Come and See…

“Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot – come, let us rejoice in him.” Psalm 66:5

Come and See What God Has Done by Cesar Limon

As I read this scripture this past week at Starbucks with my wife, at our weekly Bible study and prayer time together, I was moved by the zeal of the Psalmist. He was recalling the deliverance God brought about through the Exodus. It was at the time when the Egyptian army, the most powerful army at the time, chased the two million Israelites as they fled to worship and were faced with the monstrosity of the Red Sea. God’s people saw Him open the Red Sea for them as they passed through “but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.” (Hebrews 11:29). These physical events, of course, symbolize the spiritual foreshadowing of what is here now. The Egyptians oppressing the Israelites represents our sins that oppressed us and enslaved us in the world, and the crossing of the Red Sea embodies us crossing over from the Darkness into His light where all our sins were drowned away at the waters of baptism! But just like the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and then entered the desert before they went into the promised land, I know we who have been baptized have not yet entered the true promise land, which is heaven. We have simply entered the desert, our times of testing before we enter on to our great reward! Times in the desert are awesome if we have the right perspective that God is preparing us to be with Him forever!

When I think of the Israelites running from Egypt, I can only help but to think of my life’s story and how my sins chased me as I was enslaved to impurity, various drugs, lies, and a complete ignorance of God and his will for me. I remember before becoming a Christian trying to run from my sin my own way and even telling myself as soon as my daughter is born, I will stop my crazy lifestyle which included all the smoking. Sadly, not even an hour went by after my daughter was born that I was outside of the hospital back to smoking. I felt there was no real hope in changing, yet one day on Campus a disciple named Malcolm Abbott came up to me and asked me if I wanted to do a Bible Study. My life forever changed when I crossed my Red Sea and was baptized on April 11, 2010! It has been amazing as God powerfully broke the chains of my addictions, and to this day I have never gone back to those things that oppressed me for years! Since then, I started to see God do many miracles in my life! Four months after I was baptized, I was sent on a mission team to Riverside, California, where my brother Luis Miguel was baptized at our send-off service – we’re still not sure whether he was our first baptism or a part of the mission team! There we saw the 12 disciples grow to over 80 disciples and the sending out of the San Bernardino Sector as well as the Palm Springs Sector! My wife and I had the honor of planting the Palm Springs Sector where we were trained by Argo and Anu from Stockholm, Sweden and with 8 disciples in six short months we saw God grow the group to over 30 disciples! We were then sent to Pomona, CA to take over the leadership of the East Region of the City of Angels Church, where we watched God multiply the East Region from 30 to over 60 disciples with many teens, campus, singles and marrieds added to God’s Kingdom! One of the couples that was key in helping us grow this ministry was a couple that joined us directly from our former movement – Fernando and Jackie Chavez. They were leaders in the ICOC and although they never stopped going to church or giving contribution, once they saw the zeal and fire of “the church they were baptized into” they quickly saw their need to be restored back to their first love. And that they did as they hit the floor running with bringing people into their homes and jumping back on the mission of saving as many as possible! We were in the East Region for about 6 months when we were asked to lead a supplemental mission team to strengthen our sister church in Portland, Oregon. God encouraged our souls by allowing us to bring the following incredible disciples with us: the Chavez’s, Jorge, Valeria, Monique, PJ, and Manuel – and we all landed on June 2015!

