Category Archives: Preaching
Sunday morning the Kokenzies were with us for their first service since returning from furlough. We had a good group. Other than the Kokenzies, we had a normal Sunday morning crowd and a visitor.
Sunday evening, however, was a different story. We arrived early as usual and were preparing things for the service. We planned a little fellowship after church, so we had a little more to set up than normal. Amanda left to pick up someone, and by the time she returned we still did not have anyone show up other than the Kokenzies and the lady we picked up.
Just about five minutes before starting, a few young men drove up and parked across the street. They said the were invited to the services and we welcomed them. Just after that another young man drove up on a motorcycle. Since nothing else was open around us, we assumed that he was coming to church also. As we entered the building to get the service going, two more people walked in. We prayed and a few more walked in. Then we sang a song and more people walked in. This kept on going until I was ready to preach. I announced the text and the last two couples walked in.
The building was packed! We had 30 chairs and 40 people. Amanda took a few of the younger kids to the back and others sat on their parent’s lap. There was not one empty seat. I was still expecting a few more of our regulars to be there, but they did not show up. God knew exactly what we could handle and sent them all our way.
With 23 first time visitors, we did not even have enough visitor’s cards to get everyone’s information. We did take a picture though and did get their names so we can probably locate them all and make contact in the near future.
Our fellowship after church was very good. I tried to get around and speak to everyone before they left. It was not an easy task, but I think I almost made it. One couple was sitting in the very back and stayed there for a while without getting up. When I spoke to them, she was in tears. Her husband said, “We are not sitting here waiting for cake. We just enjoyed the service so much that we wanted to savor the moment.” He went on to say that his wife had dreamed the night before that the Lord would speak to them through the service that night.
The young man who invited most of our visitors was surprised himself to see some of them come. As a matter of fact, a few of his relatives came to the service (including his sister). He told me he had not even invited her, but someone else asked her to come.
It is easy to get excited about an event like that. Yet, it has caused me to reflect on what really happened. God brought a good number of people to us so that we could share with them the good news of salvation. Others also were there to hear the preaching and be encouraged to follow the Lord. I am confident that God met with some of them and spoke to their hearts. Please help us pray as we follow up and try to help these people wherever they are spiritually.
Back in October of 2014 we rented a building in which to hold services. The Lord has blessed, but we have really not seen as many people come as we would have liked. We have invited hundreds of people, visited prospects, and prayed. However, the increase was very small compared to what we were expecting. We had one family visit in two months. Health issues, vacations, and even some academic tests have kept our regulars from attending during the past few months.
The past two weeks have been drastically different. Most of our regulars have still not been able to attend for various reasons, but the Lord has blessed the services by sending us visitors. We had eight visitors within the first two Sundays of the year! That is a great way to start out the new year. It was a joy to preach and give the Gospel to these people. Though we previously knew most of these people, only three out of the eight have attended one of our Bible studies.
This past Sunday evening, Tiago, one of the young men that visited, told me that he enjoyed the service and was going to invite a friend of his that he thought would enjoy it also. Another one of our visitors, Nicholas, said he really enjoyed the service and that he would definitely return and invite some of his friends. His sister and her husband are one of our regular families. When we spoke with them about Nicholas coming, they said he seemed to be very excited and enjoyed a service that was not extremely loud. (That should give you some insight on the average church in our area.)
We are excited to see what God will do in the lives of each visitor that has been with us. There is no doubt in my mind that God is working, but sometimes we are impatient and fail to see His hand in the circumstances around us.
This next week we will probably have the largest crowd since the inauguration of the building because the Kokenzies have returned. Some of our regulars will also be back that were not able to attend these past two weeks. Please pray that the Lord will continue to work in hearts and that these people will be truly saved and follow the Lord!
First of all I would like to thank everyone who sent a note telling us specifically that you or your church were praying for us this past weekend. Thank you for participating in prayer and also for letting us know that you were praying. It was a great encouragement to us.
SATURDAY EVENING we had a special prayer meeting at the church. It was an encouraging time to listen to people talk about what they believed God would do. We spent some time reading a passage of Scripture together. Then we talked about sinners coming to know the Lord as Savior and the goals of acquiring this rented facility. We finished the time together with prayer. It was sweet to hear the prayers of the people as they asked the Lord to bless the work and especially bless the inaugural service the following evening.
