As of today, the death toll in Joplin, MO has risen to 138, and there are still many missing persons yet to be found. Joplin is only five hours drive from Haltom City, and there are many lost and hurting people who need to receive the healing power of the gospel. A group of SJCC church members have decided to travel to Joplin to attempt to meet this need on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week. We pray that you would consider whether the Lord may be calling you to join us in this effort.
Though evangelism is a dire need in Joplin, there are also many other needs that need to be met. Your gifts are needed. They need cooks, carpenters, manpower for debris cleanup and, yes, evangelists. Please pray and ask God whether you may have a role to play in this trip. More than anything, pray that God will bless the efforts of Sovereign Joy Community Church as we seek to serve and evangelize the community of Joplin, MO.
We are also accepting donations of essential goods (i.e. diapers: size 4, 5, 6 and socks, etc.). If you’re able to donate to this effort, please bring your donations to church on Sunday. If you believe that God is calling you join us, please contact either Billy Leonhart or Trisha Ramos no later than Sunday at 9pm. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter. May God bless you and our church.
Before this past Friday’s sermon on “Patience & Endurance Through Suffering”, Pastor Jay talked about a video he had recently seen about brothers and sisters who have endured persecution for their faith and how they endured. You can listen to this in the two minute clip below:
Here is the original post he was talking about (parents, please use discretion if showing this video to your children):
This 10-minute video clip explores the persecution of Christians under Ceausescu’s Romania. It includes video and audio from Richard Wurmbrand, Nicolae Moldoveanu, and more. We in the West would do well to learn from our brothers and sisters who have endured persecution for their faith.
Here are some lines from the latter part of the video that stand out:
For you, it is not just a prison. It’s your parish.
God will judge us not according to how much we endured, but how much we could love.
Lord, how can I thank you that I am among those being tortured and mocked and that because of your mercy, I was not among those who torture and mock!
With every blow you give, a prayer rises to God so you may be forgiven.
Here is the greatest thing: when you see that the man torturing you is more afflicted than you who are being tortured.
Our Lord has been gracious, good, and faithful to us over this long journey of training and waiting to be fully absorbed in ministry. Although we know He has used us throughout this time in ministering to others, this week marks the beginning of what He has called us to do, since November 2001 when Steve first considered a change in the direction to full-time ministry and applied to The Master’s Seminary. We are humbled by this privilege. The new semester begins on Tuesday at the Facultad (ABWE seminary here in Santiago). Steve will be teaching two courses this semester — Expository Preaching I-Greek Exegesis and Church History I. He’ll also be covering the time of fellow professor and pastor Victor Velozo’s class, who is attending the Shepherd’s Conference this week. So please pray for Steve, as he will be teaching 4 hours consecutively in Spanish on Wednesday for the next two weeks and 3 hours in his Friday course. These first couple of days in our semester at the seminary have brought back fond memories of our days at The Master’s seminary. There is a very wonderful and eager spirit here. This year 16 new students begin in the four year program. Also, a new master’s level program begins for previous graduates of the seminary with 8 new students. Also, we plan to begin an evening program next week for pastors, who would like more training in pastoral ministry, but had not previously completed the 4 year program. We thank the Lord for His provision of these new students preparing to serve Him, and again testify to His faithfulness in our lives! In addition, we have been visiting some churches that are in need of pastoral leadership and direction.
Leslie begins training this week also in temporarily assuming the treasurer’s job and financial administration of our ABWE fireld team’s activities here in Chile. She is also helping with the Facultad’s finances and as needed in that ministry. Stephanie’s school started last week for the second semester after her long summer break. She has an even fuller schedule as they have added Consumer Math. She continues to serve on the Worship Team at school and is looking forward to resuming her church youth group activities. Alie will have winter quarter finals beginning the week of March 14th and is looking forward to starting her hospital training next quarter as part of her nursing degree at UCLA.
Thank you again for your prayers, encouragement, love, and support.
For three of our Chilean pastors, who are attending the Shepherd’s Conference this week at Grace Community Church in Southern California. Pray that they would be strengthened and encouraged by the preaching, teaching, and fellowship of other pastors and especially many other Latino pastors, who will be attending. Pray that they would return with a great burden and desire to exposit the Scriptures with clarity and profundity.
For Steve in his teaching the newly translated courses in Expository Preaching-Greek Exegesis I and Church History courses, including the aspect of communicating to the students in Spanish.
For all of the students at the Facultad, that they would grow in their knowledge and application of God’s Word.
For Leslie in learning the missionary team treasurer position that she will assume temporarily while the Amundson family is on furlough for a year beginning in June.
For the finances of the Facultad, including funding for necessary repairs and maintenance.
For wisdom and His direction in choosing a church for our family to serve in.
