Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Irony of Christmas in America

Most Americans would say that Christmas really cant' be enjoyed without money. After all, don't we feel obligated to buy things for people with money we don't have? Truth be told, 90% of the gifts you give this year won't be used by the people you give them to, because you're not giving them what they want, you're giving them what you think they want.

What really gets me though, is the fact that the people we think really can't enjoy Christmas because they don't have money, the poor and down-trodden, are the exact people Jesus said He came for. He said He didn't come for those were well, and rich, but rather, He came for those who had nothing. He came for those who are sick and need a Physician.

He even said it's so much easier for the poor to make it into Heaven than it is for the wealthy. In fact, He said it's impossible, for those unwilling to admit to their spiritual destitution, to make it into Heaven at all. Isn't it ironic that the have nots according this world have a greater chance of having it all in the next life, and those who "have it all" in this life will probably have nothing in the next!

I'm not against the giving of gifts, but if our giving isn't based upon the fact of what God has given us, then who's receiving the glory? If our giving isn't a response to what God has given us, then what are seeking from others? Because God has given so much to us, let us then, give to others for the purpose of reflecting the image and glory of Almighty God!

So this Christmas, remember that it isn't about what you give your children or neighbors, your co-workers or spouse, but it's ONLY about what the LORD has given us, a Savior who is Christ the LORD, and a chance to believe in His life, death and resurrection, which will allow us to spend eternity with Him!

Merry Christmas to all from the Fuentes family, and may the LORD shine brightly in your hearts and homes this wonderful Christmas season!

Monday, December 7, 2009

16 Daddy Christmas Tips

(I found this recent post by Mark Driscoll insightful and thought
the men (and women) of the Male Domain might enjoy reading it!

16 Daddy Christmas Tips
-by Mark Driscoll

’Tis the season for Dad to drop the holiday ball, stress out as the money is being spent for presents, and miss yet another providential opportunity to lovingly lead his family. So, this blog is intended to help dads not fall into the same old rut of holiday humdrum, sitting on the couch watching football and eating carbs, but rather intentionally plan out the upcoming holiday season. Our children grow quickly and if we miss the sacred moments God opens up for us to connect with and bless our families, everyone suffers and we set in motion generations of missed opportunity.

#1 – Dad needs a plan for the holidays to ensure his family is loved and memories are made. Dad, what’s your plan?

#2 – Dad needs to check the local guides for what’s going on to make fun holiday plans for the family. In Seattle it’s here.

#3 – Dad needs to carve out time for sacred events and experiences to build family traditions that are fun and point to Jesus. Dad, is your calendar ready for December?

#4 – Dad needs to not let the stress of the holidays, including money, cause him to be grumpy with Mom or the kids. Dad, how’s your joy?

#5 – Dad needs to give experiences and not just gifts. Dad, what special memories can you make this holiday season?

#6 – Dad needs to manage the extended family and friends during the holidays. Dad, who or what do you need to say “no” to?

#7 – Dad needs to ensure his family is giving generously during the holidays. Dad, who in need is your family going to adopt and bless?

#8 – Dad needs to schedule a big Christmas daddy date with his daughter. Dad, what’s your big plan for the fancy daddy date?

#9 – Dad needs to schedule guy time with his son. Dad, what are you and your son going to do that is active, outdoors, and fun?

#10 – Dad needs to help Mom get the house decorated. Dad, are you really a big help to Mom with getting things ready?

#11 – Dad needs to ensure some holiday smells and sounds. Dad, is Christmas music on the iPod, is the tree up, and can you smell cookies and cider in your house?

#12 – Dad needs to snuggle up and watch some fun shows with the kids, especially the little ones. Dad, is the DVR set?

#13 – Dad needs to take the family on a drive to see Christmas lights while listening to music and sipping cider. Dad, is it mapped out?

#14 – Dad needs to help Mom get the kids’ rooms decorated. Dad, do the little kids get lights or a small tree in their room?

#15 – Dad needs to read about Jesus and pray over his kids. Dad, how’s your pastoral work going with each of your kids?

#16 – Dad needs to repent of being lazy, selfish, grumpy, or just dumping the holidays on Mom. Dad, are you a servant like Jesus to your family?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Men, Military, and Masculinity: When these are lost, women die!

The recent attack on soldiers at Ft. Hood has been a sober reminder to me of the perils that our nation places her daughters in by allowing them to serve in the military. I know my position may be unpopular, but as a US Navy veteran myself, I feel that someone has to stand up and say what the word declares; that women were not created for combat, period!

Genesis 2 declares God's design for women, namely, to be a helper, mother, nurturer, home-maker, daughter of God, educator, feminine counter-part, a sort of domestic queen if you will, with unique and invaluable attributes given to her by the LORD. She was to complete the image of God that is best represented by a man and women in covenant, under the authority of Almighty God.

Man was to be the Provider, the one who set his hands to the plow, working the ground to bring forth sustenance for this family. Man was also to be the Priest, hearing from the LORD, and leading his family in a way that brought honor and glory to the God who created him. He was also to be the Prophet, discerning the culture around him, and pointing out anything that could affect his family, then taking steps to ensure it didn't infiltrate his home. And finally, he was to be the Protector, the one who, when faced with an enemy who could bring harm to his family, would draw his sword and fight for the lives of his loved ones.

