Transform - Autumn 2015

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John Stott LONDON LECTURE 2015

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This annual lecture continues the tradition of the London Lectures in Contemporary Christianity, inaugurated by John Stott. This year’s lecture examines the challenge facing followers of Jesus around the world, to nourish the intimate, intertwined roots of radical discipleship as

citizens of God’s Kingdom and promoters of God’s justice. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, from Argentina but currently living in Costa Rica, is a well-known speaker on issues of mission and on the relationship between western and majority world churches.

To book, please visit

Changing Lives in Bolivia

God’s Word Today A Rich Diversity of Voices

Stories Worth Telling

Langham Scholar one year on

Standing Order Form families, or loneliness, or bereavement - when they belong to Christ they have the joy of a new family among God’s people. This is a joy that is deeper than just happiness at a party – it’s something that comes from knowing you are part of a family you can never lose. Relationships shared through Jesus bring the joy that is the fruit of the Spirit.

Equipping a new generation of Bible teachers

2. Joy is celebrational Chair of Trustees Mary Evans

Executive Director Andy Jong

International Ministries Director Chris Wright

International Executive Director Mark Hunt

Langham Preaching Programme Director: Paul Windsor

Langham Literature Programme Director: Pieter Kwant PO Box 296 Carlisle CA3 9WZ E:


God’s Word Today


In a Rich Diversity of Voices

Langham Scholars


National Scholar Director: Ian Shaw PO Box 19140, Strathaven, ML10 9AA E: 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: 020 7209 0915 Email:

A Life Transformed

Langham Scholar Dr Josaphat Tam


Training Pastors - Changing Lives in Bolivia

Stories Worth Telling Adam Szumorek tells his story


Bibleshaped Chris Wright: Study on Joy

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One Year On

Langham Partnership’s Vision and Mission

Have you considered including Langham Partnership in your will? 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:

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.

The gospel is good news and good news brings joy! So if the gospel is the best and greatest good news the world has ever heard, then there is no greater joy than knowing and believing the gospel. Some of the times Paul wrote most enthusiastically about joy, he was chained up in a stinking Roman prison – because he had the joy of the gospel of Christ within him. Even in terrible personal suffering, he could rejoice in the gospel, and tell others to do the same! And when Peter wrote to Christians who were already suffering a lot under persecution, his opening chapter rings with ‘inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1 Pet. 1:6-9). The gospel tells us the great truths of what God has done through Christ to save the world, because of his love and grace. It promises us forgiveness, eternal life, and a future filled with hope for the whole creation. And these are things that can never be taken away, because they are rooted in who God is and what God has done. That is why Christian joy can be present in our lives, even when there is suffering, loss, bereavement, illness, accident or grief. Such things are just as real for believers as for anybody else, but they can’t and don’t take away the inner joy that is the fruit of the Spirit. Actually, we need to be careful to distinguish between, on the one hand, a Christian who is suffering the ordinary pains of life and is maybe struggling to feel joyful because of that and, on the other hand, a Christian who is suffering from the real illness of clinical depression - where there are physical and psychological causes that need careful and professional medical care, as for any other illness. To tell a Christian who is suffering from depression, to ‘cheer up, snap out of it, and be joyful in the Lord’, can simply add to their suffering, since that is exactly what they long to do, but can’t. Loss of joy in life is one of the terrible symptoms of the illness.

And yet, it is the testimony of Christians I’ve known who suffer from depression, including within my family, that there is still an underlying assurance of the truth of the gospel, of the love of God and that God can be trusted. And in those things there is a real objective joy, even if there are no happy feelings. That’s why joy, Christian joy as the fruit of the Spirit, is not just an emotion, but a matter of the will and of the exercise of faith in God’s promises in Christ.

3. Joy is creational Yes we can and should celebrate creation with joy! The Israelites in the Old Testament were commanded to do this in three great week-long annual festivals – when the whole community was commanded to rejoice because of the harvests God gave them (Read Deuteronomy 16). But the Bible doesn’t only talk about human beings rejoicing in creation, but about the whole of creation itself rejoicing and praising God. I don’t know how this happens or how God receives such joy and praise from the non- human creation – but the Bible says that he does. Psalm 96:11-13, for example, sings out Let the heavens…the earth … the sea…the fields…the trees of the forest…all creation rejoice before the LORD for he comes to put things right. Paul tells us that the whole creation eagerly anticipates the joy of being liberated from frustration because of human sin (Rom. 8:19-21). Revelation looks forward to the day when ‘every creature in heaven and on earth and in the sea’ will praise God, because of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ (Rev. 5:13). And Isaiah looks forward to the day when those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isa. 35:10). We will share in creation’s joy, and creation will share in ours, when God’s redeeming work is complete.

