Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Missing Piece

 “The Missing Piece”
December 13, 2016

Recently I had my wallet stolen.

In addition to the pain of losing cash, there was the pain of having to cancel my credit cards. There was the pain of having to get new ones. There was the pain of going to get something out of my wallet, only to realize it was missing. What a real pain!

And knowing that something is missing leaves you with…well…feeling like part of you is not there. It’s like putting together a puzzle only to find that a key piece is missing.

A Missing Piece: Theological Education

This is how I have come to feel about teaching theology. Theological education is critical to know what God is about in this world, and to understand what God desires of each of us.

One of my favorite Bible verses about this is 2 Peter 3:18, where Peter tells us that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.”

But knowing and growing are not the same thing. Theological education is like the foundation of a house: it’s essential if there is to be a strong building. This is a key reason ICM started Africa Theological Seminary as an in-service Bible School that provides that solid foundation.

But it’s not enough to just know something.

A Missing Piece: Ongoing Training

The Church was a surprise. Paul calls it a “mystery” (Ephesians 5:32) and with this in mind he describes the primary purpose of the local church and its leaders:

“Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT

Through ICM’s Christian Leadership Institute, we’ve been blessed to partner with some of the best global ministries like Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit and Teach Every Nation, providing ongoing, equipping and training. Through this training, pastors are able to better disciple congregation members to grow in Christ.

But there’s still something missing, just like my wallet – and for a long time, I didn’t know where to find it.

A Piece Is Still Missing

Consider this: in the history of the Church, the key to unlocking the great movements of Christ is obedience in the face of challenge.

At first, the early church heard the charge of Jesus to make disciples of all peoples, but they remained in Jerusalem. This changed when the first great persecution came down on them! Heading up this persecution was none other than Saul – soon to be called the Apostle Paul.
“But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them in prison.” Acts 8:3-4 NLT
Paul and his zealous, religious brethren were doing whatever they could to stamp out the early Church, even dragging men and women to prison.

But this did not destroy the Church – it had the opposite effect!
“But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.”
Reading this with fresh eyes helped me see the missing piece and where it is located.
The missing piece is the prevailing attitudes of the people of God – they have become comfortable being the Church within the four walls of the building.

The Final Piece: Discipling Marketplace Leaders

Thanks to a divine appointment, God brought Renita Reed-Thomson to ICM. She heard me speak from my heart about wanting to find a way to get the people of God to share Jesus in the community. I heard her speak from her heart about equipping believers in the church building to be the voice of reconciliation in the marketplace.

God’s blessing in the combination of our efforts has resulted in sharing the missing piece of the puzzle all over the world: Discipling Marketplace Leaders.

When it comes to training pastors at the theological level – ICM is on the front lines of this critical work through Africa Theological Seminary.

When it comes to discipling Christians at the local level – ICM is working through the Christian Leadership Institute.

When it comes to training Christians to be effective each day of the week – ICM is doing this essential work through Discipling Marketplace Leaders.

Yes, we are in the process of putting the puzzle together. The end result is nothing short of another reformation through the empowerment of the people of God – an unleashing of the Church!
Like the early Church, we are seeing mature believers scatter throughout the community and marketplace, preaching the Good News about Jesus.

I’d like to ask you to consider this final missing piece in your own life. How are you learning to be effective in sharing Christ at all times? How are you being discipled to purpose each day of the week?

Let’s partner together and prayerfully seek God, asking for the unleashing of the Church!               

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Three Trends to Know

All over the world people are changing the way the see life and respond to it.  Historically these changes have been pretty incremental and slow.  But as information comes pouring in and knowledge increases exponentially changes begin happening faster and faster.  George Barna, the Christian researcher recently pointed out three changes taking place in the lives of US Christians.  Here they are, see if the resonate with you.

1) People feel modern life is accelerating and becoming more complex.

