A Prayer Request from Chris…

A little background for those who don’t know Chris. Chris is my brother-in-law and is a missionary with To Every Tribes Missions. He has been trying to build relationships in a small village in southern Mexico and has in fact had a good relationship with a couple of Christians in the village. However, the village leaders are opposed to Christians and specifically to Chris and his team. They have been trying to keep them out of the town while Eva, one of the only Christians, desperately wants them to come in. There is much risk to Chris but I praise the Lord for his heart and boldness. God’s hand is upon him and ahead of him. Here is Chris’ request after his attempt to visit last night…

Hey everyone!

This is an URGENT request for prayer! I am in southern Mexico with two other guys; George, a pastor from California, and Irian, a translator with TETM. They are both great friends of mine and we are working on bringing the gospel into La Barra de la Cruz. Yesterday we went in to the village to go set up camp at Eva´s house, one of the believers, and we were told we could not pass the gate down to the beach area, which is where Eva lives. We were told to talk to the Vice president Jose. This is the same guy who ¨kicked us out¨in February and in April. He was not there so we visited one of the other believers family, Innocenta. We were able to spend some great time with that family and find out that a few of her family were baptized in Huatulco. We are planning to visit this church and get to know them better.

That night around 7 or so we went to the main building in town and spoke to Jose. He basically said that there was a act written to stop us from ever going into La Barra again. George spoke with him for awhile and Jose said the reason for the act is because our religion, because we are Christians and they are Catholic. He told us that he would not show us the äct¨and we are not sure if there really is one. Jose is the one in February that told us that the village wanted us to leave and that he was upset with this and wish we did not have to go, only for us to find out he is the on e who made that decision and the president did not even know about it. So, we are weary on trusting this man and knowing what to do. He told us to leave last night or he would throw us in jail. the decision with the group of us was to regroup in Huatulco and pray. We are now in Huatulco and we are waiting for Eva to visit and for us to go visit this church group that has been coming in and having small services. Jose even said he is just giving them slack now but will stop them soon enough.

Please, PLEASE pray for wisdom and knowledge with the direction to go. Pray for discernment for us as we plan what the Lord’s will. This seems to be the ‘breaking point’ we have been looking for with this village. They are SO hard against the gospel but the people also know our hearts and love for them. David Sitton (founder of TETM) is most likely flying in on Saturday and we will be planning another entry into La Barra. I ask you to take MUCH time in prayer for this entrance into La Barra as well as the wisdom and knowledge to see if this is what God will´s. Pray for God to open the hearts of these people, to shine His light on these people and save His people! Pray for Courage and Boldness for us, PLEASE! It only comes from our Lord and Savior! If we enter back into La Barra there will most likely be persecution or jail for us. May you pray that God will be glorified in our words and actions for His Glory with these people whom I love with all I am. It is all for HIS glory! I was reading through some of Acts last night and I feel like I am in the middle of it. Pray over and above all things, GOD´S WILL BE DONE! Thank you very much for you prayers and thoughts and support! Thank you for holding the rope as I go down into the well, the scars on your hands will be there as much as they are on mine!

For His Glory!

Chris Johnson

Philippians 1:20-21 “it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”

Just some Ezra videos…


and Lunchtime…

From The Valley of Vision

I’m not sure what might come to your mind when you hear someone talk about Puritans… Maybe you think of a severely strict, outdated type of religion. The word puritanical is used mostly in a derogatory way these days. If someone suggests you are puritanical they might think you are uptight, legalistic and a prude. Even evangelicals sometimes try to distance themselves from the idea of being like a puritan because of the misconceptions of others.

You probably know that the Puritan Movement was a religious movement in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries whose influence has continued to this day. According to the foreword in The Valley of Vision… “the strength of the Puritan character and life lay in the practice of prayer and meditation.” This statement indicates that the puritans were actually opposite of legalists.

