11 December 2018

13 October 2018

Chapel

In addition to holding classes during the school semester at EABST, we also meet to hear preaching in chapel twice a month for several reasons. One is that we long to convey to our student body the sense of weighty joy that comes with the pastoral calling—weighty because on that final day we will be held accountable for those in our care, and joyous because we strive for an eternal reward, not a perishing one. We also want to give our students good examples of biblical exposition. Preaching, like many other skills, is much more difficult to learn without seeing it done well. Another reason we like chapel is that it serves as a reminder that what we are learning about the Bible can never stay in our heads, we have to pursue the work of the Spirit to change our lives with what we learn and to use us as instruments for the change of others.
Frequently guests from around Nairobi come to speak for us during these chapel times, but we as faculty and even our upper-level students take opportunities to preach too. I spoke recently on prudence from Proverbs 22:3. Pictured above is one of our students encouraging us from 1 Peter 1. His reminder was to see the present challenges of life in light of the eternal hope we have in Christ, "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away" (1 Pet 1:4). What a joy to be a part of God's curriculum for these men as they seek to serve Christ's church and spread the fame of his name in this city of Nairobi and among the nations!

31 August 2018

Counseling and Church Life

The second term of 2018 is well under way. While every term we seek to equip men for the ministry of the word, the line from life and study is particularly clear this term. I'm teaching three courses this term: Methods in Writing, Counseling, and Church Life. Perhaps I'll take some time in another post to highlight Methods in Writing, but for now I wanted to tell a little about Counseling and Church Life.
We have been talking in counseling class how biblical counselors are shaped by the Bible in at least two fundamental ways. First in the area of authority, the biblical counselor must have his thinking shaped by the gospel as revealed in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are our sufficient and authoritative guide on this narrow path to glory. They show us both the means and the end. To the extent that we're guided by the wisdom of this age in these matters we will fail to see our road and destination clearly. Second with respect to goals, the counselor is not seeking merely to address the problems of the one who has come for counsel. Those difficulties such as choices about the future or marital strife are important issues to handle, but more fundamental and lasting is the person's relationship with God—an area where we as counselors need grace just as much as those being counseled. This reminder is one way my time in the classroom is equipping me for ministry in my local church.
Another class is Church Life. We're excited about this course in practical ecclesiology because we believe it's one of the most important and useful that we offer at EABST. Here we're working to shape current and future churches in line with Scripture. The Bible sets out for us clearly the roles and responsibilities of pastors, deacons, and church members. It establishes the church's identity and sets the church's agenda. Unfortunately in all of these areas we're so prone to substitute our own ideas, so it's a privilege to dive down deep into the Word for reminders and correctives.
Please keep praying for us as we seek to be and equip men who love the church for the sake of Christ's name among the nations.

06 July 2018

2018 Proclaim: To the Ends of the Earth




After the term ended and grading was complete, we quickly switched our focus to getting ready for the fast approaching Proclaim Conference. Our sending church pastor, Dave Doran, was the keynote speaker. We centered on the theme of the Great Commission, especially emphasizing the central role that local churches have to play in that mission and how establishing local churches is the goal of the mission itself. It was exciting to have an opportunity to speak to this essential topic. The Lord brought nearly 500 church leaders, members, and others our way. Please pray with us that the Lord will continue to grant a sense of responsibility for the mission and a sense of confidence that Christ's presence with us is sufficient for this great cause.


30 June 2018

Intro to Biblical Theology

I’m going to try to get out several brief updates over the next couple of weeks to catch everyone up on recent events. My last update was before the school term ended.
This term I taught Introduction to Biblical Theology. This class helps students begin the process of dealing with the Bible as a whole. Its two main projects (1)  trace the storyline of the Scriptures through God’s major covenants with humans and (2) summarize the basic message of the Scriptures. These two perspectives are useful as we seek to see the Bible’s unity. One shows the line, the cord, so to speak through how the Bible’s most significant characters frame its narrative. The other shows a cross-section of that cord showing how the Bible’s main themes interrelate in a consistent way. We’re praying that this class provides a foundation for helping students place themselves in the proper part in the story—between Christ’s first and second comings, a time when believers are called strangers and pilgrims who await a lasting city, a better country. Please pray that theologies that promote living a prosperous life now over investing in eternity would be undermined as our students engage in biblical church ministry.
I was able to complete exams and assessments (aka grading) for this term mid-May. I am thankful for God’s help in getting that done in preparation for Proclaim at the end of last month. But that’s for next update.

