This one is going to have to be quick. The ministry is going well. We are flat out getting it done. When I was making all of the plans with Godfrey (Director of Arise Africa), I told him that I wanted to go very far out deep into the bush because when most teams come, they can never reach there since it is so far away. So yesterday we spent 13 hours in the car and did 5 hours of training with some pastors and church leaders. That makes an 18 hour day! Wow. It was crazy.
Thankfully today we stayed in town and had the pastors from the surrounding zones come to us. So it was a very easy day, and we are rested up for another long day tomorrow.
The team is doing a great job. God is using us to teach, train, and encourage these precious pastors. It has been great to reach the ones who are far out in the bush. Because many of them have never had a team come visit them. They have been so overwhelmingly grateful for us. It has been a ton of fun to get to do this with my dad and my pastor, two heroes in my life. It has been a priveledge to lead this team here.
Please keep praying for us. There is still much work to be done. I will give updates as I can, and I will post some videos and pictures when I return.
It just so happens that I was able to get to an internet connection, to be able to post an update. I'm in downtown Jinja, Uganda. I'm not supposed to be here yet. I abandoned Jimmy and Beverly way out in the bush. Jimmy was speaking when I left, so he didn't even know about it! I'm sure he's figured it out by now.
So why did I abandon them? This morning we filmed Pastor Jimmy preaching a message to the church. Our church… Journey Church… for this Sunday! That's right, while we're still here in Uganda, Pastor Jimmy will still preach to our church via video at both campuses (Lord willing). The plan was for me to shoot the video, edit it down and export it while still out in the bush, travel back to the city tonight and upload it over night. I planned for everything… or so I thought. We brought two batteries: one for the editing time, then a fresh one for the exporting time. I even had Arise Africa provide a generator and a power converter on site just in case the batteries didn't last.
Well, once I started the exporting process it became evident very quickly that there was not going to be enough battery power to get the export done. So I went to our generator/power converter setup to plug the computer in. But it didn't work! By that time I was about an hour into the export process and didn't want to lose all that work. I checked the battery life, and it had 1 hour and 35 minutes remaining. The trip back to the city is about an hour and 30 minutes! In emergency "fix it" mode, I grabbed "Dr. Sam," a Ugandan friend of mine (he's not really a licensed doctor, but I trust him with my life). I quickly informed him of the situation, told him how much battery life I had left, and he said "get in the car." So we jumped in his Suzuki 4-wheel drive and we made the trip back to the city in 45 minutes!
I thought Sam might kill somebody trying to get me here before the battery died! But we made it safe and sound. Now the video looks like it has another 3 – 4 hours of export time left. Then I will begin the upload. There is no telling how long that will take. Internet connections are not exactly reliable around here. Heck, electricity is not even reliable around here! So if you're reading this around the 10am hour your time there in the states, pray that God will bless these efforts and the video will upload without a hitch. Also pray for Pastor Jimmy. He's pretty sick and I abandoned him in a village way out in the bush to teach all by himself for the rest of the day. I'm sure he'll forgive me if I can make this video work.
In just a few short hourse, I will be on an airplane headed for Uganda. Jimmy, his wife Beverly, and I are going to visit with my Ugandan family, introduce Jimmy and Beverly to the ministry there, and to do tons of training for pastors and their wives. Arise Africa (the Ugandan organization that we partner with) has over 200 hundred churches under their care that they have planted in the last 10 years or so. We are going to meet the pastors of every single church and provide them with training and encouragement. We are also going to visit the orphanage that Arise Africa is building that we (as a church) have supported financially.
Last year, we took the very first Journey Church team to work in Uganda. Now we are going back with a small team, and plan to return with a larger team in October of this year. God is doing great things in Uganda, and it is an awesome thing to get hooked up with what he is already doing. When we returned last year, I posted a highlights video on this blog. I'm posting it again here for those of you that have never seen it. By the way, the music is from Josh and Tasha Via's CD, "The Healing."
You should buy it.
Lastly, our access to internet will be extremely limited. I will post as I am able. Continue to check back here for updates!
I will try to keep these coming to make up for having been so slack…
A word of warning: you might not want to watch this if you have a bad gag reflex.
Sorry that these have been so late in coming. I've had trouble coordinating with my Tech guys getting these videos in a format that I can upload to my Vimeo. Now the three I will be posting are out of order. Oh well. At least they are here.
I just downloaded Luke Wood's new album. Okay, it's not new. It actually came out last year, but it's new to me. His previous album "The Law and the Prophets," has long been one of my favorites. I have been listening to it non-stop for the past couple of days, which made me think, "I wonder if Ol' Luke has a new album." So I pulled him up on Napster and downloaded "The Sound of War." All I can say is: "Wow!" It doesn't disappoint. This man must bathe in Scripture. Just as in his previous album, "The Sound of War" drips with both biblical allusions and direct scripture references. His style is a little more upbeat than his previous album but stays well within his acoustic indie-rock roots. My favorite track right now is "King and Priest." Check out these lyrics.
