Dominican Republic Mission Trip 2018

“To those who send him, a trustworthy messenger is like the coolness of snow on a harvest day; he refreshes the life of his masters” – Proverbs 25:13

“Good news from a distant land is like cold water to a parched throat” – Proverbs 25:25

This summer I was privileged to lead a team from our church on a mission trip to Clavijo in the Dominican Republic. This village is about 2 hours NE of Santiago (the 2nd biggest city).  Our mission was to hold a VBS and a medical clinic. Our team was challenged by leaving the comforts of our own homes and “roughing it out” for about 10 days as we traveled and served in that community.  We were able to see many of the Dominican and some Haitian people in that village learn about Christ and living a life in pursuit of Him.  Several people came to saving faith in Jesus while we were there while others strengthened their faith in God.  Many heard the gospel message and were encouraged by our mission team.  Looking back since we first began going to Santiago, Dominican Republic in 2008, we have seen 8 church plants begin and continue growing!  God has raised up leaders to lead these churches.  God has been so good!  We give Him all the praise!

The people of Clavijo greatly encouraged us by stating to many of us that they wish we could stay longer even if we did not do any activities, just to visit and be with them.  One of the things I observed was that these people live simple in comparison to us, Americans, and they are so giving.  They gave us everything of what they have just so they can share with us.  Last year, I remember walking down a river through some rocky terrain and one of my sandals broke.  A man saw me walking bare footed and handed me his sandals!  The very same thing happened to one of our Dominican mission team members this year and somebody did the very same thing to him!  Others invited us just to sit with them and have coffee, and even another man gave us a bunch of sugarcane for all our team – all this just from the kindness of their heart!  It’s amazing to me that people who have so little will give of all they have to strangers they don’t know that well.  That to me is amazing!  The Lord teaches me so much from these loving people every time I go.  I believe that is why missions is so vital to our churches, because as we go we share the gospel and help those in other places but God also teaches the one that goes great life lessons as well.  It’s a double blessing all the time!  If you have not been on mission trips, I challenge you to ask God to give you the opportunity to go on mission for Him and when He opens the door for it – you just step out in faith and do it!

Is it ok to look at the Zodiac or Fortune Telling?

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to preach to our church on 1 Samuel 15.  The theme of obedience and disobedience to God came up.  One of the great things about the Bible, God’s Word, is that it touches base on many issues that many people struggle with a lot of the times.  And when you’re looking or studying for one particular thing in it, another one “pops” up.  In this case, the issue of divination came up.  I thought to myself, “who hasn’t ever opened up a fortune cookie after eating at a Chinese restaurant or even changed the channel on your television and just happened to hear what I call the ‘horriblescope’ or if you’re older like me turned the page of the newspaper and it’s just right there!”  I’ve heard of other people who have gotten involved even deeper into it and been part of witchcraft or occult practices.  Some of these stories I’ve heard from them are really horrifying and so very sad.

I shared a personal story when I preached about when I was a small boy, around 7 or 8 years old.  I remember we had a family reunion at one of my aunt’s house one day and some of my aunt’s and uncles got to playing with a Ouija board.  They didn’t let the kids play, just the adults, but we (the kids) were around and got to see them playing.  I remember they would ask questions and they would put their hands on the piece of whatever it was (like a triangle looking, magnifying glass) and that thing moved their hands to particular letters or answers to their questions.  All of the adults playing mentioned that it was not them moving the object.  It was weird, but also very spooky.  So, as they finished late at night and we headed back home, I remember our car was full of people and my grandmother was with us.  She would always take her Bible along with her and that night she placed it on top of the dashboard of my dad’s car, right there as we drove home.  Halfway to our house, as we were driving on the interstate about 50-60 miles per hour, our car tires (3 or all 4 tires, can’t remember exactly – mom says all 4) did not just get a flat tire but popped and were shredded completely!  Yes, you can call it a coincidence or whatever you may want but everyone in that car knew exactly what it was!  Something demonic! I want to think that if my sweet grandma had not had her Bible with her that day, I probably would not have ever preached or written this message! That’s been a long time ago, but I praise God that some of my aunt’s and uncle’s and their children, as well as mom and I have come to know the Lord Jesus since then!

