Rocky Grams grew up on the mission field, and spent sixteen years in Bolivia ministering alongside his parents, assisting in planting churches, distributing literature, ministering to youth, and teaching music and Spanish at a Bible School for Aymara people. He and his wife, Sherry, then were pastors in Wisconsin, and they have continued to connect into the United States regularly with preaching and teaching.
Nothing could prepare us to deal with this type of paradox.
We’re not confused.
We’re in a quandary and uneasy
But very grateful and excited at the same time.
It’s a very good puzzle before us.
How to accompany the move of God
When so many students want to pray
Not only until midnight but into the night or even until dawn.
And it’s not that they are quietly meditating in their seats.
No, they’re praying up a storm of intercession and weeping.
They’re praying in the Spirit.
They’re singing and students praying everywhere.
So what is the problem?
We live in close proximity to many unbelieving neighbors.
We have no chapel—no place that is separate and sound-proof
Where we could worship and sing and pray through the night
24 – 7
The heart of the school is the prayer room. But only 40 fit in that space and When they pray there, the whole new building reverberates with the waves of
Holy praise and clamor.
Maybe sound proofing it would help. But over 100 want to pray.
God has led us to empty the basement of the main building of all the items that were stored there: books and tapes and yearbooks.
We took back the prayer bunker of years past.
The place of tears and deep prayer in the Spirit (Romans 8).
The place of guidance and Holy Spirit dreams.
What to do?
Sound proof that great place?
But only twenty people fit.
Sound proof the provisional chapel. Not possible.
And what about our classes?
The school has been the cradle of Revival since its inception.
A place where the River flows.
But it is also a place of training in the Word and in practical ministry.
The students must be shaped and molded by the wise and loving Potter
And He’s called us all to participate in that careful process.
It’s a nice problem.
A special problem.
A puzzle that God’s Spirit will help us figure out.
He knows how to balance things.
He holds the whole univers in perfect order.
But revivals are explosions and times of surprising but limited chaos.
What to do?
What did they do the day of Pentecost?
Peter, led of God, took the time to explain it
And three thousand joined the happy family on that day.
I’ll take a little chaos and perplexity any time.
Yes, any time.
Left church today during worship to retrieve my cell phone from the car.
Máxima, one of the greeters, suggested I just leave it in the car.
«Don’t want it to be stolen,» was my reply.
Since the church doesn’t have a parking lot,
We have to park on the street.
As I was walking in to church, I glanced sidewise and noticed
A transvestite sitting on the bus stop bench not 50 feet from the church door.
I sat down in the middle of the bench, four feet from him.
«You over there, and I am here!» he stated emphatically due to the effect of the alcohol.
He had dreadlocks dyed red on the ends and was wearing a bra.
His fingernails were painted light blue.
His eye makeup was pretty good and he was sucking on a lollipop.
In his hand was a bag with a large bottle of beer.
So I moved way down to the end.
«I’m thirty three. The age of Jesus Christ,» he announced loudly.
«Here, let me show you how I eat this lollipop.
Only I can do it this way, and it is my way.»
He went on, «I’m umbandista (a voodoo cult) to the end.
And the most powerful is Oshalá.»
I asked his permission to present four questions to him.
«Sure! All you want.»
In the meantime, seven people had arrived at the bus stop and were standing nearby, trying to act like they were not tuning in to the very colorful conversation.
«What is the word or phrase you have for this year?»
He was too drunk to grasp the question.
«What bothers you?»
I struck out again.
«What hurts you?»
Now he was beginning to listen.
«When you stand at the door of Heaven and Jesus Christ asks you why He should let you into His Heaven, what will you answer?»*
Three street sweepers walked up and started working near us, taking pictures of each other with their cell phones and looking at us a little bemused.
«Here! Take my picture!» he said and started posing for them.
«Too bad you have to work on Sunday sweeping up, right?» I said to them.
«But it’s because of all the garbage that is left strewn around after Saturday night, right?»
