Total Sacrifice

A few days ago around the dinner table, I told the kids about my day at Grace to You. I was overwhelmed with the opportunity to tell my kids about the blessing of hearing a sermon at work. “Most people don’t get to listen to a sermon everyday, let alone get paid for it.” These words were encouraging to my soul even as I spoke them to my children.

At work, I have been working on editing a series my faithful pastor has taught on the spiritual privileges we possess as believers. The topic of sacrifice came up and I was drawn to one verse in the OT, the first testament from Gen 22:2

He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”

Spurgeon had but one question as he contemplated this text of Scripture, “Could we thus obey the Lord?” I have one word that comes to mind as I consider not only this question but this passage of Scripture, nay two, total sacrifice.

Total Sacrifice

Truth be told, I have not thought about this important eternal truth as I ought. You ask, “what truth?” I’m talking about sacrifice. I’m talking about offering to God what is already His. I’m talking about total sacrifice.

Total sacrifice is when you offer everything you are, everything you have, everything you hope to be. That includes your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I have them and so do you. It is when we say to our Great Father in heaven, “It’s all yours. It’s all yours. It all belongs to you Father. Here I am Lord, I am yours completely.” That my beloved is total sacrifice.

Peter tells us that as living stones, we are to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5). Paul points us to Christ Himself how He loved us and “gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph 5:2). God in Christ provided an example for us to follow. Abraham was tested (Heb 11:17) as we are my beloved. Will we offer up to God everything, even that which is dearest to our heart? And I mean, everything, including everything we hope to be.

Most recently I have been tested by our kind and wise Father in heaven and I’m here to tell you that it is the only way to live…total sacrifice. Give it all to Him. It’s all His. Even your desires, hopes, and dreams. They all belong to Him. Stop wrestling with God. You won’t win. He alone is sovereign. He alone is good. “O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Ps 34:8). May we all, when we are called, be like Abraham and say to our Lord, “Here I am” (Gen 22:1). As the author of Hebrews testifies of Abraham, “when he was called, he obeyed” (Heb 11:8). God does not speak as He did in times past (see Heb 1:1-2), but may our disposition always be to offer up “spiritual sacrifices” that are acceptable to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, “the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb 12:2).

GTY Bound

On Thursday, May 1st, I begin my new job at Grace to You. I left GTY in December 2005 upon finishing my studies at TMS and being appointed to a small country church in Garden Valley in February of 2006. 8 years later, I find myself back at GTY and in fact back to my old office (FYI – I did pick out the desk and speakers long ago and they are still there).

Thank you all for praying for the Torres family. When I decided to leave GVC, I had no idea of what the Lord would open up for me. All I knew was that I desired to be a part of the Summer Academy with Grace Advance for the 8 weeks in June and July. The plan is still to attend the Summer Academy, but I will extend my stay in SoCal to provide more stability for the ministry.

GAV Staff 2006
GAV Staff 2006

As a part of the Gracia a Vosotros team 8 years ago, I was an Editor, cutting sermons down for time and radio edit as a part-time employee, but now I return to that same team to produce the radio broadcasts full time.

Angie and I are settling into our new home, being reminded of what apartment living is all about. Life right now is about finding stuff and Lord-willing emptying out boxes. In the late afternoons you will find the Torres family at the pool, which the kids enjoy. When before I struggled to find a Spanish-speaking person in our neck-of-the-woods, I now find myself surrounded by an entire Spanish community, ice-cream man and all (sorry, inside joke). Perhaps the Lord will bring some to Himself through our Gospel witness. It is about time this preacher man becomes better skilled at witnessing to the lost.

I am extremely grateful to the Lord for my family and His kindness to me to provide for them through my season and time at GTY. God is so good. I come back with a smile on my face as I see my Grace family. I truly have missed them and have always longed to see them. I also come back knowing that my heart is transitioning to this new chapter of life that God has ordained for us. In the coming weeks, I plan to write about my transition “from the pulpit to the pew.” As I told our church body at GVC, we as believers are to always sit in the posture of a student in the school of Christ. The Lord teaches us and we listen, we obey, and we walk in the newness of life. May the Lord be pleased with my efforts to bring glory and honor to His Name.

With much love,

David

A Dedi-gift of Ourselves

Deuteronomy 26:17-19

17 “You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice.

18 “The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments;

19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.”

Thomas Brooks
Thomas Brooks

Of this passage Thomas Brooks writes –

God will resign himself up to them who resign themselves up to him; he will give up himself to them that have given up their names and their hearts to him; he will bestow himself as the greatest pearl of price upon them that shall make a surrender of themselves to him.¹ There is no way to be higher than others, happier than others, more noble and honourable than others, than by making a dedi-gift² of ourselves to God. He that dedicates himself to God, dedicates all; he that doth not dedicate himself, dedicates nothing at all.”

Brooks, Thomas. The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks. Edited by Alexander Balloch Grosart. Vol. 4. Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1867.

 

 

¹ That is an apt saying of Tertullian, Negotiatio est aliquid amittere ut majora lucreris: That is right merchandise when something is parted with to gain more.

² ‘dedication-gift’?

Leaving Garden Valley Chapel

13_03_Resurrection-Sunday_087web
Fellow shepherd Tyson Steward to my left
and fellow servant-leader Ryan Bartels to my right –
beloved co-laborers whom I love (Photo taken on Resurrection Sunday 2013).

This Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, will be six years since I was asked to preach in the pulpit at Garden Valley Chapel. Sadly, it will also mark the last Sunday I will step up to the pulpit as the teaching shepherd at GVC. For months now I have been weighing the difficult decision to leave GVC and pursue further study at The Master’s Seminary, where I graduated in 2006.

I sought the counsel of some 16 men in my life, most of whom are involved in full-time ministry, to help me think through this heart-breaking decision. I cannot tell you how many times I prayed to the Lord for his will to be revealed to me through the night watches. For this reason I sought Psalm 25 which is a prayer of David for guidance. If you haven’t read it recently, I would encourage you to read this short psalm as David pleads for divine guidance in the midst of opposing darkness.

As I have relayed this to our church body, there have been many tears, but I have been encouraged by the people’s response for me to be obedient to God’s leading in my life. My oldest son, Isaiah, had the hardest time coming to grip with the decision his daddy had made. Thankfully, the Lord provided me with words that assured him that this is the way to leave a church body, with much love in your heart.

In the near future, I plan to attend Grace Academy, whose goal is to provide leadership for developing churches, for eight weeks during the months of June and July. I am thankful to the Lord that GVC has decided to help our family with a bit of the financial responsibilities in the coming months. Please pray that the Lord provides me with work in the meantime.

Lord willing, we will be moving on Friday, April 25 from the parsonage and arriving in Santa Clarita on Saturday, April 26. The pitstop in Merced that Friday night will provide us with an opportunity to break the trip in half and give some needful rest. Below is our new contact info:

23705 Valle del Oro, Apt. #101

Newhall, CA 91321-3188

Our new home phone will be installed on Monday, April 28th: 661-753-3252.

Please let us know, either by e-mail or message, if you are willing and able to help us move out or move in on those dates. Blessings.