Archive for March, 2011

Cartagena Day 3 repost


In some respects, this has been a relatively uneventful day. We did have one session today with the local ministerial association. We had a good time as I ministered to them about personal integrity and taking care of their personal lives, including their families. You should have seen their faces when I told them that it was ok to turn off their cell phones once in a while. After I spoke, they had their normal business and we had to leave before they were done. I would have liked to have spoken with some of the pastors afterward though.

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We rested much of the afternoon; this heat and humidity is an energy killer.
Early in the afternoon, Cheri and I walked down to the bay. It was a very nice time squeezing off some photos and just being together in the fresh, salty aired breeze.

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Cartagena is certainly a beautiful city and we are quickly reminded that we are staying right in the ritzy part of it. We have seen three bedroom apartments worth millions of dollars, live in maids, nannies, and dog walkers.(We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.)
Tonight we ministered to couples and had a blast as we spoke life and truth into their lives … All was peppered with fun and laughter.Cartagena 03 10 11a (16) Wilson

Unfortunately, we did not get to call my grandson Carson for his birthday because of the timing and accessibility of phones. I am sure he had a great day AND we can celebrate with him at Disney in a couple of weeks.

03 20 2011
It’s time to shut down for the night.

Hasta luego!


I wanted to repost these that should have pictures accompanying them since … well, I have pictures. Also, Cheri is giving some input in here as well.

Today, we actually begin our conferences. Today’s and Tonight’s meetings are at the Iglesia de Arbol de Vida hosted by Pastor Luis. Our initial group was small- maybe 75-100 people and was comprised of pastors and wives.
One very interesting thing happened today: we were actually cut off in traffic by a donkey-pulled cart. Again I can say, I’ve never seen that before.

Cartagena 03 08 2011 (6)
I spoke in the first service alone BUT Cheri’s luggage did get here this am so she was able to speak in the second meeting.
My message re: “What is the Church?” was well received and won the approval of this reserved congregation.
Cheri was able to teach the second session re: “Living on Purpose” (much to my relief.) She spoke for a good hour and won the respect of the people.
After these AM sessions, I shared a Greek thought of the day with the word used in Romans 8:26 concerning the Holy Spirit helping us in out weaknesses. Even the Senior Pastor of the church was moved upon by the Holy Spirit on this one.
We left for the day around lunch time and retired to the apartment for needed lunch and rest.

Cartagena 03 08 2011 (7)
For the evening service, I spoke concerning the Lord of the Breakthroughs. We had an altar call with over 100 coming up for prayer. (by the way, there were probably about 250 in tonight’s service.
It has been a long time since I have seen God’s move so obvious. I don’t often get hyped up about people falling under God’s power because that CAN BE a result of too much emotionalism … but not so tonight. It was not really an emotional message.

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We feel that we are already making some new friends among these precious pastors and their wives … and we are delighted.
We had a beautiful trip back to the apartment where we were met with supper. Our driver took us through the old city where we saw castles lit up at night, the home (at least one of them) of Julio Iglesias, and many historic sites. then we rode along the beach … again all I can say is, “BONITA- (Beautiful).”
Around the table, we had God-ordained conversation with Francelina, our hostess. It was truly precious.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do tomorrow.

Cartagena 03 13 2011 (18)

Medellin to Chicago

Today started early … And a lesson to remember is that late nights and early mornings do not mix together well.

Marlen took us to the airport, we checked through exit tax area, checked our bags through and went through 6 stages of security checks (literally) (only to later realize that they had inspected two of our checked bags.)

For some reason, the three hour flight seemed short.

Miami is always interesting.

Our flight from Miami to Chicago seemed much longer although they were about the same.

We’re glad to be home.

Hopefully I will reflect more tomorrow but for now, it’s time for bed.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Medallion- day 3

What a fabulous day!

We woke up early this morning for our final day of the Medellin Pastor’s Seminar. We were really excited about what God is doing. Our anticipation was well-paid off. Again we had many visiting pastors who had not registered for the conference and we were honored by their presence … But we were overwhelmed by the attention, reception, and appreciation these registered pastors showed us. One pastor, the president of the Bogota Pastors’ Association came all the way to Medellin from Bogota … And yes, he issued an Invitation to bring these same messages to the pastors in Bogota. We are working on dates for this.

My first message today was concerning Sabbath- being versus doing. It offered very practical recommendations concerning how to transform our performance-oriented lives into Presence-oriented ones.

Cheri then spoke primarily to the ladies concerning the heart of the lioness. A couple of husbands gave her a (fun) hard time afterward. During our break, we were approached by a group of women pastors who invited Cheri to come and speak at their retreat.

For our final presentation, we team-taught Spiritual Disciplines as a way to Spiritual Transformation. Again, we offered practical recommendations from the Word of God concerning spiritual transformation. This is what our hearts have prepared for and this is what we love. As we finished, we had a beautiful time together in the altar. Afterward, we were shown love and appreciation by all in attendance. They presented me with a beautiful, expensive Castiliano shirt (I think I spelled that right) and presented Cheri with beautiful Colombian artifacts jewelry. We were very honored and humbled by their love. We realized that some of these pastors face regular threats from guerilla forces and may not be alive to be at another similar conference, yet they keep serving the Lord.

