Sunday’s Devotional

Franklin Graham talks about Naman, a man who seemed to have everything:

Decision Minute

Man of Power

Franklin Graham

Naman was a man of power, great power, the commander in chief of the largest army in the world at that time. He was a man of integrity; he was honest, moral man. And the Bible says that human goodness and morality is not enough to satisfy God. It’s not enough to be just a good person, and I’m sure today there are many of you in this audience, you consider yourself a good person. Well, Naman considered himself a good man. It’s not enough that you’re religious. It’s not enough that you pray. It’s not enough that you tithe. It’s not enough that you’re a Sunday School teacher. You’ve got to be born again.

You will be born again when you come to Jesus Christ through faith. To make that decision and begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, call us at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, toll free, at 866-JESUS-CARES. Or click billygraham.org.

Sunday

This is the day the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 119:24

As we go to our various churches today, let’s pray for those who will teach and preach God’s Word. Also, pray for those who will listen, that they will understand. Pray for those who do not know Jesus to meet Him today so that their lives can be changed forever.

Let’s also pray for the Week of Prayer for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. The goal at FBC, Kentwood is $13,000.00.

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®

(AAEO) Fast Facts

The reason we give to AAEO:
To help our missionary force reach for Christ an estimated 251 million lost people in the
United States and Canada; that’s three of four people.

AAEO national goal for 2008:
$61 million

Amount given to AAEO in 2007:
Year-end figures totalled $59.3 million

Amount of AAEO used to support missionaries and their work:
100%

Number of NAMB missionaries:
5,271. Generally, a third of the number represents career missionaries, a third are short-term funded missionaries, and a third are Mission Service Corps missionaries.

Total 2007 NAMB budget:
$124,000,000

Amount of NAMB budget that comes from Annie:
46%

Amount of NAMB budget from Cooperative Program:
37%

Year offering started by WMU:
1895

Amount given in 1895:
$5,000 +

Year offering named for Annie Armstrong:
1934

What do AAEO-supported missionaries do?

· Start new churches

· Engage in student evangelism on college campuses

· Serve the physical and spiritual needs of people through inner-city Baptist centers

· Serve in local Baptist associations as associational missionary or other mission staff

· Provide training and ministry in apologetics (interfaith witness) evangelism

· Minister in resort settings such as campgrounds and ski areas

WOP Missionary Daniel Caceres

 

Norman, Okla.

Escaping death in El Salvador, Caceres

 

ministers to Hispanics in Oklahoma

 

By Mickey Noah

NORMAN, Okla. – Why did communist guerillas in El Salvador put Daniel Caceres so high on their murder “hit list” in 1980?

Was it because his brother was a top officer in El Salvador’s army battling the guerillas? Was it because Daniel had been a successful businessman, or because he was an evangelical Christian leader in the civil war-torn nation?

Now, 27 years later, Caceres (pronounced “Ka-se′-res”) says he doesn’t care or want to know why he was targeted.

“Back then, pastors and priests were being killed all the time,” he recalls. “A lot of people died in El Salvador, close to 100,000 people, especially the clergy, lawyers and businessmen.”

Caceres, now 58, was born in El Salvador as was his wife, Marta, and their two sons. Educated as an accountant who also achieved national soccer star status, he fled the country when war erupted.

Raised by a mother who was a “great lady of faith,” Caceres had already rejected two “calls” from God to become a full-time pastor by the time the civil war broke out.

“God called me three times,” said Daniel. “The first time, I didn’t hear his voice very clearly. The second time, I heard his voice but I didn’t answer.”

The third time – with civil war and certain death hanging over him – Daniel answered God’s call. “I said, ‘Lord, it’s OK. Now I surrender my life full-time to you,’ and I started preaching the Gospel.”

So Caceres left his beloved but bloody El Salvador for the last time in 1980. He lost his heavy equipment business, his house, his cars and the church he loved so much.

“I came to America only with my two kids, my wife and my Jesus Christ,” he says with a face that breaks into a warm smile when he mentions the name of “his” Jesus.

Working in His typical mysterious way, God had used three communist guerillas – all stalking Daniel to kill him with their machine guns – to make him realize he needed to totally surrender his life to God.

“I now recommend to people who receive a call from God to be obedient the first time. Don’t wait for those guerillas to come and get you,” he jokes, now able to laugh about it 27 years later.

Daniel and Marta Caceres are two of more than 5,000 missionaries in the United States, Canada and their territories supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® for North American Missions. They are one of eight NAMB missionary couples highlighted as part of the annual Week of Prayer, March 2-9, 2008. This year’s theme is “Live with Urgency: Seize Your Divine Moment.” The 2008 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering’s goal is $61 million, 100 percent of which is used for missionaries like Daniel Caceres.

