I feel like I have been in hiding for the last few days as I have been unable to get to a computer. A $22.00/night hotel in UB has a 3 piece bath (the toilet seat is not attached, the shower doors barely shut), a sitting room (classy green leather chairs and couch) and two single beds (pillow cases were not included so you do two things: first, you turn your brain off not letting your mind wander about who was here before and second, you grab a towel and use it as a pillow case). The hotel lobby is a large room with the service desk near the far end close to the corner. My room was almost directly beside the desk so you could hear all the phone calls, the shoes “clipping” on the wooden floor and the TV that roared 25 feet away from the desk until 2:00 Tuesday night and 12:00 Wednesday night.
However, here is how the Lord works. There is a “house” that is on the premises of the church, half the house being used for cooking and the other half for living space – at least I think as I have not had a “house” tour yet. On Wednesday the door to the living space was open (mysteriously, as it was usually shut) and I had a quick peak inside. I noticed the pastors had their beds on the floor all in one room and all of a sudden, my $22.00/night room is a quality 4 star resort. How is that for perspective! God certainly works in mysterious ways to show us our many blessings (and our often grumbling hearts).
The last few days of teaching have gone very well as we have been able to cover many areas of Scriptural interpretation and sermon preparation. Today we covered parables, the kingdom of God and the interpretation and preaching of the Psalms. As an example, we talked about how to interpret “imprecatory” (to pray for “curses” on the enemy) Psalms and how they apply to today. Then we talked about how the Psalms are not just God’s Word to us but God’s Word to us so we can speak about God and to God. We had some interesting conversations and discussion time.
The pastors are really soaking in the teaching as we have worked through how to prepare a sermon beginning (exegesis) to end (sermon and application) following rules of interpretation (hermeneutics). We prepared a sermon from Mark 1.40-45 on the compassion of Jesus to the Leper and then we prepared an Old Testament narrative sermon on the faithfulness and uncompromising message of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22. My goal was not only teach Hermeneutics but to show them how the Word of God lives and how the preached Word is powerful. So we went through sermons so they could experience the joy and challenge of the preached Word. I was told that many pastors base their sermons on what has taken place throughout their week or on topics they think their congregation needs to hear. I encouraged them that the amazing thing about the Word of God is that when we preach through a book of the Bible, God has organized Scripture in such a way that we will cover areas for our people that we would never even have thought to cover. God has not only given us His Word, His Word is effective for all of life.
Tomorrow will be my last day of teaching. We will look at Epistles and Wisdom literature in the morning and the book of Revelation in the afternoon. After the classes the Genesis Team is going to take me out for supper which is very kind of them. While it seems I have only contributed a drop in the “spiritual” bucket, I am thankful that I am heading home to see my family once again.
Well, thank you for all your prayer for me and my family. At the beginning of the week I asked if you would pray for the course in Hermeneutics and I am so thankful that God has heard your prayers. I had a pastor come to me today and just express his appreciation in what he is learning and how it is challenging his thinking. So God has been gracious to hear your prayers for the Mongolian people. I sometimes think of what would happen in both the nations of Canada and Mongolia if pastors took the LIVING WORD to the people and preached the text and the truth without compromise and with great compassion. Do we believe God could move a nation? As we ended our class today, we once again said: We just have to say it – our God, He is a good God! He is able to take His Word and transform nations.