“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1
The Nile River begins in Jinja, Uganda with 1.5 million cubic feet of water per minute. It flows 1,295 miles to the Mediterranean Sea through the arid African country-side.
When I travel, I meet people from multiple countries who are thirsting for The Living Water and The Bread of Life. They want to hear, understand, and be taught the Word of God. The classes continue to multiply in Uganda as it has for the past 10 years. Their pursuit of training is challenging and convicting.
The oral content is now being used as a regular part of the school curriculum at Cristo Por Su Mundo Bible School in the Baja of Mexico. They use the oral stories as a part of their outreach to the poor villages around the school.
The Share the Word oral training was enthusiastically received by churches in the Dominican Republic this past May. This conact came through John Papst who is a member of Peace Lutheran Church, Canal Winchester, OH. He is introducing scriptural training into the Village Mountain Mission. Those who were part of the training in May have decided to start 3 classes. In each of these countries, there is a thirst for knowing Jesus and understanding His Word.
This October we will introduce the oral training to Malawi and Tanzania. These contacts come through AFLC contacts and they are longing for training in God’s Word.
Free and Living Congregations
Training people in God’s Word is an essential part of the Great Commission mandate, but training is not an end in itself. The goal for transformed believers is to be a part of a living fellowship, a community of like-minded followers of Jesus, the body of Christ. The church is made up of people who have been changed by God’s Word. They have a relationship with the Lord, and they are growing in their walk with Jesus.
The fourth book in the Share the Word series, Free and Living Congregations, is specifically for these members of God’s Kingdom who are trying to understand the church with a careful search of the scriptures. The first section focuses on the believer. God’s Word is the tool that teaches us who God is, how we worship Him, how to pray, and how we receive His grace through baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
The second section addresses the church. Scriptures are full of descriptions of the church’s foundation, identity, gifting, purpose, and mission. We naturally add things to our worship services that connect with our style and culture, but it is important to review the scriptural foundations about this precious institution, the church, as opposed to what it has become. The Bible emphasizes the need for unity, discipleship, discipline, and the mission of the church.
The third section is for the leader. The shepherd of God’s flock is one who has heard God’s call to serve His people. It is a high calling and a high standard. The leader is the first to care for and serve others. The leader’s character is on display because it is the evidence of God’s work in their own life. The Word is the salve to heal people’s wounds with God’s promises and it is the hammer to break their hard hearts with its law.