Unstoppable Enthusiasm

This summer we’ve had the privilege of seeing all our kids and grand children at some point. This is our third-born, Jonathan, who was kayaking out on our lake with his oldest daughter in the rain one morning. I just sat and smiled as I watched them from the window. There was no thunder or lightning, so it probably wasn’t very dangerous, but it was cold and windy. It reminded me of watching Jonathan and his brother Michael sitting in the pouring rain once at a Disney “Movie Under the Stars” night. We’d gone as a family to the Fort Wilderness campfire and to watch a Disney film on an outdoor screen—along with a big crowd of happy campers—but when it started to rain, almost everybody left to find cover back at their campsites, and the few stragglers who remained were huddling under the roof of the concession stand. As I watched Mike and Jon, sitting totally exposed, rain streaming off their hats, one of the other huddlers commented, “Look at those crazy kids!” Yep. I was lookin’!

I’m thankful for my crazy kids who do things that most people wouldn’t dream of doing. Jon (Dr. Armstrong) just started a new program at Moody Bible Institute last January called the Center for Global Theological Education, “CGTE” (referred to as “C-GATE”), with the mission of developing quality, college-level, Christian theological education in virtual reality classroom settings for anybody who wants it—worldwide—free of charge. Sound impossible? If I didn’t know Jonathan, I’d say “yes,” but knowing Jon, I just smile. And pray. If God be for it, who can stand against it?

And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

By the way, CGTE is already offering freeing virtual reality classes in a variety of biblical and theological topics. If your church would be interested in hosting one of these seminars, you may write Jonathan at jonathan.armstrong@moody.edu.

(P.S.—If you have extra time and would like to be a part of Jon’s ministry, please contact Jonathan. He’s hoping that CGTE will be one of the world’s most satisfying places for Christians to volunteer, and—of course—much of the work can be done remotely! If you want to check out what’s going on already, here’s the link to his website: https://aqueductproject.org/.)

 

Would You Like to Pray with Me?

hes-got-the-whole-world-in-his-hands-from-nelson-mandelas-homeAt the risk of repeating myself, I want to mention today that I have a son (Jonathan) whose great passion is to make Christian education available to anyone who wants it, regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to attend a traditional university for training. I believe Jon first felt this when he was a young teenager and we visited China together (many years ago). On that trip, we learned that up to 100 people were taking turns using one Bible.  notre-dame-de-paris-franceThe internet has made sharing information so much easier, but there are still many places in the world where meeting with other Christians for prayer or Bible study is prohibited, so Jonathan  has opened an online prayer center, which can be accessed here:

http://aqueductproject.org/prayer-center/

candles-in-notre-dame-de-paris-franceWe’ve been meeting every Friday morning at 9:00 EST (and there’s a chart at the site explaining what time that is at various other locations around the world) as we’re able, and if you’d like to join in with us, please do. If enough people respond and it becomes “crowded,” we can also find a different time for “our group” (those from this blog who would like to pray together). If you’re interested but can’t pray at 9:00 am EST on Friday, please contact me, and we can try to find a different time. Jon’s prayer center is open all the time, around the clock! At the 9:00 am Friday prayer time, we share requests and pray for each other as well as world needs, practicing the “Lectio Divina” style of prayer (which just means reading together a short passage of Scripture as a prompt for thinking about God and as a means of responding to His Word). The prayer time usually lasts about a half an hour. Every week there are different people. There are never very many, but Jonathan and I try very hard to be there each week. Please feel free to email me (kathrynwarmstrong@gmail.com) or call me if you’re here in GR and would like to find a different time. Also, the prayer center is available to everybody, so if you’d like to pray with a group of your friends, you can also use the Prayer Center as a way to meet on line for prayer! This might be especially appealing to those of you for whom English is not your first language.  rose-windown-in-notre-dame-de-paris-france(Dr.) Jonathan (Armstrong) is also team teaching a seminar on prayer, which I mentioned last Wednesday. This 7-week educational lecture series is being offered totally free of charge in conjunction with Moody Bible Institute, where Dr. Armstrong teaches. If any of you are interested in learning more about prayer, the series is ongoing for the next six weeks on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-8:30 pm (EST) and can be accessed here:

http://aqueductproject.org/prayer-seminar/

Afterward, it will also be available online hopefully. I’ll try to figure that out and add a postscript later, or there will very likely be information by clicking on the link above.

However and whenever, I hope you are communicating with God the Father often and growing in your own “theology”… learning “God speech.”

people-praying-in-notre-dame-de-paris-franceI say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20).

 

Free Seminar on Learning “God Speech”…Christian Prayer

Did you know that at its root, “theology” means “God speech”? I always thought theology meant “the study of God,” and that’s the common modern idea, but in the original Greek, “ology” is derived from “logos,”  meaning “word.”  Biology is the study of life, but it’s also “life words”…learning how to speak the language of life. Similarly, “theology” means learning to speak the language of God.

Do you know how to speak God words? To talk to God? To let him speak to you and respond back to him, the way I toddling child learns to speak to his father?

Starting today, Wednesday, February 27, 2017, my son Jonathan (who is now a professor at Moody Bible Institute) is beginning a series on prayer, and I wanted to let you know, just in case it might be interesting to you. For those of you who may not know, Jonathan’s great passion is to make Christian education available to anyone who wants it, regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to attend a traditional university for training. Moody has been wonderfully supportive in working on this vision with him. Here is the specific information:

 

 

 

Dear Friends of Aqueduct Project,

We are incredibly excited to invite you to a live lecture series on prayer that will take place on Wednesdays beginning this week, February 22, 2017! You can join in on this live event from anywhere in the world with a single click. Full details are available at the course landing page: http://aqueductproject.org/prayer-seminar/

We have assembled a teaching team of seven gifted and passionate students from Moody Bible Institute who will be delivering these lessons alongside me. Whether you are able to join us for only one lesson or whether you will be able to participate in the entire series, we hope that we will see you soon for this transformative experience!