Man was to be these things because the word declares that man is the glory of God (1 Cor. 11:7). Man and woman together are the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and the God we serve is all these things to us, and much more. The LORD is our Priest, our Prophet, our Provider and our Protector, and as men, we need to be things as well.

One of the 13 soldiers killed this past week at Ft. Hood was a young girl from the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, and attended Kelvyn Park High School. This hits home for me because I too, am from Humboldt Park and attended Kelvyn Park High School in Chicago. Her name was Francheska Velez, she was 21 yrs old, and she was 3 months pregnant.

Should women wear the gear of a warrior and go forth into battle? Should they be the ones, along with the men, losing limbs and lives to defend the borders of our nation? Should they lay dying in their own blood, while their precious child lays dying inside their wombs? You know, and I know, the answer is a resounding NO. This defies everything we know of our God in scripture. If you disagree, I'd love to know why!

Deuteronomy 22:5, says,
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."
A careful word study of this passage shows the phrase "pertaineth unto a man" refers to "the gear of a warrior."

Then we have a passage like Nehemiah 4:14, which says,
"And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes."
Who fights for their wives? Men do!

Sadly, because of the ravages of radical feminism on the church of our LORD, some will disagree with me regarding this, and to those I say, reconsider. Think logically about the effects of a movement that begins firmly grounded in mid-air, leaves God out, only to invoke Him at the funerals of those they helped to slay.

We need men everywhere to stand up for women and children, stand up for their manhood, and stand up for their God! Reclaim what was lost, engage in the battle, and put your manhood to good use....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Adolescence: Why Don't Men Grow Up?

Our culture is filled with men who refuse to grow up, with women who accept men who won't grow up, and parents who raise their sons to become these men. This is sad but true.

As Christians, we have no excuse for this. The word clearly calls men to be the priests, prophets, providers, and protectors of their homes. Too often, I see men laying these responsibilities on the backs of their wives, and this is truly shameful behavior.

Give a listen to Mark Driscoll as he, in his usual funny, yet convicting manner, calls men to be men!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Battle for Faith and Future

Wow, what a weekend it was!
After work Friday my family headed to Morton, IL., for Providence Church's Reformation Day Faire 2009. We arrived around 8:30pm and caught Charlie Zahm just as he was beginning his concert at the church, and what a treat that was for my family after traveling for three hours.

This Faire was birthed from the heart of Pastor James McDonald, (pictured with wife Stacy), and his love for theology. The theme this year was the ministry of John Calvin. Speakers included Douglas Bond, Marcus Serven, and James McDonald.

The Faire covered two days, Friday and Saturday, and many families, like my own, stayed and worshiped with the good folks at Providence Church on Sunday as well. Pastor James' message Sunday was about the prayer life of John Calvin, and his challenge to all in attendance was to pray fervently, expectantly, and passionately, like John Calvin did some 500 years ago, and see what the LORD does through those prayers.

It was refreshing to see such passion, and an earnest desire for holiness exude from Pastor McDonald as he moved around the stage pleading with the those in attendance, and especially the men, to take serious, their walks with the LORD, and their prayer life with the LORD.

Providence Church is a church that takes serious the biblical mandate for men to be strong spiritual leaders in their homes. They call men to lead their families in a way that honors the LORD and reflects Him well. Providence is seeking to raise up Men who will disciple their children to the glory of the LORD, and send them out as fiery arrows in the battle that has been waging since the fall of man and beyond. This, I truly appreciate about Providence, and churches elsewhere, that are moving back to the Bible in their expectations of men.

I went away from Providence with a renewed sense of my Divine calling as a man. It's always refreshing to be reminded and encouraged about the responsibilities that the good LORD has laid upon me toward my children; discipling, educating, protecting, providing for, etc: as well as those responsibilities toward my wife of loving, protecting, providing for, and cherishing her as a divine gift!

"O' LORD, may you bless the work of Providence, and ALL Gospel preaching, Bible believing, Christ exalting assemblies through-out the vast globe that you created. And may these churches continue to call Men to bear their swords as they fight for the heart of their King, King Jesus. Amen!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Federal Husband

(Another article from Douglas Wilson. To view more click here.)

The Federal Husband

by Douglas Wilson

Among the many words which our century has trashed, words like awesome or gay, the word federal most certainly heads the list. The word makes us think of big, centralized things, things that make a collectivist's heart feel warm and cozy. We slap the word on institutions so that little old ladies will deposit their money there. Nobody names his bank Bob's Sunshine Bank; the name must be something which exudes solidity and bigness like First Federal Security does.

But the word federal actually comes from the Latin word foedus, which means covenant. Because our federal government is about as uncovenantal as can be imagined, it is not surprising that we have forgotten the original import of the word. We think that federal means centralized, and does not refer in any kind of way to any kind of covenant.

