In the last few days, we have received requests for printing more of our training books in Uganda and Zambia, Africa. Faithful men have realized the great need to establish believers in biblical truth so they can stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ ALONE. We are very blest to have those we trust through the connections God has given us.
Paul was always looking for those who were faithful and could be entrusted with the Lord’s work. “That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17). Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22, and is not gained by mere education.
“So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything” (Ephesians 6:21). “just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf” (Colossians 1:7).
As Paul points out to Timothy in his last letter, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1–2). Paul was always thinking about the next generation of leaders. Are we?
We are very thankful to receive good news from Tom and his wife, DeeDee, about their time so far in Cuba. Please use this as a prompting to pray for them and all the believers in this island.
“We arrived safely last night and have spent several hours talking with the pastor. He stayed up for several hours last night looking at the Spanish God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) and wants me to introduce it Sunday morning during the service. Then he wants me to spend a couple of days talking with other people at different churches. Already he has asked me to come back in November or December. We have limited access to internet, so I'll fill you in when I get a chance. Thanks for your prayers.”
How thankful we are that God has given Tom these opportunities. It is evident that this resource has touched a need with the churches on this Island. We must remain dependent on the Lord not to expose them to unnecessary persecution yet do all we can to establish and build up their faith.
One of our partners in S. E. Asia gives a wonderful testimony about the founder of this ministry (Tim Bunn) and what the resources and training have done to so many in his country. I post this because it needs to be said. I have edited this testimony lightly, so you hear the message as it was given to me.
“Thank you for your many visits here and the spiritual care for our extended family over the years. Through you, many people have come back to the Bible and its authority to learn how to apply it to themselves and to help their families grow in the Lord.
I sent God’s Plan for Young Disciples (GPYD) to the Hmong teachers for the summer youth training, who continued to study every day at home. I think they will continue to study for 6 to 12 months to complete GPYD. There are 28 children and 6 Hmong teachers in the class.
I continued the courses in the furthest region to the South until August 5th. Through God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD), God opened many opportunities in this part of our land. There are many Cambodian people who also want to learn.”
Pray for this work to continue without interference and that the Church will be built up and equipped to spread the gospel without hindrance.
Our partner in Nepal sent me several texts and pictures today with new developments in training believers through the Nepali God’s Plan for His Church (GPHD). I can tell through his messages that he is very excited that news is spreading about the online study and persons are being added to the group. Here are a couple comments he made regarding this work.
Please join us in praying for these and many other people and places where God is at work.
Two of our team traveled to Santa Clara, Cuba today. They have a particular interest in this island because they have been to Santa Clara before and look forward to meeting some new people to introduce God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) in Spanish. This is the discipleship material that we and others have found to be effective in many places around the world that establishes their faith in the gospel of grace.
The contact in Santa Clara is a local pastor. He has several congregations under his care, so their week should be filled with opportunities. They have looked forward to this trip for a while and want to thank those who have prayed for them and this trip. About a week ago they picked up the Spanish books that are fresh off the press and will be used in Cuba.
If everything goes as planned, this team will come home on August 2nd and then leave again on August 10th for Ecuador. Pray for good health while they are in Cuba so they can turn around in a week and head to Ecuador. Pray that God will provide connections and build relationships with the people that will advance His work.
There is a need for Biblical training in Cuba. House churches are springing up everywhere because the government will not allow groups of more than 75 to gather. Once a congregation reaches 75, they must start a new congregation, which has created a need for training new leaders. This needs much prayer!
Paul has a lot to say about spiritual maturity and it would be helpful for all of us to give this subject more attention. I have developed and taught a series on “Spiritual Growth” which brought me to this verse in Colossians 1:28.
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
“Mature in Christ” helps us understand that Paul was not satisfied with knowing that believers were saved, but he wanted to see them “established in the faith” (Col. 2:7; 2 Cor. 1:21; 1 Thess. 3:2, 13; 2 Thess. 2:17; 3:3). He clearly describes the maturing process in these verses.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6–7). Note that the words “received, walk, rooted and built up, established” are all active verbs which means that something is happening that demonstrates growth is taking place.