Behold the Lamb of God, the man who ransoms dead men from their graves
You saved us
You hold the scepter and the censer,
Youʼre our King and Priest forever
Immanuel, God with us has come, our Great High Priest
Who ever lives to intercede
Who can stand before the son of man, exalted to the right hand of God
Every knee will bow, for every eye will see Him on the clouds in power
Immanuel, God with us, come home, and be our King,
Jesus, claim Your Throne
We Your people volunteer,
we come now of our own free will and beckon You to return
Lead us in through Zionʼs gates where the Throne of David waits
Oh King of Righteousness, let Your glory fill the earth
So good! This album is one of my new favorites. If you love good music and scripture, then it will quickly become one of your favorites as well. This is a "must have" for your library. Go get it today. Seriously. Go get it. And if you don't love it, then you must not love the Bible. Just kidding… or am I?
Lord, to you this morning, I lift of my soul. O my God, I trust in you. Forgive me, my God. I know that lately I have not been putting my trust in you. I have been working and operating in my own power. I have been striving rather than relying. I want to rely fully on you. I know that if I wait on you, I will not be ashamed. Lord, make me know your ways, and lead me into your truth, for you are the God of my salvation. I praise you for your salvation. I cannot thank you enough. You remember me according to your compassion and lovingkindness and not according to my sins! Thank you Jesus! Thank you for your sacrifice. For your goodness' sake, O God, you always view me through the blood of your Son and not as I stand on my own. Lord, you are good and upright. Therefore, you have instructed me, a sinner, in your way. I know that it is not for my sake alone, but for your name's sake that you have pardoned my sin. My sin is great before you, and it is no small thing that you would dismiss all charges against me. You have plucked my soul from hell and have placed it in eternal prosperity. You have brought me into your covenant, so that I know I can completely rely on you. So my eyes will continually and always be toward you, for it is only you who can pluck my feet out of the net. Father, thank you for always being so gracious with me. I love the way you deal with me. Thank you for your rescue! I take refuge in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I will wait for you.
It seems that two of my recent blogs have created a bit of controversy. That's good. I happen to like controversy. I kind of thrive on it. Of course, needless controversy is not a good thing. But if there is controversy because I have caused people to think about and think through some necessary issues, then that's a good thing.
However, due to some comments that I have received both online and in person, I would like to make a couple of points of clarification.
Clarification # 1:
I like Dr. Reid a lot. I commented about his blog not because I disagree with him, but because what he wrote so desperately needs to be said. Dr. Reid is a man of God who desires to see his convention reach the younger generations in a culturally relevant way. He works closely with and supports both of my brothers who lead Two-Four
, a weekly gathering for the collegiate generation where they can experience authentic community, passionate worship, and relevant teaching. The world needs more men like Dr. Reid.
Clarification # 2
: I like Dr. Aiken. He has been nothing but kind to me. In fact, during the conversation which I referenced in a former blog
I told him that I believe he is God's man for the job and that if anyone could help bring reform it would be him. I'm doubtful that it will ever happen convention wide, but SEBTS has seen several changes due to his leadership.
When I say that I'm done with the SBC, I mean that I'm done fighting for it and identifying with it
. I don't hate the convention. I don't harbor any resentment towards the churches, church members, committee members, and Directors of Ph.D. studies, etc. who have intentionally marginalized me, belittled me, or treated me unfairly. Contrary to what Rev. Palmer may think
, I can say with some certainty that you will never find me holding a position within the SBC. I don't mean that I am against the SBC or think that they are evil as my good buddy John seems to think I mean
. It may, however, be beyond saving. History will tell. Perl S. Buck said that "every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied." The question which plagues me is whether or not the SBC has already missed that "split second." But let me be clear: I'm not against the SBC. I would love to see the "Great Commission Resurgence" succeed. Journey still gives money to the Cooperative Program. As the senior leadership team here at Journey we decided to give to the Cooperative Program as a means of contributing to missions and supporting conservative theological training. We do not, however, identify ourselves as Southern Baptists, and you will not find any of us serving on this or that committee or going to this or that convention fighting for a voice. We just don't care. The whole point I was trying to make is why would I expend so much time an energy trying to make a convention "look" more like me, when I can just join with people who are already of like mind, spirit, conviction, and mission? I feel no responsibility toward the convention. I am not responsible for whether or not they follow Jesus (and just for clarification right doctrine does not necessarily equal following Jesus). I AM responsible for me. I am responsible for what I do with the calling that God has given me, and to waste my time and energy is irresponsible. It's sideways energy.