Things No One Likes To talk About

Things No One Likes To talk About

I can’t believe it’s been three months since my last blog.  In February I wrote about the “Circle of Silence”, and have continued fighting the spiritual battle.  As my friend and YWAM missionary colleague, Dr. Luke puts it, “Three steps forward, two steps back.”; and, about the time we think we’re gaining ground, a boulder rolls over us and knocks us back to the bottom of the hill.

MAKE A TAX DEDUCTABLE DONATION NOW

I am still working with the rehab center above our campus, leading the young men through “The Truth Project”.  I have translated both the leader’s Guide and participant handouts into Spanish using Google translate.  Dr. Luke has been proofreading them to ensure that the translations are comprehensible, as some things don’t really translate into ideas that are understood; i.e., there is no concept of “Thinking outside of the box” here.  I have also transcribed and translated a video called “El-Zabbaleen” in order to add subtitles in Spanish.

I am no longer doing the children’s ministry in Chalpicote, as our director feels that, since there is no concept of Children’s Church in the bible, the children should be in with the adults.  We have, however, been doing more outreach in the village and, I have been going to Mezcala when I get a chance; working with another ministry that is helping a newly planted church.

Now, about the title.  If you’ve known me for any length of time, or if you’ve read No Mere Coincidences, a journey of faith“, you know that one thing I don’t like to talk about is money, unless it is to give glory to God for his abundant blessing.  I have lived on faith for nearly ten years now and rarely had to ask for help.  On both my walking journey and my bicycle journey I relied on God speaking to the people He put in my path.  Without ever asking for anything but water and a place to set my tent, people would give me love gifts; food, clothing, and cash.  Pastors would talk to me for a few minutes, and ask me to speak in the service, after which they would take a love offering for me.

I don’t like asking for money, but I’m in a new season now.  Only once, since I’ve been in Mexico, has someone randomly come up to me and said ‘Here, I feel like God wants me to give you this.’   At times I have posted a link on Facebook where donations could be sent, praying that God would speak to people’s hearts to make a donation. That rarely worked.

As an independent minister and YWAM missionary, I have to raise funds, not only for myself, but also to execute the visions of ministry God has given me.

With that in mind, I would like to share with you, my financial situation and what God has laid on my heart, as well as a link to “Gleanings from the Field” blog entitled, “Where do missionaries get their money”

First, my income.  I have a small ($400.00) a month pension.  I have one friend who has committed to sending $50.00 per month and about 3 friends who, when they can, send between $25-$100.  In all, this year, I have received just under $700.00 in donations.  Just before the end of last year, I received a very generous donation which paid for my travel expenses back to the U.S. in January, which, until I have money for a missionary visa, I have to do every 6 months.

Second, monthly my expenses.  My staff, or association fees at YWAM Guadalajara take half of my pension.  Of course, tithes and offerings.  My phone is quite reasonable at $10-$15 a month(depending on how much internet I use).  Each month I have been spending anywhere between $100-$150 on things to either improve the campus or help with ministry.  Examples of this are: to date I have bought 6 waffle makers and make everyone waffles for breakfast once a month(cooking is one way I show love).  Some other items are “The Truth Project” in Spanish, Speakers and microphones to use when showing videos such as the Jesus Film, Children’s ministry videos, The Truth Project, etc.,   A pool filter for keeping the fountains clean, Pots, pans, mixing bowl, toaster, mixer and utensils for the staff dorm, equipment for the Gym to improve fitness…  Each time I go for children’s outreach I go through around 300 balloons and 5-10 pounds of candy.  This month I purchased a BBQ grill for the staff dorm.  As we are often on our own for dinner,(which often means leftover beans, rice and tortilla’s), I try to keep some food in the dorm kitchen.  Also, about twice a month I go to eat with others from church, spending about $5-$6 each time.  Bus and taxi fees; I don’t own any vehicles so I usually take a bus when I go to church or into town.  That’s $1-$2 round trip.  If I have more than I carry, I have to take a taxi at $5.00 one way.

Other expenses: As I stated above, in order to renew my visa, I have to leave the country every 6 months.  Next month I will probably find the cheapest way to Texas and find a church that will let me set my small tent up for a couple of days.  As I am 6′ tall, muscular and overweight, I can’t find clothes here(apparently, everyone with my waist size is about 5′ 9″).  With size 13W feet, I can’t even buy socks here, let alone shoes. With the terrain here, 2 pairs of shoes last about 6 months.  I also go through a pair of work pants in about 6 months.  In other words, while in Texas I will have to buy socks, underwear, T-shirts, pants and shoes.

The Vision:  As I shared in a previous blog, God has given me a vision of taking the gospel, both around Lake Chapala and into remote areas.  I am in the process of organizing an Endurance Discipleship Training School which will focus on outdoor ministry.  The Outreach phase would include taking the gospel by canoe around the lake and to hard to reach areas by backpack.  To do this I need to raise around $15,000 in equipment or money to purchase the equipment.  I am also trying to put together a reliable, portable, self-contained media kit for showing such things as the Jesus Film anywhere, even if there’s no power.  The multi-media projector I’ve been looking at is in the price range of $500.00.

As you can see, there is always a need in ministry.  I have never heard a missionary say ‘We’ve gotten so many donations that we don’t know where to spend it.’  So I am asking you, Please, pray for all the missionaries you know.  If God leads you to sponsor me or another one, monthly or a one-time donation, do it!  One of Satan’s biggest tricks it to make you wonder if that missionary really needs it.  I almost guarantee that the answer is YES! DONATE NOW

As always, thank you for your prayers.  I may never know how many trials I overcome because of friends praying.  I love you all!

