Jul 5, 2017

Daddy loves his work!


It's true!  I love to do good hard work...especially when it can help to further the Kingdom.  I want to take a bit of time and let you know what all kinds of work we are involved with down here in Mexico.

We have been here for 15 months now and have had the extreme pleasure of getting to know some of the other workers around us.  Part of my desire down here is to work within the body of Christ and network with those that are doing Kingdom work too.

Some of our very good friends from the States are working with a local preacher in a small pueblo called Mescala.  They are building a church, doing outreach in the surrounding pueblos, and have also started a feeding program for the impoverished children that live in the church's neighborhood.

mixing concrete to build the church
sealing the roof from rain leaks

adding a floor for the Pastor
good ol' fashioned manual labor!











Here's a link to their page: The Hartup Family


Street evangelising 
Pastor Leonel sharing the Word with kids

Leading worship
A bearded gringo on guitar!




























I'm also working in a community center in the middle of the 'roughest' part of Chapala.  It's a barrio called Tepehua.  They have a medical clinic there on Friday's and they let me jump in where I can.  What a blessing it's been to work with these folks! http://www.tepehua.org


The Tepehua Community Center
Part of the clean water system

It is in need of repair
The boys enjoying the sand
Cassie and friends attending a Doula class























We are busy building a transition home at an orphanage north of the campus that is called Hope House.  Here's some pics of the work we are doing.  The Deutro's bring in teams from all over to help with the work there.  Hope House website


I repaired a 'broken hammer' by welding a pipe onto it.
We're making room for electrical conduit
Working at the Hope House
They've got an amazing aquaponics system...just needs a bit of work!











Somehow or another...the local church has talked me into playing piano for them on occasion.

There is also plenty of work here around campus:









We've also had plenty of fun as a family.  AND....We welcome precious baby Melodie to our tribe!




We are looking forward to an extended visit to the States to get the chance to do some fill-in Optometry work too.  The plan is to find a place for our family to stay in New Mexico too.  We are hoping that during our visit in August and September we can find a home and base our ministry from there.  I'm so very thankful to the Lord for all he's brought us through, and that we can work for Him wherever we are!  Please keep us in your prayers...we ask for God's strength, guidance, and that His will be done in our family as it is in heaven!

-Amen

Mar 17, 2017

What would Paul do here?!

That's my question!
 - by Lucas

What would Paul, Peter, James, John, and the others that called themselves apostles do here where I am and in this day?

I've no doubt they would be frustrated.  There is so much deception, so many lies and half-truths here.  It is, most the time, two steps forward, then three steps back.  Ugg.  Some of the folks we deal with are, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a 'stiff-necked' people.  It makes things very frustrating.  Even within the walls of this Youth With A Mission campus, there is oppression, there is staunch opposition, there is pride, anger, deceit, bitterness...why?!?!...because we still have skin on!

Everywhere you find humans living and breathing, there is sin.  Even in a christian community?! Yup.  Even in church?! Yup.  Even in the midst of my 'quiet time' with God, I find my mind wondering off. If I can't stay focused on the truth, how could I expect others to stay focused on the truth.  Paul had that struggle.  I've also no doubt that the rest of the followers, even the one that Jesus loved, had that problem.

What is our solution then?
What can we do as humans to pursue and carry out our Lord's Great Commission?

I can almost hear Paul in the background saying, "Press on towards that goal!  That's what I've been writing to you!  Keep it up, no matter what."  And, he's right.  That's all we can do.  While I have breath in my lungs, I'm going to keep fighting the good fight and pressing on to the goal.

What's the goal?   ....ZERO

The goal is Zero.  Zero people that live around me without a bible.  Zero people who have yet to hear the good news.  Zero tribes, peoples, tongues, and nations that lack the gospel.  Zero is the goal.

I'm not in charge of the frustrations.  I'm not in control of the lies.  I'm not called to deal with the half-truths, opposition, pride, anger, deceit, bitterness, etc...

