Page 1

response Form my Gift

Inspiring Christlikeness

overheard…

Please use my gift: Where most needed

£

Langham Scholars

£

Langham Literature

£

Langham Preaching

£

My Total Donation

£

Does Langham Preaching make a difference? Yes, and whilst we are taking steps towards being able to measure our impact in quantifiable ways, the answer sometimes comes in unexpected comments.

traNsForm spring 2014

Langham Partnership News

Your gift will be allocated according to your wishes. Donations not specifically designated will be used according to greatest need.

Please make cheques payable to Langham Partnership. Thank you for your generosity.

my details

ching rnational Council and a Langham Prea Conrad Mbewe, a member of our Inte ntry cou book conversation that he saw in that facilitator in Zambia, sent us this Face (names withheld) 2. The e his outline of the text of Hebrews 1:1A pastor posted on his Facebook pag comments then flowed as follows: !

Langham Friend: I can tell we are classmates in

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr/Rev Family name

p. I cannot keep away Pastor: Those lessons have sunk dee sing me to Langham. from the Scripture. Thank you for expo

First name Address

Postcode c This is a new address– please change your records c Yes, I would like to receive John Stott’s Daily Thoughts along with the monthly eNews

Near East and Far East linked by the cross

envy? I have never seen my husband Pastor’s wife: Is there anything like holy lately, after the Langham training. I am hooked to the Bible like he has been ot count how many sermons I got from his nearest “congregation” and I cann se were daily services! Romans in the month of December. The s what God’s word has Pastor: Honey, you are the one who know ed to Langham. The Bible become for me, having been introduc is a gold-mine indeed!

Email address.

Gift aid We would be grateful if UK taxpayers could be sure to fill out the full address section above and if they have not done so already would sign the following declaration so that we can reclaim tax under Gift Aid: I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. Please treat as Gift Aid donations all qualifying gifts of money made c today

c in the past 4 years

c in the future

Please tick all boxes you wish to apply. Signed: Date:

Langham Partnership (UK & Ireland) 19 Whitfield Place, London W1T 5JX

Meanwhile, from Indonesia where the Langham Preaching movement has spread country-wide, John Chambers sent us this note:

I heard a lovely story the other day from the remote area of Western Sulawesi. “If one of the local pastors preaches a bad sermon, then the congregation says, ‘He’s not been to Langham Training yet!’” So our prayers that this movement will impact the grass roots of the Indonesian churches are beginning to bear fruit.

‘John Stott foresaw the rise of Christianity in the global south before most others. He got out there first and he saw the need for training. This ministry [Langham] has been a game changer.’ Tim Keller Author and Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York.

Registered Charity No. 1092233 Company Limited by Guarantee No 4235957 Extra copies of Transform

n

Please indicate how many extra copies of this magazine you would like.

Jef Lucas speaks to Langham

100 million and counting – introducing HippoBooks in French


standing order Form

New Faces Equipping a new generation of Bible teachers

Langham Partnership has seen some significant changes in people over the last 6 months both internationally and nationally. We would like you to meet Paul Windsor who has stepped into the role of Programme Director of Langham Preaching, Andy Jong who has been appointed Executive Director (LPUKI) following on from the good work of Ian Buchanan and finally Mary Evans who takes the baton of Chair of the Board passed to her by David Cansdale who filled that chair very effectively for many years.

8

Chair of Trustees Mary Evans

Executive Director Andy Jong

Contents

International Ministries Director Chris Wright

International Executive Director

Paul Windsor

Mark Hunt

Paul Windsor

Far East and Near East

Langham Literature

Recalling a historic link

Langham Preaching

3

Programme Director:

7

Christlikeness is Important Jeff Lucas speaks to Langham

Programme Director: Pieter Kwant PO Box 296 Carlisle CA3 9WZ E: literature@langham.org

4

Langham Scholars National Scholar Director:

Preaching in East Africa

Ian Shaw PO Box 19140, Strathaven, ML10 9AA E: scholars@langham.org If you would like multiple copies of this magazine for friends, church members, etc., please ask Liz Wright, address below. Please send donations to: Mrs Liz Wright 19 Whitfield Place, London, W1T 5JX Tel/Fax: 020 7209 0915 Email: liz.wright@langham.org Registered Charity No. 1092233 Company limited by guarantee. No. 4235957 Tim Charnick Design: 07712613926

