May 28, 2008

PTI - Wrap Up

Pastor's Training Institute, Round 5 finished its fifth and final day today. By God's grace we were able to cover Genesis 1-11 the first two days - emphasizing the nature of sin and its effect, and demonstrating that, even in Genesis, Jesus the remedy is clearly seen. The last three days we spent covering the better part of the book of Hebrews - demonstrating how Jesus is greater than the angels, than Moses, than the prophets, than the temple, than the sacrifices, and than all the rituals and traditions tat so often plague the church here (and at home in the US!). All these religious topics, Hebrews says, are valuable only as they lead us to heaven's favorite, Jesus. And thus, to focus our attention and affection too heavily on any of them is liking eating the pie crust while leaving the filling untouched (I had to adjust that illustration for these out-country pastors who have never enjoyed pie!).

It seemed that, overall, the men really benefited from and understood what we covered. Please pray it will be applied in their lives and ministries. The traditions and pressures here make it difficult for different ways of thinking to shake down from head and heart to practice in the home and church. And much of what we saw in the scriptures WAS quite different from what is typical in the churches here.

Anthony has been able to make a lot of contact with folks who really needed to see him. That, I think, has been a blessing. As badly as I, and many of you, needed to see his face in late January ... the people here are experiencing that relief and closure. And he seems to be really encouraged by the times he has had. Tonight and tomorrow he finishes packing his belongings for bringing home.

O a personal note, I was able to spend my afternoon off today climbing a small mountain with one of Anthony's friends and with an impromptu 12 year old Ethiopian guide, Muleke. Wow, I am out of shape! And wow, what a beautiful country this is - especially when you get out of the city, which we did. Horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and donkeys EVERYWHERE, dotting beautiful open hillsides and valleys.

Pray for us as we leave tomorrow (3:10pm ET).


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