In His Service,

Dennis Mixer

The Circle of Silence

The Circle of Silence

I have been postponing this update blog for three weeks, one week at a time.  The reason: I wanted to announce that we had baptized ten of the young men from “Under the Tree” drug/alcohol rehab, where I lead a bible study.

Sadly, this never happened.  Here’s how it came about; February 2nd, at the end of the Bible study, one of the young men asked about baptism, and expressed a desire to be baptized.  I briefly explained about how and why baptism is done in most Protestant churches and 8 of the young men wanted to be baptized.  I told them I would give a baptism class the following week and make arrangements to baptize them in the fountain on our campus.

The following week I gave the class, making sure that the men understood that it was not their salvation, but a public declaration of their faith, their death to themselves, burial and resurrection in Christ.  Now, not 8, but 10 of the young men wanted to be baptized.  I asked the Ricardo, the director of Under the Tree, if he could have a list of anyone wanting baptism by Sunday so I could print the Certificates for baptisms the following Thursday.

When I went to pick the list up on Sunday, I was told that the facilities legal advisor had recommended that they obtained the permission of the young men’s parents, as they had been signed in by parents and, in effect, the parents had power of attorney over them.   So, Arrangements were made to meet with the parents the following Sunday, when they had visitation.  Sunday arrived and Ricardo and myself went from family to family, explaining what the baptism consisted of and that it was a baptism into Jesus Christ, not any denomination; just that, as young men and adults, they understood that Jesus was Lord and they were publicly announcing their faith in Him and commitment to follow Him.  Virtually every family said no; though two did take a few days to think about it.  Needless to say, the men, and I were heartbroken.

By now you may be wondering “What does this have to do with a circle of silence?  What is a circle of silence?”

Here at YWAM Guadalajara, we are in what is called “The Circle of Silence”.  This is a circle of 115 counties that are resistant to the truth of the Word of God, clinging to a Catholic religion diluted with Aztec beliefs and corruption.  While Mexico, on average, is 8% evangelical Christian, inside the circle there is 1% or less evangelicals.  Compare this to the nation of Nepal, bordered by China and India.  Until 2016 Nepal considered itself to be a Hindu nation with the national motto being “To be Nepali is to be Hindu”.  This nation is reported to have 1.5% Evangelical Christians.(Christian Post-March 3 2016)

compare
Mexico compared to Central America

The corrupt church here has the people believing that if they stray from the Catholic church they are doomed for hell.

To give some examples of what we are up against here, In Chapala, on the water front, is a giant statue of the “Virgin of Guadalupe” which they treat as a shrine, praying to her, lighting candles and leaving gifts.  They have a duplicate, smaller version of the statue, which they take on a pilgrimage by boat, across the lake, to a village that is named after the  “Ascension of Mary” as they believe Mary was a Deity, ascended like Jesus did and is a major part of their salvation.

hqdefault
“The Virgin of Guadalupe”

Two miles to the other side of us, in Ixtlahuacan, the town wins an award each year for the tallest skeleton (30.7 meters or 100 feet) on the day of the dead.  The Day of the Dead is on November 1st and it is believed that the Vail between our world and the afterlife is so thin that you can communicate with the dead.  On this day they pack a picnic lunch and go to the cemetery to share lunch with dead relatives.

img_5143
Isn’t she pretty

 

What about the corruption in the church here?  Yesterday, I went to another rehab, where Gary, a pastor from the baptist church, teaches and Luke does worship.  Gary was giving a lesson on salvation and asked how you can be sure of your salvation.  One of the men there said ‘That’s easy, just give money to the priest and he’ll get God to forgive you’  he went on to say that it didn’t matter what you did; rob someone or kill them, as long as you gave money to the priest you get to heaven.  In another example, they have celebrations here for different saints just about every other week.  People from the catholic church parade through town collecting money for fireworks and such.  One lady told us that, if they don’t give, they can expect some sort of vandalism over night.

Most people here don’t own bibles and those that do are discouraged from reading it too much because, If they aren’t trained, it will just confuse them.  Luke told me that, often, if you try to give them a bible they will ask if it’s a catholic bible, and refuse to take it if it isn’t, not knowing that the only difference is that a catholic bible has the Apocrypha(a few books that Jewish and protestant scholars recognize as historical but not inspired by God)

S0, as you can see, to have 50% of the young men in the rehab center accept Christ and want to be baptized is a big step.  To bring the gospel to the people in this are is a big job.  Why do we do it?  Because, when Jesus said to go to all nations, making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, He knew about the Circle of Silence, and he didn’t exclude it.

Thanks to donations received by Luke, we picked up 500 bibles today.  Not coincidentally, I had a vision this morning during devotions.  In the vision I saw a map of the Circle of Silence and, (Showing my age a little) it was like the beginning of the T.V. show Bonanza, where it shows a map of the Ponderosa and a little smoke appears, then a little flame comes through burning a bigger and bigger hole.  I believe God is saying that he will start a fire in the circle and his word will be heard here.

As always, as I live primarily on donations from faithful Christ followers, I am asking for your help.  Right now, my small retirement and donations allow me to stay here, but there is so much God has given me vision for.  $10,000 is needed to equip the Endurance Discipleship Training School that God has given me vision to lead this fall.  That is the cost of 7 canoes and equipment for 10 students and 4 staff to take the gospel around the lake.  We would like to purchase a total of 10,000 bibles at the cost of $30 Pecos ($1.50U.S) each.  All donations through the link below are tax deductible.

donation-button

The Past, Present and Future

The Past, Present and Future

Wow, 2016 is coming to a close and a new year is upon us.  I pray everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

So much has happened this year, The first six month I finished my final two semesters of the School of Biblical Studies; taking my understanding of God’s word to a whole new level; during that time my youngest sister, Dolores, succumbed to her illness and passed away.  Less than 48 hours later, her newest grandchild, Aurora Mae, was born.  As I was unable to go home after the school was over, I have yet to see Aurora, and am anxious to meet her next month.