I'm called to go and do what Jesus has told us all as christians to go and do.

Here's the reference, because I know you want to look it up:

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That's it.  Go!  It sounds so amazing coming from the Master's mouth doesn't it?!  He makes it seam so clear and so simple.  In most aspects it is.  It just takes an attitude of humility, a servants heart, and time.  The time is what gets me most (I've clearly never had any trouble at all being the best, most amazingly and super awesome at being humble!!!)
So, I think back on my life.  I reflect on what God, in His awesomeness, has brought me through.  I must keep Him first.  I must remember always that He has called me, though I am incredibly unworthy, to be doing work for Him here.  That calling must remain supreme in the life of the one who receives it.  God's calling in your life, for example, must reign.  It must be more important that your wants.  It must be more important than your emotions.  It must be more important than your needs, or anything else that is important in your life.  God's call wins.  Period.  That is how we, as sold-out followers of Christ, must live.  Look at Paul, Peter, Andrew, and the rest.  That's how they did it.  They were done with living for themselves.  They were done living life their own way.  They were done living life on 'life's terms'.  After Jesus saved them and send the Spirit into them, they were on FIRE!  They died to themselves, they died to 'life's terms', and they began to really live.  This is life on God's Terms.  He Wins... Period.

And I want what they have!  I want a life that can be worthy of the call I have received.  Frustrations in my life be damned!  I want more!  I want to play, eat, drink, breath, and live on the winning team.  When I live like that, I can see through the current drama.  I can see through the current obstacles, barriers, and road bumps that lay in front of me.  I can see through all these things, because I keep my eye on the Prize.  

"God, may I live the rest of my life in Your truth.  May I never lose focus.  I'm so prone to wonder and loose focus.  I'm so stinkin' human!  Save me from my self, my selfishness.  Keep me in the hollow of your hand.  The hands that formed the sea and the mountain peaks.  I want that.  I want more of You.  I want more of the Spirit in me, and I want to show you I love you with the way I live, and the way I think.  Take me over.  Make me new, today, and always.  Shelter my family, my friends, and those that have hearts for you in the shadow of your wings.  Thank you for sending Jesus so that I may live.  I want to be effective for Your Kingdom. May it come soon!  Amen."

Jan 27, 2017

WHY DON'T THEY KNOW?

Hosea 4:6New American Standard Bible (NASB)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.



Ouch!  Wow.  That one has always been a tough one for me.  How can we know what we don't know?  

I was working with pastor Gary at a rehab center and a gentleman raised his hand at the first of the lecture.  

Before I go further...a side note.  These folks are there because their family or a judge has let them know that it is either this program, prison...or death.  The recovering alcoholics and drug addicts normally sit quietly and listen to pastor Gary's lesson...or just get up and leave, but they rarely are in a mood to ask questions.  

This guy asked Gary, in Spanish of course, "Who is God?"  Gary, not one to stray too terribly far from course, gave a nice quick response adding that he will go into detail on that later, but this lesson would be about, What Is Hell?.  So he continued with his lesson and after around 5 minutes, another hand went up.  This time it was a gentleman on the front row.  

His question was, "Si hay un Dios, puede ser un niƱo, o adulto, o una silla, verdad?"
in english: "If there is a God, He could be a any boy, or any adult or a chair, right?"

Gary tried not to lose composure and calmly replied, "No...He is the All Powerful, Almighty, Ever-present creator of Everything."  I leaned forward, interested in what would happen next.  The pastor looked over at me and said, "unless you have a different opinion, Luke?"  I told him that I didn't have a different opinion, but, in my best Texas accent I responded, "Gary, if I may, I'm chompin' at the bit to add my two cents!"  Gary could tell that I had something that was ready to burst out, and he 'gave me the reigns'.

I still don't know how it happens, but when I get passionate about speaking to someone on the topics of who we are and who God is, it is almost like the Spirit comes upon me and allows me to speak much more passionately and fluently that I normally can.  So I stood up and put my arm on the front-row-guy's shoulder and began to speak to the group of around 20 people.

