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November 1, 2021 12:01 am
A famine is ravaging the continent of Africa--a growing hunger for God's Word. Today, Ligonier President Chris Larson is joined by Rosemary Jensen of the Rafiki Foundation to discuss an expanded initiative to distribute 100,000 Reformation Study Bibles to African pastors and teachers. Will you help?
Help Send Thousands of Reformation Study Bibles to Pastors, Students, and Church Leaders in Africa: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/1908/bibles-for-africa
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Today I am Renewing Your Mind announcing a significant expansion of an outreach that the Lord is using to renew minds and transform lives throughout Africa. Welcome to the special edition of Renewing Your Mind and I'm really well been done before I tell you about this outreach may give you a suitable word picture of what's in front of me here in the studio.
I have my laptop here in front of the microphone a course and other electronic gear essential tools in recording this program every day, but more importantly I have a copy of the Reformation study Bible.
I needed to make sure that what I'm communicating to you is accurate and biblical. I check it often, but I also find it in the central part of my personal study I know that any of you feel the same way Dr. RC Sproul served as general editor of the Reformation study Bible and back in 2015 Dr. scroll in some of our teaching fellows explain why we consider to be one of the most Porton resources millionaire has ever published in various places, various times God has been pleased to bring about awakenings and in all of those movements in history. At the very center was an awakening to the power and truthfulness of the Scripture itself.
The Reformation study Bible is at the end of a long line of work. All of these streams are pouring into the destination of enabling you as a reader to sit down with God's word and to understand that in a way that is Chris in a way that is fresh in a way that brings God's word to bear on the life that you live today. It's like having an entire seminary and library at my side. Great care has been taken in the way in which the notes are present on the text presented, and overseeing that entire process is Dr. scroll and is the study Bible comes together it reflects that fidelity to the historic reformed faith that has marked Dr. scroll's ministry for these last four decades worth the Scripture is studied deeply and ingested into the bloodstream of people. That's the power that God uses to awaken the church and move beyond revival to Reformation. We call this book, Reformation study, but we want to see happen is a Bible study Reformation and that means we want to get this Bible into as many hands as possible. Since we release the thoroughly revised edition of the Reformation study Bible in 2015 more than 260,000 copies have been distributed, but our desire is to get it into even more hands around the world to that in Dr. scroll wants the study Bibles for Africa campaign in 2017, long before he went home to be with the Lord today were announcing a significant expansion of this outreach that many of you have been supporting so here's our president Chris Larson with a special guest, a partner with us in this strategic outreach is a delight to be able to have with us here in the studio was the first very tense and founder of the rethinking foundation, known to many of you all as really one of the leading outreaches to central and eastern Africa to be able to raise up the next generation of godly leaders in Africa and that ministry is born so much fruit for many decades now serving widows and orphans and truly remarkable ministry and that Mrs. Jensen partnered with looking near just a few years ago through her Bible foundation. And this was a big campaign. In fact, it was the last campaign that Dr. scroll was able to launch with leaking air before he went to be with the Lord and tell us about that idea of getting study Bibles to Africa. Not just any study Bible, but the Reformation study Bible sent to Africa and what was it that gave you the idea to do that well a long story is that when my husband died a year or so after he died I thought to the Lord. I thought, why did you leave me here. What do you want me to do now now husband, my mouth, but to be doing.
And so it was like the idea was playing my mind.
Well, I love Africa and I love the always have and so I was going to put those two things together so I thought okay so I will know I know the best Bible is the Reformation study Bible that I know and so I'm going to order some and start a foundation called the Rosemary Jensen Bible foundation where I asked them to give me battles out by the battle and send them out to Africa so I ordered a thousand Reformation study battles and of course out new RC Sproul well and so then I ordered another thousand and he said what in the world are you doing why are you doing this and I told him that we needed and not because I did not have them in the country square Rafiki as is always the villages. So since Megan had Bibles I wanted to give so that's when he said okay.
How many can we send and I said well you know we need it. We need Eileen we need and I can think about how many we need and I said that okay will send out maybe 3000 or something like that and I will raise the funds for any so we ended up thinking okay listen up 36,000 altogether and that was where we stopped and we were hoping to do that over 10 years 2017 and so were trying to finish that by 2028 and one of the things that RC would often do was remind us that sometimes we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, but we can tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in five but certainly in 10 years and were well ahead of that pace. And so what were coming together today to do is to announce the expansion of that campaign to send out hundred thousand copies of the Reformation study Bible by the original timeline of 2028 and so being able to work with you to know that were able to get the Reformation study Bible to people who can use them, tell us about some of the recipients of who these Bibles are getting to wound the wonderful thing is, of course, I I am the founder of the rethinking foundation.
