Transformation Among Former Head Hunters in Myanmar

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Naga homes in rural Myanmar

In our Training National Trainers program, we have opportunities to reach and transform people in some of the most remote regions of the world.  If we are not able directly train, we train nationals who can travel to remote regions.

This is the beauty of multiplication.  When the pastors we train become passionate about training others, they are spreading their training onto communities that we could never reach or come in contact with.

Below is a powerful update from one of our Regional Directors about the work going on in Myanmar and throughout South East Asia.

(See more of our work in Myanmar and the amazing lengths our trainees will go to take to pass their biblical training on to others.)

New to the Word

Several times in his book, Ezra relates that “the hand of the Lord was upon him.” By this he means that he felt he was doing what God had called him to do—even though it was difficult and sometimes dangerous and discouraging work! Sensing God’s hand upon him Ezra continued in God’s work with confidence, conviction, commitment and courage. In spite of great opposition (cf. Ezra 4), the Temple was rebuilt and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. Since the people had abandoned the Law and had intermarried with foreign wives, the work of getting the people back to living according to God’s will was very difficult! In Nehemiah 8, we read of Ezra mounting on a high pulpit so all could see and hear him as he began reading aloud the Law of God. Several men were scattered around the congregation to help the people understand what was being said. After abandoning the Law for so long, it was foreign to them.

Now this story from Ezra and Nehemiah relates to the work of Leadership Resources in Southeast Asia. We are not drawing back a people who have abandoned the Law of God as Ezra did. Rather, we are coming alongside a people who are new Christians. We are training pastors who are new Christians and many of whom have never had any kind of training in the Word of God.

Not Even Headhunters Are Out of God’s Reach

In this letter, I want to focus on our new work in Myanmar (Burma) especially as that is carried out among the Naga tribal people. Most Naga tribesmen live inside India along India’s western border with Myanmar. On the Burmese side of the border lives a much smaller population of some 100,000 Nagas. They live along the Indian border in the west to the Chindwin River in the east.

The Naga are a fierce warrior tribe that a little over 100 years ago were head hunters. Today that custom has disappeared due to prohibition by the Burmese government. Christianity was introduced to the northern region of the Naga villages in the 1960s by missionaries from the Kachin Baptist Church, a local Burmese branch of the Baptist Church in Myanmar. In 1965, a civil war broke out between the Naga tribes and the Kachin tribe. Many Naga believers fled to India for safety to live among fellow tribesmen of India. God used this event to bring the Gospel to the Naga of India. Today a large Christian Church exists in a part of India known as Nagaland! God moves in mysterious ways!

group-photo-of-naga-tnters-lahe-myanmar-2Starting in 1984 the middle region of the Naga villages was reached by missionaries from the Burmese Church of Christ headquartered in Putao in the far north of Myanmar. It is these Naga villages that are being reached by some of the Church of Christ students in our Training National Trainers program.

The Christians of these villages are quite immature in their faith. Pastors in these new churches have had little or no opportunity for training in preaching and teaching the Word of God to their people. One of our pastor/students is leading a group of Church of Christ pastors who are taking our training to these Naga pastors in the middle region of Naga villages.

What a difference training makes

In the past, these uneducated pastors would simply read sermons written by pastors from the Mother Church in Putao. This practice became so common that the congregation would recognize a sermon that was often repeated. Members of the congregation heard these sermons so often that they could recite much of the sermon from memory! When these pastors were taught Expository Preaching, they rejoiced! Now they can prepare their own sermons!

120-groupOur busiest TNT student is Pastor RP of the Church of Christ. He is the one responsible for arranging and carrying out (with the help of other Church of Christ Pastors) this training of Naga pastors and church leaders. He is training two groups of students among the Naga tribe. One group is from the area around the village of Lahe with 25 pastors and church leaders. The other group is made up of pastors and church leaders from the area around the village of Wangdung with 20 pastors and church leaders.

