Friday, September 16, 2011

The Last Day

Time has most definitely flown by this week in Vietnam.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.  There hasn't been much down time since Tuesday. I had to do so much rearranging of my lesson plans to accomodate the material I really need to teach the class. I stayed with the topic assigned: the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  But I knew going in that I would have to be fluid rather than ridged.

Today was simple enough though. I had the students complete my post-test survey, then they took their final exam (that's the first one I've ever created), and then I had developed a short coarse evaluation that I asked them to complete, rating the coarse in general, the content, and the instructor. I'm just hoping I get invited back.  The highest complement I received this week was one student asking when I would be returning, and then telling me he would be praying it would be soon.  I smiled and said me too.

Now I'm hanging out waiting for 9 PM to role around so I can head to the airport. In the meantime, I'm gonna go shopping for the girls and Melissa, and will have supper with Huy and KB.  See ya soon.

Serving Him,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 3

Day 3 was a great day. We covered so much material. I began the day teaching on the biblical differences between being baptized with the Spirit at salvation, the pentecostal idea of Spiritual baptist/second baptist, and filling of the Spirit.  Then I moved to the topic of the fruit of the Spirit. My final topic today was the gifts of the Spirit with a focus on the biblical teaching concerning the sign gifts.  I think the students tolerated the other 2 days so they could hear what I had to say about gifts.  FYI, pentecostal/charismatic theology is sweeping the world.  I love their passion to preach the gospel, but I don't believe they have a biblically accurate understanding of the Holy Spirit.

The students definitely interacted more today than any other day, and it was because of their desire to understand what the bible says about this.  They have very strong feelings and thoughts about it, that's for sure.  I love their desire and passion to know and live out their faith in a way that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ above all.  I have to say, I was convicted in this area of my life.  I honestly believe I learned as much from them and was encouraged by them as I may have ever been able to teach them.  These students welcomed me and treated my with such respect as I am not accustomed too.  They are kind in ways that I can't describe.  And were so appreciative of the time I gave to come here to help them.  I wonder where this attitude has hidden in the US.  I believe it would be valuable time spent rediscovering it.

On a lighter note. I coming home tomorrow night. My flight leaves Saigon at 11:50 PM. I fly to Seoul, and from Seoul to Atlanta. I have a lovely 5 hour layover in Atlanta and am suppose to be in Jacksonville at 5:30 PM Saturday where my beautiful wife and children will meet me at the airport.  Then its a week of relaxing in St. Augustine and final packing of the house in Green Cove Springs.  The movers will be there on the 27th to load our stuff up for the move to North Carolina and the beginning of a new ministry at Highland Baptist Church.  I have such a hope and expectation that great things are instore in the near and distant future. Lord Jesus, I can't wait.

Serving Him,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Teaching Day 2

Wow, what a day! I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.  I have had a blast today. You would think that teaching all day long would not be that fun, but at the end of the day, I was wishing for more time. There was so much we needed to talk about, but didn't have time to get too.  All I was able to cover today was John 14-16. I had planned to get through that just in the morning session.  But I felt we needed to take our time, and that's what we did.  I was amazed at how much these students were willing to interact with me. That fact alone was a huge cultural barrier that we were able to overcome together. The Vietnamese students usually sit and listen and take notes, but do not say anything during class. It is disrespectful to the teacher. It was awesome to see and hear them dialogue with each other and me during and inbetween class about the topic of discussion. I pray Vietnam is never the same; I pray it is eternally changed for the honor and glory and fame of the great name of Jesus Christ.

I have spent the evening, after supper (I went to 24 and had Pho), studying for tomorrows assignment, preparing a final exam and answer key, and a student evaluation of the class. I look forward to hearing what they have to say about our time together.  I believe it has been a great week, let's see what they think come Friday after the exam.

Tomorrw I will be addressing the difference between "baptism of the Spirit" and the "filling of the Spirit" in the first session in the morning.  Then I will move to Galatians 5 and address the fruit of the Spirit vs, the works of the flesh.  After lunch we will spend 2.5-3 hours dealing with the gifts of the Spirit.  How in the world am I going to cover all of that in one day?!!! I don't know, but I've gotta try. Much prayer is appreciated.