But classical Protestant theology reflects the biblical teaching in this. The Bible describes the relationship between Adam and the human race as a federal one. That is, God made a covenant with the entire human race, with Adam serving as the representative or covenant head of that race. In the same way, our salvation was accomplished federally. Christ, the second Adam, was sent by God to be the federal head of a new race. His obedience was representative, and was imputed to all His elect, identified as such through their faith. This is why Christ stands in a relationship to the Church which is described as one of headship. This headship is covenantal, which means that it is necessarily a federal headship.

This is all well and good, but what is it doing in a column for husbands? The answer is that husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. By the very nature of the case, this means that husbands are told to model or exhibit a federal relationship to their wives. The command to husbands is to love their wives as Christ loved His bride. This means that the theology of Christ's love will be determinative of how a Christian wife is loved. How a man understands ultimate covenantal loving will settle how he sets about covenantal loving. How he understands the thing to be imitated will determine how he imitates. If our theology is biblical (and thereby federal, or covenantal), then the wife will be loved as Christ really did love the Church. If the theology is either sub-federal or anti-covenantal, then a woman, when she is loved at all, will be loved sentimentally.

In the modern Church, the central intellectual sin regarding marriage is one of definition. We want to assume that marriage is a permanent "roommate" arrangement between two individuals, with certain sexual privileges included. But the Bible describes marriage as a covenant. The adulteress is one who forsakes the companion of her youth, the covenant of her God (Prov. 2:17). The men of Israel are rebuked because they abandoned their covenantal wives (Mal. 2:14). But we have thought that we could have biblical marriages without even knowing what a covenant marriage is.

At the heart of this covenantal relationship is the issue of responsibility. When there is genuine federal headship, the head as representative assumes responsibility for the condition of the members of the covenant body. This is why we can say that when Adam disobeyed in the garden, we were there sinning in and with him. And this is why we can say that when Christ obeyed in the garden, submitting to the will of the Father, we were there obeying in and with Him.

Of course, husbands cannot duplicate this in their relationship with their wives. But though we cannot duplicate it exactly, we are commanded to imitate it. Because marriage is constituted as a covenantal institution, and because the relation to be imitated is also covenantal, such imitation will of necessity be federal.

One of the most difficult things for modern men to understand is how they are responsible for their wives. Men come into a pastoral marriage counseling session with the assumption that "she has her problems," and "I have mine," and the counselor is here to help us split the difference. But the husband is responsible for all the problems. This is the case for no other reason than that he is the husband.

This does not mean that the wife has no personal responsibility as an individual before God. She certainly does, just as her husband has individual responsibility. They are both private persons who stand before God. But he remains the head, and just as Christ as the head assumed all the responsibility for all the sins of all His people, so the husband is to assume covenant responsibility for the state of his marriage.

In reading these words, he may be entirely unsure about what it means to "assume federal responsibility." And given the divine pattern assigned to us for imitation, it is certain that no husband has a complete understanding of what he is called to do.
That is why he had better get started.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Planning For Victory

Will your family impact the kingdom of God?

Will your children serve the LORD faithfully with their lives?

Will the legacy you leave be remembered for generations to come?

Without a strategic plan to accomplish any of these endeavors, we can ALL safely assume that the answer to these questions will be a resounding NO!

We needn't fear however, since we serve a mighty God. We serve a God who has called us to leave a legacy of multi-generational faithfulness, and because He called us to this, He has also provided the means to accomplish this.

It begins with us, as Men and as Leaders, making decisions that are in keeping with the objectives of the mission. We must weigh every decision carefully, seek godly counsel from our wives and others, and not be too ashamed to repent and undo what was done in haste or selfish ambition. When our families see us leading in a way that honors the LORD, they will be more inclined to do the same.

We must also articulate to our families what we believe the LORD desires our family to accomplish and be involved in. What family goals do we have for each year as it approaches? What family ministries is your family involved in, or what family ministry might your family begin? It's not hard to have a ministry for each member of the household; Mom has hers; Dad has his; teens have theirs; and so on, but how about doing something that unites the whole family with a common vision; moving toward a common goal. Now that takes ambition; that takes a Leader!

So what's your plan for victory? How many generations are included in your plan? Is it one that requires you to Lead or Observe? Don't be passive on this one Men; the stakes are too high, and the stakes are too eternal!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Be Like David.....Not Like Mike!

Voddie Baucham has written an insightful article about the contrast between the acceptance speeches given by David Robinson and Michael Jordan recently during their induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. David elevated his team, his family, and his LORD....while Mike elevated--well--Mike!

Being a Chicagoan who was there during the dynasty of '90's, and even attending one of the championship rallies in Grant Park, all I can say is, Voddie's words are true. (Visit the Truth In Love Blog for article)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Would the Real You Please Stand

Who are you in the eyes of God? After all, that's all that really matters in this life and in the life to come.

It doesn't really matter what your friends think of you, or some might say; "Your peeps, your boys, your homey's, your crew.....," and, it doesn't really matter, for eternal purposes, what your family thinks about you. All that really matters is 'What does the LORD think, when He thinks about you?' In other words, 'How does the LORD see you?'

You see, it isn't hard to pretend to be a "good" person in the eyes of the world. If Marilyn Manson gave a Million bucks to fight poverty in Africa, it wouldn't surprise me if he'd be recognized as a "Great" humanitarian, despite the fact that he stands for much of what God opposes.