RP travels over difficult trails to get to these remotely located Naga villages. What follows is taken from his report to me of his trip to Wangdung Village.

naga-pastors-and-leaders-in-tnt-sessionI went from Yangon by bus to Mandalay on Jan. 9. From there I flew to Khamti on Jan. 10. The next day I rode by cycle 60 miles with a pastor from Khamti (Pastor Dega). We stayed in Lahe on Sunday and on Monday we rode on to Wangdung (20 miles over winding mountain trails, suspension bridges and through rivers with no bridge). Most of the 20 pastors & church leaders have had no training of any kind. Since the church among the Nagas is relatively young and so remote, the opportunity for training just doesn’t exist—until now with LRI training! Most of these men became pastors because of need, but none were qualified. They need much training in the Word. At the end of the training they thanked the Lord for this training and made sure that we planned to come back. These pastors were so grateful for help in dealing with false teaching that always seems to creep in. I taught until Jan. 25. It took me till Feb. 1 to get back home!”

Praise the Lord for this group of people who are glorifying God by training remote church leaders in the Word!

Learn more about Training National Trainers.

One Crucial Thing Many Churches Miss: Seeking the Heart of God

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We have often done well knowing the mind of God in our churches today. We have not done as well knowing His heart.

We have largely become a church that pursues insights, principles, and theological concepts. No other church in history has had sounder theology or has known as much about God as many of our churches do today. However, we seem to know so little about His heart.

Maybe this has troubled you, too. With all our insight, all our knowledge, all our information, and all our depth of theology, we seem to have so much difficulty functioning in the most basic Christian things, like personal holiness and loving people more than things. In our churches we are so easily hurt, and we hold on to those hurts for so long. We easily walk away from one another and quickly leave our churches when we experience disappointments and failures. There is often much judging and little compassion. Too many people remain alone in their pain.

God desires to reveal His heart to us and to build His heart into us as we seek His face. Insight alone does not transform us; only the things that flow from the heart of God transform the lives of people. As God opens His heart to be known by us and as He builds His heart into us, His love will flow through us to those who are in desperate need of His forgiveness, His compassion, His healing, and His life.

For those of us who desire to be used by God, the time is long past for us to be saying to one another, “What do you know? Where have you been? What have you accomplished?” The time has come–if we desire to be used by God–to be saying to one another, “What have you seen of God? What do you know of Him?”

To the degree that God gives us the grace to see Him, our lives and our ministries will become fruitful and effective. May God give us the grace to seek His face and to be transformed in His presence!

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This excerpt is adapted from Adequate! How God Empowers Ordinary People to Serve by Bill Mills available as a print book or eBook. If you desire to be one of the ordinary people through whom God pours out His extraordinary life, you will find this book invaluable. We long ago recognized that we are inadequate for what God has called us to do. Yet the glorious news of the gospel is that we are Adequate! in Christ.

Our international pastoral training program Training National Trainers equips pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart. Learn more about Training National Trainers and learn how you can seek the heart of God for the world by partnering with us in our work.

Follow Leadership Resources on Facebook and Twitter.

The Most Important Thing for Developing a Vision for Ministry

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Suppose one of the young people in your youth group, one with a whole heart for the Lord, came to you and said, “I want God to use me; I want to serve the Lord and bear fruit that will last forever; how should I prepare for that kind of ministry?” What should you tell that person?

Now, suppose you were able to take that young man or woman right into the presence of the Lord to be introduced and say, “Father, this is such a special young person with a great desire to be used for Your glory; how should he or she spend the next years preparing for a ministry that would glorify your name throughout all eternity?”

How would God respond? Would God say any of the following?

  • “The first thing you need to do is get the best education you possibly can. Your education will lay the foundation for your career, and the better you are educated, the more effectively I will be able to use you.”?
  • Study theology. The more effectively you can handle the Scriptures and apply them to the questions people are asking, the more effectively I will use you in the building of my church”?
  • Study psychology. You are living in a painful and competitive world in which people around you have more pain in their lives than they can handle. The more you can touch people in the places they are hurting, the more effectively I will be able to use you”?
  • Study technology. I have caused you to live in a time in which there are tools available for ministry and the proclamation of the gospel that people a few years ago hardly even dreamed would be available…”?

