Reflections on the Goodness of Our Lord

In what has come to be known as the Great Commission, our Savior, shortly before he returned to the Father in heaven, commanded his apostles—and through them, his church—to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach. And to this very day, churches that would be faithful to observe all that he had >commanded us, send missionaries to the nations to establish his worship (planting churches in which his people are discipled, baptized, and taught) and to cast the net—to go—to bring the lost into that worship. Following the pattern of Scripture, these young church plants on the mission field, by his grace, grow in their whole-hearted embrace of the system of doctrine that is taught in the Scripture and reflected in our Reformed confessions. And over time, we see them also grow in their ability to provide for their own needs and for those of the poor around them; to govern themselves according to the biblical pattern, as the Lord provides sound and godly ministers, elders, and deacons; and, in turn, to ... Read more

Seven Years of Ministry in Montevideo

On Sunday morning, I stand behind a rickety music stand looking out over a group of twenty people seated on wooden fold-up chairs arranged neatly on a dance floor with disco balls hanging overhead. Seriously? After nearly seven years of rigorous church planting in Montevideo, this is it? Over the years we have had more than forty in our services, with new visitors every Sunday. We have met in a building positioned strategically on a busy downtown corner. We have enjoyed a large sanctuary, a handcrafted pulpit, and extra rooms for Sunday school. Plus, we have been livestreaming our services and uploading them to our own YouTube channel. But on this Sunday, any visitor would think that we were a church just getting started. Water infiltration of the ceiling and walls of our building had forced us into this salon (normally used to host giant birthday celebrations). This is only the latest of a long list of challenges that have discouraged our mission over the years. Members have left Salvos Por Gracia ... Read more

Augustine’s Short Prayers in His Confessions

Many Christians today would probably agree that their prayers are sometimes mediocre. I confess that my own prayers are not always full of deep and heartfelt words. Thankfully, Christ always intercedes for us, and God is a loving Father. This means he always hears the prayers of his children. However, we should want to grow in our prayer life. It’s a positive thing to desire more fervent and passionate prayers. Though Scripture should be our primary guide for prayer (see Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 186), it is often beneficial for Christians to read the impassioned prayers of God’s people in the past. Their prayers can help us better speak to the Lord from the innermost recesses of our hearts. The North African theologian Augustine (354–430) is a good help for those who want to pray better. The way he articulated the desires and thoughts of his heart in prayer is a beautiful example of a believer intimately communing with the Lord. As we listen in on Augustine’s prayers, we not only learn ... Read more