Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Simply the Story

What is being said? What is being done? What choices were made? What choices could have been made? What were the results? Where do you see God at work in the story? 
They seem like 6 simple, seemingly innocent questions, but when used studying a short bible story, they can really be used by the Holy Spirit to pierce the heart and cause transformation. This is a technique for teaching bible stories that we taught in this month's course called Simply the Story. 

Many people are familiar with the story of Mary and Martha. ("Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:38-42) 
There's many things people normally teach from this story. Mostly, we hear don't be too busy like Martha, be a Mary, take time to sit at Jesus' feet. But as you ask some of these questions within the story we see that there are many more treasures hidden inside.
Let's look at Martha. Not only is she busy and distracted, but who does she choose to blame? Does she blame herself, the one who invited Jesus in? No. She blames Mary, and Jesus. She says to Jesus, Don't you care??? Tell her to help me!!! First she questions Jesus' caring nature and then she demands him to do what she wants.  What name does she call Him? Lord. But what do her actions show? Who is really Lord to her?
Do we see this happening in our world?  Do you know anyone who blames Jesus when things don't go their way? Do you know anyone who calls Jesus, "Lord", but then commands Him to respond the way that he or she thinks He should respond? Anyone you know think Jesus doesn't care when things don't work out the way they think? Or do they blame him for problems they got themselves in? Or what about you? Do you call Jesus, "Lord", but then live your live contrary to that statement? Do you try to use Jesus as a magic wand, that you can just wave around and make everything the way you think they should be? Do you blame Jesus for not caring because of the circumstances you find yourself in? 
So as you could see in this example, after the first set of questions about the story, we teach how to ask another set of questions relating the story to our world and to ourselves. 

Let's look at Mary briefly. What was she doing? Sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to His word. What could she have been doing? Or rather in that culture what should she probably have been doing? If it's anything like Uganda, she should have been with Martha in the kitchen serving her guests. What was Jesus' response to Mary? He acknowledged that she had chosen what was good. How could Jesus have responded? He could have chased her into the kitchen and condemned her for not following cultural expectations. Do we see this kind of thing happening in our world? Have you seen anyone make culture a higher priority than Jesus? Do you give into the cultural expectations and fail to make Jesus the number one priority because of what others might think.

I (Beckie) really enjoyed helping teach this class and was again impacted by it. Now the students are also equipped to teach bible stories in such an impactful way, whether it be as a sermon or in a sunday school, or to a friend in the market...

Besides class my mom and my sister Meredith came for a visit. It's been almost 3 years since their last visit and it was great to have them here and see where we are living and working in Jinja. The time went by too fast.

A few photos from our last class:

Kingdom Life Training Centre

One group praying together before presenting a bible story

Another group praying together before presenting their bible story

One group presenting their bible story

A new addition to class. One of our students had a baby between this class and the previous one.

Praying for healing for a student

Praying for healing for professor José
Prayer requests:
This Simply the Story was the last class for this group, so they have now finished all 10 courses and will graduate April 9. Pray for us as we prepare for this awesome celebration and also for the students as they get chances to share with people what God has done in their lives through this ministry.

We plan to start the next group of students April 13. We do not know how many students we will have yet, but we could have enough for two separate groups. Pray with us for these potential students.

April 6 is our 3rd anniversary. Praise God with us for that! Continue to pray for us as a family. This year we've added another member to our family, Sarah, 13, as we mentioned in a previous update. It has added another different dynamic to our family as she is pretty traumatised from growing up an orphan and having so much loss in her life and instability. We need wisdom on how to help her succeed in life, to grow as a woman of God and the strength to keep parenting her well in a loving Christlike way. Pray for unity for Ruudy and I that we would keep growing together and falling in love with each other more and more each day. I'd be lying if I said it has been an easy 3 years, but it has been beautiful and we have grown a lot and healed a lot, and have been through so much already together, and look forward to many more years together.

As always, thanks for standing with us. We couldn't do what we do with out you.