Bible League Ethiopia Trip (Monday)
Last night I slept like a grandfather clock, waking up on the hour and half hour to stir, turn over and head back to sleep. Turned on the television around 4 am to watch beach soccer. It took a trip to Ethiopia for me to learn that beach soccer is even a sport. I wonder what other sports have migrated to the sand without my knowledge. Beach ping pong, beach baseball, beach Nascar? Who knows what other strange sports might be lurking on ESPN Al Jazeera during the wee hours of the morn.
Today we headed for the Bible League headquarters in Addis Ababa. We met their staff, worshiped together and heard the big picture concerning the Bible League’s work in Ethiopia. As we interviewed the staff, I was struck by the strategic thinking at work in the Bible League’s Ethiopia mission.
Several times during our conversations I heard Ethiopians referred to as “Bible planters” or as “becoming Philip.” The director informed us that Bibles are not given to people purely for devotional life. Instead, a Bible is given to a believer as part of their discipleship process. Bibles are ultimately given to people so they can bring the word of God to someone else. Everyone who receives a Bible is to become a “Bible planter.” In other words, they receive the Bible for the purpose of reaching others with the Good News of God.
In fact, before they receive their Bible, they participate in various Bible study programs that deal specifically with discipleship, evangelism, and Christian witness. Once an individual has finished one of these discipleship programs, they are given a Bible and commissioned to put into practice what they have learned. In receiving a Bible, they are promising to reach at least one more person through their Bible. This is the act of “becoming Philip”; of turning into a witness who can preach, teach,and explain God’s word.
In this context, the Bible is rightly viewed as an actual weapon of warfare to be obtained for the purpose of advancing the gospel. Through the Bible league Ethiopian Christians are trained to value the Bible as a tool for evangelism.
I’m wondering if we should adopt the same process in America. Too often we treat the Bible as medicine for the individual, verses a weapon for advancing the Gospel. We need to be clear with every new Christian that the Word of God has been given to us for the purpose of sharing. The living Word of God is a spiritual bread that must be broken. As the 5,000 were fed by a meager amount of loaves and fishes, so we feed the world through distribution of God’s Word.
In a very really sense, when the Bible League gives a Bible to someone, they are actually planting a community or church of believers. For every Bible is not just for the individual, but also for the purpose of witnessing to others.
We heard many stories about how people had diligently attended Bible study classes to receive a Bible. Once they received God’s word, they took that word to their friends, families, and even enemies.
We also heard about the persecution of Christians that has been occurring in some parts of Ethiopia. Just last December, 58 Ethiopian churches where burned to the ground because of persecution from Muslim extremists.
Thankfully, the Ethiopian government has sided with Christians against such persecution. It seems clear Ethiopia is very much ripe for harvesting. As Ethiopia goes, so goes much of Africa and even the Middle East. If ever there was a time to bring the word of God to Ethiopia, it is now. We must pray for a Word inspired revival to sweep through Ethiopia and the surrounding nations.
I want to encourage you to consider partnering with us as we bring the Word of God to our Ethiopian brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Bible League is a ministry worthy of our prayers and consideration. Today my eyes were opened to some really powerful, strategic, and effective work being done through the Bible League and the prayerful donations of people like you. Your donation will raise up many more “Bible planters” who desire to “become Philip” and bring the word of God to those who are currently perishing.
Ethiopia is ripe for a spiritual harvest. The word of God is the perfect tool to train up workers for this harvest. A $5 donation represents more than one Bible. Instead it represents an on fire Christian ready to bring the good news of Jesus to whoever has ears to hear. Please donate today. Call 1-800-Yes- Word and tell them Doug Bursch from Fairly Spiritual sent you or click this link to donate securely online.
Now off to bed. . . Tomorrow we head for the country.