It may seem strange to say this in our day, but it is rare to find ‘true Timothy’s’ who will “devote [themselves] to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13). The basis of exhortation and teaching is God’s word. Such a man we have discovered in Liberia. Since the introduction of God's Plan for His Church in Nairobi, he has taken seriously the principles in Acts and Paul’s letters and is teaching them. I have given you a clip from a report he sent us:
“We are bringing God's Plan for His Church (GPHC) to…the Bible Baptist Church for renewal and church planting. We started the manual studies since my return from Kenya. I have started working on the manual and even involved the entire church in active studying the manual.
Join us in prayer. In December our churches will have a 5 day seminar studying GPHC. We thank God for this divine connection as we all seek to carry out the Great Commission of Christ.
Your faithfully partner in Christ.”
This move of God is happening even though they face trials that we in America never face. What is the difference? It is extremely hard to get one person to go through the manual in the USA. Yes, I have found one – ONLY ONE. The excuse of being “busy” is only a reflection on where our priorities are. These people in most African countries face difficulties just maintaining their basic necessities, yet they make time for what has eternal implications. Let this challenge each of us.
After working with a dear brother in Ecuador, South America, for many years, we now have a new translation, the third edition of God’s Plan for His Church in Spanish. He had originally translated the first edition, but now we are looking at the current manual being made available to the Spanish speaking world; nearly 400 million people.
During this process, there were times of trial and discouragement which brought the translation work to a halt. But, the work of God is UNSTOPPABLE! God revived the passion for this work about a year ago. At first, the work seemed to progress slowly. We kept praying! Tim made a visit to encourage those doing the work, plant seeds of spiritual interest with local pastors and leaders, and recast the vision of God’s desire to reach yet unreached people groups. As a result of this prayerful visit to those doing the translation work, God has brought us to this point of great celebration! Final editing and printing will be done as quickly as possible.
To give you a little perspective on the potential this training can have just in South America using God’s Word, consider the following:
There was one thing that I tried very hard to avoid as a kid; my father’s discipline! In almost every instance, his rebuke or punishment was well deserved. But at the time, it was embarrassing and often hurt my feeling more than anything else, especially if it was in the eyes of others. Looking back on those times, I can now say that I am thankful for the correction.
The writer of Hebrews quotes Solomon; “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him” (Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5). The instruction on this issue does not end there. What we did not realize in our youth (in most cases), and perhaps we still miss, is the purpose behind discipline. Make sure you grasp the following points:
In the context of abiding in Christ, Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). In addition to being fruitful for the Father’s glory and asking for the right things so our prayers are answered, we are also to obey and “abide in His love”. This enables us to ‘love one another as Christ has loved us’ (15:12).
True love for others can only be experienced to the degree that we remain in Christ’s love. James particularly warns of partiality and favoritism. Where partiality is present in the church, persons have not understood the quality of God’s love for us in Christ. We often refer to 1 Corinthians 13 as the chapter on love for the church, but ignore chapters 12 and 14. Chapter 13 informs us how our love is to be used in the body of Christ for building up and working together by using our God given gifts to edify all the members.
Remaining in close fellowship with the Lord in obedience to what He has said, will teach us how to love others by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). It will give us spiritual eye sight so we see and serve others as God does (John 13:12-17).
Someone asked me the question: “How can I be assured that my prayers will be answered?” This is a question that plagues many, especially when they have prayed over and over for a long time regarding some difficult situation and it seems that God never answers. I want to point all of us to a few simple, but direct answers in Scripture.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7). The “If” is not a question of doubt but a “subordinating condition as whenever you abide.” The condition of ‘abiding in Jesus and His Word in us’ establishes a close relationship with Him so our thinking and heart’s desires are brought into agreement with what He wants in us. There are times when this is not true of us, and our relationship with Jesus needs to be restored. When it is, He gives us patience if His answer is “wait”. If His answer is “no”, we can ask for understanding or realize that God has a bigger purpose than what we see.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” (1 John 5:14). The “confidence” in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is based on doing His will. Our prayers no longer revolve around what we want for ourselves or others, but what God wants. That means walking in obedience to God’s will so that “if we ask anything”, we will have confidence that he hears our request and the answer will be perfect.
