Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Session 2 Talk from BE WITH Camp

Be With Others

Let’s review:  What is our memory passage?
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV)

Very Good.  God is with us.  This is a profound truth.
Now it is one thing to know this and even to believe it, but God doesn’t just want a nod of our heads when asked whether he is with us.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 
Acts 4:13

What does boldness look like?
BOLD: 1 (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous
Peter and John are taking a great risk in preaching this Jesus message in the heart of the Jewish center for worship.
Have you ever met or seen such a bold person?  May be sitting in traffic or in line at a government office?  Guy yelling, trying to start a riot.  As he yelled, others gained their courage and began yelling too.  Boldness is contagious.  Bystanders become instigators and even leaders in the movement forward.  One bold person can move large crowds, countries, armies, civilizations.  But, there is a difference between the normal bold person and Peter and John.

Peter and John must have given themselves away somehow.  It could have been the fishy smell or their poor grammar.  Whatever it was, the up and up leaders figured out that these guys were not specially trained/licensed orators that had great learning.  This was baffling.  How could they talk of such things, do such things if they were not educated, uncommon men?

I want to share a little secret about myself.  Can I do that?  Will it be safe with you?  May be you can relate, but I’m afraid of being an uneducated, common man.  I want to be special, an expert in something.  I want others to see me and say that guy is different than the rest of us, he has more than me.  I want respect for honor earned.

After a little detective work the Pharisees put it together and realize, these guys have been with Jesus.  There was a distinct and undeniable connection between them and Jesus.  They had associated with Jesus, no doubt about it.  And their connection with Jesus was touching the lives of everyone around them.

Men were influencing other men in a dramatically profound way.  Let’s think about mankind for a moment.  From the beginning man was created male and female, and given dominion over the earth.  They were the last of God’s creation, but uniquely made.  Nothing else was made like them.  Man was made in the image or likeness of God.  This means a few things, but most importantly, we are intended for eternity.  God made us to know him, to love him, to experience absolute full and unending pleasure in himself alone.  Unfortunately everyone has decided (whether they liked it or not) to life independently of God and fulfill their desires in anything other than him.  

This is how we understand ourselves, our desires and the people around us.  Everyone was made in the likeness of God and everyone was meant to be in a satisfying and lasting relationship with him.  When you see others, know that they have a God-sized hole in them if they do not know and love Jesus.  This is what is meant by 1 John

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
(1 John 4:19-21 ESV)

What profoundly influences you?  Friends, Money, Guys, Girls, Teachers, Parents, Culture, Music, Movies, Media, Internet, Facebook, HW, Television.

There are primary influencers in your life and they are the things that you desire most.  What you allow to influence you most shows what you treasure most.  This is not hidden, it drives our attitudes and thoughts, our emotions and decisions.  What we want we go after.  Listen to how James, the brother of Jesus puts it:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
(James 4:1-5 ESV)

May be you can relate, but friends can be huge influencers, whether directly or indirectly.  If there is quarreling and fighting going on externally and internally, it is likely because your desires are not being fulfilled.  You recognize that you are not satisfied, so you hunger and thirst after the things the world has promised to fill you with.

And when you are with others, they will see what matters to you most.  You can play the Christian game, go to church, not say bad words, or even be nice to people, but it doesn’t take long for someone to see where your true devotion lies.  If you befriend the world and allow its influence on you to determine your choices, attitudes, thoughts and actions, James says you have no part in God, you are his enemy.

He finishes this passage beautifully and ties it in to what we will see as the key to being with others as true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

When I was dating Alaina in high school there was some competition.  Its not hard to believe that I was not the only guy with an eye for her.  When she was invited to different events, parties, birthdays, etc and I was not I would be jealous.  If that guy was talking with her and she seemed to be friendly towards him, man I would double my efforts.  If I could get her attention, there was great internal rejoicing.  Of course I stayed cool on the outside, but inside, the stands were going nuts.  Man, I longed to just be with her.  Have you ever felt anything remotely close to that?  Be careful, you might marry them.

