Dear Praying Friends,
Wednesday is in the books. Two more days. As I mentioned yesterday, the numbers are pretty low. But I also mentioned yesterday that all we need to come out of this is one or two pastors who will step up and want more training in the area of preaching, which is one step towards becoming a model church. Well, today I had a thought that took me back to a TV show we watched when I was growing up, “Father Knows Best” (1954-60).
FATHER KNOWS BEST
Proverbs 16:1 reads, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”
We budgeted for 50 seminar attendees but there are only 10-12. That could be considered a “downer.” But today as I sat and listened to other team members lecture (albeit in their local language while I listened in English), I was reminded that these men have never even attended this seminar.
As I’ve mentioned, we are now starting for the third time here in Madagascar. But this is an educated group so I didn’t feel the need to delay their involvement. But it is pretty unusual to have anyone giving a lecture that they have not heard before. That brings me back to Father Knows Best.
In a sense, this seminar is as much for the team as for the pastors who are attending. This is giving our newly assembled team a chance to experience the seminar. Because of their advanced education, I decided to allow each one to give a lecture or two. That keeps them engaged. We can consider this a “training lab.” We’ll debrief on Friday.
I began the day giving the lecture on the pastor’s preaching ministry. I demonstrated from Scripture the priority (Col 1:24-25; 1 Tim 5:17; Acts 6:4) and goal of preaching (to move people towards Christ-likeness). Then I explained it from 1 Tim 4:13 (read, explain, apply Scripture). Then explained Bible exposition and offered ITEM’s assistance if they wanted to develop that kind of preaching style.
Najo followed with Paul’s advice to elders/pastors from Acts 20:28-35): Watch over you own lives; Lead and Feed the Flock; Pray for the church; protect the church from false teachers; do not covet.
Camille followed with the lecture on the purpose of the church: Glorify God; evangelize the lost by words and lifestyle; build up the church and help keep it pure by lovingly confronting ongoing sin in the lives of people.
I was supposed to finish the day with the lecture on spiritual warfare but because of a shortage of time, I did the Old Testament Theme, which is primarily the development of God’s kingdom with a special focus on the Abrahamic (Gen 12:1-3), Davidic (2 Sam 7:6-12), and New (Jer 31:31-33) Covenants that God made with Israel.
HOW CAN SO LITTLE MEAN SO MUCH?
As I looked ahead to decide what clothes I needed laundered before heading for home in a week, I handed the house keeper here in Madagascar one pair of trousers, a pocketed T-shirt, and one pair of socks. When I came back to my room today, there they were, folded and laying on the foot of my bed.
I took them to the launderer, with a note reading “_________ Ar ?” Since we don’t speak the same language, I was asking “How many airiary?” Airiary is the name of the currency here. She wrote “2000” on the line and handed it back to me. That is only .63! I pulled out a 5000 note ($1.56) and handed it to her and she responded with glee! You would have thought I had handed her a $20 bill.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
Praise for God’s grace and mercy because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf; for the honor of serving Him in another part of the world; for African friends; for the joy that $1.62 brought to the young woman who washed my clothes!
Pray for the last two days of the seminar that convictions about being diligent students and systematic teachers of the Scriptures and will be established and pastors will be motivated receive further trained in the ministry of preaching.
As always, I thank you for your prayers and interest in what God is doing through ITEM here in Africa.
By His grace,
Click here to see many new pictures added to the end of the photo album. (Night time traffic, the restaurant cat, low rent housing to name a few.)