Mission Statement

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101Do not think that I have come to 

abolish the Law or the Prophets; 

I have not come to abolish them 

but to fulfill them. 

(Matt 5:17) 

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus offers an interpretative key that explains how to understand both his ministry on earth and his words in the Beatitudes. When Jesus said that he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, he means that he came to fulfill all of Old Testament scripture. In Jewish thinking, the term “law” brings to mind the first five books in the Old Testament—the Books of the Law (or the Pentateuch): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The term “prophets” loosely refers to the remainder of the Old Testament. The implication is that Jesus’ own words have meaning in the context of scripture because they extend it.

The Books of the Law

The Hebrew word for poor in spirit (לְבַשֵּׂר עֲנָוִים; “lebaser anavim”) also translates as: poor, afflicted, humble, or meek (BDB, 7237). In the singular   (“ana”) appears in the Books of the Law only in Numbers 12:3 which reads: “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” (Num 12:3). Only Moses is described as meek and Moses’ relationship with God is described as exceeding that of a typical Old Testament prophet (Num 12:6-8).

“Ana” invites two important observations. First, being poor in spirit draws us closer to God—Moses close. God spoke to Moses directly, face to face, not in riddles or dreams (Num 12:6–8) which is intimacy with God rarely seen scripture since Abraham, who was described as a friend of God (Jas 2:23).

Second, if Jesus spoke Hebrew in delivering the Sermon on the Mount, then the first three Beatitudes could have been expressed in the same word, “ana”, which would be an emphatic statement of humility. The blessing associated with poor in spirit was to receive the kingdom of heaven while the blessing for meek was to inherit the earth. Taken together, being poor in spirit (or meek) in God’s eye gets you both heaven and earth, reminding us of creation (Gen 1:1) and meaning: everything.

The Books of the Prophet

“Ana” also appears in Isaiah 61:1–3, cited earlier. While the Books of the Prophet make many references to the poor, Isaiah 61 is quoted almost verbatim in Jesus’ call sermon in Luke 4:18–19 and stands out for at least two other reasons. The first reason is that the word, anointed, marks this passage as a messianic prophecy. While priests, prophets, and kings were all anointed as messiahs in the Old Testament, God himself does the anointing here. The second reason is that the phrase, “broken-hearted” (Isa 61:1), is a better analogy to “poor in spirit” than “poor” and it provides another reason to prefer “poor in spirit” over simply “poor” in interpreting this Beatitude.

Fulfillment

Jesus’ interpretative key is the verb, fulfill (πληρόω; “plero”), which generally translates as:

to bring to a designed end, fulfill a prophecy, an obligation, a promise, a law, a request, a purpose, a desire, a hope, a duty, a fate, a destiny (BDAG 5981, 4b).

In Matthew 5:17, fulfill is set in opposition to the verb, “destroy”, which is usually rendered as abolish. This verbal opposition is helpful because it underscores the dynamic element in fulfill—one abolishes something static simply by replacing it with a new item. Fulfilment clearly has an expectational element (or forward drift—τέλος in Greek). To fulfill the law is, not to replace it, but to extend it.

This idea of extending the law was new which is perhaps why Matthew offered more explanation and uses the word, fulfill, more than the other Gospel writers. In Jesus’ day, for example, Rabbi’s preached from the Law using the Prophets to interpret its meaning. This tradition might lead someone to say, perhaps, that the law had been “fulfilled” by correctly complying with it. However, the Gospel of Matthew sees prophecy fulfilled in the sense of living it out or taking the next  step rather than the merely honoring the boundaries of existing law (Guelich 1982, 163).

In the Law and the Prophets, we find Jesus anchored in God’s creation and promises. In the word, fulfill, we find Jesus focused on the future giving Jesus’ mission both continuity and purpose.

REFERENCES

BibleWorks. 2011. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, LLC. <BibleWorks v.9>. Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged. Guelich, Robert. 1982. The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding. Dallas: Word Publishing.

Mission Statement

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Lent_2020  

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Martinez Family Ministry: OASIS Mission in Manassas Virginia

Today’s guest blog is by Julio Martinez. Pastor Martinez and his family were called as missionaries from Mexicali, Mexico to Manassas, Virginia, where they have established a mission church to local Hispanic people.

Martinez family“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV)

Hispanic Community

The United States has experienced rapid growth of the Hispanic population over the past 20 years, growing from 9 million to 50 million according to the U.S. 2010 census. The population of the City of Manassas is around 40 thousand, of which 21.4 percent is Hispanic. Of the roughly 800 houses in the Georgetown South Community, more than 75 percent are Hispanic.

