Tag: Japan

“LOVE IS NOT A CHORE, IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY”

“Love is not a chore, it’s an opportunity.”
The Lord spoke to my heart, “You almost missed that.”
Years ago, as a Marine still on active duty, I got home late one night after a long day. It was about 10 PM when I walked through the door and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my four-year-old daughter, Arianna, was still awake. We were excited to see each other, so we played and talked for about ten or fifteen minutes.
Now, playtime is over and I tell Arianna it’s bedtime. I picked her up and as I started to make the trek to her room, this was the jist of our ensuing conversation.
Arianna: Daddy, would you read me a bedtime story? Daddy reading book
Me: No, honey, it’s already late.
Arianna: Please…
Me (sticking to my guns): Nope.
Arianna: Please, please, please…
Me: Not tonight, honey. I still haven’t eaten yet, and I have to wash up.
Arianna (not giving up hope): Please! Just a short one.
Me: Honey, I still have to get my uniform ready for tomorrow.
(I laid her down and prayed over her, I thought I had won. Silly me.)
Arianna: Okay then, would you at least read me a story out of the children’s bible storybook? (Man, even for a four-year-old, this was low.)  With her adjusted strategy, Arianna played the guilt-card and bushwhacked me with a plea for a story from the bible. No one can say “No” to that! So, I grabbed the storybook and I began reading the story of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine and how his mother, Mary, told the disciples to do whatever Jesus said. At this point, Arianna interrupted me, “Daddy, who was Mary married to?” Without much thought I said, “Mary was married to Joseph.” Then she blindsided me with, “If Mary was married to Joseph, then why did she have God’s baby?”
As her question dawned on me, mild panic and anxiety came over me and I was frozen momentarily. How do I answer this to a four-year-old? Do I try to get deep and try explain the virgin-birth? What’s an appropriate answer for her age??? The seconds ticked by and images of her fallen faith ran through my mind. “Oh man! Her future faith is gonna hinge on my answer! Aaaggghhhh!”
As I fumbled in my mind for possible, acceptable answers, Arianna interrupted me again. “Daddy! Daddy! Listen to my heart!” I put my ear to her chest, listened to her heartbeat, and said, “I can hear it. It’s going ‘Boom-Boom-Bam… Boom-Boom-Bam!’” She giggled gleefully and said, “Oh wow! Jesus must be in there jammin’!” It seemed like within the next breath she was fast asleep. (Whew!)
Although I was greatly relieved for not having to answer her question, joy, warmth, and wonder filled my heart in the following, brief moments. It was a small, but priceless event that I knew had altered my heart in some way. It was then that I felt the Spirit of the Lord speak to me. “You almost missed that.”
He showed me that my perspective, as I approached her bedtime, was skewed because I was focused on myself — tired, hungry, impatient — and that moment almost never happened. I saw very clearly that I had been looking at reading to Arianna as a chore, a bother, a burden. God spoke right into my spirit-man, “Love is not a chore, it’s an opportunity.”
Honestly, the revelation of that moment — and so many more with my wife and daughters — is forever seared in my memory, in a very special place within my heart. Reading to my kids, talking with them, and playing with them are not chores. Doing the dishes is not a chore. Giving my wife a massage or foot-rub is not a chore. These are opportunities! Opportunities to love, to demonstrate selflessness, instead of selfishness… to lay down my life! This brings me newfound depth to Jesus’ words, “No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13)
Our heavenly Father gave!
– “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus gave!
– “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
I don’t believe that “loving” is a chore to God. He is love. (1Jn 4:8) And, He forever looks for opportunities to love. Also, I don’t believe that “loving” was a chore to Christ, but more of a direct reflection of His nature. He suffered and He endured because of the love-relationship possibilities that would forever be established and available to all who run to Him!
How about you? And me? Do we have shallow perspectives of love? Isn’t it interesting that the bible also says those who try to save their lives end up losing them, and those who lose their lives for the sake of others end up saving theirs? (Mt 16:25)
Go forth… and remember that “Love is not a chore, it’s an opportunity.”
In closing…
Beloved, thank you for your continued prayers of faith. Your prayers do make a difference!
Please know that week in and week out, we stay the course and remain focused on making disciples for the Lord! Please know that being full-time missionaries, especially in Japan, is extremely expensive and we could use your help. Please consider partnering with us through financial gifts and offerings. Donations can be made online at Christians In Action. See link below.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers! (3Jn 1:2)
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In His hands,
Pastor Nick & Pastor Sandy Guerra

To support the Guerra’s ministry online click here – www.cinami.org/guerra

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“FIX BAYONETS!”

