Discipleship Living an Eternal Life

by Eric Djafroodi

When you hear the promises of Jesus spoken about at church or read them in the bible, do you ever feel like your looking into another world? It’s because the scriptures describe a reality so different than what many of us normally experience. They describe a divine world with a divine life!

Our world is filled with stress and distress from political revolutions, wars, famines, epidemics and economic disasters. All of which are usually always the result of human choices—the expressions of the human spirit. Individual disasters abound all around us and everyone is impacted directly or indirectly by depression, suicide, loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse, out of control sexual perversion and violence. These aren’t new problems. Humanity has struggled with them for ages. But they are spiritual problems that can only be addressed by a spiritual solution.

Think about these words: John 4:14 “but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Jesus promised his followers “living water,” the Spirit of God Himself that would keep them from ever being thirsty again - from being driven and ruled by unsatisfied desires. How about these words: John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This is not just merely getting by with a bare existence. Jesus is talking about receiving everything needed for a fully blessed and satisfied life—this is an eternal quality of life.

At Christmas we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her King! Let every heart, prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!” We are reminded of the angels words in Luk 2:10-14 And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

The news of Jesus entering our world is that God had come to make a way for things on Earth to really be different. The powers of evil and sin could now be broken so that people can be freed from their bondage and become transformed in righteousness and goodness - to really live an eternal kind of life - to become like Jesus. This is what the “Good News” is all about!

This Is It

by Aaron

We start our trek home today, but before we did we stopped at another orphanage and had the best time playing with some kids. It was one of those moments that made me a little sad to leave...because the people of Haiti have a spirit that will not quit.

We met a girl who came down to work with Gcom from Louisiana. She was in college when Hurricane Katrina hit. She went home and proceeded to spend the next 6 months just trying to find her parents. She made a comment about the Haitian people that they are so resilient. Six months after Katrina she said “New Orleans was sitting in rubble and people were devastated and didn’t know what to do; six months after the Earthquake in Haiti the people are looking at the their homes, salvaging what they can, and getting on with life as best they can.”

We will be letting you guys see the videos we are making for Gcomintl.com soon. Keep checking back on the blog and keep praying for the Haitian people.

As an update, Doctors Without Borders is trying to fly that little boy (I told you about yesterday) to the US for treatment (but it is 400.00 just to get him seen). His mother had 8 children and he is the only one who is still alive. Haiti’s infant mortality rate is 97.1 per 1000 births; in the US it is 6.5. His mom is in high spirits though and is thankful for all the team is doing for her son here. Keep him in your prayers.

Talk to you soon,
Aaron


Qu'est Ce Que C'est

by Aaron

Today was a tough day. It was really hot and really long. We left the place we are staying at @ 8am and didn’t get back until 6:30pm...and I am still thinking about the day. We did a whole lot of medical stuff in one of the tent cities. I am amazed at the lack of health care available to the people of Haiti.

One man showed up who had blood pressure of 250 over 170...and he was complaining of chest pain (well, of course). Julie, one of the nurses asked if he had medication of any sort, he said, “no, I cannot afford it.” Essentially it is a death sentence.

We have another little boy who showed up who has a growth on his neck. It has been there for the last 6 months and it is so big he can barely swallow. If we didn’t show up today who knows if he would have gotten help. We have picked his mom and him up and brought them back to our “house” and are contacting the local Doctors Without Borders to see if they can help him.

There is so much need here, but the interesting thing is that I don’t question God over it (as most Haitians don’t either). Jesus does things in a way that many times we do not understand...and I could totally see Him doing something greatly unexpected here. I got to pray for over 50 people today, most didn’t understand a word of what I said but I think they appreciated the idea that some white guy would come to their country with a group of people whose sole purpose was to glorify God by caring for those who need it most. "Qu'est Ce Que C'est" means' "what is that?" - well, it's the gospel (good news). The gospel goes forward by tangible acts of love...this good news is good news because those who love Christ BRING that good news.
Aaron


Getting The Job On

by Aaron

In case you didn’t know, the reason we went to Haiti was for the purpose of helping our friends at GCOMintl.com film a few video spots to showcase what they are doing in Haiti. When Garry was 18, God laid it upon his heart to start a ministry that could help all of those in Haiti that had lost hope. Today his organization leads trips to bring relief to Haiti. He eventually wants to start a school offering better education than the children of Haiti now receive. We are making a video and production packet for GCOM to send out to garner support for their mission in Haiti.