"I like this guy," I started, "you can just tell that he is intelligent!  It is so very good to be intelligent isn't it?  I lived my life on pure intelligent head-knowledge for years and years!  Here's my question for you though, "What did your intelligence get you, sir?"

-"Who me?" He said.
-"Yes...you!" I answered.
-"Well...I don't really know?!"
-"I'll tell you then", and I continued, "Your intelligence got you a one-way ticket to this beautiful metal chair you are now so proudly seated in!"
He laughed, and so did most of the other guys.  They know most of my background and that I'm a ragamuffin, a man who has learned that I have no worth outside of what my Father sees in me.

"God wants us to be intelligent, He gave us amazing brains, and wants us to turn them on and use them every day, more and more. "He also gave us this," I said, holding up a Spanish Bible.  "This is more.  This is what you tried to get with alcohol, drugs, women, theft, anger, fights, and whatever else you were using.  This is more than all that.  This is more than intelligence.  This is how we know the answer to, 'Who is God?'" I pointed to the guy that asked the first question before Gary began his lesson.  "You...who do you think God is?"
-"I think He is Lord" He quickly replied.
-"I think He is Almighty" another one said.
-"You tell us" said one in the back.

I opened the Bible to 1st John and read one of my favorite sentences in the whole Bible,  "God is Love. Period. That's it.  No 'and', no 'but', no 'unless' or 'except'...just a simple period.  When I came into our program about 4 years ago, I had made myself like God.  I had lived a life by my own rules, my own force, my own decisions, my own strength.  I didn't need Him!  And my bottom hit the same seats in the same rooms 1,000 miles north of here.  So, 'Mr. Intelligent' sitting here in the front row...I can see what you're saying.  When you begin to live your life on God's terms, your god can be a child, an adult, a chair.  At first, the most important thing is that...it's not YOU!  The hope, your hope, my hope, God's hope, is that this will grow.  You should be reaching out to this Power that is bigger than you and learning more about it.  My hope is that you learn that this Power is more than a chair, more than a boy, more than an adult, more than anything your eyes can see.  He is the Almighty.  He is the one that listens and answers prayers, the one that we pass time meditating about, and He is the one that this Book (holding up the Bible) is about.  Your job is to allow Him to grow in you more and more and more and more every single day through prayer, meditation, and getting to know the Author of this Bible!  You can, you should, and you must...if you ever want anything better than this chair in this room...you must!"

I looked over at Gary.  "I'm sorry, but I'm passionate about this!" I said. "It's Great!" he replied.

"Look guys," I continued, "knowing about 'What is Hell' is important too, but you can't get into heaven just on fear of hell.  I spent most of my life worshiping and praising the God of my father and mother.  It looked good most of the time, and no-one would ever question it.  But I was missing something.  Something that has proven to be the key to every peaceful and truly enjoyable moment of my life; personal relationship with Him.  That's what it's about.  That's what He wants.  That's what He longs for.  That's why we are here!"

I thanked Gary for sharing so much time with me and he continued his lesson...which was a great one about why we should choose now, while we still have this chance to and before it's too late.

After the class, Gary pulled me aside and said he could see the Spirit move in that room, and he enjoyed 'getting out of the way'.  I love that man dearly!  He has spent the better part of 15 years pouring his heart out in those rooms too.  If it only saves one soul, then it's worth it all.

All the intelligence in the world can't get you a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  This is our job.  Our work is to know Him, to love Him, and to keep His commands.  We are to be love, to love, as He loves and is love.  And this Book of Love teaches us how.

"God, all of my 'wisdom' is foolishness before you.  You are the all-knowing, all-powerful and all-present God.  I want my life to honor you.  I want to be a child that brings my Father joy.  I want to be a better witness.  Let me never forget your love, your Son, and your desire for obedient believers. Father, I lift up the other ragamuffins out there that love you and want to win others to you.  Guard us, watch over us, protect us, and God, if it's your will, kick in a few more sparks between these rusty ol' brain cells!"

