Peru: The Gospel Continues to Spread

Most of the remaining $600 I needed has been provided. Praise be to God who always provides. If you would still like to give, teams will be returning to Peru in the future, so please contact me. For now, I am taking down the Paypal link below.

Blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, brothers and sisters,

The purpose of this post is this: to present you with an opportunity to partner with your fellow worker in the Gospel for the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ. Let me give you a brief history of my connections with Peru.
I traveled to the nation of Peru in 2007 (2 weeks) and 2008 (2 months). This year, from June 28-July 13 I will return to Peru. In 2007 I and others traveled to a small village called Huancapi and in 2008 a team stayed in a village in a different region: Laramate. Laramate and the surrounding towns have been “adopted” by a consortium of Baptist churches in the Central New York region. The team I was on in 2008 was among the first groups to visit Laramate and establish significant connections there. At the end of our stay in 2008, we recorded around 50 confessions of faith in Christ. In the time since my return from Peru, I have not had the chance to gain much information regarding the spiritual state of the people in Laramate. Multiple teams have visited Laramate since my departure in 2008. I am not sure how much fruit has been borne to God’s glory, simply due to lack of information. That said, I am eager to return and see how the Spirit has been moving in Laramate and also eager to proclaim the gospel and encourage the saints in Laramate.
When I soon return to Peru our team will continue the primary work we have done before: engage the people there in conversation and relationship and plant seeds of gospel teaching in their lives. We have previously done this through one on one meetings and Bible studies, often walking through the gospel of John.
Having now explained the trip and some background, I could tell you all the biblical reasons to give financially and pray for this endeavor, but I trust that you are familiar with those passages and teachings. More than anything, I want to give you a chance to:

1. Partner with me in spreading the gospel
2. Express generosity and pray with impudence (Luke 11:8)

That said, I plead for your prayers for the people of Laramate and the visiting missionaries more than anything. I am convinced that God moves when we petition him with our prayers in a shameless and frequent manner (Luke 11:5-8). Please pray frequently.

I forgot to mention this in the original post, but I am bringing a small library in Spanish from Desiring God set to present as a gift to a seminary in a city near Laramate. I am friends with the director of the seminary and I am really looking forward to surprising him with this gift.

The nitty-gritty:
 - Any questions? Please email me (trevormarsteller at gmail dot com). If you would like to talk with me, I can arrange a Skype call.
 - At present I am unsure of the ability to use these donations via Paypal as a tax-writeoff. If you have questions about this, I can dig into it further.
 - Paypal charges some fees for using their services (2.9% per transaction + $.30). I will personally add money to the Peru fund to make up for these charges.


New Blog Schedule

Hey everyone, I have been thinking lately that I would like to be a better blogger in many ways so I am going to be stepping back from writing for a while (and posting random things) in the interest of getting a plan together for writing well. I imagine this will look like 1-2 thought out original posts per week from myself and then sporadic links to other blogs throughout the week.

So, until the new schedule takes effect, the "Daily Gospel" posts will become less, well, daily. (Don't stop beating the gospel into your head though!)

If you would like to read my thoughts on any specific topic, please leave a comment. I would be more than glad to accommodate any requests I receive.


Daily Gospel: Jesus is the Bread

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
(John 6:35 ESV)
The longings we experience reflect the true essence of our being. "They are who we are," says Gary Heim in True North. The child's cry to be held close, the heavy heart of a wife longing for her husband, the vacuous human heart seeking satisfaction in something. We are beings of desire, longing, and yearning.

Have you considered what Jesus is saying about himself? He says to the crowds seeking a king, seeking a daily meal, that he is the food for the human soul. Jesus says that there is life emanating from his own being - true soul food. If Jesus is the bread of life, what can we say of all other "breads" we fill the stomachs of our soul with? Can they permanently eliminate our soul's hunger and thirst? No, not  eliminate, but can the breads of life satisfy?

And all that Jesus is he is for us, for free. Let us go to the Bread of God and eat, for this brings him great glory.


Daily Gospel: Call and Response

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
 - Psalm 86:5-7

Call upon God, receive his bountiful, steadfast love.
Plead for grace, he answers.

It's quite simple, you see.


Daily Gospel: A Debtor To Mercy Alone

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing,
Nor fear, with God's righteousness on,
My person and off'rings to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.The work which His goodness began,

The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.My name from the palms of His hands

Eternity will not erase;
Imprest on His heart, it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes! I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv'n;
More happy, but not more secure,
When all earthly ties have been riv'n.
 - Augustus Toplady


Daily Gospel: Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat

Approach my soul, the mercy seat
Where Holy One and helpless meet
There fall before my Judgesʼ feet
Thy promise is my only plea, O God

Send wings to lift the clutch of sin
You who dwell between the cherubim
From war without and fear within
Relieve the grief from the shoulders of crumbling men

O God –
Pour out your mercy to me
My God,
Oh what striking love to bleed.

Fashion my heart in your alchemy
With the brass to front the devilʼs purgery
And surefire grace my Jesus speaks
I must. I will. I do believe. Oh Lord.
 - Jamie Barnes / John Newton

Help Out A Great Ministry

One of my favorite ministries, Desiring God, needs about $200,000 to meet their budget. Would you consider giving to help them? If you know anything about this ministry, you know it is dead-set on glorifying God, and for that they are certainly worthy of assistance - in joyful giving!

