Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Adult Bible Study Series

This next week I'll be enjoying having the opportunity to lead our adults in our annual Summer Adult Bible Study series. We pattern this somewhat after the old January Bible Studies that were popular for many years among Southern Baptists and which I suspect some still observe.

We started doing these series my second year on staff at First Baptist here in Lee's Summit and have done so every year but one since that time. Our focus this year will be on the book of Galatians with its theme of the freedom we have in Christ. I've also been going through Phillip Yancey's What's So Amazing about Grace with a couple of guys and his insights on legalism dovetail quite well with Paul's emphasis in this letter.

The first several years we did these, we began with either testimonies of folks who had gone or recent missions trips, singing groups, etc., then we had refreshments followed by the Bible study. For the last couple of years, we've dispensed with the other speakers and activities (but not the refreshments of course--we are Baptists after all!). We typically have somewhere between 80 and 100 adults who attend the four-night study--not a bad turnout for a midsummer weeknight activity.

These weeks of the Summer Adult Bible Study series are about as close as I get now to my former days as a seminary professor, and I relish the opportunity to teach the Scriptures to some folks who want to go deeper into God's Word. Prayerfully, we will all also seek to apply the truths we discover to our daily lives.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Safely Back in Guatemala City

Blake and I arrived back in Guatemala City late this afternoon after a very busy time of conferences in Quetzaltenango. The teaching sessions were well received by the 70 folks who were present for the training. As always, there was lots of good interaction and many questions. The trip out took a long time--close to 8 hours from the time we left the airport. That included time to pick up Carol's son David from his school and then the drive out. A detour in Chimaltenango took close to 45 minutes I suspect. We stopped for about an hour as well for dinner. Later, mudslides from the recent tropical storm Agatha caused delays as the normal 4 lanes through the mountains were reduced to two lanes in many places. We saw huge mounds of dirt, rocks, and trees that were covering the roadway in many places. As we got within about an hour of Quetzaltenango, we had to stop for more than an hour while two huge frontloaders were clearing the highway from a slide.

The return trip today took a little less than 4 hours, including a half hour stop for some hot chocolate at a restaurant where we frequently stop on the way back.

Tomorrow we will visit the Tabitha ministry in the morning and deliver a big suitcase of shoes for the children that the Wyatt Park Baptist Church in St. Joseph, MO collected for the kids. Later we will head to Antigua for some sightseeing and shopping. Tomorrow night we'll be eating dinner at the home of Carlos Cerna, the former executive secretary for the Guatemala Baptist Convention and the person who was largely responsible for the early formation and structure of the BGCM's partnership here. It will be nice to see him and his family again.

Friday morning we have an early flight out as we head back to Kansas City.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

8th Round of Leadership Training in Guatemala

Our pastor and I are leaving early Monday (7:15 a.m. flight) for Guatemala via Houston on Continental. Assuming the planes are on time, we'll arrive about 1:20 p.m. and drive directly out to Quetzaltenango to spend the night and be ready for the leadership training conferences that start on Tuesday at noon. Like good Baptists, we always start with food. Blake will be leading in 3 sessions that day and I'll follow up with two on Wednesday before we head back to Guatemala City later that day.

We'll do some sightseeing in Antigua on Thursday and well as visiting the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City before returning home on Friday. As always, I'm really excited about the trip and the opportunity of being with the folks down there again.

After we return, the following week is our church's Vacation Bible School and then the following week I'll be leading in a study of Galatians for our annual Summer Adult Bible Study series. We've been doing this for several years now and always have a good turnout and a good time studying and then eating some desserts together. I did mention that we Baptists like food, didn't I?