A song that hit this home for me goes like this:

Come to me 
Come to me
I have been waiting 
The sun will be rising

Come to me
Come to me
I have a ring for your finger 
Don't let the past come between us

Don't you run to the arms of another
They won't love you like I can love you
Don't you know I am a jealous God
I am a jealous God
So, come to me

Come to me 
When you're not sure how you feel
When the idols start calling
And to their arms you're falling

Don't you run to the arms of another
I will hold you I am able
To lead you beside the still and living waters
I've set a feast upon the table
Oh, I am a jealous Lover
No one can love you like I love you
So come to me

Come to Me
Come to Me 

Where are you, My beloved?
My beloved, where are you?

When You came looking for me 
I thought it was over 
I thought we were history
And all I could think about 
Was how I let You down
Oh, how I'd let You down

My heart has played the harlot
And wandered far from home
Like a ship without an anchor
Drifting on it's own
And You came calling
Always calling

And down to the altar I go
All alone, together
And now on this altar I fall
Abandoned, surrendered, yielded
I am Yours!
I am Yours!!

All to Jesus I surrender
All to You I will freely Give
Abandoned, surrendered, yielded

And down to the altar I go
All alone, together
And now on this altar I fall
Abandoned, surrendered, yielded
I am Yours 

by Phil Joel
Album: Deliberate People

God is jealous for our spirit.  But, we farm it out to every passing whim of empty pleasure.  
But God is boring.  How many of you have thought that?  Its, ok, I have too.  I’ve consistently believed that God is just not as accessible and entertaining as my Wii, my movies, my music, my friends, my stuff, my peanut butter,  really almost anything.  We are afraid that God will not satisfy our longings.  But remember, a tool works best for its intended use.  God meant for us to be in a real, exciting, vibrant relationship with him.  But instead we settle for simple pleasures that cannot fulfill us.  C.S. Lewis puts it this way in his book The Weight of Glory.

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Everyone we see in the Scriptures who has had a living, vibrant relationship with God/Jesus lived bold lives taking great risks to trust and obey him because they believed with all their hearts that God was worth more than even life itself.  Like living road signs they point others to God.  Think of the spiritual leaders of the Old Testament.  Their faith in God was a testimony, a witness to the wonders of knowing God.  None of them lived to make much of themselves, but rather to show that God is greater.  This is what is meant in Hebrews 11:39-40.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Paul is probably the greatest example of this.  He has given his life to the study and preservation and observance of the law of Moses and all that had been piled on top of it.  When Jesus and his followers showed up, he violently fought to extinguish the flames of Christ-following.  Jesus shows up and puts him on a different path.  Paul no longer fought for what he thought was where true life was found.  Jesus entered in and changed his desires, his thinking, his motivation and purpose.  God was with him!  He testifies to this in Galatians:

And they glorified God because of me. 

Paul says that the difference in him, is that he no longer lives but Christ lives in him.  Just as Jesus moved into the world to save it, so he has moved into our hearts to save us.  He is there taking mastery over every submitted heart and directing it toward untold pleasures.  He testifies that all other things are like trash, compost, crap compared to knowing Jesus entirely.  

As the church in the New Testament comes to life.  The relationships that believers have amongst themselves is crazy.  People from all walks of life, languages and people groups come together to share in the Spirit all that they have.

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 
Acts 4:32-33

We see the two most important commands from Matthew 22 coming to life:  Love God and Love others, this is all you were meant for.  This is what it means to glorify God, when you are satisfied enough in Jesus that you no longer consider your life as your own.  This is the boldness of Peter and John that astonished the rule-followers.  It is what we were meant for, to be with God and be with others

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love 

Session 1 Talk from BE WITH Camp

Be With God

Welcome to Mosaic Camp Be With.  It is so good to be with you, here, finally after months of fund raising and planning.  Did you think that you would be with people from all over the world here?  This is a beautiful Mosaic of peoples.  What will it mean to be with each other this weekend?  What will we encounter as we be with God.  But, most importantly will learn what it means for God to be with us?