The word «garbage» got my friend’s attention, and he went into motion, suggesting in a loud voice that they keep doing their work and sweep up all the garbage.
They laughed and moved on.
Then I said to him, «Varón!»
«No soy varón; soy mujer.»
I’m not a man; I’m a woman.
«You used to study the Word in Sunday School, right? And someone hurt you deeply.»
I started praying out loud
That God would show him how much he values and loves him.
«Camila» had moved beyond the center of the bench in my direction and was sitting not three feet away.
Two buses had stopped and gone on.
We had been conversing for about twenty minutes.
As he talked, once in a while he would spray alcohol in my face.
But it was totally fine.
What was he saying? «There is only one Jesus Christ.» Wow.
And then, the word slipped out. He called him Lord.
I knew he had been in church, somewhere way back before all the pain.
He had called Him Lord!
I excused myself and went back into the church service.
Two of the larger men of our church had been standing close by, just in case…
I walked in just in time for communion.
But my mind and my heart were out on that bus stop bench.
What if we trained and sent ten people per Sunday out of the service to go find a few hurting people?
What if we spent twenty minutes just listening to someone?
We would miss part of the service.
But we would have a chance to approach people and hear their hearts.
Great church growth method–very novel.
Connect with the Lost
Before it’s too late.
What happens when there is a strong influence to cut loose from the moorings?
What happens when some decide that the root system is useless?
That the foundation is optional?
What happens when self-proclaimed theologians
Decide they know more than their teachers?
A friend’s church was split recently by modern day proponents
Of a return to the Law with all its trappings.
They’ve held this brand new posture for three months
And have not studied or understood Galatians or Hebrews—
Written twenty centuries ago.
Some think that today and the future eclipse everything else.
It’s a mindset of the times.
“We don’t want what the church had in the past,” they say.
“We’re going for a new paradigm shift in everything. “
John didn’t think he invented the truth.
He just reported “what we have seen and heard and touched”
Concerning the Truth—a Person—our Lord.
The One who said: “If you’re thirsty, come to Me and drink.”
The One who satisfies.
How fragile is the Church?
When the chain that went from Jesus to John to Polycarp to Irenaeus
And stayed unbroken on through to Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley
And Aimee Carmichael and Maria Woodworth-Etter
And Carlos Annacondia and Dante Gebel
And Loren and Millie Triplett
And Monroe and Betty Jane Grams and Dick and Cynthia Nicholson.
When that chain becomes obsolete and is broken, then we are lost.
Like a ship with no rudder or anchor. Like a cell with fractured DNA.
We become irrelevant if we decide that the center is
To be just as smart or smarter than those who are wandering around clue-less out in the cold of night.
How do we approach the one who thinks that he is wiser than his mentors?
The one who teaches others to doubt and to reject the altar?
We approach him with firm and careful love.
At times called tough love.
Full of grace
But also full of truth.
We will not compromise.
We’ll continue to believe the Apostles’ doctrine and practice
And vivid experience.
Don’t think we’ll get a lot of slaps on the back
From the pundits of today.
But we’ll just keep striving for the only praise that will count.
The “Well done” we’ll hear up there
From the One who answers and satisfies all.
The One who will make sure
That the chain is intact right up to the trumpet call.
“A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
So was our Lord and so are we.
“I was praying with a lady in the park and
She attacked me—the demons wanted to kill me,” Erik Riveros,
Anointed freshman and acquainted with grief was sharing after class.
“That was on Wednesday,”
Then he showed me where a possessed girl
Had scratched him on the arm—at church on Sunday.
Interesting service when the demonized attack.
“I want to be free,” that young girl said.
Not a boring service—just a lot of grief.
We’ll be praying at fasting and tomorrow for
This young evangelist who is already touching the sorrow.
“My daughter was delivering pizzas the youth group was selling to
Help kids go to camp. And her bicycle’s brakes gave out at the train crossing.”