Marlen then took us to lunch in a quaint Colombian restaurant where Cheri had pescado frijo and I had bandeja paisa … A meal which should easily feed 3 men. We then went to the historical local village which gave us great scenery of the city.

Then we went and had sweets.

No mas! No mas! No mas! I think i have gained 5 pounds in Colombia this time … No kidding.

We got back to the room and Pedro and Mabel, Pedro and Marlena, and Adam took us out to ..l you guessed it … A closing meal.

Leaving good friends is always difficult but we know we shall see these again … And Pastor Pedro is getting me a custom, hand-crafted Colombian guitar for our next visit.

We are packed and ready to go in the morning. It will be a long day of flights and airports … But we are glad to be heading home to our family and our church family … Still, we already miss our Colombian friends.

I will post pictures as soon as we get settled in at home and have the means to do so.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Calle 15A 30,Medellín,Colombia

Medellin Colombia -Day 2


Another incredible day of the Pastor’s Seminar. They are so hungry for God to move in their midst; we are humbled by their pull on us.

The day started with me alone. Cheri had been so sick through the night and I know she was tired from being sick. So I left her at the hotel room after emailing the church for prayer, praying for Cheri myself, and then downing a great cup of Colombian coffee.

When I got to the church and stepped up into the pulpit, I realized something very crucial: I do not necessarily need Cheri to speak beside me or to speak instead of me; I need Cheri for her love and support. It was different Sunday as we went two different directions to minister out of necessity. We each knew that, even though we were ministering in two different places, we had one another’s backs. But this time, i was alone in the pulpit and she was alone in the bed. I had the president of the Pastors’ Association call her at 10:30 … And she Was ready to be picked up so we could team teach. (Thank God Cheri wasn’t carrying the whole load; she was drained of energy … But her heart said preach”)

I spoke about avoiding stagnation in ministry at 8:30; Cheri and I spoke together about a healthy me, a healthy family, and a heathy ministry.

After praying with several pastors, we went to lunch at a large charismatic church that is based in the G-12 movement. This was a gathering of prominent business men and political leaders. It was refreshing to brush elbows with these dedicated Christian leaders of the Medellin community. (and their church, btw, is in the midst of Pablo Escabar’s neighborhood. We actually saw a couple of buildings he built for the community … Very interesting.) Lunch was excellent … And then they asked me to speak. Hmmm, no one told me I would be speaking at this meeting. But I refused to show surprise (i hope) and moved forward with some “now” thoughts God had laid on my heart.

To tell you the truth, we are feeling such an anointing, I think I could recite the ABCs and lives would be changed this week. 😉

We retired to the room for a late siesta where Cheri can simply regain some more strength; in the meanwhile, I will pray and hone tomorrow’s messages.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Calle 15A 30,Medellín,Colombia

Medellin Colombia day one

Today we opened our Pastors’ Conference in Medellin. We woke up ready for this (although I woke up at 4:30 AM to the tune of two teen-aged boys fighting in the hallway on the floor below.)

After breakfast, we went to the church and discovered that they had gone all out on this event. They had eight foot tall banners with Cheri’s and my face taking up about one third of it … And there are no other speakers. And we found out they have flyers all over town … In full color. Of course, we knew they had tv ads because we actually videotaped those (minus the tag lines) back in Tinley Park. … But then we got the real shock: all of these pastors are wearing buttons with Cheri’s and my pictures on them … I mean 2″ round buttons. We are not used to this kind of attention to say the least. And we’re not embarrassed; we’re humbled by it all.

Anyway, service started on time with great worship. I was up first and ministered on What is the Church? We took a break and Cheri ministered regarding Guard Your Heart. We were very well received and enjoyed our fellowship aver the services.lunch was with Pastor Andrew, pastor of the host church. I don’t know how many they run but they have four services, all mostly full and their sanctuary seats well over two thousand people. He was a delight and spoke to us about coming in for staff consultation next year with his personal staff. (it’s good to be recognized for qualities again.)

We spent the afternoon in siesta and then went out with good friends Pedro, Mabel, and Alejandro and Margarita. These accept us as family and provide us an incredible experience. They tells us, “you are not paisa (native country men) but you are familia. Again, this gives us a great feeling.

Well, we barely (literally) make it back to the room and Cheri is violently ill. Afterwards, she feels much better but is still nauseated. She feels as if it is something she ate but that is somewhat strange since food preparation hygiene is at US or above standards. And I feel a little wrest too as I write this.

Oh well, finalize preparation on tomorrow’s messages (as we here several gunshots down the street), then we’re off to bed.

By the way, we really DO feel absolutely safe and in God’s hands here in what was once known as the most dangerous city in the world.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Calle 14,Medellín,Colombia

Today was a day of transition.

We woke up early and went to the beach in Cartagena.

