Archives For January 2015

Seldom does a movie come by that you can recommend with a clear conscience. This is one. Please read below how you can use this movie as an evangelistic opportunity or an alternative to movies that do not have a biblical value system. I will let the producer share his thoughts with you:

“Thank you very much for the encouragement and the support – and for sending the Barna study to me.   We’re truly excited about your willingness to share the evangelism opportunity with Old Fashioned.

If you direct your pastors to the www.oldfashionedmovie.com website, they will find free resources such as sermons, guides, video clips and other printed materials that will equip them in creating church programming centered on love and relationships.  If  they register on the home page of the website, they will be alerted as new resources become available.   The church resources also can be found directly on http://www.oldfashionedmovie.com/churchresources.

Besides the website, please share our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/OldFashionedMovie.

In addition, I’ve attached a presentation that outlines the evangelism opportunities available with a focus on Millenials that might be helpful as well.  Feel free to pass along as a downloadable link here:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/8czdkpqsvxlqhhj/OF%20Overview%20for%20R%20Hernandez.pptx?dl=0

 

 

“So often we have allowed the material means by which we live to outdistance the spiritual end for which we live. We our mentality to outrun our morality. We have allowed our technology to outrun our theology. And if we are not careful we will end up with guided missiles and misguided men. And that is a necessity now, more than ever before, to keep the means, rather than ends, for which we live, abreast with the means by which we live.”  (MLK Speech from Puerto Rico, 1962)

I sometimes hear that we live in a post-racial America. I wish we did. We don’t. That is especially significant in the church, where Sabbath morning is still the most segregated hour in the week. I am eternally optimistic, but I also wish we could have honest conversations instead of just playing nice in front of people and hardball behind the scenes. I wanted to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, as a pastor from a Hispanic heritage. I wanted on this day, to share my feelings on race and religion (both hot topics, so forgive me in advance).

Here are three perspectives:

  1. Thanks.

As a Hispanic in North America, I do not take lightly the fact that many of the privileges that we enjoy today and take for granted, others paid for with their lives. I am thankful to Dr. King for letting his faith drive his actions, for being not just a voice for justice and freedom, but a person that understood this simple fact: we lose the right to speak to a culture we are unwilling to engage and when merited, challenged.

  1. Concern.

Have we made progress in the church? Sure. Is it all fixed? No. Here are some specific instances I have personally experienced:

*A pastor asked me if he could baptize someone he called “an illegal”?

*A pastor in a conference in the west that told his Hispanic colleague that he should stand in front of the church and tell every person “that had no papers to go back to Mexico”.

*The question I get asked five times out of ten: “Are you the ministerial guy for ALL or just Hispanics?”

*Do you speak Mexican?

Chance starts with us. Instead of taking our cues from the media and the talking points from the talking heads, why don’t we take the time to get to know someone from another culture?

  1. Hope.

I have seen many instances of progress. I have seen in the last 10 years many Hispanics being appointed to positions of leadership. I have seen a desire in cities all across the Southern Union to ignore previous silo mentality and start to work along with churches in the other conferences to be more effective in reaching their city. One of the most common questions I hear (literally every week) has to do with the state/regional conference reality. Even today there is a petition to re-examine the present construct. (https://www.change.org/p/north-american-division-of-seventh-day-adventists-let-s-end-ethnically-separate-conferences) While I have issues with the blanket “Let’s do away with regional conferences” (that’s troublesome in itself, think about it) I do hear voices looking for a better way forward. Change is hard. Almost impossible. But I am hopeful. And grateful.

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don’t like scuba diving. I’m afraid of snakes and heights. I’m not a fan of being in the dark, by myself. That’s exactly the reason why I took a scuba diving class, went to Africa’s bush on a mission trip and sleep alone in hotels frequently. The height challenge? I’m still working on that! Fear. If you’re human, you experience it, but if you want to grow, you are going to need to deal with it. Successful people take risks, which often causes fear. Consider this: “…while preparing hundreds of executives to face tomorrow’s challenges, Apte’s team has made some surprising discoveries about the common problems modern professionals face. Rather than a lack of time, money, or manpower, many stem from two unlikely sources, he says. Specifically: a lack of risk tolerance and a resistance to change. Steinberg, Scott (2015-01-06). Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty (Kindle Locations 56-59). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Here are 7 reasons people let fear win (instead of taking risks to be successful):

  1. Fear of failure.

Failure is the cost of doing ministry, or business, or life. If you are not experiencing significant success often, it probably means you are not failing enough.

  1. Fear of embarrassment.

What will they say? What will they think? How will they react? Let me ask you a question. Since when are other people’s opinions the driving force behind your decisions?

  1. Fear of losing control.

If your primary goal is to keep control over every detail, and your spiritual gift is micromanaging, then people will call you “the boss” but never successful.

  1. Fear of rejection.

Rejection is the sandpaper that God uses to polish the work of art he is creating in you. It’s not your enemy, it’s your ally.

  1. Fear of confrontation.

What we don’t confront we don’t conquer, so stopping from moving because you will need to confront attitudes, people and systems is not a valid reason. You are the leader. Not the peace-keeper.

  1. Fear of isolation.

It’s true, it’s lonely at the top, but God seldom gives the vision to the people. He shares with one what will benefit many.