For the last five years, Caceres has served as state Hispanic church planting strategist in Oklahoma City, Okla., jointly supported by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). He’s worked as a NAMB missionary since 1988.

When he first came to Oklahoma in 1981, the state had a relatively small Hispanic population and only a half-dozen Hispanic congregations. The 1990 census reported 179,000 Hispanics in the state. But today, 300,000 Hispanics call the Sooner State home, and there are more than 100 Hispanic churches.

According to Caceres, 80 percent of Oklahoma’s 300,000 Hispanics are from Mexico. The remainder comes from Spain, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and other Central and South American nations.

“The problem for us is that from Mexico, only the poor people are coming – from the mountains and the rural areas. The people who live in Mexico City, Monterey and the other big cities are staying. But the poor people from the rural areas of Mexico are coming here to survive,” he said.

Caceres said Oklahoma City and its six surrounding counties are the Hispanic hot spots in Oklahoma, with about 200,000 living and working there. Tulsa has another 45,000 Hispanics.

“They are people who are coming here to survive,” says Caceres. “We have the privilege that God is sending these people to Oklahoma so we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

“My main role in Oklahoma is starting churches around the state. I’m coordinating the strategy and the plan to reach out to Hispanics for Jesus Christ,” he said.

What’s a typical week like for a church planting strategist in Oklahoma?

“First, we are always looking at the cities with the greatest Hispanic populations in the state. And then we are looking for sponsoring churches, partnering churches and primary churches to provide us with their facilities to start new churches in their towns.

“We’re also looking for the right person, the right church planters,” Caceres said, “and to train them to lead the Hispanic people here in the Gospel. We don’t have a lot of people who would like to be church planters here. We struggle with that.”

One of Caceres’ showcase Hispanic churches is Oklahoma City’s Rios de Agua, which is Spanish for “river of living water.” Supported with funds from NAMB and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, the church was started in 1990 and runs about 300 each Sunday.

With 35,000 Hispanics living within a six-mile radius around the church, Caceres said attracting only one percent of them would hike attendance by 350, while drawing 10 percent would mean 3,500 more in the church’s pews each Sunday.

“Rios de Agua has a great attendance now, and has become the largest Hispanic church in Oklahoma. They baptized 26 people last year and this year, their goal is to baptize 50.”

A missional church, Rios de Agua supports the Cooperative Program and is trying to start churches in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and other countries. The church also runs 15 Bible studies throughout Oklahoma City’s Hispanic neighborhoods.

“It’s a great church with great projections,” Caceres said. “The pastor, Isaiah Vargas, is a great man who is very dedicated to the Lord. And we at NAMB and BGCO are supporting him with resources.”

Despite the hardships he has faced, Caceres has never lost his love for soccer or “football” as he sometimes calls it. After all, he was good enough to be asked to join the national El Salvador soccer team. He could not play, however, because games were always on Sundays when he was teaching or preaching. Plus, he didn’t approve of the sport’s association with liquor, cigarettes and other vices.

“I would tell them ‘I really don’t use that,’” he said, speaking of the alcohol and tobacco products advertised to sponsor soccer in El Salvador. “I was a Christian and it was difficult for me because there were not many Christians playing soccer at the time. And I was proud to be a Christian.

“Now I’m still playing soccer and through that sport and the ability God gave me, I have reached some people, and some of them are pastors now. I have two here in Oklahoma that I reached through soccer.

“I still enjoy soccer and the relationship it gives me with people. I can talk to them. I can share my feelings and show them that Jesus Christ is living in me. I’m almost 59, and still have the energy to go out there and play with them, and tell them that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.”

Ask Daniel what he’s most proud of and he’ll say his family. His wife, Marta, serves as director of Golden Gate Extension Seminary for the Metropolitan Hispanic Association. His two sons, Daniel Jr. and Carlos, are both full-time ministers. In fact, younger son Carlos also is a church planter and his parents’ pastor at bilingual Hispanic Emmanuel Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, and famous as the home of the University of Oklahoma.

“But the greatest joy I have is seeing somebody come t know Jesus Christ when I share the Gospel with him or her and pray with them.”

Caceres asks Southern Baptists to pray that God will provide the additional church planters and workers he needs because in 2008, his goal is to start 30 new Hispanic churches.

“Through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, we receive a lot of resources and support,” he says. “We now have more than 100 Hispanic churches, 10 Korean churches, a few Chinese churches, and some Russian and Japanese churches. We’re doing our job in Oklahoma.”

Saturday Evening – Hatchels

The “eagle has landed”!


Jennie called to say they were home and about to get in their own beds. They had water; the heat was working. It will be warm later. All the luggage arrived with them.