So, imagine you’re in combat and you hear the commander cry out, “Fix bayonets!” Right away, what do you know? Things are about to escalate, stuff is about to get real, and we’re gonna come face-to-face with our adversary.

Working off that concept, every week before we close an outreach, we get face-to-face and conduct some sparring. I give the command, “Fix bayonets,” chairs are adjusted, and now we’re sitting facing someone. We begin role-playing and one row are the Christians and the opposite row are the Critics. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Now that our group is “on guard,” I reveal a popular biblical or moral issue that Christians face today. Christianity 101 topics are, “I have my own beliefs, I don’t believe in God, I’m basically a good person, You can’t trust the bible, Jesus was not God, etc. Christianity 201 topics are abortion, homosexuality, racism, wealth, religions, politics, etc. Of course we alternate roles, partners, and topics throughout the jousting, but as a Critic, your assignment is to be difficult and demand an appropriate bible-based response and explanation from the Christian they face.

philippines pix

disciples are made!

In His grace,
Pastor Nick & Pastor Sandy Guerra

To support the Guerra’s ministry online click here – www.cinami.org/guerra

The grace of God is bigger than my…

The grace of God is bigger than my…

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Recently, my prayer time turned into a 40-hour unscheduled fast. During this time, God showed me me… versus His grace in my life. It was pretty intense and humbling as one-by-one my character flaws were brought to my attention. Yet as quickly as the Spirit of God showed me my shortfalls, I was immediately comforted with the greater reality that His grace was bigger than my failings. As my list grew, I wept, I was angry with myself, I was grateful, I was awestruck.

Permit me to be transparent. This is my list. You may identify with some, or you may have different issues. The point is you need to remind yourself constantly that “Nothing is bigger than the grace of God.”

Here goes: (Repeat this phrase as often as necessary and fill in the blank with your own words.)

“The grace of God is bigger than my _____________.”

words

Let me ask you something. Is anything bigger than God’s grace? Of course not. So, as we embark upon 2017, hope and potential is in the air. At this time, God is calling Believers to be Offensive, Advance, Reclaim, and Occupy. Before you engage with the calling of God, engage with His grace. Hebrews 12:1 admonishes us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, so we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Recognize also that it’s not “Grace + _____” either! Because as soon as you add anything, 1) You’re required to do it, and 2) You will fail. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
As you proceed in faith in His calling, understand this. Truly, truly, any place in our life where we are repeatedly failing, is proof positive that we have not appropriated His grace in that area. “The grace of God is bigger than _____!”

“Agree with us in prayer!”

  • Praying and Making Disciples at Zebulun!
  • For the Brig/Prison ministry. Remember to pray for the guards, the inmates, and their families. Bind up spirits of shame, condemnation, and pride. And loose a spirit of salvation, discipleship, forgiveness, exposure, healing, deliverance, peace, and restoration!
  • Against demonic attacks in the Brig, the Barracks, and in homes. Pray that Believers walk in increased discernment, wisdom, maturity, and power as we bind up the works of the enemy!
  • For continued increase at ZCDC (church plant). Pray for mature families and permanent personnel to co-labor with us in the northern, remote area of Nago/Camp Schwab.
  • For our Praise & Worship Team
  • For our current Schedule, i.e. finances, resources, wisdom, strategies, & strength:
    • Sun: Share/Report Christians In Action ministries
    • Mon: “Radical & Relevant Academy” (R&RA) @7pm
    • Wed: “Brig Christian Fellowship” (BCF) @7pm
    • Thu: Publish “Think On These Things” newsletters
    • Thu: Publish YouTube video (YouTube Channel: YahwehHasASon)
    • Fri: “Sxxual Integrity & Restoration” (SIR) @9am
    • Sat: “Zebulun Christian Discipleship Center” (ZCDC) @6pm

In closing…
Pray and believe! And, believe and pray! Your prayers do make a difference.
Sandy and I remain focused on the mission at-hand – “Gathering Sheep & Converting Goats,” and “Catch, Clean, & Release!” Our desire is to share God’s love, salvation, truth, and power with all. We also strive to make disciples quickly and release them into the fields.

