RETURN TO JOS

Dear ITEM Friends,

I am settled in Jos, Nigeria the unofficial center of Christianity in Nigeria. I’ve talked a lot about the ECWA denomination and their headquarters is here along with one of their seminaries, JETS (Jos Evangelical Theological Society).

THUMPIN AND BUMPIN

It was about 4.5 hours on a paved but potholed infested road. So, there was a LOT of thumpin and bumpin and swerving and swaying and slowing then speeding. I was reminded of a joke told to me on one of my first trips to Africa. It goes like this: If you see anyone driving in a straight line in Africa, the driver is either drunk or it is someone else’s car.

VICTIMS OF THUMPIN AND BUMPIN

Along the way we passed no less than 2 accidents, a big 18 wheeler that had gone off the side of the road, a van stuck in deep water, a couple of other stalled 18 wheelers, and NO LESS THAN 5 military road blocks checking vehicles. Normal procedure in Nigeria.

THE SERVANT-DRIVER

The driver dropped me off, took a deep breath, turned around, and headed back ….. another 4.5 hours. What dedication! I am very grateful!

JOS (I heard a story that it stands for Jesus Our Savior)

This was my Nigerian home city for the first several years of ITEM since this was the home of Nathan Chiroma, my special assistant, who left about 10-12 years ago to pursue his doctorate (as did his wife, Jane) in South Africa. They now live in Nairobi, Kenya.

In those early years, we traveled all over Nigeria from here. I’ve probably been to more places in Nigeria than any other country I’ve been blessed to minister in here on the continent of Africa. I could write a small book filled with some pretty interesting stories about my experiences in this country. Some were with Nathan, some were not.

MEET WILLIAMS BURGA

My host, this week, is Williams Burga. I’ve known him for a long time. In 2008 or 2009 he was my host for a seminar in Gusau, Nigeria. He is currently taking a leave from pastoral ministry to work in leadership development, focusing on becoming a servant leader, a desperate need here.

CULTURE INVADING THE CHURCH

He explained to me that the culture is pushing into the churches. (Sounds familiar. The tragedy is that “we” (pastors and parishioners) are allowing it. One of the results is a decrease in servant leadership and an increase in powerful, dominant leadership. And for many coming out of seminary, they are seeing ministry like professionals in the culture and are seeking to move up the ladder of success (i.e. gaining more power, privilege, and income).

THE WEEK AHEAD

Tomorrow, Sunday, I’ll be preaching at one of the local ECWA churches. I am still undecided on what I’ll preach. I am going back and forth between the purpose of the church (glorify God, lead the unsaved to place their faith in Christ, build up each other spiritually, and keep the church pure, exercising church discipline biblically (Matt 18:15-20) or a look at the Christian life from the book of Ephesians. Eph 4:1 says “therefore, walk worthy.” I am thinking about “the why, what, and how of the worthy walk in Christ.”

Monday is an off day. Then Tuesday to noon on Thursday I will be speaking to 80-90 ECWA pastors with my previous comments about seeking power and status in mind.

PRAYER REQUESTS

Please pray for these opportunities this week that what I say will be used of God in the lives of pastors and church members alike.

Also pray for rest and health. This guest house does not use a generator when power goes off. That means no AC, no hot water . . . less comfort. Also means I can’t charge my laptop or phone. Thanks for praying.

By His grace,

Steve

(Hope to have new pics up by 1pm PDT Saturday)

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