Gisela, a freshman, stood by as her mother explained her sister’s death at the wake.
Another preacher’s kid went to Jesus.
We are acquainted with grief.
Juan Carlos, another freshman, went to identify his father’s body this week.
His dad was taken out by alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver.
This man in the coffin had disappeared three years ago,
But Juan Carlos found a Dad in our Abba Father.
Acquainted with grief—but on track.
Three weeks ago we followed the ambulance where Ana, a junior,
Was taken to hospital after hospital through the night
After a brain aneurysm.
Her hair stood on end and she’d gone into convulsions.
We were preparing our hearts for a student’s funeral.
But she’s moving about and telling jokes.
And today they brought her back to convalesce in a place of
Love and hope, her second home, River Plate Bible Institute.
So much grief.
So much sorrow all around us.
But the powerful light of Christ shines from the center outward.
We see a lot of tears—
The tears of seniors stretched out on their classroom floor—
Weeping for the lost.
The tears of a MAPS construction team, crying as they leave
After their hearts connected mightily with our students
In just eight days.
Fernando, another freshman, leaving today to be with his mother,
Near the end.
Acquainted with sorrow.
We’re not living in a bubble
Or a time warp.
It’s real—and it hurts.
But the daily miracle testimonies keep coming.
And tears of sorrow mix with tears of joy.
And the Man of Sorrows—the Miracle-Worker—
Keeps raising up young men and women of sorrows
Also miracle workers.
Sergio Abregu, graduate of 2000, has preached to 80,000 students
In 115 schools all over Honduras.
Hector Ferreyra, a graduate, saw 600 accept Jesus in his church this week—
And 150 healings.
Andy Ghioni, a junior, is out healing cancers and preaching freedom in the Cross.
Miguel Molina, a sophomore evangelist, healing the paralyzed.
Marcela Acosta and her husband just planted a church in Madrid.
The list is long of sorrow-touched miracle-workers.
“Dante, God will never use you.”
A wizened pastor’s crooked finger wags in front of the nose of a
Harsh words from authority’s citadel.
A curse in the making.
But Dante listened with his inner ear to the voice of Holy Spirit: the Dream Maker.
And took the dream quasher’s words with a powerful grain of salt.
A would-be throw-away became a creative genius, stand-up comic, preacher, counselor and
Prophet to the youth of Argentina in events of 100,000
Where tears flow and commitments are realized
To value virginity and avoid the double standard and love God with abandon.
Dante, a prophet to the youth of Latin America
Through radio and cable and air and books and CD’s and the net
The epitome of usefulness to God.
Thanks to the Dream Maker.
Lorena was on her way to become another
Blip on the statistics board of groupies, prostitutes and druggies
Who just don’t make it through the night.
Voice hoarse from the interminable cheerleading at the Rockers’ temple
Her arms gouged and her conscience a slab of leather,
Enter the Dream Maker.
A life washed by Christ’s blood, she now sits on the front row
Of my freshman class. Evangelism, missions, leadership and the Word
She’s eating it up like the prophet’s scroll.
And on the side, on weekends and Wednesdays she preaches amazing campaigns of fire.
And a bunch of losers are starting to win life.
Recently, a potential suicide crawled up the fence in front of her crowd.
And she called him down in humor and love. That guy is now one more real brother.
Interviewed on TV “for only forty minutes, after the poet”
The host asked permission to start with her
And an hour and half later, they all, host, poet and poet’s wife
Were receiving Christ—on the air!
When the Dream Maker acts, there are no limits.
So often in our living room we ask students to write their dreams on a little slip.
The passion, the zeal, the no-holds-barred commitment to Holy Spirit’s creation from nothing
“I want to preach to stadiums full of people.”
“I want to write music and record CD’s and reach thousands.”
“I want to travel all over the world preaching this Word.”
“I want to want what he wants.” The Dream Maker.
We get to watch Him mold the passion and make the dream come alive.
Sergio, formerly a mediocre comfort-zone dweller, now pastoring 7,000 youth in Central America.
