“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the cross.’ In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering. ‘The cross of Christ … is God’s only self-justification in such a world” as ours….’ ‘The other gods were strong; but thou wast weak; they rode, but thou didst stumble to a throne; But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, And not a god has wounds, but thou alone.”
― John R.W. Stott, Cross
“It is central to Christian living that we should celebrate the goodness of creation, ponder its present brokenness, and, insofar as we can, celebrate in advance the healing of the world, the new creation itself. Art, music, literature, dance, theater, and many other expressions of human delight and wisdom, can all be explored in new ways.”
― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
“Will God ever ask you to do something you are not able to do? The answer is yes–all the time! It must be that way, for God’s glory and kingdom. If we function according to our ability alone, we get the glory; if we function according to the power of the Spirit within us, God gets the glory. He wants to reveal Himself to a watching world.”
― Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing the Spirit: The Power of Pentecost Every Day
Tanzania Mission, August 2015
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
For the last 10 years Church of the Word has had a significant ongoing relationship with Revs. Given and Lilian Gaula of Tanzania. We first became acquainted with Given as a seminary student attending the Virginia Theological Seminary and later with Lilian when she came to the States to attend Trinity School for Ministry in Pennsylvania. As a church we offered financial and prayer support when Given returned to Tanzania to serve as an instructor at the Msalato Theological School in Dodoma, and maintained a close working relationship when the family moved to New Zealand where Given earned a Ph.D. in Missiology. In 2013, he was unexpectedly called to be the new Bishop of Kondoa, a rural, poor diocese in northern Tanzania that is predominantly Muslim.