I really believe that if God is with us this weekend he will change us.  He is in control of the spiritual climate.  He does as he wills.  My desire is to open up to his promises for us during our sessions and see that he not only desires to be with us, but that we are meant to take our everyday encounter with God and allow it to transformed our relationships with every person in our lives.

As God is with us, so those we are with will witness a profound difference in who we are.  When God is with us, rivers of life flow where before only dry barren land was found.  Fountains in the midst of valleys, pools of water in the wilderness, springs of water in dry land.

Its very possible that you’ve come to this weekend spiritually dry.  There’s just nothing there to motivate or excite.  The school year has come and is almost gone leaving you exhausted, frustrated, desperate, disappointed, may be even afraid.  Summer is great, but spiritually, I don’t know where I am.  I just need a rest.  Well, here you go.  A weekend to recharge, rejuvenate by being with God.  Let’s pray this together, then I will pray specifically for our time together:

The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let (our) heart(s) therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”
(1 Kings 8:57-61 ESV)

When do we normally talk about God being with us?  - Christmas
God miraculously impregnates a virgin named Mary who gives birth to Jesus who is God incarnate.  He lives and moves among mankind for a number of years teaching, traveling and all the while never sinning.  The law keepers hated him, the law breakers loved him.  He eventually is executed by Roman crucifixion baffling those who had hoped in him as their deliverer from present oppression yet approved of by those that feared losing their power over the people.  Three days go by and he shows up again...alive, and more alive than before.  He says some things to his followers then is raised into heaven.

Since then, his followers have propagated his story around the world and the Church has grown somewhat miraculously despite persecution and often bloody opposition.  So much has its influence been that whole countries and world powers have turned 180ยบ to appeal to this movement and stop fighting against it, even protecting it.  Great changes in individuals and groups have come about because Jesus came to be with us.  

But who is this God, this Jesus, that came to be with us and what difference did or does he make?

Have you ever had a time in your life where things were so difficult that you questioned God?  When I graduated from AAI and moved to the US to start college I really questioned God.  I grew up in Ecuador, fell in love with God here in Shell.  He was very real, intimate and strong in me.  In high school I stayed the course as best I could and felt the Lord had prepared me to GO to the nation of America and spread the Gospel.  When I go there, things changed, I changed, other people changed.  Life was hard, I wasn’t who I thought I was and others were not who I expected them to be.  I worked a early morning job and did school on my own in my room.  I felt alone, betrayed, powerless, forgotten and very uncomfortable.  I would say sin crept in and I fell hard often, but looking back I realize that the sin was always there.  These new trials and temptations only drew it out into the open and I saw its ugly effects.  It was in me before, but now it was manifesting in my actions, my words and my choices.

Where was God?  He had been so close before  Then, all I saw was the glory of the Lord before me and everything was good, right and true!  Now I was living in darkness, afraid, discouraged, despairing of everything present in my life.  Did God leave me?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
(Romans 1:18-23 ESV)

What do we learn about God in this passage?

  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. 

God didn’t change.  He doesn’t change.  When Job an Old Testament character was brutally afflicted physically, losing almost everything he had, he had similar doubts about God.  Job was said to have been a righteous man, more righteous than any other.  Yet, he suffered terrible loss:  all he owned, all his children, his slaves, and his friends.  He thought that perhaps he had been mistaken about God.  He doubted that God had his best in mind.  He doubted that God was with him in his suffering.

God eventually responds to Job.  (Don’t you wish God would respond to your questioning him?)  Job was quickly put in his place as the Lord revealed his invisible attributes, he eternal power and divine nature.  God points to the intricate complexities of his creation.  And says, “Where were you?”  God, the Creator and sustainer of life puts Job in his place.

