As Tim's visit to S. E. Asia comes to an end and he travels back home, he leaves behind a trail of unforgettable experiences. From numerous graduations where he spoke, to watching students receive their certificates of completion, it becomes very difficult to leave a place where years were spent investing in our partners and seeing the ministry develop. Having been there myself, I know firsthand the depth of love in this trip and the exhilaration that comes from seeing the results.
My thoughts immediately go to John as he writes to the elder Gaius. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). It was not that they had read some book or listened to a great preacher, but the truth they had been taught carried with it the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, and that caused them to "walk in the truth” they received.
There are no words to express my joy and praise to God for what He is doing!! He is ending Tim's visits on the highest mountain possible - seeds were planted over many years, they have been growing and bearing fruit under the divine oversight of the Spirit. All is for the Father's glory!! There are so many reason to celebrate in praise!
Do you feel this way about what God is doing where you are and your work for the Lord?
While this picture only shows a few of the GPHD students, Tim signed hundreds of Certificates as he attended several graduations of those who completed God’s Plan for His Disciples. This along with over 150 other training sessions, is a proof that the church in this part of the world has not met the spiritual hunger of believers or prepared them to disciple others with the basic principles of salvation and their relationship with Jesus.
We do not condemn these churches but realize God has put us in places like this, at this time in history, to establish and strengthen disciples to be effective witnesses in their culture. In addition to what we are doing in training through our resources, we must stand with them in prayer. Whenever we see God at work, Satan is busy seeking to undermine and destroy the faith and confidence of followers of Jesus.
We are witnessing an amazing increase in those who are diligently studying Scripture using our training resources, so they can be established in the truth of their salvation. This collage of pictures comes from Nepal where our partner is working with students of all ages to quickly get them to the point that they can help train others in this mountainous country.
Notice the picture of the books. Every page is filled with answers to the questions proving that they spent the necessary time to read the questions, read the Bible reference, and then write their answer.
What if this were to happen where you live? Would there be persons with the same interest and dedication? You will never know unless you try!
One of the core values of this ministry is that our training of indigenous leaders will equip and encourage them to evangelize unreached people groups so they can be discipled into faithfully discipling others. Though this is not happening in every place where God has led us to work, there are some special exceptions.
The people graduating in this picture are the Jarai people or Jarais. They are an Austronesian indigenous people, an ethnic group native to Vietnam's Central Highlands, as well as in the Cambodian Northeast Province of Ratanakiri. During the Vietnam War, many Jarai persons, as well as members of other Montagnard people, worked with US Special Forces, and many were resettled.
To see them study the Bible and finish God’s Plan for His Disciples is very special. How appropriate that they should celebrate their graduation from GPHD in songs of worship. Only the Lord knows what impact they will have before the Lord returns.
It seems that these stories are coming out faster than I can publish them. Here is another from S. E. Asia of someone who saw the values of learning the biblical principles of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and sacrificed time and much more to learn.
“The group had only had one copy of God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) so she hand copied every word in the book and then answered every question." This and the story of the widow in Ecuador who had only one copy and made extra copies on her own so she could introduce this training to two churches are examples of persons who stop at nothing to learn more of God’s plan for them.
Are we willing disciples that are prepared to make this kind of sacrifice?
In response to an email from a translator in S. E. Asia, I outlined the reason why we put emphasis on working through God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) before attempting to study God’s Plan for His Church(GPHC). With GPHD as a foundation, the large picture of God’s Plan for His Church has a solid context to build on for equipping leaders and church planters. This process follows the method Paul used which is seen in Acts 14:21-23.
Fearing that I may have discouraged my brother, I received this reply: “Thank you for reminding me once again about the importance of discipleship. You really nailed this. Discipleship must be felt by my flesh, otherwise it is not real. I am feeling that! I believe the Lord wants to ground me with deeper attention to the biblical instructions.
There is always an order of instruction and discipleship. We can only pass on what we have received, and need to receive it adequately, not half-heartedly or only in part. We must do our homework and not gloss over it.
So, I am going to return to the discipleship manual (GPHD) and get further into that before I go back to GPHC. I accept your point that I need to understand the order of discipleship and the Church, otherwise I am not in a position to teach anyone else.”
What a refreshing answer! Perhaps this dialog will motivate you in some way.
Reports of the work that God is doing in S. E. Asia continue to pour in. Each text or email contains new information that is so exciting. Students in this picture have all completed God’s Plan for His Disciples and are ready to share what they have learned from Scripture with others. As you can tell from their faces, this study has been more than satisfying and brings great joy to our hearts.
How ready are we? One of the last instructions Paul gave to his spiritual son Timothy was, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1–2). The word “preach” does not necessarily mean standing behind a pulpit, to simply to tell, proclaim, or annouce to others.
“Be ready!” Paul did not say to attend a Bible college or seminary, but in many ways exhorted all to give ourselves to the reading and study of God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 2:15). If you want to equip yourself and others, send me an email through this address: email@example.com.
There are times when my heart cannot contain the joy that comes from hearing what God is doing in places where our training is taking place. The picture at the left is of a group that just completed God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC) in their native language (S. E. Asia). As a result of this study, one of the young men has dedicated himself to severe the Lord and follow the example and model of the Apostle Paul. We are praying for God to use him in a very special way.
The second picture (below) comes from our partner in Nepal. He has been using God’s Plan for His Disciples(GPHD) to train in many churches. The reception has been amazing! As we find in many places, these believers have never had teaching that anchored the faith in a solid understanding of Scripture. GPHD does just that! They complete this study with a greater grasp of what they believe being rooted in the authority of the Bible.
Can these exciting things happen here in America? Is the Word of God or the Spirit of God any different here than in these places around the world?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4).
Most will stop reading when they see these verses because they are so familiar, and we have either heard many messages on them or read books and articles that make valid points that are hard for us to apply practically.
The common way of looking at these verses is through all the trials we encounter, and we cannot imagine any good coming out of them. What if we first considered “that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”? God sees the end product of what He is allowing in our lives even before we have started going through a trial. Because we are not God, we can’t see as He does.
What should we do to get a better understanding of what we go through? Simply trust the One who knows all things and ask Him to show us what He wants to accomplish.
We are being bombarded every day in every aspect of life with new dangers. Whether it is conflict between nations, dangers in cyber systems, medical dangers, or Satan trying to destroy relationships that God created, we live in a dangerous world.
Almost daily I receive messages from persons who face fears of some kind that come from dangers they cannot control or remove. Here are a few quotes from the lips of Jesus that should help us deal with these fears properly.
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do” (Luke 12:4). “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32). “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you”” (John 20:19).
The greatest place of peace is when we submit to the perfect will of God, even if we do not understand how His will accomplished a good purpose. As in John 20:19, Jesus brings peace and freedom from fear in Himself! Seek Him and His presence and you will discover peace. See Colossians 3:15.
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