The second half of the year I have been at YWAM Guadalajara, and God has been doing great things here.  Myself and another staff member, Dr. Luke Haney, began working with another minister at a drug/alcohol rehab in Chapala once a week.  Cassie, Luke’s wife, and I(along with their kids) have been continuing an outreach program with the kids in Chapilcote, averaging 20 kids a week.  And, as of a month ago, Luke and I have been leading a bible study at another rehab just up the mountain from us.

This rehab is called “Under the Tree” and is run by a bilingual christian, who asked us to start the study.  The first week Luke and I gave our testimonies, showing the men that we weren’t much different from them, But that Jesus Christ had changed our lives.  Luke’s been leading worship and I’ve bee teaching , with Luke expounding when led.  The next two weeks I taught a condensed overview of the Old Testament, from creation, through the fall, the flood, the exodus, conquest of Canaan, the cycle of the judges, the kings and then through the exile in Babylon.  Showing that man, without a savior, was doomed.

Last week I showed them the Jesus film (because of time limits, it was the shorter, kids version).  We were set up in a basement hallway that had 2 windows, which we covered with towels to make it darker.  At the end a young boy in the film leads through the sinners prayer, and every single man was praying it.  As it was about to end, I bent over my computer, preparing to stop the video.  All of the sudden the men became excited and started to cheering and laughing.  It turns out that, just as the prayer ended, a bird flew from behind the towel covering one of the windows, and out the door.  The best part is that the window wasn’t open.  Some how the bird had gotten behind the towel after we started the film.  I told them that the significance was clear; Jesus said “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”  and that if they prayed that prayer with a true heart, they had been set free.

In other news, I started building a library for the purpose of studying the bible.  I put my books on loan, the Haneys donated some of theirs, and a wonderful lady, named Priscilla Greer, from Abundant Life Church, Chapala; who has been a missionary here for decades, starting churches and bible schools, donated three large boxes of books for the study of the scriptures.  In a short time we went from the few books I was able to bring, to a functioning library.20161216_132236  A few other titles I would like to see added are: The Archeological Study Bible, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and the Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, by John Barton Payne.  If anyone wishes to donate one or more of these, or any other Bible study books, please contact me.  you can leave a message here or contact me on facebook.com/dennis.mixer

There is much more going on here.  We are still working on the vision to take the gospel to the villages surrounding the lake by canoe and backpack.  In order to do this we need about $10,000 dollars for the canoes and other outdoor equipment, as well as another $15,000 for bibles to distribute.  We also need more staff to lead schools, especially bilingual staff.  I need a bilingual “sidekick” as I just am not picking up the language.

Luke and Cassie’s kids have adopted me as their uncle and I made them each their own walking stick for Christmas. So we got our first photo together.  Yep, I am the leader of a fierce tribe.15726726_10211316148760894_5873061447272183839_n

I have found a ministry that will handle my donations and send out donation receipts to the donors, which means that any donations are now tax-deductible.

Donations can be sent to https://acaciaministries.international/dennis-mixer  Or you can still send them to givesendgo https://www.givesendgo.com/GCPA#.V9YmfYNpigE.facebook

With in two weeks I need about $1,000 to make a trip to the states as my visa is expired.  While there I need to buy shoes and clothes as I can’t find them in my size here.  I am also hoping to have funds to replace some of the things I had to leave behind in July, when I came here.

However God leads you, Please keep me in your prayer.

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

I apologize for this update being so greatly over due.  Things have been very hectic here as the campus is intended to have a staff of about 25 and, right now, it is being staffed by 7.

When God told me that he was sending me back to YWAM Guadalajara to restore it to the missionary training school that he intended for it to be, I knew that it would be a challenge for me.  Fortunately, God sent me back-up.  Since coming on staff here I’ve been joined by Dr. Luke Haney and his family.  Luke is 36 and brought his family here in April to attend the Discipleship Training school; and God has led him to stay.  Luke is a fellow ordained minister and an Optometrist from Armadillo Texas.  His wife Cassie is also a Bible Collage graduate.  They have five wonderful kids ranging from 10-2 and, we were informed a few days ago, are expecting another one in April.  God also sent Eli, a bubbly 25 year old who did her DTS in England.  Eli is from Mexico City and speaks English .  Eli also has collage training in marketing.  Eli has been such a blessing.  Even though kid’s ministry is not her gift, nor passion, she has selflessly been there to translate so I can minister and share the good news of Jesus.  None of us are afraid of saying what God has put on our hearts, which is something they’re not used to here.

So, what have we been up to?  Aside from a lot of yard work, we have been trying to get this to resemble a collage campus instead of a conference center and spiritual retreat.

The campus has a well, which had dried up years ago, making it necessary to have water trucked in, which is quite expensive.  Because of this, the fountain (pictured above) was not run and, over time, the pump rusted together.  There was also a withered and dead tree which had been standing for so long that it didn’t even have bark on it any more.  I felt that both the well drying up, and the withered tree, were symbolic of a people that had quit following God and were not producing fruit.  Luke spent hours repairing the fountain and I purchased small swimming pool filter.  The fountain is running and I clean it every day to insure that we don’t have to empty it and change the water every week.  Luke also figured out the controls for the well.  The well, which they were told was empty and would cost $200,000 (U.S. Dollars) to redrill, is now pumping about 2,500 liters of water a day.   And, today, Luke and I removed the dead tree.