“Your teaching is still running in my eyes”

5

Emmanuel’s story

Bibleshaped Chris Wright – study on Gentleness

10

God in the Hotspots Not all bad news

6

8

100 million and counting Introducing Hippobooks

11

New Faces same mission

Co-ordinator for Langham Preaching in English speaking Africa

Mere change is not growth. Growth is the synthesis of change and continuity, and where there is no continuity there is no growth. C S Lewis We are now going through a time of change as the baton of leadership is handed from Jonathan Lamb (for the past 11 years), to Paul Windsor. I think this quote from C S Lewis is very apt, as we are not just experiencing a change of leadership but something more – since Paul as Associate Director of Preaching and Jonathan have worked closely together for the past 4 years. In that role Paul has been responsible for Langham Preaching’s work in Asia and the Pacific and has witnessed God’s blessing on the work as it has expanded from 2 countries into 10. Paul and his wife Barby, New Zealanders, actually grew up in India as missionary kids. He has

been pastor of Georgetown Baptist Church in Invercargill, NZ; a lecturer at the Bible College of New Zealand and subsequently Principal of Carey Baptist College, Auckland New Zealand. He is a well known teacher and preacher in his home country. Paul and Barby have 5 children and 1 grandchild. They have now moved back to India where Paul teaches homiletics at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies. Living in the majority world gives him valuable insights into the needs and opportunities of the growing churches of the global south. Paul now takes on the coordination of an international team of national and regional co-ordinators and trainers who facilitate Langham Preaching movements around the world. n

If you wish to make regular donations through your bank, please complete the details below using CAPITALS, and return it to us. Please do not send this form to your bank. Thank you.

andy Jong (Executive Director of Langham Partnership UK & Ireland)

To: (Bank name)

Andy joined the Langham Leadership Team in October 2013 as Executive Director for the UK and Ireland. He has extensive experience in the UK Voluntary sector and prior to this held several Senior Management roles in the Public Sector whilst working for Somerset County Council. Andy spent ten years as CEO of BibleLands (now Embrace the Middle East), during which time he stewarded the charity through some significant changes whilst achieving healthy growth in the income and development of it’s partnerships and programmes. An appointment as CEO of relief and development charity ROPE followed, where he took over from the Founder and successfully guided the charity through the critical transition, establishing a separate charity Friends of ROPE to help maintain the original vision. More recently he has led the oral health charity Dentaid, tackling the tough challenge of improving oral health in the Majority World through appropriate equipment and sustainable programmes. A Graduate in Town Planning from Manchester University, Andy has an MBA from Bristol Business School. He lives in the New Forest with his wife Fiona where their many visitors can also meet their four resident alpacas. n

Bank Address:

Sort Code:

nn nn nn nnnnnnnn Account No:

Please pay Messrs Coutts & Co. 440 The Strand, London, WC2R 0QS (Sort Code 18-00-02) for the credit of Langham Partnership account number:

nnnnnnnn FOR OFFICE USE The sum of £

c Monthly

c Quarterly

c Annually

in words:

On: (date of first payment)

Signed: Date:

Credit Card Details (for one-off gift) If you prefer to give by credit card, please complete the details and sign below. We can handle gifts by most credit or debit cards, CAF and Stewardship cards. Card Number

Have you considered including Langham Partnership in your will? visit www.9aday.org for helpful articles and resources.

Like many mission organisations we can benefit greatly when friends make a final gift that continues to bless the ministries they have generously supported in life. Once you have made proper and primary provision for family and friends this can be a very effective way to go on making a difference to the church on earth when you have joined the church in glory! If you would like to consider this option in your will please let us know and we wiill send you a helpful legacy leaflet. Contact Andy Jong: andy.jong@langham.org

Langham Partnership’s Vision is to see churches equipped for mission and growing to maturity in Christ through the ministry of pastors and leaders who believe, teach and live by the Word of God. Our mission is to strengthen the ministry of the Word of God through: nurturing national movements for biblical preaching (Langham Preaching); fostering the creation and distribution of evangelical literature (Langham Literature); and enhancing evangelical theological education (Langham Scholars), especially in countries where churches are under resourced.