Mind the gap. So, if joy is an essential feature of the life of Christians who are filled with God’s Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit - why is it so often missing in our lives?

Maybe because we simply forget. It’s easy to get tired and irritable and then to fall into self-pity. And self-pity is the great enemy of joy. We need to force ourselves to remember the great truths of the gospel from the Bible itself, until we realize how inconsistent it is to say we believe all that and then go around like a grumpy misery-guts feeling sorry for ourselves and spreading gloom on all those around us. That’s an exercise I need quite often.

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Or maybe it’s because we are suspicious of joy. Christianity is a serious matter. So it is. But that doesn’t mean we should not have hearts that are filled with joy because our lives are filled with the Holy Spirit, when God not only wants us to, but actually commands us to! It sounds strange to say that ‘joy is a duty’, but it is a happy one! Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil. 4:4).

And one last thought There’s a great occasion in the Old Testament when Ezra read to the whole people from the books of the law of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy), while the leaders of the people explained it to them. It’s in Nehemiah chapter 8. And it mentions JOY twice. In verse 12, the people were filled with joy because they understood the Scripture that was being read. And in verse 17, the people were celebrating with great joy (more than they had done for nearly a thousand years) because they had just gone out and done what the Scriptures told them to do. Joy came when they understood the Bible and when they obeyed the Bible. That’s why it is so important that we pay attention to our roots in the soil of God’s word, if we want to bear the fruit of the Spirit and become more like Jesus.

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i headlines? I’m writing this letter just prior to the launch event for the publication of the South Asia Bible Commentary (SABC), taking place on 4th October in Delhi. There will be some notable attendees, not just important church leaders but senior Indian politicians to mark and celebrate this milestone for South Asian Christians and the Church. It will be very interesting to see what is reported about the event but in Langham’s timeline, this is certainly a headline deserving milestone. Please join the celebration by taking up the opportunity of making a gift of the SABC to a South Asian church leader as mentioned later in the magazine. Charities have been in the headlines for some less happy reasons, notably for approaching members of the public with appeals to give in ways that do not demonstrate the respect and humility that supporters who act with generosity deserve. At Langham we truly seek to value your support

by limiting the number of appeals we send you and hope we get that balance right. Alongside that, we seek through means like this magazine to keep you well connected with the work you are supporting and the outcomes that flow from your generous giving. We also have a trained corps of speakers who would be willing to attend a church service and present the work of Langham personally and in more detail, so do consider contacting us to invite one of them. We have produced an Annual Review of our work for last year and the headlines within it particularly relate to the positive impact Langham is having on the ministry of women around the world. I trust you will be greatly encouraged by the stories and testimonies we share. With thanks

Andy Jong Langham’s Distinctive Calling Langham Partnership has a distinctive calling and in introducing this Annual Review of our work, it is good to be reminded of this. In particular, we believe that non-Western leaders must build the church from within their own contexts and our heart is therefore to walk with churches worldwide through the ministry of leaders forged by depth in the Word of God. We are all about depth and maturity in the face of a challenging global context.



Autumn 2015

Literature Supplied 11,152 biblical books to 532 colleges across 8 countries. Distributed 24,446 books to pastors, students and ministry partners. 15 indigenous publishers supported, 30 language titles supported and £111,250 in writer’s grants provided.

Poverty because God’s people there are underresourced due to economic poverty or because there are few evangelical believers. Pressure because God’s people there are under threat due to religious hostility and violence or from regional conflicts and civil wars.


Scholars 14 theological leaders graduated with PhDs and returned to their home countries to serve. 75 emerging leaders from 23 countries are currently working through their scholarships and more than 350 Langham Scholars continue to serve worldwide.