God would not say any of that, would He?

What God would say is, “Your ministry and your life will become fruitful and effective to the degree that you learn to see me.”

Cover_AdequateI believe that is what God would say because that is what He said to Moses, to Jeremiah, to Ezekiel, and to the apostle Paul. Have you noticed as you have studied the Scriptures how often God begins ministry with vision? That vision is not focused on what He will do through us as much as it is a vision of Himself. When we talk about vision, our eyes are often filled with all that we would do; when God talks about vision, He is talking about our eyes being filled with who He is. That is the vision with which God begins ministry.

This excerpt is adapted from Adequate! How God Empowers Ordinary People to Serve by Bill Mills available as a print book or eBook. If you desire to be one of the ordinary people through whom God pours out His extraordinary life, you will find this book invaluable. We long ago recognized that we are inadequate for what God has called us to do. Yet the glorious news of the gospel is that we are Adequate! in Christ.

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New Staff Spotlight

Dear Friends and Partners,

I’m proud to introduce to you some of the most amazing people in the world. The Lord has led these folks (along with David and Connie Soper) to join Leadership Resources since the beginning of last year.

I’ve told others: “I’m glad that I joined Leadership Resources 25 years ago…I’m not sure that I would make the grade today!”

These are high-caliber team members: talented, experienced, godly, and gifted.

I want to you meet them so you might…

• Praise God with us over the growth that we are experiencing.
• Pray for these new team members…each one mentions a specific prayer request.
• Consider supporting one or more of them.

Melanie Ingland (Assistant to the President) 

Melanie-Daniel-214x300My name is Melanie Ingland I am a Michigan native. Growing up outside of Ann Arbor the only significant time I spent away from home was the 4 years I spent at college in South Carolina earning my degree in Criminal Justice.  That may seem like a mismatch when you see where God has led me!  After graduation, the Lord increased my burden to use my life and skills to further his kingdom on a full time basis.  After seeking the Lord for direction, the Lord led me to Todd Kelly at LRI. He introduced me to the position that I now have which is Assistant to our President, Craig Parro.  I love experiencing life, traveling and acquiring new skills so I spend a lot of my free time trying new things all of which I do alongside my boyfriend Daniel.  I love combining my artistic side with other things that intrigue me like “geek culture” and baking so you can frequently find me creating some comic related art piece or creating cakes to teach me new techniques.  Being a part of the LRI team excites me because it allows me to be a part of the greater kingdom work that God is doing in his church around the world.   Please be in prayer for me as I make long term decisions about what community to settle in permanently. You can read about Melanie’s Ministry Journey on her blog.

To support Melanie, click on her name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Kevin Halloran (Content Strategist/Latin America Trainer)

Kevin-Halloran_Nov-2013-228x300Around Christmastime of 2012, five months before I graduated seminary, I anxiously thought about my future and prayed to God that He would lead me to a ministry position that combines my three passions: teaching the Word, speaking Spanish, and blogging/social media. Shortly after graduation, the Lord led me to LRI—who had been praying that God would give them someone like me for months! It is truly amazing how God works. I’m excited to fulfill the calling He has given me on the Communications team broadcasting stories of God’s work around the world and serving as part of the training team in Latin America. (I am also excited to bring down the average age of LRI staffers a few years.) Pray that God would use my online work to share His glory all over the world and connect with many people who can partner with us in our work. You can visit Kevin’s personal blog where he shares Christian thoughts, resources, and book reviews at KevinHalloran.net.