20161103_1703341
Lumberjack Luke

Luke, Eli and I (Mostly Luke and Eli)  have also been busy updating the website, which hadn’t been touched since 2012.

We’ve also begun a library.  I’ve donated most of my bibles, bible dictionaries, bible encyclopedias, books on spiritual growth, healing and prophetic ministries.  Luke’s family also donated many of their books.  The problem is, all of mine and most of Luke’s books are in English.  We desperately need books in Spanish in the fore-mentioned categories.  We pray for students to come here on fire for God and we need fuel to keep the fire going.

On the ministry side, shortly after arriving I got to help with the King’s Kids program, a 2 week mini-DTS for 8-18 year olds.  I’ve also been working with about 25 kids in the remote village of Chapilcote each week.   I’ve Began working with the youth group at Abundant Life Church in Chapala, and recently, Luke and I have begun working with the men at a local drug and alcohol rehab. Cassie is in the process of contacting the local orphanages to see how we can serve them.  Our goal is to establish several relationships and active ministries in the area to give future students, and staff, opportunity to serve and minister while here.

I have, using items found here, compiled a system with which we can show videos, like the Jesus film, anywhere, even if there is no power.  Luke has also made arrangements so we will be getting a backpack version of this so that, wherever we can get to, we can show gospel films.

School-wise, God has given us several Ideas.  This weekend we will begin working with the young, mostly teenage, leaders of King’s Kids.  We plan on having a duel-focus spring DTS; Youth Ministry and Worship.  The students interested in Youth Ministry will work with the King’s Kids and those interested worship  will learn to use their talents and passions to impact people around them for Christ.

Next fall we want to begin an Endurance style DTS.  This is a DTS which will have the core lessons, but focus on outdoor skills, including backpacking, bicycling and canoeing(imagine me wanting to do that).  YWAM Guadalajara overlooks the largest lake in Mexico.  many of the villages around the lake are remote and know nothing about God other than what the diluted version of the Catholic Church here teaches them.  Our vision is to canoe around the lake, reaching the lakeside villages with the gospel, then backpacking to the mountain villages surrounding the lake. To get an idea of an EDTS visit https://ywammontana.org/endurance-discipleship-training-school/ (yes, it’s YWAM Montana, I’m kind of partial to them)

In order to do this we will need to acquire about 8 canoes, camping gear and bicycles for what I am trusting God for in our first class.

As always, I need your help.  Because I serve God and not a denomination, it’s difficult to raise support.  Denominational missionaries usually take a year long furlough or sabbatical every three years and spend it going from church to church, raising support.  Most are also required to have a substantial savings account and several thousands of dollars in monthly support.  I’m looking for 30 people, churches or groups that will commit to $25.00 a month.  Of course any gift, whether it’s a one time  $10.00 or $100.00+ is greatly appreciated.  At the present time I accept donations through givesendgo, which is a fundraising engine started by YWAMers, who charge nothing.  The only thing that comes out is the 3% required by law, for the finance company to transfer it to my account.  Donations can be made at https://www.givesendgo.com/GCPA#.V9YmfYNpigE.facebook

Whether God leads you to donate or not, please, keep myself, and the entire campus, in your prayers.  Pray for Spiritual breakthrough, for God’s heart and God’s ways to be the only one taught and lived here.  Pray for financial provisions; not just for me and the campus, but for everyone here, and everyone wanting to come here either to staff or for school.  That God would bring us the right staff and lead us to find them.  Pray for those around the world teaching and preaching truth.  Pray for those seeking God’s will and direction.

Thank You and God Bless.

If you don’t already, follow or befriend me at facebook.com/dennis.mixer

I will attempt to post updates more often so it doesn’t get so long.

My S.B.S Final Paper

As requested, Here is my final paper for SBS.  Somehow I managed to get a B on it.  I think it was a sympathy grade just so I would pass the school.  Please leaves some feedback.

Some of the oldest and biggest questions that mankind has sought an answer for are, “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?” and “what’s my purpose in life?”. Throughout history people have made assumptions and have come up with outlandish theories as to the origin and purpose of man.

In reality, writings explaining the very questions man has asked, were written over a span of 1,500 years, starting almost three and a half millennia ago. Yet, it has been rejected by the majority of peoples as the answer. In these writings, man is told of his origin, the purpose of man, the fall of man, why there is evil in this world, and the plan to bring redemption to man, because of the separation man had with God.

These writings are, of course, the Bible, the word of God. The Bible starts at the beginning; Or, I should say, as much of a beginning as man can comprehend, since the triune God had no beginning and is thus “always and forever”.

So, let’s start with the origin and the original state of man. In Genesis we find God creating all of creation, and after God had created all the earth, the heavens, the fish of the sea, birds of the air and beast of the fields, He looked at it and said “it is good”. Then he said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26).

And, that’s what God did. He created man to be just like him. Man was perfect in every way. He created man to think and to create, to have dominion over all that he saw. God gave man a mate, and the ability to procreate. He put man in the Garden of Eden and gave man a job; to work and keep the garden. Man had it made; work a garden that had no weeds, eat of the plentiful fruit, share it with a beautiful wife, to be fruitful and multiply, and commune with God when he came to visit(Gen.3:8).

