I'm writing this while flying over the tip of Greenland. You read that correctly, and I'm amazed by the world of technology that allows for the flying and the writing.
It's hard to encapsulate the last two weeks as I sit here. So many stories, so many moments of grace and beauty, so many times that I was moved to tears in my quite time with the father.
Often when we go to a new place, we marvel at the differences, expound on the things that aren't like home, and sadly we often see each culture through our own instead of through contextually acute eyes. Uganda is different in many ways than my Wyoming home, but not that much different in the greatest aspect....... Truth matters and is slipping away from both.
The trip I was on and the singular mission of Training Leaders International is to teach to things, Hermeneutics and Homiletics, the study of God's Word and the Expository Preaching of God's Word. This is also the singular mission of every pastor, or at least it should be, and it must be the central discipleship plan of every church. We put God's Word at the center and strive for all who would listen, to seek the risen King on every page.
In Uganda and East Africa, the wickedness of the prosperity gospel is having horrific results in this hearty nation. When a people are fed a steady diet of "plant seeds of wealth and God will return in seven fold" they quickly begin to feel that God has forgotten them, when the wealth doesn't come. Sadly, these false teachers do get wealthy< and in turn, live a lifestyle completely unattainable by most of the society.
When the very Word of God is twisted in this way, it makes for a crisis of sound theological training for pastors. It's not just a conference to attend, but joy on this planet and eternal life rest in the balance, for we know that it is through the preaching/teaching of God's word that we are saved.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
We in the United Stated aren't free from this dilemma either. The prosperity gospel has it roots in our land and still has it's wicked grasp on many. However, it seems pretty clear that an even greater tragedy is sweeping our nation and most of western civilization. Lack of Biblical Truth that leads to an UnBiblical World View.
Albert Mohler recently published an article on Biblical Illiteracy in the United States. In it, he lays out a dangerous reality in our increasingly secular society, people who attend church and claim Christ as savior increasingly know very little from the Bible.
According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.
We wax eloquent about the ills of society, how we can fix them, what new cause we should stand with each week, and allow our world views to be shaped by 24 hour news and Facebook likes rather than intelligent thought and Christ centered reflection.
Every Christian should know the cause of all evil..... SIN. This world is broken in every way and will be made perfect only when Christ returns. Until then, we place our hope and trust in Jesus alone, we love our neighbor as ourselves, and seek the face of God in his Word, where we find a hope and a joy that can never be squashed.
Do you Hunger for the Truth?
Do you long for this world to be redeemed?
Do you long for all to be children of God?
Whether in Uganda or in Wyoming, their is a singular mission. We must all ban together, and keep the main thing of Church and Ministry, the clarion call Paul gave to Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5