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Chain Me Free

How would you define worship? Really, take a second… Would it be a song on Sunday morning or maybe, like me, you know it’s deeper than that but have never really searched it out. The bible says so many things about it and I’ve seen first-hand some of my favorite Christian leaders come to slightly different conclusions. I ask because over the last couple weeks we’ve been blessed with quite a few opportunities to lead worship. So we started to practice. Almost immediately we could feel a microscope on our motives. We wanted to do a good job but is worship a performance?

Leading Worship In Spanish

We were honored to lead worship at a ministry called the Ranch. A drug rehabilitation center for the struggling men of Tijuana. This was one of the most refreshing places to lead worship that we’ve ever seen. In broken Spanish we sang “Señor te exalto” (Lord I exalt you) and the prodigal sons sang as loud as they could. The stress of hitting the right chords melted as I could hardly hear the guitar. You knew they were singing to the awesome God that freed them. To sing in unity with those men was a gift and it reminded me that “streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.”

One of the men shared his story with us after the service. This was his 4th time returning home. His eyes were tired and his hands were worn. Why would he do it?! Why would he keep going back to the dark and distorted loneliness of the world? We prayed for him at the end of the night and he only wanted one thing: a fetter. He wanted a chain to bind his wandering heart to the Father.

The Ranch

“O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.”

So what is worship? Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Surrendering exactly who we are and placing Him above ourselves.

Favorite quotes right now…

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2

“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.” – Yogi Tea!

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Words in Action

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. In our ministry we have the privilege to study, grow, and teach from the very words that God breathed.Blaire Teaching

The books of Hosea and Ezekiel are about two incredible prophets who had amazing lives and very difficult callings. Chris and I had the opportunity to teach and apply these books in our lives in the past couple months.

Hosea was called by God to marry a prostitute and an adulterous woman. Ezekiel was called to bring a message of destruction in extreme ways to the people closest to him. I look at these men with a burdened heart for what God can call his followers into. The feeling of being ill equipped or fear for my own calling can creep into my mind.

          BUT God is faithful with these two men. Giving them powerful messages and visions of His restoration. Revealing that they are not alone in their calling but that He is walking with them. I believe that God repeats this same message to us today. That He will walk with us through the hardships of ministry. This knowledge helps me put into action the calling God has given me. I feel the scriptures becoming more of God’s breath to me every day.

This Year’s Firsts and Fruits

It’s been quite a year for the Colangelos. First and foremost we actually became the Colangelos!

Just to clarify what we’re actually doing out here I thought I’d sum it up… We are staff members of a chronological bible school in Tijuana, Mexico! This year we have 16 students hungry to study the bible. This school is part of a larger non-profit Christian missions organization called Youth with a Mission (YWAM). We’ve been here for almost 3 years now! And we love it! There are thousands of YWAM “bases” serving all over the world. This location of YWAM allows us to join its home building and homeless feeding ministries!

We’d love to share with you some of the unbelievable fruit we’ve seen while serving …

HOH 2015

Together we’ve build almost 15 homes for needy families!

This month (by the grace of God) we were even able to build our 2nd home with great friends and family.

The benefits of a home show God’s love for the family and greatly affect their health, their children’s education, and can even have a huge spiritual significance!

Local Church Grad

We were also blessed to see the graduation of the local Mexican church that Blaire and I teach in.

Not only are they learning to study God’s word on there own but they’re also learning how to share this truth with others!

Favorite quotes from what we’re reading…

“The natural man must know in order to believe; the spiritual man must believe in order to know.” – A.W. Tozer

 “God created us to love one another, to be kind, unselfish, forgiving, honest, and loyal to our husbands and wives, and to recognize and live in fellowship with Him. The very meaning of our existence is found in loving and obeying God.” – The Father Heart of God

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” – Psalms 111:10

For the Love of God, Cherish it! (Enjoying Life by Abiding in Christ)

Have you ever lived in the future? Physically your body might be behind a desk-shaped prison but your mind is on the upcoming weekend. Or maybe you’re just drifting through the days leading up to a new season in your life, a new job, or some big exciting event. In the season finally of “The Office” Andy (The Nard Dog) says…

andy

Blaire and I were honored to teach the book of Numbers in our bible school last week. Aside from the… numbers, the book is about the 40 years that God’s people “The Israelites” wandered around in the desert. 40 years they waited for the Promise Land.

But through the grumbling they seldom realized that the presence of God was dwelling among them! They missed the fact that the creator of the universe was raising them to be HIS people!

C.S. Lewis writes a brilliant conversation in the “Screwtape Letters” between two demons concerning taking a life.

“The Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy (Jesus) has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present – either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity . . . It is far better to make them live in the Future.”… “It is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time – for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”

As Christians we’re called to abide in Christ (John 15:4), who dwells eternally in our hearts. For that alone we have cause for celebration in every moment! It doesn’t matter if you’re in prison (Acts 16:25), wandering in the desert (Num 6:27), or just waiting for the weekend (Me in High school). Wherever you are He is there with you, so stay mentally with Him and for the Love of God you have to cherish it.

Practicing the Presence

The students are coming! The students are coming! Growing up we never thought we’d be excited for another year of school but when your teaching God’s Word and about His amazing love its hard not to get excited! As we dive into our second year of staffing the CSBS (Chronological School of Biblical Studies) we are thankful for all that God has done to get us here! This past weekend we had a conference put on by our organization YWAM (Youth With a Mission) San Diego/ Baja to get us ready for this udownloadp coming year.

