If you’re looking for ways to get involved with St. Alban’s (the Anglican ministry at The Citadel) then you’re at the right place! From here you can:
- Find out what’s going on…
- Interact with news and notes of general interest… (check out the blog below)
- Grow a small group…
- Sign into the lounge (for Cadets)
- Find ways you can help this fun, real, and enjoyable ministry!
Stay a while and enjoy!
Day 9 – Lenses
The past few days we’ve been working on understanding the nature of the book of Revelation. At the end of the day the book is about the reality of the Gospel being realized in our lives (individually) and in the universe. God will heal our brokenness completely — including those ways that we simply have faith. Like victory over death. We have faith that it will happen… but the promises of Revelation are that Mr. Death will be subjected to the horror that “he” has subjected the creation to for so long. Death will die.
HOW that happens is captured in the book of Revelation… and depending on the lenses you wear the “How and When” work out in very different readings. The good news is that all those readings are faithful to the text even if they are different.
Historicist, Preterist, Futurist, and Idealist. Futurists believe the time clock starting the events of Revelation will begin “tomorrow”. Historicists believe that the time clock has already started and point to “today’s” incarnations of the Anti-Christ as proof. Preterists are weird… believing that the book is just a coded recording of what was going on in John’s day — “yesterday”. Futurist = tomorrow; Historicist = today; Preterists = yesterday.
I take the Idealist view (although the students can take any of the views.) I explained that the Idealist view believes that John was talking about “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” in a spiritual but nonetheless real way. Kind of like a Rolex.
A “Rolex” is a Chipati (think burrito shell) with an egg on top of it and tomatoes on top of that. Then it’s rolled together. Based on the nods and agreement… the illustration made it home.
If you’re still confused… don’t worry… we can go out to Qdoba and get a burrito and I’ll explain when I get back!!
Day 8 – Rabbit
Wow… I just enjoyed my first rabbit. And he was wonderful!
I do have to say that it was a bit unique to meet my meal a few hours before I ate him! Here at African Renewal University they grow rabbits to provide meat. The farm attached to the University provides 60% of the food needed for the students and serves as a demonstration project for the students to learn about stewardship.
As part of the demonstration, they grow rabbits because they grow fast, need little space, and two rabbits can produce more meat than a cow’s meat in one year. Strategic stewardship!
The only thing that bothered me was WHO was chosen to be led to the slaughter. They chose the heavy males. Hmmmm… a little close to home if you ask me!
Oh well… he sure tasted good! Thank The Lord for some meat… the first of the trip!
Prosperity Gospel bothers a young staff member
All of our team went to different places for church — and we all had very different experiences. I visited a “solo” church with a great faithful pastor. The church wasn’t that big… but it was a great church that obviously loves Jesus!! Another went to a church that has 7 branches all together led by one pastor (he’s in my class getting some theological education). Another went to a slightly larger church. Each of us had a great experience.
One of our team, however, went to a church that was a little outside the box. He preached a good sermon… enjoyed their worship… and was shocked when they took up the offering. They had 5 offerings… including one in which the people who gave would receive a special prayer and blessing from the pastor. Yuck.
This is known as the prosperity Gospel and we see it in our country on TBN and through various preachers like Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen.
According to them… you just need to be faithful and “plant a seed” and then God can work in your life to give you a blessing.
Whoops… I thought we couldn’t be faithful!! I thought we were sinners!! I thought that Jesus blessed and even saved those who were not faithful!!
This “prosperity gospel” forgets the Gospel that we are broken… and He’s the only one who can put us back together. We have been saved by his work on the cross and He’s still saving us… and one day he will complete the process!!!
Well — suffice it to say, one of the students from the University who accompanied our team member made it clear that this is exactly the reason we need theological education — so we can (in his words), “Fight the wolves who care nothing for the needs of the sheep”.
Do they speak English in Uganda? Yes.
Is it my kind of English? Nope!!
In Churches they speak the local languages so that people can hear the Gospel in their native language and will feel encouraged in a way that is most natural for them. When English is used in non-academic settings, everyone has to move very slow to make sure the heavy American or Ugandan accent doesn’t trip things up.
When I got to church this morning, I wasn’t sure when I would speak. I was a guest preacher at a Pentecostal church and, well, let’s just say it isn’t like the 8:00 service at Holy Cross. Well, it wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen in the United States. But, it was a taste of the worship we will enjoy around the Throne – a true experience of God’s kingdom.