Or how about an example that's a little more personal? Let's say you were put up as a contestant on a game show called, "What kind of person are they?," and people all around you got to name things about you that they've identified to be true in your life. Chances are you'd do pretty well, after all, we don't 'normally' show our worst to society, do we?? You probably do your best, or at least make an effort, to be "seen" as a "decent" person in the eyes of the world, right?, and understandably so!

It isn't that hard to put on the facade of Godliness, while maintaining an inner desire for unGodliness, is it? Don't cuss in front of old people, own a bible, check Christianity (or some-other religion) on an application, don't murder people, stay out of jail, etc., etc.; you see where I'm going with this.

The same is true for those of us who openly, and unashamedly, proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We too, can have a facade of Godliness, while in our hearts, maintain a desire for unGodliness, right? Am I the only one who can say "Amen" to this, or can you be honest enough to acknowledge what I'm saying? Maybe not all the time, but more often than you might care to admit, you feel your heart straying and begin desiring things that you openly denounced at your conversion and then again at your baptism.

We Christians, too, have our own "Christian Checklists," don't we. We believe that by checking these things off on our list, we somehow stay closer to God. Things like:
  • Read your Bible
  • Go to church
  • Join a church
  • Give any amount of money to church
  • Don't drink, (or if you're Biblical), don't be a drunk
  • Don't cuss (at least not in front of other Christians)
  • Don't look "too long" at Beautiful Women
  • Use words like; Brother, Amen, Sanctified, Hallelujah, etc.
  • Use the ESV Bible (best version available!)
  • Don't smoke
  • Be Southern Baptist
  • Don't get tatoos (and if you have them, remove them or hide them)
  • Wear a tie to church
  • Feather your hair
Okay, maybe not that last one! But you know what I mean. This is just a short list of things that we 'think' make us Godly. The list can be greatly expanded, and if you'd like to add to it, leave a comment! I just wanted to list a few things that I've seen in Christendom first hand, and have been guilty of committing myself. Like Paul, I consider myself the foremost among sinners, so don't think for a minute I'm pointing the finger!

Now, before I'm misunderstood, let me say clearly what I'm not saying. I'm NOT saying that the list above is a bad list to keep, UNLESS, of course, you're keeping it to "stay right" with God, or "be found" right with God to begin with. Like a religious person who has never repented of their own personal sin, received Jesus Christ as their own LORD and Savior, but yet, because they do some of the things listed above, believe they're acceptable to God. If you have repented of your sin, and received Jesus as LORD in your life, then keeping these things should be a "response" to what God has already done in your life, not an "initiator" to get God's attention!

Our righteousness can only come from life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, PERIOD! Nothing else you do can 'make' you righteous in the eyes of the LORD, so stop trying, begin trusting, and allow the Spirit of the LORD to move in your life purging you from things that are harmful to you, your family, and stand in opposition to your new life in Christ.

So, "Would the real you please stand," and allow God to begin His handy work!!!

Til Death Unites or Separates us,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Journey Ahead

Will the path you're on get you to the future you desire?

Will the path your family is on get them to the future you desire?

Will your ultimate destination be where God wants to you to end up at?

These are some questions that we, as Men, must ask ourselves on a routine basis. Every decision we make should be toward the end goal of fulfilling our destiny as Men in the Army of God.

The factory setting of the heart is "R&R," (Rest and Relaxation), but this setting won't get us where we need to go. It'll get us somewhere, to be sure, but not where God wants us going. Trust me, I know!

Make the changes that need to be made. Seek after wisdom and pursue Godly counsel. Determine a destiny that's based on Scripture, then forge ahead like the ice-breaker before the small vessels. It may hurt and you might not get as much rest as you'd like, but hey, we're Men, right? This is our calling in life....this is what God wants from us....this is what Jesus showed us how to do with His life.

Til death unites or separates us,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chicago Public Schools Give Their Students "Birthday Sex"

To kick off their "Back to School" campaign this year, Chicago Public Schools CEO, Ron Huberman, (an openly gay man who recently adopted a child with his gay lover), enlisted help from R&B star, and CPS graduate himself, Jeremih. "Great," you might say, "Wrong," I say. (Click for full article.)

Jeremih's biggest hit is a song entitled "Birthday Sex." It's about a young man wanting to give his girl what she "really" wants for her birthday, Sex!

C'mon, CPS, c'mon Mayor Daley, you all speak about how our children are the future and how they need to be protected and "well" educated, and then you give them Jeremih as a role model, who's suppose to entice the kids to show at school on Sept. 8th, via Twitter updates. Seriously???

The CPS doing this doesn't surprise me one bit. I went through the CPS system, K-12, and know they aren't known for their commitment to excellence or Godliness. So them doing well...Caesar running Rome. When asked about the lyrics and whether they're appropriate for kids, CPS CEO Ron Huberman said; “We don’t condone any behavior we think is not healthy for our students. . . . But, he’s a great role model for our kids. . . . it's a song like any other song you hear." WHAT???

