The encouragement of good teaching

David Sills teaching during a lunch session.

David Sills teaching during a lunch session.

Last week was Spiritual Emphasis Week here at school and a wonderful team from a friend’s church in Arkansas came to do a VBS for the kids so that the adults could attend two sessions a day.  Our speaker was David Sills, who has written several helpful books on missiology.  His ministry is called Reaching & Teaching.  Even before the week began, there was some buzz about him.  Several of our friends had really enjoyed hearing him a few years ago and some had read one of his books.  The fact that he attended our same language school, ministered in Ecuador, and then studied missions and discipling made him instantly interesting for most of us.

Because Sarah had a fever, Will and I had to take turns going to the talks and we didn’t get to attend every session, but here are some good soundbites from what I did hear:

From Matthew 11:28 & 29 “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Take on the burden of obedience.

Persevere when there is not any fruit and then, if there is some fruit, be sure to declare “This is the Lord,” like the disciples in John 21:1-14.

As you work through culture shock, don’t throw our your first culture.  That is a rejection of what God has given you in your life thus far.  Just keep waiting and trusting and the abnormal will become normal.  When you have moved to another country, many of your shock absorbers are gone, and what you have left is metal on metal.  (It doesn’t sound pretty sometimes!)

From Romans 12:2, you must be transformed so that you can pick up God’s frequency. He is talking at a frequency that the natural man cannot hear.

God’s will is like a football field.  There are some boundaries, but you have space to run around.

On feeling like you can’t hear God when things are tough: Teachers are always quiet during a test.

During prayer, he asks God, What is not being done that ought to be done that I could do and if it were done, it would bring glory to Your name?

The closer we get to the light, the more we can see our own dirtiness.

God says you can start over, but the devil will tell you that you cannot.

Sorrow, regret, and remorse look back.  Fear, worry, and anxiety look forward.  Peace, rest, and trust stand still and look up.

We thank the Lord for providing sound teaching and relevant, helpful, practical guidance just when we have been seeking it.

School Work Progressing at Diospi Suyana Hospital

From the Diospi Suyana website regarding the construction of the new school.  We are continuing to think about and pray for the construction and success of the new school.  Please pray with us that God will provide a staff of administrators, workers, and teachers to lead our kids through their education.

School building works: Fighting for every meter of progress

Off in the right direction

Hello Friends, The construction site of the sports hall looks like a battle field after World War I at the moment, however, it is easy to see what this is going to be. Two thirds of the building pits for the individual fundaments have been excavated, filled in with lean concrete down to the foundation base  and half of it has been concreted.  We are about to start work on the connecting ground beams. All of these jobs are carried out by hand and are rather time-consuming.  Interior plaster in the large building (no. 2) is nearly finished, and a group has started dressing its face. The top floor ceiling of the administrative building and the connecting wing is being reinforced and will be concreted tomorrow.  Two painters are working on the ground floor of house no. 5; a sliding ladder leading up to the attic has also been built into the top floor ceiling.

No more to report at present.

Kind regards, Udo

God uses the Average

Is it a bummer to be average?  When we compare ourselves to others, we are bound to find ourselves in the average club.  And the truth is that if you look around enough you will always find someone that is better than you at something.  But God uses all of us, even (or usually) the most average among us, to increase his kingdom.  I was reminded of this as I was reading from Kevin DeYoung’s blog.  He had a post called Simon Prevette from a guest writer in which it is described how one humble, small, quiet man through faithful service influenced the majority of his church toward faith in God.  Below is an excerpt, but the post is worth reading in its entirety to see how he influenced most of his church through humble faith.

Though Simon was not the type of man people would point to as an incredibly gifted leader, he had a lasting impact upon the church that surpassed even the most gifted pastors this church had enjoyed over its history. How did Simon do this? In a very “average” way.  On Sundays, the young boys of the church were invited to Simon’s house for afternoon walks. And as they walked through the woods, he would talk to them about trees, plants, birds, and…Christ. He did so in an unassuming manner. There was no weekly agenda, no plotting, and no preaching; just an older man spending time with young boys and allowing the Lord to work in His seemingly simple ways for profound ends. These now seventy-year old men all pointed to Simon Prevette as one, if not the key, instrument used by the Lord to draw them to saving faith.

I believe it is the plan of God is to use the average for His work.  If  you look at the men and women that God used in a positive way in the Bible, they were always humble.  Moses, David, Abraham, and Paul are examples that come immediately to mind.  God also uses the proud, but it is often despite their lack of faith, and often to their detriment.  So I encourage you to rejoice in your averageness, work out the strengthening of your faith, and serve humbly so that God will use you through your weakness and foolishness.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[d]

The Renewing of our Plastic Minds

Over at a blog named My Blog, a friend of mine, Geoff Smith, has a post titled Keep the Faculty of Effort Alive in You.  Geoff writes things that challenge me and cause me to stop, think, and consider (sometimes I have trouble keeping up with his thoughts).  He has a recent blog post where he discusses his recent reading of William James, relates it to C.S. Lewis and brings in his own thoughts.  See the following quote from William James that Geoff uses in his blog post.

“The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to themselves while in the plastic state (James, 130).”

I am reminded that what I do shapes who I am.  Our flexible minds conform themselves to our actions as much as what we think controls what we do.

Romans 2:7  “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”

Romans 12:1-2  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So we are made new in ChrIst Jesus, but as we endeavor to live out what he has made us in the eyes of God, we should continually work to have actions that fit the description of our new man.  So it works both ways in that our new way of thinking guides our actions, and what we do shapes our minds.  And through this we not only change our minds to think more like God, but we give glory to Him who has already made us new.