Here are some stats on their website from their most recent fiscal year:
3.6 million website visitors (up 31% previous YTD)

25% of website visits now coming from outside the US (232 countries & territories)
409,000 books distributed
850 translated online resources now available in over 40 languages
4 new language DG websites released (Chinese, Czech, Spanish, Swahili)


Daily Gospel: God's "Yes" to us in Christ

In Galatians 3:29 (RSV) Paul wrote, "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (see Ephesians 3:6; Galatians 3:14, 22; Hebrews 9:15). All the promises of God for the good of his people are in Christ. He confirms them and secures them and purchases them for all who "are Christ's" - for all who believe and belong to him (Galatians 3:22). Every sinner who comes to God in Christ, with all his needs, finds God coming to him in Christ, with all his promises. When a sinful person meets the holy God in Christ what he hears is Yes. God, do you love me? Yes. Will you forgive me? Yes. Will you accept me? Yes. Will you help me change? Yes. Will you give me power to serve you? Yes. Will you keep me? Yes. Will you show me your glory? Yes.
 - John Piper, Future Grace, p. 105


A Mighty Fortress

Writing a brief article on this great hymn for Missio Church. Keep your eyes peeled...


Daily Gospel: John Newton on Indwelling Sin

The depravity of the heart — which impedes us when we would do good, and pollutes our best intended services with evil. We have cause, upon this account, to walk softly all our days; yet we need not sorrow as those who have no hope. The Lord has provided his people relief under those complaints, and teaches us to draw improvement from them. If the evils we feel were not capable of being overruled for good — He would not permit them to remain in us. This we may infer from his hatred to sin — and the love which He bears to his people.
As to the remedy, neither our state nor his honor are affected by the workings of indwelling sin — in the hearts of those whom He has taught to wrestle, strive, and mourn, on account of what they feel. Though sin wars in us — it shall not reign in us. And though it breaks our peace — it cannot separate from his love. Nor is it inconsistent with his holiness, and perfection, to manifest his favor to such poor defiled creatures, or to admit them to communion with himself; for they are not considered as in themselves — but as one with Jesus, to whom they have fled for refuge, and by whom they live a life of faith.
They are accepted in the Beloved. They act from a principle of love. They aim at no less than his glory. Their habitual desires are supremely fixed upon himself. There is a difference in kind between the feeblest efforts of faith in a real believer, while he is covered with shame at the thoughts of his sins — and the highest and most splendid attainments of those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight.
Nor shall this conflict remain long, or the enemy finally prevail over them. They are supported by almighty power — and led on to certain victory. They shall not always be — as they are now; yet a little while, and they shall be freed from this vile body, which, like the leprous house, is incurably contaminated, and must be entirely taken down. Then they shall see Jesus as He is, and be like him, and with him forever.
 - John Newton, Indwelling Sin and Believer

Via Ben Terry


Daily Gospel: God Leads Sinners

Good and upright is the LORD;
        therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
    He leads the humble in what is right,
        and teaches the humble his way.
    All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
        for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
    For your name's sake, O LORD,
        pardon my guilt, for it is great.
    Who is the man who fears the LORD?
        Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
    His soul shall abide in well-being,
        and his offspring shall inherit the land.
    The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
        and he makes known to them his covenant.
 - Psalm 25:8-14

A few things:
  • God instructs sinners in the way of life, the way of righteousness, God's path. Does this not manifest his goodness, that one who is holy and perfect would teach and lead the dirty and guilty?
  • Being humiliated does not equal being humbled. The humble man realizes his sorry estate apart from God and then flees to God for direction, help, and forgiveness from the guilt of sin.
  • All the paths of the LORD are "love and faithfulness". All of them. He will never stray into sin and thus man can never bring a valid charge against him.
  • It is immeasurably freeing to petition God to forgive our sins for his name's sake. This is a recurring theme in the Bible. God's people ask him to wash away their sins on account of the mercy that God is known for showing. It is indeed proper to ask God to forgive us so that he will forever prove himself to be merciful and loving.
  • God's friendship is for those who fear him. The fear of the LORD (a topic worthy of many more posts) is the proper framework in which man relates to God. The man who knows God fears him and so God unites the man to himself in an everlasting covenant and calls the God-fearer his friend.


Looking Down On Sinners

I came across this in the daily Bible study on Ephesians 2:11 in TableTalk magazine:
Paul reminds the Gentiles of their desperate situation before Christ came and shows them that they have no reason to look down upon the Jews. We, too, should remember how far off we were from God before Jesus so that we never haughtily look down upon those who do not know the Savior. We are not inherently better than those who are outside the covenant community, but have as much need of the gospel as they do.
Here is an excerpt of what I wrote this morning in response to this verse/commentary:

I am not in any way better than my friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and family members who do not know Jesus. I need the gospel just as much as they do. Be careful not to elevate yourself in pride. How does pride manifest itself in this manner in my life?
 - When I think that God doesn’t care for and love my lost friends/coworkers. He does love them. But in what manner does he love them? He sent Jesus as a full and open offer of redemption and grace, free of any meritorious works on our part. God sent Jesus for sinners and we are all sinners. Many will reject Jesus, few will he save.
 - When I think that God is unable to save them. When I am rightly disgusted by the sins of the lost, I may quickly jump to the conclusion that they are irredeemable. This betrays God’s grace shown to me and all others who he has saved.