Church and Home
Power in the Word
By Heath Hubbard
How do we do this? How do we engage with a culture not our own? How do we reach out to men who work 60 to 70 hours a week? How do we make connections and still prepare a sermon in Japanese for Sunday?
We were somewhat discouraged and mostly overwhelmed. We studied to be missionaries, raised support, and studied Japanese for two years. Now it was go time. We prayed for God to give us wisdom to minister and relationships to build.
About that time, we attended a conference where God connected us with the right tools and the right challenge. We were encouraged to seek the wisdom to be intentional with the relationships we had and to always speak immediately of Christ. We were challenged to quickly invite people to study the Bible.
So, as we met people and introduced ourselves, I told people I was a pastor. They always followed up with the question, “What does a pastor do?” This allowed me to respond, “We study the Bible with people and we get to explain the Bible in detail on Sundays. Would you be interested in studying the Bible?”
I was shocked to hear them say yes. I expected “no” or “not right now,” but that’s not what I had prayed for, and I was excited to see God answering our prayers. We promptly began to study the Bible with anyone who had interest. Before too long, almost every day of the week we had someone with whom to study the Bible.
English Bible Studies
About that same time, we started an English Bible study with another missionary couple. When people asked if we taught English, we responded, “No, but we do teach the Bible in English.” Anyone who “tried out” their English with us received invitation cards to the Bible study. We always had these with us, ready to pass out.
The English Bible studies were opportunities for people to study the Bible using the disciple making movement Bible studies. This method allows people to read the story. Then, together as a group, retell the story in their own words. We follow it up with questions: “If this passage is true, what does this verse tell us about God?” and “What does it tell us about man?” My favorite question follows: “If this passage is true, how does it change your life, or what needs to change in your life?”
We were excited to see the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit moving in people’s hearts. They understood truths we would never have pulled out of the passage. We always had a point or two we wanted to explain or get across from the passage. Yet, frequently, more than our points or gleanings from the Word, God spoke powerful words into the hearts of the eight to ten non-believers who gathered to study the His written Word. There is power in studying the truths of the Bible. There is power in prayer. There is power as the Holy Spirit works to draw people to Himself.
We saw this displayed in the life of our friend Mika as she shared with those in our Bible study. She walked through a one-on-one study and became a Christian, growing in her relationship with Jesus. Mika showed up at our English Bible study one night. As we studied the Bible, one lady asked, “As a Christian you have a clean heart and a clean mind? How?” Mika spoke up, “You just have to believe, and God will give you a clean heart and a clean mind.”
God had worked in Mika’s life. She had grown in her faith to the point she could explain the change she had experienced. Later, Mika told us someone with whom she worked was quite difficult. “God has changed my heart to be nice to that lady and not focus all my time on worrying about her.” We never talked to her about how to treat others. We never covered how to interact with difficult people. God and His transformational power worked in Mika’s life, not just to believe in Him but also to change her heart to show the love and grace she had experienced. Truly, it is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
The very first time another lady came to our class, she said, “I am here because I cannot forgive someone, and I know I need help from something greater than me to forgive that person.” A year and a half later, when we left to come back to America, she shared she had finally been able to forgive that person, and she was thankful that she met us. She said she has been encouraged through our Bible study. She has not yet chosen to follow Christ completely, but she has absolutely experienced growth toward salvation. God has been good to speak through His Word as she reads her Bible daily. We trust, as she studies the Word, God will speak to her heart and draw her to Himself.
There is power in the Word of God, power in the leading of the Holy Spirit as we disciple people and love them. As we pray for opportunities to speak for Christ, we recognize “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the power belongs to the Lord and not to us.” It is He who draws people; it is He who leads; and it is He who speaks. We get the privilege to be His vessels. As we share Christ with those around us, may we depend on His power to bring people in contact with His Word. We trust people will grow from time in His Word. We know He will teach more than we can teach. He will move people to places we never thought they could go, because He is the Almighty.
May we pray and fast and work, knowing He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think according to His power that works in us. As we disciple people toward conversion in Christ, may we be blown away by their growth, because they have learned the power of the Word of God and the power of His Spirit that leads us.
About the Writer: Currently on stateside assignment,
Heath Hubbard, his wife Joni, and their three children (Eli, Micah, and Emma) serve in Tokyo, Japan. Read more: FWBGO.com.