My concern, however, is for the children in the CPS who come from Christian homes. If you're reading and not a Christian, you still should find this appaulling, but if you're a Christ-follower, you should be thinking long and hard about the biblical command to "bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4)

Jesus also said the greatest commands were to " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "(Luke 10:27)

Then there's Psalm 1, which reads:

1Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. 4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Are we doing everything we can, maybe not 'want,' but 'can,' to ensure that our children are able to obey these words? Or, might we be even contributing to our children sinning against these words of the Lord??? Hm...that's between you and God.

If you have kids in the CPS system please understand what type of mentality the CPS is promoting by, First, having an openly gay man running the show, and Second, by enlisting a guy like Jeremih to be the voice of influence who your kids are to suppose to listen to via Twitter updates to show up at school on Sept. 8th.

Can children love the Lord and serve Him with all their hearts, and abstain from evil and meditate on the word of God, while getting their education from the CPS??? Sure, even a broken clock is right twice a day. That's called God's enabling grace. Should we put that grace to the test though? Certainly not.

With upwards of 88% of children who grow up in Christian homes walking away from God by the end of their 2nd year of college, shouldn't we be thinking that maybe we've gone off course somewhere??? Perhaps....maybe....there's a better way? I'm just askin' the question. Ultimately, ALL of us need God's grace to move in the hearts of our children if they're to love and serve Him with their lives. So I'm not saying that I have all the answers, but I do believe the Word does, and it's there where I look to make decisions about the gifts He's given me, and I hope you do as well! May God be with us...

**Parents Only: Still need more? Click here to read the lyrics to "Birthday Sex", and click here to see the video.**

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life Without God

What would life without God be like?

I thought about that as I looked at this picture of the little boy facing the giant Sumo Wrestler. It made me think back to the days when I wasn't walking with the Lord, and how I felt when life threw me a challenge.........(very overwhelmed!)

I didn't have any assurance that my decisions would work out. I didn't know whether I was doing what was best. And I certainly didn't believe there was much hope. It was what it was, and that's just how life is--or so I thought.

Then one day, the Lord opened my eyes to His reality. He allowed me to see Him for who He really is--a loving a caring Father who watches over His children--and to know Him personally, not just know "about" Him theoretically. The gospel--which I had heard growing up--made perfect sense to me for the first time.

I had always heard that Jesus died for sinners, but wasn't convicted that I was one. I had always heard that there was a heaven and a hell, but wasn't convicted that I'd be spending eternity in one of those two places. I had always heard that Jesus could save me from God's punishment for my sin, but wasn't convinced that Jesus' death on the cross was a death He died for me and not just the "good" religious folks.

You see, friends, going through life without God can be as overwhelming as being the little boy in this photo. You feel like you just have to take whatever life throws at you. Your kids will be what other kids are. Your marriage will be what other marriages are. The future will be whatever the "future gods" say it will be, and so on and so forth.

This was me for a good portion of my life before the Lord revealed Himself to me and allowed me to hear what He had been telling me my whole life--I love you, I want to forgive you, and I want you to spend eternity with me! I now see that God had been telling me this my whole life, but I wasn't willing, nor wanting, to hear His voice. I believe He's always telling these same things to everybody alive, but like me, not everyone is willing, nor wanting, to hear what He has to say. So, they go on with life, facing insurmountable challenges thinking there isn't a better way, an easier way, and a more certain way, when the whole time God is telling them "There is."

Jesus said "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) God has offered you rest, will you receive His offer? God is offering you forgiveness, will you receive His forgiveness? God is offering you eternity in heaven, will you spend it with Him?

I leave you with these beautiful words that Jesus said to all mankind during His time on earth, and that He still says to us today....

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill,
and to destroy. I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly."
-John 10:10

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Can your family count on you to be steadfast?

Can they depend on you to be unshakable?

Do you display strength and courage in the face of opposition?

Are you heading toward the future that God desires you to have?

Men, our families need stability. Our wives need us to pursue a future where the Lord is guiding and directing. Our children need us to be their rock and their protector. Our God needs us to be obedient and surrendered to doing His will. Can you be these things....Will you be these things? What's keeping you from them and a future like no other???

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Conversation with Stephen Josiah Fuentes

This morning, I had a sit down conversation with my nine year old son, Stephen Josiah. I thought I'd ask him some random questions and jot down his answers. All the answers are in his own words verbatim. The coffee's hot, the laptop's out, so here we go:

1. How should a grown man act?
Respectful, reliable, kind, loving,caring, and loyal.

2. What should men do with their lives?
Serve God with them. Use them for good. Serve others.

3. What kind of woman should a man marry?
A Christian woman. A woman that is using her life for God's will.

4. Why do you think a lot of men do bad things?
Because, the main reason is, they're not Christians, and because they try and act cool in front of others, like when they use drugs and guns.

5. How should a husband treat his wife?
With love, kindness, and respectfulness.

6. What's the best part about growing up in our home?
Being able to learn a lot of new things. Being able to see a lot of people.

7. What's the hardest thing about growing up in our home?
Getting hurt by tripping over things, like rocks.

8. What does the Lord want you to do with your life?
Probably to serve Him and to serve others.

9. What's your favorite book or story in the bible?
My favorite story is the story about Jesus. I like how He answers people and is never wrong.

