I’m not one for making resolutions. Most often when I made a resolution, it was broken before it even started. In my life, I’m all about goals and markers that are put in place to indicate if I’m making the most of my time on this earth. A few of my 2016 goals are to continue my attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon, study Ezekiel, continue to be a godly example to my family, and Lord willing make an impact for the kingdom in our country.
As far as the ministry goes, we have one goal and that is to establish 10,000 new people in God’s Word in 2016. In 2013 we set a 5-year goal of 30,000 new people in God’s Word and it’s so exciting to see that in the last two years we have been blessed to have 9,000 new people get involved in Precept Bible studies! The ministry continues to grow and at times this is overwhelming with both joy and trepidation. Think about this for a moment: we’re asking God to send us 10,000 new students—or the size of a small town!
2016 is a fresh start for each of us. We can put the previous year behind us and set new goals to work toward, but the mission remains the same. This ministry exists to establish people in God’s Word through the inductive Bible study method.
I’ve been reading through Luke and love how he closes out his book in Luke 24:44-49. This is the commissioning of the disciples. Jesus has been explaining what the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms have said concerning His death, burial, and resurrection (see v 44). Imagine for a moment sitting with Jesus as he walks you through God’s Word and explains all that has and will take place. We read, “Then (a time reference to show us what happened after Jesus was finished teaching), He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).
This is the lightbulb moment we desire to see in our students. The disciples get it; they understand the teaching of how the redemptive story fits together and they know that this is a gift of God. It’s a complete 180 degree turn from their response to Jesus in Luke 9:45 and 18:34, where “the disciples didn’t understand”. Jesus continues and calls the disciples His witnesses in Luke 24:48, because they saw firsthand the work of the cross. Jesus then concludes, “I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you.”
These witnesses would wait to receive the power of the Holy Spirit before heading out to share the gospel with all nations. The story picks up in Acts as the Holy Spirit descends on the disciples, and the rest is history. Jesus walked with the disciples for 3 years and taught regularly about His death, burial, resurrection, and the time of His departure. But the cool part of all this is that the disciples understood what they had seen, felt, and experienced after Jesus walked them through the Scriptures.
Sound familiar? Jesus didn’t get the disciples to put a cross or a triangle over His name, but this is the power of God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit as eyes are opened to truth. Paul was told of his mission by Jesus in Acts 26:17-18: “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”
This is the mission: to establish people in God’s Word, to open their eyes to truth, to move people from darkness to light. Are you with me? I pray you are, because if we are going to establish 10,000 new people in God’s Word this year we are going to have to do it together.
Happy New Year,
It is through your prayers and God's faithfulness that we are on the verge of expanding the work of Precept like never before in the history of the Ministry. God gave us a vision to reach 30,000 new Canadians with Inductive Bible study. And we can see that it is truly His vision.
Have we met our goal? Not yet. But we are well on our way, and I know God will continue to be faithful as we follow His leading. Thank you for hearing God's call and partnering with us in this incredible opportunity.
Blessed by your partnership,
Mark Sheldrake, National Director