"Love your wife as Christ loved the church... then, as partners, raise your children to love and follow the Savior." These were my words to them over 2 days of seminar.
Those these men and women did not have a lot of education, they certainly weren't ignorant of the Bible. They had been taught theology, Bible study habits and many other things, but for some reason - cultural - they had not had the Biblical teaching on marriage and family.
"Nothing like this is being taught here!" pastors said after attending our seminars.
I'm sure that somewhere in this region others are teaching these Biblical truths, but nobody in the 6 seminars that I gave had heard them. In fact, at the end of every seminar, most wanted copies of the notes so they could teach the truths to their congregations. Talk about a great ROI! When I was able to teach 100, and each one of them was able to teach 100, I was essentially teaching 10,000!
So what did it take to get here?
1.5 years of preparation. 26 hours of flight. 1 night sleeping on the floor. 4 hours of driving.
But the impact - incredible, family changing, church changing, village changing and with the power of God nation changing.
5 seminars, each two days in length. Approximately 100 pastors are expected, along with their spouses and elders. Day 1 covers "Godly Marriage". Day 2 is about "Raising Godly Children". Our goal is to give pastors what they need, in order to be effective in the ministry. A close walk with God, a good marriage and children following the Lord are essential.
Those 500 pastors will then teach 50,000 people in their churches. Talk about a great EROI - Eternal Return On Investment!
A few days ago, we delivered our first seminar and the response was overwhelmingly positive! My translator, who is also a pastor, called the senior pastor for our next seminar and told him that he must personally contact each pastor who was planning to attend and insist that they bring their spouses and elders, because this seminar was so important.
Each time I have spoken I have taught practical ways...
Why do you do what you do? WRONG question! For whom do you do what you do? RIGHT question!
As Pastors, Teachers, Chaplains, we are taught to prepare for our audience, so much so that they can become the focus.
They are only secondary to the one for whom we should be doing everything. It takes an intentional effort to live our lives so that we live for an audience of One.
He had attended a Christian college, had a Christian roommate, talked to pastors, but in all that time, no one had ever asked him if he wanted to become a follower of Christ.
When I asked him if he wanted to give his life to Christ and become a follower he said, "Yes"!
When I asked him why he hadn't done so already, he said, "because I don't know how".
So I shared the truth of Jesus with him and then we prayed together.
Don't miss God given opportunities, when all it takes is a few simple questions.
Last week I asked whether God passed the interrupt test in your life. Chris Briscoe, a missionary pastor in Korea, made an excellent point in a comment. If we don't start our day, tuning our ear to listen for His voice, then chances are that the cacophony and confusion of the world will drown out His voice when He does speak.
We need to start our day focusing on Him, then everything else will fall into its' proper place.
So, before you look at your phone, workout, read your emails, check your texts, get breakfast - go meet with the Savior. Praise Him, thank Him, offer Him your day, bring your questions to Him, then watch how He moves through you, around you and for you.
God has made it clear. "You shall have no other gods before Me."
Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."
God has said that he is a jealous God and that He will share His glory with no one.
But are there things in our lives that we have allowed to become more important than God Himself? Spouse? Children? Ministry? Work? Anything can become a god to us, if we are not careful.
How do you find out? Ask yourself, "Does God pass the interrupt test in my life?"
If He does, your priorities are straight.
We want people to change.
We hope that people change.
We teach them the truth.
We pray for them.
And sometimes people change.
But there is an easier and more direct way of doing things.
This is it.
Effective preaching is not just about giving people the facts of Scripture.
Effective preaching is not just about using great stories so that people remember the facts you have given them.
Effective preaching and teaching must be coupled with application in such a way that the hearer is changed.
This is our responsibility so that we work hand in hand with the Holy Spirit.