Abraham met got in certain places. He always had fire on the altars he built. Our altars must be on. Otherwise, we can lose sight of God. We must never play with fire. Stupidity can be compacted in a group, so take care. (Genesis 12:1-12; 13:1-2)
Speaker: Christian Diaz, Kimmo Houvula
6:30 PM on 10/8/2023
P. Schaller –
The two state troopers that were here this morning, they want to see Tootie George after the service tonight!
Hey, we have a very good service planned by God’s grace tonight. Amen! Yes, we have. Praise
the Lord. Praise the Lord. We’ll have a great service. Turn to your neighbor and just say we’re
going to have a great service tonight. We are going to have a great service. Praise the Lord.
We have two special guests tonight to share. We want to thank P. Stan Collins fro bringing P.
Christian Diaz up from Chile. P. Stan is here.
The first brother that’s going to share was with us at our pastor’s retreat. He is Kimo, pastor from Turku, Finland. The assistant to P. Izmo. And we met the first time when he was 15 years old, and it’s been a rough ride ever since! Now, he is such a loyal friend and just a very able and proficient and servant, he and his wife. Is your wife
here tonight? Okay. Mariana. Here she is. Right here next to Pirjo. He’s a guy you like to have a
conversation with if you want to know something. He probably has some opinion on it or some
knowledge. He is actually a scholar. He has his PhD in Theology of the Old Testament, but he’s
also like a very humble scholar and a servant. He was with us at our pastor’s retreat, and we
enjoyed it so much.
The second one is the pastor in Rancagua, Chile. He is P. Christian Diaz. And we also met many
years ago in Chile. I forget the year. Whenever it was. It was a long time ago, ’87 maybe or
1988. Something like that. And he was a young guy at that time. I was, too. And we heard him
at the Convention here a year ago. No, in June. And then the year before at the pastor’s retreat
or something like that. So, it will be great. Welcome. Pastor Kimo.
P. Kimo –
It’s good to be here. Good to see you all. Some thoughts about the leadership
conference. Sometimes you hear people say like it was fresh, and that’s what I think, but the
problem with that statement is that I’m not sure if we all understand it the same way. So, I’m
going to break it down what I mean.
When I went there, I heard a lot of different thoughts on different topics, and it wasn’t like
anything I’d never heard before. And I’m not sure if that was even the intention of the
conference, but it was something that when you hear something and that you know and you
think about it, you hear it different from the past. Just like when you read a passage in the
Bible. You’ve read it many 10 times before, 100 times, but then you live now in a different
situation. Different things are going on in your life and you read it from a different perspective.
And you make different connections in your life.
I think it’s so important sometimes to be reminded like I don’t say this in any light way. Like I was just reminded of something like yeah, I already know that. Not in that sense. But in the sense that you can find something fresh. Make
some new connections that help you in your current situation.
I think that’s one important thing in a conference like that. And of course, it would be great to
learn something spectacular, new, that like it just revolutionizes your life. But I don’t know
about you, but that doesn’t happen every year with me. Like if you have that happen over a
decade, every year, I think you’re an exceptional learner. Like really life transforming learning,
but that doesn’t mean like if that doesn’t happen, that it wasn’t worth it because you can still
learn. You can still kind of make these new connections.
It can still be fresh. But maybe even more importantly to me was the fact that we had a group of pastors, some of them I had met recently. Some of them I haven’t met for years, and some maybe for the first time. But just
thinking like if we are doing ministry together, if we are in this thing together, it’s very helpful if
we know each other. And you can build these connections with some people that you don’t
know that well, and you can enjoy their portion. It can be so important. Like you hear a
And there’s a proverb in the Bible that says in the multitude of counselors there’s success or
something like that. I don’t remember the English translation of it, but you know it’s so true.
Like we need to have different perspectives and that helps us grow. There’s, by the way,
another proverb that is not in the Bible. But this is an old Finnish proverb. It says that stupidity
is compacted in a group. And you know if you have a group of people, you know how they can
end up doing something way more stupid than any individual would do, but if you are in a
group with a different kind, the multitude of counselors can make you really wise.
