Archive for July, 2009

We are in our final week of preparation for our upcoming trip to Brazil, and there’s a lot to do.  Work is crazy and stressful, and we’re being bogged down with so much non-sense that we can’t do what we need to be doing to actually ensure the children we serve are safe.  It’s so focused on the administration and paperwork aspect of our jobs that it’s almost funny….almost!  Now, throw in a little irritation from satan and his croonies and you can find yourself getting a bit touchy.

But having been on three previous trips, I know this is the norm.  Satan knows what’s about to happen, and he’s not happy about it because Jesus, once again, is going to prevail.  So, he does what he does best, annoy the mess out of you so you find yourself spitting and sputtering, stressing and completely losing your focus on God. 

One little example of satan just throwing rocks and wrenches at you happened to me this morning.  After being told that I either had to be caught up on my documentation or I couldn’t go (yea, right….like that would stop me), I had to go visit one of my most difficult families.  Truthfully, I love their children but would be happy if I never had to deal with them again.

Anyway, I get to the house and sit down on their brand new, nice, light green suede couch and began the interview.  All was going fairly well until I somehow managed to put a nice blue ink mark on their brand new, nice, light green suede cushion.  I can imagine that satan and his boys were laughing their butts off when this happened.  I wanted to just walk out and come home and get back in bed.  But I didn’t.  I finished the interview, and against a strong urging to just leave without telling them, I showed them the spot and ate a little pride cake.  They were actually cool about it but I could still sense the father wasn’t too happy about it.  Oh well.  I assured them that I would “take care of it.”  Now I’m stuck with a small expense to have someone clean the cushion.

I thanked them and left and couldn’t help but laugh at the situation once back into the car.  Satan only has as much power as I give him so I rebuked him and released it into God’s hands.  I’ll let Him carry it for a minute. 

I could go on and on about these “little” irritations but I’ll just focus on God and the awesome, Spirit-filled adventure the Gospel for Brazil Jesus Caravan is getting ready to embark on.  T-Minus 6 days and counting.

Gospel for Brazil Mission Team:  L-R:  Travis, Paul, Hannah, Arimar, Joe, Patrick, Christy, Bonnie.  Not pictured:  Garry, Barbara, Kelly, Josh, Hal, Jen and Amber.

Gospel for Brazil Mission Team: L-R: Travis, Paul, Hannah, Arimar, Joe, Patrick, Christy, Bonnie. Not pictured: Garry, Barbara, Kelly, Josh, Hal, Jen, Amber and the Whites.

Two weeks from today, another crazy bunch of Jesus Freaks will be in Brazil with Gospel for Brazil fulfilling the Great Commisson.  The journey will start on August 2nd and we’ll be heading back to the U.S. on August 13th.

Christy and I met with most of the group this weekend in Wilmington, and man, we are pumped, stoked, excited, psyched and ready to be there.  There is a sense within the group that the Holy Spirit is going to move in a mighty, mighty way and many souls are going to be won for Christ.  We also sense that this is going to be a turning point in GFB’s ministry that is going to place it firmly on God’s spiritual fast track to building disciples in the northeast desert region of Brazil, and breaking the bondages of sin and spiritual oppression that has plagued this area for generations.

The northeast region of Brazil, in the state of Ceara, is known as “The Heart of Darkness” for good reason.  Satan and his dominions have established this region as their spiritual “headquarters”.  Gospel for Brazil, with the power and authority of Christ, has already made significant inroads in reclaiming this area for Jesus but much work is left to be done.  Satan understands that he is losing his power over this area and is not happy about it.  Therefore, we are expecting struggles to occur but we walk firm in the knowledge that Christ has already been victorious over the darkness, and we are established in the center of God’s will. 

At this point, we have plans to have Vacation Bible School for the children, daily and nightly evangelical praise and worship services, healings, spiritual deliverance and liberations by many, baptisms, visits to new areas where church plants are in process and to be planned, and two nights of rocking out with the huge (in Brazil) Christian Rock group Megafone.  For the services and the concert, we are expecting thousands potentially.  All in all, we are going to be wide-open and going 100 mph with little sleep but we’re not going to vacation but be used as servants of Christ in anyway He sees fit, whether planned or not.

So, we are requesting some Prayer Warriors to cover us individually and as a group daily and constantly in prayer leading up to the trip, on the trip and after returning.  Here are some specific prayer requests:

1.  That we, individually and as a group will be surrounded by a Hedge of Protection and the Spirit’s Holy Fire.  Pray that we will be shown favor and granted traveling mercies, and that God’s Holy Angels will surround us and protect us, keeping us from spiritual attack before, during and after the trip.

2.  Pray that each person will be protected from physical sickness and the Holy Spirit will touch each member and heal any sickness that we are facing now, and that each would be protected from any parasites, bacteria, viruses or sickness while on the trip.  Pray that God will give us physical strengh during the trip so we can be used fully by him and sickness would not hinder the trip.