Our speaker Maureen, a YWAMer from South Africa came to share her heart. She taught out of 2nd Corinthians 3 and brought up the subject of how the Old Covenant with Moses and the New Covenant with Jesus are very different. She spoke about how many christians today still relate to God with an Old Covenant mindset. She explained that Moses could be separated from God because Jesus hadn’t come yet. The presence of God had to come to Moses but the presence of God did not dwell in him.

We learned that the New Covenant with Jesus shows that now with the help of the Holy Spirit God’s amazing presence dwells in us at all times. Not just when we’re in worship or prayer but all the time. His presence is in us wether we’re singing, stealing, or doing the dishes . All WE have to do is recognize this reality in any moment and enjoy. We are an adopted son and daughter in this amazing family called the trinity.
This year we want to live out this encouraging and incredible word that CommunionMaureen gave. We both want to practice the presence of the God in our everyday ordinary life. Allowing Christ in us to pour out more of who He is to each other and those around us! Thankfully He is kindness, compassion, forgiveness, humility, gentleness and goodness!

 

 

We also took communion on the happiest day of our lives… God is good!

From This Day Forward

From this day forward is a serious thing to say. A commitment like that requires a little more than trust and affection for another person. It requires faith. I’ve never met anyone like Blaire who completely amazes me and amazingly completes me all at the same time. She is hands down my bestfriend, beyond beautiful, and my better judgment but the glue that hold our hearts together is so much stronger than anything this world has to offer. Jesus is the third strand that makes tying the knot effortless and eternal. We got married young and quite literally penniless but because our hope is in Him, the road ahead will always bright and better together.

The road ahead

 Just in case you missed the big day let me just tell you the Peviani’s sure know how to throw a party in style. By God’s grace and the work of my new and amazing in-laws, the wedding was provided for and planned to perfection! Shout out to the maid-of-honor (Brittany McGuirk) for making everything so stunning, the Best man (Tony Colangelo) for an… unforgettable speech, and my family for driving all the way from Pennsylvania!Full wedding photo

The honeymoon was breathtaking! Costa Rican jungle overlooking the ocean! But as usual its the glory of God that triumphs over everything! As divine as Costa Rica was eventually we had to leave. Unfortunately I booked our flights out of San Jose California (not San Jose Costa Rica)…! We had no money or cell phone service! So we prayed and sent an email to Blaire’s mom. She contacted the airline and even prayed with the woman on the phone from the airline (a believer too). I originally payed 250$ for both flights when the flights should have been 1400$ all together. When we all was said and done they changed our flight for nothing but taxes (90$) the total came to 350$ for 1400$ tickets!!! Glory to God!

CR Family CR Water

Pennsylvania! And to the ends of the earth!

Blaire and I have had a busy and exciting past couple months!

PA 2

We were able to fly out and visit my family in Pennsylvania.

The weather outside was…  weather!

And Blaire got to build her first snowman!… luckily for the frostbitten residents of Pennsylvania he melted shortly after.

R.I.P.

PA

We also got to do some exploring!

But you know what… this picture might be from last year…?

Either way it was fun times in Pennsylvania!

Acts

 When we returned to the base in Mexico we were blessed to teach in the Bible school we staff at.

Blaire taught the gospel of Luke and I taught the book of Acts (as seen above)!

…now that I think about it, that picture was from last year.

Blessings

A Lesson in Destruction

Nahum

A little while ago I taught the book of Nahum. This minor prophet is only 3 chapters long but it’s message is pretty huge. To make a long story short Nahum writes a “proclamation of doom” to Nineveh, which is the capital city of Assyria, the world power at the time. 

Not only is he declaring God’s judgment on the most powerful nation in the world but he is also speaking from a nation that is an ally with Assyria. Judah is small and a vassal of Assyria at the time of Nahum’s prophecy. 

This makes Nahum’s message “politically incorrect” from every point of view… except from God’s perspective. 

God's hand

I think Nahum understood God’s sovereignty. 

He knew that what God was calling him say to might be dangerous and difficult. He knew that God’s message might offend some people, that he might lose his friends and even his life. 

The challenge of Nahum isn’t new but it’s definitely challenging.

God’s truth doesn’t stay quiet in fear of offending someone but I know that sometimes I do. 

I don’t think Nineveh was the only thing that was destroyed by this message.

I can only imagine how Nahum’s “normal life” would’ve been put at risk for God’s message. 

A Holiday of Lights

The lights of Christmas

Christmas

Santa

 

 

 

Blarie even got to meet Santa Claus!

Unfortunately he came as soon as I stepped outside:)…

maybe i’ll meet him next year!

 

 

 

 

 

We got to see the lights of Disneyland for Blaire’s Birthday!

…and most importantly I offered something shiny to the one who brightens up my life…

Lights Proposaland she said yes!!! 

A Matter of Perspective (Part 2)

I was privileged to teach for the first time in the School of Biblical studies on the book of Proverbs. These are a few pictures and selected sections from that teaching.

Proverbs Teaching

Teaching the Book of Proverbs

Teaching ProverbsAt the start of teaching Proverbs I was faced with the challenge to define true wisdom. After one of the most difficult paths i’ve ever gone down I found the answer to be painfully simple.

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

At the end of the day if we humble ourselves and simply accept that we see through a limited scope of reality and admit our need for God, we take the first step into true wisdom.

Teaching the Bible in Mexico