Thursday, August 27, 2009

Better than Peter Pan

Smudgy protecting the property while enjoying the view
At Samuel Project
Kids playing at Samuel Project

okay! so we (steven, luis, wellington, & sagares) finally finished the "belt" on wellington's house (the step before the roof). Once the roof is established we can start working on the inside and hopefully get Wellington and his family moved in soon.

Also today Sagares and I took a trip to the favela (ghetto) to teach english to children. Sagares teaches once a week through a christian program called "Samuel's project." I got to read the 4-10 year olds a story and how to ask and say what their names are in a sentence in english. I will probably continue to teach english to the same kids every other week for the remainder of my stay in brasil.

Unfortunately, one thing that brasil does not have is peanut butter. I brought a jar of JIF with me but i devoured it already. So steven, also being a peanut butter connouseur, and I had an idea to make our own using roasted peanuts, oil, salt, and a tad of sugar. It came out a bit too roasted and a little too salty but it is nonetheless delicious! We look forward to perfecting the art.

Tomorrow I leave for Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful places on earth but also the most ridden with drug trafficking and sin. James, Stephen, and I will be ministering to families who are a part of the ARC and others who wish to be a part of the ARC. Also maybe a little surfing!

Thank you for listening to those of you who are following! I appreciate it so much!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

AIR Conference (Alliance for Renewal Churches)

All the churches Tom Padley formed over the year in his ministry are a part of an organization called ARC, which Tom belongs to in the United States. It was four days full of praise, food, teaching, and meeting new people.

At dinner one day, a guy came up to me and said, in portuguese, that he had a vision that God has a plan for me to work with youth, especially young men. I seem to be able to relate to young people well, but this thought never occurred to me.

My portuguese improved tremendously on this trip as I was with people who knew no or only a little broken english. I was glad for this opportunity because I made many friends that i’ll keep in touch with.

It seems like everywhere I go, people cry and weep and pass out at worship service. It wasn’t until Sagares told me that many people use the Holy Spirit like a drug. It’s a way to feel good, then one can go back to their regular lives and not change a thing. I don’t car about getting a spiritual high. I just want to be changed. A working relationship is important to me. Whatever I do, I want it to be organic. Something I want to do or something I can’t control. Like the last day of the conference. I could understand the words to the music and the music was so celebratory of what God had done over the last three days that I couldn’t help but dance. Maybe that’s what the Holy Spirit feels like. I’d rather live like Jesus would than experience some supernatural feeling. I just want to be changed. Heaven will be unlike anything we could experience on earth in our small deceitful minds. So why not die to ourselves and our feelings now and focus on doing solely God’s work?

Friday, August 14, 2009

I found the answer I was looking for

One of the biggest reasons i came to Brazil was to find out what i wanted to do with my life. I’m good at a lot of things but never felt passionate enough to decide which of my talents i would focus on for a career. I finally found it. I want to serve and live for Jesus Christ for the rest of my life. period. I don’t care what i’m good at or what my passions are. My rewards for my earthly passions wait for me in heaven, an insurmountable amount of times better than they would be here. I want to live directly for Him and he will show me what he wants me to do. I wanted to do certain things while i’m here in Brazil like get better at guitar, skateboarding, drawing, building relationships, leading music, etc. None of that matters anymore. I want to be with the Lord, nothing else. I was talking with James and he gave me this analogy. The Lord says “here is an ice cream cone. You can have this ice cream cone, or, if you wait, I’ll give you an ice cream factory in heaven. Not just any factory though, one with flavors that you haven’t dreamed of and you’ll like! It’s your choice.” Basically we can live to be a doctor or a professional sports player in this life, or we can live for Christ now and get so many more rewards in heaven.

Revival is coming here to Brazil unlike anything i’ve seen in the States. During worship people fall on the ground, shake, scream, weep. This is not fake either. It is written in the Bible that the Holy Spirit moves anytime 2 or more people meet in his name (Matthew 18:20). The difference here is that people don’t wait for God to do something. They are learning not to conjure feelings and be synthetic. God will move wherever you are. It says so in Psalm 139. When the Holy Spirit moves through his followers, he does something. The depth of that something depends on your heart. Receive God where you are and realize that you are broken and need him. Give God pleasure by seeing your heart broken for him, and he will make himself known to you. I realize that i’ve experienced this encounter from the Holy Spirit as well but only in tastes. Moments that you do something that I can’t control. We truly serve an organic God. Nothing is forced unless man tries to conjure something himself. This is why we can’t just play just songs at church for worship anymore. Songs are songs. The goal is to lead the congregation into a place where God can reveal himself and change in real ways. We don’t need to do anything except someone who wants to please Him. The Holy Spirit is the one working. Power Points take the organic nature of God away. God may do something different than we prepared for the week prior when we made the Power Point.

God doesn’t need music to make worship powerful. There is an interesting story that James told me about one time he was going to lead worship. Most everyone where he was going knew about him and wanted to hear him sing, but God told him not to play music. He told the crowd of hundreds of people to raise their hands and let the Holy Spirit minister to them. He left the crowd in silence while he prayed with his family. He came back out an hour later and everyone was on the floor, passed out. They didn’t need him to worship so he did it again the second night. On the third night he played music and everyone celebrated what God did on the days prior.

Instead of conjuring feelings by singing words we don’t mean, we need to ask ourselves why we don’t feel like singing and ask for the Lord to enter our hearts there. People shouldn’t sing if its not organic, not of the Lord. However, my heart has never been broken to this point yet so i won’t know how to lead others into this place. But i so desperately want people in the States to receive this kind of revelation and powerful movement from Jesus.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beautiful Horizons

A treehouse we helped Nehemiah, Josiah, and Azaph finish.

A jazz cortet from Cleavland
Dead tired.


