Capitán Thompson Youth Meetings started up again last Sunday. We’re trying the meetings out in our apartment, now that Dani and I are married, hoping for a closer environment that provides more opportunities for relationship growth. Last Sunday went really well and am excited about using new study techniques learned from Johnson University to share more insightful information about the gospel with the young people. We’re including footnotes in the study guides and encouraging them not to believe everything they hear.

Last week we provided a general outline for the Gospel according to Luke to provide a context for where we left off last year and revisited a key passage that sets the stage for Jesus’s ministry as Luke tells it (Luke 4:14-30). This week we’ll be picking up where we left off, in Luke 5:12 We’ll be studying the passage where Jesus heals the leppor and the following one where Jesus heals a paralytic—lowered through the roof—on a sabbath, and discussing why some commentators place these two passages in different categories of Jesus’s ministry and why others place them together. After studying the passages in depth we’ll ask our younger friends what categories they would place these passages in and why.

Chileans Want to Study: Although Chileans have a desire to study the message of scripture more deeply, accessible resources are NOT plentiful. So in addition to using two academic commentaries on Luke—for the youth meetings—we’ll begin evaluating one online commentary—IN SPANISH—per week. The value of this is two-fold: First it teaches our young people how to think critically about—and evaluate— the insights of theologians. And second, it is helping us to see what kind of free resources are available for Chileans and all of Spanish-America. So far I have not found a lot of good resources. But that’s why we’re going to try one per week to see for ourselves what is good, cited, material—on one end of the spectrum, and what is opinion and conjecture—on the other end.

Wise Council: Meeting with Mike has been a great resource to think through new—and uncharted—ministry waters. Most recently, he encouraged me to have lessons (for the youth) or other teachings (whoever they may be for) done in advance to minimize the risk of parroting new theological concepts without having time to process them. This seems like a great idea to me, and so I’m working on getting the youth Bible study advanced by a week. The idea is that as preachers/teachers we get emotionally attached to our own findings, and so with time to cool down, process, and come back to the material later, we may see things that are unrelevant to the teaching, or things that could be explained better. Very exciting! 🙂 I’m still meeting with other experienced mentors in the field as well.

Johnson University: Plugging away on the last research paper for one course, though it has had to take a backseat the past few days in attempting to get the Bible studies advanced. But it’s going great. I thought this passage—1 Cor. 4:1-13—had to do with being a missionary—that’s why I picked it—but what I’m learning about it’s general application to everyone in ministry is very encouraging. It will be very nice to share it with you all and—hopefully—to turn it into a Bible study for different churches.

Church: Since the Jesús es el Camino Church disbanded Dani and I have been visiting other churches. This weekend we plan to visit a pastor who would like me to show him how to use Logos Bible Software better. We’re planning on spending every other Sunday with the church on Capitán Thompson to encourage the youth.

Osorno: I’m working towards the goal of being able to visit Osorno within the next two months. The plan is to get to know this region of Chile to understand the Chilean context better, and to understand the Iglesias de Cristo on better, on a national level. The pastor I’d like to spend time with is one of the few in Chile who has a degree from a Bible college, and will be able to provide deeper insights into the life of the average Chilean pastor, and explain what would really help them, which may be very different from what I might think would help them. We’ll be working on good questions to ask that will promote the best possible understanding of the daily circumstances of the Chilean pastor. It is NOT probable that I will be putting this information to practical use within the next two years or so, BUT it helps us to take steps in the right direction from the “get-go” so we run less risk of wasting energy and having to change direction in the future.

Goals in Order:

  1. Get youth Bible study advanced by one week and maintain that time to process and come back to the lesson a day or two before for revision that will allow for more sound teaching.
  2. Finish final assignment for research methods corse at Johnson (paper on 1 Cor. 4:1-13).
  3. Finish Into to New Testament Course (40-50% complete).
    1. Write a research paper on the life of Paul, translate it, and share my findings at a monthly pastors meetings.
  4. Begin translating research paper—on 1 Cor. 4:1-13—and work it into a Bible study that will take place over several weeks.
  5. Visit Osorno and ask good questions that will improve understanding of the struggles of Chilean pastors.
  6. Possibly register for Intro to OT for US Summer.
  7. Evaluate ministry to consider beginning to work with the blind and visually impaired.

It’s a lot going on right now, but we’ll just take a day at a time and give it 100%! 🙂

Thanks for all your love and support.

Ps. Back: There are three disks in my back that are sticking out and braking apart. When they are inflamed, they rub against the sciatic nerve and cause varying degrees of pain. I thought the possible surgery consisted of pushing the broken disks back inside to provide some cushion so they wouldn’t hit the nerve. But, the doctor said that they just cut the bad part off, and since there are three bad ones, it’s probable that if they operate on one, a different disc will then begin the same problem.

So, basically, it’s a chronic back issue that I’ll just learn how to manage better over time. Now I know that laying down in the grass for a long period of time is NOT a good idea. lol. The past few days it has been great, but at this precise moment it hurts more. Surgery doesn’t seem to be in the immediate future though. He told me to take an anti-inflammatory every day and hold out as long as possible because it’s better to wait until I’m older for the surgery.