Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ,
I am continuing where I left off with September's journal by sharing a few more highlights of my trip to Guatemala.
The morning of September 29, Cesar and I made the 3 ½ hour drive to Chocola where we met Pastor Ismael. It was raining hard but we were determined to meet with six pastors in their individual churches to give them each an audio player containing the New Testament in Quiche. God delivered us safely to five of the churches. We didn't attempt to go to the sixth church because of the weather.
By the way, a few days after I left Guatemala the flooding took 35 lives and effected close to 200,000 people.
Cesar and I were deeply touched and blessed by the humility and appreciation of the pastors to whom we gave the audio players. We received word a few days later that some had used them within a couple days of receiving them.
We drove to Zela late that night, where we stayed overnight. The next morning, we picked up Pastor Jorge to go with us to give six more pastors the audio players. They expressed the same humility and appreciation the pastors had the day before.
One of the highlights of the day was meeting Pastor Tomas in a little church on a mountain top in Chichicastenango. He is the pastor who first took the Good News to the Quiche in that area in 1972. Believe me, it took a lot of courage and trust in the Lord to take the Gospel to the Mayans 39 years ago in the mountains of Guatemala!
The next major activity on the schedule was a two day evangelism event at Pastor Carlos' church in Guatemala City. Four other churches had agreed to participate in the event. However, the night before the event, three of the churches notified Pastor Carlos that they would not be participating.
That did not discourage Pastor Carlos or his wife Loly. They had faith the Lord would bring the people and provide the resources needed.
The Lord was faithful to bring over 100 children to the children's evangelism event. Between twenty and thirty of them accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. All praise and glory be to God! That is 20-30 children who now have a better chance of not ending up in a gang on the violent streets of Guatemala City.
Another incredible blessing was God bringing us the opportunity to purchase 96 Quiche Bibles at a fraction of their cost. The cost to the organization that published them was $8 USD each, but we were able to purchase them for $1.50 USD each!
Ruth has done an excellent job of building a first class website and it is a getting a lot of visits (52 visits a day seeing 84 pages). However, it is not benefitting our primary ministry to the Mayans and it is expensive to use as our means of communication with those interested in our ministry.
Because our website is ministering to people and it houses our commentaries for downloading, we will keep it active and leave all the information on it.
I want to give a heartfelt thank you from my team, and those receiving the audio players and Bibles, for your generous contributions that allowed us to purchase the players and Bibles.
Our article this month is an excellent article by Dr. Jim Adams, titled “Killing the "Dragon" of Ministerial Jealousy“. Ministerial jealousy is something I have felt and something I have been the recipient of far too many times. Please take the time to read and think about his words.
God has answered many of our prayers but I want to share one answered prayer in particular. I had asked you to join us in praying for funds to conduct the two seminars we have scheduled in the spring of 2012. God answered our prayers in a big way within one week of my returning home. I received the money needed to cover all of the in-country expenses for both the seminars. Some of the donations were small and some were big and they were all given from the heart to help reach the unsaved in the mountains of Guatemala. Thank you Lord and thank you friends!!
1. That the Lord brings us a ministry partner fluent in Spanish and gifted in teaching to teach leadership skills at our seminars.
2. That the Lord brings us the funds to translate and print the commentary on Romans ($900).
3. That the Lord brings us the funds to purchase 20 CD players and CDs containing the New Testament in Quiche ($600).
4. That the floods in Guatemala stop and the Lord provides food and shelter for those losing their homes.
5. That the Lord gives me guidance and wisdom in making decisions about ministry opportunities with the Baptist Convention in Guatemala City. Thank you for supporting SER through your prayers, giving, and words of encouragement.
Your brother in Christ,
"Prayer is the pulse of life; by it the doctor can tell what is the condition of the heart. The sin of prayerlessness is a proof for the ordinary Christian or minister that the life of God in the soul is in deadly sickness and weakness."
- Andrew Murray
"The disease that most threatens the life of the evangelical church is the unbridled passion of applause."
- Dr. J.C. Massee, 1929 (this Pastor recognized a "mega" church)
Jealousy in the ministry is a struggle for every servant of God. There will be no freedom from this disease until we see the glorious glow of the person Jesus Christ and recognize the poverty and meanness of the best of our achievements. On that day ministerial jealousy will be recognized for what it is: a game for children and fools that only serves to damage the kingdom of God and truncate the ministry of those who participate in it.