nnnnnnnn nnnnnnnn nnnnnnnn nnn

mary Evans (New Chair of the Board) Mary taught mathematics for two years at a Manchester comprehensive school before studying for four further years at London Bible College. She then continued on the staff at LBC / London School of Theology for the next 30 years becoming vice-principal for the last few years. During that time she had experience as a visiting lecturer for varying lengths of time in Pakistan, India, Brazil, Romania and Zambia as well as in Canada and Australia. She has also had the opportunity to visit mission work, often involving theological colleges, in Ecuador, Ghana and Niger. Her involvement on the councils of Bible Society, Global Connections, EA, Latin Link and SIM (not all at the same time!) has also been fairly extensive. For the last 3 years she has been teaching Old Testament and functioning as the Acting Academic Dean at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology in Addis Ababa. She is the author of several books including the BST commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel. n

Expiry Date

Security Number

Signed: Date:

2 traNsForm

Spring 2014

L A N G H A M PA RT N E R S H I P

11


Far East and

Near East Recalling an ancient link

In his hometown of Zahle in Lebanon, the Director of Langham Scholars, Riad Kassis, regularly meets Father Aram. He is a priest of one of the few remaining Assyrian Church of the East congregations in existence today. The denomination originated in the 1st century AD in the Aramaicspeaking regions of what is now Iraq, southeast Turkey, northeast Syria and western Iran. Persecution in the 19th century drove the ancestors of today’s believers in Zahle from their villages in northern Syria. The Assyrian Church of the East has also been called the Nestorian Church.

k

Known for their fervent missionary zeal, they took the gospel into China in 635 AD (as inscriptions on the Nestorian Stele, or standing stone, found in the city of Chang’an appears to indicate). Subsequently Christianity declined in China until the new growth of the past two hundred years. The Nestorian Church disappeared altogether. But Langham Foundation Hong Kong’s decision to sponsor Scholars from the Near East (or as we more usually now call it, the Middle East), is an echo of that historic link between the opposite ends of the great continent of Asia. Victor Sun, the General Secretary of Langham Hong Kong, says: ‘We would like again to see churches in both Near and Far East being firmly established with Jesus Christ as their foundation … growing together in number and maturity. We welcome referrals for scholarship from countries in that region’ Two scholars from the Near East have to date been sponsored: Hikmat Kashouh completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in

We would like again to see churches in both Near and Far East being irmly established with Jesus Christ as their foundation 2008, studying Arabic manuscripts of the New Testament. On his return to Lebanon, he became the Academic Dean at the Arab Baptist Theological

Seminary in Beirut. In 2012, Hikmat published The Arabic Versions of the Gospels: The Manuscripts and Their Families (De Gruyter). Although he enjoys teaching and writing, he is foremost a pastor. Alongside his work at the seminary, he serves as the Senior Pastor of a growing congregation in Beirut. Their particular ministry is reaching out to Syrian refugees who have recently flooded into the city. Munther Isaac has just completed his PhD at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in the UK. Munther is from Bethlehem in Palestine, so it comes as no surprise that his research focuses on ‘the Land’ in biblical theology. Munther was the Academic Dean at Bethlehem Bible College, as well as choir conductor, and director of the ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference. He is deeply involved in reconciliation ministry in Israel and Palestine. Hikmat and Munther both look forward to a continuing exchange with the Chinese church as a result of their Langham scholar experience. A similar desire is reflected by Dr Stephen Lee, the President of China Graduate School of Theology, who is himself a Langham scholar: ‘Langham Hong Kong has made a specific effort to support scholars from West Asia and the Middle East … We are ready to share our resources with our sister churches in Palestine and the Arab world.’ n By Riad Kassis, Langham Scholars

L A N G H A M PA RT N E R S H I P

3


“Your teaching is still running in my eyes” Encouraging a growing network of local preaching facilitators in East africa

t Participants in the East Africa Preacher teacher workshop

The first 4-day-long regional teacher workshop for Langham Preaching country coordinators and facilitators in East Africa recently took place in Nairobi. Jennifer Cuthbertson and Mike McGowan facilitated this interactive workshop. The 15 participants came from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. They had all previously completed all three levels of Langham Preaching seminars as well as further training as facilitators. The aim of this workshop was to identify problems they had encountered when teaching Level 1 seminars. Working in teams, they first discussed what, as students, they had found most difficult to learn in the seminar, and then what lessons they had found most daunting to teach. From that, they together selected five challenging lessons to focus on in this workshop. Everyone worked hard at the practice exercises covering goal setting, lesson planning, teaching and evaluation. It prepared them for the key part of the workshop: practice teaching.

