Friday, September 26, 2014

Seguin Hike 2014

Mountain View, photo by Robbie Pruitt

To read this full article in the Quisqueya Christian School newsletter, click here.

If you would like to financially support Irene and Robbie’s work in Haiti, please click here. The need is there and we appreciate your support.

Our Quisqueya Christian School Sr. Class enjoyed their annual hike to Fondation Seguin this past weekend, September 19th-21st. It was a great blessing to join them and to study 'The Faithfulness of the Wisdom of God'. "Unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:24, ASV).

Over the weekend we looked at The Seven Marks of a Wise Person, by Mark Matlock. We looked at Proverbs, through The Wisdom Deck, and explored the Seven Marks of a Wise Person, which are: 1. Trusts in God, 2. Walks in Healthy Relationships, 3. Seeks Good Counsel, 4. Speaks Carefully, 5. Exercises Self-Control, 6. Keeps Balance, and 7. Manages Resources.

For more information on The Seven Marks of a Wise Person, please visit www.thewisdomdeck.com. 

There were 30 of us, 25 students and 5 leaders, on this year’s Seguin, Sud-Est, Haiti hike. The hike consisted of two nights and three days. We hiked to Seguin 10.5 miles on day one with four donkeys assisting us from just above Furcy, Ouest, Haiti. There was a 2,000-foot cumulative elevation gain over the course of the hike in.

On day two we did a 5-mile hike to a waterfall, round trip, and on the return we hiked through a 1.5-mile stretch of creek where we swam and worked together to get through.

The final day consisted of 2,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain over 10.5 miles, with 5 donkeys assisting.

Everyone had a wonderful time and completed the trip safely with minor muscle aches and scratches, and one minor sprained ankle.

We were all amazed at how God showed up during our time together and will be processing this wonderful time together for years to come.

You may visit the photo albums for this trip on Facebook here:

Sr. Hike to Seguin, September 19-21 2014: Day One

Sr. Seguin Trip, Creek Hike, September 20, 2014: Day Two

Sr. Hike to Seguin, September 21, 2014: Day Three

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A review of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

Cover photo of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church, 

AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church is a great follow up to Tangible Kingdom.

In their book AND: TheGathered and Scattered Church, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay address the balance that every church must strike between gathering together and scattering outward into the world in mission. While the church is supposed to meet together in corporate fellowship, congregants are also supposed to be scattered. The church is supposed to be missional and leave the corporate gathering and fellowship for going out in mission.

Simply put, the church is supposed to both gather and scatter. The church has left the building. The church is more than a building that we go to. We are the church, and as the church, we must not only gather together, but we must also go out into the world in mission.

AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church is an excellent book to balance out mission and fellowship, the gathering and the scattering.


Bibliography

Halter, Hugh and Smay, Matt. AND: The Gathered and ScatteredChurch. Zondervan, 2010.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jesus: The Author and Finisher of Our Faith


“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” –Hebrews 12:1-3, NKJV

Faithfulness is God’s idea. Jesus Himself is the author and the finisher of our faith. He invented our faith. He sustains our faith. He finishes our faith. Our faith has its being and its completion in Jesus.

Our relationship with Jesus, our faith in Him, as well as our lives, can be complex and challenging. God calls us to live our lives, to run the race, with endurance. We are to live our faith looking to Jesus. He alone will enable us to live out our faith.

It is Jesus who is the author of our faith. He has initiated a relationship with us. As it says in 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.” God has invented our faith, He invites us into it, He has crafted it, spoke it into being poetically, written it out creatively, scripted it and brought it to life through His dramatization of it.

It is Jesus who will finish our faith. He will bring our faith to completion. God finishes what God starts. God is working in us and will complete His work of faith in us. As Paul said, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV).

Prayer: Jesus, you are the ‘author and perfecter of our faith’. Lord Jesus, it was fitting for you, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, to bring your children to glory, as the captain of our salvation, perfectly through your own sufferings and sacrifice on our behalf. Help us to run this race of faith and life with your endurance, trusting in you alone to be the finisher of our faith. Amen.  

(Prayer adapted from Hebrews 12:1-3, NASB, and Hebrews 2:10, NKJV).

