The teaching team’s first day at Baptist Theological Seminary (BTS) in Novi Sad was intense, amazing, and profound. What a commitment these men have made to raise up disciples and equip gospel-centered leaders in Serbia who honor Christ!
As anticipated, the first day was packed. And, leading up to this first day, God has obviously planted in the hearts of every man on the team a desire that the students at BTS be Christ-followers going deeper in their pursuit of the pleasures of God in Christ. By His finished work, He has purchased for us so much more than what is offered by the false promises of the world and its religions; and all that He is stands in stark contrast to the utter emptiness of life without an intimate relationship with Him.
Continue to pray for each member of the teaching team, as well as for their wives, all of whom are also here working at BTS also (see the bios on the team page). The schedule is very full, and we will perhaps grow weary as the week progresses. But, we all knew that before we got here. Pray with us that it may be found true of us that we “will most gladly spend and be spent” (2 Cor 12:15) for Christ this week. He is more than worth it.
Some personal difficulties have been involved with this trip for several of us, including recent funerals or medical issues for some, scheduling difficulties for others, and even a stolen i-Phone on our arrival day. So, on this first day of teaching, the Spirit seemed to remind me several times – as I want to remind you, our prayer-partners – that “this light and momentary affliction is producing for us a weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor 4:17-18). Or, as the first memory verse in the class I am teaching declares, we who follow Christ are called to “[e]ndure hardship as discipline; God is treating [us] as sons” Hebrews 12:7).
On a personal note, I am, after day one, simply stunned by Christ’s glory, as the Spirit unfolds the manifold layers of the operation of God’s sovereignty. This group of brothers and sisters seems such a perfect mix of personalities and styles, which itself reveals yet another aspect of the rich complexity of God’s grace at work in this place. Dwayne Baldwin, who administers BTS under the auspices of TLI, is a marvel of easy-going humor and energetic intensity. He and the TLI staff have brought this team together in what can only be described as miraculous. The preparations and behind-the-scenes foundation laid by TLI and the BTS staff clear evidence of the hand of the Lord upon this week.
Please keep the entire enterprise in prayer. The sense that we are doing an impossible work is almost palpable. The hopelessness of the general population lays like a fog upon the land. Pray. Pray mightily, pray expectantly, and pray much. There is not a single thing we can accomplish for the Kingdom of God here unless He pours out His Spirit. And the Good News is this: He is pouring out His Spirit. Ask Him to continue. Ask, ask, and keep on asking.
Together with you, with BTS, with TLI, we expect Him to keep on answering.
Soli Deo Gloria!
John Roberts, First Baptist Church, Sterling, Colorado