As we were filming the video it rained...and rained...and it is still raining. It has rained for the last 3 days. So, I played futbol (soccer) with my new friend Spryder.

And I chased chickens around the yard. Not much else to say as I have to start editing more video now...hope your Sunday was great and James did a good job. See you soon.
Aaron


TIH (This is Haiti)

by Aaron

It’s Aaron's birthday so he has been pretty much slacking the whole day, he wont even update the blog, pffsh. Actually, he has been working hard editing a video for the first group that was here.

A large group of 17 people arrived last night from all over the States. The group ranged from high school kids to nursing students, and all played their part serving today. The main project today was helping out a large tent city close to the airport. Being in a tent city is like being in a different world all together. It’s times like these that I wish I wasn’t white, I mean we just look so silly and disorganized, especially in groups.

We had food and medicine that we were giving to the people, little ones first. I fell in love with this kid named Sebastian, who was four. I never thought about adoption before now. My heart breaks seeing the needs of everyone. I want to give everybody all the things they ask for, but only Jesus can give them what Haiti truly needs.

TIH, stands for, “This is Haiti”. Which is the answer for a lot of crucial questions. For example, “Why are some people living behind the gated parks and others not?” Or, “When you order food, why is it a 20 minute ordeal where you have to talk to a minimum of 4 different people for a fried piece of goat?”...This is Haiti...

God is Sovereign and is in control of everything, I can’t pinpoint what exactly He is doing here, but He is moving. I can tell you this though, I will never complain about a phone call or when something arrives late again (I hope).

Bon Dyea Bon God is Good
Luke


Tap Tap Out

by Aaron

I know, it’s Haiti and you want to know what is going on...but...I almost died today and thought I would tell you a funny story.

These are the cars we ride around in while in Haiti; they are called Tap Taps because when you want a ride you make a tapping motion and they stop, pick you up, take you for a ride...and when you want to get out you tap tap on the window to get out.

The GCOMINTL.com (the people we are here with) simply rent a tap tap for the day...and you never know how good the tap tap will actually be. We were out today in our tap tap (I was sitting up front because I nearly puked yesterday in the back) when a freak storm unleashed rain so thick you couldn’t see.

At the same time I realize that our tap taps windshield wipers do not work the Tap Taps air brake fuse blows AND his regular brakes get so wet they don’t work. We are careening down a hill, unable to stop when our drivers cell phone rings...AND HE ANSWERS IT. I look over and say (in English, which no one understands), “This is so awesome, we could die any moment.”

This was the response I got.

BTW, here is Luke after we stopped and the driver put in a new fuse for his brakes.


Aaron


Tent and Cities

by Aaron

Today we went to one of the tent cities and passed out many of the gifts that you at Element gave to pass out. Some of the kids were orphans and some were with their families, living in the tent city.

Tent cities sprung up after the earthquake because not only were many homes destroyed but many more are unsafe to return to.

Over one million people in Haiti live in tent cities today (probably more like 1.5 million).

Tomorrow we will return to the orphanage and continue working Garry's support video...so he can eventually plant a school/orphanage to help all these kids.
Aaron

Safe and Almost Sound

by Aaron

Well, we made it. The weather hits you pretty hard as it is not only hot (113 in the day) but humid...that's a bad combination. I would think the people here would be in a worse mood because of the weather...but so far they are all pretty pleasant. Garry, the guy who runs the mission here, has friend who is cop and he got us through customs with out any charges (maybe that is why everyone is so nice).

Luke has gone over to orphanage while I am giving you the first update. We hope to start filming tomorrow and getting you some more pictures.

Thank you for praying for us.
Aaron

Getting Ready To Leave

by Aaron

We leave for our trip to Haiti next Tuesday and here is the place you can be kept up to date. Don't get angry if I have a gazillion typos because my wife won't be there to edit my posts. I leave you this picture of sandals and toothpaste because if you want to send something with us to Haiti, they are asking for shoes/sandals and toothbrushes and toothpaste for kids 4-14 years of age.

