Another cause for praise occurred on Wednesday, when I [Rick Renninger] spoke with a young man (+/- 30 yrs) I met 9 months ago when Jim and I taught a Leadership Conference on 1 Timothy here in Chennai, India. His name is John Paul. Last July I learned that he started a house church and within one year 19 people had made professions of faith. John Paul is a physical therapist who gives all the time he can to evangelism and leading his church.
He told me that he reaches out to poor people; people who do manual labor and may only find work a few days a week. Since last summer there have been fewer conversions, and even though some people have stopped attending his church, he currently has 25 people gathering together for Sunday worship. Praise Him!
But here’s what really blew me away! Having no idea how he would answer I asked John Paul this very open-ended question: “In the past year, what has most encouraged you?” Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “The Leadership Conference on 1 Timothy!”
John Paul hungers to grow in his understanding of the Scriptures, not only to encourage and feed his own soul, but to teach others also. And praise God that that is just what he is doing, teaching 1 Timothy regularly. In this, he is representative of what many others are doing as well. In fact, when I was in Rwanda Theophile, who serves as a bishop for some 60 churches, told me that it is a requirement for ordination that a man seeking the pastorate must take ELI’s Leadership course on 1 Timothy. This ordination preparation for pastors is not occurring by ELI staff, but through Rwandans who have been taught the material (2 Timothy 2:2).
Thank you for your partnership with me in promoting healthy Christ-exalting churches that impact Majority World communities by the transforming power of the Gospel!
Ghanaian Pastor Edward writes in response to an ELI course titled “Peacemaking in a World of Conflict”
As a pastor called by God, I believe God has called me to deal with conflict in a way that is different from the world. Besides in this course I learned that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God.
I had one thing which I had found difficult to forgive and forget, but this course has shown me the way. It was a long frustrating battle. The whole thing began when I took a young man and trained him, even taking care of all his needs. Then I opened a new “out station” for him to oversee and along the line he became a pastor for the local church.
This young pastor had a problem with his elders. They wanted to handle the church’s finances and deposit the offerings in the bank. The pastor’s wanted to keep the money. I was called in and I supported the elders’ proposal. The pastor attacked me telling the elders that I was a wicked person because I didn’t defend him. He then left the church.
After some time that pastor came back to me to ask forgiveness, but I decided not to accept him anymore. But the whole thing turned after the course; by reading the course notes and books I changed my mind. So I went to him seeking reconciliation.
What really came across to me in my reading was that when we repent and God forgives us, he releases us from the penalty of being separated from him. When I told the young pastor that I was ready to forgive and forget all that he had done, he came up to me beaming, thanking me for forgiving his offence and for accepting him.
As I shook his hand love for this young pastor overwhelmed me. I have come to realize that God can give you the ultimate desire and ability to truly forgive others. From the day of our reconciliation until this very day this pastor is doing well and our relationship is great.
Edward goes on to tell another story about how God used him as God’s peacemaker to save a marriage in which the wife’s adultery had resulted in her being thrown out of the house.
Praise God for the transforming & reconciling power of His Gospel!
Pray for these Ghanaian pastors to continue to grow in their grasp of the Gospel and its application to all of life.