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Friday, October 14, 2011

Seven Things I have Learned from our Cuban Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Those that know us well know that we served 20 years with the International Mission Board of the SBC, and since coming to the Seminary here at NOBTS, have the privilege of some 15 trips to Cuba, serving in teaching in our respective areas. Although we do teach, the reality is I believe they have taught me more than I have shared with them. As we prepare to go again I am reminded of what God is doing and fill my heart with joy. There are many more, but I would like to briefly share seven:

1. Jesus is Lord and God is in control. We can trust Him, He is faithful.
2. God will supply our needs.

Knowing these truths is basic to our walk with the Father, seeing them daily lived out in simple faith is life changing. “Contentment with godliness is much gain.”

3. Mega resources cannot guarantee worship, nor are they necessary for real worship.
4. Real worship is not dependent on keeping up with the latest trends.

So many times I have heard the phrase, “ if only we had ____....” and fill in the blank with “a new building,” “new equipment,” “a praise team,” etc. I have seen first hand that Jesus is enough. We can throw all the money in the world at technologies, and other things, but nothing can replace someone with an obedient faith that is committed to God and to worship Him and share God’s love with others.
Having these other things is not bad, but too often we fall into the trap of trusting in the externals to do what only God can do.

5. The prayer offered in faith is powerful and effective.
6. Worship is about God alone.

Time after time I have observed times of prayer, not to approve plans already made, but earnestly seeking the Father’s direction. Being a part of brothers and sisters in Christ praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done and is doing, focusing on Him alone to meet needs is an experience I will never forget. Some of the most accomplished musicians I have ever met serve the Lord in Cuba, yet they know that “worship is not the music.” I have seen so many of these musicians committed to high standards of excellence, not willing to offer to the Lord anything less than the best they have to offer, yet they understand that worship is not entertainment. Worship is about God alone.

7. The Joy of the Lord is my strength.

I have observed real joy and deep fellowship. I have laughed literally until I cried and cherish the precious times God has allowed us to share. They have made us feel like we are family. They have shown me a new depth of joy in the Lord.

I realize that these are not unique to a group of individuals in a single locale. There are many places where any or all of these truths might be evident, but I share these from my own recent experience, and am indebted to believers there.

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