Seems like a real no brainer.  Life is accelerating, but is it becoming more complex?  Maybe, maybe not.  Life is more complex as we "feel" overwhelmed with life.  What we do, how we do it and how we understand it can often play a role in how we feel about it.  Part of the problem is that we have too many choices competing with one another.  As a result it "feels" like there is greater complexity.

2) People want to be culturally informed, but they are becoming accustomed to skimming content.

This one fascinates me.  We are not reading less, we are reading differently.  Historically we plowed through books to gain enjoyment and knowledge.  We can now get something similar in bit and bites.  I know many people will find fault with my conclusion, but we are not becoming less literate but more dynamic in the use of our senses.  Where reading forces concentration and focus, skimming is done quickly to find little bits to focus on.  So you still focus, but focus on smaller chunks of information.  Different, not better and I do not think necessarily worse.

3) People are moving beyond mere facts and information, and are looking for holistic integration of faith and life.

It is a positive thing to want a holistic life.  It is a sad thing to think that people are unable to find it.  Jesus gave us the means for a full, holistic life.  If people cannot find it perhaps it is due to the church not living it.  As Christians we need to develop a life that Jesus says is our: John 10:10 (NLT) 
10 .....My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

ICM, through the efforts of Renita Reed is seeking to bring a more holistic faith life to business owners in and around Kitale, Kenya.  Renita has spend over a decade working with Christian business people.  Now she has moved her training inside the church and challeged pastors and business owners to see their businesses and the churches calling from a more holistic view point.  Her work is focusing on a few pilot programs of connecting church and market place ministry in a symbiotic relationship that is more holistic for both.  Take a moment are read her latest report:  Inspiration from the Field

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Servant Leadership

At the heart of Africa Theological Seminary (ICM) is Servant Leadership.  It is not a course, it is a lifestyle, it is not a law, it is a choice.  Dr. John Sullivan has written the book on Servant Leadership...literally: purchase  

He also puts feet to his teaching by serving the learners at ATS.  Check out his video

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Coming Activities: Last Quarter of 2013

We are now on the slope rushing to the end of the year.  I remember as a kid running up the side of a hill and then the exhilarating feeling of rushing down the other side trying to stay upright while my legs pumped at a maximum rate.  I am feeling that way now as we move rapidly towards 2014.

Major Transition in Process

It became clear over the past couple of years that we had to either increase our staffing or find an alternative to handle our financial processes.  After reviewing all the options we decided to partner with Vision Quest Alliance.  Its primary purpose is to help ministries like ICM become more efficient while ensuring compliance with the ever increasing regulations at the state and federal levels.  Starting October 1 all donations will be sent to ICM, PO Box 129 Monument, CO 80132.  VQA will process the donations but our ICM will monitor them online. If you have questions and/or concerns please do not hesitate contacting us at: 661-832-9740.


Here is our schedule (see the calendar on our web site for more information).

October 4th and 5th   Sheryl and I returned from teaching in Ethiopia in time to prepare for the past weekends teaching on "Experiencing Spiritual Formation."  We had a good turnout of people wanting to discover how to move forward and deepen their walk with God.

October 9th - Stephen Mairori will be at the office along with Crispin Juma

October 10-12 - Sheryl is speaking at Mt. Hermon Conference

October 14th - ICM Board Meeting in Bakersfield

October 17th-22nd - Missions Conference in Seattle (Bowes and Phil)

October 28th - November 17th - Phil to East Africa
         Phil and Darryl speaking at an Alumni event in Kitale, Kenya

October 9- 16  Burundi team from Bakersfield

November 23rd - Perspectives in West Los Angeles (Phil)

Thank you for your prayers and partnership!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Equipping for Service - Ethiopia 2013

October 3, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” I Chron. 16:8. Thank you so much for your prayers for our Fall 2013 Ethiopia team. Excited to share how God provided for our teaching, travel and even trials! I loved making this trip with my daughter-in-law, Megan Giesbrecht. It was a joy to share Africa with her. She is a wonderful woman of God and servant for His people. I am so proud and overjoyed to share our journey.

