June 2019 Sports Ministry Update
Hello all and happy summer! Our baseball league is in full swing and we have completed another set of Bible memory verses. The verses continue to focus on the foundational truths that we are all sinners in need of a savior. We are all on the same level as humans in that we all deserve the punishment of hell. Yet, we cannot make ourselves righteous or innocent before God, there needed to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins given the example of atonement set forth in the Old Covenant. That sacrifice was Jesus who offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world once and for all, and now we are saved by grace through faith so that no man can boast. Thank you Jesus for that! We also have now entered rainy season in Nicaragua and that means that the time of harvesting sugar cane (the main job provider in our city in Chichigalpa) has come to an end. I would like to share a story and some thoughts about times of sowing and harvesting.
One day after feeling frustrated because my kids could not pay attention for even ten seconds, I was so irritated and feeling like it was pointless trying to explain something that so many intelligent adults fail to grasp to kids. A few minutes after having those thoughts I was getting ready to leave the base and there were two kids from another team talking about the weekly Bible verses that we hand out on strips of paper. One said to the other, “I have all the verses saved and I keep them in a box! I tape the one we have for the week on the ceiling above my bed so I can look at it and learn it easier.” After hearing him say that I was also reminded of various times that I had heard different kids say the same thing, that they had saved all their verses. It convicted me and encouraged me in knowing that we have no idea in how God will work in and on individuals’ hearts. What mighty hand do I have to convict people of their sin, lead them to repentance and faith in Christ alone? Jesus said in John 16:8, “When He (the Counselor) comes He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement.” Jesus also says earlier in John 6:44 and 54, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him.” Without getting into deep theology, the overwhelming thing that I understand is that it is about God, His sovereign will and His glory. I am thankful and glad that it is God that enables so that I couldn’t take any part in it and think, “Oh, it was because of what I did.” Or, “It was because of the way I explained the verse or gave the teaching.” It isn’t false humility because I have thought those things. Where do I get off even thinking that there is something that I could do? The harvest is His! In Matthew 6:36 Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask THE LORD of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into HIS harvest field.” If a farmer knows what workers to send and what job to instruct them to do, how much more so the God of the universe? The fact is each of us can play a different role in the process, “Thus the saying ‘One sows and one reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor” (Jesus talking to His disciples in John 4:37-38). I know very little about what all goes in to the actual preparing, sowing and harvesting of a field. I can imagine it is quite intensive with a variety of different jobs and processes needed to take place. Jesus seems to imply that as far as His harvest goes there are people who take part in the different phases. This makes sense because we are a BODY with different giftings, abilities and functions yet all working together for the glory of God. I must believe it is God who does the actual saving work, but that does not diminish or discourage us from being obedient to what the Bible teaches us to do as believers in Jesus as our savior. But what it means to me is that we might not take part in the harvest or even see it. So I urge you in accordance to the example of Jesus, who did not come to be served but to serve, to use your freedom in Christ and, “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:17). After all, you have no idea what part you could be playing in God’s harvest.
Below are a few of the kids who have saved all their verses. My prayer is that whenever they read those verses that they are reminded of the truth that has been taught and that truth will lead them to repentance of sins and submission to Jesus Christ. Thank you all for you prayers and support. May God bless you all.