We have now had three good days of training. Some of the sermons the men have presented have been outstanding, some still need some work, but overall we are encouraged with their progress. On the first day, we reviewed what has been learned and I asked three questions: What is the biggest blessing you have had through this program since the last workshop; what has been the biggest challenge, and what has the impact been in your life personally. Here are some samples of their responses:
"Habakkuk has blessed the people in our region. We have had much opposition, but Habakkuk 2:4 and the book of Habakkuk have encouraged us that God is in control, even in the midst of suffering."
"One of our churches was renting from radical Hindus. They were trying to force the church out of the rented space. In Habakkuk, we learned that God is working, even when we don’t see it. The police came and arrested the radicals for something else that they did. God brought peace and we saw that He was working the whole time."
"Our people were saying, ‘Why are these bad things happening to me?’ Habakkuk 2:4 encouraged us to trust in God’s plan."
"We had a poor harvest in our region. The ending of Habakkuk showed us that when things are bad, we live by faith and can trust the Lord.
"It’s tough to get the pastors with less education to have the discipline to study."
"Experienced pastors don’t have good study habits and slip back into old habits."
"I am seeing many things I never saw before, because I have learned to observe the text carefully."
"I am now preaching shorter passages, because I can go deeper. The result is that people are hungry for more and are asking many questions about the text."
"I used to preach topically. Now I preach the text. It has changed my life. Now I preach to myself and then to others. People are passing on the messages to others."
"I am from a Pentecostal background, where people use the Word as a launching pad for what they want to say. God has taught me that it’s not my message. It’s God’s message. This has changed my life and it has changed the lives of the people in my church. They used to fear me because they wondered who was going to be the target of my preaching. Now they don’t fear anymore. They are now hearing the Word."
"My wife has learned from Edie and loves the Word of God. She studies the Bible every morning. She also reminds me. She asks, "Ravi, have you studied the Word today?” She now ministers to ladies with the Word of God. She teaches sewing to ladies in our slum ministry. When ladies share their problems with my wife she gives them answers from the Bible. She doesn't even need to have a Bible in hand."
"I used to preach whatever popped into my head. I have developed a love for the Word. My people now have a love for the Word also and are asking questions."
"The Pathways training has really helped Logos become biblically based. Our pastors have really developed a love for the Word. At first, it slowed our church planting a bit but now it has made it stronger. We planted 400 churches last year. Studying and preaching the Word has given our pastors and churches a greater fire to reach out. It is like a revival. Many other pastors and groups around us have noticed and want to join with us to learn how to study and preach as we do. We are now much stronger because of Pathways."
This why we do what we do. May God be praised.