Albert & Alice (Rwanda) plan a lesson that teaches how to ‘cross the bridge’ from the biblical text into the contemporary world.

Emmanuel (Burundi) watches as this group solves his teaching ‘puzzle’, the structure of Colossians 4:2-6

4 tRaNsFoRm

Each team had ‘drawn’ a lesson out of the five to prepare and teach. They would also evaluate how much their ‘class’ had learned. In each case, the ‘class’ and facilitators would respond with feedback on the relevance of exercises and illustrations used and on how well the team’s goals were met. Together all suggested ways to improve any weak elements of the lessons. Their practice teaching was particularly finely timed for the teams from Rwanda and Burundi. They returned home on Saturday evening – and started teaching Level 1 seminars the following Monday!

Spring 2014

Alice Mugeni, one of the Rwandan seminar teachers, wrote: ’I think the greatest thing I have learned is to make learning and teaching simple, easy, fun and enjoyable and to know how to set goals and know the best way to achieve that! … what comes first and all the steps I would follow … the use of illustrations … it helped participants to understand better and easier [the] different concepts.’ Rev. John Orochi from Uganda responded enthusiastically afterwards: ‘Your teaching is still running in my eyes!’ In addition to improving their teaching practice, the participants also developed new friendships and strengthened existing ones, worked in teams, and became a more cohesive regional unit. In the words of Emmanuel Bagumako from Burundi: ’Knowing that we are surrounded by a family of Langham members with the same heart and same vision is so encouraging when we are doing the ministry. While we were having the Level 1 in Bujumbura, I was encouraged to know that in Kigali, Alice and Albert [Mabasi] are doing the same, facing same challenges but not discouraged, rejoicing with the same light in eyes of participants when they discover new things … people are praying for us with a true heart and knowing exactly what we are facing because they have been through it’. n By Jennifer Cuthbertson, Coordinator for Trainer Development, Langham Preaching.


God in the

Hotspots As we watch the news there are certain parts of the world that seem to keep recurring week after week. What is happening in some of these hotspots such as Syria, Egypt and the tumult there; the situation in the Ukraine and the tragedy of the Malaysian airliner are troubling to say the least. We would like to encourage you that even in these places where things seem desperate, God has his people and is doing his work. God’s people make a difference in the communities in which they live and can bring comfort and hope in even the most desperate of circumstances.

Ukraine Langham Scholars from Ukraine and Russia are modelling prayerful fellowship and co-operation in the continuing Slavic Bible Commentary project, and are making good progress in spite of the tensions between their countries. This will be a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible for the churches in the Slavic regions.

Middle East There are now 9 Langham Scholars serving across this region in leadership of churches and seminaries - some at national level - in Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon. Along with others, they are committed to the Arabic Bible Commentary project, which will serve Arab churches across the whole region of the Middle East and North Africa.

Malaysia 6 Langham Scholars serve in Malaysia alone with many more in the surrounding countries of South East Asia. Many seminaries are well served by Langham Literature, and Langham Preaching movements are growing steadily in countries all around the region.

L A N G H A M PA RT N E R S H I P

5


Emmanuel’s story tell us about yourself and your ministry.

Langham Partnership interviews our own Emmanuel oladipo

My working life was in the ministry of Scripture Union from which I retired after serving for twelve years as the International Secretary. I now coordinate the work of Langham Preaching for English-speaking Africa. This involves organising seminars for pastors and church leaders in 12 English-speaking countries.