Prayer and meditation, unless performed like a Pharisee, are private acts of worship. In prayer and meditation we are most honest and sincere – laid bare. If we have no desire for prayer and meditation, there is a serious problem with our spiritual life that will eventually be exposed in our acts of more public worship and christian living. Legalism – Outwardly living a life that is a pretense of spirituality and yet dead inside.

I am thankful for The Valley of Vision which is a testimony to the richness of the spiritual life of the puritan men and women of the past. The following is an example of the humility and concern for ‘heart-work’ in the life of the believer. It is a transparent prayer that is full of humble confession and desire for a sincere, grace-given love.

It is thy will that I should love thee
with heart, soul, mind, strength,
and my neighbor as myself.

But I am not sufficient for these things.
There is by nature no pure love in my soul;
Every affection in me is turned from thee;
I cannot love thee, lovely as thou art,
until thou dost set me free.

By grace I am thy freeman and would serve thee,
for I believe thou art my God in Jesus,
and that through him I am redeemed,
and my sins are forgiven.

With this freedom I would always obey thee,
but I cannot walk in liberty,
any more than I could first attain it, of myself.
May thy Spirit draw me nearer to thee and thy ways.

Thou art the end of all means,
for if they lead me not to thee,
I go away empty.

Order all my ways by thy holy Word
and make thy commandments the joy of my heart,
that by them I may have happy converse with thee.
may I grow in thy love and manifest it to mankind.

Spirit of love, make me love like the loving Jesus;
give me his benevolent temper,
his beneficient actions,
that I may shine before men to thy glory.

The more thou doest in love in me and by me,
humble me the more;
keep me meek, lowly,
and always ready to give thee honour.

I’m not a sentimental person. I cherish memories, but I don’t cherish mementos. I’m not super-sappy or even romantic, really. I don’t love to hug and I don’t like emotional scenes (note – I’m ok with emotion – just not flagrant emotional displays 🙂 ) Somehow, I feel like I should surrender my ‘mother/woman/wife’ id card because all ideal women, mothers, and wives are all the things I’m not!

Ruth sent him this card (via our friend, Brian) while he was on a week-long fishing trip.

I keep forgetting that kids think in VERY literal terms…

Here I am with Daniel at VBS this week (thanks for the pic, Barb). I just love this boy!

Last week we had communion and the kiddos always sit with us and observe. We’ve discussed it with them a little bit, but I realized maybe not enough when this exchange took place as we were leaving the building where the unused full communion cups were being poured back into the grape juice bottles…

Mom: “C’mon guys, we have to get going.”

Daniel: “Mom!!! It’s grape juice!!!!”

Later that night….

Daniel: “Mom, I know what you were drinking at communion. It was grape juice.” (He said as if he was letting me in on a big secret)

Mom: “I know. What did you think we were drinking??”

Daniel: “Blood.”

I guess he pays attention to the service more than I realized.

Ezra’s first 4th of July in the U.S.!!!

Psalm 51 Sin, Confession, Mercy and Grace

“We blow it. We cover. We hide. We realize we’ve got nowhere to hide and somehow, somewhere God meets us, and shockingly he meets us with grace instead of judgement. This is David’s story, my story, your story. Not the legacy of self-righteous, impatient, condemning ‘I’m better than you’ anger, but the harvest of a man of grace giving grace to a man who doesn’t deserve grace but won’t live again without it.”

This Paul Tripp quote is taken from a video clip on Justin Taylor’s, ‘Between Two Worlds’. Justin, who works at Crossway, is reading the soon to be released, Whiter Than Snow by Paul Tripp. He has been posting some wonderful excerpts. If the excerpts are any indication, “Whiter Than Snow” will leave me both convicted and comforted.

Paul Tripp, in an interview with Justin Taylor, says, “My prayer is that Whiter Than Snow would cause people to understand how comprehensive their struggle with sin actually is and how powerful the mercy of God is as well. I think it is healthy for the church to be both the saddest and most celebrant community on earth. If this book pushes us that way I would be delighted!”

Here are some links to the excerpts and video…
First Excerpt and Video
Second Excerpt
Interview with Paul Tripp