If you would like to support our work in Haiti, please click here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Obeying God Rather Than Men

Photo of St. Peter, Artwork by diablana81 

God is worthy of our obedience. We should be more concerned about obeying Christ than we are about obeying, or pleasing, the people around us.  

Scripture:

"But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: 'We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.'”  -Acts 5:29-32, NKJV 

God’s commitment to us demands our unbridled obedience. Jesus has given Himself completely for us on the cross. God raised Christ from the dead and has defeated sin and death on our behalf.

Because of what Jesus has done, we can have Him as Lord and Savior of our lives. In Him we have the ability to turn from our old ways of living. We have forgiveness of our sins. God gives us this and His very presence and assurance in His Holy Spirit.

Reflection Questions:

In what ways do you find yourself obeying man, rather than God?

How have you experienced Jesus as Prince and Savior?

How has Jesus given you repentance and forgiveness of sins? In what ways do you need these things?

How has God's Spirit bore witness to these things in your life?

Prayer:

“Almighty and eternal God, draw our hearts to you, guide our minds, fill our imaginations, control our wills, that we may be completely yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, p. 832)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Review of Your Jesus GPS

Your Jesus GPS: Find Direction, Personal Growth, Inner Peace and Joy
by Fred Apelquist, cover photo from Amazon.com

Your Jesus GPS: Find Direction, Personal Growth, Inner Peace and Joy, by Fred Apelquist, is a fantastic primer for anyone looking to get a big picture of Jesus’ teachings and miracles throughout the New Testament.

In Your Jesus GPS, Apelquist has synthesized the major Biblical accounts of Jesus’ teachings and miracles and has given references to where those major accounts can be found everywhere they occur in the New Testament.

The book’s short description captures the essence of what the author has accomplished in this work:

Whether or not you know who Jesus is and what He said, “Your Jesus GPS” will acquaint you with the messages and miracles, and more. Written not only as a Guidebook but also as a personal testimony, this work catalogs all of Jesus’ major works and words and allows the reader – and student – to pursue the matter further, if desired.

This book is helpful in organizing the teachings and miracles of Jesus and looking at the big picture of the New Testament scriptures, especially the four gospels. This is a particularly helpful tool and resource for Bible teachers, Sunday school teachers, home school parents, first time Bible readers and experienced Bible students alike.

Your Jesus GPS accomplishes its purpose “to provide information, prompt introspection, and encourage action.” After reading this book, the reader truly will find further “direction, personal growth, inner peace and joy.”

Your Jesus GPS: Find Direction, Personal Growth, Inner Peace and Joy, by Fred Apelquist, comes highly recommended.  

Purchase your copy of Your Jesus GPS from Amazon.com here.

Purchase your copy of Your Jesus GPS from Smashwords.com here.


Bibliography

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Discipleship Group: One Word

White Plains, photo from Wikimedia

We had our first discipleship groups of the year last week at Quisqueya Christian School. I have six 9th grade guys and had another 5 students from another discipleship group whose leader was absent.

We talked about some verses in Jude and I asked them to give one word, any word, which describes their relationship with Jesus right now.

“What is one word you would use to describe your relationship with Jesus right now?”

This was our passage from Jude: "Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. . . I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." –Jude 2-3

The word I used to describe my relationship with Jesus right now was plain. Here are some synonyms for plain: normal, basic, bare, or ordinary.

I chose the word plain to describe my relationship with Jesus right now, because, honestly, my relationship with God seems sort of normal or basic. At times, my relationship with God can even seem bare or ordinary. 

As a noun, a plain can be “a flat expanse of land.” “Flat expanse of land” also captures the emotion of the word plain, as well as my relationship with the Lord. The mountains are visible in the distance and there I stand “on the plain”, in the great expanse of it all.

When I posed this “one word” question later on to folks on Facebook, these were some of the words that were used: argumentative, inspiring, accelerating, growing, engaging, connected, humbling, directing, calming, clinging, comforting, seeking, healing, reflecting, awesome, and sustaining.

What is one word you would use to describe your relationship with Jesus right now?

If you would like to support our work of discipleship in Haiti, please click here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to School


The summer has come to a close and it's back to school for teachers and students. Irene and Grace and I have arrived safely back in Haiti and we are already three weeks into the 2014-2015 school year here at Quisqueya Christian School.

If you would like to support our work in Haiti, please click here.

