The world as we know it is always changing. We have all experienced that recently with the COVID-19 crisis. In order for us to preach and teach God’s Word faithfully in an ever-changing world, we need to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
As part of our ongoing mission to help equip the next generation of expository Bible teachers, we are excited to announce our first-ever online event: an interactive webinar on May 9, 2020 from 9-11 AM Pacific Standard Time (10AM-12PM Mountain Time)
Similar to our training weekends, the webinar will include short messages from experienced Bible teachers, and interactive opportunities to ask questions and discuss topics.
There will be two talks, interspersed with opportunities to ask questions and discuss topics.
Brian Brodersen: “The Holy Spirit & Preaching”
David Guzik: “Consistent Message, Changing Styles”
I have been leading from 1:00-2:00 PM Mountain Time each day, and it has been encouraging to see God use it.
It would be great to have you join me for these times of prayer; it has certainly been good for me to spend an hour in prayer each day for all that’s going on. I’m sure God would use it in your life as well.
As it so happens, this is the 100th episode of the podcast. As Mike shares in the intro to the episode, he had planned some fanfare and celebration for this milestone, but with the current COVID-19 crisis, it seems that an episode on preaching funerals is more apropos.
This latest episode of the Expositors Collective podcast is one you should definitely check out: in it Mike Neglia, Pete Nelson, and I have a conversation about strategies and methods we are employing in order to pastor, shepherd, lead, and preach during this global pandemic which has caused so much upheaval in lives and in our churches.
From preaching through YouTube and Facebook Live, to how to use the “premiere” features on those services instead of going live, to how to do fellowship through Zoom – as well as questions about doing communion remotely and what we miss about gathered corporate worship – it is an enriching conversation.
When I left on March 5 to Hungary and Ukraine, there was no recommendation not to travel to those areas – and even now there are very few cases of COVID-19. I am deeply concerned by the threat that this virus poses to the vulnerable and immune-compromised around the world, and am committed to doing my part to prevent the spreading of the virus.
That being said, here is an update on what Mike and I were up to in Hungary and Ukraine:
Expositors Collective Budapest
The Expositors Collective is a growing network of pastors and leaders who are committed to raising up the next generation of Christ-centered Bible teachers and preachers through interactive training seminars and a weekly podcast.
Just last week, the Expositors Collective celebrated two years since our first training weekend in Thousand Oaks, CA!
Since that first event, we have hosted 8 training seminars, the latest being the one in Budapest, which was a bit of a hybrid: as opposed to our usual 2-day format, we condensed it into a 1-day event, which required leaving out some aspects of our usual training.
Budapest was also our first time working in a bilingual setting, as we had people in attendance not only from Hungary, but from surrounding countries, including Slovakia, Serbia, and Romania, as well as students from Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe.
The training went very well, and there is interest for Expositors Collective events in other European countries, as well as for the full 2-day version in Budapest at some point in the future.
Visiting Missionaries & Speaking at Churches
White Fields supports several missionaries around the world, mostly in Eastern Europe. (See: White Fields Missions) On this trip, I was able to visit all of our European missionaries except one, beginning with the Németh family in South Budapest. I had the opportunity to preach at their church, Golgota Dél-Pest. I loved getting to preach in Hungarian again. The video of that sermon is embedded below.
On Monday, March 9, Mike and I flew to Kyiv, Ukraine – where we were met by missionaries and friends: George Markey (senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Kyiv), and Nate Medlong, who serves in Kharkiv, Ukraine with Calvary Chapel Kharkiv and Fostering Hope ministry to children in foster care. Mike then took a train to Ternopil, in western Ukraine to visit missionaries there, and I went to Kharkiv with Nate to spend a few days with him, his family, and people from their church.
I taught the Thursday night service at the church in Kharkiv, after a quick trip up to Kyiv Thursday morning to speak at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, where I taught two 80-minute classes on Spiritual Formation.
This past Sunday I taught at Calvary Chapel Kyiv, their last service before the national quarantine began. Video of that message is embedded below as well.
Calvary Chapel Ukraine Leadership Conference
On Friday-Saturday we had 65 Calvary Chapel leaders from all over Ukraine gather in Irpin for the annual leadership conference. This was a time of teaching, training, and discussing leadership principles from God’s Word in order to help us lead our churches well. Click here for photos of the conference.
With the spread of COVID-19, these gatherings are no longer possible or wise, but in God’s providence we were able to hold them while it was still safe and wise to do so.
It was a fruitful time of ministry, and great times of fellowship with people who are doing important work in a place where it is very needed. Please keep the work of these leaders and churches in your prayers that God would bless and use their ministries for His glory and for the good of many people!
The Expositors Collective is a growing network of pastors, leaders, and laypeople which exists to equip, encourage, and mentor the next generation of Christ-centered preachers through two-day interactive training seminars, a weekly podcast, and ongoing mentoring relationships.
Our training weekends are open to men and women ages 18-34 who want to grow in teaching and preaching the Word of God.
These are regional events which many people fly in for, so even if you don’t live in area where an event is being held, consider joining us for a weekend. We always have discounted hotel rates for those who attend.
I spent this past weekend in Howell, New Jersey, where we held an Expositors Collective training weekend at Cornerstone Calvary Chapel. My wife came with me, which was fun. It was only our second time taking a trip without our kids, and we got to spend time serving together, visiting friends, and going to the beach at the glorious Jersey shore!
During our time in Howell, we heard a great message on Mark 6:1-6 from our friend David Guzik, who is part of the Expositors Collective team.
If you haven’t heard of David before, check out his website: enduringword.com. Part of David’s life-work has been the creation of a great resource, a free online commentary of the whole Bible, which is now being translated into many languages. His ministry Enduring Word also provides audio messages, podcasts, videos, and books to help equip people with an understanding of God’s Word.
“Many who heard him were impressed”
In Mark 6, we read about how Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, where his mother and (half)siblings still lived, and preached in the synagogue there. It says there in verse that “many who heard him were impressed”.
Think about that for a second… These people got to see Jesus himself open up the Scriptures and teach. His words were the very words of God! What an absolutely epic experience!
You would assume that EVERYONE who heard him teach would have been impressed, their lives irreversibly changed as a result. And yet, it says that ”MANY” were impressed; in other words, SOME people were not impressed! Some people heard Jesus teach, and were like, “Meh.” 🤷♂️
As a preacher, I find it strangely comforting to know that there were people who heard Jesus preach, who weren’t impressed. I shouldn’t be surprised; it is well within our human nature to be cynical and critical of even the most beautiful, true, and life-giving words.
May we who speak and teach God’s Word never do so out of an insecure, desperate need for human accolades and approval, but out of a love for God and love for people that leads us to lovingly present the truth of God’s words for them.
They thought they knew him, but they didn’t
Many were surprised because they thought they knew Jesus, and they were realizing that, in fact, they didn’t actually know him.
In verses 2-3, we are told that the people said: ‘What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”
The people of Nazareth thought they knew who Jesus was. They saw him growing up. They knew him as the carpenter. But they were coming to realize that although they thought they knew who Jesus was, they did not in fact know him.
The reality is that there are many people, even today, who are in this same situation; they assume that they know who Jesus is and what he is all about, while in fact they do not really know him. I came to a similar realization as a young man: through the help of a friend, I came to realize that I did not actually know Jesus, though I thought I had it all pegged.
It is a good day in a person’s life when they come to realize that Jesus is much more than they ever thought him to be previously. If that hasn’t happened for you yet, I pray it will; that you will see him for who he fully is, and respond appropriately.