OASIS Outreach

For the last several months, we have prayerfully sought God’s leading into a mission outreach in the Manassas area. Our objective is personal evangelism with everyone that we meet, focusing in particular on the Spanish speaking population. We call our outreach OASIS, as it is such for the hungry, unemployed, poorly housed, but spiritually thirsty immigrants in the greater Manassas area. OASIS is an acronym which means:

Organization to
Assist the physical and spiritual needs of
Spanish speaking
Immigrants to ultimately find
Salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Mission

We meet individuals and families through our food pantry deliveries and community center meetings. We now have weekly worship with more than 10 families in the Georgetown South Community Center. My wife, Ana, ministers to the women and our two 17 year-old daughters care for the children and are involved with food distribution, which now feeds 20 families each week. We invite individuals and churches to participate in our outreach efforts.

Goals

Our Mission Goals are to Win, Build, Serve and Send.

Win individuals to a personal faith in Jesus Christ, as the only Savior and Lord.

Build individuals in their faith through personal and group fellowship classes in preparation for baptism. This is done through weekly appointments, meetings, Bible study, and prayer.

Serve and Send—equip each to eventually share his/her personal testimony, the Gospel, along with food and clothing as needed, while helping others as they seek to meet in the Name of Christ.

Our Work in 2015

• We hold worship services every Thursday evening at Georgetown Community Service.
• We have established 3 small groups in Manassas to disciple members.
• During 2015, we distributed more than 600 food baskets.
• Over Thanksgiving in 2015, we distributed 175 turkeys.
• During Christmas in 2015, we provided more than 100 dinners.

2016 Mission Goals

1. We must line up local evangelical church and individuals to support us with donations and gifts so we are freed up to minister.
2. We need to expand our food pantry distribution to assist more concerned evangelical churches to channel some of their charity help to immigrants through OASIS.
3. We plan to expand our Thursday night meetings at the Community Center from 10 to 20 families.
4. We plan to do a camp for 30 kids from Georgetown South in April at Arcelay’s Farm.
5. We plan to do baptisms in May.

6. We plan to use our format of teaching leadership skills and management to these immigrants as a means of outreach as well as assisting them to assume leadership in the Hispanic Community.
7. Expand OASIS Advisory Community to include more representation of interested evangelical churches of all denominations in the area, who share or desire a Spanish ministry outreach vision.
8. Eventually plant a Spanish church with 20-25 families to serve the unchurched Spanish diaspora in this area.
9. To set up a 501c (3) non-taxable charitable organization when we are given a legal “religious visa” or “green card”.
10. Since we are required to return to our point of entry into the U.S. every six months to renew our visa, we will need 4 airline tickets to San Diego by July 15, 2016 (About $1,500).

Advisory Committee

OASIS has an advisory committee consisting of representatives of these organizations:

New Life Church, Centreville, Virginia
Iglesia Shadai, Mexicali, Mexico
Grace Life Community Church, Bristow, Virginia
Members of the U.S. Army
Greenwich Presbyterian Church, Nokesville, Virginia

Our Testimony

After receiving Christ as our Savior and Lord, being baptized and joining Iglesia Shadai church in Mexicali, Mexico, we became involved in their evangelism ministry. Over the next 5 years, we were trained by Youth with a Mission organization for two years of Bible School (2002-2003) in Sinaloa, Mexico and then 3 years of evangelism, which included 16 months of practical mission vision and training.

This training involved 6 months in Morocco, one month in Spain (2001), 1 month in Norway (2002), 2 months in Guatemala (2002), and 6 months in Ireland (2003).

In Mexicali, we established a restaurant outreach for local evangelism through our church. I have a Business Administration degree from UABC (Universidad Autonoma de Beja California). My wife, Ana, also has a degree in Business Administration from UAN (Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit). With this educational background as well as our on-the-job experiences in business leadership management, we established out non-profit organization in Mexico called “Rescatando lo Valioso”, and we started a television program on Management and Leadership in Mexico for 9 months.

Why Manassas?

While in Mexicali, Baja in 2013 we met a visiting Christian Mexican businessman residing in Washington DC, who shared the desperate plight of 1 million immigrants in the DC metro area.0

As we prayed about this, we felt strongly called to meet this need. We have a great burden for those who don’t know our Savior and are lost.

Realizing we have a gift for evangelism and have been given practical training as well as experience, we felt the Lord compelling us to go to these lost sheep in the Washington DC area. This commitment was to prove to be challenging, as it would involve resigning our financially secure and prosperous leadership position jobs within the American company, Valutech, where I was the production manager and Ana was the human resource manager at Mexican company SerCapital. We also turned over our two owned homes to local churches to provide shelters for immigrants evicted from the U.S. with no income to be able to return home. Our home church approved and commissioned us for this mission, but is unable to finance this outreach.

We arrived in Washington DC on April 3, 2014.

How to Help?

Consider supporting OASIS and the Martinez family: financial support, with ministry support, with prayer support, or just being in contact.

Financial support: The current need is for finances of roughly $52,000 annually or $4,345 monthly, to support the family.

Ministry support: We need support from local churches to expand our ministry with gifts of food, Bibles, Christian books, and so on.

Prayer support: We covet your prayers for our family, ministry, and the Hispanic community.

