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Archive for August, 2015

Here are the top highlights for my fourth trip to Siaya, Kenya, ministering to the same 50 pastors and leaders there (the benefit of consistency is deeper relationship and trust):

  1. We worked to bring about a major reconciliation between two of the most respected leaders in this region, giving the Church there new life. This is highly significant in a region where pastors and church leaders are extremely independent and don’t work well together (which really makes a lot of sense for Christian leaders, right?).
  1. Almost all Christian leaders in this region have grown up under leaders who are harsh, selfish, out for personal and financial gain, very little concern for the people they lead, very little knowledge of any sound doctrine. The result is that the Church in this region of Kenya is almost unrecognizable as far as the New Testament standard.
  1. My friend, Danny Gilbert and I have been able to lay a new, solid, biblical foundation of theology, biblical interpretation, pastoral leadership and ministry, sound understanding of marriage, how to treat a woman, how to lead with the kind of authority that is selfless, humble, loving, serving, honoring, caring, encouraging and more. The rejoicing in these things that Danny and I have seen has been extraordinary.  These men and women are so godly, so hungry and so appreciative – and they implement these things right away!
  1. Consequently, we believe we are seeing clear signs of what could be a real, lasting revival in Siaya and beyond. Time will tell!
  1. I saw six responses to a salvation invitation that I gave in a church I preached in. On the last day of ministering to the pastors and leaders, one man was healed of very poor eyesight and a woman had major hearing loss restored.  This is important, because like Paul, we want to impart a gospel not only of words and not only of our lives, but also of power (1 Thess. 1-2).
  1. As in the book of Acts, we witnessed the churches in Siaya “being built up, encouraged and established in their faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit” – whereas before, these churches have been weak and struggling. Now, they’re growing numerically and most importantly, in quality.
  1. Most important of all, all of us could say that we witnessed an avalanche of answered prayer; we witnessed our marvelous triune God marvelously present among us and we were all changed and transformed by His gracious work in and among us!
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Kenya Ministry Trip Assessment: August, 2015 – Days 1-2

 

Greetings, friends, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord J

Here is my update, beginning with day one, which was this past Sunday, Aug. 2.  My favorite pastor is planting a new church and this past Sunday was only their fifth service.

He asked me to lay as part of their foundation a teaching on faith in God.  I actually concentrated on “the work of faith” from the text I spoke from, in 1 Thess. 1:1-8, which also was a new church plant.

I was surprised at how much I found myself speaking to the children in the church, which is meeting in what looks like a bombed-out shelter, made only of cheap bricks and probably no larger than the Master bedroom at my home.

Nevertheless, they must have had 50 people packed into this room.  All the seats were plastic, and as the people kept coming, the men rushed to bring in benches, to make more room!

I really focused on two of the children (Beryl and Steven), who had shared memory verses and also led us in some songs (no instruments; all praise and worship is acapella).  I kept telling them how their “work of faith” blessed this “strange man from America” (me) in joyful ways I just cannot articulate here.

After my message (which was received very well), I gave a salvation invitation and four hands were raised!  I also prayed for the sick to be healed and told everyone that they can all do the same thing and also lead others to faith in Jesus.

But as the pastor and I had lunch, he told me with amazement at how I focused on the kids, because they are greatly focused on reaching children and he had not communicated that with me before the service.

Those kids all sat in rapt attention to a message which was probably 45 minutes long (including the time it took for interpretation)!

Thank You, Holy Spirit (Erokamano ahinya, Roho Maler), for answered prayer and a very good foundation laid for this church, which just outgrew its first building!

First Day of Pastoral and Leader Training

 

Sunday was great, but yesterday was perhaps the best day of all in my four trips here to Siaya, Kenya.  Why?  Because – as I’m continuing to learn and understand – the Church here is oppressed with a shocking amount of false teachings and theology.

The result is that the people see God the Father as very distant, hard to please, angry with them, and even that their own salvation is precarious: they may sin too much and even lose their salvation!

A great, great deal of these things stem from generations of Roman Catholic and Anglican priests, who lorded their authority over the people, made the people dependent upon them, put constant fear in them, lied to them that if they disobeyed these priests they could lose their salvation and that the only way to God was through these priests!

Such bondage continues to even the current generations!  Moreover, now, the current pastors of evangelical churches of every persuasion (but primarily the Pentecostal churches) are harsh, mean, arrogant, and greedy for money, sexually defiled, and removed, distant, demanding, instilling constant fear among the people.

In addition, they honestly have no idea what they’re preaching about.  Frankly, they make the church all about them – not the people – who are giving up on the Church in droves (wouldn’t you, in situations like this?).

Danny Gilbert and I are constantly showing them from the Word of God their true identity in Christ; the Father heart of God; the security of the believer, sound doctrine, and proper principles of biblical interpretation – among so many other things.

My teaching yesterday focused deeply on the pastoral leadership that Paul demonstrated to the church in Thessalonica – how deeply he cared for the disciples there, how he imparted not only the gospel but his very life.

He made the church all about the people – not himself.  He modeled joyful Christlikeness; he cared deeply for the people; he prayed constantly for them.

Over and over and over I’ve emphasized these things and what makes me think this may be my most significant time yet is simply that I see “the light turning on” even more than before.

It’s almost overwhelming to hear the deeply, deeply grateful feedback from the pastors in how their lives have been and continue to be liberated in the gospel to be free and no longer in bondage.

The joy in the room as a result was palpable; you could see hope rising in their faces and hear it in their words.  It was a moment that surely brought great honor to our Lord.

Equally important, they are in turn imparting these things to their churches, and the churches are growing in quality and in quantity.  To God be the glory!

It probably would not be an overstatement to say that the Church in Kenya has been losing hope, because the prevailing method of church is showmanship and the prevailing messages are centered in the prosperity gospel.

I wish you could see the excitement that I see; the joy, the hope restored, the reinforcement for the people that their convictions are indeed biblical, that what they’re longing for really can happen and that this is a new day for the Church in Kenya.

For me personally, it seems like I taught with more power and more freedom than I’ve experienced.  Much of that is due to the overt hunger of these men and women to know God, to know His Word, to be faithful to His Word and to be humble, faithful servants (not rulers) of His people!

Wow; that’s a lot, I realize – after just the first day!  Thank you, beloved, for your prayers of faith; they are working and yielding fruit for eternity—I can surely assure you of that.

I remind you that we are a team and all will get the credit from our Father, who delights to reward His children.  Without you, I’m not here and without you, there is no success.  And without you, the Church really just continues to languish…

THANK YOU!

 

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