Eliana, a backslidden preacher’s kid, now touching hundreds on three continents.
Ezequiel, producing CD’s of creative, full worship.
Su Hui on her way to China. Mariela running an orphanage in southern Perú
Lorena and Héctor and Damián in class and at the altars and walking across campus
We get to help set the stage–create the atmosphere
So they can let the Dream Maker take over.
Is it a special place if people weep there in God’s presence almost every day?
Is it a special place if people pray and worship and intercede there all the time?
Is it a special place if students are desperate to find a place to pray?
A merchant walks on campus and comments on the peace he feels.
A student begins to tremble during a short time of counsel in the office:
“I feel something different here.”
A group of students begin to laugh unto tears during our day of Fasting and Prayer.
A senior student from Colombia purchases a cookie from a street vendor and says
“God bless you!” The man begins to shout! He has been healed of deafness.
A freshman goes on his second trip with the ministerial team and learns how to take authority over demons.
Training in the Word and a life of devotion are a constant in this place.
In this place a life is transformed from timidity and self-absorption to influence and leadership and compassion.
In this place life-long covenants are forged of sacrifice in the pastorate or
On the foreign field.
A young woman is here in our freshman class. She was won to Christ by the change she saw in her incarcerated father—he, her mother’s assassin, is now part of the church leadership and is encouraging her to train in this place.
In this place a young man has reached his junior year. He was won to Christ from a life of drug dealing and contraband and robbery. Previously running with the demon-possessed and desperate, now he is helping to restore lives.
In this place God is birthing dreams in his heart.
In this place there are often tears when the Word goes deep during chapel times
Or during evening services.
When a teacher interrupts class because Holy Spirit is moving.
When a student gets a slip and faces leaving due to non-payment.
Is it a special place when volunteer construction workers from Tennessee and Wisconsin and California and Missouri who never knew the school say a tearful goodbye to students they just met?
Is it a special place when there are visions and dreams that ring true in our heats?
An American visitor newly arrived: “I saw a whirlwind of fire with the epicenter on the school swirling and sending fire around the world.”
A sophomore student: “I saw students in prayer in a bubble of fire
About to explode.”
A junior: “I saw hundreds of students laughing and walking around in the new building and so many people, older people unseen to them, kneeling behind the walls their hands raised in intercession.”
A church leader from Minnesota: “You are not on the last chapter or the middle chapter but on the first chapter of the book.”
A pastor from California: “I saw you and Sherry seated and the students as a protective circle around you, facing out, hands raised and interceding.”
An Argentine pastor: “What is ahead is so much more.”
A graduate who ministers worldwide and spoke in chapel this week:
“I saw angels running through the buildings!”
Is it a special place when the staff keeps working year after year despite consistent shortages?
So much going on. So much to do.
So much faith to keep on track with what God has shown us.
We would give anything to work here.
We have given our all. Staff and teachers and so many more
Have sacrificed immensely to help keep this mix viable.
This is His place
And we are His coworkers. We belong to Him and are so grateful to serve at IBRP,
Instituto Bíblico Rio de la Plata.
A place of dreams from God, of tears, of laughter,
Of potential projected and realized.
The world is being shaken. In just a few short weeks everything has changed. Plans have been shelved. Nothing is predictable. We have lost control of our lives. Having been led to believe that we can commit our schedules and promise fulfillment down to the last nanosecond, suddenly we can’t even determine when or if we can go to the grocery store.
Why is this pandemic so different than others? The stealth of the coronavirus. So unpredictable and in many cases quickly lethal. It’s mysterious, unmanageable. Not limited to sexual contact but drifting in the air we breathe or even alive on inanimate objects.
This generation has become accustomed to control. We humans determine major issues, like working environment, health, leisure, beauty, sexuality, eye color, and even whether someone gets to live at birth or whether someone else, at the end of the journey, need not wait to die. We have controlled major sports and communications and the stock market.
