Sunday, July 31, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Evening Renewal

My Father, if Thy mercy had bounds, where would be my refuge from just wrath? But thy love in Christ is without measure. Thus, I present myself to Thee with sins of comission and omission, against Thee, my Father, against Thee, adorable redeemer, against Thee and Thy strivings, 0 Holy Spirit, against the dictates of my conscience, against the precepts of Thy Word, against my neighbours and myself. Enter not into judgment with me, for I plead no righteousness of my own, and have no cloak for iniquity. Pardon my day dark with evil.

This night I renew my penitence. Every morning I vow to love Thee more fervently, to serve Thee more sincerely, to be more devoted in my life, to be wholly Thine; Yet I soon stumble, backslide, and have to confess my weakness, misery and sin. But I bless Thee that the finished work of Jesus needs no addition from my doings, that His oblation is sufficient satisfaction for my sins.

If future days be mine, help me to amend my life, to hate and abhor evil, to flee the sins I confess. Make me more resolute, more watchful, more prayerful. Let no evil fruit spring from evil seeds my hands have sown; Let no neighbour be hardened in vanity and folly by my want of circumspection. If this day I have been ashamed of Christ and His Word, or have shown unkindness, malice, envy, lack of love, unadvised speech, hasty temper, let it be no stumbling block to others, or dishonour to Thy name. 0 help me to set an upright example that will ever rebuke vice, allure to goodness, and evidence that lovely are the ways of Christ.

.... I will love Thee more fervently, serve Thee more sincerely, and be more devoted in my life, to be wholly Thine
.... Make me more resolute, more watchful, more prayerful

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Evening Praise

Giver of all, another day is ended and I take my place beneath my great redeemer's cross, where healing streams continually descend, where balm is poured into every wound, where I wash anew in the all-cleansing blood, assured that Thou seest in me no spots of sin. Yet a little while and I shall go to Thy home and be no more seen; help me to gird up the loins of my mind, to quicken my step, to speed as if each moment were my last, that my life be joy, my death glory.

I thank Thee for the temporal blessings of this world—the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers' sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over. Suffer me not to be insensible to these daily mercies. Thy hand bestows blessings: Thy power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of Thy Spirit, the strength of Thy restraining will, Thy spiking of hell's artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!

....Thank you Lord for all You are and all You do!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Divine Support

Divine Support

Thou art the blessed God, happy in Thyself, source of happiness in Thy creatures, my maker, benefactor, proprietor, upholder. Thou hast produced and sustained me, supported and indulged me, saved and kept me; Thou art in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.

May I live by Thee, live for Thee, never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ; and may conformity to His principles, temper, and conduct grow hourly in my life. Let Thy unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience, and render my duty my delight. If others deem my faith folly, my meekness infirmity, my zeal madness, my hope delusion, my actions hypocrisy, may I rejoice to suffer for Thy name.

Keep me walking steadfastly towards the country of everlasting delights, that paradise-land which is my true inheritance. Support me by the strength of heaven that I may never turn back, or desire false pleasures that will disappear into nothing. As I pursue my heavenly journey by Thy grace let me be known as a man with no aim but that of a burning desire for Thee, and the good and salvation of my fellow men.

.... Thankful that you are all I need. You met me at the very deepest point of my need and have no desire to keep me there
.... May your love constrain me into holy obedience
.... Let me be known as a man with no aim but that of a burning desire for You

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Contentment

Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee, acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love.

When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin's tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself.

When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things. Though now I have His graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten that day. myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Morning Prayer

Compassionate Lord, Thy mercies have brought me to the dawn of another day. Vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace, increase in knowledge, ripen for spiritual harvest. Let me this day know Thee as Thou art, love Thee supremely, serve Thee wholly, admire Thee fully. Through grace let my will respond to Thee, knowing that power to obey is not in me, but that Thy free love alone enables me to serve Thee. Here then is my empty heart, overflow it with Thy choicest gifts; here is my blind understanding, chase away its mists of ignorance.