To support Kevin, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Tim Henry (H.R. Coordinator)

Tim-Henry-Croped-250x300For as long as I can remember, I have had an awareness that God is efficiently orchestrating my life opportunities and experiences in the present time with an eye to also prepare me for the “next chapter” of His plan for my life. In the first phase of my adult life, there was an overall theme of ministry to children and youth. God brought opportunities to minister in churches, at summer camps, through regional retreats, in prisons, in urban public schools and in a residential institution. Next, God smoothly introduced a new major phase with a focus on developing my administrative and management skills. For about fifteen years, I saw opportunities to practice program management, not-for-profit administration, management of volunteers, team leadership, staff development, quality improvement and organizational development in a well established Chicago area home for youth.  Now, God has led me to Leadership Resources. I’m excited to be at LRI because I see God working mightily through this ministry, expanding its reputation, reach and resources and I cannot wait to see how He will use the unique mix of gifting and experiences he has blessed me with so I can support and serve in this season of Leadership Resources’ growth. When God prompts you to pray for me, please ask Him to increase my trust in what He is doing even when I cannot see very far into the future. After all these years of seeing God’s faithfulness to me and my family, impatience and worry still overtake me more often than I care to admit.

To support Tim, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Doug Johnson (Director of Church Partnerships)

Doug-Johnson-225x300In 1999, while serving as Associate Director of Missions for the Church of the United Brethren, the Lord used pastors and lay women and men to confirm a calling on my life to preach and teach the Word of God.  Because of my passion for biblical preaching, in 2013 it brought me great joy to be called to serve with Leadership Resources, a ministry dedicated to training pastors to preach and teach the Word of God with God’s heart. One of my responsibilities as Director of Church Partnerships is to meet with church mission commissions and boards, inviting them to partner with Leadership Resources in launching indigenous-led pastoral training movements worldwide.  We always need partners to pray for our Church Partnership Team, that we would effectively communicate the mission of Leadership Resources to the glory of our Savior and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

To support Doug, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Sean Martin (Program Coordinator)

Sean-2-300x225In our little family of five, there are three dual citizens and three nationalities represented.

Between us we have lived in eight cities and five countries. So we feel very much a part of the international focus of LRI! We arrived in Chicago in April and have really enjoyed settling into our new life and ministry. We sense that God has been preparing us for working with LRI for many years and are delighted to be part of a ministry that is training others to spread the gospel to nations and generations. Our focus will be on training preachers in North America as well as developing a partnership with Matthias Media which will help LRI train pastors to train their congregations in reading and sharing the Word of God. We are excited to see how this will work out over the coming years. We would be grateful if you would pray that The Lord would equip and strengthen us for the work that He has given us to do and that our family would keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him.

To support Sean, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Scott Polender (Curriculum Writer/Trainer)

Apr-2013-Polender-Fam-2-300x199I came to know the Lord Jesus my junior year at Wheaton College.  The next year God’s Spirit broke out on campus in what is known as the 1995 Wheaton Revival.  Christ had already completely changed my life, but there my love for the church grew and I felt compelled to give the time I’m given to build his church.  I would be called to Kathmandu, Nepal for two years before working in local pastoral ministry in Sydney, Australia, Wisconsin and the Chicago area. I’ve been involved in training pastors in the States, but I’m overjoyed to be called to LRI because of the extraordinary fruit we see, immeasurably more than I would have asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20).  Please pray for my wife Jodi and me in the midst of several transitions including joining LRI and the arrival of our third daughter, Tabitha, in February!

To support Scott, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Phil Smith (Field Director)

Phil-Smith-300x199We’ve moved from one extreme to another: From pastoring a church on an isolated island in S.E. Alaska, to life and ministry surrounded by millions of people in the Chicago area; from moderate temperatures near the Pacific to the extremes of a polar vortex last winter and hot and humid days this summer here in the Midwest; from focusing on a ministry in a small town to a ministry that impacts congregations around the globe.  We’re very thankful to join the team at LRI as it seeks to launch movements of the Word in churches around the world.  Please pray for our whole family as we develop new friendships and settle into life and ministry here (and for strength as we welcome a new baby girl to our family mid-summer!).

To support Phil, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

I told you that they were pretty special people! Each one is in the process of raising their personal support. They are trusting the Lord and the Lord’s people to provide for their monthly financial needs. LRI does not guarantee their salary. We wish we had a big pot of money from which to pay their salaries, but we don’t.

Would you please consider a special gift or a monthly or quarterly commitment to support one or more so that they might continue to work with us for years to come, to the glory of God.