May this blog build your confidence in prayer through a transformed life conformed to Christ.
As Paul neared the end of his ministry and time on earth, he became increasingly concerned that the next generation left behind him in care of the Lord’s work would teach “sound doctrine”. Why was this a major point with Paul? Popular speakers were propagating false doctrine; the kind that satisfied the fancy of people who wanted to hear platitudes that avoided conviction of heart and conformity of life to Christ (2 Timothy 4:3-4). In addition, “Sound doctrine”:
There is a critical need in our day for teachable hearts. One of the venues of ministry at New Foundations International, is finding “young Timothy’s” who are teachable, faithful, and able to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2; 3:14; Philippians 4:9). There is a problem I often face with those who have gone through Bible School or Seminary and come away with a paper degree, but without a teachable spirit. They develop an “appearance of godliness, but deny its power…always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:5-7). Where is the Spirit in this?
I want to interject here a comment made by my partner Tim as he interacts with young students in Yangon, Myanmar: “There are about 14 students, mostly in their twenties, who are very hungry for the Word. They learned and grasped the Antioch Model and Pauline strategy quickly because they have not had the traditional model ingrained in their minds.”
This was what Paul desired of the Corinthians. “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13). The problem with many textbooks is that they are heavy on the intellectual and very light on the spiritual. Going back to our first reference, Paul says to Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men.” Faithful men are teachable men; those who let the Spirit impart what is spiritual to the heart, soul and life.
Would others say that you are teachable? This requires a consistent attitude of humility.
We want to make you aware of a new teaching tool that has been tested and shown to be very successful in communicating the “BIG PICTURE” of God’s Plan for His Church. Our new illustrated banners show the key principles in the Book of Acts and Paul’s letters that are learned in all seven chapters of the manual. This is a step forward. In the past, we have relied on white boards and markers being available, which was not always the case, particularly in remote rural areas.
These banners are made in several different ways. Some have the English words on the diagrams and others do not. This allows the ethnic leaders to put the key words in their own language on the banner for ease of teaching and understanding. In addition, some of the banners have a special film over the fabric so that erasable markers can be used for adding emphasis to the training.
Those of you who support this ministry have made this effective tool possible. After using it in Nairobi, Kenya, and seeing how beneficial it was, more sets were ordered so that copies could be left with those who will duplicate this training in their people groups. These banners are now being used during the present training in Myanmar.
We are very excited that God is constantly challenging the use of our tools so we become more effective. The message of the gospel and the principles of God’s Word do not change, but like Paul, we are seeking “more effective doors” so God’s Word spreads more rapidly (1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 12:24).
It was an exhilarating day on Monday, October 17th, to launch the new Nepali manual, God’s Plan for His Church! We had planned for 20 to 30 to attend and 48 came. This first presentation in Kathmandu, Nepal, sets in motion a new frontier for these leaders to be equipped for sending out by the Holy Spirit to reach 242 unreached people groups in Nepal. That represents 99.1% of the total population (1). Because the new edition of the manual is illustrated, it really helps to communicate God's Plan for His Church. These principles, used by the Early Church, spread so rapidly and turned the world upside down--- the Antioch Church Model and Pauline missionary strategy.
The picture attached is the official introduction with all those who attended. Randy handed the first Nepali manual to the host pastor. Let's praise God for the great work He has begun here! We are planning our first follow-up training meeting for February 2017. Please pray for the planning and training that will take place next year. We need the Holy Spirit to prepare each heart to “receive the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things [are] so” (Acts 16:11).
God is doing great things because He is a GREAT GOD!
(1) Joshua Project: https://joshuaproject.net/countries/NP
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