Friday, March 22, 2013

NLTS 3 - The Gospel of John

Almost a year ago while Randy, Cephas and I were in Accra, Ghana we began to dream about a future ministry location we hoped to call the HUB.  Out of that came an idea of an oral theological training school.   We were in totally uncharted territory but felt God’s guiding hand as we began planning. 

Now we have just finished up our third course (of 12) of said school at the HUB.  It’s been an amazing ride and it just keeps getting better!  Thank you for your prayers through every step of the way.

Okay, on to NLTS 3.  I wish somehow I could capture the week with words but I just can’t.   It was such a sweet time of fellowship with 15 brothers from several villages. 

I personally grew so much as I prepared to teach the Gospel of John.  It has always had such a special place in my own spiritual growth and I was so excited to walk through it with these dear brothers.

But how could I teach 21 chapters of John in 5 short days?  This was my fear.  Our goal is never just knowledge and we always want our believers to walk away with an understanding of how to use this knowledge.  Typically this means we spend lots of time on repetition and make sure they can repeat back the stories we tell.

You just can’t do that in 5 days trying to move through 21 chapters so I decided to focus on what John himself says the purpose of his Gospel were.  He states in the 20th chapter that he has written these things so that we might know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that we might believe in Him and have life.

So with that, we set out to pull those two points out of every verse of this amazing Gospel.  Joneo created some great visuals for the 8 miracles and the 7 “I AM” statements John records for us.  We turned these visuals into a small book for each believer with the hopes that as they listened to the Gospel with their lost friends, they could use these visuals to pull out these 2 main points from the story. 

During the week there were also some chances to put into practice what we were learning.  As we read about Jesus washing His disciples feet, we too washed each others’ feet.  I shared on Facebook that this was unlike any other foot washing I have been apart of. Instead of a somber affair, it was one of rejoicing as one by one they started singing and dancing.  Then, as we talked about serving, an opportunity arose for us to do some hard work (that nobody else wanted to do) for a local school damaged by the flood.  The guys did it again with rejoicing.

The last day I gave the guys a few gifts to remind them of our week.  They each got a loaf of bread to remind them that this bread will run out but Jesus is the Bread of Life that gives life everlasting. 

I also gave them a lamp.  We looked a lot this week at how John talked about light and dark climaxing in Jesus’ “I AM the light of the world” statement.  This lamp was to remind them to walk in the light and to be a bright light in their dark villages. 

Finally, I gave them a cloth to remind them to pick up their cloths and serve one another.

The guys then surprised me with a gift.  They gave me a bow and arrow.  Someone then read from Psalm 127 (the passage about a man with a full quiver).  The point they brought out was towards the end of the text where no one debates with the man with a full quiver!  In other words, he is a powerful man.

The guys said I had started the week with a full quiver but as the teaching went on I was giving each of the guys an arrow i.e., the training was teaching them how to do spiritual battle when they go home.  They said I needed to refill my quiver so that I can continue to equip others for battle!

What a humbling gift and a great week!

My bow and quiver!
Jonathan Oglesby created some great pictures to go with our study of John.
The book we made out of Joneo's pictures

This was the guys after plowing up an area about 100 yards by 30 yards using only the tools you see here!

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