Serving Him in Vietnam,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaching Day 1

I had a great day in the Lord today with the students from the VBBI. They were so gracious in filling out the questionnaire and pre-test for my DMin research. It took them almost 2 hours of the morning. One thing I learned as they went through that this morning is that even the way we ask questions in the US is sometimes difficult to translate into another culture.  How much a student of culture the Apostle Paul and others like him had to have been to go into so many different cultures around the world at that time and effectively share the gospel of Jesus with so  many lost people.  I am becoming more and more confident that to effectively and efficiently share the gospel we must know our culture and cultures we invade thoroughly.  Become a student of culture today, so you might change the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ tomorrow.  One size does not fit all.

After the class of 40+ pastors and church leaders (can you imagine how they could change Vietnam and the world if they catch a glimpse of the call and command of the Great Commission) finished the paper work I gave them, we jumped into the deep end of the pool, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. One of the most difficult things for me to do  is decide what to try to talk with them about and what not to discuss concerning this doctrine. With only 3.5 days of actual teaching time, and that cut in half when you account for translating time, there is not very much time to cover vast amounts of material. I keep praying and asking: "Lord, what are the essentials I need to speak to considering the context and the need?" We covered very briefly today the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person, the Holy Spirit is divine, and the Holy Spirit is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son in the Trinity.  What is so challenging is you could spend weeks studying any one of those three aspects biblically.  My goal is to overload their wagons with scripture that they can then in turn return home and study, allowing God the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word of God in their hearts and minds. 

And speaking of returning home, the guy traveling the farthest to attend class this week, besides me, traveled over 700 KM to get here. Not sure how far that is in miles, but I know it's a long way.

The goal for tomorrow and Thursday will be to exegete passages on the job of the Holy Spirit from John 14-16, the fruit of the Spirit from Gal. 5, and spirtual gifts from I Cor. 12-14, etc...  Please be praying for me as I seek to honor the Lord Jesus and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thanks and God bless.
Serving Him,

Monday, September 12, 2011

The First 48 in Vietnam

I arrived in Saigon on Saturday night about 11 PM Vietnam time. I am 13 hours ahead of EST, it's normally 12 hours, but they don't do Daylight Savings Time here. I slept about 4 hours, and was up to get ready for church about 6:15 AM. I went to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Grace Baptist Church. The church also hosts the bible institute I will be teaching in Tuesday through Friday.

After church I came back to the room and did some reading. I tried to watch the end of the Gator game, but espn360 doesn't work over here for some reason. Went to lunch about 12:30 PM and then came back to the room to do some more reading and preparing to teach. I went to sleep about 2:30 and slept til 7 PM when my phone rang. I had made an appointment to meet with a guy to talk. Didn't realize how tired I was, but I got up and we hung out for a couple of hours. There is this awesome little coffee/desert shop right next door to my hotel, so we went there. On my last trip over here, Dr. Ewart and I spent alot of time there in the evenings hanging out, drinking coffee, and talking. Bet I have a repeat performance this time too. When I got back to the room I spent some additional time in God's Word and praying. I know this will be an horrible experience without his outstanding power and guidance as I teach.

What amazed me, was that I went right back to sleep when I was done studying, and I slept til 5 AM. One of the things which makes trips like this doable is technology like Skype. I've been able to talk with my kids in NC and my wife in FL already this week. I would always prefer to be with them, but when I can't, being able to see them and talk with them is a comfort and blessing. In this way I am so thankful to the Lord for technology and the internet. I love my family!

Today (Monday) I'm just hanging out in the hotel room this morning studying for tomorrow. I'm reading the second book in a series by Dr. Jerry Vines on the Holy Spirit. Good stuff. Praying for wisdom, guidance and a keen ability to communicate cross-culturally this week. Pray with me!

Serving Him,