“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8.
As we celebrate the National Week of the Bible this week, be thankful for God’s Word and your freedom to read and study it. Pray for those who struggle to find a Bible in their language, or who suffer oppression and/or persecution for spending time in the Word.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Strengthen what remains. . . ” Revelation 3:2.
Sunday, November 5 was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. A number of recent studies have shown that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. More than 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016, most in Africa and Asia.
Prayer is the number one request of persecuted Christians, and they are asking us to join them in prayer for strength and perseverance so that, despite difficult trials, Christians will continue to shine for Jesus and share the gospel in the most dangerous places.
Every Sunday, your church worship team presents a service that glorifies the Lord. The music team spends weeks selecting and rehearsing the music. The office staff or volunteers prepare worship guides and video elements. Someone makes sure the worship space is set up, the AC or heat is on, the lights work, and everything is as comfortable as possible. Your pastor spends hours preparing a message that he prays will inspire and encourage you as you live out your faith during the week.
Each of these people needs your encouragement and prayers. Can you take a moment to thank someone who works hard serving God at your church? Will you commit to pray faithfully for the servants of God?
“Encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thess. 5:11
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”- Romans 10:14-15
Today, all over the world, 50,000 people were baptized.
That is 9 Million new believers in just 6 months. It’s like adding the entire city of New York to the body of believers every 6 months.
How will they grow in their faith? Who is shepherding them? Who is teaching them about the Christian life? To bring 50,000 people along in their faith would require about 1,000 pastors to answer the call to ministry Every Day.
The good news is that God is raising up new pastors to minister to these new believers.
Your pastor probably attended seminary and has a library full of materials and resources. They might even have a staff to help them with administration, music, youth and children ministry, missions, and even sermon preparation. These pastors are able to spend as much 15-30 hours a week preparing their weekly, Sunday message.
But pastors with libraries, staffs, and seminary degrees are not as common as you might think. Most pastors around the world begin their ministry with less than 1 hour of bible training. That means, it is likely YOU have more training they do. Many live in remote areas, and probably got their Bible from a visiting missionary. Most have a full-time job working in fields and factories and only have nights and weekends to see their families, visit the sick, and prepare sermons. Many will never go to seminary. The truth is, without the proper training and resources, native beliefs and old traditions quickly creep into their theology and teaching.
These pastors serve God with what little they have – but their need is great.
In 1992 LMW began publishing The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible® to equip leaders for a Gospel-centered ministry worldwide by presenting the Bible in a clear & understandable way. Pastors using these books gain the insight and understanding of God’s Word they need to minister effectively. As the books got into the hands of Christian leaders, pastors from every corner of the world began asking LMW for books and training.
In Africa, Timothy Olonade has worked with LMW since 2002 – training pastors in Africa and around the globe.
Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi of Jos, Nigeria requires that every pastor under his leadership study “What the Bible Says to the Minister” – and participate in training for sermon preparation using the Preacher’s outline & Sermon Bible.
Reverend Patras Nazir of Pakistan has translated some of our resources into Urdu. In a country that is 95% Muslim, he is sharing these resources, baptizing new believers, founding new churches, teaching and encouraging pastors, and leading children and adults to understand the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ. He tells us that resources like ours are unique in Pakistan, and that churches continually call him for more books.
In Romania, most pastors shepherd 2-3 churches while working other jobs, making as little as $250 a month. They are desperate for training and good biblical resources. On a mission trip to Romania, Rev. Bob Patty of Chattanooga felt God calling him to help them. He began working with the Romanian churches and seminaries to translate The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible®. Today, the Romanian translation and printing of The Minister’s Handbook and the majority of the New Testament is complete.
A few years ago, a business man and his wife felt God leading them to help the Chinese people. They funded the translation of some of The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible® into Chinese. Now, through our partnership with WE-Devote, the most popular Chinese language Bible app, our books have been viewed over 150,000 times by Chinese believers!
People like you have been the catalyst for translating these resources into 19 different languages – and deploying them to 175 countries from India to Russia to South America. 1.5 million pastors and leaders from all over the globe are using these resources today, preaching, teaching, and encouraging people as they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Like Tim Keller says, “…the gospel advances the common good, it brings mercy to discourse, hope to art, integrity to workplaces. The gospel seeks the marginalized and protects the vulnerable, and renews lives with grace. The gospel changes everything.”
“For the word of God is alive and active. . .” Hebrews 4:12.
At LMW we have the privilege of seeing God’s Word at work in the world. As the gospel message is shared, the Kingdom of God grows. Some estimates say that as many as 50,000 people are baptized every DAY. God is calling pastors to serve these believers. Please pray that God’s Word will come to life in the preaching and teaching of those called to serve, that they might serve Him faithfully, transforming lives and communities with His saving grace.