First: James K.A. Smith on love, desire, knowledge, change, agape, and eros. You may need to watch it twice. Don’t let the length keep you from watching, it goes fast!
Second: a great article by Brett McCracken. He will help you navigate the complexities of your own convictions and entertainment choices while examining the utterly depraved wickedness of the Netflix movie Cuties. He writes, “It seems we’ve been so blinded by confirmation bias and negative partisanship—driven more by ‘owning’ the other side than by actual positive convictions—that we’re willing to justify something heinous because we don’t like the people calling it heinous….New Pew research sadly shows that many Christians are only slightly less confused than non-Christians on sexual ethics.”
Dear friends and family,
The COVID crisis and unrest in our country has been difficult. Through it all we pray for peace and for Gospel opportunities. We continue to pray for travel to open so that we can train church leaders to lead Gospel-centered churches!
Here’s an update and prayer list. I’ve also included a link to an article by a TLI trainer. He traveled with us to Ambo, Ethiopia last January.
1. Trips. We are grounded from flying. I returned from my last trip on March 15 and we have no definitive date for restarting trips. At this point, we cannot obtain insurance to travel. Please pray for an end to the pandemic and an opening up of airports and countries, especially Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Liberia. My best guess for travel would be March 2021 – a trip to Embo, Ethiopia.
2. Tanzania. I am in conversation (read Zoom meetings when his internet is working and the electricity is on) with a potential partner, in Tanzania, about starting a training site. We have a donor interested in funding a Swahili translation of our materials which will open up the course work to 2,000 pastors and church leaders that have no training at all. If the details can be worked out, the future is bright for Tanzania and the work of the Gospel. Please pray for willing and able students and the opening up of travel! I am trying to mute my excitement until everything is set. We are 90% of the way there!! Below is a picture of our “test” group in Tanzania. We hope to see them again soon. Our potential partner is second from right, back row. Pray for Peter!
3. Video Review Project. I have been working on a project with 4 other trainers to make a video review of Course One of our non-formal curriculum – “Knowing God, Knowing Scripture, and Knowing Ourselves (role of the pastor).” We are concerned that the students will forget what they have learned if the time between trainings is too long. Pray that the video will serve the students well.
4. African economic hardship. In Liberia and Ethiopia (and many other African nations and the world), many students have lost their jobs and have no money to buy food. American Christians have generously donated to care for them. Pray for an opening up of the economies in these countries and that the students will be able to return to work and classes when the crisis is over.
5. Speaking opportunities. I have been studying Job and Psalms with great benefit to my soul! I will use much of the material at a High School camp I will be speaking on August 2-5. Pray for these students, that they would become aware of the incredible privilege it is to be saved and to be used to expand God’s Kingdom in prayer. Additionally, I will also be filling in for four weeks for a pastor friend going on sabbatical in August. I will be preaching and using the course material from TLI on Biblical Theology to tell the story of the Bible. Pray that the Scriptures would spark in them a renewed zeal for reading the Bible and for participating in God’s story in their lives.
6. Family. Our family is doing well – we’ve had no serious illnesses and most everyone is working remotely from home. By the way – our three grandchildren are all very athletic, super coordinated, way above average, brilliant in every way by some accounts, and we enjoy them often! Vickie has had a 4-month hiatus on teaching at the hospital, but that should open up soon. We have not been able to worship with our church family, Christ Community Church, Laguna Hills, in person, but have been part of the live Zoom services. We miss our incredible pre-schoolers and should be able to begin teaching them again in September.
Thank you for your continued support during these difficult times and again, please pray that the COVID crisis would end, so that our travel would resume and the gospel would go to the nations via well-trained pastors and Gospel-centered churches!
Bob and Vickie Burris