#002 – Abraham Mariscal

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Para el segundo episodio del podcast, invité a un gran amigo a mi casa para platicar acerca de lo que está haciendo en su iglesia. El año pasado lo nombraron director de jóvenes y he visto que su grupo de jóvenes está activo. Es tanta la envidia (de la buena) que me dio, que quise saber más acerca de su grupo y del trabajo que están haciendo. No sé para donde va el podcast, pero si sé que normalmente será en inglés. Esta vez, por una ocasión especial, es en español.Si quieren suscribirse al podcast, pueden seguirme aquí en el blog o pueden hacerlo mediante Stitcher (iOS y Android) o iTunes.


Aquí está la camiseta de “Sé el sermón” de la que Abraham y yo hablamos durante este episodio. Las fotos son de los eventos que han hecho como el “Migratón”. (Abraham aparece en la segunda foto en el centro).


Estos son los posts que se mencionan en la entrevista directos de Facebook:

10 de julio

8. Nos vemos atribulados en todo, pero no abatidos; perplejos, pero no desesperados;

9. perseguidos, pero no abandonados; derribados, pero no destruidos.

(2 Corintios, 4)

9 de julio

Para Jesús, tal como se revela en la Biblia, si bien la doctrina, la conducta ética y la liturgia son de suma importancia, lo principal y lo que le da su razón de ser al cristianismo, y su sentido a los valores antes mencionados, es el amor. -DM

7 de julio

¿Nos invita acaso Jesús al suicidio psicológico, con su exhortación a negarnos a nosotros mismos, a tomar nuestra cruz y a seguirlo? ¿Es posible que ser cristiano implique un desprecio por la vida, una mutilación de la personalidad, una despersonalización alienante, un “estar muerto en vida”, como acusa el mundo incrédulo? ¿Nos llama Jesús a un masoquismo espiritual y a empequeñecer -por no decir, anularla existencia y el goce de la vida? De ningún modo. El mismo Jesús también declaró: “Yo he venido para que tengan vida, y para que la tengan en abundancia” (Juan 10:10). -DM

28 de junio

No importan los logros en el ámbito más general y conceptual, si se carece de la capacidad para convertirlos en acciones específicas y en cambios concretos, es como si los grandes cambios no se hubieran hecho.

13 de junio

El sábado no es el fin; es un medio.

12 de junio

“Jesús nos dice que algunas cosas que son “ilícitas” bajo determinadas condiciones se vuelven lícitas ante los imperativos del amor y de la necesidad humana.” -D. Matutina


Aquí está la conversación completa.

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Why Are You a Christian?

In the past few months I’ve pondered the question of why we believe in God. I have heard sermons where it seems I’m being encouraged to work for the church because I will be rewarded. That’s nice, but is that why I should do it? If you are a Christian, I have some questions for you because I am curious to know why.


Are you a Christian because you want to go to heaven?

Are you a Christian because you want to go to heaven and then come back to inhabit the New Jerusalem?

Do you go to church because God promised to bless you?

Do you give tithe and offering because God promised to bless your household?

Are you a Christian because you’re playing it safe just in case God exists?

Do you love God because He loved you first?

Do you love Jesus because of his great sacrifice in Calvary?

Why do you go to church?

Why do you want to follow Jesus?

I’m just curious, why are you a Christian?

Ye shall know them by their fruits

Jesus said in Matthew 7 that we can know whether someone is a false prophet or not by the fruits they produce. A good tree produces good fruit just as a bad tree produces bad fruit. So, I guess we can recognize when someone is a true follower of Christ, a true Christian.

People see our fruits. In fact, many times people can pick out whether someone is Christian or not. Perhaps someone has come to you and said something like, “There’s something different about you.” Hopefully, the “something different” is a good thing. Or just maybe you get the unfortunately common, “Christians are hypocritical and judging.”

Are we giving good fruit to the world? Are our fruits telling the world we are trees full of evil?

I’d say most Christians have good intentions. They want to reflect Jesus and obey God’s word. However, the how is difficult. Most of the Christians I know like to solve this problem with a set of rules. After all, you only need to check items on a list to make sure you are following Jesus.

This method seems to work for some. Many of the rules included in these lists are undoubtedly biblical, others are extrapolations of biblical principles, and still others still make little sense to me. There are many sets of rules. Every denomination has their own. Within one denomination, every country has their own. Moreover, every congregation and every member of said congregation has their own set of rules.

Things get complex. The problem is, abstract terms are too complex as well. Somehow, lists help us grade how other Christians are doing. If we go with abstract terms like “love,” then how can we say whether they are being A+ Christians or just C+ Christians?

What if … ? I’m just making a suggestions here. What if … ? You don’t have to agree. What if we stop worrying so much about rating other Christians and trying to make them settle on our set of rules?

Let me make a quick suggestion. What if we focus on the fruits of the spirit? Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5). It is not really a list of rules you can cross out, but these fruits sound quite flavorful. They certainly are the fruits of a good tree. In them, there is no room for envy, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness.