How important is becoming Christlike in the growth of a Christian?

www.9aday.org.uk

Becoming Christlike is not merely important in the growth of a Christian. It is what it means to grow as a Christian! It is an issue we have to grapple with in our preaching ministry. The rapid growth of the church in Africa is well documented. At the same time, unfortunately, the impact of Christians is not evident in the market place. This is the challenge we are seeking to address through biblical preaching. In the Great Commission, Jesus did not only send us out to preach the gospel and make converts but to make disciples.

Emmanuel Oladipo (left)

How does Christlikeness happen? Christ-likeness develops as people get to understand what is required of them as Christians and live their lives accordingly.

Unlike conversion which is a one-off event, this is a life-long process as people grow in the community of other believers.

Where does the Bible it into the transformative process? God’s word is indispensable for instruction, for rebuke, and for training in righteousness, in order that each believer will grow to maturity. Diligent study which leads to proper understanding and application of what it says is essential for everyone who wants to grow in the faith.

What is the purpose of growing up and becoming like Christ God’s purpose for every believer, and for the Church at large, is to witness to God’s goodness and grace before the watching world so that they will turn away from self and sin and respond to his holy love. The more Christlike we are the more we are able to accomplish this purpose.

Is there an area of your life where you can see that the spirit of God has transformed you into a more godly way of being human? I can only respond in the words of St Paul in Philippians 3: “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus did not only send us out to preach the gospel and make converts but to make disciples. 6 tRaNsFoRm

Spring 2014


Jef Lucas, a pastor at Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colorado and well-known Bible teacher and conference speaker here in the UK talks to Langham Partnership about the importance of Christlikeness.

Whether in America or in the UK –

Christlikeness is important LP: What is the importance of becoming Christlike in all the diferent cultures and contexts that you work in? JL: Culture shapes the way that faith is expressed. Often the markers of maturity and authenticity are different in different cultures. This issue of Christlikeness is important. We often try to become more spiritual which can be vague but I think God wants us to become more human, healthily human, and more spiritual. Our model for that is in the perfect man Jesus. God isn’t just about making Christians everywhere, he is calling humanity back to humanity’s blueprint which is expressed perfectly in Christ. LP: How does Christlikeness happen? JL: We have a gospel which is inherently about transformation but I don’t think that happens as much as we might like to think. Where I have seen transformation happen is through the years when pain and struggle and disappointment either create hopelessness and cynicism or they create pure gold, faith and Christlikeness. I don’t want to have to go through those processes but life’s challenges and even traumatic junction moments tend to shape us into Christlikeness more often than not. LP: How important is the Bible in the process of becoming like Christ? JL: It is vital. Scripture offers realignment in our thinking. It is foundational in the process of transformation. I think transformation is supernatural, there is a Holy Spirit activity in us that brings about that change. Scripture is part of that

process. When I bring my mind to the purity of truth which is in Scripture, something potentially happens in me that is beyond filling my information bank. LP: What would you say is the purpose for growing up and becoming like Christ? JL: Because if we don’t, we live subhuman lives. It’s as simple as that. This is what it means to live as a human being according to the maker’s design. This is the way every child, woman and man on the planet was designed to live and function. LP: If people begin to become more like Christ what will our communities and even the world begin to look like? JL: The world in which Jesus lived was impacted by him but not infected by him. So it will still be a world swirling with politics and jealously, and immorality and all the rest. But it will be a world that is being salted and lighted. Maybe quietly. Sometimes we are looking for the tidal wave and maybe the impact on the world will be more like ripples. But it will be a world where kindness is shown at the school gate and where more people, rather than rushing through life

constantly attached to their technology, are asking people to tell them more and listening and noticing the need around them. LP: there can be a tension between evangelism and discipleship. Do you see a tension and do you have any thoughts about that? JL: It’s time for us to have a conversation about the integration of both. Discipleship as described in the New Testament is inherently missional. You are disciples – go and make disciples. So if we are making disciples who never make disciples, we’re making mutations. There isn’t a full circle process happening. LP: Looking back is there an area of your life where you can see that the spirit of God has transformed you into a more godly way of being human? JL: I think that as time has gone on what I am surprised by is this amazing desire to do something right when tempted to do something wrong. That feeling that sometimes I just can’t do anything else but what I know is the right thing to do. I am also challenged with the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ question because to me that seems more like imitation than transformation and I want to be transformed. www.jefflucas.org