You see, God is life.  He didn’t just make stuff, he keeps it going with power and with intention.  The Psalm writer acknowledges this throughout the Psalms:

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5
You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. Psalm 18:35
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

So, what happened to me, to Job?  What was God doing?

He does everything on purpose.  
When I became a Christ-follower, I took on the term: disciple of Jesus. To understand better what a disciple of Jesus is, we have to look at the first disciples of Jesus.
When Jesus first began his ministry on earth he chose 12 men that would follow him wherever he went.  My guess is that he could do ministry without 12 ordinary blokes bubbling behind him.  Jesus does this for a very specific reason. In Mark 3:14 we see why Jesus choose these 12 men.  You might have guessed already, but 
...he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach. (Mark 3:14 ESV)
When I trusted God with my life, I gave him full rights to do as he willed.  I said, “Take me where you will.  Show me how much I must suffer for your name.  I belong to you, do what seems right O God.”  That was a good choice I made, but there is more to the story.  In fact there is much that has been going on before I ever arrived on the scene.  God has been working.  There is a story between God and man that has been unveiling for a long, long time.
God, infinite, Most High, All powerful, all-knowing, loving, just and perfect made a creature in his likeness, man and woman.  His desire was to have them experience a satisfying relationship with him full of love and adventure.  Never dull, never lacking, always just what they needed.
Man, though intended for untold happiness decided that he/she could find happiness apart from God.  When something is not fulfilling its intended purpose, it does not function correctly.  It’s purpose is unfulfilled.  This is the effect of sin.  When God’s creatures do not trust him to satisfy them, they are left empty, incomplete and God does not receive the glory that he deserves.  God wants us to experience his love and respond to him with trust and obedience.  This is how we love him.
He has loved us by coming to be with us.  He eliminated all that stood between us and him.  No sin, no mistake, no rebellion can keep God away from his people.
When Jesus chose me, he loved me, he wanted me, even though I was an ordinary, broken, sinner, who was literally dead to our intended relationship.  I could not love God, even if I followed the rules of the Bible, but he is with us anyway that we might experience the relationship we were intended for with him.

This is why this verse speaks volumes to me.

But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV)

Many challenges face us.  For some of us they are like a wall of impending doom ready to fall on us and crush us.  If you don’t know, Alaina, Zane and I are moving to the US so that I can complete my seminary studies.  There are many fears.  Will I make it?  Will God be enough?  Will he provide enough money?  Will he provide any friends, people I can trust?  Will I be able to trust my professors?  Can I find a job, work and do school?  Will it be like when went to the US last time?

May be you are asking some scary questions right now too:

Will I ever see my friends again?
Will I ever be free from this addiction?
Will my family ever love me, or accept me?
Am I important to anyone?
Can I trust anyone with this secret?
What if I don’t find answers to my questions or my doubts?
What if I’m ok with my life as it is and I don’t really need God?

God does things in our lives that give us the opportunity to trust him more fully.  Its one thing to trust God when you don’t need him, but when he takes the supports of friends, family, money, comforts, controls out from under you, will you choose to trust him to hold you up?

I want you to put your name in this passage:
But you, ______, my servant,
______, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV)

This is true.  Because God is with us, for our best interest, fighting for us with his life, we should be the most bold people on the face of the earth.

Ask yourself, “Is your faith self defined? Have you made yourself the Christian that you are?  Or are you living proof of what God can do?  If you’ve gone no further than your own legs can carry you and seen no more than your own eyes can show you and tasted no more than your own thoughts can convey to you, you are lost.

This is why you don’t live boldly for God, with courage and strength!  You have no meaning beyond yourself!  May the Holy Spirit lead you into some private room today to weep and repent and look to Christ alone, because authentic Christianity is miracle, not management.  May you give up on yourself and delight in the sovereign Christ as all the Savior you need.  He will fill you life with meaning, and you will make a difference for his Glory in the world today.”  - Dr. Ray Ortlund Jr.

That difference happens in people’s lives as we will talk about tomorrow.