And suddenly we have lost control—totally.
Could it be that God is dealing with our penchant for control? Could it be that He is calling us to return? Why is fear filling so many hearts at this time?
How can the church please God in this major, surprising, earth-shaking crisis?
Can we call all of us human beings to repentance with pain and tender love? We have all been ungrateful. We have all basked in our ability to act and make things happen.
Society is yearning, crying out, for a clear voice. A voice that will announce God’s tremendous saving mercy along with a clear call to remorse for having taken God’s goodness and blessings for granted. And repentance for having wrested control from His hands.
But our words must be accompanied and surrounded by actions and attitudes of grace. Food pantries, checking on the neighbors, accompanying the more vulnerable and the dying, careful and personalized, razor-sharp use of social networking. Those who are full of fear concerning their safety and concerning the future need us. We can be the Lord’s go-betweens at this time “as if He were pleading through us, ‘Be reconciled to God.’” *
*II Corinthians 5
Staying in touch.
The first day of autumn for us. Third day of the quarantine.
What a shaking all over the world! The pandemic is challenging us all to the limit.
Days before the government declared a nation-wide quarantine, Edgardo had been working for hours on a protocol to be followed to protect the students from the virus and us all from the consequences of someone testing positive for CNV19 in a closed community such as ours is. We had already determined that during two weeks no one leave the school even to go to church, that they not drink and share mate, that the class hours be shortened by five minutes so everyone could leave the classroom every 45 minutes, that school aged children be watched by their parents, and so forth.
We just finished the Intensive Program first session on Friday and were expecting the 250 plus Classic students on Wednesday since Monday and Tuesday are holidays, but we decided to postpone the beginning of classes until the 31st. The quarantine lasts until the 31st at midnight, so it will be the 1st if they do not extend the measure.
Since we are not allowed to travel to Uruguay because of this situation, we postponed the beginning of classes there for four weeks, until the 24th of April.
Our students and students from Montevideo were present with a stand at the national youth camp and up until now, we have 30 prospective students very interested in starting. We had 21 in the freshman class there last year but two were third year students from IBRP fulfilling class sessions they needed, and two were expelled: one for returning to his drug habit and the other for breaking the rule about no romantic relationships in the first six months of knowing each other and for fornication and. Of the possible seventeen students left for the sophomore class, only nine will continue. Four of those who cannot have changed churches for family reasons. Some of the others are having financial difficulties.
It’s springtime in Buenos Aires!
Our neighbors have an amazing tree
That produces thousands of little seeds at this time.
They are little balls the half the size of a marble and they are a nuisance.
I almost slipped and fell on the sidewalk
When I stepped on a couple dozen of them the other day.
The lawnmower today sent those little missiles zinging right across the street!
Dangerous little items.
Asked what the name of the tree is: “paraíso.” Paradise.
That will preach!
We have a prolific, generous God!
He makes sure that one tree produces thousands of seeds.
What amazing potential! And the opportunity to spread “paradise” all over.
But there is an Enemy who wants to trample on every one of those seeds.
He wants to mow them across the pavement and into oblivion.
I’ve seen it happen too many times.
“You are the good seed.”
And someone doesn’t allow the seed to be planted
Or digs it up just as it is about to produce fruit.
One young seedling was so passionate for God in his junior year that he was coordinating evangelism encounters from various churches simultaneously.
Young people who didn’t even know him were so impressed by his message and his compassion for the Lost that they would take the message straight to the train station
Kneel in the middle of the crows to draw attention and then
Preach the foolishness of the Cross.
“Satan has desired you to sift you” Jesus said to Simon.
“But I have prayed for you.”
My seedling friend had a major falling out and has been sidelined from his time of fruitfulness for well over two years now.
Another fruitful seed full of enormous promise is driving and taxi and sleeping around.
Both he and his wife are graduates and lived the same intense chapel services and classes and times of deep devotion.
Well-known in their community, they were producing so much fruit.
