I went to Cajazeiras, a seven hour trip from João Pessoa, to teach a seminar on "Obedience and Faith".
I first made a distinction between obedience and faith. Faith is the "assurance of things hoped for", assurance being a guarantee. What guarantees do we have? We don't even know if we are going to make it home tonight. In truth the only guarantee that we have is what God says in His Word, and that is where faith comes in: it results in trusting obedience, which is not lined with fear or anger.
Obedience is just the act of doing. One can obey without believing; it may be out of fear. Therefore faith is not necessary for obedience, but obedience is always the result of faith.
We then journeyed through the Sermon on the Mount and studied how faith fit into practical Christian living. Anger and Jesus equaling its punishment to that of murder under the Law of Moses, how to deal with problems with others, avoiding adultery by not entertaining lust, and so on, all require the simple obedience that comes from faith. That is the life before us in the here and now under God's reign. The seminar ended Saturday night. It was a blessing to participate in God's shaping of my and other Christians' lives.
On Saturday Rivaldo Café and I went to three different Bible Studies with groups of boys from the soccer program. They are growing in maturity and knowledge of God's Word and learning to live it out in their lives.
I was very pleased to hear that Café and Leila are finally able to get more rest. One of the adult members of the church along with two Christian young men from the first group of boys that participated in the soccer program are helping out with soccer training and teaching some of the morality classes. The morality classes bring examples of other sports figures, for the good or for the bad, and tie their story in with a Christian attitude or godly act from which the boys can learn. The church continues to grow in number and maturity with the Right Step soccer program as its tool for evangelism.
Sunday, a couple from the church took me to a city close by so that I could bathe in natural springs to try to help my psoriasis. The hotel also gave me some medicinal mud to take home. Monica, my wife, told me when I arrived that I was not going to wash that mud off in our shower. Although she liked the idea of the mud, she told me to go to the beach and put it on and wash off in the ocean. I am thankful to my wife for her love and concern for me and thankful to God because he doesn't mind cleaning up our messes.