10. Why did Jesus die on the cross?
To take away our sins if we become a Christian, and to let us go to heaven instead of hell.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Voddie Baucham on Government Education

The following quote is taken from Voddie Baucham's post "Top Five Reasons Not to Send Your Kids Back to Govt. School"

"There’s enough here for an entire series of posts (so many posts... so little time), but for now let me simply say that the “the Lord told me” line of argumentation has serious theological problems. We must make our educational decisions with an open Bible. “The Lord told me” is no substitute for “the Bible says...” Please don’t make a decision about your child’s education without consulting (and obeying) the Scriptures."
Read the full post on Voddie's blog by clicking here!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rebelution Tour 2009

This Saturday, July 11th, 2009, my 16 yr old daughter, Janai, and I will be attending The Rebelution's "Do Hard Things" Tour at Moody Church in my hometown of Chicago, IL. Both of us are very excited and are looking forward to spending the day hearing from the Godly young men who God has raised up to spearhead this movement.

My daughter has been greatly challenged by the book that Alex and Brett Harris, the brains behind the movement, have written entitled "Do Hard Things." I've seen her walk with the Lord really grow since she read the book that me and her mom gave her for Christmas.

I encourage anyone in the region to attend with their children. Ages targeted are primarily preteen to early twenties. I have a friend even driving in from St. Louis with his 12 yr old child. Visit their website to learn more about them and to see what the "Do Hard Things" tour is all about.

Also, if you're on Facebook, I created an 'Event' page that you can join to learn more about this Saturday. Click here to go there. Below is a promo video for the confernce. Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Weight of Fatherhood

Being a father can be an overwhelming job. The amount of responsibility that God has placed on men can at times, make men feel like complete failures. Apart from the grace and strength of God, being the kind of father that brings God glory is not possible. Sure you can be a father--if you define it by just having children--and make it "OK" in life, if that's your goal. But for those who want to bring glory to God through their leadership in their homes, the status-quo just isn't good enough.

God hasn't called men to mediocrity, He hasn't called men to simply provide, or to just stay married. No, no, He has called us to so much more. He has called us to lead and provide, build and protect, in a way that is counter-cultural. The way God wants His men to lead in their homes should make the non-Christian men shake their heads in disbelief. They should wonder why we choose to love the way we do. Why we provide the way we do. Why we discipline the way we do. Why we educate the way we do, and why we protect the way we do. If they aren't noticing how you lead your home, then my friend, how are you leading your home?

Admittedly, leading a home in a counter-cultural way isn't easy. It isn't going to get you on the cover of any men's magazines--well, maybe Vision Forum's--but that's it! It isn't' going to allow you to live as others may be living. You might find yourself working when others are playing. You may find yourself at home when others are out. You may find yourself surrounded by kids when others are surrounded by "big boy toys." You may wonder if it's worth it at times, and you may be tempted to lower your standards in order to live the life you "think" you're entitled to live. So let me remind you--in case you feel weighed down by life--you're serving the Lord. The decisions you're making now, for your wife and children, will reap a harvest for the Lord in the future. So hang in there.

As God told Elijah--when he was on the run from Jezebel and feeling very alone, scared, and weary--you are not alone. God said that He had preserved thousands of others who hadn't bowed the knee to Baal. He saved a remnant for His purposes and for His battles. So it is with us as well. God has called and saved a remnant who haven't bowed the knee to cultural normativity or caved in to the demands of the prosperity whore who decides what you need. He has raised up an Army to engage in the battle for the souls of the next generation. You are not alone. He has put in the hearts of thousands of men the desire to disciple their children in such a way that brings Him glory. You are not alone. He has also put in those men's hearts the desire to preserve the Godly calling and biblical legacy of virtuous motherhood, and not sacrifice the vitality of their brides at the altar of modernity which waits like a hungry jackal in the work place for the heart and soul of our wives.

The weight of fatherhood is enormous, and on our own, we're destined to ruin it like so many before us have done. But God, the God of the bible has a different plan. He desires to see us live for His glory, and with that desire, has provided a way for this to be accomplished. Draw strength from the blood of those who have gone before you. Hear their voices calling to you from the grave. Hear the voices of Apostles and Prophets from the words of scripture, and hear the voice of the One who hung on the cross and bore it all. He stretched out His arms to die, setting an example of Godly manhood for those would call Him Lord, and now calls us to pick up our cross and follow Him!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Protecting Daughters

Let's face it, Men, there are a lot of ways our daughters can be hurt in today's society. We need to be diligent in our protection of them and not shy away from those we believe may be a predator in the lurking.

Our culture comes at our daughters fast and furious, and in ways that on the surface may seem "harmless" or even "good." One of these ways is through the attempted hijacking of our daughters hearts through "boy bands." In my era it was "New Kids on the Block." Today, it's groups like the Jonas Brothers, who, if ever wanted to come near my girls would end up on the back of a milk carton as missing. These boys aren't anything I would ever hope my girls would marry and find it appalling that many Christian's actually push these dweebs on their girls and even hint at them being "good catches." PLEASE!

Don't forget it was a Jonas boy who dated Miley Cyrus and received photos of her in her under-garments via their cell phones. Godly standard? Not even close!

