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Monday, August 30, 2010

Hispanic Ministry Update - August 2010

Centro Cristiano Moorpark

ESL (English as a Second Language) classes are being held every Saturday, at 5pm, in the Fellowship Hall. After class, at 6:30 a Bible Study and Musical Instrument Class is held for the students. A new series with Book Two of "Ingles para Latinos" will begin in September. Pick up some flyers at the church office to invite your Spanish speaking friends and neighbors to attend the class and study. If you would be able to help with refreshments, please sign up in the Fellowship Hall. Thank you!

Several of the students attending the ESL class on Saturdays have also begun to attend our Home Bible Study on Wednesdays. We are studying and training our new members with a wonderful study of the Bible called "Panoramo Biblico" (Bible Panoramo).

A Spiritual Retreat will be held in the Fall for the new believers who are participating in our ministry programs. Pray for growth and spiritual maturity for those who attend this retreat.

Park Outreaches continue in September with a community worship service in the park and a meal provided for all who attend. The members of our home Bible Study coordinate this outreach and members of Centro Cristiano Santa Paula join in with leading the music, message, and prayers. If you would like to attend or help us with one of these outreaches, please contact Pastor Dennis for the dates, time and location (805) 660-3377.

Please continue to keep our leaders and members in your prayers as we reach out to families with great physical and spiritual needs. If you have clothing or household items to donate, please contact Tara Bradshaw (805) 983-1619 or if you would like to support our ministries with a financial gift, please place it in the church office. Our grant funds are getting smaller each year and we continue to pray that the Lord blesses us with more supporters as we raise our own support for our outreaches and training programs in Moorpark, Santa Paula, Oxnard, and Carpinteria.

God bless you all and thank you for your continued support.

Pastor Dennis and Tara Bradshaw
Centro Cristiano Moorpark

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Word from the Pastor

I recently spent eight days in Houston, TX for the 2010 Convention of the Luthern Church-Missouri Synod. Every three years our Synod (a word that means "walking together") gathers to discuss the business of our denomination. This included issues such as the following: Is our current synodical structure efficient for supporting mission and ministry? How are we to respond to recent decisions in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and what do their decisions mean for our work of human care alongside of them? We voted to support our troops, chaplains, and organizations who are working to end Malaria and human trafficking. We discussed how best to fund and support our educational institutions and our synod which have all been effected by the economy. It was a week full of discussion, amendments, amendments to amendments, parliamentary procedure, arguing, agreeing, and even worship and forgiveness.

I must say that I was honored to serve our congregations in this area. At the same time, it was a frustrating and long eight days. In a time when denominations are on the rapid decline, one wonders what the point of such conventions is. Further, will there be a future for such things as the age of denominations comes to an end (if that is what the Lord wills)? Perhaps the end of denominations is a good thing, right?

Not so fast, argues Ed Stetzer, a popular missiologist (that is, he's a dude who studies and takes part in mission work) and member of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a recent article for Christianity Today, Stetzer points out that, though denominations have their weaknesses, they are a great blessing. Denominations are a tremendous blessing because they: a) function as a tool for mission, b) come out of and foster a culture of cooperation/unity in mission and ministry, c) connect us, not just with each other, but with the theological heritage from which we come, d) and, when strong in their confession, they provide a safeguard against false teachings which seem to be arising in churches all over the place. He says,

Denominations at their best are not places to get something but places to give and to serve. Our gifts, passions, and experience have greater influence through a worldwide denominational network. Through a denomination, we can provide resources to people we will never meet, reach places we will never go, and preach the gospel to lost souls who are beyond our personal reach. We can find what we need and give as much as we want - because the key to cooperation is to both give and receive. A healthy denomination ultimately gives us strength. It's a home, not a prison. It allows us to share specific theological convictions, practice expressions of ministry relevant to our communities, and serve a common mission in the one thing that brings true unity: the gospel.

It is very easy (especially when sitting in your seventh eight hour session of an eight day conference) to grow so weary and frustrated with church politics that we lose sight of a remarkable fact, Jesus even works in and through denominations! Even the Missouri Synod! It is my prayer that we can grow more aware how we can find our place to give and serve within our own church body.

Pastor Bob


Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email