Sunday there will be a big box marked Haiti and you can put whatever you want to in there.

So, here is to Haiti...be posting soon.
Aaron

Esther: "Missing" sections? Explanation.

by Element Christian Church
in FAQ

In the Catholic Bible, the Old Testament contains extra books called the Apocrypha (some have called them "LOST BOOKS"). A lady from Element is in a Bible study with some Catholic ladies, she sent in a question and asked why our scriptures do not include the additions to Esther that the Catholic scriptures do. So, here is my not so short answer for all of you.The verses in question are Esther 10:4-16:24...This is a whole can of worms so bear with me.


I'll give you a short answer and then a long one - the short one is this: The  Additions to Esther is most likely the work of an Egyptian Jew, writing around 170 BC, who sought to give the book a more religious tone, and to suggest that the Jews were saved from destruction because of their piety. The additions completely change the tone of the book from what was originally intended from the Hebrew Manuscripts...and the additions were NEVER in the Hebrew scriptures.

Now for the long answer:

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Communion Policy

by Element Christian Church
in FAQ

I'd like to know the church policy on taking communion at the service. Can anyone take communion? Any restrictions etc?

[blockquote]I'll answer and then give some explanation...

The only restriction to communion is that someone must be a believer to take communion (if someone doesn't believe it would be pointless to them anyway, right?)

We do communion after the message because it is an act of worship and should be a response to what God has done in us first. Scripture tells us that we are to take communion whenever we gather AND in remembrance of Christ. (1 Cor 11).

Scripture talks about taking communion in an "unworthy manner." An "unworthy manner" would be in a way that doesn't honor Jesus. Some in the early church, when they gathered, would eat and get drunk at communion (or the Agape - or love feast). It was originally a meal shared with an entire church body...people became selfish and made it about getting their own needs met rather than meeting others needs and lifting up Christ (hence an "unworthy manner).

We do communion weekly because it is when we gather...and, as I said, should be in worship and remembrance of all Jesus has done. It resets our hearts and minds to remember that true life is one lived with Christ, and that our lives are a gift graciously given to us by our great God. We lay our burdens down at His feet in remembrance of what He has done for us. [/blockquote]

Changed By Jesus II

by Element Christian Church

My name is Jean Morse and this ‘story writing’ is nerve-racking.
My story………well, I have been a Christian for some time now……. but just have never been baptized. I believe I have always loved God – but I just didn’t know Him. In my childhood we really never went to church except for holidays here or there. The first church service I can actually remember was spoken in Latin (Guess I just dated myself)! I did all the catechism and confirmation classes, but that was all formalized and repetitive prayer with lots of fear thrown in (the only thing I remember about it was being scared). I always longed for the God I loved.

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Changed By Jesus I

by Element Christian Church

My name is Shannon Harris.

My journey of how I got to the place where I wanted a relationship with the Jesus is a pretty long story, and I will have to shorten or you could still be reading this booklet long after the baptisms are done.

I was not brought up in a house that went to church. My mom would tell us about GOD and how he was “out there somewhere” and could hear all your prayers and see all your sins (He kind of sounded like Santa Claus). But in my head, I thought “Whatever, how could He see all and know all?” When I was 18 years old I was engaged to my first husband whose family were strict Catholics. His family wanted us to get married in a Catholic Church...for that to happen I had to attend “night School” to get all of the Catholic Church “requirements” done.

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Busy

by Aaron

 

Have you ever found yourself so overwhelmed with meaningless things that you couldn’t finish all the things you had to do in a given day? Have you ever found your mind so cluttered with things to do that you essentially “overload” and don’t do anything at all? Have you ever found yourself spending massive amounts of time reading internet blogs and not actually doing your work while at WORK?

 

It is interesting that we call all these things being “busy.” I personally feel like I am “busy” all the time but can usually find a few moments to do something I want to do, such as writing a new blog, researching said blog, and then publishing said blog to the world wide web.