The problem with a set of rules is not that they are wrong. The Bible lists many rules God wants us to follow, but there are many others we have added. Perhaps those rules help you attain love and self-control, so they are good. Maybe I’m different and I need different rules to produce those fruits. Your set of rules helps you evaluate your own walk, but that measure might not be a good measure to evaluate me.

Our goal is to resemble Jesus more and more each day, not to follow a list of rules. Let’s make sure our eyes are on Him, not on ourselves and others. Instead of evaluating each other, let’s look at Jesus and ask him to make us good trees that produce good fruit.

Lord, make me humble

Many people would say I complain a lot. That might be true. Perhaps it is true that week after week I vent out my frustrations not only with friends but also here. Constantly I have to remind myself that Jesus calls me to love others. It is not pretty to disagree. In fact, it is really uncomfortable. While I write this blog every Sabbath (or Saturday), I stop and think if I am being loving or just the opposite.

I believe this is a time for all of us to do that. During the current session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 1,381 delegates voted “no,” 977 voted “yes,” and five abstained from voting to allow each of the 13 divisions to choose whether they ordain women as pastors or not. The topic has been an issue of great relevance in the church for the past five years, and will definitely be one of much debate in the following months. While this might not be a step forward, it is not a step backwards (we can disagree on this one).

I’m not sure what will happen. I don’t know how many people will leave our church, but I do know something: whatever happens depends on us. Whether we stay or leave the church is our decision and will not be anyone else’s fault. We decide. And I encourage you to stay.

We have taken this issue beyond a healthy, constructive discussion, as we have done many other times. This happened and still happens on both sides of the arguments, just as it does in politics. In fact, we are handling church issues as if we were politicians. Some like to say our leaders are playing politics, but I think we are playing the role of angry constituents who help polarize the church. We might all be just as guilty and is time we become humble again.

By uniting and moving forward, I’m not asking anyone to stop what they think is a righteous cause (or plight). We have a great example from the past we must follow today. Imagine how believers felt after Jesus didn’t show up on October 22, 1844, when they were convinced he would return that day. We must follow the example of those who kept studying wanting to know Truth. Let us continue studying as humble servants of God who thirst for truth. Who knows when we might find an oasis.

We will still disagree, I know. I believe that is fine. In fact, I think it is great. However, we must disagree in love. Instead of boasting because the delegates voted “no” and calling in a triumph and saying the Bible won, let’s remember this is not a competition. We must not put anyone down. We must stop thinking that because others don’t think the way we do they are less spiritual and less learned in the Bible. We should not be needing to resort to fallacious arguments as many of uf keep doing. We need to be humble.

On the other hand, we should not see the vote as a defeat. Again, this is not a competition. We should not believe that those who don’t agree with us are bigots (some might be, just as we might be bigots on the other side of the spectrum). We should also not use poor rhetoric or shamming language. We need to be humble.

Yes, there is anger and disappointment. Sadly, there is also a sense of superiority and happiness in our neighbor’s defeat. This is completely wrong. We have a merciful, just, and loving God who gave us Jesus as our Savior. He is merciful, compassionate, and loving. He asked us to forgive as he forgives us and to love one another. God’s grace is a gift for you, me, and your neighbor that thinks differently.

Let us show grace to one another. Let us love one another. Let us ask God to make us humble.

In company: difficult and encouraging

We know that following God happens in two main ways: individually and communally. We not only attend church each week, but we also strive to dedicate some time to God each day so we can continue building our personal relationship with Him. Some of us do better at communal worship than at personal devotionals; for others, it is the other way around.

I don’t know if it is my Western upbringing but I tend to place my individual devotion above my church involvement. We also have the examples of David, Solomon, and Daniel who had a strong personal relationship with God. Moreover, Jesus spent time praying alone in Gethsemane. Surely, there is benefit in private time with God.

As I have mentioned before, Israel had a strong sense of community. If we turn to the Psalms, we find a people who suffered, rejoiced, and worshipped together. We get a glimpse of what this community will be like in the New Jerusalem when we get together like the General Conference for Seventh-day Adventists is doing this week in San Antonio. But we can also get this every week in our churches. We can enjoy each others company. However, there is even more to a community.

Over my short life, I have heard of people who say they are not the “church” type. They believe and love God, but they don’t need to go to church. While I personally understand how important a personal relationship with God is, I always feel uncomfortable with undermining the relevance of a spiritual community.

Communities, of any kind, exist to achieve a common goal. We get together because we know we can accomplish more (although some of us have been in group projects where we’ve had a different experience). If done right, groups can work harder and smarter than a single individual.

On the other hand, working in groups is difficult. Church members disagree with each other. Sometimes, our church resembles Congress, with the “liberals” in one side and the “conservatives” in the opposite side. The struggle is real. It has always been and it will always be, but I don’t think we need to agree with everyone in church and enjoy every thing that happens there. If I believed that, I would not attend church. It is about struggling together and learning how to move forward in love. I know that is possible because the struggle didn’t start yesterday or a couple years ago.