“Walking in Him” points to a public witness of an internal process resulting from an intimate relationship with the Lord. “Rooted and built up in Him” indicates an internal, secret working of the Spirit that is helping draw nutrients and fresh supplies of grace from the relationship. These help our faith to become more established so we can withstand the violent winds of culture and doctrines from false teachers.
How would you measure your spiritual maturity? Paul told the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Just as I was going to write this blog, I received a message from a dear brother and partner in Ecuador. He has a real passion for establishing the Quechua churches in the truth of the gospel and has been using the Spanish God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) in this process. These believers live high in the Andes Mountains which run the length of South America on the west side and are in some sense isolated.
Please pray for these believers. Employment is often difficult because of their location in the mountainous villages that are some distance from major cities. Having been on their roads, I know that access to major communities for work and supplies is difficult. This challenge has not taken away their love for Jesus and His word. As we help train their leaders so they can train the churches, pray that God gives us wisdom in helping these leaders become well established in God’s Word and equipped to train others.
It has been a very full day! With meetings most of the morning and spending the rest of my day getting details assembled for our NFI Retreat, I needed some fresh material for this blog. This caused me to pick up Roland Allen’s book, Essential Missionary Principles and began reading where I left off the last time on page 70.
He addressed a point that I have often wrestled with; ‘what result are we seeking to produce’ in mission work, or for that matter, any work for the Lord? If the result of our labors is merely an external spiritual change, it will fall short of the manifestation of the Person of Christ and the Holy Spirit in us and in those we want to impact.
This difference was manifested in John the Baptist. When he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God”, the two disciples heard him say this and the followed Jesus” (John 1:36-37). It only took those few words from John to cause them to make a life-changing decision.
What about our words? Do they redirect the attention of others away from us to Jesus?
Historically, missionaries have been required by the sending church or missionary organization to send reports back home so their work can be monitored to see if they are accomplishing what they were sent to do. As I have read and reread the Book of Acts and Paul’s letters, I do not find any such requirement. Instead, I find a spontaneous excitement and genuine interest in what God was doing through the apostles and those sent out. Here are a couple examples:
“When they heard these things, they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life”” (Acts 11:18).
“When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them” (Acts 15:4).
This all took place during a time when God was making some huge changes in the Church. Up to this point the Church had been largely Jewish. As He had always planned, God’s grace was flowing out through the gospel to the Gentiles who received it with gladness and were added to the Church. The Church in general was not prepared for this change.
God used these reports to confirm His work. Their arguments “fell silent” and the Spirit in them caused worship for what God had done. Many of the traditions we hold on to need to be replaced by the fresh work of the Spirit as it is seen in the Early Church. Can we stand in His way?
We have occasionally told you about what our books for children and young people are doing in many places around the world. Today I received another report from S. E. Asia with pictures that were amazing. When God’s Plan for Young Disciples (GPYD) was printed there, we never dreamed the impact would exceed our expectations in unplanned places. It has!
I was able to combine a few pictures of what God is doing through GPYD so you can have a visual idea of what is taking place. Dozens of children and young people are being taught the gospel and God’s Word through GPYD. This is the fruit of sacrifice and labors of a few here in North Carolina who assembled a tool that will have an eternal impact in the next generations.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers [and sisters], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
If you follow my blog, you will have seen that this same thing is happening in Myanmar, and a group of children and young people in Eastern India who speak Burmese. In addition, GPYD has been translated into four languages in Africa and is starting to be used in several countries there. May this encourage you and give fuel to your heart to invest in children and young people in every corner of the world. Only heaven will reveal what God has done in these young hearts.
If you have an interest in giving God’s Word to children and young people, please go to our “SUPPORT”page and send us a note. We would love to talk with you.
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