Denson and I finished the conference in Monze on Thursday. What a blessed time! The conferences are always a challenge to everyone, the attendees and the teacher! There were 34 men and women in attendance from all different Christian backgrounds… everything from Reformed to Pentecostal to Salvation Army and one Baptist! The challenge for them is that I am not coming from any of their particular positions. I am assigned to teach the Word of God as I have found it to be, while being open to being wrong, but until proven from the Scriptures I hold fast the teaching. What a good time! Most appreciate the challenge, some don’t but they prove to not really know why they are of a particular persuasion.
The dear sisters were especially challenged! I walked carefully and prayerfully and spoke the truth in love. The Pastoral Epistle which we spend four hours in do not leave any room for sisters as Pastors or Elders.
The main goal of the conference is to help bring the men (and women) back to the authority of the Scriptures and the sufficiency of the Scriptures. Most of the testimonies came to this… “Thank you for helping me to see and understand that the Bible is all I need and it also judges my own thoughts and the “word” I hear in my heart or head.” The Word of God is our Standard.
What a privilege for me to be used of the Lord to help our pastors and leaders in Zambia see that. There are so many winds of doctrine floating around and most do not have their bases in the clear teaching of Scripture. It has also been wonderful to teach the simple method of Bible Study that recognizes the literal approach to the Scriptures. God is not speaking in hidden and secret ways. He has spoken plainly and finally in His Son Jesus Christ as revealed on the pages of the Scriptures. What a comforting truth. I do not have to speculate on the many voices out there speaking in the “name of God” as if they are hearing revelation. It is so subjective… BUT God’s written Word is not subjective. It is objective truth revealed to all who have been saved and thus “annointed” with the Holy Spirit to understand, if we will.
PASTORS in Africa, especially rural Africa are of a completely different brand then we in the West are. They so willingly suffer the loss of ALL things for the Glory of God and the Preaching of the Gospel. ONE pastor, Derrick, who attended the conference is a pentecostal (wife is a baptist 🙂 ) and I could see his home everyday as I pulled out of the guesthouse and picked him up for the 5 mile ride to the conference. His home was the typical mud brick house about the size of dinning room or living room in most of our homes. It was only half covered with tin. He lives there next to the church with his wife and two children. One night (I think Tuesday) it rained a bucket! lightening, wind… everything. My goodness… Wednesday when we picked him up I asked how he faired in the night… He did not complain! I then asked him how much more was needed to finish his “house”. He said One Million Kwasha… about $300 US. I said I would pray…
WELL when I was teaching on the “rewards justification” of James 2 I read the “be warm, be filled, be blessed” passage and was struck in my heart… and then the Lord did something more… Honeybees invaded their little house and took up residence in their only small 1 x 2 foot dresser…! I decided then to take him to his house and extract the bees for him… being a 30 year beekeeper I found this to be an adventure I could not pass up! Especially AFRICAN bees! So when we arrived at his house during the lunch break his good Baptist wife had taken my verbal advice and smoked them out herself…! Yes the 2 lbs of bees (about 10 or 20 thousand) were clustered outside on a nearby brush…they left later that day (defeated).
BUT back to the main point… When I walked into this small what we would call a “kid’s fort” or homemade playhouse, I walked into the home of this dear young pastor. Half of the roof was finished,but even that half had a 6 to8 inch gap all the way across… so no room was completely sheltered. Two or three rooms in a house of maybe 16 by or 20by 8/10… no more… nothing but mud walls and mud floors and rags for doors…! EYeee! My heart was burdened… Here I was not even owning a home and yet lavishly cared for compared to my young faithful brother… I knew then were my tithe was going this month! Praise the Lord…
Another Brother, Eldridge, shared in tears how God spoke to him in the Word when we studied trusting the Lord for all provisions. I had shared a testimony from our early days in ministry, how we were flat broke… bills due, no food and 4 middle age and teenage children to care for… HOw in one day the Lord provided all we needed for the bills and then on that very weekend church friends from over 500 miles away came with a car load of groceries! And we had told no one but God!… This YOUNG Eldridge told me with tears how a neighbors animals came and destroyed 75% of his large family garden… their only means of food… He said he wept as he asked God why and how was he to care for his family now and do the work of a pastor. The messge encouraged his heart and he was glad he followed the Lord. HE did not go after the neighbor… He kept his Christian and pastoral testimony… The neighbors said to go after him, make him pay etc… He waited on God… The neighbor has admitted to the wrong… now Eldridge is waiting on the Lord to continue to Provide! Pray for him! He is, by faith, trusting the Lord! How about us?
THIS is where we COME in. WE can submit to the Lord and be a part of helping these dear pastors in Zambia. Instead of churches “investing” in the things that perish, like bigger fascilities and more “assessories” for “worship” or to be worshiped?… why not help our brothers in Africa.
Can you help? NO… Will you help? Let me know if you are interested and you can be a part of planting hundreds and even thousands of churches in Zambia and discipling pastors and saving thousands of souls!
Since the year 2000 Hope Builders International partnered with Harvesters International Ministries Zambia have planted over 800 churches! A large portion of these are Baptist churches but many are of all different kinds of evangelical churches. We work with all who preach the Gospel of Grace alone, faith alone, in Christ alone! Then we have the privilege of training these churches in the Bible. What a privilege! Each of these pastors need to be trained and the churches discipled… HELP US.
Pray. Tomorrow the teaching team from ITEM will arrive to conduct the pastor’s conference here in Lusaka. Our team of leaders has organized it. We are meeting at the Salvation Army fascilities… I like to call it the “barracks”… smile… It will be a great time. PRAY.
Thank you to all who have made this trip and these conferences possible by being faithful to the Lord.