Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Theology

Tonight as we were walking back to school for Spiritual Emphasis Week, Megan was telling Andrew about Jesus.

Aside from being incredibly cool for us to watch, Megan was pretty excited about the chance to tell her brother about her friend, Jesus. In reality, I have no idea what Andrew can understand in his 3 year old way of thinking, but the reality is, Megan knows that she needs to share Jesus with her family and her friends.

Point 1 - Tell people about Jesus! (Matthew 28:18-20)

Then she was talking about how Andrew can follow Christ. She said that if He followed Christ, then he could tell someone else about Jesus and that person could tell someone about Jesus and then that person could tell someone about Jesus.

Point 2 - This is good discipleship - take what you have learned about Jesus, teach it to someone else so that they in turn can teach it to someone else. (II Timothy 2:2)

Then she said... and if you tell someone and they tell someone, etc, then the whole world will hear about Jesus and then Jesus will come back!

Point 3 - When the whole world has heard Jesus will come back! (Matthew 24:14)

So, what does a six year old know? A whole lot! In fact, I'd say (even as a proud father) that she has a good grasp on her faith and how it is all supposed to work.

1) Tell People about Jesus
2) Teach others to tell people about Jesus
3) Bring back the KING!

Way to go Megan... Daddy is proud of you!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Necesito un Salvador en mi vida!"

For the past 5 months I have been preaching at an alcohol and drug rehabilitation home called the "Casa de Restauracion." My friends, John Pham and Henry Clary (fellow students at the Language school) go there every week to disciple the men there, while I go once a month to preach. Now, the fun part is that I get a chance to preach in spanish... and not always well either :)

La Casa de Restauracion is a six month program and has only a few men who make it through the whole time. Unfortunately, every time I go there is almost an entirely new crop of Men.

On Monday (June 16th), I was preaching from Matthew 14 where Peter walks on the water. My first point was an analogy of the boat of the disciples and our "boat of sin," and how God is calling us to leave our "boat of sin" and come to Christ. I told them that they had the same choice that Peter had, to stay in the boat or to get out and go to Jesus. Then I moved on... for I had 2 other points in my sermon.

As I began to preach the rest of the sermon, God shared His thoughts to me. The conversation went something like this:

"John, is that all you are going to do?"
"Um yeah, that is all I wrote for point 1."
"John, I have more to do..."
"But, I have two more points to make."
"John, make them quick, I have more to do..."

That is just a rough outline of the conversation that went on in my head as I continued to preach through points two and three. Needless to say, I preached quickly and returned to the first point. I told the men that they each had the choice to leave their life of sin and come to Jesus and that this choice was the most important decision they can make. I told the men that Jesus provided for the penalty for their sin by dying on the cross and that he could be their savior. Then I asked the men, if they were ready to come out of the boat and come to Christ to call out, "I need a savior in my life."

... after a few moments of silence, about 6 men called out, "Necesito un Salvador en mi vida!" (I need a Savior in my life)

What followed next was a wonderful prayer time where the men prayed for each other and those who called out prayed for Jesus to clean their lives of their sin.


God is good. I keep thinking of the boy with the fish and the bread (John 6). We bring the little things to God and He makes big things from them. If He can use me, in my broken spanish, He can use anyone!!!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Dad

Today is Father's Day!

Almost 14 years ago, I stepped from a back room of a church to await my beautiful bride to be with my brothers as my groomsmen and my father, my best-man.

I've worked in Youth Ministry long enough to know that when you are in a group of students all you have to do is mention the word, father, and people start to stare off and the tears begin to come. In a world of broken relationships and pretty cruddy fathers, my dad is a shining example of what a dad should be!

When we were kids, my father was at everyone one of our games. He would leave work early, travel hours by train, just to meet us in some remote corner of the city and watch us play volleyball... and then sometimes return to work.

When we had no money and the creditors were calling, he was laughing and telling jokes with them on the phone. (It drove my mom nuts).

When we had no idea what to do next he always seemed to know what to do (he probably didn't have a clue, but he always looked like he did.)

When we lost something, broke up with someone, or just got really hurt, he always had a Life-savor candy (usually, Butter rum) for us to eat.

When I read in the Bible that God is our Heavenly Father, it is easy for me. I know that is the hardest reality for some people to understand, but for me that one is a gimme. God rocks, God loves, God is patient, God is kind, because God is like my dad, Jim Sappia.

What scares the pants off of me, is when I see the same look in my kids' eyes that I had in my eyes when I was a kid. Now, I pray... Lord, make me like my dad, so that I can more like you!

Well, Happy Father's Day, Dad! You are still my best-man!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Waterfall of Peace

Below is a video we took at the LA PAZ Waterfall gardens. Thank you for praying for Costa Rica and for Paraguay! We are so glad that you are on the TEAM! (At the end of the video, are other video options... those are from You-tube and NOT from us)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My son...

Tonight I was doing my homework when I heard a faint voice calling my name, it was like listening to Little Lucy Lu who was no more than two... except it was Andrew. He had to go potty and we had a few moments to talk while he sat :). Anyway, no to embarrass the poor kid, but in those few moments we had a great conversation.

It started out like this...
John - "do you know who loves you?"
Andrew - "You do, daddy"
John - "do you know how proud I am of you?"
Andrew - (smile)
John - "do you know that I can't be anymore proud of you than I am right now?
Andrew - (smile), "I'm done daddy, can I go back to sleep?"
John - "Sure, come on... I love you son."
Andrew - "I love you, Daddy."

You know, sometimes I feel like I am living a Hallmark commercial? I can't tell you how much I love my kids. I mean, each of them are amazing. Sometimes, Caleb and I laugh for ten minutes at a time for no reason, he just loves to laugh! Megan, lost both of her front teeth and she can still blow a mean bubble. Today, Alison, did a cartwheel off a balance beam in a gymnastics show at school!!! And Andrew, well, he just loves his daddy!

I used to watch the Amazing Race and other Reality Shows and wish I were on those programs... running in the sand, climbing the mountains, doing cool things... Then I realized the real REALITY... my life is already AMAZING... not because it is always perfect (yeah right), but because God has been good enough to bless me with four wonderful kids and a fantastic bride.

Life is funny isn't it? It passes so quickly and we forget, that which we thought was unforgettable. Tonight, near the potty, I was reminded of the simple things... and the greatest of these is love!


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What's shakin...

We were.

On Sunday, we felt the biggest earthquake since we have been here in Costa Rica. In reality, there are earthquakes here all the time, but most are teeny and too small to feel.

But this week you couldn't miss it. First, the dogs barked (which is nothing new around here). Then there was a noise, like an explosion. Then for 2 seconds the house shook like it was hit by a big wrecking ball. Fortunately, nothing was wrecked!

In the end, only Megan woke up concerned about the big noise. As we all know from reports about China and all around the world, earthquakes are not matters to laugh at. Praise God, He has kept us safe once again.