I have just completed my first week of teaching on Romans. Each day had its discoveries and questions. At times I had to stop their questions in order to reach goals in the book. They are so incredibly hungry! As we looked at Romans 6, 7, 8, we worked through the text in depth. I taught them how Jesus death, resurrection and intercession have changed our relationship to sin and the judgment of the law. Our focus moved from slavery to the power of the Holy Spirit in chapter 8. I could see them understanding grace in a whole new way.
The pastors declared how they had never seen such depth in the book of Romans, confessing to me the shallow understanding among their churches. I challenged them to go back and to teach for a year through exposition from this book. I challenged them to disciple their people while expecting God to honor His word. I believe this is exactly what they will do.
On Saturday I preached at the graduation of a class from the school. I was moved by the joy and commitment they made to faithfully study as pastors in leading their churches.
You cannot begin to imagine how different this is from the many churches around them. Yes, evangelism and new churches are bearing a great spiritual harvest. Yet, without the foundation of solid disiciplemaking the churches will only fall prey to Satan’s old strategies of weakening the church through error and personalities. God‘s Word is the antidote.
Today I went to a church in a small town 30 minutes away to preach in a church plant in the middle of huge solid rock mountains. The setting was beautiful, yet the poverty was overwhelming. As we entered the worshiping assembly, the music involved congregational singing with only drums for instruments. Men sit on one side, women on another. In the middle are seated all the children and a man carrying a stick occasionally passes by. Believe me, these children were well behaved! I think that stick must have something to do with their behavior (they were gentle with the kids however). Each group stands as the pastor prays for them while encouraging their hearts with his words.
I preached on Mt 18 and the Parable of the Servant who refused to forgive after he had been forgiven. Their response was strong. They rise to their feet and raise their voices to God in group prayer, in song, then they dance with joy over the message of God‘s love and exhortation. I realized that in their impoverished situation, I had just spoken to a group who has nothing but Jesus, family and church. Yet, out of such poverty, they march by and celebrate by giving tithes and offerings.
Thank you to all who are praying for me as I am here. Your prayers and resources are truly making a large difference in a sea of great need and opportunity.
Please continue to lift me up as I will now turn to “Doctrine of God“. Pray also for my co-worker Rick Renninger. God is using him in a powerful way also.
Joel McCall, March 2010