We had lunch with the administrator and financial secretary of Arbor de Vida church and exchanged gifts and prayers.

We packed and headed to the airport where we were greeted by more members of Arbor de Vida to say good-bye.

Then we flew to Medellin.

We were met by Pastor Marleyn (and I may discover a better way to spell her name)

We are now ready for bed.

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Cartagena-day 7

What a marvelous way to end our ministry in Cartagena. I preached two messages at Arbor de Vida. Arbor de Vida is a Multi-site church and Cheri spoke at one of their other campuses. Although Cheri and I conducted these alone, Pedro was with us as the Colombian president of Christ for the City International. He spoke at three churches today … So three of us spoke at six services today.

Cheri was very well received at her church as she spoke on Freedom and certainly, freedom was in the house.

I, too was well received as I spoke on God using our brokenness. There was a great encouragement among the congregation

After a brief siesta, we toured the city, took many photos, rode a horse drawn carriage on tour, and purchased a few souvenirs.

We then came back to the apartment, ate, and had a marvelous time of prayer with Maria and Francelina.

Tomorrow will be a sad day as we leave a part of our hearts in Cartagena.

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Location:Cartagena, Colombia

I’m not sure when this will post; it’s been a long day and a late night and I have two services to preach Sunday: one at 7:00 and the other at 9:30.

We closed out the Pastor’s Seminar this morning with two great services. The building was relatively full and the people were expectant. I spoke in the first meeting regarding Staying on Task: Finishing the Journey. You could look at the faces and see that many were ready to quit simply out of weariness and frustration. Most every pastor understands this sentiment and primarily needs some encouragement. I gave the encouragement and some needed Scripture regarding how to protect oneself from such happening again.

And Cheri and team-taught to wrap up the series. We taught on spiritual disciplines as a means to renewing our spirits and minds. It was well received and many gave testimony of how their lives had been changed and challenged through our time together.

We went to the apartment for lunch and had a (briefer than normal) siesta. The reason for the shortness was that we had a city wide youth rally to conduct.275-300 teen showed up for the incredible time together. Their worship team did a great job and it was obvious that we were working with a group of kids who (mostly) lived the Lord.

I came up next and led in a crowd surfing race. Because the church was divided into two sections, we simply had two teams whose goal it was to transport one youth leader on each side all the way to the back and then back up front again. All of this was done over their heads … As in they passed the youth leaders over the students heads from front to back and to front again. (I think one youth leader was briefly dumped on the way back up … But no one was injured and nothing was broke.)

These kids were hyped. Cheri spoke (masterfully) about being a lion chaser and terrorizing the lions in our lives. Her challenge was that the same energy that went into a brief, frivolous game could by used for Jesus to win a generation and to win a country. We had a tremendous altar call with most students dedicating themselves to use their energies for Christ. We also had at least 13 saved and had many more staying afterwards for prayer, counsel, and photos. I have one really good shot of Cheri in a bunch of kids. We had fun … And God moved too.

Now to finalize preparation for services tomorrow.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia- Day 5

Today was our first and only free day.

We began the day with breakfast which we all enjoyed. We also noticed on the news that Japan was hit last night by a powerful earthquake and were also reminded that about his time last year, we were in Hawaii awakening to tsunami warnings, which Hawaii is again doing today.

George took us on a guided tour today, beginning at a restaurant on the bay inside the walls of the walled city. I made sone fabulous pictures … Many of them … Only to discover that I had not replaced my memory card in my camera after I had imported them into Cheri’s net book. Arguing.

Well, I couldn’t go back and make up for these but I did have my video camera with me and it takes some decent stills. Cheri also had her camera but it doesn’t seem to take crisp photos like my Pentax.

We were in an older part of Cartagena today and I did get to snap a few photos of some of the older homes. They were all very beautiful. We also went up the mountain to an old convent. Here you could see the entire city, both rich and poor. Here too we made many pictures.

Then we went down to the castillo where again we made pictures and where I a was ably to pick up a couple of xxl t-shirts. (They’re actually difficult to find here. I guess most men aren’t the same size as me here.) We also went to an artisan mercado and viewed their goods. I hope we get to go back here.

We had lunch with the host pastors and the administrative pastors as well as Pedro and Adam. We spoke for a long time about what God has done during this time of ministry and we planned for the future. Who knows what God has in store.

And siesta was wonderful although prior to resting, we all tried to catch up on what’s going on about the earthquake.

After our time of siesta, we were picked up at the apartment by Jorge and Dianna. They are such a delightful couple whom God is just beginning to mightily use. They took all four of us out to an incredible meal at a typico Colombian high-end restaurant. Cheri and I both had the most wonderful fish (and they were different from each other.)

Then we had such intimate conversation wherein God was so tangible. It felt good to be used in that way as we counseled and prayed with this couple.

We also sense God changing our messages for tomorrow somewhat so I am sitting up (very) late re-hashing the messages for tomorrow. (Late nights make for long days … so I am praying for divine rest as we finish up our Cartagena Pastors’ Convention Saturday AM.

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