God Uses Broken People, Situations to Show His Love

Post a Comment » Written on June 21st, 2007     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

PORTLAND, OR (June 21, 2007) – God will use his people in the most broken times of their lives to show his love to the most broken of people, said Andres A. Bunch Lopez during his stirring message as part of Thursday evening’s opening worship service of the 122nd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Lopez is pastor of El Pacto Christian Church in Bogota, Colombia. Over the past 14 years, he has planted eight churches. He also serves as director of the Foundation El Pacto, which ministers to prisoners and their families, as well as to street people. The foundation runs an elementary and middle school for 270 children.

SpeakerA video shown prior to his sermon showed some of the ministry being done by El Pacto. One delegate wept as she saw images of a homeless man being held down while his painful wounds were cleaned, the filthy being bathed, and the hungry fed.

Lopez’s wife, Beatriz, introduced the video. Although she speaks only Spanish, she read from a text in English. People with shattered lives aren’t transformed by specific acts of kindness, she said. “They are changed by the love they receive.” Even if people don’t leave the streets and their addictions, she said, they will have experienced love.

Speaking in Spanish with interpretation by Covenant missionary Gary Sander (top photo), Lopez preached from 1 Samuel 22:1-2: “David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; when his brothers and all his father’s house heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred.”

They were “not the kind of people we would like to be with,” Lopez suggested. He quickly noted, however, that “Even Jesus walked around surrounded by people of low profiles, and that is why you and I are here tonight. Because we are not the best recommended people, and Jesus looked for us.”

PalmbergPeople get so caught up in their own problems, “that we forget what the Lord has done for us,” Lopez said. David faced the same temptation. The future king had lost his wife, best friend, job and spiritual counselor and suddenly was forced to feed and care for 400 people. Because of his faithfulness, however, they became a mighty army.

“These men who were downtrodden and disillusioned in this cave, they knew God because of David,” Lopez said.

“David invested his life in these people,” Lopez said. “I don’t know if you’re ready to invest in this kind of people, but Jesus invested in 11 people like that.” He added, they had been “humanly incapable of transforming the world,” but “today, you and I are here because of these men.”

The service began with a procession of 39 flags representing all of the countries in which the Covenant has missionaries or partnerships. For a closer look at this and other highlights of the service, please see “Service Highlights.”

Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission, thanked the delegates for their prayers while he and missionary Roger Thorpe were trapped amid fighting in Kinshasa, Congo, in March.

Following the sermon, new missionaries were commissioned. The lower photo shows President Glenn Palmberg addressing those being commissioned.

The new short-term and project missionaries shared about the work they will be doing. The service concluded with people in the audience praying for the missionaries. Current missionaries on home assignment and retired missionaries also were recognized.

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