So, I think it’s so important to cultivate the kind of relationships that don’t compact stupidity
but rather wisdom. And I really appreciate the contacts I had there. And just finishing with one
simple thought that I received from there. There’s the thought that concentrate, focus on the
right things. Don’t focus on the distractions, on the wrong things. But also, there was this
interesting testimony by this one pastor who said like he was concerned about not being able
to do a good job, because of some important distractions, and he coming to the conclusion that
he was still doing the right thing. Like it’s not a formula.
It’s something that requires maybe the freshness. Maybe just receiving thoughts from God and applying it to your life situation. So, out of the three things that I might have expected from the conference, like getting something
fresh and learning something spectacular, new thing, and then building these relationships, I
got two out of three. And I’m pretty happy about that it.
P. Schaller –
All right. So, we’re going to welcome P. Christian in a minute. You want to just get
ready for that. What do we want to do? Just the door swings open wide, right? Yeah. Are you
ready to hear P. Christian? Okay. Laura is the translator. Come on up. Okay. There we go. Thank
P. Christian Diaz –
Evening everyone. I want to invite you to visit two portions with me tonight.
The first is in 1 Kings 18:30-32. And I will read it. The second portion that I want you to read is in
Genesis 7-9. I’m sorry. Genesis 12:7-10. Paul says that all things that are written, all that was
written was written and he’s making reference to the Old Testament. Everything that was
written was written for our benefit through our wisdom. These are not just beautiful stories.
Oh, Jonah. That’s a good story for children. It’s not just for children. Jonah story is full of
teaching, full of doctrine. The story of Abraham is a beautiful story, but it has so much to tell us
today to us. The life of Abraham. What he did.
How he walked with God. It has for us today an enormous message. Everything that Abraham’s life is, is an enormous message to us. Abraham in chapter 12 in Genesis, God had appeared to him. God has promised a land and a
descendent. And through that descendent – listen to this – all the nations or all the people in
the world would be blessed. When Abraham heard this, he built an altar. He built an altar.
What is an altar? What is an altar? What does it mean? The word “altar” means sacrifice. It
means death. When we talk about an altar, we are talking about death, about a sacrifice. An
altar is a place where a sinful man could meet a holy God through an offering. So, an altar is a
place of meeting between God and sinful man only through an offering. And we read that
Abraham built an altar. When he heard the promise of God, he built an altar, but he also
pitched a tent.
What does this mean? What does each thing mean? The tent represents an earthly thing, an
earthly place. The common. My daily life. My earthly life. My relationship with the world. And
Abraham moved here. He built a, pitched a tent. He would move this way. He would pitch a
tent indicating that he was a man wanders. And we are all wonderers. We are in this world, but
we are not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven. That’s what Paul said. But the altar is the
place of meeting with God. The tent is my relationship with the world. At the altar is my
relationship with God, with the eternal.
The tent is earthly. Earthly. Temporal. The altar is eternal. God meets Abram and Abram builds an altar.
And in verse 8, it says that he built an altar. He builds it and he has to the west and a place
called Bethel. And to the east, he has another place called Hai. What does that mean? What
does this mean to me? What does this mean for me? Today, this means the following. The
word “Bethel” means “house of God.” House of God. Abraham built an altar. His altar is on the
fire. His altar is active. His altar is on fire. He can look to the house of God. I want the house of
God, because my altar is on fire. I’m on with God and I can look to the house of God. I can look
to the house of God.
Years before, years ago on a Wednesday, I called my pastor. We talked for a little while, and he
told me, he asked me, are you coming to the service? No. I’m not sure. I don’t know. Like we
say in Chile, I was kind of down. I was really, really down. My emotions were really low. My
altar was burned down. My altar was off. And my pastor told me, come. Come to the light.
Come to the light. Bring your altar back on.
Abram has his altar on, and he can look to the house of God. And I need an altar that has a fire,
that is burning, an active altar that I can, that I can choose the house of the Lord. What happens
if my altar is not on? What happens if I have no activity in my altar? A good question: how is my
altar? How is your altar? God is light, and he wants me to walk in the light that I will dwell in
light, that I will walk in light. What happens if my altar is not on fire? Abram Hai on the east.
Bethel. The house of the Lord. Otherwise Hai. What does Hai mean? It means the house of ruin.
House of ruin. If my altar is not turned on, I’m going to walk off to Hai.
In vs. 10, Genesis 12:10, it says that there was a famine in the land. There was a famine in the land.