Within these pages you will find some encouraging responses to the problems that beset our world, as we seek to help the church grow in maturity and thus enrich culture and bring transformation to society. The outputs of our work during this year are clear and represent much focused activity to resource the majority world church. Beyond purely the activity, I trust that the stories included here give you an insight into the impacts of those activities, the lives and communities that are being transformed by Godly leaders and the multiplication like so many ines, Philipp the of theirIn ministries through the lives of others. are used other countries, people Sifting As we develop our with th.will plans, we be looking to to dealing futureafterma deploy the resources life Godpiecing provides in places where through rubble, the work of God’s Kingdom move forward by together, trying to is characterized poverty, pressure and potential. r, a war or from a natural disaste There are relief grinding poverty. agencies doing and development of feeding, the important work ing. But what clothing and rebuild the human about the needs of make sense, to spirit? The need to to find a hope that sort through and will sustain. ical leader Langham-trained theolog Athena Gorospe experienced the Athena Gorospe has trains future pastors n Haiyan aftermath. When Typhoo she took to minister the hope ted the Philippines, devasta the in of God’s Word s from Asian a team of her student Philippines. y (ATS), where Theological Seminar studies, to offer she teaches biblical the disaster. If you of midst the in help have looked had seen them, it would sleeves to put less like rolling up their

ealing ations ith Go ’s or

Potential because God’s people there can influence surrounding peoples or because we discern that God is at work and that strengthening the ministry of God’s Word could contribute to the health, maturity and unity of the emerging church in that region. I want to thank you for walking with Langham and the majority world church on this challenging road, enabling us to see the Bible changing the Church, so that the Church, under God, can change the World. With kind regards backs into the and rs shoulde hands, like sitting, relief effort and more with people listening, and just being ogical and in their grief. A psychol sorts. spiritual first aid of Andy Jong a also an emotional wound, Executive “There’s Director They need to on. going wound (Langham spiritual Partnership UK & Ireland) And so Athena be processed”, she says. counselled by of a man who was Scripture and her students offered s. When they left it were one of her student – and those who received to Scripture, a him, he was clinging with him. grateful. that had been shared psalm A N N U A L R E Fuller V I EW 2014 team from ATS PhD from Since receiving her Months later, another with (USA) y found the man still Theological Seminar came through and , she has been of paper. He said piece Langham that from to support clinging e, s at ATS – the “Without this Scriptur them, equipping her student to y professors, crazy.” And, by future pastors, seminar I would have gone of the an isolated story. and community leaders God’s grace, his is not people find a Philippines – to help le to the In a country vulnerab question “Why, the to and answer gospel ity biblical teachings of the prosper calls the theology alism, helping God?” It’s what she the leanings of triumph of lament. suffering is, in people find hope in ing in the form of relief. ways, the ultimate Thinking back to minister some ers the story rubble, Athena rememb

Langham Partnership Annual Review

n a co ntr v lnera le to the teachings the o the ros erit gos el an ing leanings o tri m halism hel is ering eo le in ho e in s in some a s the ltimate orm o relie

Langham Partnership L


190 pastor training events held in 47 countries in need of solid biblical preaching, 10,000+ pastors and lay leaders equipped to teach God’s Word, 500+ preaching groups of 10 - 12 pastors meeting regularly for ongoing training and mentoring.

According to the leaders of global evangelical Christianity who convened in Cape Town in 2010, our world is pluralistic, divided and broken. Expanding their assessment they note the challenges faced in our world by poverty, oppression (including human trafficking), ethnic conflict, civil strife, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, destructive consumption and poor stewardship of the environment.

Phili ines

Langham Programmes at a Glance

at the Jenny Yuen studied s, feet of Langham Scholar and today she has 13,000 and s student own of her in s listener of s million the mainland China as g and Director of Trainin u the ‘voice’ of Liangyo ry’s Theological Semina mes”. “on air radio program e Jenny is just one exampl of of the multiplied fruit Langham’s thoughtful investment.

For more inspirational stories about women around the world involved in Langham’s ministry download a pdf of our latest Annual Review at




God’s Word Today… by Jennifer Cuthbertson, Coordinator for Trainer Development for Langham Preaching

In a rich diversity of voices


ocabed has made a unique contribution to how women are perceived in ministry in the Guna community:

Jacobed Solano, Langham Preaching Panama National Coordinator

I want to tell you about a surprising invitation recently to preach at the opening of the National Association of the Guna Baptist Churches. Perhaps for you it is not a big thing, but I want to tell you how God opens doors. The preacher for this opening service was to be selected at a meeting of church representatives. The presiding pastor asked who might be a good candidate. Many hands rose up to propose names. It was all fine until someone suggested my name. The audience began to murmur, ‘She is a woman and never has a woman preached.’