After a little time of fellowship we set up for Sunday and headed home thanking the Lord for the response of the people.
Front of the Building – Sunday Morning
SUNDAY MORNING began well. Everyone we expected showed up. All of our faithful people were there! A family from a church about three hours away also came to participate in the day’s events. It was a blessing to have them in the service because they are familiar with most of the hymns we sing. They also helped clean chairs and get the details taken care of.
In the morning service, we talked about the preaching of Paul and related it to what we were doing. Several people asked questions or made comments which always helps us know better where people stand.
Sunday Morning Service
God gave us a building with a small room in the back. This allows us to continue the Sunday school class we had for the smaller children. This week we had four children in the class! Most of these children have little practice sitting still in a class. For some, their parents are still learning about discipline and are struggling to teach their children. So, needless to say, Amanda had a challenging time with the children this week!
After the service a few of us men went out inviting people to the evening meeting. Including the flyers passed out earlier in the week, we were able to hand out over 800 invitations to the inaugural service.
SUNDAY EVENING we arrived at the church about 30 minutes before the service began. It was an exciting time as we waited to see who would come. We had 40 chairs, but only about 30 fit in the building comfortably.
Beginning of the Service – Sunday Evening
When we began the service we had a few visitors. By preaching time, we had 27 people in the building! With around 30 chairs set up, there were only a few empty chairs left.
It was thrilling to see who the Lord brought to us. Nine were from a like-minded church several hours away. Another man came from out of town. He was invited by one of the ladies whose house we hold a Bible study in weekly. Two were our neighbors! We did not expect them to come, so it was great to see them drive up. The rest were all people who had participated in our Bible studies in the past. We had personally visited them in the past week. What a blessing!!!
Entire Group – Sunday Evening
I preached a Gospel message asking two questions. 1- Do you know God? 2- Does God know you? All were attentive and listened very well.
Though we did not have any salvation decisions, it was wonderful to hear what the people had to say. One of the ladies spoke to me specifically about her daughter. She said she was going to do her best to bring her daughter to the next service. One of the men present said, “We will come many times from here on out!” That was exciting. We did not have the opportunity to talk to everyone individually before they left, but it was evident that God was working.
PLEASE KEEP PRAYING! This is just the beginning of the story. We will be meeting every Sunday morning and evening from now on out. Though we will need to make some adjustments as time goes on, we are happy to have a place to meet now. The people prayed that this would be a place where God would work to change lives! That is what we expect and what we are looking for God to do.
We will soon start a mid-week Bible study also. We hope to continue the Bible studies we have and get more people involved by meeting in a better location.
Once again, thank you for your prayers!
There were representatives from about five or six different churches present at the meeting. The fellowship was wonderful and the Lord was working in the hearts of the young people as well as the adults.
Bro. Adelmo is working in the church there. The Lord put him in Cujubim about eight months ago to help the church. He will soon be ordained and become the pastor of the church. Please pray for him as he works for the Lord in Cujubim.
During my three day stay, he took all the teenagers out several times to hand out tracts and do some soul-winning. Though no one trusted the Lord as their Savior during these times of outreach, I was glad to see some young people out talking to people about the Lord and inviting them to the meetings.
From my point of view, the leaders benefited more from the lessons than did the young people. They were quick to admit their need to change the music in their churches. Some, I believe will take steps of improvement, while others will continue doing what they have always done because it is the “easy way”. Many times we have the opportunity to hear good preaching and teaching on certain subjects, but how often do we actually act on those things and change something in our lives because of it?
The challenge many times is not only to present truth, but to encourage people to act on it. A quote, I believe to be by Mark Twain, gives us the truth… “It’s not the parts of the Bible that I don’t understand that Give me fits, it’s the parts that I do understand that trouble me the most.” We have the Bible and truth at our fingertips, but yet we are many times unchanged and unaffected by it.
Please pray for our churches here in Brazil. Many stories could be told of the churches that have strayed into Pentecostalism because of music. Though I am certain that music was not the only factor, it is one of the signs that will most certainly pop up before the church heads that way.
The churches in this particular area of Brazil are very needy. This is not only in the area of music, but in every area. There is very little teaching on doctrine and few qualified teachers or pastors. Out of the eight closest churches to us, four of them are without a pastor and being monitored by the same missionary. Each of these churches has a male leader, but many of these have little if any training and some do not even understand the basic fundamental doctrines that we teach, yet they are in leadership in that church for lack of others who will take on the role.