The funny thing about the worship was the translator. She was fantastic — but didn’t know she was going to be translating that morning. We worked well together and she was able to follow the flow of my preaching fairly well. The funny moment happened when I said something in Ugandan. I was preaching on Acts 5… the disciples are behind locked doors… and I said, Jesus came and said, “Wah-sue-zot-ja” and she said, “How was the night!”
All of the sudden, she realized that she was speaking English and tilted her head to one side and looked at me funny. I returned the look and asked her if she wanted me to continue in Lugandan… and she could do the English. And… well… the thought of that made everyone laugh!
I long for the day when language will no longer be a barrier between our communication but instead will be a sweet addition, like the many voices of the orchestra, to the music around the throne!
Today was an “off” day from teaching — a much needed break and an opportunity to prepare for preaching tomorrow. We did go to the Equator which was an absolute blast. As you stand on the Equator it’s a good reminder that the church (throughout the world… and especially the Anglicans/Episcopalians) are stronger (numbers and health) on one side of the line. 80% of all Anglicans worship on one side of the line — and I have to admit that the supermajority of Christians is on the opposite side of the line than I live. The Southern Hemisphere houses the majority of strong, growing, healthy Christian bodies.
It reminded me of Jesus promise that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church… he just never said it would be the white, western Church!!
We have so much to learn!
As I’m getting to know these students, I hear some incredible stories and it helps me know why I’m doing this. In missions work you can do a lot that feels really good but can be less than strategic. As an American the best way to help the Church in the majority world is to do work behind the scenes.
One of the pastors that I’m helping is leading 27 churches. He’s not alone… he has a staff team of 5 people who help! (wow!) When I asked him how many people that represented… he said it was probably around 5,000 people. (did I say, “wow” already?) They mostly meet in buildings — but some of those congregations meet under trees or on foundations that don’t yet have walls built.
He has no theological education… just a Bible and a desire to serve Christ. He’s planted most of those congregations and was so thankful that someone could come and help him as he gets the tools he needs to raise up leaders in his congregation. Quite honestly, I think he’s got the practical stuff down!! It’s an honor to be able to fill in some of the gaps on the knowledge side.
(Actually… it’s more humbling than an honor!)
Tea time is always a fun adventure. There is no breakfast but there is a great 1030 Tea Time where the whole school stops and enjoys some tea. A few of my students enjoy teaching me the greetings in various languages, which is quite a challenge. They have 56 distinct languages for the various tribal families that populate a nation the size of South and North Carolina combined.
The most important one to learn here in Buganda (the central Kingdom of Uganda) is, “Wah two zo tja” which means, “How was your night?” Gordon, one of my students, went on to explain that the use of that phrase really means so much more. They want to know if you arrived safely through the night or if you needed help now that it is morning. In his words, “We want to know if you were attacked… or if the kid kicked the candle and made a fire… or if someone in your house got sick. And if you do have a problem… we want to know so we can help”. He then went on to say, “We’re not like you in the west. We believe in community and we want to help our neighbor”. He didn’t mean anything by words that felt like a “dig”… then again… he’s absolutely right! Those are all visceral realities that really happen in the majority of the world. However, we plastically cover over all those things to try to avoid pain as much as possible. Part of my wonders if we don’t do it so we can be independent from others and having to rely on community?
The good news is that the return prase, generally, is “bell oon ge”. Which means “it is good”. The best thing to realize is that we serve one who can make all things good. Even though we live our lives in the shadow of evening… we wake by the grace of the one who can say, “it is good”.
Of course… it always surprises people here on the streets when I say, “Wah two zo tja”. They’re not used to hearing a Muzungu (white guy) use their language.
A Bribe for a Church
As we go through Daniel, I am always looking for ways to make things practical. Daniel, in the first chapters, refuses to eat the food of the King. The food is unclean, not because of the type of food, but because of the purpose of the food. To eat the King’s royal food is to eat food that is reserved for those who worship idols. It would be like letting Hitler provide for your needs. Daniel and his friends decide to eat different food as a gentle resistance against the evil.
I then asked, “What is the royal food of today?” What are the ways that we accommodate evil, because it’s the easiest thing? After all, making strong choices doesn’t win friends!
One of my students then told an interesting story.
His church was working on building a new building. They had hundreds of people who had been waiting to move inside a building rather than worship under a tree. The plans were all completed except that the planning commissioner was holding things up. When the student went to the commissioner, it was clear that he wanted a bribe. With the right amount of money, one could get the plans out of his “pending approval” file. How much was the right amount? Around $700. Why did he need that money? Was something wrong with the plans? No. Was there a tax or fee they forgot to pay? No. Was there additional work that needed to be done? No.
