Joel McCall - August 6, 2018
Wendell Stoltzfus (above), one of the team members, is teaching Ephesians. We have all three worked hard and long hours of teaching, but the rewards have been encouraging.
Ephesians is a powerful book. But the conference in Rukungiri seemed to begin slowly, so the team prayed, and we also knew you were praying back home. The first day, they didn’t pick us up until late in the morning. That placed us behind schedule. The participants seemed more focused on this being a revival event. Of course we want revival, but the foundations of Ephesians are necessary for spiritual vitality and growth to move forward.
Whenever the teaching began, the leaders took time in-between to celebrate, review, and apply. We knew that in order to get through Ephesians and to experience its intended impact, we had to creatively focus the group. So we did. In the afternoon, the first teacher went on the stage, prayed and began teaching. Then the next teacher did the same immediately. We kept the pace up with only minimum breaks.
Momentum seemed to build and the impact became clear. By the end of the day, we could sense the hunger had turned towards the book in a new way.
With six lessons to cover in order to complete the book on the third day, we did the same. We started earlier, pushed forward without interruptions and it was as if the Lord showed up in power. God’s Word was present and understanding was happening. By the third day, they were changed. I could see a distinct deep reverence for Christ presenting itself in the comments.
The most significant thing coming out of this conference was a meeting over lunch that we had with their top leaders. We presented the desire from this day forward to only teach Certified Course Instructor Training. After 4 years of raising the level of biblical understanding, they are now ready to truly go deeper. This means that they will choose 15-20 of only their top leaders, the next time we will teach five full days to a smaller group, with more opportunity to go deeper, field more questions and then have them teach in front of us. Then the intention will be to have these leaders go into as teams areas here and throughout the region to teach the same course to their peers and churches.
One by one, people came and poured out their hearts concerning gratitude for seeing God’s Word in Ephesians as never before. This has been so encouraging to us. One young man who has attended for years, came and told of his desire now to go full time into pastoral ministry and preparation.
We also gave a ThirdMillenium flash drive (with 32GB of courses on it) that delivers an entire first year of seminary with video lectures, audio instruction, full manuscript notes and discussion questions. I am certain that this is a new beginning of changing many churches throughout the region of Western Uganda and the DR Congo area. One pastor, Emmanuel, is now planning to move there to plant a church. He has been our translator for years, and is moved to go to a difficult region to further the work of Christ.
We took a break in between the conferences.
That happens to be the Rift Valley behind us.
THE BEST ANTIDOTE TO FALSE TEACHING IS BIBLICAL INSTRUCTION
Some of the most exciting moments throughout the conference involves the questions that come to us.
One pastor shared concerning a false teaching involving a hyper-grace emphases. The struggle involves a man who calls himself an “apostle”. He teaches that sin no longer touches him. Because this man claims that he is a Christian inside, sin cannot touch him outside. He cannot sin any more. So what he does in the body doesn’t matter. He states that he can do anything he wants in his moral behavior and he is completely free. Sexual sins are of no concern, because it only involves the the body but the spirit is untouched. He has no relationship with God’s Law or moral teachings.
This is actually related to an old heresy called “Gnosticism” and it is a denial of the work of Christ in all believers.
We spent a significant amount of time speaking about a Biblical understanding of who and what an Apostle was in the New Testament. We clarified the role of justification and sanctification, explaining from Ephesians that believers are to have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness. Once again, the essential need is critical for Biblical instruction that guards the health, growth and theology of the African churches. Thank you for sending us to speak into the world of dear brothers and sisters who love Jesus.
Better keep an eye on that bush! There's something in there! Can you guess what it is? In fact, we saw at least 7 of these....
-The continued impact in Rwanda, DRC, and Rukungiri!
-The remaining days of teaching underway in Mbarara, Uganda
-Success in the team Instruction
-The Lord to work in the hearts of the pastors as we teach.