O ever watchful Shepherd, lead, guide, tend me this day; without Thy restraining rod I err and stray. Hedge up my path lest I wander into unwholesome pleasure, and drink its poisonous streams; direct my feet that I be not entangled in Satan's secret snares, nor fall into his hidden traps. Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself. My adversaries are part and parcel of my nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact. In my rising up and sitting down they barnacle me; they entice with constant baits; my enemy is within the citadel. Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day.

.....May I grow in grace and increase in knowledge.
.....May I know You, love You, and serve You for who You are
.....Through grace let me respond to You as You lead, guide and direct me

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Longings After God

My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator! Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to Thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with Thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its beloved. Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering.

.... I love this part, "Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee."

....and this part, "Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering."

Make me more like You!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Puritan Prayer~ Devotion

God of my end, it is my greatest, noblest pleasure to be acquainted with Thee and with my rational, immortal soul; it is sweet and entertaining to look into my being when all my powers and passions are united and engaged in pursuit of Thee, when my soul longs and passionately breathes after conformity to Thee and the full enjoyment of Thee; no hours pass away with so much pleasure as those spent in communion with Thee and with my heart.

O how desirable, how profitable to the Christian life is a spirit of holy watchfulness and godly jealousy over myself when my soul is afraid of nothing except grieving and offending Thee, the blessed God, my Father and friend, whom I then love and long to please, rather than be happy in myself! Knowing, as I do, that this is the pious temper, worthy of the highest ambition, and closest pursuit of intelligent creatures and holy Christians, may my joy derive from glorifying and delighting Thee. I long to fill all my time for Thee, whether at home or in the way; to place all my concerns in Thy hands; to be entirely at Thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own. Help me to live to Thee for ever, to make Thee my last and only end, so that I may never more in one instance love my sinful self.

.... May my life be lived in such a way that I become afraid of nothing except grieving and offending God. May I understand that my chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. May He be my all in all. He is truly all I need. May I find my complete and utter satisfaction in Him and in Him alone.

Friday, July 22, 2011

GFchurch Update

On July 10th at Gateway Fellowship, Zach Snow taught part2 of a series on Biblical Community. If you missed the service you can catch it here at GatewayTV . This past Sunday we looked at what it means to be One with the Father. We talked about the church as a body and how we are called to be One in community and ministry. We looked at John 17:20-26

20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

If you were not able to be here this past Sunday, you can catch the service here at July17@GatewayTV

Here are a few ways to stay connected with our church::

Gateway Fellowship Facebook
Gateway Fellowship Twitter

Here are a few things coming up in the life of our church::

...Gateway Ladies Bunco Night, Saturday, July 23 @6:15pm @GFchurch
...Family Worship and Luncheon, Sunday, July 31
...Promotion Sunday, August 7

ConnectGroup Schedule::

WedNite 7pm @GFchurch

I love our church
I love our people
I love our team
I love what He is doing in us
I love what He is doing to us
I love what He is doing through us

Dominican Download

I have been home now from the Dominican Republic for about 10 days and I am already excited about our trip back in December. During our last visit we were able to visit with a lot of people and ministries around the area. My head is spinning about the possibilities that are in front of us in the Dominican. I would ask that you would join with me in praying for Pastor Manny and his work in the villages / bateys of Monte Largo and Dos Hermanos. Our school, Greenville Christian, has basically adopted the community of Monte Largo and look forward to our partnership in ministry with Pastor Manny, Julio and Mercy.

While there we were able to meet with Bob and Diane who are opening Josiah's House which is an orphanage for boys. We spent our time with them talking about our return trip in December and the possibility of doing some future ministry events together. They are great people and have great hearts. Please pray for Josiah's House and the work that is to be done there.

We traveled to Santo Domingo where we met with the headmaster of a christian school in town that educates close to 180 students from K-8th grade. This school reminds us a lot of GCS back home. They have learned to do a lot with a little. The headmaster is a man who loves the Lord and frequently told us that everything they do at this school is based on the gospel. The name of the school is Centro Educativo Buenos Nuevas (Good News)

We are already working on another trip in July of next year as well. We will be beginning putting together an opportunity to collect shoes for the people in the bateys there. Many of them do not have shoes, much less clothes and the basic needs of life. We are working towards helping them with purchasing a water tank for the batey as well. They do get water but only for a very short period of time during the day. If we could get a water tank, it could be filled during the day, when the water is on, and then it could serve the needs of the batey at all hours. We are also praying towards the installation of two faucets in the batey which would help distribute the water through the batey and allow the people to get the water when they needed it.

