Showing posts from August, 2018

Working the Plan!

Today is the final day of class in Gbarnga, Liberia and as we close it out I want to share what took place yesterday at the close of the class day.  Pastor Togba showed me a tentative list of those he and others had chosen to be the first Liberian trainers.  The choices of these men were not taken lightly.  The men represent the spiritual best and academically brightest men among the largest class we train.
As I looked at each of them yesterday, I saw a level of expectation and passion that was exciting to see.  One by one they gave testimony of how they have implemented GBTF materials in their communities and within special events.  I was thrilled to stand with them and listen to each one of them passionately communicate their plans to expand and build on what already has been done!
What are the ultimate goals?  First, the raising up and training of pastors and other church leaders who are passionate about taking their theological training and using it to build up their churches and…

The Rewards of Training the Indigenous.

Yesterday I was on my way to Gbarnga, Liberia when our car, filled with Liberian pastors stopped at a church for morning worship.  It just happened to be one of the church plants started one year ago through our GBTF/Advance Ministries partnership.  Our agreement is simply that GBTF trains the pastors and Advance helps fund these trained men to go out and start new churches all over Liberia.  In the past year thirty-four new church plants have sprung up around the country. 
This church was started by one of the younger pastors, and on this particular Sunday, there were about seventy-five people present.  I had the privilege of bringing the message to this new group of young believers.  Among them were a number of visitors. At the close of the service, six people trusted Christ and were added to their number. It was a great beginning to a new week of training pastors here in Liberia! 
When we got back on the road I turned to our host James and said, "How many years would it have …

The "Real Thing" of Missions

Years ago Coke Cola advertised its famous soda with a little jingle saying "Its the Real Thing".  It was catchy and like any other advertisement you might catch yourself singing it in the shower!  But the real question it raised and what was never answered was what the real thing was.  Was it real soda?  Real good?  Pepsi drinkers didn't think so.  But whatever you thought the real thing was, that was what it was for you!  In reality, Coke was saying that Coke Cola was the genuine, undisputed article and there was no rival!

I want to apply that thinking today to our understanding of mission in the NT.  The Great Commission spoken by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 is the undisputed mandate for the churches of this age and like Coke, being on mission means different things to different people.  For some it represents the far away application of bringing people to Jesus.  It's myterious and exciting all at the same time.  Others might think immediately of going on what we ca…

Thursday to Liberia

For all of you who follow GBTF, you know that Thursday I will be leaving for Liberia, West Africa for our fourth classroom in two years.  Let me tell you something about this war-torn country.  In the last twenty-five years it has endured two civil wars from 1989-1986 and 1999-2003.  It lost over a quarter million people before the bloodshed and savagery stopped.  While I was pastoring in Boston several years ago, we had a wonderful lady from Monrovia, the capital, come into our church.  I will never forget the day I announced to the church that I would be leaving then to begin a non-profit to begin the training of national pastors globally.  She earnestly came to me and asked me to go to Liberia and train pastors.  I had no idea how that was going to happen.

Fast forward four years and here is Global Baptist Training Foundation being invited by a pastor to come to Liberia to train nearly 70 pastors south of the captital.  The place is called Gbarnga and on Thursday we will go there t…

The Training of Nationals

What do you think of when you think of missions?  Do you think of the American missionary family visiting your church on Wednesday night or Sunday morning?  Do you think of the old slide projector and typical presentation of a great need in a place on the other side of the planet?  
Maybe you think of some great pioneer missionary who opened a continent for Christ like Livingston in Africa or perhaps Carey in India.  My mind almost automatically goes to Adoniram Judson who opened the great country of Burma for Christ.  He gave them their first Bible and Bible dictionary which is still widely used and revered today all over the country.  One of the most exciting and gratifying things I do is train nationals in Burma who trace their spiritual lineage back five generations to Judson's ministry which began in 1813!  
Perhaps when you think of missions you think of a short-term mission's trip which brought you into direct contact with a mission field and people who you had the opport…

The Power of Testimony Part 2

As we have already discovered, the most effective witnessing tool you possess for Christ is your own testimony.  Do you know why that's true?  It's because it happened to you!  Nobody can successfully argue against that fact.  Your salvation in Christ is a powerful event that has resulted in a personal relationship with the God of creation and redemption.  There is no effective argument that can overcome that reality!

In Acts 26 as Paul stood before King Agrippa to offer an explanation for his Christian walk, he laid out for us a pattern for how to give a personal testimony.  It's simple, straightforward, and will work for every one of us if we take notice of five simple truths.  As we saw in our last article, an effective testimony begins with an Introduction (vs 1-3).  That first impression is important because it either discourages or invites someone into your story.  Paul made an effective introduction.  You can too!

This is followed by establishing an Identification

The Power of Testimony

For most of us when we think of testimony we think of a courtroom.  We see the judge, the lawyers, and the jury all working together to determine the fate of a defendant.  Maybe you are even envisioning a famous trial past or present that comes to mind where a person's recollection of a certain event or conversation changed the whole direction of the trial.  But whatever the word testimony means to you on that level, there is another kind of testimony that is far more important and critical to your Christian life, and that is your testimony for Christ.  Your testimony is the most powerful tool in heaven and earth for Jesus Christ.
The fact is, whether or not you are a Christian, you have a testimony!  But as a believer, your own personal experience with Jesus Christ at the time you believed on Him as Savior is something that is not only unique to you but is needed by someone else.  Let me give you a Biblical example of a great testimony from Acts 26:1-29.  Paul the apostle is stan…

The Creeper

Have you ever been around a person who seems to have a cloud around him or her?  It's really impossible to know sometimes what the cause of it might be.  Perhaps it could be a cloud of discouragement or depression.  The problem could be the pain of divorce, loss of job, or some form of habitual sin which only they understand.   But I want to talk about another kind of cloud today that many people carry around with them and even many Christians carry around with them as well.
For the unbeliever to have have to deal with the silent burden of shame and sorrow for unforgiven sin is entirely normal and understandable.  However, for the believer in Jesus Christ to carry burdens of shame because of past sin is not ok, in fact it is highly destructive and sinful. Jesus' message to us before we became Christians was,

Come to me all you who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)

In the following verse Jesus said,

For my yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt 11:…

The Requirement of Trust

When I think of the word trust I normally think of a personal willingness to step out into the unknown, etc.  Of course, in the exercise of this virtue all of this must be true or else we're not talking about trust but some form of tyranny.  Tyranny is forced and demanded under obligation either spoken or unspoken.  But trust is isn't like that at all.  Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:5,

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Notice that Jesus did not say that you must become a child in the literal sense, but figuratively.  The word “like” is a simile or simple parable.  We are conmanded to become a child in attitude toward an object. The object to which Jesus is referring is Himself!  The attitude of trust is everything when it comes to the salvation of our soul.  But as anyone who has come to Christ as Saviour and Lord of his or her life has discovered, trust is a life-long virtue to be exercised c…