God also gave man a free will, a will to make decisions and to think. Along with that free will, God gave man one rule. One simple, easy to follow stipulation. Man could eat any of the abundant fruits of the garden except of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil. With the stipulation, he also gave a consequence for breaking the rule; death!(Gen 2:17)

Enter the serpent, which Moses says in Gen. 3:1, “was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.”, and John talks of in Rev. 12:9 as, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” The serpent finds Eve and starts throwing doubt into her mind. He ask “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:4-5)

So the woman, seeing that the fruit was good for food, chose to disobey God, and she partook of the fruit; and nothing happened. We don’t really know what Adam was doing at the time. The Bible does tell us that he was there(Gen. 3:6) so he was either doing his own thing and not paying attention, or possibly standing there watching to see what happened to Eve when she ate the fruit. The interesting thing here is, according to Gen 2:15-16, God put the MAN in the garden and commanded the MAN not to eat. There is no record of the woman being commanded by God not to eat of the fruit. But Adam, seeing that nothing happened to Eve, also eats the fruit. Immediately, when Adam eats the fruit, both of their eyes were open and they knew that they were naked.

About that time, God decides to go for a walk in the garden and, when Adam and Eve hear God, they try to hide themselves from His presence. But God called out, “Where are you?”. When man explained to God why they were hiding, God confronted him about eating the fruit of the tree. Adam did what any sinful man would do, he blamed it on the woman; and the woman in turn blamed it on the serpent. This started a vicious cycle of man, not wanting to take responsibility for his sin, blaming everyone and everything but his own choice.

God then curses that serpent and, in that, we first see a promise a savior. In Gen. 3:15 God declares, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” God continues by decreeing punishments on the man and woman. Woman would experience pain in giving birth, yet still desire her husband. Man would no longer have the luxury of just going around, plucking ripe fruit, but, because of the fall, would have to contend with thorns and thistles. He would have to work hard, by the sweat of his face. If that wasn’t bad enough, he would have to do it until he died. Death of the body was now a final curse on all mankind.

Adam and Eve were then kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Because of man’s blatant rebellion in going against the one rule God had given them, all of mankind now had to face the consequence of a sinful world. Eve bore children, and more sins appeared. First there was jealousy, then murder. Over the course of ten generations the sin of mankind had become so rampant that God said ENOUGH! And, sparing only Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, destroyed all other mankind with a flood.

Four hundred years after the flood God calls a man named Abram to leave his home and go to a land that God would show him. Although Abram’s wife, Sarai was barren, In this God promised Abram that he would make him a great nation, and bless him, making his name great and that, through him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. In this covenant with Abram, God was birthing a people that would be called His People, and speaking of a savior that would be for all people. As time goes on, God makes more covenants with Abram promising a son and a land for his descendants. He makes a covenant of circumcision, which was to set His people apart from the rest of the world. He changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah and, when Sarah was in her ninety’s and Abraham was nearly one hundred, they had a son; Isaac. Isaac had Jacob, who later became Israel, and he had twelve sons. One of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, because of the jealousy of his brothers, is sold by his brothers and ends up in Egypt; only to become the second in command of Egypt. Through a series of circumstances that only God could have orchestrated , Jacob’s entire clan settles in Egypt, because of famine in Canaan.

Four hundred years later we find the Hebrew people, great in number, but no longer sojourners in Egypt, but slaves to Egypt. But, God had not forgotten the covenant he had made with Abraham and he raised up Moses, A Hebrew raised in the courts of Pharaoh as an adopted grandson. Moses leads the Hebrew people out of Egypt and towards the land of Canaan, which God had promised Abraham would belong to his descendants.

Once out of Egypt, they traveled for three months, and God provided for them, manna from heaven, bitter water made sweet and water from a rock. When they came to Mount Sinai Moses left them at the bottom, in the care of his brother, Aaron, and went up to meet with God.

There, God gave Moses the Law, rules that would make the Israelites his people, holy and set apart from the rest of the nations. And, even while Moses was getting these laws from God, the people, whom God had freed from slavery, had a golden calf made and were worshiping it and practicing rituals of Egypt. Because of Moses’ intercession, God spared them instead of destroying them all.

God led them to the edge of the promised land and told them to take it. But instead, they sent spies to scout it out. When the spies returned they told about how plentiful the land was and even brought back fruits form the land. But then they said that there were giants in the land and ten out of twelve of the spies said that they were too strong for them. Caleb and Joshua alone stood up and said that God would give them the land.

Because of this, the people wandered in the wilderness for forty years until the only ones where were adults that were left were Caleb, Joshua and Moses. They came back to the promised land, across from Jericho and Moses turned the leadership of the people over to Joshua, then he went up, looked across to the promised land and died. Joshua gathered the people together and they recommitted themselves to the covenant with God and went in, with the help and guidance of God, and took the land.

The people, however, quickly began doing evil and this started the cycle of the judges. The people would fall into sin and idolatry, they would be enslaved, they would cry out to God, God would raise up a judge who would deliver them and then the cycle would start again.

Then, one day, the people said “We want a king so we can be like all the other nations.” This upset Samuel, who was the judge over them at the time; but God let Samuel know that, the people hadn’t rejected him, they had rejected God being king over them.

God had Samuel warn the people of what a king would do in an attempt to get them to keep YHWH as their king over them. But the people insisted on having a king like the other nations. So God had Samuel anoint a young man from the tribe of Benjamin named Saul. A tall, handsome, young man which is said in 1 Samuel 9, that there was none as handsome in all Israel and, from he shoulders upward, taller that the others. He would seem just like the kind of king the people wanted. But, Saul tried to avoid his anointing. He told no one about it and, on the day he was to meet Samuel in Gilgal, Saul was in Mizpah. So Samuel went to Mizpah to ordained Saul as king, but Saul hid in the baggage area, trying not to be seen.

