Saturday, February 27, 2010

lazaro

today we celebrated the key ceremony for lazaro's family. it was a great day, but extra special when you know a little bit more about lazaro. check this out...

lazaro was born into a very poor family in the town of buena vista. his father died when he was just a baby. at only the age of 3, his mom died. he was left with his grandma, who was his last living relative. three years later, his grandma died.

at 6 years old he had no one left. living in a place so poor that everyone is struggling for food, lazaro was left alone to fend for himself. from age 6 to 14, he lived on the street, bouncing around finding enough food to stay alive.

at age 15 he married a local girl named Carmen.

today, along with Carmen and 5 of his 9 children, we welcomed him into his "dream home".

the hope that i shared with Lazaro today is that this gift of a new home represents God's love for him.

a love that carried him through a difficult life. a love that never forgot about him and never let him go. and a love that still has a great purpose for his life.

i look forward to a much deeper friendship with Lazaro. but i pray that, for now, he understands that while the home he was given today is only temporary, it represents something wonderfully eternal - the relentless love of Jesus.

click here for a short video of lazaro's story

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison..." 2 cor 4:16-17

Friday, February 26, 2010

baptism's and beer chugs

during last year's mens trip to guatemala, my friend alex gave his life to Christ. on this year's trip, my brother - who has been his spiritual mentor and friend for years - had the privilege of baptizing alex in guatemala. it was an incredible experience and a special day... not only for alex and chad, but for all of us who were able to share the moment.

that night, during a group dinner at Monoloco in antigua, another buddy of chad's challenged alex to a beer chug. no rookie himself, alex accepted the challenge...

i'll never forget alex's comment to me the next morning. "what a day yesterday. i was baptized in guatemala, the place i found Jesus, by my friend who led me to the Lord... i hiked an active volcano...roasted marshmellows over the lava...toured antigua...then finished off the day with a beer chug contest against Ed O. man... i slept like a rock, and can't help but wonder what today has in store!"

i have told that story to a lot of people. as i tell it, i celebrate the paradox of grace and truth. i love how alex's day represents the freedom that we have in Christ. that his old life was symbolically washed away in the pool, and he came up from the water with a new life in Christ Jesus.

i love that he didn't come up from the water a religious stiff. that he didn't come up with a new list of "rules" in hand. a new life-manual of do's and dont's that help make you more "holy".

and i love that his group of Christian friends aren't encouraging him towards this canned variety of faith. that he can have a beer with buddies who understand boundaries and hold one another accountable.

i love that alex is a fun-loving, fun-having, fun-filled young guy with the majority of his life ahead of him. i hope his spirit of fun and joy never changes.

when i think of alex i think of his huge heart. i think of his love for this place (guatemala) and for these people. i think of his love for the poor in general. i dream of how many more memories we will have together, and how many people we will help together.

i pray that as he matures in his faith and grows in his love God and his knowledge of God, he holds tight to the freedom that he has in Christ. a freedom to be funny, goof off, have fun, and chug a brew.

i pray that as he grows in Christ, he maintains a hatred for all sin, and a passion for grace and truth.

i am thankful that he has a community of believers in charlotte that don't seek to make him a robotic american-christian prototype.

alex: be careful as people tell you what you need to become. i have watched too many people get weird and legalistic after getting "plugged in" to a certain version of Christianity. stay who you are! stay in his Word, stay close with your Christian buds, and God will refine you as He sees fit.

Friday, February 19, 2010

proverbs 21:13


"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

God is God

its been a challenging week. there is potential for a lot of change on the horizon, and we are truly feeling the need to seek God and follow Him.

do you ever feel a great sense of comfort just basking in the thought that God is God? that no matter what, there He sits on the mighty throne, with nothing out of His control?

ahhh... that is simply the most settling and comforting thought i can come up with.

a friend sent a passage the other day, and i found it completely amazing. i had read it many times before (and always seem to remember ren mckormick reading it in the movie footloose!).

but on this particular day it spoke to me differently. maybe someone out there is having a similar type of day/week/month?

a time to break down, and a time to build up,
a time to weep, and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn, and a time to dance
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
a time to seek, and a time to lose
a time to keep, and a time to cast away,
a time to tear, and a time to sew,
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak...

i hope the word of God encourages you today like it did me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

before/after - marroquin family home

just celebrated the completion of 2 more 12x12 love project homes!

i'm going to try to make short, easy to watch 2 minute videos of the before/after stories with these homes.

each story and transformation is SO AMAZING. please take the 2 minutes to check it out.

CLICK HERE for the marroquin family video.

garcia family coming soon...