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With gratitude in Christ,

Craig Parro

President

PS: Please also pray for them as they continue their personal fund-raising process. It’s hard asking people for financial support. It’s sometimes discouraging, but always faith-stretching to trust God for their daily needs.

Leverage Your Kingdom Impact by Having Your Gift Doubled!

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Dear Friends and Partners,

Would you please send us a donation today? I know I’m being blunt, but here’s why it’s so urgent…

  1. A Christian foundation has sent us $25,000 to expand our work in an Asian country that is hostile to Christ and his Church. Great news, right? Well yes, but… there’s a catch.

  2. We can’t spend it.They’ve designated it a matching gift. That means we have to raise an additional $25,000 from friends like you in order to be able to use their $25,000.

Here’s the good news: your gift will have double the impact.

That’s a 100% increase on your Kingdom investment—where else can you get that type of financial return? Plus, you’ll be laying up treasures in heaven, where the reward will be far greater!!!!

What will we do with the money?

Rakhine-Students-in-Small-Group-Study-of-Hermeneutics-300x199To help pastors like “Noah”, who lives in a country we work in. Upon first hearing the gospel, Noah and his fellow villagers tore down their idols and altars… even before they really understood the gospel. The village witch doctor (Noah’s father) searched a neighboring province to learn more about this Jesus. He found one Bible, one songbook and two cassette tapes. That’s all the resources he had to shepherd these babes in Christ.

The tribe tapped Noah to become their pastor and evangelist since he had been training to become their next witch doctor. He told us:

“A 15-minute daily shortwave broadcast from the Philippines was my only training to become the leader of 11 village churches.  I desperately need more training so I can be a better leader of my people.”

Doubling the impact of your gift is nice, but far more importantly, you will be helping Noah and many other oppressed and under-resourced pastors in his country. By extension, you’ll help nourish the souls of thousands of Christ-followers in their churches. That’s worth $25 or $50 or $100 or $500, isn’t it? To make your tax-exempt donation, please donate online at

Donate.leadershipresources.org

and choose the Designation “Other” and type in “Asia/MG” to have your gift matched! The last day to have your gift matched is July 31, 2014. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to strengthen needy churches in the Word of God!

With gratitude in Christ,

Craig-Parro-229x300

Craig Parro
President of Leadership Resources International

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The Assumption That Our Churches Can’t Afford

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An article was published recently on The Gospel Coalition by Jen Wilkin called, “The Assumption We Cannot Afford.” The assumption she warned against was assuming that people in our congregations know how to read the Bible for themselves.

Wilkin’s first glimpse of the degree of this neglect was after leading a year-long women’s Bible study and being overwhelmed with comments saying, “I’ve been in church for years, but no one has taught me to study my Bible until now.”

We often hear the same types of comments from pastors we train. While these comments can be very encouraging on the one hand about the importance and effectiveness of our training, they are also profoundly discouraging when thinking about the lack of training many pastors have.

Wilkin continues,

Church leaders, I fear we have made a costly and erroneous assumption about those we lead. I fear that in our enthusiasm to teach about finances, gender roles, healthy relationships, purity, culture wars, and even theology we have neglected to build foundational understanding of the Scriptures among our people…When we offer topical help–even if the topic is doctrine–without first offering Bible literacy, we attempt to furnish a house we have neglected to construct.

All Christians should have a solid foundation of Scriptural truth and a working knowledge of how to read the Bible. The Bible can be confusing and hard to understandPastors must teach their people the Bible and how to study the Bible for themselves.

Doing this will help their congregation more faithfully feed themselves the Word of God during the week and not rely on the knowledge or abilities of others. The more people get into the Bible for themselves, the more God will use it to sanctify them and prepare them for their own ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the more people will understand why the Psalmist could say the Word is more to be desired than gold and sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10).

The results of our training are much like how Jen Wilkin describes the women she equipped as excited, “well-watered plants after a drought…finally being given some tools to build Bible literacy.

And yet so many church goers are plants still in a drought, so many pastors and church leaders are not being equipped or nourished with God’s Word. We recently heard a confession of a Honduran pastor who said that for thirty-five years in ministry (before receiving our training) he had been preaching nothing.

