How is your prayer life? Is it more like a drive thru or like a sit down 7 course meal?

For the past three weeks our church (Nueva Vida en Cristo) has been challenged in the area of prayer. I'll shamefully admit that often my prayer life reflects more of a drive thru than a personal one on one time with God.  What habits of thinking get us to request in such a manner so quickly?  What is my view of God when I do this?   We don't like it when the only time we see some people is when they want something from us.  Our view of them is that they only need us when they are desperate.  God wants us to show that we are truly dependent on Him.  In Matthew 6 Jesus gives a model prayer.  It gives us an example of how to have a deeper relationship by remembering who God is and who we really are.  God is over everything.  He doesn't make mistakes.  He is good and what He is doing is good.  He understands what we are going through and He cares.  We on the other hand are dependent on God.  We know nothing, really.  We make plenty of mistakes and we tend to be very selfish and not gracious.

Our prayer life should be consistent.  Problems and difficulties in our lives shouldn't be the driving force that brings us to our knees.  God and who He truly is should humble us.  We need God every second of every day but we don't focus on this enough and therefore why we sometimes pray as if we are going through a drive thru rather than enjoying a full course meal with our Lord.

Matthew 6:9-14

Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
    but rescue us from the evil one.[c]
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.


Learning through trials

This post is one of the hardest I've written.  Sam and I have been missionaries here in Mexico City for nearly 24 years.  Overall we've had a wonderful time serving our Lord here.  Yes, there have been hard times in the ministry but the good times outweigh the bad by far.  Lately, however, we've been bombarded with discouragement.  It seemed like for awhile we were learning something bad every day.  I didn't want to answer the phone. (of course we did)  To say all this has worn us down would be an understatement.  But at the same time, we have been comforted from God's Word.

God is on His Throne and He is the only one that can save us!  Sometimes when Life is going good we forget who God is and who we really are.  We forget who to live for.  We forget who should truly be praised.   Pray for us as we continue to grow in showing God's love no matter what the circumstance.  Sam challenged our church from the Word on loving each other as God would even in the midst of a sticky situation.  Our mission hasn't changed, folks are still hurting and need a Savior.

Psalm 66:1-5  "Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!  Sing about the glory of his name!  Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! your enemies cringe before your mighty power.  Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs."  Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people! "

God's deeds are awesome!  We remind ourselves everyday that God is good and He is in control. We as a church continue to be in a limbo state.  Our church meets in three homes on Sundays.  We look forward to the time when we are able to have our own place.  Please continue to pray for us and our church Nueva Vida en Cristo (New Life in Christ).


Moving to the next chapter...

This year in April our church Nueva Vida en Cristo, will be celebrating 10 years!  I can't believe ten years have past.  Our congregation has experienced both highs and lows, but it all has been good!  This is how God wants us to view life and it's difficulties.  It is easy to enjoy the highs but the lows are things we don't care to repeat if we have a choice.  But as in all things, God has a plan and has a lesson which will shape us into reflecting more of Himself.  Church planting is like the best story or movie ever written.  We have gotten to watch God take people that are bogged down with sinfulness and see them blossom into tools that God is using to bring others to Himself.

Life is hard sometimes and folks at Nueva Vida are learning that they always have God on their side if they choose to do "life" His Way. As a church body we are growing in loving each other better and striving to love as God has loved us...sacrificially.  But this isn't always easy is it?

Like the parable that Christ shared, we too have had some folks act as though they were followers of Christ, only to learn that when a biblical choice needed to be made, they chose a path of their own.  Our hearts have ached over these folks and still ache.  Nueva Vida is God's church and He is in the gardening business.  He is the one that allows the seeds to mature into fruit producing plants and trees.  All trees need pruning and most often it is very painful.  Some trees shrivel up and die once they are pruned because they couldn't handle it.  Others produce more fruit as a result of having eliminated worldliness  in their lives.

We have much to be thankful for!  God is always at work in our lives and others around us!  His Church is growing in godliness!  We are now taking that next step in the life of a church plant--buying property!  The first five years we were meeting in our house until we were busting at the seams.  The past five years we've had the privilege of congregating in a recreational park called Cholita.  Meeting at a park is very attractive to folks and we've gotten to see who is truly serious about loving God with everything they have.  Recently since our Christmas program God has brought more visitors than ever before which has been very encouraging!  The ministry however has been limited to mainly activities on Sundays due to renting.  We are so excited to see what this next chapter God has for us!  Pray with us for wisdom as we have to find the right property at the right price!  We know that God has a perfect place for us!

 Pray with us as these properties might be what God has planned for us.  We are looking at purchasing nearly 1/2 an acre.  We could have a lot of different kinds of ministries on this size of property.  The place we've been renting for the past five years has sold and the need to find something is now more urgent.  Of course, this isn't a surprise to God.  He has known since the beginning of Time that this would occur at this exact time and He also knows the future!  We are preparing ourselves for another chapter in this wonderful adventure!


So much time has passed...

I don't know where to begin.  My last post was in February and much has happened in these past five months.  We've had the Youth Retreat at the end of March.  Kid's Day was the end of April.  Mother's Day in May, Marriage Retreat the beginning of June and finally Father's Day.  In between all this we had our daily routine of homeschooling which lasted until the beginning of June.  June 19th we flew to  Indiana to celebrate the graduation of our son Nathaniel.  He completed his Master's of Divinity.  We spent five weeks celebrating many things!  We held a surprise 40th Wedding Anniversary Celebration for my parents!  We also enjoyed a Hornbrook Gathering in Tennessee.  We celebrated July 4th with the Worrell Clan!  We then went to Ohio where we rejoiced with Sam Sr. when he received his 50 year pin from Baptist Mid-Missions.  We received our 25 year pin!  We had a wonderful time with our older children and getting to know their special friends.  This is a brief overview.  I will try and do better at posting.   On the ministry side, God continues to do amazing things at Nueva Vida!  We appreciate your prayers as we begin to start up another Bible Seminary.  Sam and another missionary will be teaching on Saturday mornings starting this Fall.  I will post some of the highlights from the past five months!

Nathaniel's Graduation from Seminary!
Natalie, Nathaniel and Nicole
Nathaniel and Julia
Natalie and Andrew
Youth Retreat
Kid's Day Mime Team
Marriage Retreat
My wonderful parents!



Teacher Training Course

For six weeks we stayed after church on Sunday and had an intense training for our teachers.  The training lasted 3 hours each Sunday.  Our teachers learned so much.  Cindy Castillo, a missionary here in Mexico City, and a dear friend, did a wonderful job of focusing on the importance of teacher prep and digging deep into God's Word.  This past Sunday 11 of the 30 plus teachers gave 15 minute lessons in front of their peers and children.  I was so proud of them!  Our team of teachers has tripled!

Valentine's Day Dinner

We had a wonderful time at our Valentine's Day Dinner.  We had 40 adults (20 couples) enjoy a special prepared meal of smoked pork chops with raspberry chipotle sauce, mashed potatoes, bread, pasta salad, lettuce salad and a buffet of desserts!  We had a fantastic time fellowshipping, eating and playing minute to win it type of games.  Of course we had our version of the Newly Wed Game also!  We finished the evening with a testimony from Alberto and Karla.

Fun time!

You just can't beat the weather here during the winter!!