By MARK MAYNARD / Amy For Africa
In this digital world, even our Bibles are available at our fingertips and in our pockets.
Like everything else – books, newspapers, magazines – the preferred form is becoming the digital way. We are a society that has learned to count on our cellphones as an absolutely cannot-leave-behind item. If somehow you have forgotten the cellphone then, more than likely, you’re going back home to get it.
We count on it for our every communication (not just as the intended use of being a mobile phone). Our Smart Phones are capable of outsmarting us and they often do.
But on a mission trip to Uganda with the Amy For Africa organization, I stuffed in a good old-fashioned Bible into my backpack. It was one that I had given my father for Christmas nearly 30 years ago in 1979. I pulled out the Bible on the long flight over and began flipping through the pages. Is there another sound of anything written more pronounced than the sound of the Bible pages? There’s almost something sacred with it.
I can remember hearing the sound of people collectively turning their pages of the Bible with Harold Cathey preaching at Unity Baptist Church. Now, you see digital Bibles almost as much as hard copy Bibles in our congregations. I’m guilty (?) of carrying my Bible on the mobile phone (after all, there’s an app for that!). You can get multiple translations at your fingertips and jump immediately to the chapter and verse.
Do churches even do Bible Drills anymore? Or do we let our apps do the walking?
But I digress. What I found in my father’s Bible were notes he had taken about particularly important sermons and events from some of the many preachers he heard over the years. Some were from Paul Badgett, who was the preacher at Oakland Avenue Baptist Church for several years where my father served. There were baptism services from his grandchildren and even notes from a trial sermon my brother preached. My brother Tim’s sermons were noted in several places throughout the Bible.
During our mission trip over the next two weeks there will be opportunities for each of us to share our story and to have a Gospel Conversation with some who may have never heard the good news. The Ugandans want to hear what we have to say and we have an audience hungry for hope that comes in Jesus Christ.
We will proclaim God’s Word every single day we are on the field in the hopes that one of our Gospel Conversations will hit home with some Ugandan soul(s). Revival needs to come not only in that place but in each of our hearts and it’s our prayer that we bring a revival home with us.
I studied the Three Circles way of witnessing at my church in Ashland and I’m planning on putting that great program – including the app! – to work in this dark place.
We have incredible tools at our disposal in the digital world. However, you don’t have to be a digital wizard to share Jesus Christ with a lost world and we plan on doing it the old-fashioned way this week, including some door-to-door (hut to hut?) evangelism.
I’m also going to look deep into this precious bound copy of the Word of God that has my father’s fingerprints all the way through it. I know he’d be proud that his Bible made the journey and maybe made a difference in a life in that place.