1 Samuel 15:23 says, “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.”  To the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, in Deuteronomy 18:14 God says, “Though these nations you are about to drive out listen to fortune-tellers and diviners, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do this.”

This issue of divination is definitely a NO to the Christian believer.  Anyone who goes there and opens up this door is really opening up the door of evil into their life. It’s an evil thing, God warns us against it, and He considers it a sin and, in the Old Testament, it was punishable by death.  Stay away from any form of this whether it’s the zodiac, fortune telling, Ouija board playing, witchcraft, any occult practices, etc.  This has no place in the life a God-fearing child of God.

It’s amazing how God works! About two days after preaching about this, a dear lady from our church asked me how we could respond to someone talking about how the zodiac has changed their lives because her grandson had just posted this on his facebook posts.  My advice to her was that maybe facebook was not the place to talk about it but to instead give him a call or just next time they talked to bring up that she noticed his post and just talk about it.  The following is just some of what I mentioned she could talk about:

Ask why he feels it changed his life? If he were to say that stars are used to tell the times (weather, spring , fall, etc), u can mention that the Bible didn’t indicate any “hidden messages” through them. God used the stars as an illustration of His promise to give Abraham an innumerable seed (Genesis 15:5). Thus, every time Abraham looked up at the night sky, he had a reminder of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

Also, from some notes I had previously heard and written sometime somewhere – Astrology is the “interpretation” of an assumed influence the stars (and planets) exert on human destiny. This is a false belief. The royal astrologers of the Babylonian court were put to shame by God’s prophet Daniel (Daniel 1:20) and were powerless to interpret the king’s dream (Daniel 2:27). God specifies astrologers as among those who will be burned as stubble in God’s judgment (Isaiah 47:13-14). Astrology as a form of divination is expressly forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). God forbade the children of Israel to worship or serve the “host of heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:19). Several times in their history, however, Israel fell into that very sin (2 Kings 17:16 is one example). Their worship of the stars brought God’s judgment each time.

Hope this helps!

Do all dogs (animals) go to heaven?

My wife and I have three dogs (a regular Chihuahua, a long-haired Chihuahua, and another which is a mix of a terrier and either a Rockweiler or Doberman – yes, go figure! How that happened is still mind-boggling to us). We now, also, have a cat who just appeared at our house and since my wife started feeding him, he’s ours! We love our dogs and, I suppose, our cat very much ;). They are adorable to us and make us laugh all the time and who else would get so excited to see us than they when we get home. Then they just follow us everywhere and want to be around us all the time. Many a times, they just make our day. When we see the news and see how some people mistreat and are cruel to animals, it just makes our heart cringe. However, God sure knew what He was doing when He made all of creation, including all the animals. So, when a student recently asked me if all dogs go to heaven, I was able to respond as best I knew how the Bible might answer this question.

The Bible does not mention it directly whether our pets (or, animals) will be in heaven, but it does give strong evidence that they will be.  In the book of Genesis, when God creates the animals, He said that they were good (Gen. 1:25) and animals populated the garden of Eden. In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John’s vision of heaven also included animals, showing Christ and the armies of heaven “riding on white horses” (Revelation 19:14). In the book of Isaiah, Isaiah mentions that, “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food” (Isaiah 65: 25).

I believe these passages give us sufficient precedence for believing that animals will be in heaven and inhabit the new heaven and new earth.

Hello Youth!

I’m so glad you are here! This website is totally made with you in mind. I hope that you can visit this site frequently and stay up to date with some of the latest cool stuff and not so cool stuff and issues going around and that you are having to deal with on a daily basis.  My hope is that I can come alongside of you and walk, as best as I can, with you through this thing called – life! I know sometimes it can seem like your world may be falling apart but I also know that great things happen as well.  I want to be there for you!

As I post stuff, I’ll try dealing with real issues of the day and try to give you a biblical, God-fearing, way of dealing with them.  I also want to hear from you if you have a topic that you may need answers for.  Please feel free to let me know at any given time.  I know we’ll be learning a whole lot from each other!

In the meantime, as Moses urged Joseph, “Be strong and courageous!”  Hope to hear from you very soon!!