Does that break your heart? Hearing that story broke our hearts but encouraged us that God would not give up on this man but equip him for his remaining years in ministry through receiving training in the Word through Leadership Resources.

Will you pray with us that God would equip and nourish His people with His Word all over the world and have it increase and prevail mightily (Acts 19:20)? Would you pray for pastors like Rolando in Oaxaca, Mexico, a man who desperately longed to be trained in God’s Word and had God answer his prayer by sending Leadership Resources?

The Word of God is sufficient to do the work of God. It is our job to make it and its’ life-giving message accessible and understandable to others. We thank God for His power displayed in His Word!

Browse our site for more information about Leadership Resources or Training National Trainers.
Learn about how you and your church can impact a nation by sponsoring pastoral training.
Donate to Leadership Resources to advance and strengthen biblical ministry worldwide.

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The World Cup in Light of Eternity

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“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages…” (Revelation 7:9)

That sounds a lot like the World Cup, right? It is actually the Apostle John’s description of heaven in the book of Revelation. In God’s providence, I began reading through the book of Revelation as the Cup began and was struck at how many parallels I saw between worship in heaven and the World Cup on earth.

With the excitement and details of this World Cup quickly fading into the past, my heart was led by John’s description of heaven to look forward to something enduring, something greater, and something truly glorious.

As you reflect on the world gathering around a soccer competition, let your eyes and heart be drawn to the all-surpassing greatness of God and the glory of His eternal gospel.

The World Cup in Light of Eternity

Pursuing an Eternal Prize

Athletes and coaches dedicate much of their life to chase a trophy made of gold that will not last forever. Our faith, which is of greater worth than gold (1 Peter 1:7) secures for us our ultimate prize that is, “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). We will not win trophies–but crowns–which we will cast before the throne of God in worship.

“They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:10-11

Singing Eternal Songs

The jubilant victory songs of our nations’ teams will be replaced by new songs of worship to our God. These songs will be new because they will praise God for work He has yet to do. These songs will focus on the glory of God and His goodness to us in the gospel.

““Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

Wearing Eternal Attire

Jerseys, face paint, and ridiculous outfits show the love that World Cup fans have for their country. Others wave large flags or banners to add to their celebration and allegiance. Citizens of heaven will celebrate the washing of our sins away by wearing white robes and waving palm branches to celebrate the King who redeemed His people.

“…standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-11

Enjoying Eternal Peace

While the world uniting at the World Cup may seem like a diplomatic victory, there are still nations cut off due to access, size, or for political reasons. The Gospel is different and does what man can never do through sport or anything else. Christ will gather from every nation a people to worship Him forever, bringing perfect peace to those who follow Him.

“All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:4

Witnessing Eternal Justice

Like most things in our Genesis 3 world, the World Cup groans for justice and completion. Bad officiating, cheating, corruption, waste, and human trafficking due to the event scream injustice and reveal how badly we long for God’s righteous judgment and shalom on earth. We can be confident that God will execute His perfect judgment and make things right.

Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!Revelation 16:6

Rejoicing in Eternal Victory

The victor’s crown in the World Cup will last only four years and does nothing to help in future matches. Christ is the ultimate victor who has vanquished the devil by conquering sin and death. We will share in the victory of our Lord in the future and have His power now to fight sin and live holy lives. Because of Christ’s victory, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and can share in His glory forever and ever.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”” Revelation 19:6

It’s Not Eternity Yet

We live in the already but not yet. As we set our gaze on eternity, let’s not forget that we still have work to do. Here are a few questions to ponder as you think about the remainder of your life on earth:

  • What is your ultimate prize? The answer to this question will reveal who and what you serve. Make your ultimate prize like the Apostle Paul’s: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

 

  • What are you celebrating? We should celebrate the person of Christ and the glorious salvation that comes only in Him in our lives, homes, and churches. Don’t let a football match or worldly gain get you more excited than being found righteous in Christ and freed from God’s judgment.

 

  • How are you promoting peace and justice? While we will never have perfect peace and justice until heaven, we can show this world a preview of God’s perfect Kingdom here on earth by acting justly and showing mercy in a variety of ways both personally and as a church body.