3.  Pray that we will be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and teaching before the trip so that we can be spiritually prepared to do God’s work and engage in any spiritual battles necessary to break strongholds in this area.

4.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will empower us with boldness and courage to face whatever comes and in witnessing to the lost souls of this area.

5.  Pray that God will begin to move in the hearts of the lost in this area with conviction so that the harvest is ready for the reaping.

6.  Pray that the Christian Rock group, Megafone will be granted traveling mercies and surrounded by a Hedge of Protection so that they can come to Ubauna and witness to this area through their music.

7.  We have booked an area that will accommodate 5,000 for the services and concerts we have planned.  Please pray that we will fill the area to overflowing with thousands of followers of Christ and the lost seeking salvation.  Pray for 10,000 +.

8.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint us and give us supernatural ability to speak with the natives, and language will not be a barrier or hindrance.

9.  Pray that all Visas and Passports that haven’t arrived will arrive promptly and will not be an issue for traveling.

10.  Pray that we will not have any issues with customs, any delayed flights, any missed flights and all luggage will arrive in Fortaleza when we do in great shape.

11.  Pray that our leaders will be given strength, courage and boldness in leading our team and their spirits will be solely centered and focused on God’s guidance, direction and vision for this trip.

12.  Pray that satan and his dominions will be bound in the name of Jesus and by the Blood of Jesus from causing any physical harm to our group, any spiritual attacks and hinderances.

13.  Pray that the group will be protected from any attempts to steal from us or mug us.

14.  Pray that each member of the group will have an open spirit so that the Holy Spirit will work and speak through us and we will not bind or quench the Spirit so we can have total access to the Power and Authority that Jesus has given to us.

15.  Pray for God’s direction and vision for the areas of Araticum and Tiangua so that GFB will know how to work in these areas.  Pray that God will touch the hearts of the local pastors that are centered in God’s Will and Word in this area so that new partnerships can be formed and strengthened.

16. Pray for all the children in this area that are in desperate need of sponsors through GFB’s Seed of Hope program.

I will/may be adding more before the trip but the most important thing is just start praying for us and don’t stop!  We’re so excited about our journey and can’t wait to see how God is going to move on this trip. 

Obrigado (Thank you) and Tchau.  Love in Christ,  Patrick and Christy

 

 

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?  She is more precious than rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  Proverbs 31:10-12 (NLT)

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.  When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.”  Proverbs 31:25-27 (NLT)

“…Her husband praises her.  There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!  Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  Reward her for all she has done.  Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”  Proverbs 31:28-31 (NLT)

Today, I have been married to my beautiful wife, my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my earthly reason, my soul-mate and my refuge from a dark world for 14 years.  It’s hard to believe it’s been that many years since we stood before God, and promised each other forever….no matter what!  It’s as if I blinked and here we are so many years later.

It’s getting harder and harder to find a memory that doesn’t include Christy.  But that’s a beautiful place to be though because it means that she’s become so much a part of me that I just can’t remember my life before her.  And I don’t want to remember my life before Christy.

I first met Christy at the beginning of my sophomore year at N.C. Wesleyan College when she took my  Campus ID photo.  I could not recall ever seeing her on campus before (figuring she was an upperclassman) but I knew!  I knew I was looking at the woman I would journey through the rest of my life with…the one that God had made just for me.  In that moment, I felt such a peace.

That was close to 19 years ago, and what an awesome, love-filled ride it’s been since.  Although life hasn’t always been easy for us, and the forces of darkness have thrown the plates, the dishes and the kitchen sink at us throughout, we are still standing.  In fact, we are closer and more in love now than we’ve ever been, and I love that!  I love kissing her goodnight at the end of a long, tiring day, and kissing her good morning to start another crazy day.  I love that she loves me and needs me to be her worldly/spiritual rock and refuge also.  I love that she is my wife, and I love being her husband.  I love her sweet spirit, her gentle ways, her cuteness, her sexiness, her smile and her laugh (how it echoes throughout my soul). 

I could go on and on because there’s so much I love about Christy and our life together but what I love most about her is this:  She is a child of God, a servant and disciple of Jesus Christ, a God-Chaser, a missionary to Brazil,  a witness to the lost and a light to those wandering in the darkness of this world.  She loves God and she loves His Son, Jesus.  She is godly and righteous, humble but sure of her salvation and her place in God’s Kinghom. 

Christy is a living example of these words inspired by God so many years ago.  She is virtuous, capable and more precious to me than all the gems of this world.  She is wise and strong and full of dignity.  She is kind and full of grace and mercy.  She works hard for me and for us.  She is worthy of being praised as a woman and a wife.