Philip president of that as well as the Rosemary Jensen Bible foundation and so it's Rafiki that sends out containers with all kinds of materials so when the Bible goes out and it's getting to the different schools and seminaries and Bible colleges not just to the rethinking schools what's happening with the recipients. What are they saying all my goodness they are so thrilled we send out monthly to seminaries are 32 of them about 33 seminaries and their 23 did different denominations that we send the Bibles out to so we send this church pastors we sent out thousands to church pastors and in the countries where we are able to get the containers to think we have a clip of Dr. school talking about the campaign and talking about will need to just be sending a few but but thousands will will listen to that now you have a groundswell of conversions going on in Africa and yet we understand that our mission in evangelism in the great commission is not simply my converts to make disciples to make a disciple means a disciple is a learner's astute and the early church gathered together every show, every Lord's day to study the teachings of the apostles. See apostolic truths that shut down the Scriptures that needs to be distributed and taught so that people can grow in a sound way into the maturity of Christ. And so what we want to do is provide information and instruction based on the truths of Scripture. What we should be so talking about something thousands of Bibles we should be talking about tens of thousands of Bibles right right as I said about an investment right that has long lasting impact in the lives of one of those pastors and let him really be grounded in the Scriptures that that that immediately goes to 500 more people that might have farsighted Bibles lying around your house, but to provide a Bible study five notes of the theology lessons. All of it is like providing a seminary course for these past nights, and it spits like a treasure when you give her to. And this is one of the greatest return on investment from a financial perspective that you could have in Christian to provide Bibles like this in Africa. Africa is growing. The population is growing and some demographers think that maybe even in the next 10 to 15 years, more than a billion more souls will be added to Africa and along with that of course is the average age throughout Africa being about 19 so under 20 years old being the average age of more than a billion people right now and so we actually see that average age growing younger.
How important is it for discipleship and for the great commission to be able to get the Bible to pastors and to teachers and to those who will be able to reach the next generation.
Well, obviously the most important thing that we can do now is to reach the younger generation Italian Chris I am an old lady now and I do not expect to be alive, and 2028 but if I could see hundred thousand bottles out in Africa even know that they're going to go out to Africa before I die would be so happy about that.
So it would be make me the happiest person is to get these Bibles out because there's nothing more important for anybody to have been the Bible and I do love the Reformation study Bible. It's not just a Bible. It see it's a whole library in one volume and so I'm just praying that this will really work out you can get 100,000 out there, maybe even do it while I'm still allow that would be wonderful for your zeal for this effort to be able to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa has really galvanized much of our attention with international outreach. We have tried to prioritize the translation of the Reformation study Bible into many different languages so English of course travels far and wide in central and eastern Africa, but there are many nations that speak French and so were working on a French addition as well as Arabic. Of course, in that northern region as well. Where in Western Africa as well as well as we have we have some of our biggest villages are in Nigeria and Nigeria is one place where we definitely need the Bible there. We have wonderful opportunities to get it out, and when they're facing so much hardship now with the mocha Hiram and all those things going on in Nigeria with I don't know how many millions of people. I haven't Nigeria but it's the largest country population wise and in all of Africa.
So yeah we want to make sure we get those out. Some people been surprised when I told them that on any given Sunday. There's more Presbyterians worshiping in Nigeria than there are in America right I just while they can't believe this just the sheer numbers of population. And so for us trying to reach the world and serve the world in obedience to the great commission together were thinking about Africa where much of the gravitational center for global Christianity is really moving south of the equator into the global South window and you have seen that, and you've been in every country in Africa. What is it like to be able to bring the word of God to God's people and how do they respond to receiving the Bible. I wish you could go out and just see. I wish everyone can go out and see how grateful these people are when we have Bibles galore in this country in the United States.
But when these people who have nothing but little maybe paperbacks or something a Bible in my leg. Kathy's Reformation study Bible. They are just aches.
I have been to nearly every single country in Africa and every place where we have been able to see these Bibles given they are just mean they are so grateful leg just can't get over how great it is to have them Hosea for six talks about God's people perishing for lack of knowledge. How does the Bible help us to know who God is. Well, the big question well but it's the easy one, because actually there is no other place you can go to find God in written form other than the Bible. And that's why Reddit studied it, and all for everything south, age 16, and so I mean there is no other place to know in written form where God is and so that's what the Bible is so important and it's fine to have things online. You know in the cloud somewhere, but it makes all the difference when it is written down and certainly that's what this Bible is so wonderful in many places where we've been able to distribute the Reformation study Bible with the rethinking foundation and out through that amazing network of partnerships that Rafiki has developed over decades now were told that to get one of the study Bibles would be about a month's wage. I think right now I would say probably two months. Is that right. I mean, they just couldn't in the first place and can't find they can't get him anyway.
But the second thing is that we are giving them were getting. It's about most of these people and giving them to people who will actually yes they will need. They will read every word they will use them using for their sermons very pastors they will need and so were getting them to school. Teachers were giving them to pastors were giving them to seminary students were giving them to our teachers in all the schools and they will use them.
You have dreamed significant dreams in service to the great commission in your life. You and your husband serving God's people in so many different ways have you seen God provide for you all.