Grace & peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! (Eph 1:2)
In His grip,
Pastor Nick & Pastor Sandy Guerra

To support the Guerra’s ministry click here – www.cinami.org/guerra 

“Apologize to Sandy”

Think On These Things – Engage Ministries

Recently, while conducting the Sxxual Integrity & Restoration (SIR) class, we were discussing the erosive consequences of premarital sxx. One prisoner flatly asked me, “Did you have premarital sxx?” Without hesitation, I said yes. I shared that, for the record, Sandy and I have always had an incredibly happy and great marriage, and, honestly speaking, I personally don’t know any couple who has it “going on” the way we do. I went on to explain that this October will be our thirty-year anniversary, however, right about the eighteen year mark, the Holy Spirit impressed something upon me. The conversation went something like:

Did you see what I was doing? Every one of my responses was a form of excusing, justifying, or rationalizing. I honestly wrestled with this for a few days. I knew premarital sxx was wrong and destructive. I even taught against it. But, I had yet to fully realize, on a personal level, “the death” in my case. As I continued to pray, I knew God was prodding me to apologize to Sandy. The conviction grew, my heart melted, and I genuinely wanted to apologize to Sandy.

God: Apologize to Sandy.unnamed

Me: For what?

God: For premarital sxx.

Me: Wait… what???

God: Apologize to Sandy.

Me: But God, You forgave me for that.

God: Apologize to Sandy.

Me: But God, that was a long time ago!

God: Apologize to Sandy.

Me: But God, we loved each other!

God: Apologize to Sandy.

Me: But God, we got married, so I made it right!

God: Apologize to Sandy.

Me: But God, it was consensual!

God: Apologize to Sandy.

Soon after, Sandy and I were alone in our house. She was sitting on the arm of the loveseat. Now bear in mind that I hadn’t planned any of this out, but before I knew it, I was on my knees in front of Sandy, telling her that I owed her an apology. She looked at me suspiciously and asked for what. My eyes welled with tears and I said, “For premarital sxx. I’m so sorry that I was sxxually aggressive, impatient, and ignorant, but at the time I didn’t understand your value, nor mine. I should’t have compromised your purity, but I just did not know. Please forgive me.” Now, Sandy was crying also. She was shaking and she looked down at me and said, “Nick, I did not think I needed to hear an apology from you about this, but I realize now that I did.” Then she said those three magic words, “I forgive you.”

Boom!!! Right there on the spot, something powerful and beautiful happened in our relationship. Our marriage went to a whole ‘nother level of intimacy! (I know because we spent the next few moments exploring this new closeness and healing. Hallelujah!) Sandy and I have always been close and we’ve experienced great lovemaking, but something happened when I apologized and she forgave me. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but later, God showed me very plainly what had happened.

The Lord said, “Nick, for eighteen years you’ve had this gross pattern of rationalization in your character. This flaw has also been in the foundation of your marriage. Your character is like a wall, full of weak and strong bricks. Each brick represents every decision you’ve made. That weak brick of compromise and rationalization has been in your wall all these years, but when you apologized to Sandy and she forgave you, healing occurred. That weak brick came out of your wall and was replaced with a strong, god-honoring brick.” I understood immediately that my wall had been edified, fortified, and strengthened. God then gently whispered to my spirit-man, “Nick, we need to fix this now. Because, if you will rationalize in an area as important as sxx, you will rationalize in other areas of your life.”

I began to see this destructive pattern in my life. Rationalizing did not foster trust in my relationship with Sandy. To the contrary, it had actually been fostering insecurities and mistrust. Because I would compromise, I could not be fully relied upon to hold fast to truth, obedience, or discipline. And, if Sandy couldn’t fully trust me, could God? Ouch!