This summer was a great summer filled with time with friends and family, taking classes and speaking about our work in Haiti to churches and small groups in South Carolina and in Virginia. While the summer was enjoyable and adventurous, we are glad to be settling back into our routine and settling into our home here in Haiti. Visit Irene's blog, Our Life With a Little Grace, to take a home tour

My Bible classes have gotten off to a great start and so has the rest of the classes and school activities. To understand a little more about my Bible classes and what we are doing, I'm including part of my welcome letter to the students and parents below. 

For everyone who is going back to school, may God bless your school year. Here is my prayer for you, and for myself, as I am also taking a class this semester.

"O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities and especially Quisqueya Christian School, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." (Book of Common Prayer, p. 824)

Welcome to Bible class!

I hope you have had a wonderful summer break and that you are as excited as I am about this new school year!

This year’s school-wide theme is “Celebrating God’s Faithfulness”. As we study the scriptures together this year, it will be easy for us to see God’s faithfulness in the lives of His children. We serve a faithful God and this is indeed something worth celebrating!

We have an exciting year planned out for us in Bible class. Each Bible class will be surveying the entire Bible at the beginning of the first semester using materials like The Story, Frameworks and the Bible Story Cloths. We even have some new Bible Story Cloths this year!

After the survey of the Bible, the big picture, each Bible class will be studying 25% of the scriptures using our four-year reading plan.

Each student will be given a copy of the book “Know Your Bible” this year and some classes will be getting a copy of “Understanding The Big Picture of The Bible.”

I am looking forward to Celebrating God’s Faithfulness with you this year and I am looking forward to studying God’s Word together this year!

In Christ alone,

Mr. Pruitt

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Review of Church 3.0

Cover photo of Church 3.0, by Neil Cole, from Amazon.com

Church 3.0 is a natural follow up to Organic Church and Organic Leadership, by Neil Cole. Church 3.0 focuses on releasing healthy church movements and gives us some practical applications and insights to help us actually function within the Organic Church Movement. We must move away from the old way to a new mindset of how to function as the global church, and the church missional, without the hang-ups of church buildings and programs. 

Neil Cole emphasizes that we must get out of our comfortable and insular infrastructure and reach out in mission in the world. Programs and centralized locations with the expectation that people will come to a church building simply will not work in this present and shifting culture. Cole emphasizes this when he says, “We are going to have to get out of our buildings and meet people where they live.”

What is most helpful in Cole’s book is the expansion of his thoughts and ideas from Organic Church and Organic Leadership. Both of these books have been very helpful in rethinking how we do church, ministry and mission in the world. Cole elaborates on practical ways to simplify church from the program driven “mega church” models, and the programmatic church models, to smaller, simpler, organic church models that are streamlined and more effective in reaching the world for Christ and in meeting real needs with practical, helpful and real ministry.

Neil Cole spends significant time, and rightfully so, unpacking the value of smaller groups of people in missional community. Larger groups are cumbersome and bottleneck ministry in complexity and bureaucracy. Smaller and decentralized groups of people are simpler and more functional in accomplishing God’s mission and will in the world to usher in His Kingdom here on earth.

As groups grow and numbers increase, intimacy and depth of growth diminish. Cole states that discipleship happens and is more effective in smaller groups. He states that we “have exchanged the role of a shepherd to the role of a rancher.” In other words, we have moved from an intimate and nurturing discipleship, that of a shepherd, to a large-scale mass production model of discipleship, which looks more like a “rancher style” leadership than a “shepherding style” of leadership.  This larger scale does not work effectively and does not produce disciples with the same effectiveness as a smaller and more intimate scale.

Cole’s book Church 3.0 also addresses the issue of leadership authority in missional communities. With the decentralization of the church comes a decentralization of leadership as well. Jesus is the ultimate head and leader of the church, while other leadership roles and responsibilities work together without any one person in charge. This issue of authority in missional communities, or “Organic Church,” is probably one of the most complex issues to navigate. While Cole attempts to address this issue, one may leave his work less than satisfied as it relates to this issue of authority and leadership in missional communities.

Church 3.0 is an enjoyable, insightful and helpful book to read when looking to understand “Organic Church.” This is a must read for anyone starting out in church planting or beginning missional communities.

Bibliography