years and the wrinkles show up in places that I never thought possible. 

As all of these thoughts are swirling around in my head, I see a hearse and a funeral procession in the distance.  As I get closer to the hearse, and the hearse gets closer to me, I realize just how significant that is.  Every second that I breathe, I am one second closer to death.  One more second closer to being the person in the hearse instead of the person driving in my car, struggling with the day to day choices that we all have to make.  I instantly start praying for the family of the person lying in the hearse.  That dead body was once someone’s mom, dad, aunt, uncle, friend…someone special and someone, not so many days ago, who was very much alive.  I pray that the family will find peace in whatever situation they find themselves experiencing as they ponder what eternity is going to mean for their loved one… and for themselves. 

I also  pray that when that dead person was alive, that he or she made the most important decision of all, the  only decision that matters at this very moment and for all of eternity. Is he walking with Jesus and being reunited with family members who went to heaven before him, safe and secure , whole and complete, or is he burning in the lakes of fire, perishing in the depths, hearing the wailing and suffering of never-ending suffering and pain?  The gravity of that decision for the person in the hearst means everything right now.  Did he have time to ponder death?  Or was he killed instantly by a drunk driver?  No one knows the date or time that he or she will die.  A decision for eternity cannot be put off forever.  Our days will come to an end.  Procrastination is just too costly.  It’s a deadline that is of eternal significance.  There aren’t enough words to explain the consequences of eternity without Jesus. 

I wonder if the family knows where their loved one is residing at this very moment. Is it bringing great comfort and joy, or a disturbing, aching, sick feeling that will haunt them at night as they think of unimaginable darkness and despair?  I pray and pray and pray that this experience makes a difference in the life of that dead person’s family and friends.  I pray that losing this loved one will open up their eyes to the reality of eternity and to make a choice for Christ and for living forever and not perishing. 

I know that it has made a difference in my life.  It has made me remember that I have to stop going through the motions.  I have to pray daily that God will use me for His glory and to reach those that do not know Him.  I have to listen to Jesus and Holy Spirit guiding me through my day and not get caught up in the mundane and the duties of life so much that I miss an opportunity to witness to someone who needs to know Him.

As I pull back on to the road after the funeral procession has passed, I am overwhelmed with emotions.  Emotions of thankfulness that I know Jesus and that He died for my sins so that I can be with Him in heaven for all eternity when this earthly adventure is over for me.  Emotions mixed with sadness and joy, responsibility and repentance, and the stirring inside of me from Holy Spirit pushing me to listen and take action when He calls me to witness and share His good news.  People are dying all over the world and many will be leaving this world and perishing forever.  I wonder how many other people saw that same hearse on this sunny day and what they were thinking as they waited for it to pass.  I pray that they will think about eternity and whether they will be with Jesus forever … or not…   -C.

Earlier today at work, I listened to an inspirational young man give a bunch of social workers his powerful testimony of the journey that life has taken him on…and where it’s led him.  He lost his mother, grandfather and grandmother to murder, never knew his father, spent too many years in the “system”, sold drugs, gang-banged and sowed hurt and destruction in his youth on those that were unfortunate enough to cross his path.  He walked in darkness for a long time but he didn’t allow the darkness to dictate his future.  God reached down and took hold of his outstretched hand and lifted him out of that world of hurt and pain…out of the oppression that satan had placed over his life.

Now he ministers to at-risk youth, putting himself out there in a real and in-your-face way that causes you to listen.  He causes you to look inward and ask yourself some hard questions.  Questions that often lead to answers that you aren’t expecting, or wanting, to find.  The testimony was an emotional “Tour De Force” that left me with a some questions, and a few answers, that I need to ponder:

1.  Am I using God or am I allowing God to use me?

2. Do I truly want to make a difference in other people’s lives or do I just like the idea of making a difference to others?

3.  Am I willing to do whatever it takes to serve Christ and reach lost souls regardless of the sacrifice or discomfort?

4.  Am I willing to lose myself so that Christ can be seen….found by the lost, hurt and oppressed?

5.  Am I wasting the gifts/talents that God has given me?

6.  Do I even know what my gifts/talents are?

7.  Can God trust me to do anything of importance for him?

8.  Am I willing to be a soldier for Christ and battle Satan himself if necessary to reach lost souls and make a difference in other’s lives?

9.  Do I really want to see others through God’s eyes, and how He sees them?

Trust me, there were more but these will give me plenty to think on and work on.  You see, with God, you have to be willing to die to yourself, and allow God to break you down so He can begin to chip away at all the prejudices, faults, limitations and stereotypes that we allow to shape our own personal ideologies.  It’s only when we die to ourselves can God then raise us up as new creations filled with Christ’s Holy Spirit that can be used as spiritual “agents of change” that will not only impact people in this dark and lost world but for all of eternity.  Often, it starts with asking ourselves hard questions and then being willing to allow God to reveal the answers to us, no matter how much we don’t like the answers.

christ-died-and-rose

Impressive Obituary, right?  You read it and think, “This Jesus guy seemed like he was an awesomely cool dude.”  Self-educated, taught the Good News, healed the lame and sick and fed a lot of people with an appetizer-portion of food  makes for a good story….all except the dying a horrific death and being placed in a guarded, damp and dark tomb part. 

If the story ended with that stone being rolled across the opening of the tomb, then Jesus would still be worthy of remembrance.  But that’s the thing, it didn’t end there!!!  In fact, it was just getting good!!!  Three days after being written off as dead, this Jesus dude become more than a martyr…He became the Risen Lord.  He arose from his grave and became victorious over death, in the process defeating Satan and all his dominions so that we unworthy mortals could have spiritual victory and deliverance from eternal death.  With His resurrection, He became the spiritual bridge in which we can now come to God by.  He redeemed us in God’s eyes and took His rightful place as the Lord and Savior.  There are no other gods, no others that can claim “Lord.”  No other person has conquered death and risen in Glory, with absolute Power and Authority.  There is no other way to redemption but through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“(5) When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side.  The women were shocked, (6) but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed.  You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead!”  Mark 16: 5-6 (NLT)

“(14) Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together.  He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.  (15) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.  (16) Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.  But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.  (17) These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe:  They will cast our demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.  (18) They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them.  They will be able to place their hands on the sick, adn they will be healed.”  Mark 16:  14-18 (NLT)

Jesus’ Gift of Salvation is free to all that believe in him through Faith and Repentance.  He loves us and wants desperately to have a relationship with us.  For those that do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, what are you waiting for?  That “one day” that you expect to be around the next corner will never come and you will be condemned for not seeking Him.  You will be forever seperated from God with no hope of redemption. 

Don’t let another second pass!  Your life, your soul is too precious a gift to give so easily to Satan.  Seek Christ and tell him you believe… YOU KNOW that He was crucifed and resurrected for you and you want His forgiveness to rain down over you, making you a new creation, a new child that has overcome spiritual death by His glorious sacrifice.  Seek Him now and join our family this Easter!!!

national-champions2

Congratulations to Psycho T and the North Carolina Tar Heels on their 2009 National Championship!