Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back from Nepal

I am back from Nepal and right into the flurry of the beginning of term with a backlog of things to post about.

Special thanks to those who prayed for me and this trip. It was a great trip and so much could be said about it. Various things cannot be commented on for security reasons and a basic overview was provided on the trip ‘plog’ at the website of Eagle Projects International, who organized the trip.

I had the opportunity to teach verse-by-verse through 2 Timothy, Titus, and Romans (which was interrupted by our need to leave early the last day) as well as a few other topics. I hope it was beneficial to the pastors, students and other leaders. After commenting on false teachers in Titus, one of the leaders told me this was an increasing problem in their area as more Jehovah’s Witness and Mormons come in from other countries. In the next session I took some more time to discuss dealing with false teachers pointing especially to Paul’s comments in 2 Timothy that Timothy knew from whom he had learned his doctrine (3:14). It is always important for people to receive teaching from trusted sources and when something ‘new’ comes along to search the scriptures themselves and look to their pastors (whose life and ministry they have seen and verified) for discerning help.

I was impacted in numerous ways by my time with these brothers and sisters. It is always encouraging to me to see the body of Christ in other cultures- a visible reminder that God is indeed at work in every tribe and language. These people have little, suffer much, but have real power- power persevering in trials, being joyful with little, evidences of lives radically transformed, and evangelistic passion pushing back the kingdom of darkness. It was a privilege to ask them their stories and hear them- with no melodrama whatsoever- tell of how the gospel came to their family or village, how they were persecuted for believing and how grateful they are to have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Christ. I was humbled by watching these brothers and sisters.

There is much more to tell. In the coming days I will hope to do so.
(The two photos at the top are from one morning watching the sun rise over the Himalayas. It was spectacular)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mission Trip to Nepal

I leave in the morning for a mission trip to Nepal. I’ll be gone for about 10 days, and since I am not likely to have internet access I don’t expect to be posting.
I along with some others will be providing biblical and theological instruction for about 60 local pastors. These men will be travelling to our city from outlying areas. I am told that a number of them will travel for two weeks by foot and bus to get there. Many of these men have been imprisoned for their faith. They do not have much access to training, so they are eager. I expect, however, that I will learn even more from them- men who have labored in overseeing the flock and preaching the gospel in spite of persecution. Hopefully I can benefit them as I glean from their faithfulness.
You can read more about the trip here. This site will also provide updated information on the trip as often as possible. Click on “plogs” on the left side and then choose “2008 Nepal.”

Friday, January 11, 2008

Romans, January Bible study

My brief article on studying Romans which I previously mentioned was published in this week’s edition of the TN Baptist state paper.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year.

I have been away for some time, but have several things waiting to post.
Let me start this year with a quote about the heart of ministry. My good friend Ron Sloan, who runs Refiner’s Fire bookshop in Louisville, gave me an old book on pastoral ministry over Christmas. The book is titled Ad Clerum: Advices to Young Preachers, and it is by Joseph Parker. The book does not contain any introductory matter, but it appears to be a collection of advice from different sources. The first chapter is excellent. This quote is one to keep before us:

“…I deeply feel that without a spirit of reverent and contrite humiliation before God, and a constancy of loving and trustful desire towards the Saviour, no man is fit to have part or lot in the Christian ministry; when, therefore, I avail myself of satire or raillery, it will relate to the weakness or eccentricity of human usages, and never to the vital and solemn realities of the Divine vocation. Our place, as aspirants to the highest ministry, is at the Cross, where alone the oppression of our unworthiness is relieved by the completeness of Jesus Christ’s grace and truth. All this must be assumed; if we are wrong here, we shall be wrong everywhere; - the gift of prophecy and tongues, and the understanding of all mysteries, will be only temptations and snares, and our ministry will be as a plague in the church.” (1-2)

The book has been reprinted and is available at (an excerpt of chapter one can also be viewed from this Amazon listing).