This week I (Doug) – with the assistance of Richard and Lydia – taught two classes in the Global Field Evangelism Bible School in Eldoret, Kenya.
Forty eager students tackled two challenging subjects: THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES THEM and INTRODUCTION TO TRANSFORMING PRAYER.
The students come from Kenya, Tanzania, Congo and Uganda. About one third of the class is women. Most come from very poor socio-economic backgrounds, but nearly all are intellectually sharp and full-on passionate lovers of Jesus.
The first class was designed to give a Biblical overview of the triune God whom we worship; the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament; the Spirit in the life of Jesus; and the Spirit in the life of the Christian community.
We focused on the four primary lists of “the spiritual gifts” in the New Testament:
The 7 Motivational Gifts (Bill Gothard) in Romans 12:1-8
The 9 Manifestations of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7-1
The 8 Ministries of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:27-30, and
The 5-Fold (or 4-fold) Gifts of Leaders in Ephesians 4:11.
In a majority of writings on the spiritual gifts, these lists are merged. But in fact, each is a separate, distinct list. I explained how each list coordinates with and supplements the others.
We had a great time doing a spiritual gifts inventory (Romans 12:1-8) on the 7 Motivational Gifts. We looked at the positive and negative ways these gifts manifest in the life of a Christian.
Many commented that the results helped them better understand their life issues and their spiritual calling.
We discussed how the ‘gifts’ are the tools God provides for us to do the ministry of Jesus. We emphasized that “apart from the Holy Spirit we can do nothing”. That was the life-declaration of Jesus and is necessarily the template for our lives and spiritual activities.
We also emphasized the practical aspect of living a life of humility (Phil 2:5-8) in the Spirit (Romans 8). Our goal (in the language of John Wimber) is to live “naturally supernatural lives.” We showed how the Spirit downloads into God’s People the CHARACTER of Jesus as well as the COMPETENCIES of Jesus.
We tried to be practical in each matter, explaining how the presence and power of the Spirit are essential to effective worship, prayer, witness and ministry — “apart from the Holy Spirit we can do nothing”.
We discussed how life in the Spirit begins in each individual believer but necessarily merges into the life of God’s People – that being where we find our functional places in “the Body” of Christ.
We wrapped everything in the Greatest Gifts: Faith, Hope and Love. Faith enables us to develop and maintain relationship with the invisible God—Hope (the certainty of what lies ahead for those “in Christ”) enables us to persevere with grace through suffering and danger—Divine Love the distinctive attribute that sets our faith apart from and above all others.
Concluding, we gave the class members permission to go forth and “do the Jesus stuff”. After all, no one who has been born again and filled with the Spirit of God can be released from this responsibility nor can they be denied this privilege!
“Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing….” Jesus – John 14:12a.
THE AFTERNOON CLASS was an introduction to Transforming Prayer. Our prayer model is a practical application of the principles developed by Dr. Ed Smith whose landmark training is available through www.theophosticprayer.com.
Transforming Prayer enables trained Christians to practically and more easily do the ministry of Jesus • Evangelizing the poor • Healing the physically sick • Healing wounded hearts • Peeling the darkness off the oppressed, and • Demonstrating that God’s grace and favor are “in season”. Jesus – Luke 4:18ff.
And, we are able to demonstrate how this ministry is quite do-able in a wide variety of life settings: • In the Workplace & Business settings • Prisons • Hospitals • Travel venues: hotels, airplanes, restaurants • In Casual conversation • Even in church!
Although time limitations precluded a full, formal training, we were able to do a number of demonstration prayers in front of the class. Each participant experienced the presence of Jesus and came away with some definitive healing.
One young man – new to the program – encountered the resurrected Jesus for the first time in a Transforming Prayer session in front of the class and was born again. In group prayer, many students reported an encounter with the living Christ that refreshed and re-focused them for life and ministry.
A FINAL NOTE: Much ministry education in America and in Africa is academics-oriented: i.e., the transmission of information. This approach to theological education has two deficiencies: • Failure to match spiritual formation with academic achievement, and • Failure to provide hands-on training in the competencies of Jesus.
As a result, many students finish their education with a information and a certificate while still lacking the spiritual maturity and practical competencies required to properly do the ministry of Jesus and to functionally equip God’s People to do likewise.
So, in all that we did this week, we concentrated on properly wedding • Academic progress • Spiritual formation, and • Ministry sk
The swelling presence and power of God’s Spirit from Monday to Friday dramatically testified to God’s favor on this effort. We were all deeply affected.
Thank you, Holy Spirit!