I explained to the prisoners that in any given day, we make tens-of-thousands of decisions. And, it’s important to realize that every decision will either enhance or diminish our quality of life. For example, every morning you have to make a decision to get out of bed and go to school or work. You can decide to stay in bed, but chances are that will lead to trouble. Or, you can decide to get out of bed and go, and chances are this is beneficial to you.

I asked the men to imagine what their wall looked like, full of strong bricks and weak bricks. Now, here’s the million-dollar question, “When the storms, trials, and tribulations of life come — and they will come to test you — where will your wall fail?” Humbly they admitted, every weak spot or bad decision.

Just prior to this particular conversation with the prisoners, every one of them had said they wanted to have a great marriage and live “happily ever after.” However, now, each man realized they were unknowingly doing things that directly undermined and opposed this goal. It was very illuminating to the men. As a matter of fact, one guy (D) said, “Out of all the classes you’ve taught, the last ten minutes was the most profound for me. I finally understand. It all makes sense.”

In closing…

Pray in faith, continually! Your prayers avail much! Daily, kingdom increase happens as we exercise our “Gather Sheep & Convert Goats” strategy. Our “Catch & Release” tenet is next. We catch them, disciple them, equip them, then we release them into faith-filled works and their ministries. It’s quite effective and rewarding!

Please consider partnering with us through your faith-giving. With our multiple different outreaches every week, much Kingdom fruit is being harvested. Paul desired that through your giving, much fruit would abound to your account. (Php 4:17) Financial gifts and donations can be made online through Christians In Action. Or, you can mail contributions to the address listed below.

I declare that your speech and your preaching is not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power! (1 Cor 2:4)

In His power,

Pastor Nick & Pastor Sandy Guerra

To support the Guerra’s ministry click here –www.cinami.org/guerra

“America is good!”

With the onset of Thanksgiving, I wanted to warn and prepare you for the onslaught of America-bashing, criticism, and lies. The boorish and narrow-minded Facebook memes and social posts regarding the shaming America are coming again. Increasing in volume and hostility, I hear the thoughtless indictments and ungodly accusations from progressives. “America is evil! America is racist! America stole the land from the Indians! America was built on the backs of slaves! America is guilty of raping nations of their resources and wealth!”

For the record, these claims are godless! These charges are Liberal/Progressive lies, and their ideology would have you ashamed, apologetic, and embarrassed of America. Before you criticize America, you better know two things — 1) Real American history, and 2) The Word of God. Not biased, close-minded rhetoric rooted in a warped understanding of freedom. “Freedom” is NOT the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want. True freedom is the ability to do what is right. To the contrary, this progressive hogwash fosters an unfounded, illogical hatred for America and breeds the “victim mentality.”

Below is one of a few anti-America pictures that have been floating around our schools, college classrooms and campuses, the internet, and Facebook. Our children are being immersed and indoctrinated in this sewage. These extreme, leftist claims harbor gross levels of ignorance and close-mindedness, but what’s worse is the inability of conservatives and Christians to dispel these charges. Simply put, these lies are destroying the minds and dreams of our children and our people, and they must be addressed and squelched.Rushmore
History + God’s Word = Truth   History – God’s Word = Lies

Foundation-ally, American history cannot be fully taught or fully understood without acknowledging God’s involvement and intent for this country. God had His eye on America for a unique, special mission. There are liberties and ideas that America brought to the planet which no other nation can claim or compare.  America is exceptional and America is good, simply because of the hand of God and the grace of God! America needs our help. Pray and declare, “God bless America!”
In closing…
Beloved, thank you for your prayers. They are powerful, they avail much, and we continue to covet them! Every week, we confront, challenge, provoke, equip, engage, and empower! We make Disciples!

We oversee 4-6 outreaches every week and they are bearing much Kingdom fruit! Please consider partnering with us through your financial gifts and donations.

I declare that whenever you speak, words are given to you to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel! (Eph 6:19)
In His will,

Pastor Nick & Pastor Sandy Guerra

To support the Guerra’s ministry click here – www.cinami.org/guerra