Tom and Deedee have just flown to Ecuador for the purpose of encouraging the new work among the Quechua believers and churches. We believe this is an essential part of getting them firmly established in the Scriptures so they will be able to disciple and train their own people.
It is a great reminder of Paul’s vision after he and Barnabas finished their first missionary journey. “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are”” (Acts 15:36).
It was not for the purpose of ‘controlling’ or “domineering over those in our charge” (1 Peter 5:3), but to “strengthen the churches” (Acts 15:41). We must remember that any work we have done to plant or establish churches is always under Christ as their Head. We are just servants.
We are thankful that the Lord put this desire in the hearts of Tom and Deedee. With her command of Spanish, they will have a double impact on these saints who have a hunger for God’s Word. For this weekend and next week, will you pray for these willing servants and the Quechua churches?
“Missionary zeal depends on knowledge of the Holy Spirit. It depends also on knowledge of the opportunity.” (Roland Allen, Essential Missionary Principles, Revell, 1913, page 44).
This statement quickly reminds me of many examples in the Book of Acts where the apostles and the Church were given specific directions by the Spirit. Though they were filled with the Holy Spirit in chapter 2, there were also times when He filled them so the gospel would spread with greater power and effectiveness. (See Acts 4:31; Stephen in 7:55; Philip in 8:39)
One of these moments that presented multiple opportunities was Acts 16:6-10. Paul had the knowledge that Phrygia and Galatia needed the gospel, but they were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” The Spirit then redirects them to Macedonia. This is a clear example of depending on the Spirit who knew the whole scheme of God’s plan and in His wisdom, both areas heard the gospel and churches were planted.
We are often tested with how much we trust the Holy Spirit. There are times when He does not disclose all the details of what He is doing or going to do, and we are challenged with how much we will trust His knowledge. We will see far more of His work if we rely on Him for fruitful work.
“It is the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify. There can be no hope of sanctification except as the consequence of receiving the Holy Spirit. It is necessary that those who receive the Holy Spirit should learn to know Him as a Spirit of Holiness indwelling them. So, the Holy Spirit is a missionary Spirit.” (Roland Allen, Essential Missionary Principles, Revell, 1913, page 42).
We should immediately link this statement by Allen with Jesus’ final words to His disciples in John 13 to 16. When He said that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things” (14:26), this included teaching us how to be holy and fruitful.
Why is this point important? For anyone who wants to spread the gospel to the unsaved in every corner of the earth, holiness is essential! As a messenger (apostle - small “a” or sent one), we must be holy because of the message. If the messenger is not pursuing holiness through the work of the Spirit in them, the message of the gospel will come across distorted and unconvincing.
Peter also makes this point when he writes, “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). One of the purposes of being saved is “that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9). Becoming effective in spreading the gospel according to God’s purpose is by growing in holiness.
As we have watched one of our Timothy’s in Kenya, we are amazed at how quickly he has developed into a faithful man of God. He just sent the schedule of training sessions, and they are back-to-back from now right through the beginning of December 2021.
After I formatted the Kiswahili GPHC and GPHD, I wondered what would happen with these translations. They have requested that we help print 500 each of both books. Knowing that God is behind this work, we are trusting the Lord to provide for this cost.
Will you join us in praying for Hosea as he gives himself to meet the demand for training leaders in God’s Word? Will this be another movement of God that is going to bring revival to Kenya and equip leaders to spread the gospel and establish the churches on a biblical foundation? We are praying for both!
As godless agendas are changing this world for the worse, so persecution of Christians is changing. What is so interesting about these changes is the rise of boldness among those being persecuted. Reports are coming in faster than usual of Christ followers who are more determined to share the gospel message and God’s Word.
In some places, one page of the Bible is passed from person to person just to get some spiritual food. Bits and pieces of the Bible are hidden so they can be passed to the next person. Many who are disillusioned by radical leaders are looking for different answers to life’s issues and Scripture is providing them the ONLY answer.
I can’t help comparing what is happening in other places with attitudes here in America. We have never seen the hunger to understand what the Bible teaches as real and deep as it is in these places. Do we have too much that gives us a false sense of security and do not value God’s truth?
Job was a man who knew suffering more than most, yet in his suffering he grew to appreciate more than ever God’s words. “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23:12).
Next time you are tempted to complain about circumstances, ask yourself how much you valued God’s Word? Is it more valuable than your next meal?
Events of recent months have been very disturbing as they relate to the Church. Each one is a reminder to me that all of them could have been avoided if the Church acknowledged the authority of Scripture and acted on its truth. I am particularly concerned about the moral failure of leaders who know God’s Word but fail to apply it to themselves.
In Moses’ sermon to Israel, “He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life” (Deuteronomy 32:46–47).