I’m not sure Jesus needed people around him to do his work, but he still called 12 disciples and many more. What a struggle it was to make them work together. There was jealousy and betrayal. Yet, they moved forward. The church expanded and problems did, too. Oh, poor Paul had to write so many letters to help the churches reconcile and move forward. And so on, and so on.

Despite the struggle and the vital personal relationship with God, a spiritual community is as important as ever. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul explains what happens to those who have died believing in Christ and finishes the chapter saying, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” In the middle of the next chapter, he says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” To the Romans, Paul said people all over the world heard about their faith. In the first chapter, he also wrote, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

We do not have to be part of a 10,000-member congregation. Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV). With a support system and, more importantly, Jesus’ power we can together fulfill our mission of preaching His love.

Evangélicos amarillistas por doquier

A veces me dan ganas de negar que soy cristiano, y no es porque me de vergüenza decir que creo en un Dios que es trino y uno. La verdad es que da pena estar bajo una etiqueta que incluye a un gran grupo amarillista y aún otro más hipócrita que el beso de Judas.

Luego de que tanto la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación y la Suprema Corte de Estados Unidos declararan inconstitucional el prohibir el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo (con sus diferencias en el proceso), mucha gente hizo saber mediante las redes sociales que no estaban de acuerdo con tal decisión. Y que bueno que se ejerza el derecho de libre expresión, pero basta con el amarillismo. No debemos caer en eso.

No creo ser el único que el pasado fin de semana durante un servicio religioso escuchó algo así como “el mundo le ha dado la espalda a Dios” con una clara referencia a la decisión de ver como un derecho constitucional el matrimonio gay. Aunque es verdad que muchos le han dado la espalda a Dios, esto pasó mucho antes que la semana pasada. El apoyar o no apoyar el derecho al matrimonio gay no me parece una cuestión de estar de un lado u otro.

¿Por qué? Sencillo. Libre albedrío, algo que nos encanta aportar a la conversación del gran amor de Dios, pero que felizmente ignoramos cuando parte de la sociedad quiere hacer algo que creemos va en contra de la ley de Dios.

El libre albedrío es un regalo de Dios y se parece mucho al derecho constitucional de la libre expresión. Si uno quiere hacer de su vida un papalote, pues adelante siempre y cuando no violen los derechos de otros. Al reconocer el derecho de otros de actuar conforme a su consciencia protegemos nuestro derecho de hacer lo mismo. ¿O a poco te gustaría que te impusieran leyes claramente basadas en las creencias religiosas de un grupo ajeno al tuyo?


El amarillismo está presente en muchos grupos evangélicos que con cualquier suceso, como el mencionado anteriormente, hablan una y otra vez de que Cristo viene pronto.

Cristo viene pronto, es cierto (aunque no se que tan pronto es “pronto”). También es cierto que hay muchos a quienes no les importa la falta de credibilidad de ciertas fuentes para compartir noticias amarillistas que conectan cualquier detallito por más diminuto que sea con el fin del mundo.

¿El nuevo papa es muy amable y refleja a Jesús en muchos de sus actos? Nos está engañando. Fin del mundo.

¿El papa se preocupa por el medio ambiente y declara los beneficios del shabbat que los católicos “celebran” el domingo? Ley dominical. Fin del mundo. (No importa que lleven quien sabe cuantos años realizando misa en domingo. Como lo dijeron otra vez pues debe haber algo ahí, ¿no?).

¿Una senadora en Estados Unidos quiere pasar una ley para que toda su comunidad tenga que asistir a misa en domingo? Ley dominical. Fin del mundo. (No importa que la senadora sea el “hazme reír” de los conductores de dicha nota). ¿La razón de la ley? Porque pues los valores están escasos y esto es lo que necesitan.

Y así hay muchas otras situaciones en las que se comparte información falsa o cierta pero sin relación alguna con el fin del mundo. El problema es que ser amarillistas es otra manera de hacernos ver mal y creanme que ya hay suficientes. Además, perdemos el tiempo con cosas que no deberían ocupar tanto de nuestro tiempo.

No debemos preocuparnos tanto con el fin del mundo. Se ha vuelto una obsesión que nos ha vuelto amarillistas.

—No les toca a ustedes conocer la hora ni el momento determinados por la autoridad misma del Padre —les contestó Jesús—.

Hechos 1:7 (NVI)

Ellos se quedaron mirando fijamente al cielo mientras él se alejaba. De repente, se les acercaron dos hombres vestidos de blanco, que les dijeron:

—Galileos, ¿qué hacen aquí mirando al cielo? Este mismo Jesús, que ha sido llevado de entre ustedes al cielo, vendrá otra vez de la misma manera que lo han visto irse.

Hechos 1:10, 11 (NVI)