L A N G H A M PA RT N E R S H I P

7


Bibleshaped

{Gentleness}

Chris Wright

Gentleness is very close to patience. If patience is the ability to endure hostility and criticism without anger, gentleness is the ability to endure such things without aggression. Gentleness shows itself when I’ve learned how to respond to conflicts and quarrels, rejection, unfairness, or harsh words, etc., NOT with bluster and self-defence, NOT with harsh and aggressive words, gestures and facial expressions, NOT with prickles and spikes. BUT rather, with softness, controlling my tongue and temper. It means being very aware that the other person is a human being with feelings too, and maybe that person is just as hurt as I am, so if I fight back with matching aggression, it will only make things worse. Gentleness doesn’t necessarily mean just saying nothing and soaking it up (though sometimes it might – think of Jesus). A gentle response can also be firm and clear, but without vicious rage.

Gentleness is also very close to humility – and sometimes they come together. For example, the first thing Paul mentions when he tells his readers to live lives that are worthy of their calling in the gospel, is ‘be completely humble and gentle’ (Eph. 4:2). . In the ancient world, gentleness and humility were not highly valued at all. Aristotle did manage to include gentleness (the word that Paul uses) in his lists of virtues. For him it was ‘the golden mean’ in between excessive anger on the one hand, and being unable to get angry about anything on

8 tRaNsFoRm

the other hand (just being apathetic). It meant being well-balanced, having a calmly measured response to everything life throws at you. So he thought gentleness in that sense was a good thing. But humility was generally despised in the popular culture of Greece and Rome. It was NOT one of the heroic virtues. Real men were neither gentle nor humble. Real men were strong, powerful and dominant. Boasting about your superiority was an artform. Real men were winners! It’s a masculine ideal that still dominates much popular culture – in Hollywood

Spring 2014

movies and the mythical super-heroes, those men in capes! Sadly it seems very much alive at street level as well. But the Bible presents a very different ideal – one that was counter-cultural then, and still is today.

1. the gentleness of God in the old testament Gentleness is probably not what you’d think of to describe God in the Old Testament. Yet the Psalmists and others often speak of God in gentle terms. David compares God to the gentle shepherd caring for the needs of his sheep (Ps. 23). Isaiah develops the same picture. After describing God’s almighty power, Isaiah goes on: ‘He tends his flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young’ (Isa. 40:11). God is gentle like a parent who knows that his children are weak and vulnerable. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him for he knows how we are formed,


Think of the gentle – though direct and truthful -- way Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4). Or even more so, think of the gentle way Jesus restored Peter after his appalling failure. Peter denied Jesus three times, which must have led to unbearable grief, guilt and remorse Three times, after breakfast on the shore of the lake, the risen Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love me?’ (Jn. 21). It was tough, but it was gentle. And judging from the Peter we meet in the book of Acts, that gentle restoration was effective.

3. Gentleness as the Christian way of life

he remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103:13-14). I love the gentle way God dealt with Elijah when he was feeling depressed and suicidal and running for his life from the threats of Jezebel. When God found him in the desert, basically God ‘mothered’ him – giving him sleep and food. And what food – bread freshly baked in heaven and delivered by an angel! Then God took him back to Mt. Sinai – and gave him a great audiovisual demonstration of earthquake, wind and fire. But ’God was not in them.’ So how did God speak to Elijah? ‘In a gentle whisper’ – or, in the older translations, ‘a still small voice.’ God was gentle with his failing prophet. And then he restored him and sent him back to his mission. Divine gentleness at work. Read the whole story in 1 Kings 19.