How we treat the Word of God is not a small matter. It is a matter of life and death as emphasized by Moses; “it is no empty word for you, but your very life.” Peter makes this point about our new birth; “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
John Piper says that “Our spiritual life begins by the word of God: “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth”” (James 1:18). That is why Jesus connects “new birth” with the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-6) who also is the Author of Scripture (2 Peter 2:20-21)
We are much safer when we accept the authority of the Bible and allow it to govern our lives (personal/private, public and ministry) through the power of the Spirit. Be careful what authority other than God’s controls your thoughts and actions.
It is not too early to start praying for Randy as he leaves Monday for Nigeria. If you follow any of the international news, you will know that severe persecution is aimed at Christians in this African country. Some have been brutally killed, some kidnapped, houses and churches burned. Please hold up these believers in prayer; asking God to strengthen their faith and give them courage in the face of such evil.
Here is Randy’s itinerary so you can follow him daily in prayer:
Sept. 27-28 - Travel to Nigeria
Sept. 29-30 - Training Regional leaders to continue to self-sustaining ministry of multiplication
Oct. 1-3 GPHD graduation and introduction of GPHC to 15 or more Sunday school teachers in a local church in Jos
Oct. 4-5 - GPHC graduation in Jos (missionaries, and other leaders)
Oct. 6-7 - GPHC graduation in Bauchi (missionaries, and other leaders)
Oct. 8-9 - GPHC graduation in Gombe (missionaries, and other leaders)
Oct. 11-12 - Meeting to develop God's Plan for the Fulani People
Oct. 12-13 - Return home
We desire this trip to result in abundant fruitful ministry. As Randy connects with leaders and graduates, pray they are also inspired to disciple others with the power and authority of God’s Word. How wonderful it would be to see the power of the gospel to the Fulani and transform the persecutors. God will be exalted among the nations (Psalm 46:10).
To say that we are living in interesting times is an understatement. As COVID began shutting down our travel plans over a year ago, we initially thought the problem would soon be resolved and things would return to ‘normal’ quickly. We are almost into the fourth quarter of 2021, and little has changed. When countries open for visitors, they quickly shut again because of a COVID spike.
Morocco, Turkey, and Bangladesh have been on the drawing board for some time for a trip to introduce GPHD and GPHC, but now they are closed. Are we to give up? The Lord is helping us see the value of training a few over Zoom, preparing them to be trainers. This puts the responsibility into their hands where it belongs.
It has always been our goal to equip indigenous leaders to take responsibility for equipping their own churches for spreading the gospel. The Lord knew this plan had to be implemented sooner than we had in mind. What is so exciting is to find eagerness with nationals to learn over Zoom and faithfully study in between sessions.
Please pray for us as we start these new study groups that we will present the material well, and where translators are used, the learning will not be hampered by this method of teaching. All this reminds me of Paul’s words to Timothy, “the word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9).
In this blog I return to one of the outstanding examples of someone who “rose early” in the morning. Gideon had been going through a major ‘confidence crisis’ because it seems the Midianites were taking over Israel. So serious was the situation that he was “beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites” so he and other Israelites could stay alive. It was a very discouraging situation with little hope - until he has a divine appearance.
Four times God assures Gideon in four different ways; “I will be with you” (Judges 6:12, 14, 16, 23). In 7:36-40, Gideon seeks more assurance that God is going to be with him and save Israel out of the hand of Midian. God graciously answered his request with positive confirmation.
The next morning it is time to act on God’s promise. For this special event, “Gideon and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod” (7:1). This was a strategic place to prepare the people for both refreshment and reduction. It was a very full day. God would first reduce the number of men Gideon needed to overtake Midian down from 30,000 to 300. When God gave victory, they had no weapons, just a trumpet and jars with light (7:19-22).
Obedience to God’s instructions requires both our full attention (early morning) and the Holy Spirit to enable us to do His will. When we rely on the light of God’s Word and worship Him for what He is going to do, we will experience victory. Rise early and obey the Lord.
In several blogs we have brought to your attention the amazing reception we have received from the Quechua Christians in Ecuador. On September 16th to 18th, Tim met with leaders who say that none of their 2,600 churches have received proper biblical teaching in the Scriptures like what is presented through God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) and God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC).
While some are working through GPHD already, they want all the other churches to start as soon as possible. We are very thankful to have our dear Brother Oswaldo in Quito who is well able to train leaders so they will multiply the training efforts. There is one other detail that must fall in place - PRINTING MANUALS! Here is a list of what they are requesting:
God has lit a fire in the hearts of this church, and we are humbled to be part of what He is doing. We ask you to join us in prayer for the Spirit to work transformation in their hearts and that it will spread to other Quechua churches in S. America (Brazil, Bolivia, and more). If God is moving you to help them with the printing, please go to our contact page for our address or other methods of payment. We thank you in advance for being partners with God in HIS WORK!!!
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