Listen to Radio Broadcast

(Spanish)

Radio Vida VA 97.7 FM los martes a las 8:30 p.m. hasta 9:30 p.m. EST (toca)

English

(Radio Vida VA 97.7 FM Tuesdays from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. EST (link))

Contact:

Julio and Ana Martinez
11100 Ravine Drive
Manassas, VA 20111
202-489-1990
MartinezPeraltaJulio@gmail.com

Thank you! Muchas Gracias!

Martinez Family Ministry: OASIS Mission in Manassas Virginia

Also see:

Plueddemann Demystified Leadership Across Culture 

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2vfisNa

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8. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webFather God, Beloved Son, Holy Spirit,

We praise you for your example in life. In you, the law and the prophets are fulfilled, not in words, but in actions.
We are no longer without hope—good news is preached; broken hearts are healed; liberty is proclaimed for the captives.
In you, there is jubilee;  in you, there is comfort;  in you, death is forever banished. That we may never mourn again. Amen and amen.

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Blessed are Those Who Mourn

New Life
New Life

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Herndon, Virginia, May 20, 2015 (translated from Spanish)

Welcome

Welcome to Luncheon for the Soul this afternoon at Trinity Presbyterian Church. My name is Stephen.  I am a volunteer pastor from Centreville Presbyterian Church.

Today’s message focuses on the need to take a new attitude about grief.  When we are in pain, do we turn to God or lean into the pain? (2X)

Prayer

Let’s pray.

Heavenly father.  Thank you for your presence among us this morning.  We especially give thanks for life, our health, and the riches of fellowship that we have in your church.  In the power of the Holy Spirit, open our eyes and give us ears that hear.  In the precious name of your son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

New Testament Reading

Today’s text comes from the Gospel of Matthew 5:4.  This is the second beatitude and a part of the introduction of the Sermon on the Mount.  Hear the word of God::

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4 ESV)[1]

The Word of the Lord.  Praise be to God.

Introduction

Who do you mourn for? (2X)

I remember in my case the death of my sister, Diane, in 2007.  I am the oldest in the family so she was 2 year younger than I.  For this reason the loss of my sister was especially difficult, but also because we were friends our whole lives.  My father was a student during much of my youth and we moved around a lot during those years.  Consequently, Diane was my only real friend until I was 8 years old. We learned about life together. Now, Diane was in heaven and I was alone with my memories.  The following year, 2008, I began my seminary studies.  Were those 2 events related?  Maybe yes; maybe no.  At this point, I believe they were.

What have you learned during your experiences of loss? (2X)

Old Testament Reading

The second beatitude comes directly from Isaiah 61:1-3 where it reads:

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.” (Isa. 61:1-3 ESV)

We remember this passage well because Jesus read it during his call sermon in Luke 4.

Who receives consolation in these verses?  Two groups stand out:

  • “all who mourn” and
  • “those who mourn in Zion”.

The context of these verses is the Babylonian captivity which came in response to the sins of the Judeans.

But, why does God mourn? (2X) God mourns for our sins because our sins come between us and a Holy God (Gen 6:5-6)[2].  Our sins separate us from God.  Therefore, when we mourn our own sins God promises to offer us consolation.  Jesus Christ says:

 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4 ESV)

Analysis

There is a second reason why the second beatitude offers God’s consolation.  Grief is a kind of lamentation. A lament is a song (or prayer) of mourning and there are many laments in the Book of Psalms.

A lament has a important form consisting of 2 parts [3].

In the first part of a lament one tells God everything that burdens your heart.  All the pain, all the fears, all the anger.  It is important to be very honest with God.  It is good to be even angry with God because God is great and your anger makes it obvious that you take God really seriously. This part of the lament is finished when all the pain has been emptied.  At this point, the soul is quiet.

The second part of a lament arises exactly because the soul is quiet.  At this point, it is possible to recall the blessings of God in your journey of faith. This part of a lament consists primarily of praise. So it is ironic that a lament is for many people, many times the path to salvation. Here we see the consolation of the second beatitude:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4 ESV)

Who do you mourn for? (2X)

In my case, I was in the process of lament when I started by studies in seminary.  But, up to this point, I never put those two things together in my thoughts.  Did God use my pain to draw me closer to himself?

More Analysis

When we grieve it is true that we experience real loss. We need here to make a decision:  will we turn to God or lean into our pain? (2X)

This decision is important because pain is a powerful emotion which has the capacity to cause changes in our identity.  It is a Garden-in-Gethsemane moment in our lives (Mateo 26:36-43). In a real sense, our identity is a collection of all the decisions about pain in our lives.  Ultimately, is our identity in Christ or in our pain? (2X)

Over what do you grieve? (2X) Jesus reminds us:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4 ESV)

Closing Prayer

Let’s pray.

Almighty God, beloved Son, ever present Spirit, we praise you for your gracious love and consolation in times of pain and loss.  Cleanse our hearts of these losses, the fears, the shame, and the evil passions that cause us to sin.  In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

 

[1] “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21 ESV)

[2] “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Gen. 6:5-6 ESV)

[3] Card, Michael. 2005. A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament. Colorado Springs: NavPress.

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