Another area our daughters need protection in is from those who may find them attractive. As your daughters grow older and enter into those years when they begin changing and go from being your "little" girl to being your "young" lady, you're not the only one who will notice the changes! Men are men, and men (Christian and especially Non) are looking for easy targets. They may be especially attracted to your girls if you're raising them to be feminine and are cultivating Godly character in them. Femininity and a quiet spirit are two Male magnets, so be on the look out.

For those guys who may think I'm going too far, or doubt what I'm saying, just think back to your BC days (before Christ). You know how you were, at least I do, and it wasn't a pretty thing. So be on your guard against guys who remind you of......well..... YOU! Your daughters will be very thankful that you stood up for them in the face of adversity and protected their heart from those who had wrong motives, and just for clarity, anything other than a lifetime commitment in the covenant of marriage, is a wrong motive!

You have one shot at raising your daughters, so don't blow it. If defending your girls means losing some relationships, lose them. If defending them means looking foolish, look foolish. If defending them means you get talked about, get talked about. I think there may be another group talking about you not from the the Trinity, and the Angels!

The word of God says in the Song of Songs not to "awaken love before it's time," and how I see it, it isn't time until she's ready for marriage. So I leave you with this verse, and hope to God you have no regrets on your daughter's wedding day, which is possible with the grace and power of God:

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."
-1 Corinthians 16:13

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Faithful Generation...

This Friday night, June 5th, I have the honor of speaking to the 2009 Homeschool Graduates of Northwest Indiana, in Schererville, IN..

The Lord has put on my heart to speak to them about remaining faithful as His children, even when their leaders aren't around. My text is Exodus 32, the story of the Golden Calf.

Even after all that God did in the midst of Egypt for the nation of Israel, they still worshiped false idols when they perceived their leader, Moses, to be taking too long to return from Mount Sinai.

Might we do the same to the Lord? How quickly we demand something tangible to fulfill us. We are idolaters at heart, and it needs to be addressed, both in my heart and yours. Thank God for the gospel!

So if you remember, keep me in your prayers. Pray that the Lord would speak to me and through me this Friday night. May God be glorified!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama's Supreme Court Nominee: Bitter Sweet for Latino Christians

As a Mexican-American, part of me wants to rejoice in the fact that soon, the highest court in the land will better reflect the diversity of the American people. Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee, is a girl who has come up through the ranks and I'm sure has made her family proud.

Now, she stands only a few weeks away from becoming the first Hispanic ever to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, and oh how I wish I could rejoice in this, but I can't...

As a Latino Christian, I know that Sonia Sotomayor embraces an ideology that my Bible speaks against. She stands side by side with the radical far Left ideology that President Obama himself embraces, and because of this, I can't say this is a good day for the Hispanic community.

Some in my community, or might I say, most, will see this as a great moment to celebrate. Just as most in the African-American community saw the election of Mr. Obama as a great moment to celebrate. They see our country advancing past ethnic divides and moving toward a more inclusive future that will open doors to our children and will hopefully put to rest the bigotry and racism that has besmirched our Nation for far too long. And to this, I rejoice with you. No one wants to see these sins carry on into to the future, No One!

To see our Nation move forward in the area of racial diversity and racial inclusiveness is a very worthy goal that I desperately want to see occur as well. But at what cost? The price we pay as Americans to move forward an agenda of "inclusiveness" and "diversity" should never come at the expense of righteousness. It shouldn't come at the expense of Godliness, or morality either.

There are things more important than having our first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, at least in my eyes, and one of those would be wisdom. Another, holiness. And yet another, integrity. These traits come through the fear of the Lord. The word of God declares that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." The kind of people we should hope to have leading our land are God fearing people who evidence their faith through good works and and a biblical worldview.

When one doesn't fear the Lord, there isn't anything that's sacred. Whether it be an unborn child created in the image of God, or the sanctity of marriage between a Man and a Woman. If God isn't feared, everything is subjective. If God's moral law isn't held as holy, all laws become subjective and arbitrary. This is where I believe we're headed as a Nation.

If I sound pessimistic, I am. In an earthly sense. If it weren't for the gospel of Jesus Christ, I'd have no reason for hope at all. All would be doom and gloom. Perhaps I'd have my own conservative talk show to lament for the next 8 years!

Yet, I am hopeful, because the gospel cannot be legislated out of our Nation. It cannot be voted on by the American people. It cannot be removed from power by the President. Nor can it be made powerless by Godless human beings.

So, let us renew our hope, and strengthen our witness. If God could change Judea and Samaria with twelve Spirit filled Men, surely He can change America with several million who call Christ Lord!

2008 CTA Bus Rodeo Competition

I know it's a bit late, but just thought I'd post it anyway.

Last year I was fortunate to make it to the "Winning Circle" portion of the CTA's Bus Rodeo. The Winning Circle are the top 40 operators in the system, 5 from each of our 8 garages, who made the cut from round 1 competition. It was fun, and I hope to return again this year.

The CTA gave us all some very nice prizes, and fed us well too. I seen old friends there, and made some new ones, like Jairo Naranjo. He has won it all four years in a row.

