Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday evening update

Today has been a good day. This was day 2 of our Alpha training in Iloilo. Our participant numbers were down just a bit, but I expected that. Some are just too busy to take two days to listen to a presentation, and others heard things on Monday that just didn't sit well for them, I'm sure. I realize again and again that Alpha is not a good fit for everyone. If you're willing to get outside your own needs to reach people for Jesus Christ, Alpha might be a good fit. If you're too rigid, too tradition-bound, or too inward focused, Alpha will probably be a difficult thing for you.

I had the privilege today of answering a lot of questions. Many of the questions came from pastors who were concerned either about Alpha's emphasis on relational evangelism -- doesn't that mean you have to compromise the truth of the Bible? Others wanted to know where Alpha stands on speaking in tongues, and whether it's considered the normative first gift when an individual is filled with the Holy Spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed sparring with some of the pastors, and it was kind of entertaining to watch our team get protective of me when the Q&A went long. We have grown together as a group so that even as we tease each other mercilessly, we are watching each others' backs.

Which was especially entertaining today when a gecko fell off the wall and down Sharon's shirt, and Vic was the closest person there to help her figure out if the gecko was still in there somewhere. I was talking while this disruptive scene was going on over by the window. Oh, my goodness. It was very, very funny. Even Sharon saw the humor in it, eventually. She doesn't like geckos much. Pastor Ronald seemed mildly confused by this. "Why not like geckos?" he asked. "They don't have any teeth."

Tomorrow morning, very early, we leave for Bacolod. We'll catch a 6 am ferry across the straits to the southeast, then lead the first day of the seminar at the Captel center there, the same place Julie and I led our seminar in 2005.

Pray for the pastors in Bacolod. Ronald has shared with me that there are several factions that take the form of four local pastors' associations. There is not a lot of trust between the various factions. We pray that God would use Alpha to break through this division to build his kingdom.

Thanks so much for your prayers and your encouragement! During the opening worship at our seminar today (the musicians here are amazing!) I saw a momentary vision of a tidal wave of prayer lifting our team up from Minnesota and carrying us toward the Philippines. It was such a beautiful way of understanding what you all have done and continue to do for us. Thank you! We are so impressed by how God has coordinated so many details and arranged so many different factors to make this trip fit together. He is amazing, and he is so faithful to answer the prayers of his people!

I should add, too, that many people expressed after today's seminar ended how excited they are to start Alpha in their churches here. I have no doubt that many Alpha courses will begin in the Iloilo area soon!


  1. Can we assume that Sharon won't be switching to GEICO anytime soon? ? !

  2. Oh, Scott, you are SO right. We have contemplated many different GEICO gifts. We even had a gecko stowaway in Julie K's backpack when we returned to Iloilo. She got a bit of a jolt when she opened it. We assume it was there for Sharon's benefit.