2. the gentleness of Jesus ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.’ Some of us remember that old children’s hymn. But it didn’t mean that Jesus was a wimp who never said boo to anybody. Jesus could speak the truth very boldly and confront people with great strength. But his strength was best seen in his gentleness. He did not get aggressive or belligerent. He did not play the bully. One of his best-loved sayings is:

So with all this teaching and example of Jesus, it’s not surprising that Paul turned gentleness and humility from being pretty despised qualities in his surrounding culture, into prime evidence of the work of the Spirit of Jesus in our lives. The very things the world mocked, Paul affirmed as qualities that make us more like Christ. Paul modelled it himself. He had some pretty tough things to say to the church at Corinth, but he began this way, ‘By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you….” (2 Cor. 10:1). Mind you when you read the rest of that chapter, you wonder, ‘If that’s Paul being gentle….!’ Still, it shows that he was not a bullying church leader. He longed for healed relationships and spiritual restoration, and he saw gentleness as the key to that goal. Then Paul tells other Christians to follow his example, whenever there is failure in the lives of others. ‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently’ (Gal. 6:1). If only that were the regular normal practice in our churches and organizations. Sadly, when someone falls down in some way, it is more likely they will be judged and rejected, rather than gently restored.

Titus to teach his people: ‘Remind the people to….be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peacable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone’ (Tit. 3:2). Sadly many of us, including some outspoken Christian leaders, need a lot of reminding like that. Peter, who must have often remembered how gently Jesus dealt with him, tells us that this should be an important quality of the way we speak to people who are not yet Christians, perhaps especially when we are engaging with people of other faiths. ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have - but do this with gentleness and respect. ‘ (1 Pet. 3:15). Where does that kind of gentleness come from? It is the fruit of the Spirit - yes. It is the character of Jesus living within us - yes. But I think that in practical day-to-day terms it comes from genuine humility. And by that I mean the deep awareness that I am just as human and flawed and tempted as anyone else. I really have no reason to feel superior and get all aggressive when others show their flaws and failings. Not if I know my own heart. So when somebody else make a mistake, or drops something, or loses the keys, or forgets to do what they promised, or generally messes things up, etc. - I don’t fly off the handle and rage at them, because I remind myself (maybe just in time) that it could just as easily have been me. And out of that deep well of selfknowledge and gratitude for the grace of God that has rescued me from my own sin and failure, comes humility before God and gentleness towards others. If God has been gentle and gracious to me, and if I would like others to be like that to me when I mess up, then let me pray to be like that to others. As a forgiven sinner myself, let me welcome others to the fellowship of the forgiven. Let the gentle fruit of the Spirit ripen in my life and relationships. n Chris Wright is International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership

Paul went further and turned it into a general principle that should govern all our relationships. Here’s what he told

L A N G H A M PA RT N E R S H I P

9

{Gentleness}

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matt. 11:29).


People are sometimes surprised to hear that French is spoken in Africa. They are even more surprised when they learn that Africa is the continent with the most French speakers in the entire world. Over 100 million people in 31 countries in Africa have French as their first or second language.

100 million and counting

Introducing HippoBooks – LivresHippo.

y

Yet these people are often forgotten. So at the time when the Africa Bible Commentary was launched, the leader of the French division of the United Bible Societies thought it necessary to remind the team, ‘Do not forget us!’ In other words, don’t produce resources only for those who can speak English. Others had made the same plea, and that is why the Africa Bible Commentary is now available in all the major colonial languages of Africa: English, French and Portuguese. But that is only one book. What about other resources? A lecturer at a Bible College in Francophone Africa appealed to me in desperation, saying ‘There are no books we can get for our students.’ Langham was already working with publishers in three Englishspeaking African countries to produce HippoBooks for seminary students and college graduates in Africa. So we extended

10 tRaNsFoRm

Spring 2014

LivresHippo to Francophone Africa. This week we heard that the first book has been published by a consortium of publishers from Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Benin. The author is someone who has a long history with Langham – Solomon Andria, originally from Madagascar, but currently living in Cote d’Ivoire, and known throughout French-speaking Africa for his work with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. This book is not a one-off printing, but is part of a much larger Africa Bible Commentary Series. So Solomon’s commentary on Romans will soon be followed by a commentary on Jeremiah, written in French by an author from the Congo. If you can’t read French, you can get an English translation, published by Zondervan in conjunction with Hippo. And work has already started on a French translation of Hippo’s bestseller, African Christian Ethics. LivresHippo is up and running! n by Isobel Stevenson, Langham Literature

Transform - Spring 2014  

In this Autumn 2014 edition, read of a growing network of preaching facilitators in East Africa, Langham Scholars in dangerous hotspots acro...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you