"Each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done." 1 Corinthians 3:13
Dear D of D's,
There's a bunch of Scripture that's very disturbing. I don't think that's an accident. Take 1st Corinthians 3:13 for example. It's taken out of context, but Paul goes on to say that "If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." 1 Corinthians 3:14-15
When I read these verses, I remember a revival we had at the First Baptist Church of Bossier City, Louisiana when I was an 8-year-old boy. The evangelist was Angel Martinez.
This was back in the days when a revival lasted a whole week and not just a weekend. It was also back in the day when preachers spent a lot more sermon time with raised voices telling their congregation how hot, how miserable, how....hellish...hell was.
The volume would crescendo as they'd go on to say, "You better be makin' a decision to accept Jesus as your Savior RIGHT NOW 'cause if you don't and you get killed in a car wreck after church 'cause you're drivin' too fast tryin' to beat the Methodists to the Piccadilly Cafeteria after church you are gonna wake up in HELL!!!
Evangelists could lay that message down even heavier and hotter than your Pastor 'cause the evangelist was gettin' out of Dodge right after the Sunday night service.
Angel Martinez was a huge hit at our church. I am amazed now at how well a Hispanic evangelist was accepted in the deep south in the mid '50's. His accent and his size reminded me of Pancho - the Cisco Kid's side-kick - so I liked him right off. He was a gifted preacher with a serious message which he presented with a great sense of humor.
Part of one sermon that I remember went something like this:
"Some of you people are trying to live with one foot in the world and the other foot in the Kingdom. You say you believe in Jesus, but you don't act like it. Yeah, you're in church on Sunday, but you're smokin, drinkin, cussin and tellin' dirty jokes the rest of the week.
You might make it into heaven, but if you do your white robe will be scorched and smokin' and you'll be smellin' like you use brimstone aftershave!"
The Peter Principle
Little did I know as a child that Angel was roughly paraphrasing Paul's letter to the Corinthians in Chapter 3:10-15.
Hold that thought about "scorched robes and brimstone aftershave" while I chase another rabbit.
In the secular and non-secular management world, there are tongue-in-cheek guidelines called "Peter Principles." No, not the rash, brash disciple Peter; I don't know which Peter, but the Peter Principle I have been thinking about is: A worker will always be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.
If you do a job well you will be noticed and the boss will give you more responsibility, perhaps a better paying position. When you do that job well the boss will be pleased to give you even more responsibility and perhaps a better paying position.
Eventually, you will be promoted into a position that is beyond your capabilities and you will have reached your level of incompetence.
He's in over his head
I said that Peter Principles were tongue-in-cheek, generally humorous, but they are often full of truth and wisdom. As you read this your mind is thinking of persons you have worked with and bosses you have worked for.
If you're in management you may recall persons that have worked for you whom you have personally promoted to their level of incompetence. You probably said things about them like, "He's a smart guy, but he's in over his head."
You didn't move them back to the position where they were successful because it would "hurt their feelings." Even worse, it would be an admission that you had made a mistake and had probably reached your own level of incompetence!
I put a video teaser on our Facebook pages a couple of days ago. Take a look...
So...trials by fire, brimstone aftershave, The Peter Principle, and the OS leading a "professional processional" (try saying that real fast 3 times) to an upbeat African sound. What's it all about? you ask. Why don't you get on with it? others ask.
ARTS: a Miracle of Faith
The video was recorded at the convocation, installation and dedication of the Africa Reformation Theological Seminary (ARTS) on February 25 2017. ARTS existence is truly a miracle of faith. It is now one of only 14 institutions of higher learning in all of Africa that offers a graduate degree in theology.
Right now, in its first term of classes there are young men from six East African countries studying at ARTS. These young men and the young men that follow them will return to their home countries abundantly equipped to bring the powerful message of the Gospel to their nations.
The continent of Africa is rapidly becoming the center of Christianity in this strife torn world. In the not very distant future you can expect to see missionaries from the once dark continent of Africa taking the light of the Gospel message to all parts of the globe.
So, surprise, surprise! The OS is leading the processional of professionals because he has been elected the Chairman (believe it or don't) of the Governing Council of ARTS. And that's not all...
Peter Principled Times Two?
This past October 2016, the OS was asked to serve on the University Council of African Bible University (ABU). ABU has been in operation for over 10 years in Uganda. They also operate colleges in Malawi and in Liberia.
ABU is an undergraduate institution that just this year has begun offering a post-graduate program in Business Administration. ABU offers training for people going into ministry work, but it also offers other degrees. All classes are taught from a Biblical world view.
Pastor Rodgers Atwebembiere of New City Community Church - the church that the Ordinary and the OS have attended in Uganda since 2003 (and the church where I was elected to the position of ruling elder soon after we began attending) - is a graduate of ABU. Pastor Rodgers is also the Director of ACFAR for East Africa.
ACFAR is the Africa Center for Apologetics Research. Find out more about this organization and its work online at acfar.org. As a student at ABU Pastor Rodgers was mentored by our former pastor at NCCC, the late Dr. Gerald Sseruwagi who was on the faculty of ABU. Pastor Rodgers Atwebembiere has taken the mantle from Dr. Gerald Sseruwagi.
The woman beside me in the processional video is Robina Sseruwagi, Gerald's widow. Robina is also on the ARTS Governing Council.
Robina is a widowed single mom with four children and she's a successful attorney. Robina is also on the Board of Trustees of the Michael & Carolyn Guardian Trust.
Surrounded by two beautiful women
So, here is the OS called/chosen/elected to the leadership of two institutions in Africa with God given keys to the expansion of the Kingdom. I thought I'd maxed out when I was elected Elder of NCCC.
Two more appointments to governing Councils of ABU and ARTS within 6 months? Okay Lord, you think maybe this is two promotions too far - I mean, Elder's been a stretch. You think the Peter Principle didn't enter my mind?
You think, maybe, the potential for scorched robe and brimstone aftershave for a poorly done job didn't occur to me? And oh, let's not forget the primary ministry: assisting young adults through the M&CG Trust to finish their education.
Bite your brain!
So, Elder plus three big tasks related to educating future generations loaded on an old geezer like the OS! Maybe this newsletter should be from the OG (Old Geezer - I had to add this 'cause the Ordinary thought I'd made a typo with OG. I figured you D of D's would follow her down the same trail). I think it's about time that I claimed the promise of Philippians 4:13!
Whew! If you folks ever think that the Ordinary and the OS don't need your prayers, you should bite your brain!
We continue to be amazed at how God is blessings us with so much work! God is amazing! He doesn't need our help, but he graciously allows to be involved in His Kingdom's work.
Thank you all for partnering with us on the journey! Keep them cards & letters comin' and keep praying for energy and stamina for the Ordinary and OS - the old folks in Uganda!
The Ordinary has more to tell you but since she's tricked me into writing another newsletter she must be planning to tell you later!
OS (a.k.a. OG)
"Even when I am old and gray do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come." Psalm 71:18
Michael & Carolyn Guardian Trust
PO Box 68
Uganda EAST AFRICA