  1. Fear of change and uncertainty.

Fear smuggles your past into your future. Go TSA on it and stop it at the gate. Live your life based more on imagination and less on memory.   What are you afraid of? What change or initiative are you wanting to do but are afraid to? If you want me to pray for you, leave a comment or message me.   (today’s blog was based on the book: Steinberg, Scott (2015-01-06). Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty)

We have all heard the story. A guest speaker/singer comes to share a testimony of his/her former life. They share an interesting and spectacular story of sexual exploits, drug abuse and running from the law. The audience is spell bound. The presentation finishes by sharing how Christ conquered his/her heart. The people leave impressed.

I don’t want to discount the value of such testimonies. They have their place. My only concern is that we become more balanced in our approach to sharing these types of stories. They are BUT ONE part of the kaleidoscope of experiences God used to rescue us.

So, here is my shout out to the “boring” ones. You are not. Your experience is valued by God. Consider with me the following three points:

  1. Real heroes.

In my eyes, it takes a lot more determination, willpower and spiritual fortitude to STAY in church all your life than to slip into a life of sin. You, the one who never left, the one who participated in church, who said yes when they needed volunteers, who raised your hand first when the bible question was asked and who took criticism for being to “churchy” from people both INSIDE and outside the church, you are my biggest hero. It’s a title you have never sought. You just served God because you loved him. That’s why you have earned it.

  1. Undue glamor.

I find it problematic to try to scare people straight. You don’t eradicate evil with evil. You don’t eliminate sinful tendencies by sharing how someone succumbed to it. In my teenage years I was a metal head. Do you know who introduced me to heavy metal? A pastor. We had an AYS meeting where the evils of rock and roll were presented, complete with clips of videos and parts of the music playing. The more I heard, the more I wanted to hear. It proves a principle that I have come to believe. Preaching focused on Christ produces Christians. Preaching focused on sin produces sinners. Your choice.

  1. Past identity.

I am not defined by my past. I can’t hide it. That would be dishonest. I also won’t glamorize it. That would be discouraging to the ones in the audience that do not have a special testimony like mine. Am I saying not to use these types of testimonies ever? No. Am I suggesting that people that have been rescued from the depths of sin have nothing to contribute? Nope. What I am suggesting is this:

  1. Use both types of testimonies. Intentionally
  2. Use the 33% method:

33% your life before Jesus

33% how you encountered Him

33% how he has made a difference

1% the book/dvd/cd you just finished.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your respectful and honest comments here.

Todos hemos oído ese tipo de testimonio. Un orador o cantante invitado viene a compartir un testimonio de su vida anterior. Comparte una historia interesante y espectacular de hazañas sexuales, abuso de drogas y como evadió la justicia. Las personas prestan atención y asienten con sus cabezas. La presentación termina con el invitado compartiendo cómo Cristo conquistó su corazón. Las personas se van impresionadas.

No quiero descontar el valor de tales testimonios. Ellos tienen su lugar. Mi única preocupación es que seamos más equilibrados al compartir este tipo de historias. Ellas son sólo una parte del caleidoscopio de experiencias Dios usa para rescatarnos.

Considere conmigo los tres puntos siguientes:

1. Los verdaderos héroes.

Yo pienso que se necesita mucha más determinación, fuerza de voluntad y fortaleza espiritual para permanecer en la iglesia toda su vida que para caer en una vida de pecado. Quiero hablarte a ti, el que nunca se fue, quien participó en la iglesia, el que dijo que sí cuando se necesitaban voluntarios, el que levanto la mano cuando se preguntó acerca de la Biblia, que fue criticado por ser muy religioso por personas tanto dentro como fuera la iglesia, tú eres mi héroe. Es un título que nunca has buscado. Tú sólo sirves a Dios porque lo amas. Es por eso que te lo has ganado.
2.Presentación sin balance.

Me resulta problemático el usar el miedo para asustar a la gente a una vida diferente. No se erradica el mal con el mal. No se eliminan tendencias pecaminosas compartiendo cómo alguien sucumbió a ellas. En mi adolescencia yo oía música “heavy metal”. ¿Sabes que me inicio en esa música? Un pastor. Tuvimos una reunión de sociedad de jóvenes donde se presentaron los males del rock and roll, con clips de videos y se tocaron partes de la música “no apropiada y satánica.” Mientras más escuchaba, más quería oír. Esto demuestra un principio que he llegado a creer. La predicación centrada en Cristo produce cristianos. La predicación centrada en el pecado produce pecadores. Tú eliges.
3.Mi identidad no es mi pasado.

Mi pasado no me define. No puedo ocultarlo. Eso sería deshonesto, pero tampoco voy a ensalzarlo. Eso sería desalentador para los que están en la audiencia que no tienen un super-testimonio como el mío. ¿Estoy diciendo que no debemos utilizar este tipo de testimonios nunca? No. ¿Estoy sugiriendo que las personas que han sido rescatados de las profundidades del pecado no tienen nada que aportar? No.

Lo que estoy sugiriendo es lo siguiente:

a. Utilice los dos tipos de testimonios. Intencionalmente.

b. Utilice el método del 33%:

33% de su vida antes de Jesús

33% cómo encontró a Jesús

33% cómo Jesús ha hecho la diferencia

1% del libro / dvd / cd que acaba de terminar.
¿Pensamientos? ¿Preguntas? Deja tus comentarios respetuosos y honestos aquí.