For Stephanie’s new semester of school and that the Lord will use her to minister to both the students at her school and the Chilenos in the church.
For Alie’s, her studies and upcoming exams, and clinicals next quarter at UCLA.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
…do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection…
– Romans 6:1-7
Baptisms from Jan. 02, 2011
What a great way to celebrate the new year by reflecting on the new birth through hearing how God saved individuals and then to see them get baptized. This is exactly what we did Sunday.
The 1689 London Baptist Confession describes baptism as follows (Chapter 28 section 1):
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’“
It is always important to reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness on New Years.More than anything we should use this as a time to reflect on God’s faithfulness and give thanks to Him for His unfailing love and mercy which He has so richly lavished us with in Christ.
I am personally grateful for the ministry of Sovereign Joy Community Church (SJCC).
I am grateful that God has taken our church through so much expositional terrain.
I am grateful for the installment of our small group ministry where we can challenge each other to reflect further on the Word of God and challenge each other to apply His Word in our lives.
I am grateful for God’s enduring patience with us as a small church that still has a long way to go in many areas.
Most of all I am grateful for the people of SJCC, their eagerness to serve, evangelize, and it has also been encouraging to hear all the stories of God’s faithfulness to provide and sustain His people through many trials and tests.This has been the most meaningful aspect of pastoring at SJCC, seeing people’s lives changed through the Word of God. SJCC is our family and I look forward to seeing more people become involved, receive meaningful ministry and fellowship, become more involved in each other’s lives, and serve one another with eagerness and zeal as they seek to bring glory to God by our love for one another.
To all at SJCC, Happy New Years, Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Emilio Ramos
(the following is a 1 minute clip from Friday’s sermon where Pastor Emilio talked about this past year and the New Year):
When we moved our website to SovJoy.com we also started hosting our sermons on SermonAudio, which gave us the ability to serve Christians all over the world with audio from our sermons. Here are some stats as of today:
Total Sermon MP3 Downloads: Total number of times your audio has been listened to (stream + download).
Total Mobile Downloads: Of the above total, the total number that are mobile streams or downloads.
Of the above downloads, here are the top 10 states that have downloaded our sermons since the beginning of 2010:
TEXAS – 2,992 (downloads)
CALIFORNIA – 792
GEORGIA – 296
NEW YORK – 138
NEW JERSEY – 136
WASHINGTON – 128
MISSOURI – 125
LOUISIANA – 110
COLORADO – 106
ILLINOIS – 93
And the top 15 countries!
UNITED KINGDOM – 109 (downloads)
CHINA – 106
CANADA – 87
AUSTRALIA – 73
ITALY – 44
NEW ZEALAND – 36
NETHERLANDS – 26
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF – 24
MEXICO – 20
INDIA – 20
MALAYSIA – 17
PHILIPPINES – 12
INDONESIA – 12
SINGAPORE – 10
GERMANY – 10
When we started as a church we focused heavily on the gospel. In 2010, we of course have not left the gospel but we are going deeper into it as we continued to go through the Bible we are learning a lot of implications that the gospel has on our lives and on our church.
Here is a summary of the past year broken up by month:
J A N U A R Y * * * * *
Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded For January, 2010: 221
The preaching took us right into the heart of 1 John, teaching us that as true son’s of God how we ought to be discerning, have assurance, and how to love one another (because God first loved us as Emilio explains in the 2 minute clip below):
Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded For February, 2010: 361
Grand Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded To Date: 601
We learned alot about the church. How, as a church to watch out for pride, how we ought to view ministers, and started learning about church discipline (here is Jay summing up the 1st four chapters of 1 Corinthians in 1 minute):
This month we started off celebrating Resurrection Sunday and moving back in 1 Corinthians, which took us through an array of different topics. We talked about sexual immorality and ended the section on church discipline (2 minute clip):
In finishing up 2 John and moving into 3 John (and finishing it too), we learned more about imitating good (not evil), dealing with false teachers, prayer, church membership, and the blessedness of fellowship and doing it in true love (3 minutes):
Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded For September, 2010: 676
Grand Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded To Date: 5,048
.. of that total, downloads via mobile phone for September, 2010: 38
Grand Total Downloaded via Mobile To Date: 109
We heard a special message on “The Great Commission”, finished up our 7 sermon series on Christian liberty, and moved into another controversial subject, head coverings and the subordination of wives to husbands (4 minutes):
Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded For November, 2010: 846
Grand Total MP3 Sermons Downloaded To Date: 6,890
.. of the downloads, total via mobile phone for November, 2010: 50
Grand Total Downloaded via Mobile To Date: 207
Pastor Jay finished going through his detailed exposition of the oft debated passage “faith without works is dead”, and Pastor Emilio began his exposition through Philippians, which is all about joy (2 minutes):