So, on this anniversary day, I want to thank God for sending Christy to me many years ago, and allowing me to experience this life by her side.  And I want to thank you baby for loving me, being my wife, standing by me and for me, and most importantly, for loving God and for running with me after God and wherever that has taken us, and will take us. 

I love you more than anything (well… except our Lord and Savior)!  

P.

Matthew

 

UNITED STATES

Number of abortions per year: 1.21 Million (2005)
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 3,315

Who’s having abortions (age)?
52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions; Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.

Who’s having abortions (race)?
While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.

Who’s having abortions (marital status)?
64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women; Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions and divorced women obtain 9.4%.

Who’s having abortions (religion)?
Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%,
and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”.

Commentary by Patrick:  Interesting info. regarding who’s having abortions by religion isn’t it?  More people who claim faith are having abortions at a higher % than those that don’t claim a faith.   Look at only 18% for “Born-Again/Evangelical” and determine how many that number truly represents.  That little % equals A LOT of aborted children each year doesn’t it?  No wonder people call Christians hypocritical, ineffective and don’t want what we’re sharing with this world.

Who’s having abortions (income)?
Women with family incomes less than $15,000 obtain 28.7% of all abortions; Women with family incomes between $15,000 and $29,999 obtain 19.5%; Women with family incomes between $30,000 and $59,999 obtain 38.0%; Women with family incomes over $60,000 obtain 13.8%.

Why women have abortions
1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

At what gestational ages are abortions performed:
52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Likelihood of abortion:
An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.

Abortion coverage:
48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds. 16 states (CA, CT, HI, ED, IL, MA , MD, MD, MN, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA and WV) pay for abortions for some poor women.

Statistics provided by The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (www.agi-usa.org), and Family Planning Perspectives.

To learn more about abortion – facts, statistics, procedure, how to join the fight against abortion, please go to www.abortionno.org.

11 Week Old Aborted Fetus

 

A story that’s gotten a lot of attention lately (no, not Michael Jackson) is the desecration of more than 300 graves at an African-American cemetary known as the final resting place for many well-known African-Americans.  Not only were the bodies dug up and the plots resold but many of the bodies were dismembered and buried in mass graves at the back of the property.  They’ve arrested four persons in connection with this crime, charging them with Dismemberment of a Human Body.  Each person could face up to 30 years in prison for digging up dead bodies and dismembering them.  Yes, I agree that this is a deplorable crime and there should be punishment but 30 years for dismembering a dead, lifeless body.  Really?  Are you serious?

Now, tell me how many years someone is sentenced for having an abortion or more specifically, for killing or dismembering an unborn, LIVING  fetus/childCome on….tick-tock, tick-tock, time’s running out?  Any guesses?  Yep, once again you’re right….NOTHING!  No penalty, no consequences, no legal action whatsoever!!!

So, still clinging to the notion that we are a Christian nation???

Driving home on Highway 80 yesterday, I observed a large, white road sign that warned passersby that the penalty for throwing trash on the highway  was $1,000.  I agree there should be some type of punitive consequence for littering but $1,000 seems a little steep to me.

Then I wondered what the penalty is for killing an unborn life in our country?  Any guesses?  The answer is obvious isn’t it…..NOTHING.  No penalty, no consequences, no legal action whatsoever!!!

Do you still think we are a Christian nation???

Last night, we watched a Joyce Meyer episode in which she spoke on “Religious Attitudes” (which could be a whole post series) but she gave this staggering statistic (at least on the surface):

“Only 13% of all “Christians” believe that the Word of God is absolute truth.”

Now, go back and re-read this statistic, this statement.  It’s not 100%, 75% or even 50%….but 13%!  It’s not that only 13% atheists, sinners or non-believers don’t believe that the Word of God is the absolute truth but Christians.  Does it surprise you, shock you, anger you or sadden you?  Personally, it doesn’t surprise me or shock me, it saddens me and it angers me.  We have been given God Himself through His Word, and yet we treat it like it’s a children’s fable.  We put more faith in the worldly magazines we read, and the words of “wisdom” found on talk shows like Oprah than we do the living, divinely-inspired and written Word of God. 

There can be no half-truths or selective belief when it comes to God and His Word, His Truth:  you either believe it completely, fully, totally and unconditionally or you don’t believe it at all.  God isn’t going to force us to believe but He is  going to force us to commit to our belief.  So, what do you believe as a “christian” and if you do believe, are you willing to place it at the center of your life and live by it, in all its glory, power, authority, mercy, grace and love?

Personally, I believe 100% that the Bible is the absolute, living, divinely-inspired and inerrant Word and Truth of God.  My little mind may have a hard time comprehending it all but that doesn’t change whether it’s true or not.  Now, the difficult part….living like I believe it is the absolute truth of God.  How dangerous would I be if I actually acted as if I believe it?  How dangerous will you be?  How dangerous as a church will we be?  I don’t think we can truly fathom how dangerous we would be but satan does and it causes him to shiver.