Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Africa Study Bible Kickstarter Launch program

Weeks ago, I shared with you about the new Africa Study Bible and the vision of Oasis International to provide a Bible to the people of Africa. A Kickstarter launch program was begun with the goal of raising $100,000 to help fund the Bible. To date, $13,000 has been raised but there's much more needed to make the $100,000 goal a reality. My prayer is that everyone who reads my blog will take a moment to visit the Kickstarter site and donate as God impresses upon your heart. If you'd like to read a sample of the work being done on this project, you can download the app for your cell phone by clicking here.

The Africa Study Bible is a wonderful project and will touch the lives of so many African people with God's Word in a language they can understand. For the past six years, this project has grown from a vision to a reality as 350 writers and editors from over 40 African countries have worked diligently to compile God's Word into a one of a kind Bible developed for Africans by Africans. The president of Oasis International, Dr. Matthew Elliott, says "With the ASB, we're bringing the power of Scripture to Africa in a new and culturally relevant way." He also says, "This is an unprecedented project that will impact the global church."

The Africa Study Bible is designed to grow the faith of African church members and teach them to evangelize the people around them. It will also help them gain a clear biblical worldview of their society. The Africa Study Bible is being printed in the New Living Translation, which will provide the African people with an easy and concise understanding of Scripture in today's language. There will be 2,400 features in the Bible which include application notes, stories, proverbs, touch-points, notes that explain basic theology and major themes found in the God's Word. Oasis International plans to release the first copies of the Africa Study Bible in English but also will provide translations in French and Portuguese soon thereafter. A full featured app is currently being developed for the study Bible.

The editorial for this new Bible is nearly complete and Oasis, along with partners, is inviting fellow Christians to join in and help them get the ASB into the hands of the African people. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched today. Their goal is to raise one million dollars in the hopes of being able to print the first 100,000 copies. The fundraising program will run from April 18, 2016 through June 16, 2016. If you'd like to participate in the fundraising, click here. As a thank you for your generous donation, you'll have the opportunity to receive various incentives ranging from beautiful one of a kind artwork prints to limited edition Italian leather copies of the ASB. There will also be some all expense paid trips including a real African safari! (You can watch the Kickstarter video here.)

Dr. Elliot says, "Our goal is to have the first run of the ASB available in Africa by the end of 2016. We already know of more than 100 million people in denominations and movements in Africa whose leaders want to use the ASB for discipleship so there is a lot of anticipation throughout the continent."

It's exciting to see such a global effort come to fruition. Oasis International has partnered with Tyndale House Publishers to create this unique study Bible along with other well known participants such as Campus Crusade for Christ, Willow Creek and Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Moody Broadcasting.

Dr. Elliott says, "We've seen the hand of God in amazing ways throughout the development of this project." Dr. John Jusu, the supervising editor of the ASB, says,"The content of the ASB is bubbling up from the cultures of Africa. The biblical truth is percolating through our own cultures and stories to create a rich and textured tapestry that Africans can claim as their own."

Won't you join this exciting project to help fulfill the Great Commission? In Matthew 28:16-20 God gave us this mandate to go into the world and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. He commanded us to make disciples of all nations and told us to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the Bible also tells us how can they believe if they have not heard? How can they hear if no one tells them? The new Africa Study Bible will speak to Africans in language they can clearly understand and it will provide the means for these spiritually hungry people to be fed with the gospel. Let's do our part to help spread God's Word by getting behind this project and helping raise the funds to exceed the current goal of one million dollars. Won't you join me? I hope you will!!! Please share this blog post and help get the information out about this new Bible. Remember to tell your friends about the great prizes that will be offered as they donate and thanks in advance for your help!

"Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

"But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lessons from the East by Bob Roberts Jr. - a book review

I review a lot of books and sometimes the information I glean from them can be overwhelming and not always in a good way. Recently, I received a complimentary copy of  Lessons from the East, Finding the future of Western Christianity in the Global Church by Bob Roberts Jr., from Handlebar Publishing. This book was filled with information that not only touched my heart but enlightened my viewpoint on Christianity both in America and areas around the world.

As I read the book, I was immediately taken aback. Within the first few chapters, I found myself rethinking how our faith in Christ is presented here in America. As the author shares, American's are often focusing on building megachurches filled with thousands of members that offer programs to keep the members engaged and satisfied. They become self centered and cliquish. They quickly forget to center their focus on reaching the community for Christ and become their own little empire. Mr. Roberts says "Instead of being salt and light, we've become tasteless and dark." He says, "How can we be salt and light if we aren't engaged with decay and darkness?" As I read those words, I really began to think about my own church and how often we forget the community and only focus on our own members.

Mr. Roberts helped me see, through his statements in the book, that American churches today are fearful of engaging and ministering to people from other nationalities. American churches see themselves as being set apart and set above those of other Christian nations. We tend to focus on making the peoples from other nations projects instead of ministering to them solely as Christ would. We tend to shift our focus from sharing the love of Christ and serving those around us with humble hearts and instead defend our own turf.

I agree with Bob Roberts, Jr., when he says, "Great worship services don't change the world; empowered, impassioned disciples do." He states that people in our communities aren't necessarily looking at the quality of our worship or to see if we have something to offer them but instead, they're looking for people with the qualities and values of the Sermon on the Mount. His statement, "When people of other faiths (or no faith) see the disconnection between our worship on Sunday and our lives on Monday through Saturday, they assume we have nothing to offer them" was powerful to me and made me want to re-examine my own life.

Mr. Roberts wrote his book with the intention of opening the eyes of pastors and others in the ministry. He wanted to help them see what we are doing wrong and how we can fix it. I loved reading about pastors in other countries, like Sam Sung Kim and Eddy Leo. Their view of serving the community was almost identical. The main focus was on the "Up relationship with the Father" since everything comes from God. Next comes the "In relationship" how we related love and concern to in our relationship with others and lastly, comes the "Out relationship" which focuses on how we serve God in our community. This viewpoint, the Eastern Christian cultural view, was vastly different from the Western Christian viewpoint among most American churches. Instead of focusing on me and mine, the Eastern churches focused on building disciples for Christ.

As I continued to read this book, I gleaned an entirely different view of how our Christian faith should be shared with others. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read, Lessons from the East, Finding the Future of Western Christianity in the Global Church by Bob Roberts, Jr. If pastors around our country would take time to read and take to heart the many lessons compiled in this book, there would be amazing changes in our country that could impact the world for Christ.

I would like to thank Handlebar Publishing for giving me an opportunity to review this book in exchange for my honest review. It was a pleasure to read this book and I will keep it in my reference library to share with others. I would highly recommend this book to anyone involved in ministry or anyone hoping to learn how to better minister to others.