Today we talked about Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Isaac and Jacob. Nothing too ground breaking in the lesson because it was more about just continuing the story and carrying the ball farther down the field. I emphasized God again providing life to those who believe in him (Lot) and judgement for those who reject him (Sodom & Gomorrah.)  The most significant conversation happened after the “lesson” was over.

I asked James (pictured above) if he goes to a church around here. He struggled to answer at first, but eventually explained that he thinks we should worship on Saturday because that is the Sabbath. (This is not an uncommon opinion around here–it is something Hoax struggled with as well.) I didn’t say anything today about that being right or wrong, but I did say that will be something we talk about as the story continues. Then I mentioned that observing the Sabbath will be connected to what we talked about today: that Abraham’s descendants became a nation and only people descended form Jacob are part of that group. But then…twist: James also thinks he is a blood descendent of Abraham.

I’ve been thinking about this some since last week when it first came up. I’m wondering if there is some confusion in the local “churches” about Galatians 3 where it talks about believers receiving the promise of Abraham and being his heirs. Maybe this has been mishandled, but I don’t know for sure. As we continued talking I explained how important it is to understand the big story of the Bible in order to make sense of the individual stories. (At this point, I realized all the guys were listening not just James.) I posed to them this hypothetical situation:

Imagine I’m talking to James about how we got to PNG. We flew from Atlanta do Dallas to Brisbane to Port Moresby to Goroka. So James knows the whole story. But what if a man walked up and only heard “Brisbane to PM to Goroka.” Then he might go off and tell people I’m Australian because he only got part of the story. But since James knows the whole story, he knows better. And now I can go back and fill in some of the details of a particular flight and he will understand how that fits in the entire trip.

When I finished that, it was as if I had just demonstrated for the first time how matches work. They were really excited–and I was really encouraged. As I explained that I want them to understand the whole story of the Bible, they were all smiles. They seem very eager to finally “get it.”

Please be praying that the big picture will continue to become clear to them and that they will trust in God and his word.

  1. The Glovers

    Thanks for updates. Continue to pray.

  2. I loved your hypothetical situation. I’ll steal that one.

  3. MomO

    I’m hanging on every word! Thanks for being our voice in that particular wilderness, Joseph. Prayers continue for you and your men.

  4. Lindsey New

    Loved your analogy! Is language ever an issue any more? So glad this is going well.

    • Joseph

      Lindsey, language is not much of an issue, thankfully. Occasionally I’ll ask the guys about a specific word that I can’t recall (or never learned.) Recently I asked how to say “fulfilled” and then it was in the next verse I read to them. I’m sure I still sound like a rookie to all of them, but I think they overlook my errors.

What do you think?