They had several experiences (rough landing, bad weather, malfunctioning plane that had to be replaced, etc.) that continued to complicate their trip, but God was faithful to get them safely home.

Thank-you for being so faithful to pray. Your prayers are always appreciated!

Saturday Afternoon – Hatchels

If the Hatchels were able to make all connections and weather conditions did not delay any flights, the Hatchels should have completed their third flight now. They needed to go through customs and get all their luggage. Hopefully, a friend brought them a van to use to transport the family two hours away to their home.

The process is long and very tiring. Pray for them as they travel and hopefully get home in the next few hours. Pray that when they get there, things will go smoothly. Pray everything is okay in their house, the heating system quickly heats the house, and everyone can get some much needed rest.

Jennie told me it to “Assume things are going smoothly unless you hear otherwise”. I haven’t heard “otherwise”, so I’m praying and trusting that wherever they are God is watching over them, providing for and protecting them. Thank God for that assurance He gives His children.

Saturday

“Great are the works of the LORD,

studied by all who delight in them.

Full of splendor and majesty is his work,

and his righteousness endures forever.”

~Psalm 111: 2-3, ESV~

 

The Hatchel family should be on their second flight by now.

Some people we need to pray for daily:

  • Mr. Henry Harris
  • Mr. Charley Kuss
  • Smiley Conerly
  • Chuck Pittman
  • Randy Fairburn
  • Margaret and Randy Hart
  • Aubrey Perry
  • Billy Wilkinson
  • Sammy Broyles

Saturday’s Devotional

I DON’T WANT THEM

TO CHANGE ME

Elie Wiesel was brought up in a closely knit Jewish community in Sighet, Transylvania (Romania). When he was fifteen years old, his family was herded aboard a train and deported by Nazis to the Auschwitz death camp. Wiesel’s mother and younger sister died at Auschwitz — his two older sisters survived. Wiesel and his father were then taken to Buchenwald, where his father also perished. Wiesel has devoted his life to ensuring that the world does not forget the atrocities of the Nazis, and that they are not repeated. He tells this story:

A just man decided he must save humanity. So he chose a city, the most sinful of all cities. Then he studied. He learned all the art of moving people, changing minds, changing hearts. He came to a man and woman and said, “Don’t forget that murder is not good, it is wrong.” In the beginning, people gathered around him. It was so strange, somewhat like a circus. They gathered and they listened. He went on and on and on.

Days passed. Weeks passed. After a while, they stopped listening. After many years passed, a child stopped him and said, “What are you doing? Don’t you see nobody is listening? Why do you continue shouting and shouting? Why?”

And the man answered the child, “I’ll tell you why. In the beginning, I was convinced that if I were to shout loud enough, they would change. Now I know they won’t change. But if I shout even louder, it’s because I don’t want them to change me.”

We live in a world where there is a battle going on. I’m not talking about the conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan or Kenya. You may not even be aware that this battle is taking place, but I assure you that it is. It is a spiritual battle being waged between God and his people and Satan and his people (Eph. 6:12). It is a battle for the control of the hearts and minds of men and women, including you and the people around you.

We sometimes use the word “evangelism” to describe our attempt to influence ungodly men in a way that will draw them to God, the God who created them and loves them. But we sometimes forget that efforts (sometimes diligent efforts) are being made by ungodly men to pull us away from God. Be assured of this: One of two things is happening — either you are having an influence on other people, or other people are having an influence on you. It’s a constant battle, much like a tug-of-war.

And there are times, as in the story above, when we need to speak up or take some action, not so much to change others, but to prevent others from changing us.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Friday – Update on Baby Aaron Hill

We’ve had a nice few days settling into our routine here in Camden. Aaron is eating fairly well and sleeping a wee bit better each night. Levi has come to the realization that “baby” is here to stay and is more and more interested in him each day. Levi may be used to Aaron before Aaron is used to Levi!

Laura goes home tomorrow and Scott will be flying in for the weekend. We are excited about his visit and hope that the snow headed our way doesn’t hinder his travel (or Laura’s as she heads home). Please pray for travel graces for Scott and Laura and continue to pray to Aaron will thrive as we wait on our 3/12 checkup at CHOP.

Friday – Hatchels

We took the Hatchels (plus 13 suitcases/crates, 2 carry-ons, 4 backpacks, and 2 computer bags) to the airport today. We were surprised to learn the first flight was canceled (even though Boyd had confirmed it last week). The three flights were rescheduled. The old iteniary is “out the window”.

They will be arriving in Prague later than first expected. Please continue to pray today, tonight, and tomorrow night. I’ll let you know when we hear from them.

You can also pray for it heat up quickly in their house. The outside temperature should be about freezing. The inside temperature will be that cold too!

As always, your prayers are greatly appreciated!