But a wife can only take so many beatings and being called a cow in front of the kids.
“But I have prayed for you.”
Did I not pray enough?
The thought haunts me.
However, there are so many graduates, paraíso seeds,
That have produced tremendous fruit.
Nicolás Ferreyra, recent graduate, coordinated 8,000 young people via Internet to go out and serve and evangelize in their communities all over Argentina.
God has used him to impact a whole section of Canada, to boot!
Alberto Rey—two congregations totaling well over 2,000 and 37 churches planted so far.
Duilio and Marcia Aristimuño, on their way to India to spread the Word of life.
Graduates Osvaldo Carníval and his wife Alejandra, 22,000 members in the church and
The host of the Spanish 700 Club.
Tonight with our present students during prayer meeting I called forward those who have been used to heal the sick. Sixteen came forward!
“Satan has desired you.”
Satan has asked for your number.
Lord, protect the seed of every life and produce your amazing and prolific harvest!
This year we will have 130 graduates. Take those seeds all over the globe and germinate the potential of eternal paradise in the hearts of many!
Jolts are part and parcel of missionary life.
The unexpected almost becomes normal.
And “normal” is disquieting.
Jolts–like the time manhole covers and miles of
Underground telephone lines
Disappeared to looters’ basic needs.
Or the time we hit 150% inflation—a month.
Or the time bank deposits were frozen.
And often lately—life disrupted by protesters
Cutting off the flow of traffic—
by burning tires in the road!
Strangely, holidays are the hardest jolts.
Mother’s day in October. Easter a non-entity day.
A hot summer Christmas.
Christmas last year was a jolt.
Our church put off the Christmas cantata for
An evangelistic campaign with Carlos Annacondia.
Everybody knows evangelists take a break in December.
But they don’t know it here!
What a way to celebrate Christmas!
Inviting your friends to a healing campaign.
And watching 400 visitors show up–
and go forward en masse.
Ten demon-possessed were freed!
It was a jolt alright.
But didn’t the Christ come to give His life for many?
He didn’t come to adorn my holiday tradition.
He came to bring the darkness-bound
into the light.
He can jolt us out of the predetermined,
«God told me.»
Used to be very wary of that expression.
Seemed like a presumptious cover-up for arrogance.
But I’m rethinking my stance on that little phrase.
As in «God told me to stop the van and tell the transvestite
Jesus loves him.»
And in «God told me to tell him about the Cross.»
The young man in women’s garb accustomed to being the
object of lust broke down at the demonstration of true love.
And he opened his heart to Jesus Christ.
«God told me»
«…to put oil on my fingers and stick them in her ears.»
«…she was healed–her eardrum reconstituted.»
«God told me»
«…To give the paralyzed man a swift kick.»
«The man was healed totally and instantly.»
Pretty hard to argue with such results.
As in «God told me she was blind when she walked in the
door of the church with her daughter and came forward
for prayer. God told me to spit in her eyes.»
Sergio hadn’t walked two feet when the woman was
crying out: «¡Puedo ver! ¡Puedo ver!»
«I can see! I can see!»
«God told me» has become the norm in our lives.
And these students are not proud.
Just thankful to be useful…and we’re all in awe!
A sophomore student to see me.
Jesús Salto. What a name!
For thirty-three years he was merely Jump–
No Jesus at all.
Then God coordinated a series of rescue operations
That got him out of
spiritism (after 32 years)
drug abuse (after 13 years)
a failed business and delinquency
(his name in the papers various times)
Transformed by God’s power, he was doing great in Bible School.
Strong commitment, practical approach to ministry.
One day the Lord Jesus tells him
«Share your testimony with that man.»
Jesus Jump wonders «What part of my testimony?»
A patchwork of sin and defeat to choose from.
One of 150 people in baptismal gowns that day
Pastor Guillermo Prein motions toward his section
«You’ve been struggling with homosexuality for so long–
Today I return your virility to you.
Never again will you struggle with this.»
