Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bits & Bytes July 2013

July 2013
Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers
West African Leadership Training
At the end of May Wesleyan leaders from five West African countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso) gathered for a training event in Makeni, Sierra Leone. The training came about because in several countries the church is growing to the extent that administrative structures will need to be expanded resulting in the need for a significant number of new leaders to fill the leadership positions that will be created. Most of the training sessions and discussions were led by past and present African leaders with additional input by Bob and Dr. Dennis Jackson, Executive Director of Global Partners. 
A highlight of the gathering was an invitation to visit with the president of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in his office to pray with him. Bob had the honor of sharing a brief devotional message during the meeting reflecting on the story of the feeding of the 5,000 that when God calls us to a task that exceeds our capacity He also can enable us to accomplish way beyond what we could imagine.
Koroma visit
West African Wesleyan leaders with Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone
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Sierra Leone National Conference
Immediately following the West African leadership training event, the Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone held its quadrennial national conference. The conference combined informative seminars with business sessions as the church laid plans for its ministry in the coming four years. The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone is the oldest and largest of Wesleyan national conference in Africa.

During the conference Rev. Dr. Usman J. Fornah was resoundingly re-elected to a second four-year term as National Superintendent.

Another highlight was the introduction of Dr. David and Dahlia Dyer, new missionary doctor at Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital, who had arrived in the country earlier that week. The Sierra Leone church welcomed them enthusiastically and prayed for God's blessing on them and their ministry.

Photos from the Sierra Leone national conference can be seen by clicking the button below:

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Bob helping to commission a missionary couple appointed to serve in a creative access country
USA Visit
This past month we made a quick three-week visit to the States for meetings.

First on our agenda was to teach new missionaries for a week at GP's Missionary Training Institute held at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN. What a joy to share the enthusiasm of new missionaries and try to offer advice from our years of service. It was also a joy to participate in the final commissioning service.

The following week Bob was involved in a meeting of GP's Leadership Council - consisting of the seven Area Directors from around the world as well as the home office leadership team.

It was great to visit three of our supporting churches while we were there: Forest Hills Wesleyan (IN), Wheaton Wesleyan (IL), and Alive Wesleyan (SC). Forest Hills and Alive had both recently moved into new facilities and it was exciting for us to worship in them for the first time.

Getting back to the States also gave us a chance to reconnect with some of our family. We spent a weekend, including a day at the zoo with our son Joshua, his wife Jamie, and our three grandchildren. We joined members of Brenda's family to celebrate her parents' sixtieth wedding anniversary. Finally, we celebrated July 4th with our daughter Mary Beth in a picnic shelter in pouring rain!
Africa Area Prayer Calendar
The Africa Area Prayer Calendar for July - September, 2013 is available for download by clicking the button below:
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Praise Reports
  1. Praise God for a highly successful and profitable leadership training event for West African church leaders held in Sierra Leone at the end of May.
  2. Thank God for His help in the Sierra Leone National Conference and for the vision and enthusiasm evident in church leaders.
  3. Praise God for the safe arrival of the Dyer family in Sierra Leone to fill the desperate need for a doctor at Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital.
  4. Praise God for new missionaries who have responded to God's call, have received training, and now are being deployed in various places around the world.

Prayer Requests
  1. Please continue to pray for Randal and Candice Cheney and their family as they arrive in South Africa on August 9th. Since they have not yet received work permits for Zimbabwe the plan is to assign them to the Bible College in Swaziland while efforts continue to be made to get them into Zimbabwe.
  2. Pray for God's presence and direction to be felt in District Conferences to be held in Limpopo District (South Africa) August 2-4, Zimbabwe August 8-11, and Swaziland August 23-25.
  3. Ask God to help Bob as he works with the church in Ghana and the church in Swaziland as they make plans for significant organizational changes to accommodate continued growth.
  4. Pray for God's help and strength for the Dr. David and Dahlia Dyer family as they continue to adjust to the challenges of serving in a rural African hospital.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Freedom in the New Testament-Freedom Sunday Series

“Freedom in the Bible”-From the New Testament
First Sunday-Freedom Sunday Series
By Media Pastor  Rev. Keith Kiper
Galatians 3:28
Common English Bible (CEB)
There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
God the Creator placed in man and woman the capacity for free choice at the very beginning when He placed them in Eden. God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose between good and evil. We have recorded in our Bibles the results of both good and bad choices over the centuries. As created beings, we possess that same freedom to choose today. During  the next few Sundays in July, we will take a closer look at slavery in the past, and at the scourge of modern human trafficking.
Today let us look at what it means to have freedom in Christ. Sin can be the greatest master when we become enslaved to sin. We are all born into sin, we have no control over aspect. Christ’s death and resurrection offers  freedom to live again through the new birth. We celebrate this every year especially on Resurrection Sunday. Did you know that as Christians we can still become enslaved. We can be enslaved to religious customs, to focusing on how things used to be. History should be a guiding post, not a hitching post as someone well said. We can even become a slave to the law.
Galatians 5:1 tells us: “ Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.”
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in Mark Chapter 7. The Pharisees had a form of ritualistic washing where they would wash from the hands to the elbows. I always think of Norton from the Honeymooners when I read this. Listen to what Jesus tells them when they criticized His disciples:
 You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” Jesus continued, “Clearly, you are experts at rejecting God’s commandment in order to establish these rules. 10  Moses said, Honor your father and your mother,[b] andThe person who speaks against father or mother will certainly be put to death.[c] 11  But you say, ‘If you tell your father or mother, “Everything I’m expected to contribute to you iscorban (that is, a gift I’m giving to God),” 12  then you are no longer required to care for your father or mother.’ 13  In this way you do away with God’s word in favor of the rules handed down to you, which you pass on to others. And you do a lot of other things just like that.”
Freedom in Christ means we are to be salt and light, and not just within the four walls of the church building.
John Wesley said; "When I speak of building an house for our great God, let none think I mean to comprehend God [contained] within it, for He is infinite." (Notes, 2,6)
Galatians 5:13-14
Common English Bible (CEB)
13 You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. 14 All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.[a]
There are many ways we can love our neighbor as ourself. Who is our neighbor? The parable of the good Samaritan should answer that question for all of us. Would not the enslaved children of the world be our neighbor? Wouldn’t the immigrant coming to our country hungry and looking for opportunity be our neighbor? Would the good Samaritan care how he got here? Remember our families were all immigrants from a foreign land . Maybe God is providing us with the greatest opportunity for evangelism in our lifetime. Please pray about this. Go to or our website where you can read the Wesleyan Position statement on this. Don’t let the us or them politics influence what God wants to do. Finally, Acts tells us:
Acts 13:38-39
Common English Bible (CEB)

38 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, know this: Through Jesus we proclaim forgiveness of sins to you. From all those sins from which you couldn’t be put in right relationship with God through Moses’ Law, 39 through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God.