Over time, Saul did all of the things Samuel had warned the the people a king would do. He mistreated people he became power hungry, he even decided to perform a sacrifice for himself. He disobeys God’s directive to devote everything to destruction(1Sam 15:3, 14-15) Then he even rejects God as being his God. In 1 Samuel 15:15, 21, 30 he says to Samuel “The LORD your God”. That was the last straw for God and he had Samuel go Jesse, a Bethlehemite, and anoint one of his sons as king.

Samuel ends up anointed David, Jesse’s youngest son, who had been out tending the sheep. Unlike Saul’s anointing, which had just been between Samuel and Saul, David was anointed in the presence of his family, and the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day.

About the same time, the Spirit of God left Saul and he became troubled and tormented. One of the young men in the court knew of David’s skill at harp playing and so, David was brought into the kings court to soothe Saul.

Then came Goliath, a giant of a philistine, who for forty days had come to the scrimmage line between the Philistines and Israelites and challenge the people of Israel to a one on one. David happens to be there during one of these challenges and gets upset simply because this uncircumcised Philistine is defying the army of the Living God. So he steps up to the plate and faces his challenge head on with nothing but a sling and stone.

This got David in good with Saul, and his son Jonathan, who became closer than a brother to David. And, all was well, until Saul started noticing that David was getting more attention than he was and, in his jealousy, began to devise ways to dispose of David. David, however, even knowing that he had been anointed king, refused to do anything but stay one step ahead of Saul with the help of his wife, Michal(Saul’s daughter) and Jonathan. Even when he had opportunities to kill Saul twice, he would not do it(1Sam 24:4-7, 26:6-12).

In the mean time, David is doing what Saul should have been, driving the enemies of God and Israel out of the land.

Saul eventually dies, fallen in battle with the Philistines. And so, the king that the people wanted, A king like all the other nations had, Goes down in history as being a failure. A man who rejected the God of his fathers and let power, pride and jealousy reign his life.

David is anointed king in Judah(2Sam 2) but Abner, the commander of Saul’s army decided to split the kingdom and proclaim Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, King of Israel. War began, Israel against Judah, brother against brother. But then, two years later, Ish-bosheth was murdered in his bed and, the ones who did it brought his head to David, thinking they would be rewarded. Instead they were killed for their evil.

Then, all the tribes of Israel came to David, acknowledging that it was David who had lead them even while Saul was king, and anointed David King over Israel, thus reuniting the nation. David drove the Philistines, who had been a pain the side ever since they had not been driven out when Joshua and taken the land and decided to co-habitat with them instead of doing as God had said and drive them out of the land.

David moved the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem from Baale-Judah. Though David wanted to build a house for God, not feeling it fair that he live in a house lined with cedar while The Ark was in a tent. He consulted Nathan the prophet, who at first tells David to do it. However, after a dream Nathan tells David that he was not to build the temple, but that his son would. In this He also made a covenant with David that his line would be on the throne forever. (2Sa 7:11b-16)

In contrast to Saul, David’s heart was to seek God, to the point that God called him a Man after his own heart, even before he was anointed(1Sam13:14). David not only had a heart for God, but also for people. He even mourned when enemies that he respected died. He wasn’t perfect, but when he did sin, and it was brought to his attention, he repented instead of being angry with the one pointing his sins out. And, he accepted the punishment God issued. He led the nation to victory after victory and, even though he was not allowed to build the temple, he did everything he could to prepare for it to be built.

In God’s covenant with David, he hinted to an eternal kingdom. This wasn’t the only mention of an eternal Kingdom belonging to God. In 2 Chronicles 13:5 David’s descendant, Abijah, in an attempt to avoid battle with their brothers of the northern kingdom, said: “ Ought you not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?” and in Verse 8 “And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD …”

It is clear that God did not intend for this kingdom to be only for the Jewish people. This was apparent from the time God called Abram. In Genesis 12:3

YHWH tells Abram that, “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Isaiah 2:1-5 talks about all the nations shall flowing toward the House of the LORD, and many peoples saying, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” Zechariah 2:11 says that many nations will join themselves to the LORD and be YHWH’s people. And when Solomon dedicated the temple he prayed that God would hear the foreigner, not of the people of Israel comes and prays toward God’s house, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know God’s name and fear him. In this it included the Gentiles who would turn toward the God of Israel. Isaiah 56:3-7 tells the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD, who choose the things that please God and holds fast His covenant, Will be give an everlasting name that will never be cut off. YHWH promises to bring them into his holy mountain, and make them joyful in His house of prayer.

So, we have an eternal kingdom, a promise that all who serve YHWH will be included. But what does this mean? Throughout the Old Testament are clues to a coming savior. They start at the very fall of man. Already mentioned is Gen. 3:15 where, in the garden, YHWH decrees that there would be a seed of the woman that would crush the serpent’s head. In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses says:”The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—“. Isaiah Prophesied of a coming ruler in chapter 9:6-7: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Isaiah also spoke much about the coming salvation and the Suffering Servant.(Isaiah 52-54) A Servant who would bear our grief, carry our sorrow, who would heal with the wounds that he received, who would be crushed for our iniquities and pierced for our transgressions. Yet through this he would be silent, like a lamb taken to slaughter.

But, as hopeless as that seems, we find in the Psalms a promise for the anointed one; For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.(Psalms 16:10)

This brings us to the fulfillment of many prophesies; The birth of Jesus, he promised Messiah. Everything from the Linage, conception, birth, location of birth, all fulfillment of prophesy.