Pray for Manny, Julio, Mercy, Bob, and Dianne. Pray that the Lord would continue to grant them favor with all of those that they come in contact with. Pray for them as the model the gospel with their lives. Pray for an opportunity for you to go to the Dominican Republic and partner in ministry with us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011~ Dominican Republic

We are headed home in the morning. We spent our last day here in the Dominican Republic down at Chez Irene conversing with Irene and letting her know we would be back in December. I am praying for her and praying for the relationship that has begun and will continue even while we are gone, through Julio and Mercy.

At breakfast this morning, we met Bob and Diane who are opening Josiah's House which is an orphanage for boys. We spent our time with them talking about our return trip in December and the possibility of doing some future ministry events together. They are great people and have great hearts. Please pray for Josiah's House and the work that is to be done there.

Pray for our friends Julio and Mercy, who are our friend and partners in ministry here in the DR. We have really enjoyed our week together and the dreams that have come out of it. I love spending time with people who have a heart for the gospel and long to model it with their lives.

Our flight leaves at 6:20 am so we will be getting up early and heading to the airport to get there 2 hours before time. With that knowledge, I will leave you with this and catch back up with you in the states.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011~ Dominican Republic

Our trip is winding down to the last few days. I will fly back home Tuesday morning. Today has been another day full of conversations about future ministry opportunities here in the Dominican Republic.

We started the day down at Chez Irene, as usual, to have breakfast. Irene has been a gracious host and has been joy to talk about life with. This morning we talked again about her growing up in the Pentecostal church and about the time she was married to her husband, who was a preacher. She still talks as though there is not anything one thing that is 100 percent true and that the Bible has a lot of great things we can do. I am continuing to pray for her and the relationship that Julio and Mercy are able to continue here in Juan Dolio.

We attended church this morning in Santo Domingo at Grace. The service was great. It is always refreshing to hear the manyu different languages that God's people sing in. As they were singing in Spanish, we were able to follow in English and sing together. We sing many of the same songs in our worship services back in the states. After talking to the worship leader for a little while about Chris Tomlin, Lincoln Brewster, Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp, Phil Wickham and Hillsong, he asked me if I could give him some other recommendations for worship. Needless to say, this was a fun conversation. The church service was very energetic and the pastor was great. After the service, Mercy basically highlighted the sermon for us in English, so we would have a better idea of what all was said. This is the church that has the faith project / Christian school in Santo Domingo also. We ate lunch with the pastor of the church and a few of the elders and had a great time talking about his vision for the school and what he felt like the Lord was leading him to.

You can find pictures of the school here

We finished up the evening back at La Movida, where the pizza is amazing and the gospel centered conversations with Steve, Julio and Mercy were even better.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9, 2011~ Dominican Republic

Today has been full of great things. We started off eating breakfast down at Chez Irene. We invited Julio and Mercy this morning so they could meet Irene and continue the relationship after we leave. They have already invited her to a local church they attend here in the area.

After breakfast we headed to Boca Chica to check out all the baseball games that were being played by the players who are at the baseball academies that are owned and operated by the big leagues. We were able to see the Reds, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Twins, Cubs, Marlins, Rangers and Mets organizations. You can see pictures here

When we left there, we headed to eat lunch with Vincent and his friend Max. Vincent is a close friend of Julio and Mercy. He is from Italy and comes here for business mostly but sometimes he visits just for pleasure. This trip is just for pleasure. Vincent is a great guy and his friend Max served as a representative for the Italians here in the Dominican for a while but he has ventured out on his own into some other areas of business, mainly helping people see what this country is all about. Did I tell you that Max speaks like 4 or 5 different languages? These two connections were great to make and we will be spending some time with both in the near future.