What are some symptoms of jealousy in the ministry?
To other leaders. . .
To ourselves. . .
The battle against jealousy in the ministry begins with a greater understanding of why it is a sin that dishonors God.
A. Ministerial jealousy reveals that we love ourselves more than we love God.
It reveals that we are thinking only of the success of our "territory" and not the overall advancement of the kingdom of God. We understand that the failure of any minister or ministry is a defeat for the body of Christ, which saddens the heart of God.
Consider the testimony of John the Baptist in the face of the comment that "everyone is going to Jesus." John said:
(1) a servant of God can only receive what God sends,
(2) I am not the Christ,
(3) I am sent to serve Christ,
(4) the wife (the church) belongs to Christ,
(5) I am the friend of Christ, husband,
(6) therefore, I rejoice greatly in the voice of Christ, and
(7) Christ is to grow and I have to shrink (John 3:27 - 30).
Can we say what John the Baptist said?
B. Ministerial jealousy reveals that we love ourselves more than we love our brother.
We want success for ourselves but we do not want success for our fellow servant in Christ. Is this love of self the example of love that Christ expects of us that "ye love one another as I have loved you."
C. Ministerial jealousy reveals that we do not love ourselves correctly.
Ministerial jealously is undeniable proof that we do not accept ourselves as God accepts us and we do not accept the ministry God has given us in his sovereign goodness (Psalm 16:5-6).
When we let ministerial jealousy consume us, we are declaring: "Heavenly Father, you have not been good to me. You have not given me the success I need to be happy."
Ministerial jealousy often drives us to create or improve our "image" as a leader. We strive to be a recognized and admired leader. However, such efforts tend to hinder or destroy the true work that God wants to do in us and through us. Among other consequences, the effort to create, improve or protect our image:
Creates conflicts with others: We see others as competitors in the great "ministry beauty contest." Christian community is ceasing to be a source of strength and fellowship in the ministry.
Fills our souls with falsehood: We fall into the trap of believing that satanic personal glory is the ultimate goal of life. Our hearts are full of hypocrisy in having to hide the true motives of our self-centeredness.
Drowns the grace we need: The pride that permeates ministerial jealousy comes between us and the grace of God which is the only real hope "to be exalted by God" according to the clear teaching of Scripture (1 Peter 5:6, James. 4:10).
A. Recognize that jealousy in the ministry is a struggle for every servant of God.
"Let's face it. We've all been jealous of someone else in the ministry. Jealousy is as old as dirt. We must acknowledge jealousy "as sin" just as adultery, homosexual acts, or theft, are sins. Remember the first murder was motivated by jealousy.
B. Recognize the seriousness of ministerial jealousy as an offense against God, against his kingdom, against our fellow servants and against ourselves.
C. Cultivate the habit of praying for our fellow servants and their families, and for the success of their ministries.
D. Cultivate the habit of speaking well of fellow servants and sincerely appreciate their good qualities and achievements in ministry.
E. Find practical ways to serve fellow servants with real joy.
F. Confess the sin of jealousy in the ministry as often as necessary, and allow the Holy Spirit to make changes in the depths of our being.
G. Use the discouragement that comes in ministerial jealousy to seek God's deep love and affirm our identity as a servant of Him
H. Cultivate a mindset of "abundance" and not "scarcity".
The leader who is at the highest risk is the one who refuses or fails to recognize the temptation of jealousy in the ministry and the destructive power of it.
1. How do I feel in my heart when I hear comments or news about the ministerial successes of another brother? If I cannot rejoice about it, why?
2. Think about the effect of ministerial jealousy on the overall advancement of the kingdom of Christ.
3. Ask yourself if you can take the place God has assigned you as the perfect token of his love for you?
4. Read Psalm 131 twice, reading it to God as your own prayer. How do you feel doing this exercise? What did you learn from it?
Ps 131 “My heart is not proud, O Lord , my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.
5. Meditate on James 3:16-17.
James 3:16-17 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Dr. Jim Adams
SETECA (Central American Theological Seminary)
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