Jocabed Solano is the National Coordinator and a facilitator of Langham Preaching in Panama. Jennifer Cuthbertson met her in Bolivia at a Preaching training event:

A theological debate followed. Some argued. But the pastor leading the meeting, who is much respected in the Guna Church, said: ‘What stops a woman preaching? Furthermore, we’ve never had the opportunity to hear a Guna woman preach!’ As a result, my name was included in the list of names put forward. Then voting started. What happened? A miracle!

I am from the Guna people, one of seven original ethnic groups in Panama. My parents minister in a rural community named Guna Nega. When I was 5 years old, I began to collaborate in the ministry with them and my sisters. They taught me God´s word, and I shared the stories with my friends, who came to listen. That is how my Bible exposition journey began.


Autumn 2015

“Everything guided me toward Jesus”


A Life Transformed Training Pastors – Changing Lives in Bolivia

God opened the door, and I was selected to preach. God gave me the responsibility and privilege to help open the way for the women of my nation.

Fernando Fernandez

God wants to be heard through Guna women, too.

“In Proverbs 1, it talks about obedience to parents,” Carlos recalls. “Before I heard that series, I was really a rebel son. I had a troubled relationship with my parents.”

More than eight hundred people from the Guna communities gathered for the opening meeting where Jocabed preached:

A child’s prayer answered I prayed as a child asking God that one day I would be a light to my people (the Guna), to my nation (Panama) and to the world. God never forgot that prayer. Jocabed continues to minister with her parents. As a member of the leadership team of their church she has a new prayer today: My prayer now is that God will be heard through the voices of many who have not been allowed opportunities to preach. My request is that the church will be humble and listen to God’s word (as it comes) through the most diverse voices. Jocabed is studying Psychology as part of a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Theology.

for Bolivia, was teaching on Proverbs 1—and God used it to pierce Carlos’ heart.

“When the people of this church meet with God’s Word, their lives are transformed.”


hat’s how Fernando Fernandez, a Langham-trained pastor in Cochabamba, Bolivia, describes how God’s Word, faithfully preached, is impacting lives at Dios en Cristo church where he teaches. Carlos Pereira is one of those lives. A self-described rebel, it took a personal crisis to lead Carlos through the doors of Dios en Cristo, after remembering that someone once invited him there. The first thing that struck him was the music. “It’s like listening to angels singing,” he says. But it was the preaching of God’s Word that grabbed his heart.

From fear and hate to love and compassion That first Sunday Carlos attended church, Igor Amestegui, a church elder and Langham Preaching coordinator

After church, he asked Igor if there was a group he could join to study Proverbs more in depth. He was invited to the only group that was meeting at that time: the Wednesday night preaching team meetings. As he began to understand and apply God’s teaching—it softened his heart toward his family, specifically his dad. Carlos says, “I was challenged by this series in Proverbs to approach my father and reconcile myself with him. I started to have a better relationship with my mother, even with my sister . . . We are really close . . . Before, I was afraid of my dad and I hated him. Now, I feel love, compassion, and I have peace.”

arlos continued to attend the preaching team meetings, even skipping rugby practice for the chance to study Scripture. As he dug deeper, he says he felt the writings of Paul and John guiding him toward Jesus. Now, the former rebel turned prodigal has a hunger for God’s Word and a ministry helping lead the youth at the church. Carlos Pereira

“I want to thank brother Igor because when I approached him . . . to give me an overview of Proverbs, instead of giving me just a paper, he invited me to the preacher’ team meeting. I loved to be there because I met wise people that talk about really great things that I can apply in my life,” Carlos says. Since 2008, Langham has been training groups of pastors in Latin America—a region where church growth is exploding yet the vast majority of church leaders have no training on how to study and teach God’s Word. Igor, who has been coordinating pastor training in the region, explains, “In Latin America, there are lots of preachers, but not necessarily the Word of God that is preached. Because of the way God’s Word transforms people, the church, and societies, the ministry of Langham is so strategic in our continent.”

Preaching Clubs are a key strategy of Langham Preaching and nowhere are they more successful than in Latin America. In October we are seeing a dream realised. We are gathering almost 30 of our preaching club coordinators from all around the world in Istanbul and the Latinos are going to show them how to do it. The sessions will be filmed, sub-titles added and then this resource will be distributed to all our preaching movements. Your support of Langham is making it possible for our brothers and sisters around the world to find hope and healing in the Gospel. Thank you.