No registration is required, and all lectures are free! If you have questions, please email Jack DePuy at jacob.depuy@moody.edu.

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17–18, ESV)

Yours,
Jonathan J. Armstrong, Ph.D.
President of Aqueduct Project

Celebrating the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers

IMG_6153Last week my son Jonathan was in Bangkok as one of 3,000 evangelical Christian leaders from 120 different countries attending a world congress on theological education, and I was so thrilled hearing about it that I wanted to share a little of what’s happening with you. Did you know that around the world there are about 50,000 people converting to Christianity every day? That sounds like an incredible number, until you consider that the world population is growing by 200,000 per day, and that 31.5% of the world’s population are Christian. So, despite the huge numbers, Christian growth is not keeping pace with world population growth. Nevertheless, the central issue addressed at the Global Proclamation Congress is how to care for the needs of the staggering numbers of daily converts. How can they be nurtured in their faith and receive the pastoral care they need? IMG_6105During the intensive week (Jon was gone from his hotel room 7am-10pm daily!), there were plenary sessions where keynote speakers such as Ramesh Richards (from Dallas Theological Seminary) pastored the pastors by teaching, sharing stories (many of martyrdoms occurring every day), and encouraging communication and prayer support among the attendees. There were also many round-table discussions and seminars. IMG_6058Jonathan (Dr. Armstrong) presented on “Extending the Reach of the Traditional Seminary Classroom,” a concept he’s been working on incessantly in recent years. Jon said that 19 men signed up for his seminar, but it generated so much enthusiasm that they asked for a second meeting, which Ramesh Richards spontaneously announced to the entire assembly, and for that meeting 190 seminary presidents and senior administrators gathered! Long story short, Jonathan has been supercharged to continue his efforts to make global theological education within the reach of any person who desires to grow in grace, and he’s been using the internet as a major means of making such teaching available. IMG_6160Jon said the language barrier at the congress was probably the biggest challenge. Each plenary session was immediately translated into 11 of the most major languages, but just being able to communicate effectively is a huge problem. At any rate, Jon came home very excited about how to meet the overwhelming needs of the Christian church today, but he also feels great hope, as he saw God working in many miraculous ways. (Just one example: Two imprisoned Nepalese pastors were prayed for—and liberated—during the conference and able to fly in to attend before it ended!)IMG_6041 Jon is taking up the task of writing to those 190 interested in his seminar, praying through how in the world they can stay in touch and help each other work out the problems associated with Christian growth. As he wrote in his last news letter: “The lesson in all of this for me is that prayer really does move mountains. ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26; ESV). What are the places in our lives and circles of influence where we believe God would like to see us live and serve differently? It’s time we start identifying these impossible asks and take them straight to God in prayer.”

Beyond his role teaching at Moody, Jonathan started the Aqueduct Project in 2009, where his goal is to make Christian teaching available to all. If you think you might be interested in getting involved, either in learning or in teaching, please check out his website at http://aqueductproject.org/

IMG_6129Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Water Shortages and Aqueduct Projects

Edge of Sahara Desert. TunisiaIn the middle earth of nowhere’s desolate wasteland, Aqueduct Project 1someone found a spring bubbling up, and around that hot, mineralized water
an aqueduct project was born! Clear water in Aqueduct. Tunisia Water is just as essential to sustaining life as the air we breathe, but for those
of us who grew up taking clean drinking water and hot baths for granted, aqueduct projects may not seem as spectacularly vital as they truly are. Mineral encrusted reedI remember a couple of early experiences that shocked me into understanding water problems from a more global perspective. Nearing Tunisian Saraha DesertAs a teenager, I spent some time working among rural people in the mountainous region around Monterrey, Mexico, where even children were engaged in carrying water over a mile up steep slopes to help sustain their families, and a “bath” consisted of rubbing ash on the baby’s skin.  Aqueduct Project 2At 20 I taught high school in North Carolina and discovered that
a few of my students didn’t even have running water in their rustic homes. Flat barren desert in Tunisia But, it wasn’t until visiting the Sahara Desert last summer—with the sun beating down on me and nothing but sand stretching out for miles in all directions—that I finally understood the intense desperation thirsty people feel…and the lengths to which they’ll go to have their needs met. Aqueduct ProjectOn our trip to Tunisia,
the guide had us stop at one of these amazing aqueduct projects. Aqueduct Project 4 A complex structure was built to protect and transform
the water shooting up from a thermal spring. Aqueduct Project 5The precious water was air-cooled before being collected and channeled into an aqueduct that carried it miles through the desert.  Aqueduct in TunisiaWithout that aqueduct, no one could have settled in this desert region. Cracked Rock:Barren ground Spiritually, humans are no different.
Without the  the Water of Life, no spiritual life can be sustained. Aqueduct Project in TunisiaThere is an aqueduct project here in America to channel the western world’s abundant spiritual resources to parched lands around the globe.Tunisian Aqueduct It’s also called Aqueduct Project, and it’s being developed by my son,
Jonathan (about whom I wrote yesterday), and a team of students and scholars from around the world. Water in AqueductIf you have any interest in finding out more or helping out,
here’s the website: http://aqueductproject.org/ Beautiful Aqueduct. Tunisia“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

(All pictures were taken in Tunisia last summer. In case you have trouble with calcium deposits in your drinking water…note the mineral-encrusted reed!)