I had a wonderful phone call this last week. It was a chance to encourage a marvelous young couple who are planting a church down the road from the university Cathy and I attended. (The school? The cheerleaders & fans of the University of Southern California, loved to shout out the name during our grudge-match football games, with the em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-bles: leland stanford JUNIOR university. But I digress.)
They have a couple of house fellowships going, getting people in touch with Jesus through Manuscript Bible Study. They are seeing wonderful fruit in their work, and are eager to expand and deepen their Manuscript study skills. The husband got excited about this way of getting into Scripture about 10 years ago, when he participated in a Manuscript study in Mark’s Gospel. It was life-changing for him, just as it had been for me in the early 1970s. Recently, he was following up with my longtime friend and colleague Milt, who led that study. Milt suggested that he get in touch with several of the others of us who do this kind of teaching.
When they called, we talked for over an hour—and might have gone on much longer! We shared things we are all learning about working effectively with Scripture and with people. The excitement—on both sides of the call—was clear. So was the joy! They are, in many ways, at about the same place on the journey that Cathy and I were, 39 years ago (right down to the baby-on-the-way!). What a privilege, to be able to encourage fellow servants of Christ!
I played no role in who they are or what they are doing. All of that is the fruit of the Spirit of God working through others. But it is great to walk into the field with them and do a little weeding… watering… and just plain admiring of God at work to produce a harvest! And, who knows? Maybe by the grace of God, our wonderful conversation will be used to enhance what the Spirit is doing through them. That, at least, is my prayer. It’s the same prayer I offer in every opportunity to teach, coach or encourage.
This coming week, Lord willing, I’ll be teaching, coaching and encouraging harvesters in a different field: students, pastors and church leaders in North Baja California, Mexico. Part of the week will be dedicated to a Manuscript Bible Study of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. Please join me in praying that it—and all the week’s activities—will be used for God’s harvest among us.
P.S. A brief word about support: near the end of 2017 I returned to full-time service as a global servant. This change brings the opportunity to invest far more time and energy in the formation of leaders. It also brings a need for increased financial support. I am deeply grateful for everyone who has prayed and given faithfully over the years to make this ministry possible, and for those who have already begun to join them during these last couple of months! I am also eagerly praying and looking for additional churches and individuals who will join with us. If you are not already giving to and praying for the work God does through me, please join us! You can sign up to give and to receive updates (which will now become more frequent, once again!) through my page on the IM website, or by calling (610-768-2323). I would love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org), and would love to find a time to get together with members of your church who want to learn more about what God is doing in this ministry!