Recently, Dr. Josaphat Tam, his wife Cookie and their 2 sons, Jophiel and Kophiel returned to Edinburgh to visit the people and places that were part of their lives over the years while Josaphat undertook his doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, New College. (2011- 2014). It was a delight to meet with them once again, to rejoice with them in Josaphat’s success and to thank God for the many ways he sustained and enabled when the going got tough.

n O r a e Y One Edinburgh revisited, July 2015

t By Liz McGregor, UK Scholar Care Co-ordinator.


The children too were excited to be back in Scotland, to see school and church friends again and to feel cold after the humidity of Hong Kong!! Adjusting to a more formal system of education in Cantonese, Mandarin and English has not been easy but with Cookie’s diligent help at home, they are doing well.

Autumn 2015

Edinburgh after graduation through Langham Preaching and Langham Literature and of the importance of ongoing personal development through conferences, research and writing. Josaphat is on the faculty of Evangel Seminary, Hong Kong where this year he is teaching The Gospel of Mark and 1 Corinthians at Masters level, various certificate courses and providing oversight to the seminary library. He is fulfilled and happy in his role and especially appreciates the opportunity to engage with students one on one. Evangel Seminary has an important role in the ministry training of pastors and church leaders. As he teaches and preaches at the seminary, Josaphat will have the privilege of making his contribution to this strategic ministry.

They were relaxed and at ease and Josaphat looked every bit the part with his immaculate white shirt and tartan bow tie as we took photographs to honour this great occasion.

Another Langham scholar happened to come in to the coffee shop where we met and what a reunion! The Langham bond is strong and greatly valued by those who have been blessed to receive support and encouragement through Langham. We talked of opportunities to stay connected

Welcome to

Liz McGregor (centre) with the Tam family

His doctoral thesis, “The Apprehension of Jesus in the Gospel of John” will be published soon in Germany by Mohr Siebeck. He is delighted about this. He plans to continue to write and has various projects on his desk including a commentary on 2nd Peter and a book on the use of the Old Testament in 1st Peter.

Church family and friends are important to the Tam family and they have been welcomed back into the fellowship of their local church where Josaphat preaches from time to time and Cookie leads worship and assists in Sunday School.

As we parted - they to pack for a trip to Poland to visit another Langham Scholar and his family who had been neighbors in Edinburgh - we prayed together with thanksgiving and in anticipation of all that God will do in and through this Langham family in SE Asia in days to come.

Langham Scholars involved in unique publishing event The South Asia Bible Commentary is the first onevolume Bible commentary produced in South Asia by South Asians for South Asians – and for the world. For many South Asian leaders a comprehensive tool like this is beyond their reach. Your gift of just £25 will allow the Langham Partnership to deliver one copy of the commentary free into the hands of a church leader. It’s a small but priceless gift that will enable the South Asian

church to flourish and grow through the Word of God and to impact communities for Christ.

Give a

book Change an


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To bless a South Asia church leader please see the response form at the back of this magazine.







“People go to church, they don’t eat meat on Friday, but they don’t live the Gospel or have a personal relationship with Jesus. When they hear you can have a personal relationship, they are surprised.

Stories Worth Telling Adam Szumorek loves telling stories. He always has.


He recalls one of the first times a story paved the way for his life and future ministry: “I grew up in an evangelical family—not typical for Poland. I remember when I was 11 or so, we had our Sunday school programme, and we were to recite poems. I hated it. So, someone said ‘Why don’t you tell a story?’ So, I did, and I loved it. And people loved it. So, I started telling stories and I realised that, actually I would love to do it as my living—to tell, to teach.” Fast-forward a few decades and he’s making his life about more than just telling stories. As one of the pastors at Tomy Christian Fellowship in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, Adam is faithfully telling the Gospel story to a growing community of believers and


Autumn 2015

unbelievers. And, with support from Langham, he is currently pursuing his theological degree with a focus on studying more creative and relevant ways to teach God’s Word. His heart is to see pastors and leaders better equipped to shepherd and disciple people in a region where expository preaching is not popular, and very few have a faith that is rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. “People go to church, they don’t eat meat on Friday, but they don’t live the Gospel or have a personal relationship with Jesus. When they hear you can have a personal relationship, they are surprised. Because of that, there is an opportunity for us because it creates a sense of need. They ask questions, they need someone to help explain the meaning of the Gospel,” Adam shares.

and teach the Bible. When Peter first came to the academy, he was not a strong preacher. This year, Adam says “his sermon was one of the most exciting, faithful and applicable sermons I’ve heard. When I asked him what changed, he said he discovered it isn’t just about learning about the Bible, but it’s learning about God.”

someone said ‘Why don’t you tell a story?’ So, I did, and I loved it. And people loved it. So, I started telling stories and I realised that, actually I would love to do it as my living—to tell, to teach.”

