Monthly Archives: April 2007

AFRICA

Well, we are going to Africa; Malawi specifically. For a shorter synopsis of what we are doing, visit Beth and I’s blog at www. robbinsabroad.blogspot.com

Let me pitch to you why you should be involved:

Currently the African Continent has as many converts to Christianity as the US population. There are vast numbers converting everyday, and oceans of mercy work to do. Yet, there is a saying I have been told which describes the situation: Christianity in Africa is a continent wide, but only an inch deep. There is hardly any theological training in the continent which is readily available to pastors and people in congregations. These pastors will sometimes have around 3000 people under their care, and yet do not have any formal theological education. Now this problem is twofold. First, there needs to be more pastors. Second, these pastors need to be trained in the Bible, much more than they already have. African Bible College (ABC) is about this work. They provide pastoral training, and a college degree (BA) at a significantly subsidized rate which makes it possible for a typical Malawian to attend.

My wife and I are going to the ABC in Lilongwe, Malawi in order to teach grade and middle school to missionary kids and local kids. The school is located on the campus, and really is a secondary ministry which supports the missionaries who are out there sacrificing their lives for that work. Ultimately my wife and I want to be in Africa, ministering to the people; and I want to teach theology to these men. We will return to seminary after our two year stint, so that I can get my M’Div. I want to study theology and be trained in ministry for one reason (among others) in particular : For the sake of the Church in Africa. They need men who can come and impart all the education and training that we have been so privileged with in the US. They need strong and steady hands to support their burgeoning churches. They need us, the Church of the West.

So what is the upshot? Think of my wife and I as your opportunity to invest in the health of the bride of Christ in Africa. Think of my wife and I as a chance to be directly involved with the strengthening and supporting of God’s chosen and beloved people, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our goal during this time is to basically investigate what sort of needs there are in Malawi, see how we get there for the long haul, and to get a brain as to how ministry works in Malawi.

I have only highlighted the theological and ecclesiastic needs, but the basic physical needs are abundant. My wife, sweetheart that she is, is much more in tune with these needs, so please read her posts on our blog.

We need financial support in a bad way. We are leaving the country right around the 5th of August, + or – a day. We need about 7000$ in outgoing expenses in order to cover airfare, moving costs (moving our few things to Nashville), and buying a car when we get there. Monthly we need about 2000$ for utilities, bills here at home (medical insurance etc.), and for room and board.

We also need prayer. We have been married for just less than a year and a half, and we will be in Africa for 2 years. This will be a big change for us, as you can imagine. Pray that I would be diligent in pastoring my wife, and that she would be supportive and comforted with the separation from family. Pray that we would come out of our time there with a deep intimacy and bond with each other.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. If you are interested in seeing this vision through, please comment on this post with your email and I will write you back.

Thank you all. May the Lord Himself Bless you.

The Constant Theme of Genesis

Having studied Genesis week in and week out, the main theme that has popped out at me has been that of uncompromising faith in the person of God. Calvin sums this up well:

It is the true test of faith and piety when the faithful are compelled to deny themselves in such a way that they even submit the affections of their human nature to God’s will, even though such affections are neither evil nor vicious in themselves – John Calvin, Commenting on Genesis 21:14

The passage is that of Abraham sending Ishmael and Hagar off into the desert, in response to God’s election of Isaac, “for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” (v12). Now of course, this is but a preliminary sacrifice to that of Chapter 22, with Isaac on an altar. Nonetheless it seems like a major textual theme.

Along the same lines

Here are some quotes that seem to be along the same lines as the last post topic, and in concert with Brendan’s insightful comment.

“Our age has been sadly deficient in what may be termed spiritual greatness. At the root of this is the modern disease of shallowness. We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess. . . . It is not the busy skimming over religious books or the careless hastening through religious duties which makes for a strong Christian faith. Rather, it is unhurried meditation on gospel truths and the exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruit of sanctified character.”
— Maurice Roberts

“Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It is filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s actions. It is taking charge.” – Eugene Peterson

“Everything in the Christian life is easier than prayer.” – Martin Lloyd Jones

“American religion is conspicuous for its messianically pretentious energy, its embarrasingly banal prose, and its impatiently hustling ambition.” Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

(The first three quotes I inherited from Ed Dunnington and his reading, and so I don’t have the book references for those).

The idea that keeps bugging me is that we completely miss the point in the use the time we have been entrusted with. As the above would suggest, we run after all sorts of things, none of which have anything to do with God’s glory, the health of His bride, nor of our souls.

That’s all for now.

Makes me want to leave…

In reading Jason Stellman’s blog I noticed a quote he put up. It is priceless.

“Sleep is a powerful seducer,” writes Tom Hodgkinson, “hence the terrifying machinery we have developed to fight it. I mean, the alarm clock. Heavens! What evil genius brought together those two enemies of the idle – clocks and alarms – into one unit? … For all modern society’s promises of leisure [and] liberty… most of us are still slaves to a schedule we did not choose” (How to be Idle, 4, 6).

It really makes me wonder. How much foolishness have we amassed in all our confidence in our own sovereignty? We are deputies over God’s creation, but not sovereign taxonomists dicing up God’s creation as we see fit. I have in mind introducing measured time. I am ignorant enough to not know what the history of the clock is, but late, hurried, and unproductive enough to notice our slavish obedience to the clock. Makes me wonder what Paul has in mind when he says:

5Conduct yourselves wisely[a] toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5-6)

and

15Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17).

hmmm…. many questions.