Over the years you've come to me several times with here's what I'm thinking about and it's clear that you don't have the answer of how this is going to happen. You start to talk and you start asking you start to seek and you're seeking the Lord, but how many times have you just seen the Lord answer these prayers, these very large petitions that you have brought to the Lord to accomplish. Have you seen that just numerous times in your life. Well, Chris.
Honestly, I never have had big visions but I do see things that need to be done and it's interesting because one thing that I have made a decision about and that is that we started rethinking 36 years ago I did have the beginning of it and I never had any idea that we would be where we are today. Okay, so I knew see all of that 36 years ago. But when you see that the next thing that needs to be done, not what we decided were going to do for people. But what they are asking us for. And that's the important thing when we decide that we decide well here's what were going to do because we believe it is God's will, we don't decide well.
Do we have the money for. We decide this is what were going to do and then were going to trust God to give us the money until you hold now and you never failed. He has never failed last my that is my witness that the Lord has never failed me has been in our missionary really lived in Tanzania. We lived in Africa for nine years and then we came back and we started all the crazy things that were doing now and we came to know people like RC Sproul and Ligon air and so forth and so God is put these things together. He puts it together but somehow I things in my mind and then he makes it. I think this project has helped me to better understand the ways that we can serve the great commission near you have helped me to see how we can trust the Lord through having significant projects that we put out there.
But then, knowing that there is no lack of resources with the Lord right and we can ask the Lord if he would use us. We are sinful people and yet God is pleased to use a broken vessels like us.
As these treasures of grace to be able to get that sovereign saving grace in the testimony to his character out to more people and for me it's become very exciting to go to donors and to talk to them about. Here's what is happening in Africa. Here's what God's people are saying that this resource and many others can do to help the church there and then to know that if the Lord wants that to happen that if we are no alignments with this mission work that were doing and the donor who wants to support that really older than talking about is how large of a gift.
Are they going to give because we arty know something about that donor that there God's child. Every child of God is generous right because what we have that we have not received and to be able to then lay out this big vision. This goal, getting 100,000 Reformation study Bibles into Africa in several different languages over the next five, six, seven years and then who knows what's beyond it with well over a billion souls there in Africa. We recognize that we were going to be working at this I almost wish that I had several lifetimes. As I'm sure you do to give to Africa, such as the opportunity and the need and the hunger and the joy that is coming along with the distribution of God's word and you been able to witness that and I feel like I'm I'm late to the party. You have seen God work through you and your husband and Rafiki for well over a generation now and I think were all in all, but maybe we shouldn't be because this is God at work through you. God's word at work that is Rafiki's motto, and we have seen and we've seen that continue to bear grapefruit. So to be able to partner with you in this kind of effort is is an honor for us at Ligon year and I just want you to know and anybody else just to know what a privilege it is to be able to serve with you in the Rosemary Jensen Bible foundation in this network rethinking and getting through Rafiki and you encourage us all so grateful for you while thanking you all of encourage man made me so so happy to do these things. Thank you very much for your wonderful soldier fight Chris. It was so wonderful to hear Rosemary's passion and zeal to get the study Bibles into the hands of pastors in Africa. This is a significant expansion of the sound reached 100,000 Reformation study Bibles distributed by 2028 just in Africa Chris what is an effort like this cost right now are projecting the cost of this outreach to be about $1.5 million and over the next few years were going to continue to try and find some efficiencies and yet when we've come to our listening audience in our supporters in the past they have responded so well to these types of campaigns and I just know how much it would've encouraged RC to know that we were moving the goalposts again on this outreach to not just be distributing tens of thousands but actually reaching up to 100,000 Reformation study Bibles and I know that these are so needed. I've got some testimonies here just in front of Mably and there's the church in Uganda that received 2000 of these Reformation study Bibles and they say that they are thanking God for this partnership and then students in Kenya at a university there.
We have been able to reach 2500 of their students in Kenya with gifts of the Reformation study Bible.
Again, this is a resource that would be really out of reach for the average person in many of these nations in Africa and it is a real privilege to be a partner in the gospel with these churches and universities and schools and missionaries in Africa and I hope for our listeners.
They feel that sense of partnership to because you're right there with us in this outreach is a bold endeavor and we need your generous support to reach this next level to take this next ministry step. Of course none of this is possible without your support and that's why were asking for your help, we would ask that you prayerfully consider giving a financial gift so that we can distribute the Reformation study Bible to even more people in the cockpit of Africa. Let me have your contact information. You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Mind.word. As we mentioned, our goal is to distribute 100,000 copies of the Reformation study Bible in Africa by the end of 2028. Your gift no matter the amount will have an impact. So we would be grateful to hear from you again. Her phone number is 800-435-4343 but if you prefer to give online or web address is Renewing Your Mind.word thank you Chris for being with us and we thank you for being with us Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of follicular ministries. We hope you'll join us tomorrow