Jesus grows up, gets baptized, and is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to fast, and then be tempted by Satan.  Then begins his ministry. As Jesus begins his ministry, he echos the voice of John the Baptist before he got arrested; Calling the people to repentance because the Kingdom was at hand.

What is the kingdom? In Matthew it’s called the Kingdom of Heaven, and is mentioned Thirty-one times. He also calls it the Kingdom of God Five times. The other authors of the New Testament call it the Kingdom of God, Sixty-nine times and in Revelation, John refers to it twice, calling it the Kingdom of our Lord and the Kingdom of our God. In many parables Jesus mentions what the Kingdom was like. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says to seek First the kingdom of God, Then his blessings would be bestowed upon the seeker. In Matt. 12:28 he challenges the Pharisees and tells them that, If he cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon them. He told the disciples that, to them were given the secrets of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside everything was in parables(Mark 4:11). In Mark 4:26 he says that the Kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed on the ground. He doesn’t do anything else, yet he later harvest. In Mark 10:23 Jesus said that the kingdom belongs to the Children. In Luke 16 it is expressed again adding that no one can enter the kingdom unless they do so like a child. I believe this means the way a child is innocent and trusting. In Luke 17:20,21 Jesus tells the Pharisees that the kingdom of God isn’t something that could be seen, but they were in the midst of it. And in Mark 12:28-34, when the Scribe ask Jesus about the about the greatest commandment and then commented on Jesus’s answer, Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, Jesus told him that he was not far from the kingdom of God.

So, all things said, to me, Jesus’s teaching on the Kingdom of God isn’t so much a place as it is a state of heart. Loving YHWH with all your heart, mind and spirit, Loving others the way that God loves them. To be humble, caring, living life as Jesus lived his, always putting others first. Spreading the Good news to bring others into the kingdom. Always being ready for His return and helping others to be ready for his return.

How is this accomplished? Man in and of himself cannot do it. Even if man could do the physical outward appearance of doing all these thing, Man is still a sinful being. This is why new life must be found. The Gospel of John tells of the new life that must be found. John talks about the Word of God coming, the word of God that was with God and was God. Jesus wasn’t just a man, but God incarnate. John the Baptist in John 1:29 proclaimed him the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus lived a sinless life, did nothing but good, taught nothing but love and righteousness. He healed the sick and freed the possessed and oppressed. Yet he was hung on a cross like a criminal. Jesus, the Son of God was the Lamb of God; a lamb without blemish that was suitable for a sacrifice for the sins of all of the world.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus, man can find new life, freedom from the sins that have plagued mankind since the fall in the garden. Man can die to self and be reborn in Christ. 2Corinthiens 5:14,15 says: For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Verse 17 and 18 go on to tell us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Because of the work that Jesus did on the cross, anyone who follows him, trust him, has faith in him is counted as righteous. While we are called to follow the ways of Christ, that is to Love God and to love our neighbor; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the widows and orphans, that isn’t what makes us righteous. There is nothing that man can do to make himself righteous! Romans 4:2-3 says; For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” What make us righteous is faith in God through Jesus Christ. Romans 10:4 tells us “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Websters 1828 dictionary describes righteousness as being nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. This is how God sees each and every one who has accepted Jesus. Even though everyone messes up now and them. Just as King David was deemed righteous, Abraham was called righteous, You are called righteous.

Not only are we considered righteous, we are justified, as though we had never sinned, redeemed and set free as a slave that has been redeemed. And are one of God’s people, even a child of God. Romans 8:15 tells us that we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

We have all of this And the promise of the second coming of Christ. Several scriptures throughout the old and new testament speak of a time of final gathering and judgment. Isaiah 11:11,12 talk of the day that the Lord will recover, for the second time, the remnant of his people. Rising a signal for the nations and gather the banished of Israel and the dispersed of Judah from all corners of the earth. Isaiah 26:19 talks about the resurrection of the dead and verse 21 about the judgment on the earth for their iniquities. Daniel had a vision in 7:13-14 and said that he one, like the son of man with the clouds of heaven and dominion and glory and a kingdom were given to him, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. And his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, that will not pass away. And Zephaniah 3:18-20 says that, he will gather those who mourn for the festival and, at that time deal with all oppressors, save the lame and gather the outcast. At that time he will bring believers in, gathering them together; and restore fortunes.

The second coming of Jesus is far more evident in the new testament. There is no doubt about it. There are forty-four verses after the gospels that mention or hint to a second coming. Starting in the first chapter of Acts, as the disciples watched Jesus ascend into Heaven, standing there gazing up, two men dress in white said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (acts 1:11). 1Cor 11:26 talks about communion until he returns. 1Thessalonians 3:13 says that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

In Revelation1:4, John is given the letters to the seven churches in Asia and, in the very greeting says: To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from who is, and who was, and who is to come. And in Revelation 22, Jesus says twice “I am coming soon”.

So, that is God’s plan for mankind. A plan that restores the communion that was lost in the garden. Three short chapters leading up to man’s rebellion and everything else working toward the reconciliation of man with God.

 

 

How we study the Bible

734899_10200797005992055_32907095_n

Once upon a  time, this is what it meant for me to study the bible;  A note pad and highlighter; casually doing a little cross referencing, while I sipped a cup of coffee. Not bad for a little devotional.  Here in the School of Biblical Studies, we go way beyond that.

