International Bible Teaching Ministry Update

Saturday, 17 May 2008 03:21

Douglas Jacoby continues to travel the globe, teaching and preaching in the churches to call us higher in our understanding of God. Here, he reports on his travels to Scandinavia and the Philippines:

Spring greetings from Atlanta to all of our friends and supporters! Thank you for your constant prayers for this ministry and may the Lord encourage your heart through this bulletin.


Earlier this week I returned from Sweden, where our family lived 1989-92. Sweden is now and will always be very near to our hearts, and it's no exaggeration to say that for me this was a true homecoming, and fraught with feeling. On the first day I went for a prayer walk through Humlegården, the park where we used to play with our children, sledding down the snow-covered hill. I continued to Stadion, site of the 1912 Olympic games. After sitting and praying in the empty stands, deriving some inspiration from the setting, I walked past our old apartment, barely 300 meters from the hotel where I was staying! So many memories. And thoughts. ("What if we'd never moved?" "Did we make the right choice?" "How can we help now that we live in another country?")

Sweden is at the top of Europe, sandwiched between Norway and Finland. When we left Stockholm for Philadelphia in 1992 to launch the international teaching ministry. We left a huge part of our heart behind with our brothers in sisters in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. (Since then the work has expanded into Norway and Iceland.) Vicki and I especially appreciate the faithfulness of so many Scandinavian disciples -- through thick and thin -- as well as their honest determination to learn. Nearly 60 people took time off from work to attend the classes on New Testament I taught last week, and this was very motivating for me as a teacher.

Students in our western European Bible School (AIM) converged on Stockholm from Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Four days of teaching focused on the N.T. and how to interpret it. I also taught the midweek lesson, on Worldliness and the Church, and spoke at a Sunday evangelistic presentation and Q&A. A number of guests and former members came along, including people who saw the newspaper ad.

The Nordic students are deeply thankful for opportunities to learn. For example, Jóhann Matthíasson of Iceland shares, "Considering how much attending AIM has given hope to a rather uneducated fellow like me, and that I was so stuck and frustrated in the old mindset, I feel it is a most worthy cause. In fact, it has revolutionized my Christian life." That's the idea: to change lives through Bible study so that in turn we can change the world for Christ. (This is the same healthy attitude I sensed among the students in our Russian language program, the Eurasian Bible School, which last month in Kiev saw 90 brothers and sisters in attendance from Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic states.)

It's really great to be back in the U.S., and with our home congregation, the North River Church of Christ (Marietta, Georgia). One cool thing I'm doing is teaching our middle school ministry (about 30 students) for the next four Sundays. The colorful powerpoint is Jesus: Legend, Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? We'll cover one of the four possibilities each Sunday, and as always I know the middle schoolers will be full of great questions! The Jacobys are also preparing for the graduation of our middle child, Emma, who begins university in August. (Emma became a Christian in 2005.) The next out-of-town engagement is the International Apologetics Conference (Chicago) and debate with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Imam Shabir Ally.

Want to ride on a camel while you take in the Sphinx and the pyramids? Like to have a quiet time in the Garden of Gethsemane? How does viewing the Promised Land from atop Mt. Nebo sound -- or taking a dip in the Dead Sea? 160 have already signed up for our summer tour in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. The tour is modular (choose from the three segments), and there are still about 10 open slots. Registration information is in the link above.

How are your daily quiet times? Do you meditate on God's word regularly? Are you growing in your faith and knowledge of God's word? Many Christians find themselves in a rut. Others are called upon to prepare Bible lessons, and need fresh perspectives on the scriptures. With these considerations in mind, every day during 2008 there's a new morning Bible study in the Daily Bible Study series. This year we've already gone through Matthew, James, Romans, Galatians, 1-2 Thessalonians, Mark, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Currently we're in the middle of John.

Thanks to all of you who have sent in feedback on the studies. I've received emails from couples, singles, teens, leaders, older Christians -- people all over the world. Please keep telling your friends! Especially in the (northern hemisphere) summer months, with changing schedules, the series can be helpful in re-establishing rhythm and routine. Click here to read what people are saying about the series. You can also comment and read others' thoughts at the blogspot.

Our website recently passed the 7500-page mark. New articles this week include "Keeping Pets in Their Place ("Do dogs go to heaven?"), The Catastrophe in Burma, Resources for learning N.T. Greek, and such Q&As as: The end of the miraculous age?, Female presidential candidate?, and Profanity in Paul? New material is added every day. Check it out!

This is our third year conducting AIM in the Philippines. Not only Manila, but its four satellite churches, as well as 16 provincial churches, have been involved in the program. After 2008, the Asian Pacific Leadership Academy will take the reins. Paris Murray, who with Rolan Monje has been heading up the teaching ministry in the Philippines, writes:

"On April 13, 2008, over 2500 disciples from all across the archipelago flocked to the Philippine Convention Center for the much anticipated Metro Manila Christian Church congregational service. After an incredible Sunday message, Douglas, together with teacher Rolan Monje and congregational minister Koko Enrile, officiated over graduation rites for our first cohort of AIM Philippines graduates. Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!

"AIM Philippines represents the most intensive, sustained campaign of ministry training ever attempted among our churches. Our enrollees, made up of evangelists, self-supporting ministers, and Teaching Committee representatives, have endured 2+ years of blood, sweat, and tears in the form of intensive biblical study, readings, field trips, numerous essays, and a battery of online examinations. Hence to witness the first 16 persons receiving their AIM diplomas was a dream come true! In September ten more are expected to complete the course. May the LORD use this landmark event to inspire the Asia Pacific Family of Churches to make every effort to grow in their knowledge of Him.

"On behalf of our new graduates, current enrollees, and the AIM supporting cast we'd like to give all praise, honor, and glory to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father--may Christ be increasingly glorified as God is increasingly made known to us (John 16:13). A wholehearted thank you to Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris, Jr., all the U.S.-based AIM teachers, for their tireless efforts to deepen the biblical knowledge of all disciples. Another extra special thank you to our brothers and sisters of the San Diego Church of Christ, and elsewhere, who provided the resources that made AIM Philippines a reality.

Lastly, we praise God for the wonderful disciples of the Philippine Family of Churches. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support. Our prayerful hope is that the result of our efforts will be revival in the hearts of God's people and the everincreasing declaration of God's praises throughout the nation!" --P.M.

From a brother in the Metro Manila Christian Church
"I would like to say thank you for a very short but powerful message in Manila. I really appreciate your heart sharing,emphasizing how much we should seriously cling on to GOD's word, because that's the only key to build a foundation that will last!" -- Alynne Ubaldo

From a Filipino AIM student
"Through the AIM sessions, I have seen where my heart is, the skills God has given me and the needs of my church. I want so much to share what I have learned and learn even more. Thank you for AIM. It has changed my life." -- Rommel Casis

From Douglas
"A special thank-you to disciples in Marietta (North River) and Phoenix for their helping me to teach in Cebu (Visayas) on this Philippine visit."

© Copyright 2008 Douglas Jacoby. All Rights Reserved.

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