And Abam decided, he decided to go to Egypt. He has lost his altar, and he decided to go to
Egypt. His altar is broken down, and the pressure of life. There’s famine in the land. The world is
going to pressure us. Pressures are going to come to our life. What will we eat? What will we
dress? How are we going to make it? Work. Money. Home. All the details. Life is pressuring and
pressuring and pressuring. It has the capacity to burn down the fire of the altar. And Abraham
walks to Hai. He makes it to Egypt. And tells his wife Sarai let us tell them that you’re my sister.
Tell everyone that you’re my sister. His altar is not on. He goes to the house of ruin, to Hai. He
lies. He cheats. He plays around. His altar is turned off.
The Jewish have a history. They say that when Abraham was on his way to Egypt, that he placed
Sarai in a box. And he made it into Egypt. And the Egyptian soldiers asked him, what is in your
box? I have gold. Oh, really? Oh, I have silver. The soldiers asked, is that so? Abraham said, I
have some precious jewels. Are you sure you have precious jewels? I have pearls. And the
soldiers said, open the box. And when they opened the box, oh a woman! Yes. She’s my wife.
Gold, silver, precious stones, pearls. It’s all one word, my wife.
But in Egypt, he told her you have to say that you’re my sister. You are my sister. And everyone
said, wow! Your sister. She’s so beautiful. Your sister. She’s gorgeous! Wow! She’s really, really
gorgeous. And Pharaoh began to look at Sarai and asked that she would be brough to him.
Abraham is playing with fire. He is playing with fire, because not only this could have been
immoral if Pharaoh took his wife, but also God had told him that he would give him a
descendant through is wife Sarah and through your descendants will be blessed all the people
of the world. The altar of Abraham is in ruins. It’s totally put off and he’s playing with fire. He is
definitely playing with fire. But God.
How many of you are happy that God is faithful to his promises? God fulfills his promise, but
Abraham, his altar is in ruins. But God will fulfill his promise. God will fulfill what he promised.
He has said and he will do it. He sent a plague. Pharaoh said, what is going on? This was not
your sister. You’re a liar. This was your wife. Almost. And Pharaoh, send her away. Get out of
here. Get out of here, vs. 13. Or Chapter 13, excuse me, in vs. 2. Abram was very rich in
livestock, in silver and in gold, and he went on his journey from the south as far as Bethel. Vs. 2-
4. Abram returns from Egypt rich. Because he was a liar. But he returns to the place where he
had – he restores the altar. Brothers, our altar needs to be restored at all times.
Elijah, during a very dark moment in the history of Israel, in the moment that they were
worshipping Baal, an immoral worship. They were killing children. Baal, this pagan god, was
worshipped by Jezebel and Ahab and the whole people of Israel were in darkness. And Elijah,
the first thing he does is he builds the altar. He restores the altar that had been burned down.
And now more urgent than ever, we need to restore our altar. We need our altar to be on fire.
We need to return to the altar with our families, to read the Word together, to pray together as
P. Schaller talked to us about the importance of education. We are in Chile praying so that we
may start a school, a Christian school, that we may have altars in many places. We need to turn
on the altars. Just like Elijah built the altar again. We need to restore our altars. . Arturo, you
knew him. I talked to him the Thursday before his passing. We laughed a lot. He was a very,
very funny man, and I miss him a lot. He would be here with us. That Sunday, he had coffee
with the leaders of the church, the people in the church. And he all of a sudden had a very
severe headache, and he couldn’t handle it. He cried. He was crying. Blanca, his wife, had said
he never cried. This was a very intense headache.
The leaders prayed for him. That pain went away. And you know what he did? He took the microphone and he preached. He went home. That night, they took him to the clinic. They said come back tomorrow for more follow up tests.
At 3 in the morning, Blanca prayed for him, because the pain was intense. He woke up at – she
woke up at 6 a.m. They went to the clinic that they would see P. Arturo. When Blanca got to the
home, she opened the bedroom door, and P. Arturo was lying on the floor, and he had passed.
He is a man who died with his altar on fire. His altar was on fire. He left his tent, and he went to
the house of the Father. He’s an example. He’s an example of a man who had his altar on fire,
and that is what we need today. We need to keep our altar on fire. God bless you.
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