We left lunch and headed towards Monte Largo, where we were able to meet with Pastor Manny and discuss some ministry projects. We also had the privilege of being able to provide a meal for this community. For many of them, it was probably the only meal that they were able to eat all day. There are some pictures of the church and the people here

We ended the evening down the street at La Movida, where I had Hawaiian Pizza with fresh pineapple and ham on it. It was by far the best Hawaiian pizza I have ever had. We spent the night continuing conversations about our future ministry trips and ministry partnerships. I love these people

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011~ Dominican Republic

Today has been a great day of amazing Gospel centered conversations. We went back down to Chez Irene for breakfast and continued our conversation with Irene, our new 75yr old friend from Sweden who runs Chez Irene out of the front of her house. She thinks the Bible has a lot of great things for us to think about but doesn't necessarily believe that there is anything that is 100 percent true. She loves and studies humanistic thinking, even though she was once married to a pastor and grew up in a pentecostal home.

After breakfast we headed to Santo Domingo where we met with the headmaster of a walked christian school in town that educates close to 180 students from K-8th grade. This school reminds us a lot of GCS back home. They have learned to do a lot with a little. The headmaster is a man who loves the Lord and frequently told us that everything they do at this school is based on the gospel. you can watch the video here

We then headed to Boca Chica where we ate lunch and talked with Julio and Mercy about all the the Lord is doing and dreamed about future ministry together. We then went to what they call the Boca Chica Baseball Complex. This is where many of the major league teams have some of their farm leagues. as we drove through a portion of the complex we saw the Cubs, Soxs, Twins, Reds, Orioles, and Diamondbacks field houses. They start games at 10am tomorrow, so after we go down and visit with Irene, we will head to Boca Chica to watch some baseball.

We ended the evening with dinner at BocaMarina which is awesome. There is a picture posted on my Facebook Page . I have always loved the Dominican Republic but I am falling more and more in love with it daily. I love the conversations we are having about the gospel and ministry opportunities that lie ahead of us in the near future.

Tomorrow, we will be heading out to see Pastor Manny and his church plant in Monte Largo. We are actually going to be able to provide a meal for the people there. I am excited about sitting down with Pastor Manny and talking about what all the Lord has done since our last visit in December. He has already expressed the need for shoes for the people of Monte Largo. This will be something we will be looking at in the very near future.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7, 2011~ Dominican Republic

I am back in the Dominican Republic. We will be bringing some students here in December and we are trying to put some final details together for that trip. I woke up this morning and was able to spend some time studying the scriptures as I gazed out over my balcony into God's beautiful creation.

I love spending time with Julio and Mercy, they are great friends and serve as amazing ministry contacts here in the Dominican Republic. We are praying for some very big God sized things to take place in the future.

We walked down the street this morning looking for some breakfast. I noticed a sign that said, "we speak English, Spanish and French". I walked up to the lady and asked her is they served breakfast. She replied, "what do you want? would you like eggs and ham and coffee?" Of course, I could not refuse so I tole her yes. We sat down and I watched her walk down the street to the market and come back with some eggs. Not too long later, I had fresh scrambled eggs, ham, bread and hot coffee sitting in front of me.

As we ate, we carried on a conversation with Irene. She is from Sweden and has lived her since 2000 when she moved here with her husband. After talking for a little bit, she told us that her husband had passed away in 2002 and she has been living here ever since running this bar cafe'/bar out of the front of her building. We asked her how often she makes lunch, since breakfast was so good. That is when we found out that she doesn't really serve food anymore, because she leases out the space next to her to the restaurant that wasn't open at that time during the morning. I have to be honest, I love the fact that she made us breakfast. The people here seem to be so real. Of course, lets be honest she knew we were not from here and knew she could make a few bucks. So after spending 3.00 on breakfast, we continued our conversation which led to her telling us that she was a retired teacher. We told her we were teachers and that I was a pastor and she began to tell us how she grew up in a pentecostal family.

After several minutes, she told me that she had studied religion but in the humanistic sense. She said she knew nothing was 100 percent true but she knew the Bible had a lot of great things in it to align our lives with. I plan of going and having breakfast a few more times this week, so I can continue my conversation with Irene. Will you pray for her? Will you pray for more gospel moments with her? Will you pray for more gospel centered conversations for us, while we are here?

We went to lunch with Julio and Mercy and then spend some time driving around looking at possible lodging for our mission teams. We will be looking at some other possible ministry sites as well. Pray for our time with the schools we will visit and our time in Monte Largo and Dos Hermanos.