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God is making all things new

Dr. Debi Newman was ordained as a deacon in our church yesterday–and she gave the sermon on the book of Revelation.

She offered the following post today on her own blog, It’s Tea Time for Your Soul. We thought you’d appreciate reading it, too. Here’s Debi’s post:

            I am not a preacher, but I asked to give the sermon on Revelation because I have moved from avoiding this book for half my life to now reading it phrase by phrase over the last three years.  I am coming to the end of the book and I already feel sad because I know that I will miss its focus. 

              God means it when He tells us that he is slow to anger.  Revelation is a book we often avoid because the wrath of God is finally poured out on the earth and it is a cringe-worthy human experience to accept.  But it is the only way to rid the earth of evil and those who refuse to choose salvation through Christ.  It is the only way to rid the earth of the sin that is so pervasive. 

              I honestly appreciated the words of Revelation after the day I had last Friday. I’ve just joined a ministry that brings groceries to people in need and this was my second time visiting the same group of people.  At our first stop I found out that a baby we knew was extremely sick with cancer had died in between our visits.  His aunt gave the sad news and I hugged his mother and prayed for her but that was all I could do. The good news at this first group of neighbors was the woman crippled by arthritis who could not even get out of bed, yet smiled and cried when we prayed over her had great relief on this visit.  She was sitting up and greeting us with gratitude and smiles.

              As we drove to the next group of neighbors, I remembered the lady from the next house, she is so full of joy.  She likes my husband a lot, I think she thinks he is handsome, and she loves to get a hug and smile at him though she is a great grandmother.  We all have fun with this.  What I did not learn on the first visit is that she is the grandmother to a young man with cerebral palsy. I brought the groceries to his mom who looked tired and too thin as she cared for her son in her grandmother’s home.  I couldn’t get the history of his condition, but he was certainly cared for although he was completely crippled by the disease and only able to suck his hand for comfort and groan—whether talking or expressing pain, it was not clear.  I came close to him and prayed for him, I brushed away the flies that liked to be around him. 

              Although his grandmother is a woman of great faith, and his mother is a woman of great love, it is clear that neither of them can take away his pain and suffering here on earth.  When I visit homes in these neighborhoods, I always listen to stories of sickness and death.  The hardships are daily and the groceries help a little while the hugs and prayers are a touch of heaven for just a moment.

              My great hope is Revelation.  Revelation 21:3-5 says:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” 

              I can’t imagine the suffering that living life has been for this young man.  I could see the weariness of caring for a child who suffers so much as well as needs so much from his mother.  There was little trace of the suffering I believe this grandmother feels inside, but somehow she is able to rise above her pain and truly live in the present moment of receiving guests who have come by her home to bring groceries and the love of God.  I long for the day when this young man and his family meet Jesus, have their tears wiped away and live in a earth that has been made new.  Until that day, I will continue to bring groceries, pray and give hugs because that is also part of God’s instruction of how to live on this earth until He comes. 

Would you pay $15 pesos for a hot breakfast?

If you grew up anything like me, you know your mom or dad would never let you leave for school without a good breakfast. We were taught back at least as far as the ‘60s that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Where we live in Mexico, however, there are families that can’t afford to give a good breakfast to their kids every day.

That’s why Lakeside Presbyterian Church provides hot breakfasts for kids all along the north shore of the lake. This ministry started in La Zapotera and has spread due to its success.

Lakeside Presbyterian is the middle pin in the map.

At La Zapotera, we give kids breakfast three mornings a week. In September we provided 630 hot meals

At Mezcala and La Cuesta, we provided 920 hot breakfasts in September.

We give breakfast to schoolkids in San Antonio Tlayacapan, too, including 725 meals in September.

We recently started partnering with a new church in Jocotepec. In September, because of your donations, we were able to give them 323 hot breakfasts.

What’s exciting is that, in exchange, the Jocotepec church is sending us youth group leaders to help us with our own youth ministry! Isn’t that the best trade-off ever?

If you added up all the breakfasts delivered in September, you’d come close to 2,600 hot meals in one month.

Because you all are so generous, we’ve been able for the past several years to hire two people to do the cooking—because 2,600 meals is a LOT of cooking. It’s more than 100 meals every single week day. We also hire Ricardo to bring the meals where they’re needed. Of course, he does many other things for the church, too.

100 meals a day = $1,500 pesos.

Then, of course, there’s the cost of the food. That amount last month worked out to about $15 pesos a meal.

That’s a small price to pay to show God’s love and care to our neighbors—AND get youth group leadership for our own kids!

If you can help support this ministry, you’ll be helping kids to not only survive difficult circumstances, but to thrive. After we started the program in La Zapotera, we heard almost immediately from the local school that kids were able to pay more attention in class and learn more. We can’t stop now!

Here’s another opportunity for you, if you’d like to help out by offering some of your time. There’s another hot meal program we’re starting up that’s for families, not just schoolkids. And it will be offered right here at this church! We have the names of families in the area who get help from the DIF government program. After making sure they truly need our help, we’ll be giving them meals to pick up here. If you’re interested in volunteering to help serve those meals, we’ll need help three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, beginning in January.