 

  • Are you living in the confidence of Christ’s victory? Ultimate victory in Christ should impact our love for Him, our pursuit of holiness, our boldness in sharing the gospel, and how we endure suffering as servants of Christ. Is Christ’s victory making a daily difference in your life?

As the excitement of the World Cup dwindles and you life returns to normal, may these thoughts drive you to live in light of your future home and proclaim with the multitudes, “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!”

Come, Lord Jesus!

Leadership Resources International trains pastors in the US and all over the world to preach the Word of God with the heart of God and proclaim Christ from all of Scripture. Learn more about the work God is doing through His Word in AfricaAsia, and Latin America.

If you want to help us proclaim God’s name among the nations, join us in our ministry by making a donationbecoming an Anchor Church, or praying for our work around the world.

Posts You May Enjoy:
TNT Testimony: “This training helps to avoid heresies and focus on the Word…”
How to Pray for Your Pastor
The Most Popular Psalms in the Bible
10 Types of Pastors Who Fail to Reach their Ministry Potential

John Wesley on the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures

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“The Bible must be the invention of either good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God.

1. It could not be the invention either of good men or angels; for they neither would nor could make a book and tell lies all the time they were writing it, saying, “Thus saith the Lord,” when it was their own invention.

2. It could not be the invention of bad men or devils; for they would not make a book which commands all duty, forbids all sin, and condemns their own souls to hell for all eternity.

3. Therefore, I draw this conclusion, that the Bible must be given by divine inspiration.”

–John Wesley in A Clear and Concise Demonstration of the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures

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Author: Kevin Halloran

10 Conversation Starters for Disciple Makers

Discipleship-Questions-and-Conversation-Starters

Have you ever had an opportunity to talk about spiritual matters with another person but whiffed because you didn’t know what to say? Maybe you let an opportunity pass you by–or maybe you tried to force a conversation and made it awkward and unnatural.

We’ve all been there.

Disciple makers need to be able to faithfully communicate God’s truth into the lives of those they shepherd–and often need conversation starters to help them do that job well. The ten discipleship questions below serve as a tools for the Christian leader’s toolbox and should help steer conversations toward spiritual significance.

10 Conversation Starters for Disciple Makers

1. What is the greatest thing God has ever done for you? (This is a helpful question to ask to gauge a person’s understanding of the gospel.)

2. How are you pursuing Christ in your life?

3. Are you treasuring Christ more and more in your daily life?

4. Are you growing in Christ or growing cold?

5. If you were to trace a graph with your finger describing the ups and downs of your Christian life, what would it look like, and why?

6. In what particular way have you grown in your understanding of the Christian life since we last met?

7. In what particular way have you grown in your practice of the Christian life since we last met?

8. In what particular way do you feel that you need instruction?

9. In what particular way are you disappointed in your own pursuit of holiness?

10. How, specifically, can I pray for you?*

If you have other helpful questions to spur on discipleship, please share them in a comment!

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Leadership Resources International equips pastors in the United States and around the world to preach God’s Word with God’s heart. Learn how the Fellowship of the Word program can help you reach your full potential by sharpen your skills in the Word, fellowshipping with other pastors, and training the next generation to follow Paul’s command in 2 Timothy 4:2 to “Preach the Word!”

*(The last five questions were originally shared by Mark Dever in Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.)

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Author: Kevin Halloran

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8 Weeks through Mark’s Gospel

Bible-Study-Questions-for-the-Gospel-of-Mark

We are all tempted to overcomplicate things that don’t have to be complicated. Sadly, evangelism and discipleship can be overcomplicated by focusing on programs, techniques, and ministry fads to reach others with the truth.

The book One-to-One Bible Reading is all about what is one of the most effective and neglected discipleship techniques: sitting down with another person and simply reading the Bible. God speaks powerfully through His Word, which is why it is the best place to turn when people have questions about the faith or want to know who Jesus is.