For the Kingdom,
-Dr. Luke



Dec 18, 2016

Since September

Wow!  So much has happened since my last update:


A few weeks before that last post in September, I was mowing the lawn here at the campus and heard a blood-curdling scream from Miles.  It was loud enough to hear over the mower.  I stopped, picked him up and saw a little yellowish-brown scorpion in his shirt.  I brushed it off and smashed it with my boot.  He was screaming and crying so loud I thought he'd been shot!  I handed him to Cassie, who was now nearby, and she said she would get him into the bath and put something on the bite to help him with the pain.  I fell terrible now...but I figured all was well and finished the last 15 minutes of mowing.  After putting the things away, I returned to our house and heard Miles still screaming!  I spoke with Cassie and she said, "I don't know exactly where he was bit.  I think it was his hand, but he won't let me touch him to see!  I gave him a bath, but he's not really any better."  She was beginning to get sad and worried, then something strange happened...Miles stopped crying for a bit, and started coughing up a thick mucus.  Cassie and I looked at each other, and knew it was time to get him to a doctor.  We threw the other kids in the car without shoes.  That caused a massive panic among them and they thought Miles was going to die!  Cassie had him in her lap as we sped to the nearby Red Cross.  During the ~2 mile drive, Miles started to have trouble breathing, his eyes started to roll into the back of his head, and he began to vomit.  We ran into the Red Cross Emergency Room and, in my best attempt at medical spanish, proceeded to tell them what had happened.  The doctor immediately began with an injection of scorpion antivenin.  We waited breathlessly for 10 minutes...no improvement.  The doctor gave a second vial in Miles' arm.  Another 10 minutes...Cassie is sobbing, Miles is maybe doing better...at least he's breathing between the screams.  Things were awfully tense that first 30 minutes.  Lots of prayer and then it seemed like he was going to be ok.  Thank you God!  We waited another hour after the 4th vial of antivenin, and he fell into a deep exhausted sleep.  The doctor said he would have a rough 2-3 days after that, "It's like being hit by a train!" He said before we left.  There was a part of me that was dreading paying the bill for the saving of my son's life, but Cassie took all the kids to the car, and I went to pay.  The total bill was $135 pesos ($7.50 USD).  Wow.  Thank you God.  I still can't believe it.  He is mighty to save!

The week after our 'scorpion-man's' recovery, we had to cross the border to renew our visas.  We had a YWAM Together meeting in Kansas City, MO and the kids got to stay the week with the grandparents.  That was such a blessing.  We learned so much about the national direction of YWAM and the importance of getting the gospel spread to every people, tribe, tongue, and nation. After the YWAM meeting we returned to Amarillo. What a wonderful visit with Cassie's folks and my parents as well.  I had to finish my continuing education for the optometry license, and there was a meeting in Ruidoso, NM.  Dad has a wonderful boss that shared his cabin with us and we took full advantage of it!







When we returned at the end of September, it was 'back to work' time.  We've had plenty to do outside the campus with the local villagers around us, and even more to do to get this place back up and running.  We've repaired a beautiful fountain that has not functioned for 5 years, a well that had been dried up, a septic system (yuck), numerous leaks, hot water issues, carbon monoxide venting, hvac repair on our walk-in freezer, chopping down trees, and Michael has been finding lizards everywhere!

I have been having breakfast (one-on-one) on Monday's with one child at a time, and we have cherished these moments.  It has given us the opportunity to share the Gospel with our favorite waiter, Nacho, too!  He has asked us for prayers for his belief and that of his family as well.  We also began blessing our children each Saturday night around the dinner table.  Marcus calls this "Family Fun Night", and we basically go around to each child telling them the wonderful truth about them and making sure we have apologize for any wrongs we have done to them.  This, humbling, experience has been a blessing to me as well as them.  Lord, may I never forget that my family is the primary mission that you have given Cassie and I.



We must train them up the way they should go, and they will know You by our love.