The competition consisted of driving an obstacle course in a set time. The course tested your abilities in a number of manouvers, such as: Y backs, driving through diminishing barrels at 40mph, going through tennis balls that weren't visible, making perfect L/R turns, and much more!

Below are some pics I snapped on my cell phone...

Above: Me in front my bus before driving the course!
Below: The Champ, Jairo Naranjo! (Bald one)

Above: Jairo and Joe walking through the diminsighing barrels!
Below: New Flyer bus used in competition!

This year's competition will begin this spring...we'll see how it goes!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day - 2009

This Memorial Day, fly the flag, and fly it proud!

Thank a Veteran for serving to protect your freedom from those who seek to perpetuate evil, and cause harm.

God calls Men to protect their homes, their children, and their wives, with the use of the sword. If you're a pacifist who doesn't believe in violence, it's ok, just stay behind me and I'll protect you!

Above: My Navy Grad photo
Below: Me aboard the USS Midway
in front of an FA-18 Hornet)

Below: Graduation day in Orlando, FL
with my parents.

(Below are some photos taken at a WWII tribute
that my family attended in May)

This is Mr. Bill Sweeney. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge during WWII.
It was an honor to meet him!
Below are my two boys, Stephen and Ravi with two
young soldiers!

Below is my wife, June, and our eight children!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Who defines Manhood?


Answer: The Bible!

Check this verse out;

1 Corinthians 16:13

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (English Standard Version)

Here it is in the Amplified Bible;

13Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!

Isn't it great to know that as Men, we don't have to be effeminate to follow Christ. We can, and are called to be, masculine. Spurgeon once said: "There has gone abroad the notion that in order for a Man to follow Christ he must sink his manliness."

What strikes me about the above verse is the gender specific command that Paul places on the Men at Corinth. How I wish we heard more of this type of language on Sunday mornings. We need Pastors to lay it on thick when it comes to being Men in the biblical form that Paul describes in the text. Perhaps if they did call us out more, we might see an uprising of spiritually strong, firmly devoted, family loving, Christ glorifying, masculine men!

I wonder what you all think about the Men in church today. Are they masculine? Courageous? Firm in their faith? Alert? Responsible? Strong? Chivalrous? Godly?

Let me know what you see!

Contemplative Quote...

"Tolerance is the virtue
of a Man
with no conviction"
- G K Chesterton

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Some Pics from The Gospel Coalition Conference

Here's few photos I snapped at the GCN conference I attended with my Dad, and brother, Israel. We had a great time listening to some dynamic speakers. All the messages can be viewed, or listened to, at the GCN website!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

10 Ways to Know Your Pastor Isn't Called!

Top Ten Reasons You Know
Your Pastor Isn't Called

10. He doesn’t agree with you.
9. He cheats at golf.
8. He thinks “Pyromaniacs” is a disco group.
7. He thinks Thomas Nelson wrote the Bible.
6. She doesn’t wear enough makeup.
5. He wears too much makeup.
4. He thinks Plato is the original Greek.
3. He has “applause” lights on the front of the pulpit.
2. He thinks the movie “The Godfather” denied the Trinity.
1. He insists on including eunuchs in his altar calls.

Dumb Church Sign

How'd you like to call this church home?? I took this pic on my cellphone last summer driving home. They've since changed it, thankfully...

I wonder what God thinks when He looks down at those who call Him Father???

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gospel Coalition Conference '09

This past week, I took a few days out of my vacation, and kitchen rehab project, to attend the Gospel Coalition Network's 2009 conference entitled; "Entrusted With The Gospel; Living the Vision of 2 Timothy"

I attended with my brother Israel and my Dad. It was a nice chance to hang with family and see and hear from Men who God is using to advanc His kingdom. Men like Tim Keller, John Piper and Mark Driscoll to name just a few. To see the full line-up, and to hear or watch the video's from the conference, click here.

There were so many good things that went on and I went away with much to chew on, and much to ponder. It was really cool sitting less than 10 feet away from Tim Keller and D.A. Carson during one session. It was awesome spending about an hour and a half talking wth Jeff Louie over lunch and gleaning from him nuggets of truth on the state of the church and how we must remember the lowly in our society.

Attending gave me an opportunity to see Men I admire and respect again and say hi to them for a few minutes. Men like Scott Thomas and Tyler Powell, who are the Director and Asst. Director of Acts 29, a church planting network doing some amazing things for God's kingdom.

I saw some good friends from New Life Community Church in Chicago, along with the crew from Bethel Church in Crown Point, IN. Seeing friends who are doing their parts to move the kingdom forward is always a great thing. And today, with cyberspace, we're always just a click away from staying in touch.

I also went away with about $150 in free books! This helps ease the pain of $5.50 sloppy joes. :-)

So all in all, it was a good time. I cut it a day short and went home early to celebrate my son Ravi's 8th birthday. As good as the conference was, it doesn't compare to being a Dad and hanging with my crew at home. Reality set back in as I looked at my kitchen which was gutted of all the old cabinets and flooring, and needed to be put back together before I go back to work on Monday.

So be sure and vist the GCN's website for the messages from a really great conference, then go out and advance the kingdom for your King!