The Gospel of Mark is a great place to start reading with unbelievers because of its short and simple portrayal of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Its 16 chapters are easily divided up into two sections: Mark 1-8:30, focusing on the who Jesus is; while Mark 8:31-16:8, describing Jesus’ suffering death on the cross for our sake.

The following set of questions are broken up in eight sections and are ideal for studying the book of Mark with a non-Christian friend or family member. They have been taken from One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm and are used with permission (you can download these questions and more in a PDF).

Eight weeks through Mark’s Gospel

Week 1 (Mark 1:1-15)
• How does Mark show us that Jesus is worthy of attention?
• What ‘witnesses’ does Mark call upon to introduce Jesus, and why?
• What is the message of Jesus, and how does it draw your attention to him?
• According to the passage, what has Jesus come to do?
• What is your own reaction to Jesus after reading this passage?

Week 2 (Mark 2:1-12)
• What do you think is the most surprising thing Jesus does in this encounter?
• If someone in a crowd of people said to you, “Your sins are forgiven”, what would you and
everyone else think of that person?
• How does Jesus demonstrate his claim to be able to forgive sins?
• What difference do you think his authority should have in your own life?

Week 3 (Mark 3:7-35)
• How do people react to Jesus today?
• What responses to Jesus do you see in this passage?
• Why was Jesus’ authoritative teaching a threat to the teachers of the law?
• Jesus says, “He first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house” (v. 27). What
is the point of this statement?
• What house is Jesus claiming to be overthrowing, and what could this mean for you?
• According to this passage, how do you become a part of Jesus’ family?

Week 4 (Mark 8:22-38)
• What event takes place just before Peter’s confession? Why do you think these two stories are
placed next to each other?
• How would you describe the healing of the blind man?
• How good is a partial understanding of Jesus?
• According to Jesus, why does a follower of Christ have to “deny himself” and “lose his life”?

Week 5 (Mark 10:17-45)
• Looking at verses 17-22, what would Jesus say is the basic character of people in the world?
• Based upon this passage, do you think you can earn your salvation by being a good person?
• In verses 32-34, Jesus says that he is going to die. According to verse 45, what is the purpose of
his death?
• Read Isaiah 53:5, 10-12. How do these verses help us understand what a ransom is?
• What would Jesus tell you to do if you desired to enter into a relationship with God?

Week 6 (Mark 14:53-15:15)
• When we read of great tragedies in history, we tend to think that we would have acted
differently if we had been there. Can you see yourself in this passage? What would you be doing?
• How are some of the characters in this passage similar to each other? How are they different?
• What evidence is Mark presenting in his attempt to prove that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God?
• How does Jesus’ silence actually communicate his identity? (See Isaiah 53:7-9.)
• How has this passage affected your view of Jesus?

Week 7 (Mark 15:16-39)
• How many times does the phrase “King of the Jews” appear in chapter 15 (including verses 1-15)?
What is ironic about this? What is Mark trying to say about the events at the cross?
• Read Psalm 22. How does this help you understand the words of Jesus from the cross in verse 34?
• How does Psalm 22 end? What is Jesus ultimately claiming for himself?
• Why do you think the events at the cross were necessary?
• What final description of Jesus’ identity does Mark provide? Where have you seen this title before?
• What do the events at the cross teach us about what it means to follow Jesus?

Week 8 (Mark 15:42-16:8)
• Of what fact does Mark want his readers to be sure in verses 42-47?
• What does Mark say happened to Jesus’ body?
• What is surprising about these accounts of Jesus’ resurrection?
• Why is it significant that Jesus rose from the dead?
• What questions do you still have? Are you ready to follow Jesus?

Leadership Resources International seeks to train pastors and church leaders in the US and worldwide to study the Word of God in depth using a variety of hermeneutical principles. Our training instructs preachers on eight books of the Bible, including the book of Mark.

Learn more about our Training National Trainers Program or how you can help the worldwide spread of God’s Word!

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Author: Kevin Halloran

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    The mission of Leadership Resources is to launch pastoral training movements worldwide. This blog shares articles, resources, and updates from staff of God’s work around the world through our training. If you’re new to our blog, start here.

     


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