This one is for you, mom. I am being well fed, no need to worry. I get home cooked meals everyday and they are not just any meals. Everyday at lunch I get some sort of cooked meat and potatoes, two things which were never meant to be separated. Everything i’ve had here i like. Kathy and Jennifer are excellent bakers and cooks. Banana nut cake, Romeo & Juliet (a cake with a mix of cream cheese and jelly), steaks, pork, the most delicious macaroni i’ve had in my life, chicken hearts, and palm hearts barely scratch the surface of the brazilian cuisine. Hamburgers here have corn and eggs thrown in. I never would have thought of it, but it is sensational. You can also get juice from any fruit you could think of i.e. pineapple, passionfruit, or even drinking from coconuts. I can’t wait until i go to the amazon where the natives will hunt and cook just about anything that is available.


James Padley has been a real blessing and mentor to me. It’s so easy to talk to him and he has an opinion on almost anything. He’s not afraid to state the obvious or ask personal questions which is great because i have come to trust him enough to tell him anything. He’s an honest and genuine guy and very accomplished. Truly he is consistent about what he preaches and definitely passionate. The relationship he has with his wife is something to be admired. He believes that he is the happiest man in the world, there is no woman better than his wife, and what they have is gold. How i know he isn’t being synthetic is that he says it without his wife being there, so there is no one to impress or flatter. I’m considering changing my views on the subject of dating and courtship due to our copious conversations. We are very similar in that we both love playing guitar and love comedy and share a passion for loving people. When i look at him, it almost like looking at a future me, or rather what i would want to be, though we still have our differences. He is knowledgeable on the bible having read it 8 times cover to cover as well as many facts that exist between the lines. Whether its sitting by a fire or having a conversation in the car, he has taken it upon himself to pour into me and help me find what I want and what God wants for my life. He hates religion. He lives completely off the support of others, depending on the Lord for everything. He has over 400 songs and hasn’t sold any of them, but rather giving them away for free. His style of leading worship is completely improv, depending on the holy spirit to lead him and an audience of 300 youth, which for anyone else would be intimidating.. It’s so easy to agree with him; I don’t know whether he is just persuasive or he is speaking the truth. My guess would be the latter. I had my first beer with him. A brazilian beer made from wheat, not barley. Very smooth, not bitter like most other beers. He has seen some pretty crazy things in his life including an army of angels (not only him but 30 others with him) and demons in his bedroom. Also he likes metal, which is rad.

Paul’s Ranch

Paul’s Ranch is an enormous vacation getaway. It is beautiful and is fit for kings. It’s purpose is to take in pastors and their families for rest or teaching. James was going there to do worship and translate for a pastor from Texas (I was already skeptical). The first words to come out of this guy’s mouth were something like this, “I have preached to thousands of people all over the world. But here tonight, I feel honored because I am teaching to a room full of pastors, God’s elite.” And imagine having to be the one to translate that. I heard three sermons from him and never did he forget to say that he spoke to the thousands and healed the sick all over the world. That doesn’t sit well with me, and that is a huge understatement. To me this means nothing. I don’t care how many people you “save” or preach to. Change happens with a constant loving relationship.

Although his start was offensive to me, his preaching was actually pretty good and informed. He talked about the bible as a whole first and how we don’t understand it because we don’t know its real name. I forget the Hebrew, but the “bible” actually means, “to cut where blood flows.” We don’t understand the bible because it’s written in something called “covenant language.” In short, the bible is full of promises, but not just any promises. When a covenant is made, blood is taken from both parties, mixed and consumed. There is an exchange of the robes (a symbol of heritage and pride) and an exchange of debts and assets. When a covenant is made, two people become one. Everything one person has becomes the others. He did not stop here. This is exactly what Jesus does with us when we give our hearts to him. He covers all our debts and we get all the assets of a God with limitless power. He gave his blood for us and clothes us with his robes. He has given us all of his weapons i.e. the ability to move mountains and drive out demons. So we don’t have old and new “testaments.” It’s an old and new Covenant. And Jesus made the new covenant for humans to obtain God after the Fall..

The next day he began to speak about the passover. Specifically in the old testament and the first passover. Then he began to connect the lamb, that was checked three days before butchered, to Jesus, who was on trial for three days before his death. There are a ton of comparisons: they would take the lamb outside the city before being butchered with the sins of the people on the lamb’s head, they would cut the lamb on the neck for passover rather than down the back, etc.

At the end of the weekend, he called people up to the front to be healed. To one woman he explained that she could command her brother on death row to accept Jesus because God gives us that authority. If anyone commanded me in the name of Jesus I would be offended and not trust Christians. People have a choice to follow Jesus.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

tuesday july 21, 2009

well its been over 2 weeks now.

Once every three days about, I go to wellington’s place and help him mix concrete for his house. Wellington is, for lack of a better word, amazing guy. He manages to work a full time job as a security guard for a condominium, a place he would never be able to stay in, support a family, and build his own house and he only makes 700 reis a month (about 350 dollars). Though we can’t communicate really well we do have some simple conversations. I found out that it wasn’t until last month that he met his father, brother, and sister. Also he is hilarious and very light-hearted. I look forward to working with him more.

Reading the bible is more fun than i thought it would be. I purposely didn’t bring any other books except for this one just so i would be motivated to read it. I’m starting with the gospels, and yes, i’ve never read a gospel all the way through yet. i’m a pastor’s kid. pathetic i know. But jesus is flipping awesome. He took everything that the jew’s knew and turned it on its head. seeing it in a new light. He wasn’t tame either, insulting and countering the pharisees with logic is something i thought i would never find. I wish i could heal like he or the 12 disciples could. I prayed healing over Nelson before he left in the name of jesus, but to no avail. He’s been back in the states for a week and is still sick. i won’t let it discourage me though.