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Trips

Uganda May 2015

African Renewal University, Uganda May 8-23, 2015

The Holiday Term at Africa Renewal Christian College is a part of a 2-year Certificate Program for pastors, church leaders and lay-members of the church that desire to be equipped for ministry. The training attracts mature adults that are already serving in ministry and are unable to attend bible college full-time to due family, ministry and work commitments. This mature group of students provides a tremendous atmosphere for dialogue and debate as students learn how to apply God's word to their lives.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Uganda May 2015

May  15th,  2015Jesus Our Champion: Friday in Uganda


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So, what would you do if all of the sudden your country was gone? You're sitting in class, enjoying Biblical theology and word comes that your country has just ousted the president, the head of the Army is now in control and all the borders are closed, radio stations are silenced, and phones aren't working.

That is what has happened to one of my students, Jean DeJeu, who is from Burundi. He is shown here, doing what he's been doing since yesterday morning... listening to the wireless Radio France and BBC broadcasts to get any news he can. School fees can't be paid. Parents can't be contacted. No way to get home.

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We tend to forget just how fragile life really is. In America we insulate ourselves from the harsh realities of life, but here, everything is more tenuous. And in many ways more real.

As Christians we know why these things happen! The Scriptures say that everyone is trying to rule their world. Some want to be in charge of small pieces of the pie... others want larger swaths... but no one on their own (really) wants King Jesus to be in charge. But when things fall apart and our defenses are down, then we realize we need a hero... a champion who will take up our cause and bring us home.

Jean DeJeu is praying, trying to contact his parents, and waiting. In the meantime, we all wait... for a Champion who will bring us home.

Thanks for your prayers... God is meeting our class with everything they need to succeed. They are moving forward... and it's especially touching to see their kindness poured out to Jean.

Blessings from the Pearl of Africa!!

-Father Greg Smith

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May  13th,  2015Day Three.

Day Three

I just finished my teaching part of my class and I am now with the students in the library as they read the textbook and work on some assignments together. 

I'm teaching Bibliology, which could be an abstract discussion of canonicity, transmission, perpescutiy… But, we are finding lots of immediate application for these truths. 

Yesterday we discussed the Apostles and the authority they had to write scripture. Of course that led to a discussion of Apostleship today. and we closed out day with a great discussion about “Apostleship” and how it functions as a super spiritual title, and often as extra or supra Biblical authorities on faith and doctrine. They could clearly see this was not in scripture.  

Today we looked at the issue of Authority of God’s word. Christians here usually have a high view of Scripture and academic subversion/attacks on Biblical authority can seem far away. Yet the Authority of scripture is often challenged here but the addition of other authority in very subtlle ways. One of the pastors in the class told how he had to challenge members of another church who came preaching other doctrines. He challenged them to show where these were found in scripture, and when they could not, he was able to take them to the scriptures and correct them. I love these guys! 

Pray for me tomorrow as I have two classes, and 6+ hours of teaching!

Ethan

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May  11th,  2015Everybody Needs a Hero

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Coming to Uganda for the fourth year is both exciting and a bit scary. I’m coming with a new, smaller, team (all my normal friends had other important duties this year) and it’s always interesting to join a new team. Additionally, many of my key students from previous years, have graduated. Such is the nature of higher education. The inmates leave the nest!

On top of all those changes, the class schedule has changed. Instead of starting classes at 8:30… we’re starting at 7:00. That means a wake up at 5AM and cold shower by 5:15.

New team, new times, new students… it’s overwhelming. Just the kind of thing to put you in the need of God’s Grace.

And that’s exactly what He’s provided. My class showed up on time and were excited. My partner teacher is a great theologian who is highly practical. And the cold shower was not so bad… refreshing even.

After the initial intro, I asked the class what some of their favorite books or stories (beside’s the Bible) were. One said “Gulliver’s Travels,” another “The Lost Baby” (a unique Ugandan picture book of a baby lost in the laundry), and a third said, “Cinderella.”

As I heard all the stories, I noticed that there is a common theme: We need someone who can rescue us.

Teaching “Intro to the Bible: An Overview” is a course needing (desperately) a common theme… and they know the theme already. It’s the theme we all know — we’re in trouble… and we need someone to rescue us.

But who can rescue us? Obviously it’s Jesus… but is that what we preach? Is that what we teach? Really? Consider Luke 24. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus meets two lost disciples who wonder why Jesus had died. The Scriptures says, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he spoke to them the word concerning himself.” In other words, the Old Testaments are God’s promises of a rescuer… and the New Testament is God fulfilling those promises in the person of Jesus Christ.

How does that work? I asked them to tell me the story of David and Goliath. Big problem… little boy… scared men. David takes on the giant, with faith, and five smooth stones… and the Giant is killed. Now, how do you preach that?

In my best preacher voice, I jumped in. We all have problems in our lives and we need to search out the five smooth stones… We need to not be afraid… We need to walk up to that Giant in our lives and we need to launch those stones! Kill the Giants in Jesus Name!

Amen! Alleluia! Amen!! The class all nodded, clapped, stomped and agreed. Yes!

No. Here’s the problem: There are Giants in my life that no matter what I try to do, I can’t kill them. I don’t have the faith… and when I try I just fail. I don’t need to be the champion. Cinderella didn’t need to rescue herself… indeed she couldn’t. The Lost Baby couldn’t find itself. Even Gulliver couldn’t get back home without someone else’s ship picking him up! We need a champion… We need a true king who can fight on behalf of us. We need someone who has experience taking down Giants. Who else but Jesus could truly save us? No one.

When I got done with that sermon… not only did they say, “Amen!” but they said, “Wow! What a Savior.”

 

-Father Greg Smith

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