Monday, November 23, 2015

Do Not Teach Any Other Doctrine

            I prayed and prayed and prayed, I asked others to pray for the lesson that I was to give this past Saturday on "Instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines", 1 Timothy 1:3 (NASB).  There have been a lot of discussion about doctrine in Brazil these past years. 
            I was speaking at Elicamp, a conference for workers from all over the Northeast of Brazil.  After each lesson, the floor was open for questions on the lesson taught.  I wrestled with this subject for weeks.  I studied 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Ephesians, a part of Revelation and some of Philemon, Romans, Acts, Matthew & Luke.  Where to begin?  How to present God's Word and His Will to bring about unity?  Many other questions and fears went through my mind.
            The afternoon before my lesson, I prayed once more but this time as I talked with God, I was reminded that after study and prayer, now it was time to God to work, and His will is best. 
            I explained in my lesson what sound doctrine is as it is described in 1 Timothy and in other passages of scripture.  We looked at many passages but the summary of them all is that God, in His Word, is telling us the story of how and why He saved us from a life without meaning and His desire for us to live out His Will in our everyday lives being light to all who see us.  That is a very short and incomplete summary. 
            Some passages that might help explain better what I taught: Acts 2:42-47; Acts 7; Acts 13:14-49; Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:4-6; Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Romans 1:3-4,16-18; 1 Timothy 1:3-5; 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:9-10.  There are others, but hopefully these will give you an idea that God has a mission to reconcile the world to Himself and that He chose Christ's body to accomplish this mission.  Living a life of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7) saves us from a life of ungodliness (Romans 1:18-32).  This is sound doctrine and what we should all be teaching through our everyday lives.

Learning To Study

            I went to a long but good Bible study in Patos on Saturday.  I met with church workers from most of the congregations in our state.  We sat and studied the Bible from 9:30 to 6 p.m., yes, we did break for lunch, but that was our only break. 
           
          The purpose for these meetings is to teach in a practical way how to study God's Word with someone who does not share your same view on a subject.  I will be moving back to the U.S. at the end of 2016, so this is important. 
            
            I heard several positive comments about our meeting together and some negative ones as well. 
           
          Thank you for your prayers.  They mean a lot, and God is answering them.  Please pray that the church in Paraíba will grow in love for one another and in knowledge of God's Word and will.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Over 100 Subscribers

I thought it might be time to use Facebook to share God's word. I sent out this photo:



Get The Word on the Brain. I invited people interested in learning to memorize Bible verses by singing them to subscribe to a weekly newsletter. For the past twenty years I have been creating melodies to verses. These have helped me to learn by heart 100s of verses, and now I am sharing them online.

Sorry to English speakers, the verses are all in Portuguese. But if you are interested, send a "Eu Quero" to josephmckjr+bibliacantada@gmail.com
Reading, teaching, singing. etc.- be creative in sharing the Word.


Family Day of Joy and Tears

All four congregations in João Pessoa spent yesterday together at a small farm, 140 people present even though the day was sweltering hot. Worship, fellowship, sharing food, sharing stories, everybody was blessed, united as the Family of Christ.


This was a day of joy: we had a special moment to pray over the new converts of the year and to tell them how much they encourage us, how important their decision was, and how they can count on their brothers and sisters when facing the difficulties.


This was a day of joy: our AME class, Cristian, Daniel, Alana, Pamella, Sabrina, and Geissa,  finished their training, and the church all together sent off them off to the field, praying over them, that our Father will use them effectively in His Kingdom, according to His will.


This was a day of tears: the church has grown fond of these young people. Saying goodbye is hard, they cried, we cried. Also Micah Barnes and Daniel Norwood, on our AIM team are returning home.  We all had opportunity to share how they made a difference in our lives. We will miss them.


Heaven will something like this: everybody all together sharing, laughing, praising, filled with joy, but no more goodbyes, and hopefully not as hot.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Upcoming SEARA Graduation

              I taught the SEARA course on the book of Luke in Patos. It was good because this gospel is so deep; it was frustrating because it was impossible to cram so much life-changing material into a weekend. We went from Thursday night to Sunday.
             The SEARA Program (Harvest) has the intent to prepare church workers for the work, and this group of seven (many more audit the course) have been working at it for four years. They will finally graduate on December 5th.
              Pray with us that God will continue to use these in the growth of His Kingdom.

BIBLE BOWL XII

This is the third year I have organized Bible Bowl, the twelveth one in Recife Brazil. The theme this year was Mark and James. Over forty teens and pre-teens studied and competed.

The thing I like most about Bible Bowl is that it gets kids excited about studying God's Word. It challenges them, and this young generation needs good challenges that point them in spiritual directions.

The winning teams were from these congregations:

Preteens:
1st - Boa Vista
2nd - João Pessoa
3rd - Várzea

Teens:
1st - Boa Viagem
2nd - Boa Viagem
3rd - João Pessoa

Nicholas Newlin (from João Pessoa) got 2nd place individual score teen division.

Let's encourage our young people to pause their hurried lives to study the Scriptures.