In S.B.S. We use the Inductive Study Method. “What is that?” you ask. The Inductive Study Method is simple; OBSERVATION(what the text actually says), INTERPRETATION(what it meant to the original audience, hearer and reader) and APPLICATION(Discovering the timeless truths of the text and applying them today).

Still sounds fairly simple?  Let me explain how we come up with it all.

Step one, Out Loud Read: To get the big picture we read the book out loud. This step we can do in groups up to 4 people. We read the entire book, out loud, in one setting. Small books might take 20 minutes, large book…four hours.

Step two, Paragraph Titles: This is the second read. In each paragraph, find 3-4 words that give the main point of the paragraph.

Step Three, Structure: Understanding how the author ordered the book, major breaks in thought or topic. The structure breaks down Divisions, sections and finally segments (which makes up our charts)

Step Four, Color Coding: The third reading we analyze the sentence structure. There are 37 things we look for in the text; repeated word or ideas, who, what, where, when, pronouns, verb tenses, connectives, contrast…You get the idea.

Step Five, Basic Required Information(BRI): For this we use the text itself and bible dictionaries as the primary source. Things we look at; author(some are obvious other are disputed), who was the book written to? Original hearer/original reader? When was the book written, why was it written, what was going on when it was written, what was the culture like when and where it was written(relative historical context).

Step Six, Inside Observations: This is our fourth reading of the book. Using vertical charts made from steps 2 and 3, we do further observations into each paragraph and idea. Small books have 4-5 charts, large book up to 35 (each chart takes 45min-1hr to complete(see example of a completed chart below))

In the fifth reading we do four more steps:

Step Seven, Outside Observation: Pulling a main observation to the outside, identify and elaborate on the observations.

Step Eight, Interpretation: Understanding what the text meant when it was written by asking questions; Why did the author say this? Why was it important to the original reader? What was the author trying to communicate? …

Step Nine, Timeless Truths and Application: What was true then that is still true today? How should it affect the contemporary reader? How does it impact the church? How does it impact me?

And finally, Step Ten, Final Application: What is God saying to me and how do I apply it to my life?

Why do I, and all of the S.B.S. students around the world, go through this? To better understand the God that we serve; to be better equipped to teach others about his wondrous mercy and grace. To go into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations.

Again, I need your help!  If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know that following the School of Biblical Studies, I have answered God’s call to be a fulltime missionary at the Guadalajara, Mexico YWAM.  In order to do that I need to raise about $3,000 to get there and get set up, which includes having transportaion while I’m there.  Please keep me in your prayers and consider supporting me financially.  You can send check or money order to me by mailing it to: Dennis Mixer  501 Blacktail Road, Lakeside, MT.59922  or through paypal to: delmix61@aol.com

 

1

 

The Circle of Life

It was a whirlwind of a week.

Classes resume on April 4th.  Our assignment last week was Kings (both 1st and 2nd as it was originally one writing) and it was all I could do to keep up.  Then came news that my sister, Dolores Mae Schleif , who had been battling leukemia for several months, had taken a turn for the worse.  This slowed me down a bit.  After class Friday, and working until 11:30 P.M., I finally made my way to the dorm to get some sleep.

As I was climbing into bed, just before midnight, my phone alerted me to an incoming message.  It was the message I had been expecting, and dreading, all day.  My sister had succumbed to the cancer some twenty minutes earlier.  needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

Not to be overly distracted by life, I was awake and back to work by 6a.m., a  hot pot of  coffee beside me.  I worked until breakfast at 9:00, saving my work before leaving it.  After breakfast I continued on the Kings assignment.   knowing that I would not get it finished by the 5:00 P.M. deadline, I wanted it to be as complete as possible.  The vest majority of the assignment was a summarized  bio on each of the kings of Israel and Judah (42 kings & 1 queen).  I worked steady, going down the list of kings of Judah first.  I had just finished Josiah, reached across my computer to turn a page of my bible and brushed the keyboard.

I have no idea what I did but, all the work, from Queen Athaliah to King Josiah (10 rulers), was gone;  nowhere to be found.  The computer was set to back up every 15 minutes, but the backup folder was empty. Rarely have I felt that type of frustration in my life.  With little time left, I could do nothing but a book summery and final application before it was due; and accept an even more incomplete assignment than I had expected.

This normally would not be a big deal, except that I had already used up my graces in the first two quarters.  Between being sick twice and taking time to travel to Minnesota to visit my sister in the nursing home, I had missed 3 assignments and had another incomplete.  Basically, what this means is than I must carry a C average and make sure that everything is complete, and on time, for this quarter to get credit for the course.

However, as they say, life goes on and the circle of life continues.  Less than 48 hours of the passing of my sister, we welcomed her newest grandchild, Aurora Mae, into the world;  born to my nephew and his wife.   And, as life continues, I too shall continue to grow and learn.

As always, I need your help.  I still owe $2,300.00 for this quarter(includes classes, materials, room&board.  I have also committed to being at YWAM Guadalajara, MX by July 1 and need funds to move there.

All donation go for The School of Biblical Studies at YWAM Montana Lakeside and helping to establish me as a long term YWAM missionary in Mexico.  If God leads you to donate, the best way is to send check or Money Order, made out to YWAM Montana, to Dennis Mixer, 501 Blacktail Road, Lakeside MT, 59922.  If you wish to do it electronically, you can go through PayPal by sending it to accounting@ywammontana.org and putting “Dennis Mixer SBS tuition” in the memo/note area. (both these are tax deductible.

Even if God doesn’t lead you to donate financially, prayers are always needed.

Next time I’ll explain the system we use to study God’s word.

God Bless you all.

R.I.P. Dolores