Dear ITEM Prayer Partners,
The numbers we expected this week never showed up but those who came seemed highly motivated at the seminar to join the ITEM team to spread this training around Kenya and to see the church’s spiritual dept increase through the serious, systematic teaching of the Word and plans have already started coming together.
Other highlights of the day were the questions.
Finally, billboards read, “1GB for only 99BOB/daily.” in the photo album we answer the question, “Who or what is ‘BOB’?”
With so much good discussion and interaction this week, Nathan an I moved more quickly than usual through lecture notes, following the path we set ourselves on day one: concentrate on concepts not content.
My first lecture today was a leftover from yesterday: The Priority of Biblical Preaching (it’s all through the NT). Nathan combined his two lectures of the day in the second hour: The Power of then The Passion for Biblical Preaching.” Then after lunch, I covered four sets of lecture notes in about one hour (normally do one and then three at once to end the seminar). The four were: Expository Preaching Defined/Explained; Nine Reasons for Preaching Expos Sermons; Fifteen Reasons to NOT Preach Traditional Sermons; Proving the Priority of Expos Preaching.
QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS
Q: When you talked about what a true disciple is, you read Luke 14:26 where Jesus said we need to hate father and mother or we can’t be His disciple. But other places we are told to love our wives and children. What does that mean? ANS: Jesus was making a comparison and was exaggerating. He was saying that nothing should stand between Him and one who is His disciple. Compared to our love for Christ, our affection for family measures at the level of “hate.”
Q: Nathan said the order of our priorities should be God first, family second, ministry third. If we are to hate our family in our commitment to love God then why is family ahead of ministry? Isn’t God and ministry the same thing? ANS: No. Priority one is to get to know God personally, intimately. It is speaking of our relationship with God. Then when it comes to where we spend our time and energy, family comes ahead of ministry.
Q: Nathan said it is appropriate to preach on ‘sin.’ When people in the church repent, does God forgive them or are they already forgiven? ANS: (Nathan) If this is talking about a Christian this is not salvation, it is sanctification. Positionally he is forgiven past, present, and future. But 1 John 1:9 says, “if we confess….He will forgive and cleanse.” (Steve) 1 John 1:9 identifies one habit of a true believer, confessing sin. In the original language is says if you “continually” confess your sin. . . He is faithful and just to (already) forgive your sin. Second, when you preach and someone is convicted by the Holy Spirit, they might repent quietly in their mind. Heb 4:12 says the Word judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. You may not even know it is happening.
Q: How can you show passion when you are preaching? ANS: After spending time with God in His Word all week studying there should be a fire in your “gut” (belly, soul) that the only way to put it out is to preach it out! People can see it in your eyes. They hear it in the urgency of your voice. It’s not always about volume. It’s about conviction and urgency. You can’t make it up. It must be real or the congregation will see it.
Q: How are we supposed to apply Old Testament passages? ANS: Great question. Many do not use the OT properly. Do not try to bring the story as it is written into the modern world. Look for general principles that will apply in all generations.
Q: If you prepare a sermon and on Sunday morning feel that you should preach something else, what do you do? ANS: I might have done that once or twice. It is usually because of an immediate situation that has come up in the church. Then it isn’t so much a sermon but a spiritual father speaking from his heart to his spiritual children. It is more of just sharing your heart about something.
Q: Men who focus on Bible exposition seem to be challenged in the area of applications. They seem very academic in their preaching. They lack application. What can we do to avoid that? ANS: (Nathan) Spend time with the people in the church. (Steve) This is harder for the younger, newer pastor and becomes easier as you grow. As you go through life, God will make sure you get “beat up” some. It tenderizes you and helps you identify with the people in the church who are beat up by life also. And make sure in your preparation you are spending enough time thinking about application.
THE WAY FORWARD
This, by comparison, was an expensive seminar. We bought food for 50-55. We printed enough notes for the same number. Then we had to reprint notes because the first set was the wrong lectures. So, cost per attendee was relatively high. But if you measure cost by investment to outcome, it was a good investment.
I went on to describe the “vision” for Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and in many ways the capital of East Africa. The vision is to form a team then prepare the team to start conducting the training and mentoring of pastors. I mentioned a lecturer exam they’d need to take and a lecturer agreement they’d have to sign. I invited them as individuals to join the ITEM team. I outlined what that meant; the process.
The word all week is that I’d be back in 2019. One participant asked, “What can we be doing now so we don’t have to wait?” We talked about it and I suggested some projects. I asked Steven Mzungu (organizer, who will also become formal ITEM area coordinator under Apollo our national coordinator) later on the way back to the guest house, how many said they were interested. He said, “Three, but many needed to leave immediately after we finished.” There will certainly be more.
Steven asked about organizing a seminar right now that he and Nathan could do. He knows of about 100 pastors in one of the Nairobi slums waiting to be trained. I said yes and suggested that some of the guys in the room come to watch and learn from the presenter’s standpoint.
ONE MORE STRATEGIC STOP
This seminar was attended primarily by Southern Baptists in the facilities of one of the leading So Baptist churches and was attended by the church’s associate pastor. We closed in prayer and was “pumped up.”
This weekend, Steven and I will be in Mombasa, Kenya, visiting with the Southern Baptist moderator for all of Kenya. Steven knows him well. We are praying that it goes well enough that Steven can do a seminar there, hopefully leading to a partnership. The Southern Baptists have over 2000 churches in Kenya and most of the pastors are untrained and the denomination admits they are not doing a good, thorough job of training leadership.
That’s it for the Nairobi seminar. Friday is an off day then Saturday it is off to Mombasa, a short flight. Meet the moderator after church Sunday. Head for home on Monday.
WHO OR WHAT IS “BOB” IN THE CONTEXT OF THE BILLBOARD THAT READS “1GB ONLY 99BOB/DAILY”?
By His grace,