That part is what he shared.
And how God had with one stroke of grace
Today Jesus Jump is only Jesus–
Flexible wineskins are the key to so much
In the Kingdom of God.
The powerful New Wine is amazing to watch
And so effective in bringing change.
Two of our Seniors are planting a church
This month—during classes—across from the train station–
In the Center of this city of 13 million.
About every other day they are starting a new cell group
Two prostitutes one day, five
Cross-dressers another day,
Another five prostitutes and so many others
Have committed their lives
To the one known as a lover of
Wine-bibbers and street women.
Their first two day campaign May 1st and 2nd
Resulted in 45 decisions for Christ!
They say they have the largest building in the world—
It has no walls and the sky is their roof!
A month ago I accompanied 17 graduates
To Pilar Ñeembucú, Paraguay—
Just across the river …after riding the bus North for 20 hours!
On the little ferry to the other side the “kids” led two people to Jesus.
Already! Before the official start!
By the time ten days were up, they’d shared
Their testimonies on 3 radio stations
And in various schools and had preached
Including two nights in the plaza.
Healings, baptisms in the Holy Spirit,
Conversions, commitments to the call—
And even deliverance from Satanic power—
We thought we’d been transported to the Book of Acts!
One of the students grew up in that town
And opened up the way for 17 people to share one bathroom
And sleep on the church floor
And experience the time of their lives
As God’s power through the New Wine
Impacted a city of 40,000.
Had a spur-of-the-moment idea
For a recent evangelism class with 96 freshman students.
I invited Alberto Romay, graduate and evangelist,
To share testimonies of God’s power.
The first thing he did was call forward those with flat feet.
Six students—two at a time—took their shoes and socks offAnd in front of our eyes, they had the arches placed in their feet
By the Creator of the New Wine.
A young lady was healed of two cysts,
Leonard Campbell, a young man from Honduras,
Had two cavities filled and two teeth reconstituted…by God!
Those two 50-minute classes lasted from 4:30 P.M. to well past 9!
We will give place to the New Wine!
Interviewed graduate Pastor Guillermo Prein this week
Though he preached twelve times a day on the street and once at night
For six months at the beginning of that church-plant in Parque Patricios,
Not one person accepted Christ!
But the owner of the vineyard told him there would be much fruit
And today they have 1,700 cell groups and 25,000 people attending church.
Water baptisms each quarter average over 400!
We’ll give place to the New Wine!
And to power evangelism!
It was during the “ministration” time
At the end of a worship service.
“I want you to clean that young man’s shoes,”
The Lord had said to Carlos.
“But I don’t even know him,” he responded.
“Clean his shoes,” the Spirit’s voice reiterated.
“But my arrogance won out and
I did not do it.”
In the moment the young man had been presented
To the conference as a missionary who had spent 6 months
Among ethnic groups of southern Mexico.
After the service Carlos had gone over to talk to him.
He had cringed as the young missionary shared:
“During the ministration I asked to Lord for a sign.
I asked him if there had been any fruit of those six
Months of travel and sacrifice.
But the Lord did not answer me.”
Carlos remembered with evident pain that moment
When he could have been God’s emissary
Encouraging another called one in the way.
“But tonight I am not going to disobey,” he said.
“Rocky, would you come up here and sit in this chair?”
Startled, I took the place assigned in front of everyone.
It was in our mid-term celebration—pastors and leaders
In a four-week seminar in Northern Mexico.
What came next resonated like thunder through my psyche.
They were bringing a basin over.
They were going to wash my feet!
Soon we were all weeping and hugging as I sat in awe
At God’s tenderness and timely communication.
I had left Sherry in Buenos Aires two weeks before
With a construction team on site
And the Bible School at the culmination of the term.
She needed me.
These days apart had been so difficult.
There were moments when I had wondered
If I’d been on track when I had accepted
This invitation a year before.
But here I was, weeping with pastors I had just met.
