Friday, October 28, 2011

Beauty From Ashes

      I arrived at the church on Sunday to discover that instead of setting things up, fine tuning the sound system, and getting organized, we were doing damage control and itemizing what was missing. We had been not only robbed, but viciously and maliciously attacked by vandals.  I know that the church is on the front of the spiritual warfare that is engaged in the world, but this still took the wind out of our sails.

      The theft was limited to three guitars, but the destruction went beyond that.  They added insult to injury by urinating all over our sound board and frying it.  They slashed our drum set, and then cut the wires that enable us to do simultaneous translation of our service so that we can teach God’s word bilingually. Our church has not ‘offended’ anyone other than through holding to the Gospel in the midst of a catholic and a pagen society.  I guess that it is our offensive truth that caused the vandalism.  The theft I understand, but peeing on the equipment?  That is just hatred.  Hatred of God.  Hatred of truth.  Hatred of the church.

      We had our service thanks to the hard work of a group of Christians, but emotionally I kept struggling between anger, frustration, and pity.  Since then, I have spent this week praying about this, a principle of the Scripture came to me, and I believe that God is going to practically apply it in this case.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50:20)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, (Psa 30:11)

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

       Here is what I am thinking.  What if God used this attack and turned it into a blessing?  My church is not wealthy.  We live in Bolivia, the poorest country in North, Central and South America.  We don’t have a lot of money to put into equipment, whether we are purchasing new items or replacing broken ones.  To be honest, we could use new sound equipment, speakers, microphones, cables, computer, etc.  We could use it, but don’t have the money to purchase them.  However, now we are in a position where we have to purchase some items.

      So, what if the end result of our robbery and vandalism…of this spiritual attack by the enemy…was that we came out better than we were before?  Wouldn’t it be cool if we did not just ‘replace’ our equipment, but ended up with GOOD stuff?  Wouldn’t it be a slap in Satan’s face if this malicious event ended up blessing the Kingdom of God?

      It can.  You can be blessed.  We can be blessed.  Cochabamba can be blessed.  Satan can be ticked off.  I have arranged with my home church in the States, Blue Ridge Bible Church, to receive money for my church here in Bolivia.  The purpose of these gifts is for our church to purchase needed equipment and supplies.  My prayer is that we end up with a lot of money, way more than we need to replace our equipment.  I am praying that we could reimburse the two men who had their guitars and pedals stolen, and then buy a better sound board, nicer microphones, and improve our speakers. 

      I am praying for beauty from ashes, for mourning to be turned into dancing.

     So, send your money to Blue Ridge Bible Church 770 South 20th Street Purcellville VA 20132.  Be sure and write on the memo, FOR CIC BOLIVIA.  We will give people a few weeks to respond, and then Blue Ridge will send a check for the amount to the Cochabamba International Church here in Bolivia.

      Let me make sure that I clarify something.  This is NOT a fundraising effort for me or my ministry.  NONE of these monies will go to the Holmans in any way.  This is a way for churches and Christians in America to work with a sister church in Bolivia and help her live out the victory in Christ.

In Jesus,