People are begging us for a Bible institute, music training, pastoral leadership, and much more. Where do we begin? Should we just neglect what God has put in our hearts to help these people with their needs? By no means! Yet at the same time we must pray to our all-knowing God who said that He would send laborers at our request. Let us not be guilty of “doing everything we can” without doing what God has already asked us to do.
Our entire family was planning on going, but because of all the circumstances of the past few days and upcoming days, we decided it would be best for them to stay at home. I drove down to Alvorada, then out of town a few miles into the country to get to my destination.
The service was conducted at a house on the farm. The purpose for the service was for Bro. Apolinário to give testimony of what God had done in his life. He wanted all his neighbors and relatives to know that he was now a Christian. Through the past three years he had undergone many cancer treatments and had come near death several times. In fact, he said his heart quit beating for about 25 minutes. Yet, one of the nurses did not give up on him and was able to help him come back to.
We had an absolutely wonderful time down there. There were several relatives there that did not know the Lord as Savior and we were able to present the Gospel to them in a very clear way. Pastor Marcelo did a great job preaching to his own family and pointing them to Jesus. Altogether, there were about 28 people in the service.
The Lord blessed and also gave us safety traveling back and forth. I did see a bunch of goats, a very large cow, an opossum, and a huge pig on the highway, but thankfully the Lord protected me from hitting them. Though this is considered a main highway connecting several cities, there were probably 30 speed bumps I had to cross going and coming back. There was a total of about five miles of highway that was still dirt. They have been working on paving the road for several years, but it is not finished yet.
Please keep praying as we make more contacts in this part of the country and seek to follow the Lord’s will here.
Below is a picture of our service at the farm. There is also a link to the pictures page where you will find a few more pictures of this trip.
Last weekend, our family was invited to visit a church in Machadinho do Oeste. It is about three hours from where we live right now. The church was started by fellow missionary Tom Brewer.
Pastor Marcelo invited our family to come spend the weekend with them. I preached on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning and evening. Amanda also spoke at a ladies meeting on Friday evening.
It was a great blessing to see the Lord working in so many lives up there. We had a great time of fellowship with Pastor Marcelo and his family. Pastor Marcelo has a great heart to serve the Lord and has taken a stand which has set him apart from so many pastors. We wish to encourage him in the work the Lord has placed him in there in the city of Machadinho do Oeste.
Many Brazilians have been so influenced by the pentecostal movement and the gospel of prosperity that they are always looking for a “blessing”. This has so dominated the country that people have sold their houses and lands and separated large amounts of money to give to their churches expecting to receive double in return from God. Because of this I preached on “Destroyed by a Miracle”. I related many examples how victory, blessing, and miracles lead to spiritual or physical destruction. Gideon, Simon in Acts 8, and many other examples could be given. I showed them that many people are looking for the Miracle and missing God altogether.
Sunday evening, after a message on the Potter and the Clay, a lady trusted the Lord as her Savior!!!
Altogether, we were refreshed by the fellowship and enjoyed the time away from home. We even were able to spend just a little time out by the river with Pastor Marcelo and his family. The boys really enjoyed climbing around on the rocks.
Judson enjoyed his class and was proud of the picture he colored.
The neighborhood of Paraisópolis has about 100,000 people living in it. According to the stats that I have found, there are 1000 persons per hectare. For those of you who (like me) who have no idea what a hectare is, it is 10,000 sq. meters, or 100m x 100m. Only 25% of this population live in houses supplied with sewage system, half of the streets are not paved and 60% use irregular means to obtain power. These “irregular means” are usually hooking into wires themselves and not paying for electricity.
São Paulo is a city of extremely rich and extremely poor, and many times these two are located right beside each other. This is the case with this neighborhood as well. These apartments that you see in the background sell for over $1 million.
Please pray for Pastor Washington and this work in such a needy area.