He says that the barriers to faith for people in Poland would sound very familiar to British ears: consumerism, materialism and overall skepticism. To help build a bridge between the Gospel and his society, Adam and some friends set out to start a preaching training programme. When the programme didn’t take off, they attended a preaching conference organised by Langham where John Stott was speaking. That was over a decade ago, and it’s where the seeds for the Academy of Homiletics were planted.

“The Academy of Homiletics is a twoyear programme that first helps people to think theologically about themselves, about life and ministry. And then how to interpret the Bible, how to teach it, and how to then teach others to be preachers,” Adam says.

The academy originally started with a class of about 12 pastors, and over the past decade, dozens more have graduated, equipped to share God’s Word with their congregations and communities. Today, the programme is open to everyone, and they recently enrolled 60 new students—their largest incoming class to date. “People say this programme has transformed their lives and transformed people’s preaching,” Adam says. “Thinking biblically about life, it’s new to people.” People like Peter and Agnes, two academy students whose ministries have been strengthened through their better understanding of how to study

Agnes is attending the academy because she wants to be able share what she is learning from God’s Word at women’s conferences. “Today,” Adam shares, “Agnes says everything has changed about her preaching. She says that before she used to teach whatever she felt like saying. But, today she communicates the Bible.” In addition to his studies and his ministry, Adam is also authoring much-needed biblical books and resources designed for pastors and teachers in Poland, where there are very few qualified biblical authors. Among his book titles is Stories Worthy of Telling: Preaching Old Testament Narratives. But according to Adam, sometimes the best story isn’t the one you tell, but the one you live. “I want my life to be my best and most memorable visual sermon I have ever preached,” he says. This year, Langham is supporting the Ph.D. studies of 75 students like Adam, future theological leaders being equipped to serve as agents of change in their nations. Thank you for your faithful support and prayers– they make possible our investment in these godly leaders.




{Joy} Joy and Peace are like twins in Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit – often found together. ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Rom. 15:13). In fact, Paul speaks of joy 21 times, and peace 43 times in his letters!


Chris Wright continues our series on the fruit of the Spirit What brings you joy? Sparkling eyes, laughter, heart leaping, glow of pleasure? When I asked myself that question, three things came to mind at once. n When I’m with my family sharing the love that binds us all together, or close friends that I just enjoy being with. Or seeing the faces of our grandchildren arriving at our front door. Or just being out for a day with my wife. Joy is relational. n When I get really good news, particularly if it was unexpected or anxiously waited for. Like the telegram with news of a place at Cambridge. Or when Liz agreed to marry me (not that there was much anxiety – we’d been going together for years). Or when you get news of a loved one’s safety after a serious operation. Or news of a daughter’s pregnancy and then the safe birth of a healthy baby. When there’s really good news - we celebrate it with joy. Joy is ‘celebrational’ (a word I just invented). n When I’m out enjoying God’s creation. I love the pleasure of being alive in God’s world. I feel joy in being able to run, walk, swim, out in the open air. It’s a joy that is stuffed with gratitude to God. This is God’s world and I love it and enjoy it – as God meant us to. Joy is ‘creational’.

Autumn 2015

All three of these reasons for joy in ordinary life are true in even greater ways of the joy that fills the life and heart of a Christian – as the fruit of the Spirit.

1. Joy is relational Why did Paul tell the Christians at Rome, who were mostly Gentiles (not Jewish) believers, to ‘rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people’ (Rom.15:10)? Because they were now included in a whole new family, they belonged to God’s own people. They were no longer far away, outside in the cold, but included. They had a whole new set of relationships because of the Lord Jesus Christ and his reconciling death and resurrection. ‘You who were separate… excluded…foreigners… without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ … Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household’ (Eph. 2:1213). That’s worth getting joyful about! Maybe you didn’t like the way I started my list of things that give joy with my family, since so many people have little or no joy from that source – for all kinds of reasons. But even those who do not have the joy of vibrant and loving human families -- or who endure the sorrow of broken and abusive

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