3. Our God Has Revealed Himself
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. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
Our short-term mission trip was sent for the purpose of preaching and teaching both at African Bible College, International Bible Fellowship, and surrounding venues. As a team we were given the opportunity to preach through 1 John 5 during the morning chapel services at ABC. Each member of the team preached one sermon during the week followed by a two-hour lecture that night on the few verses that they preached on. I preached on 1 John 5:4-5 and the power we have as Christians to overcome this world. It was a joy to preach to the students; it was an experience I will never forget (looking out across the pews and seeing all African faces was absolutely surreal). Our chapel sermons were also broadcast on the airwaves during the afternoon, so people all throughout town were able to hear our preaching on the radio.
I also taught a couple classes, one on Cultural Anthropology and another on Hermeneutics. When we arrived in Malawi, I had prepared to lecture the entire week on “Anthropology and the Bible,” which was the assigned topic to me, but to my surprise, the professor had me slotted to lecture on a different subject: marriage and family. Now, as a single man, you can imagine my reaction to the news Sunday night–I was in a frenzy bouncing ideas off my fellow seminarians about what to do. Not only that, but there were married men and women who were scheduled to be in my class! So, I did the only thing I new how to do: I went to the bible, not only for comfort, but for my curriculum as well.
In class we talked about the biblical principles for marriage, divorce, and men’s and women’s roles. We simply exegeted passages of Scripture the entire week from Genesis, Ephesians, 1 Peter, and Hebrews among many others. It was exciting for me to see the students’ minds working as they developed biblical opinions, and revamped their views on marriage and even dating! At one point during the class the women all shouted “Amen!” in absolute approval of what I was charging the men to do as spiritual and physical leaders in a marriage. But when I moved to talking about womens’ roles (which was pretty difficult for me), the men remained quiet in humble silence, and the women couldn’t help but burst out in laughter. Needless to say, we all walked away from the class having greater confidence in the provision of God’s word. We all acknowledged that the Lord has revealed himself and how we’re supposed to live through Scripture. It was a tremendous blessing.
As far as the Hermeneutics class went, those of you who attend Lighthouse Community Church will be delighted to hear that thematerial for our current small group study on Hermeneutics has gone global (!) and that the curriculum (with a few modifications) was taught to a class of 35 ABC students for two-hours every night! Each of the men on the team switched off teaching a different part of the Hermeneutics study, and the students pelted us with deep, thought-provoking questions. The students were extremely thoughtful and were purposed to accurately interpret Scripture. It filled my heart to see how intently they were studying the word and how they treated the bible as authoritative and all-encompassing.
This aspect of the trip really reinforced my love for teaching. Before every class, I was giddy, almost childlike with excitement. Because God had shown me so much about his word in my own personal preparation for the classes, I couldn’t help but want others to know and see what I saw. I couldn’t wait to exposit the text and for God’s word to become clear in the minds of the students. And the classroom experience was truly unique, one in which students felt comfortable approaching me afterwards and conversing about various topics from marriage to predestination to global politics. I came away from each class praising God for revealing himself to the students and looking forward to the next time that I would be able to excite the hearts of the students for God’s word.