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Celtic Evangelism Part 1

by Aaron

This may be a blog and it may not...either way it is up and you get to read it.
A little over a month ago I (Aaron) gave the guys on the board a copy of “The Celtic Way of Evangelism” by George Hunter. I then ask them a couple of questions which I thought would be helpful for you to see our thought processes. Hope you enjoy it...

Aaron

In chapter one we read that the Roman churches saw its job in missions as "Chritianizing and Civlizing." They essentially made the goal of Christianity barbarian propriety rather than Jesus. How can we keep from doing this at Element ourselves?

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Bad Mood Days

by Aaron

I Woke up today on “the wrong side of the bed,” not literally as that means I would have rolled over my wife like an out of control steamroller driven by an angry cal-trans worker – BUT metaphorically. Days, like today, leave me a lot of time for introspection, but I realize I don’t like a lot of introspection because I don’t really enjoy much of what I see on the inside of myself so I don’t spend a lot of time doing it (if that makes sense).
As people our emotions are fickle like a junior high girl trying to figure who she thinks is cute or who her new best friend should be. Our emotions are triggered by what we read, what we dreamed about while we slept, what we watched on TV, and even by what we ate the night before and yet I find it interesting that so often people stay stupid stuff like, “follow your heart.” If your “heart” could simply be the regurgitated ramblings of the pizza you ate last night then it probably is not a very good guide.

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First Impulse

by Aaron

Christmas is here with its lights, sounds, print ads, jolly men in red, angry shoppers, frustration, insecurity, debt, and hopefully some hope (yes I meant to use the same word twice). The “Black Friday” weekend is over and stores are happy but in trepidation that sales may not continue, Shoppers are going nuts for bargains but worry about their credit card bills, and those who haven’t shopped at all are sitting back worrying that there may not be anything left that anyone wants on their Christmas list.

How odd that a time that is meant to inspire and fill the world with hope has come to mean so little in retrospect. I am not even speaking of world changing events, I am simply referring to the difference that Christ came to make in our own hearts that should spill out into the world around us.

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The Point

by Aaron

I know this will be a bizarre blog entry to me. One of my friends asked me a question, sent me a link to another blog, and asked if I could answer some questions. Here are my answers as maybe some other people could benefit as well.
Hey Aaron,
I've been having lots of questions lately. Lots. Lots of frustrations too. Not with Jesus, but how to live for him. I was planning on talking to you about this, except it's so hard to articulate...I've had lots of talks about it with my parents and friends at school. Today, I came across my friend Daniel's blog, and he wrote on pretty much exactly what I've been feeling for a while now. Could you read it and then offer some wisdom?

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Challenging Orthodoxy

by Aaron

 

 

I finally watched the news this week and saw the most bizarre thing ever: a beauty contest not based on beauty but upon particular beliefs. If you haven’t seen the news it is really odd. Apparently the front runner for Miss USA believed marriage was between a man and a woman (exclusively). This set off a tirade against her from popular blogger Perez Hilton.

The debate at this point is not what you believe in regard to marriage but more how a belief can determine if you are qualified to win a beauty contest. It seems ridiculous that beauty contestants need to be politically savvy (because most don’t seem that smart) unless we understand what has actually started to happen...a new orthodoxy (right belief) is emerging into power in the world.
 

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Appropriateness of Christmas

by Aaron

I was asked recently by a person about the appropriateness of Christmas. I thought some of you might have the same question and want my take on it (keep in mind this was an answer to a question and some things may make you go, huh?)

Christians today get very fundamental on certain things and not on others, it is like we pick and choose. There is a huge debate about should we or shouldn't we celebrate Christmas and Easter as part of this. Honestly, I think the debate comes up because too many people have nothing better to do. Christmas (Christ's Mass) was originally (in the most simple terms) a way to give many of the people embracing Christianity something that felt familiar. They had to leave their pagan festivals so the church decided to celebrate the birth of Christ in a way that helped many worship God in a way that connected better with them.

Trees, ornaments, presents, snow men...all these become later things tacked on but originally it was simply a way to help people connect with Christ BETTER. It was not an attempt to paganize Christianity (as many opponents today would say), it was a way to get the message to better connect and resonate with those they were trying to reach.

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