If you’re interested, you can get more details from Martin Thorner. His phone number is +52 1 55 4993 4446 (that works for WhatsApp, too).

And his email address is

Let’s stay healthy this winter

No one wants to get the flu. And certainly no one wants to spread it! So please do yourself and your friends and family members a BIG favor and come get a free flu shot this Sunday, October 9, at Lakeside Presbyterian Church.

The service starts at 9:30 a.m. Shots will be provided beginning around 10:30 a.m. during coffee hour. 

Please join us!

Some good news about one of our children’s programs

By Carolyn Hansen, Associate Pastor

If you were in church this past Sunday, you can ignore this, but if you weren’t I think you’ll enjoy it!

You might remember that in July there was a ceremony noting the achievements of the kids in our literacy program. These are children who can’t afford to go to public school, for any number of reasons. They can’t afford book fees and uniforms, their parents don’t want them in school when they could be working, they may not have a real address, because they’re living in tents on the lake. They have fallen through the cracks and when we began this program, they couldn’t even read—even though some of them were 10 or 12 years old. These kids have now learned reading, so the name of the program has changed to the Presbyterian Institute of Basic Education.

Victoria reported that they are adding three more subjects this school year, Geography, Natural Sciences and Civic Education and Ethics.

How wonderful is that?

Victoria also obtained scholarships for three older students to the vocational school—and they’re learning carpentry!

Victoria also invited Cruz Roja to train the children in first aid!

As a special treat during the summer vacation, the teachers took the kids to the movies. Some of them had never been to a movie, and we are grateful to God for this gift.

Now the church is launching a Child Health Project for these kids. The teachers noticed during the classes that some children do not have good vision. Martin Thorner asked his optometrist to help, and he is charging only $100 pesos each to examine the children and will greatly reduce the cost of any needed glasses. Victoria has also enlisted the help of Dental Express to examine their teeth.

One of the most important aspects of this program is that Victoria also holds Bible and values classes with the parents of these children on Wednesdays. This is a holistic ministry that reaches deep.

As I listened to Victoria’s report, I realized that I never would have known about these new additions to the program, if I weren’t sitting on session. Yet, this is one of the most important things our church is doing. This is truly life-changing.

So, as you give to the church, please also offer up a prayer of blessing for these kids and thank God that He uses your gifts to this church to spread Jesus’ love in our community.

Jeremiah: The Broken-Hearted Prophet

Michelangelo’s Jeremiah from the Sistine Chapel

This Sunday’s sermon is about Jeremiah, who lived an incredibly dramatic life as a prophet–and that’s saying something when you consider the lives (and deaths) of Old Testament prophets. Jeremiah never was comfortable in his role. Through all the excitement, he remained reluctant, insecure, and often unhappy. However, Jeremiah had a message from God that includes all believers—even those of us living in Mexico in 2022.

Please join us at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning!

Overcoming all obstacles

If you’ve ever faced an overwhelming task or felt inadequate to meet a challenge, you’ll identify with Nehemiah. He struggled with issues still with us today: motivation, fatigue, and criticism. But Nehemiah offers inspiration and vision. This Sunday’s sermon will show us how to tackle God’s difficult assignments and survive both opposition and apathy. Please join us at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 12!

Citizens of Heaven

In this week’s message, given by guest preacher Pastor Jodi Faulkner, we will examine the Bible character, Barabbas, and see how each of us is a Barabbas as well. However, because of the price that Jesus paid for Barabbas AND for us, we are His children who have hope and a future. So then, how do we live as daughters and sons of God? How do we live as citizens of heaven while here on this earth? How do we share the love, joy, and peace we have as His children? We will discuss the answers to these questions on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. We hope to see you there!

Building a Future, Building Hope

Our sermon on Sunday, May 22 is about the book of 2 Chronicles. This book was written to help the Israelites deal with their return from exile. They were asking questions like: Does God still love us? Are His covenants still in force? Can we worship God without the temple? Will we survive as a nation, as God’s chosen people? Today, we ask many similar questions, when we see the world changing so dramatically. 2 Chronicles lets the Israelites—and us—know emphatically: There is hope! Join us at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

The Heart of Worship

Please join us on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for worship and Dr. Wayne Cook’s sermon on “The Heart of Worship.”

A few years ago there was a little song called, “The heart of worship.” The chorus says,

“I’m comin’ back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus.”

There is a similar theme of “the heart of worship” in First Chronicles. First and Second Chronicles were originally one book. First Chronicles focuses on King David and Second Chronicles on King Solomon. A “chronicle” is a story arranged in a specific order. The people were looking back to the greatest time of the Kingdom of Israel when David and Solomon were kings. 1 Chronicles was written about 100 years after 1 and 2 Kings. The southern Kingdom of Judah had been conquered and the people carried off into captivity. As some were being allowed to return, they still carried the pains of their captivity, and even now they were in desperate circumstances. So the author, perhaps Ezra, is saying let’s avoid pain and hardship by getting back to the heart of worship.