“For you God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:12

When we landed we immediately fell in love with the city, the church, and the people – yet at the same time, it was a time of testing. We heard there was different problems going on in the church, but we had a mind-set to come and simply show the Portland church many miracles that God can do! God came through as usual, as He provided 30 additions in the first six months; however, there were also 30 fall aways, and so we knew there was something we were missing. God taught us many things, but the key lesson we learned is that God’s church is not simply a name or a reputation, but it’s the people in it that make up the church. In Revelation 3:1 In speaking to the Church in Sardis Jesus writes, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” There was a group of members inside the church that simply did not have a desire to live out the commands of Jesus in that every disciple needs to be committed and that we must all take part of Jesus’s dream of Evangelizing the world by either going to those nations or supporting those that go out into these nations and so instead of coming to a repentance and focusing on the end goal of all we do, love, there was a sinful faction created within the church. I am indebted to our partners Fernando, Alfredo and their wives in their consistent faith and convictions and their amazing stance to protect the saints in the way God would want us to as we know this was not something new and in fact Titus was dealing with a similar situation in the church in Crete: “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception… They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain…” Titus 1:10-11. After the divisiveness spirit was dealt with, many repented but sadly there was still some who departed from the truth and therefore shipwrecked their faith. God pruned us and we were at 76 disciples 6 months ago in September, but these were 76 disciples with golden hearts ready to do the will of God! God is faithful and with a fired-up group of disciples whose hearts are set on Jesus He can always do amazing things! It has been refreshing to witness these past 6 months God give us weekly additions with baptisms, restorations and even Paul Reddy who joined us directly from our former movement because he saw the fire and the love of the disciples! Also, amazingly with a focus on Shepherding and strengthening the weak this year, there has been no fall aways and now we number over 90 disciples and closely reaching 100 for the Lord! God has not just been moving here in Portland but also across the Movement as last year we were able to plant over 8 churches, and this year we are sending out Mission Teams to Monterrey, Mexico; Miami, Florida; Kiev, Ukraine; Cebu, Philippines and our last Crown of Thorns church to Hong Kong, China!

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” Psalm 107:2

 

Today, we are as compelled as our Israelite brothers and sisters to tell our story as those who have been redeemed and gathered from the furthest horizons! Each disciple has their own story that God has personalized and each church has their own destiny that God is authoring. Think about your life and ask yourself: Am I excited about the story God is writing in my life? Are you allowing God to add new chapters of amazing things done for His Kingdom or has your story diminished over time? Are you more zealous now for the Lord than ever before? And now think about your church: Is your church still living out the story of our first century brothers and sisters? Is there a zeal for God, His people and the mission that is being lived out? Let us remember that we have a story not only to tell, but also to live! Let us proclaim the invitation to everyone: “Come and see what God has done”! Debbie and I are grateful and honored to be in the battle with all of you!

 

Average Giving in 2017: $3,009

Pledges: $3,609

Average Attendance in January: 120

 

Upcoming dates:

March 26         New Christian Orientation Celebration

March 26         Special Missions 50 % Goal Mark

April 9             Women’s Day

April 16           Easter Service

May 21            Special Missions

 

New Additions:

Jesse Lane

Naomi Toni A’au

Gerardo Luna-Velencia

Liliana Del Carmen Moreno Cruz

Therese Tiba Mulumba

Marixa Perez

Damian Ray

Fatuma Eca

 

 

Portland ICC Church Directory

Evangelist: Cesar Limon

(909) 456-5546

 

Women’s Ministry Leader: Debbie Limon

(951) 902-9461

 

Shepherds: Alfredo and Rosy Alanis

(360) 947-7775 / (360) 947-7785

 

 

Bible Talks in Central:

Portland State University “Vision on Campus”- Cesar and Debbie Limon

Pearl District “Purpose in the Pearl”- Fernando and Jackie Chavez

Beaverton “Refresh”- Rich and Hannah Hardy

Tualatin Spanish- Rogelio and Mireya Pena

Teens “Rise Above Teen Ministry”- Arro Manriquez and Valeria Garcia Pineda

Hillsboro Spanish- Osvaldo and Fabi Avila

Bible Talks in North:

PCC Cascade “Vision on Campus”- Jorge Castillo and Monique Carrasco

PCC Sylvania Campus “Vision on Campus”- Rich Noches and Diana Hernandez

North Portland “Nothing but Truth”: DaMarcus and Angie Redeau

Vancouver Spanish Bible Talk: Jesus and Rosa Coloa

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