21 April 2018

Meeting

In addition to the normal classwork and discipling within the local church context, the last few weeks have been full of meetings. The meetings deal with three basic areas.
First, I've been meeting with my coworker here, Jonathan Moore, to develop curriculum. We're working on several projects together at the moment from a systematic theology course for the school, to a study guide for pastors in rural areas, to a discipling course to help married couples mentor younger married couples. I also met recently with Pastor Ken, lead pastor at Emmanuel Baptist, to develop a couple of classes for the church's adult education hour (held during Sunday school). It's such a privilege to be able to craft these tools alongside faithful men in order to train and equip church leaders and members to follow Christ more wisely and consistently.
Second, a large crew of volunteer coordinators has been meeting to set things in order for our annual Proclaim conference. It's been such a joy (and a relief) to see the way this conference has been owned by members of our local church. I'm excited about how they are giving of themselves to see other churches in Nairobi and beyond equipped through sound biblical preaching and teaching. This year we have the special privilege of hosting my sending church pastor, David Doran, as a keynote speaker.
Third, we have been meeting to work under the hood at EABST. We're continually seeking ways to be more effective in helping churches entrust the Word to faithful men. The faculty is benefiting richly from the wise input of local leaders who share our vision for biblical ministry.
Please keep us in your prayers as we partner with you in our work for the sake of Christ's name.

28 February 2018

February Flies By

I find it incredible that I'm already looking at the end of this month! Life has been flying by in Nairobi. Here are a couple of highlights:

Jonathan Moore and I have rebooted our regular curriculum development meetings. It is our hope that we will have completed development for 4 new courses for EABST before the end of the year. We were already halfway through one course when the year started and made some serious progress on it even today. It's a privilege to be involved at this research and planning stage hunting down the perfect reading material and deciding which class sessions will discuss what. It's one of my favorite parts of the week.
A Potential Church Meeting Place
(with some work to do!)
Early this month I had the opportunity to travel with one of the deacons of EBC and one of the church planting interns from last year to scope out a few potential sites for church planting in the town of Nakuru about 94.4 miles (3 hours drive) from Nairobi. Nothing is settled yet, but we would love to continue to see EBC planting churches in the country and beyond.
EBC graciously invited me to preach twice this month. I covered the books of Zephaniah and Haggai in one sermon each. While these unfamiliar books may refer to ancient customs and foreign institutions, our God, our human nature, and the biblical worldview don't change, so it has been both exciting and convicting to explain and apply the message of these prophets to our modern situation.
Classes continue to go well, as do our weekly meetings with EBC's interns. In Intro to Biblical Theology, we are preparing to tackle important discussions such as "Salvation in the Old Testament," and "the Mosaic Law and the New Testament Christian." In our intern meetings, each of EBC's three interns are preparing and delivering weekly Bible messages from various genres throughout the Scriptures. These sermons have been encouraging and challenging. It's such a privilege to be involved in the lives of these gifted servants of Christ!
We're so grateful for your continued prayer and partnership with us in the gospel of Jesus!

27 January 2018

Getting into the Swing of 2018

Our Lord has brought us into a new year, and new opportunities abound.
In Kenya, Christmas season is often also wedding season. Since my last update, Jenny have attended three weddings; we had the privilege of being involved directly in two of them. It's such a joy to see the way the Lord is bringing people together to reflect his name and the gospel. Please keep these three new couples in prayer as they adjust to life together as one and seek to honor Christ through their loyal love for one another.
Emmanuel Baptist Church had the exciting opportunity to send out its first church planters earlier this month! Dan Huffstutler and Andy Matoke were officially commissioned from EBC to start a church in a nearby area called Karen. We're so happy to see God using these gifted men, and, while it's sad that we won't see them around EBC as regularly, it's an undeserved joy to participate like this in the progress of Christ's mission. Please pray for Dan and Andy, along with several EBC members who will be joining them, as they strive to reach this new area with the true grace of God.
Classes started again two weeks back. We kicked off with two Q and A lunches (pictured right), one on the sufficiency of the Scriptures and another on biblical church leadership. This term I'm teaching a unit called Introduction to Biblical Theology. The students are encouraged to summarize the message of the whole Bible in 100 words or less and to tell the big story of the Bible in 500 words or less. These projects lay a foundation for the students for a lifetime of studying the Word, fitting the pieces of the biblical puzzle together. Please pray that God would use our full schedule of classes to equip men for local church ministry.
Last week, Ekklesia Afrika, a ministry that promotes the health of churches through solid biblical materials, hosted a Charles Simeon Trust workshop to help pastors and others hone their skills in expository preaching. I had the privilege of working with one of several small groups who tackled the book of 2 Timothy to practice the principles taught in the course and to receive encouragement from the Word itself to, "Preach the Word!" Please pray that God would continue to provide such opportunities through this new ministry.