My heart is always filled with joy when I receive an email from my ‘Timothy’ in Myanmar. Even though the conditions there are very difficult, as you see in his comment below, he never misses an opportunity to advance the Lord’s work through active discipling and teaching.
It was only three weeks ago that we printed more copies of the Burmese God’s Plan for His Disciple and the new translation of God’s Plan for Young Disciples (Teacher’s Edition and Young Disciples Workbook in Burmese and Zomi (Chin). Already, he is using these resources to disciple and encourage believers so they can pass on the gospel of grace. Here is his note to me:
“By His grace, we were able to hold GPHD training in Kalaymyo. The political situation in Myanmar is not stable. Many houses are destroyed and burnt. Kalaymyo is one of them. I praise the Lord for granting us the opportunity to train His disciples in the Word.”
Please pray for this faithful servant and all the Lord’s people in Myanmar. They have been the target of persecution like most of us have never experienced. “Remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” Hebrews 13:3.
One of our team in Ecuador, is so excited about what God is doing among the Quechua churches. Since God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) was introduced to these believers, there has been a steady spiritual growth among them. As you see in these pictures, they have given themselves to faithful study of God’s Word. It is not just the adults, but young people and children are involved in the same study through God’s Plan for Young Disciples (GPYD).
For generations they have sat in their churches, sung songs, and listened to messages, but never learned the gospel of grace directly from Scripture. Now each person is actively taking part in their own learning of God’s Word. They are becoming equipped to share the Good News with others in a way they never had confidence to do before. The gospel of pure grace is becoming theirs!
This should inspire us to promote the same thing wherever we are and wherever God leads us. I trust you are as encouraged as we are!
As a follower of Jesus, it seems very strange to speak about pride. Paul was very careful to insist on humility for anyone who calls themselves a Christ-follower and points to our supreme model we have in the Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:3-8; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12-14). He was particularly humble when facing issues at Corinth when he could have used his apostolic authority.
At the same time Paul makes a startling statement in Romans 15. “In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed” (Romans 15:17–18).
This is what I call ‘deflected praise.’ It was never about what Paul had accomplished of his own will and ability. It was all about what “Christ has accomplished through me.”
I think of the many times I have asked the Lord to work in mighty power through His Word and the Holy Spirit, and as soon as the event is over, I accept the praise of men. If I really want God to work as Paul did, my first obligation is to connect persons who heard the word with the Person who is the Word. There is a great danger of persons becoming attached to us and not Christ.
As Paul is wrapping up his letter to the church in Rome, he makes some statements that cause us to stop and ponder his point. Here is one of those statements.
“But on some points, I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:15–16).
When we take into consideration all thirteen of Paul’s letters, his boldness to the church in Rome was not nearly as harsh as some of the others. In all cases, his boldness was necessary to keep the gospel of grace pure in minds and hearts. We need Paul’s boldness today! We must realize this was not merely a personality trait of Paul, but God’s grace had equipped him to meet the needs of the Gentile churches. With numerous false teachers seeking to gain a following, Paul needed to be bold on matters relating to the gospel.
One more point. The ultimate goal of Paul was a pure worship from the Gentiles that was “sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Insisting on a pure gospel was the only way to accomplish this. How committed are you to the gospel of grace? It will require God-given boldness.
How will you worship the Lord? Read these verses and ask the Holy Spirit to create a sanctuary in you heart that gives God the honor He deserves. Carry that attitude with you into the fellowship of the Church and it will affect those around you.
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before Him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).
“Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” (Psalm 96:9).
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”” (John 4:24).
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).
“So, Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore, let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured…Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name” (Hebrews 13:12–15).
Our hearts are overflowing with joy as we see those who have diligently studied God’s Word through the training of God’s Plan for His Disciples. Our dear “Timothy,” who I met many years ago, has consistently discipled others and done so under very difficult circumstances. The situation in Myanmar has added risk to their work, but this has not stopped their commitment to spread the gospel and disciple as many as possible so they can disciple others.
This picture of a graduation in August speaks volumes! Please note the age range of those who completed this study. They all work together as they go through the lessons. We praise the Lord for what He is doing in the most difficult places.
We received a very encouraging email today from our team member in Vietnam. For many years he has trained pastors and leaders using God’s Plan for His Church and God’s Plan for His Disciples. As you will see below, he is starting the 122nd training next month in the northern part of this nation. We give this schedule asking that you pray for this faithful man and the students.
When I pray for this brother and his work, I think of Luke’s description of Apollos. “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus” (Acts 18:24–25).
Let us encourage such persons to persevere, even through trials. It is these kind of disciple-makers that will train others to reach the last unreached people group. Then the Lord will return!!
As many of you know, for over two years we have worked on developing and printing two major books that will have a direct impact on the younger generation. The idea was birthed by watching a mother in Nicaragua take God’s Plan for His Disciples in Spanish and simplify it so children could understand the Scriptures. From this event, several passionate mothers here took the idea and created God’s Plan for Young Disciples – Teacher’s Edition and the Young Disciples Workbook.
As of this date, these books have been translated into eight (8) languages. The most recent is the translation into Vietnamese. Our translators in VN were given a license to print these books. What a miracle! We thank the Lord for allowing us to touch young people with God’s Word and prepare them early to become spiritual leaders to their peers and eventually leaders in the church.
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven”” (Matthew 19:14).
Would you join us in praying for those who will go through this study, both the teachers and students? Like those who speak and read Vietnamese, many of these young people live in places where persecution and hardship is very real.
God always works according to His own timetable! Years ago, Tim and I made trips to Thailand for years hoping to generate interest with the Karen Church to return with a new hunger to a biblical model of the Church seen in the book of Acts and Paul’s letters. Our efforts were appreciated, but never gained momentum.
After several years and a return visit by Tim, a new translation of God’s Plan for His Disciples is almost complete. We are working hard to finalize the format and graphics so it can be printed before Tim makes another visit on September 7th. Please be in prayer that this introduction of GPHD will cause a revival of hunger for God’s Word.
“The fact that there is a distinct calling on the Church to do frontier missionary work among all the remaining people groups is crystal clear from the New Testament. Our question today should be: “What persons…in the various churches…should pick up this unique Paul-type mission?” It is not the only work of the Church.
Timothy-type ministries are also important. He was a foreigner at Ephesus, continuing what Paul had begun. Paul had to move on because he was driven by a special commission and by the grasp of God’s worldwide mission purpose revealed in the Old Testament. There is no reason to think that God’s purpose has changed today.” (John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad, Baker Academic, 2003, page 195).
Paul’s defense before the Jews who wanted to kill him was the words of Jesus in a vision to Paul: “And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles’” (Acts 22:21).
There was a compelling call on Paul’s life by the Lord Himself. That same compelling call must be heard by the whole Church, not just a few. It has its roots in God’s call to Abraham (Genesis 12:3) and to the Church (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8). Ask God to burden our hearts for what burdens His
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