Simply put, the kingdom of this world needed a bribe.
And the church had to figure out what to do.
The elders of the church discussed and decided to pray, trusting God instead. They prayed a very simple prayer: “Lord, you know what we need. We trust you to provide for us”. The student recalled that they didn’t have a lot of emotion… no music worship service to start… nothing. Just a simple prayer voiced by one of the elders… and then they waited.
On the next business day, the student went back to the planning office. He was surprised that the planning commissioner had suddenly gotten sick. He was gravely ill and wouldn’t be in for quite some time. So, his assistant asked what they needed. They simply asked if their plan was ready. And, you can guess, the assistant went back, found the plan, came back, and said, “Of course! It’s been ready for quite some time. Thank you for picking it up!”
The lesson was that they could have paid the Planning commissioner a very large price. THey could have exchanged their faith in Christ for the temporary relief a bribe would bring. But, instead, they trusted in God and in his sovereign ability to take care of His people… after all… He paid the ultimate price for them with his life! If he was willing to do that… then he would provide for this need as well.
So, how much are you willing to pay? What will you exchange for the expedient resolution to your problem? The easy way works… but in the long run, it costs us more than we should ever pay! May we trust in the one who paid everything for us!
Living Behind a Bookcase
The trip has been great, thus far, BUT there was a major delay involved. Delta got a late launch from Detroit to Amsterdam and we landed with just 20 minutes to de-plane, run to the next gate, and get there in time to see it push back with everyone of our team on the plane but me. Stuck in Amsterdam for 12 additional hours.
SO, I headed downtown and got a chance to walk through the Anne Frank House. You probably remember, but she was the young girl who went into hiding when the Nazi’s invaded the Netherlands. Along with her family and another family, 8 people shared an 800 square foot space hidden behind a bookcase. I wish I could show you a picture… it’s amazingly small!!
We tend to think things like that don’t happen anymore. But they do. Iran kills Christians who left Islam to follow Jesus. China is fine with Christians… as long as they don’t speak (at all!) about Jesus. And even in some denominations in the US you can face persecution (albeit mild) for being faithful to the Gospel.
One author says, “If God wills to bring in his kingdom through the preaching of the gospel, then all of us who own that gospel stand in the front line of battle. We must never underestimate the foe.” That quote is from Graeme Goldsworthy’s book, “Gospel in Revelation” in which he spells out the ways Jesus meets us at the end of all time to welcome us home.
We, indeed, are on the front lines. And we have to ask, “Am I willing to live behind a bookcase… or am I willing to act like I don’t know Jesus”. At the end of the day, I’m not sure I’m faithful enough to stand up for Jesus (no one really knows what they will do in trials)… but I’m glad to know the One who was willing to lie down his life for me!
And, here’s the even better part. If we ever do have to suffer, we can rest in the fact that suffering is not without benefit… and more importantly… not without end. After all, we follow the one who got up from the grave… the one who emerged from behind a boulder bigger than a bookcase… and gives us faith in the Resurrection as the first fruits of the end of all suffering.
What a great way to start thinking through the book of Daniel and Revelation!
Holy week is upon us… As soon as you get back from Spring Break it will be Holy week. Make sure to go to Sunday worship before coming back so you can experience the entire story of Christ’s final week on earth… and the passion he has for redeeming his creation. Then, join us throughout the week as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the Easter Feast!
Maundy Thursday 6:00-9:00 Worship Service on Sullivan’s Island
Good Friday 11:00-1:00 Worship Service on Sullivan’s Island
Text “Good Friday” and/or Maundy Thursday plus your name and CWID if you want to attend…
Leadership!! Yes, it’s already that time!! We’re looking for a few good men/women to consider being on the St. Albans Leadership team.
- Go here for applications: http://goo.gl/QnTvB
- Go here to set up interviews: http://iona.youcanbook.me/
Thursday Bible Studies
- 6:30–Knob Bible Study–10 Things every Christian Should Know
- 7:30–Upper Class Bible Study–Ephesians
- 6:30–Women’s Study with Anna
Questions, thoughts, or feedback WELCOME
Just text 843-608-8833 with any questions you might have. During the talk, during the worship, anytime…if something comes up, please share it! (Just include your name, if you don’t mind!)