I can hardly believe we have been in the US for over a month now. Here is a short log of our travels…
- Illinois – When we arrived at the end of August we spent about a week with Amanda’s parents. It was a great time to spend together because it was Labor Day weekend and that gave the boys a little more time to spend with their grandparents. The boys have enjoyed learning about corn, soy beans, tractor pulls, and many other fun things around Flora, Illinois. While around Flora we visited friends in the following churches:* Calvary Baptist Church – Flora, IL – Pastor Mike Evans
* Calvary Baptist Church – Olney, IL – Pastor Chris Jennette
- California – After about a week in Illinois, we flew to California. This was an exciting two week trip because we were able to visit several supporting churches we had never been in before. During this time, we also spent some time with my uncle, Larry Tyler and his family. They were a great blessing to us in many ways. The time spent with them was very refreshing and relaxing.During this trip I preached or gave a testimony in several of the churches. We really enjoyed getting to meet people who have prayed for us and kept in touch with us though we have never personally met before. It was also refreshing to meet a few Brazilians in these churches.
* First Baptist Church of Long Beach – Long Beach, CA – Pastor John Wilkerson
* Coastline Baptist Church – Oceanside, CA – Pastor Stephen Chappell
* Horizon Baptist Church – Camarillo, CA – Pastor Brian Leversee
- Missouri – On our return from California, we flew to Kansas City to pick up a van from BMTM (Baptist Missionary Transportation Ministry). This is a great ministry that provides vehicles to missionaries while they are traveling. For a considerably small monthly charge, they provide the vehicle, maintenance, and even insurance for us. We will have the van for about three months.After driving about to see family and a few friends, we had a meeting in Ozark. The pastor and his wife were very kind to us. He wanted to take the boys fishing, but it did not work out this time. I talked about our ministry in Sunday School and preached in the afternoon.
*Ozark Baptist Temple – Ozark, MO – Pastor John England
Now we are back in Illinois again with Amanda’s family. We are excited about getting back to Tennessee very soon. We will be in the Temple Baptist Church in Powell, TN – our sending church. It will be great to see family and friends there also! Please pray for our safety as we travel at least 8,000 miles over the next few months.
This past Sunday we were in Limeira. We had a wonderful time with the people and were excited about what God has done in their lives. The work there needs much prayer as people halt between two opinions. Yet, the Lord is working in the hearts of many people there.
We arrived on Friday evening just before the women met at one of the members houses to discuss modesty in dress. Meanwhile, the men gathered at another house for a good time of fellowship and eating (those may be considered synonyms).
On Saturday a few people stopped by to spend just a bit of time with us. It was a great joy to see some of my friends from my days as a child. Though many of them have strayed from the Lord, He is still doing a great work in their lives and drawing them to His side.
Saturday evening I was asked to speak to the young people about music. We had a good time with them in the service. Several seemed sensitive to what God was doing in their lives. I tried to bring them to the place where they would desire to do the correct thing. Many times we beat people over the head with right and wrongs, and they never understand why things are wrong. I used the passage in Matthew which speaks of the Pharisees and their “whited sepulchres” hoping they would see the importance of being clean in their innermost being.
On Sunday morning, I preached about knowing the Scriptures and how a lack of knowing the Scriptures caused doubt and even discouragement. This I got from several passages after the resurrection where Jesus opened their understanding because they knew not the Scriptures.
During the invitation several people came to the front. Also, one young boy raised his hand acknowledging the fact that he had never been saved. After the service I spoke to his father, who was a very close friend of mine years ago. He said that his son, Ramon, was coming close to salvation, but was not sure how much he understood.
In the evening service I preached on the passage in I Kings 18 where Elijah prayed and fire came down from Heaven. Especially here in Brazil people tend to abuse this passage. The influence from the Pentecostal churches has changed the way many people look at the Bible. This lead me to preach on this passage. Everyone wants the power of God, but few people want the power of God for the right reason.
At the end of the message once again I extended an invitation for people to come forward. Several people came forward again in the evening service. I also asked again about salvation. Once again, Ramon raised his hand and said he was not saved. As the invitation progressed, he walked back to his dad, whispered something to him, then returned to his seat.
A few seconds later he walked right up to the front and said, “I want to trust Jesus as my Savior.” I called one of the men near the front to help and asked him to take him back with his father. Shortly afterward, his father lead him to the Lord in a back room. After the service ended I had an opportunity to pray with him, ask him some questions, and find out what had happened. Ramon told me he was sure he was saved. Jesus had forgiven his sin and he was going to Heaven. AMEN!
This was very exciting. Nothing is more exciting than to see the Lord work in the lives of sinners to bring them to repentance and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise the Lord for a wonderful weekend with people who are growing in the Lord and seeking His guidance in the establishment of this new church. Please pray for the people of the Igreja Batista Emanuel in Limeira.