Monday, May 27, 2013

MosaicQuito's photostream


We have 1,483 photos to share with you all. "Be With" Mosaic Camp was amazing. Enjoy these photos!

Bon Fire: Mosaic Camp

We are in the process of uploading the millions of pictures from camp...

 but in the mean time check out a re-play of our 

Monday, May 20, 2013


Below you will find all sorts of great information on Mosaic Be With Camp!

Departure:  Thursday May 23 @ 4pm
Meet behind EFC on calle San Francisco @ 3:45

Return: Sunday, May 26 @ 2:30pm
Pick up from behind EFC

Packing List
  • Clothes
  • Clothes to get really dirty
  • Sneaking in the dark clothes
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries
  • Modest bathing suit (if you don’t have a modest tankini or one-piece wear a dark colored shirt over (no speedos))
  • Bible
  • Notebook / Journal
  • Pen
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Sack dinner Thursday for bus ride
  • $10 for Sunday lunch
  • Sleeping bag (optional)
  • Hoodie
  • Rain jacket / Impermeable
Medical & Emergency Info.
Email lorenholland@gmail.com  the below information-


Emergency Contact: ____________________________________________________________________



Anything else we need to be aware of?______________________________________________________


Contact Information
Loren Holland: 098-274-2854
Alaina Holland: 093-986-6401

Camp Mangayacu
032-790-118 or 032-790-117

Located just before Mera approx. 10min from Shell

More pictures: http://www.hollandfamilylife.com/mosaic-camp.html

Ministry of Life

A brief look at 2 Corinthians 3:1 - 4:6

How do we be Christians without being all high and mighty over everyone else?

As a young Christian in high school this is exactly the problem I faced.  It was good to be good and liked by teachers, pastors, youth leaders.  Everyone thought, "Loren has it together.  We don't need to worry about him, he'll do fine."  The problem was, I believed them.  There were a few issues I struggled with here and there, but compared to some of my friends I was doing really well.  No smoking, drinking, fighting, chewing, cussing, sleeping around or hanging out with people that did those things.  Don't get me wrong, no one should be doing those things, but what I had created was a false image for others.  I was a good example.  My friend's parents thought I was a missionary to youth  when I was only a junior in high school (not just because of the beard).

When I came across this article from:
I was struck with how much this described me when I was a high school student.  I didn't know I could have struggles like everyone else.  I thought being a Christian meant having everything "together", saying the "right" things, and staying a few steps above everyone else.  People looked up to me (or despised me for my piety), but they could not relate to me.

And honestly I decided that I couldn't (shouldn't) relate to them either.  I didn't have to drink, smoke, sleep around or any of that to know that I was a sinner in constant need of the grace of God.  May be I didn't break the obvious rules, but I broke God's heart often enough with my internal sins and I still do.

This is where 2 Corinthians 3 and 4 come in.

Paul reminds us that the Spirit of God is transforming hearts.  People's lives are changing in ways that just following the rules cannot come close to.  Paul claims that the changes that have happened in him and that have been happening in those he's shared Christ with are not his doing.  Of all the people, Paul knew what it meant to follow the rules God had given his people, Israel.  But he said, "The letter (the law) kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The greatest glory is to be experienced by denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus. We never become Jesus.  This is not some new age mumbo jumbo where everyone is a piece of God and together we make up his wholeness.  We are sinners, saved by grace through faith in Jesus.  Jesus is seen as glorious and most desirable when others see his transforming power at work in us despite our inability to be perfect.  It is Christ in us, the hope of glory that draws others to God.  This understanding of grace is critical to being fishers of men.

Jesus does the work.  He ministers to us in our greatest need.  His ministry to us is a great mercy and it gives life.  Are you with him?  Are you letting him change you?  Are you giving up on trying to make yourself good enough?  He is all the righteousness you will ever need.  Give up!  Let his grace be enough and true life will be found and flow through you to others.

Love you guys,