Purpose Driven Seminar #5 completed in Addis Ababa, pastors and leaders are released to teach the same scriptural principles to their own groups.

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 Megan and my translators, Britukan and Ensalle were an encouragement and a delight to share in ministry.

Our Hawassa translators, Ensalle and Britukan have a heart for the women, asked for my full set of teaching notes and powerpoint. Britukan said, after the Fall 2012 conference, shared the message I gave, “Being a Woman God can Use” with a group of a couple of hundred women. A month later attended another conference, my same message was shared there by the speaker. This time the audience was over 10,000 women! We anticipate this same impact with our messages going forth.

Pastors and leaders in Hawassa share in small group discussion about how to apply God’s word.

“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” I Chron.16: 9-11

 Through her translator, Britukan, Megan shared how we must trust Christ when we need healing from Him, he will help us take care of the soul and body.

Megan’s contribution to our Africa trip was first aid kit training -- it was an experiment to see if teaching is one of her spiritual gifts. (It definitely is!) We still have an outstanding bill for the first aid kits. (The kits cost $2,500.00. If you are able to donate any additional funding, please earmark your gift Team Giesbrecht Ethiopia 2013.)
                                                    Women at Addis conference receive love gifts from America.
Hawassa woman receives a first aid kit after Megan's training.

Just having fun while serving -  Megan prepares to hand out necklaces from USA.
To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Eph. 4:12 It was thrilling for me to see my sweet daughter-in-law serve the Lord in this way. Not only was it an honor for me to have her join me, but it was wonderful to see her love the women!
“Remember the wonders He has done, his miracles and the judgments he pronounced.”  I Chron. 16:12 We praise God for BIG answers to prayer: Our luggage was recovered in Addis, we remained physically and spiritually healthy throughout the trip, through the Biblical teaching women were released from fear. African leaders were transformed to train and equip their churches to maturity. We give God the glory for His wonders! Much love and prayer,


Please earmark your financial gift: TEAM GIESBRECHT FALL 2013 ETHIOPIA

Monday, September 23, 2013

This Present Age

I am a sworn optimistic pessimist.  I am optimistic because I know who has won the greatest war ever fought: the war over Sin, Satan and Death.  Jesus came the first time as the suffering Messiah to make clear the war will be won.  He will come a second time to judge the nations and all those who have turned their back on Jesus.  Thus the pessimistic side.  You see when Jesus comes as the reigning King He will judge those who rejected Him and followed their own plans under the tutelage of Satan (whether they know it or not).  Evil will be in this world until the day Jesus returns.  We are unable to control or stop it.  This does not mean we cease trying to mitigate against it.  As messengers of the Good News we are also purveyors of justice where and when possible.

There are many pundits with many ideas of what needs to happen: "we need to share the Gospel with the terrorists" or "we need to make a parking lot out of the hideouts where they plot to put feet to their hatred. "

 The reality is we are in a war whose end will come when Jesus returns.  We are not going to "fix" it or make the world into a heaven on earth.  I say this because we must be realistic and determined. Yes, let's focus on sharing the Gospel with those who hate us, no we will not be the wrath of God on our enemies.  As the armies marched towards Berlin after the Normandy landing they suffered many casualties.  The end was never in question, but the need to fight the battles was essential.  Let us be ready day and night to take the message of God's love to all, but make not mistake there will be plenty of men and women who are deceived by Satan ready to confront our love with anger, hate and violence.  We are at war and need to understand each battle is fought in the spiritual realm even as we put feet to the Good News.

Let's marshal our forces to storm the heavenlies in order to take the Good News to the whole world.

For the latest update on Kenya check out Renita Reed's blog: Click Here

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Annual Banquet

Mark the date on your calendars: August 20th!  That is the date for this years annual ICM conference in Bakersfield California.

Get your tickets: Call the ICM office for more details:  661-832-9740

Our special speaker will be the President of Walk Thru the Bible, Philip Tuttle!

Extra Special Bonus:  The many of the ICM country leaders will be attending the event!!