Dear ITEM Partner,
Day two of three is behind us. It was a FULL and rewarding day. I think it is safe to say there were corrections made in the thinking of many when it comes to spiritual warfare. And what Dalmas revealed to us was very interesting and encouraging to Nathan and me. It kind of circles around what one might expect with a white guy from America and a black guy from Nigeria team up for a seminar.
UNCERTAIN NO LONGER
Nigeria is known for pastors who are into miracle services, casting out demons, and healing services. The white guys who do seminars here are motivational prosperity-gospel preachers. You put those two factors side by side and there is no telling what might happen next.
So, when Dalmas was inviting people he told them, “I don’t know these men. I don’t know what they are going to say. Come for the first day and if it isn’t good, don’t come back.
Now I know the significance of his comment after day one: “These men are our friends.” It has been an amazing two days. They are anxious for the August follow up seminar already!
As we continued our look into the call, role, and ministry of the pastor, I started the day with a lecture on preaching. Then our focus moved to the church. Nathan covered the purpose of the church. I handled spiritual warfare (Eph 6). Nathan went through the lecture on church discipline (Matt 18). I then gave an overview of the kingdom theme throughout the Old Testament. Then Nathan ended the day with NT Themes (pt 1).
Spiritual warfare lecture
The buzzz throughout the day was around the lecture on spiritual warfare. What the Bible teaches is very different than what their traditions and culture teach, and therefore, what most churches teach. There are a few basic principles we focused on: Christians who are walking with the Lord cannot be touched. If a Christians is truly being bothered by demons, the person needs to repent, not be delivered. And spiritual armor is put on to help us stand firm and resist, not attack. I think it is fair to say there was a collective freedom felt when they realized what the Bible actually teaches on this matter.
Q: In church discipline the first step is that one person goes to the sinner. What if the whole church knows? Or the whole town? And how many times do you go?
ANS: The principle is that the fewer people who know about the sin, the better. You don’t know if the whole town knows or even the whole church. So, it starts with just you. How many times do you go? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say. Just go as many times as it takes to be sure he or she is not going to listen to you. And Galatians 6:1 implies that you need to be sure you are right with God before you confront someone else.
Q: Can we read the Old Testament like it is written to us or is it just for Israel?
ANS: It was written to Israel. The promises are for Israel. But there are general principles that we can take out of the Old Testament. 1 Cor 10:11 says much of the Old Testament serves as an example for us.
Q: Which prophets prophesied during the exile period?
ANS: Jeremiah before and during. Ezekiel. Obadiah. Isaiah before and during. Haggai. Zechariah. Malachi. Maybe Obadiah and Joel.
A GROUP THAT COULD MULTIPLY
As Nathan and I get to know some of the participants we are learning how potentially strategic they could be. One older gentleman is a pastor and the general secretary of a fairly large group of churches. Some of the men are pastors who also have government jobs. We were told that some have come from up to 60 miles away. We sense that Dalmas is discipling many of these men through his church and Theology School.
Dalmas took me on a tour of his unfinished building and shared this vision as we toured. I like the vision and the man very much!
Thanks for praying and for being interested in the work of the Lord through us!
By His grace,