The Holy Spirit had melded us together
In His purposes of love for the Lost.
The Missiology course I taught had become a laboratory
Of practics, blending senders and those willing to go.
I sensed God saying so clearly:
“Keep walking. Your steps are right before me.
Your obedience is not in vain.”
Lord, did you ever get honored like that?
I know the answer.
Thank you for your hug.
Heaven is very real to me tonight.
«Out of your inner being will flow rivers of living water.»
What an amazing description of life.
And Jesus should know.
We will express the overpowering, life-producing activity
of the Spirit of God. We participate.
We free those churning waters
Or we block His expression altogether.
It’s our choice.
The latter is a life of unassuming, steady, no surprises comfort.
The former is full of danger and packed with potential.
This week Roberto Tolosa, IBRP senior, returned from Spain.
While there, he preached in twenty churches.
An average of four or five people per church received
the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
He also preached in ten towns that have no Evangelical church
And saw great response among the people.
The third day back at IBRP he awakened with a start at 4:00 A.M.
and saw a vision.
A storage area full of backpacks of many colors and the leadership
of the school distributing backpacks to the students,
Who then left for the nations of the world.
«What is in the backpacks?» Roberto asked the Lord.
God’s answer: «They’re filled with anointing, passion, preparation and the tools to take my Gospel to the nations of the world.»
Lord, what do we do with so many concurring words
from such diverse sources?
«Each student receives a cross and goes to the nations.»
Dave Becker from Kentucky
«Each student receives a backpack and a flag and goes to the nation
assigned by God.»
Igna de Suarez from Colombia
«You will begin to walk on water.»
Felipe Quiñones from Chile
«This is just the beginning of your ministry.»
Gladys de Mena from Catamarca , Northern Argentina
«This generation will be the protagonists of the greatest revival yet.»
Damián Gonzalez from Rosario and Indiana, USA
«The circles of fire are like the ones animals jump through in the circus. The highest and the most difficult is yours.»
Virginia Contreras, missionary to Argentina
Lord, are we crazy? Are we lunatic fanatics?
If we’re crazy, it’s for God, Paul said.*
Lord, do we force things to happen?
No way. We can’t anyway. You are the Verb.
«Pastors will come to the school to be renewed in the Spirit.»
«You will be going to a new level.»
«The presence of God will fill the school with light.»
«Coals of fire about to be extinguished are reignited.»
And the testimonies keep coming in.
«We were invited to the home of a transvestite who sells his body.
He is open to the Word.»
«The annex church that meets in a garage was about to close down.
Two of us went to help out with the adolescents and services.
This past weekend 30 families showed up, including 70 children!»
«We held an event at the train station. 1500 were there. So many of the kids and their parents ran forward to accept Christ.»
As we speak the Seniors are returning from ministry in Cape Verde and Mozambique, Colombia and Senegal.
Our graduates are all over Argentina and in Italy, Spain and Latvia and Norway.
The River is flowing.
What is our place?
Let it flow.
Let Holy Spirit take the day.
It’s His day anyway.
A whirlwind of fire with its epicenter at the school
And the students being flung outward to the nations of the world.
An olive tree dripping with fresh oil—a fresh anointing for the students
As they leave for the nations of the world.
A line of crosses and the leadership of the school giving each student
His cross as they go to the nations of the world.
A line of flags and the leaders handing each student a flag and a backpack
As they leave for the nations of the world.
A word from years ago, directed to the students:
“If you won’t go to the peoples, who will go?”
Dream after dream.
Vision after vision.
Word after word.
“You are only at the beginning.”
“You are entering a new dimension.”
“Things that used to take three years
will be accomplished in a matter of months.”
“The school will not only be known as a place of preparation for ministry,
It will be known as a place of the glory of God.”
Holy fear and exhilarating faith
Push us onward.
We trust God. We trust the students. We trust the church of Jesus Christ.
Help us, Lord, to obey and do our part.
Together, we will touch the nations of the world.
Because He said so.