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Urbana 2018

Since 1946, God has spoken to over 300,000 students at the Urbana conference about missions and what he is doing around the world.  The conference started in Toronto, moved to Urbana, Illinois in 1948, and since 2006, it has been held in St. Louis (but they kept the name Urbana).  It is the largest student missions conference in North America.  The theme Urbana 18  is “Faithful Witness: Discern your place in God’s Global Mission” and the biblical focus will be on the book of Revelation.

God spoke to me about missions and ministry at Urbana 1981, and 37 years later I’m still teaching the Bible.  And God has led me to be involved in cross-cultural projects in Hawaii, Nigeria, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia, Israel, Liberia, and Korea.  It has been my delight to attend seven Urbanas (1981, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2015), and from December 26-January 1, I’ll attend my eighth, this time with my wife Shannon (who’s been to four more than me).

At Urbana, I’ll be leading two seminars:

  1. God Behaving Badly: Is God Really Angry, Sexist, and Racist? At America’s Center (AC) 223-224 on December 28 from 2:00-3:00.  Many people think of God as wrathful, smiting people for no apparent reason. The Old Testament seems to portray God as malevolent, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice. But alongside these passages are pictures of God’s love, goodness, and compassion. How do we make sense of the seeming contradiction?
  2. Sexual Abuse in the Bible (#metoo), Hyatt Regency @Arch, Regency Ballroom DEF on December 30 from 3:30-4:30.  While people in power have been covering up sexual abuse for millennia, the Bible boldly records the tragic stories of Sarah, Hagar, two Tamars, and Bathsheba. As we examine these stories, we will discover how God shows mercy not only to victims but also to perpetrators of sexual abuse.

The first seminar will be based on material from my book, God Behaving Badly, and the second, on material from my book, Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style.

My wife Shannon will be co-leading a Bible study with Esrael Seyum on the book of Revelation with 800 international students (in AC 223-224, December 28, 29, 30, 31 in the mornings).  As many of you know, Revelation can be confusing, so she and Esrael will need great wisdom to lead this large group into clarity about God’s word.

If you’re coming to Urbana, I hope to see you there.  If you’re the praying sort, Shannon and I would covet your prayers.

Traveling to Korea (Oct 25-Nov 5)

I leave today (Oct 25) to travel to Korea for 12 days.  I will be speaking at one of the largest churches in Korea, SaRang (which means “Love”) Church in Seoul.  I’ll be teaching all day (7 hours) for two consecutive Saturdays (Oct 28, Nov 4) as a part of a program my seminary is doing with SaRang Church (“Marketplace Missionary Certificate”).

I’m excited, but also a little nervous.  If you are the praying sort, I’d appreciate prayers.  There are several challenges.

  1. My teaching will be translated into Korean.  I don’t speak Korean, and I have never taught this long in translation.
  2. There will be 1000 students.  I’ve preached to a crowd like this, but never done longer blocks of teaching with anything close to this large of a group.
  3. I just became dean at my seminary this summer (which is why I haven’t blogged much lately), and I have had a full teaching load in addition to new administrative responsibilities.
  4. Seoul, as you may know, isn’t very far from North Korea.  I will travel to the DMZ on October 31.  Hopefully, my president and Kim Jong-un won’t decide to start WW III while I’m there (I’m praying it never happens full stop).  Seoul is only 35 miles from the DMZ/border with North Korea.

Korea Map

I’ll be doing other teaching while I’m there (see “Speaking” on my blog).  On October 31, I am scheduled to visit the DMZ.  I’ll do my best to not start a fight, or look menacing.  I’ll post updates on Facebook, and perhaps on my blog.

I look forward to seeing first-hand what God is doing in the land of Korea.

 

Is the Old Testament Really Dying?

Christianity Today invited me review Brent Strawn’s The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment.

Here is my review (titled, “Man shall not live on the New Testament alone”).

I sure hope the Old Testament isn’t dying, because that might mean I’m out of a job.  I love the Old Testament, as did Jesus and Paul.  If you love the Old Testament, check out Strawn’s book.

Here’s my prescription for health: “When we make a commitment to regularly read, teach, preach, and sing the Old Testament, we’re doing more than nursing a dying language back to health. We’re also connecting personally to a living God.”

Going to Liberia (April 2017)

Dave Boy on ShouldersDespite the malaria, it was one of the highlights of my life.

In the summer of 1985, I went on a summer mission project to Nigeria.  We taught in churches, worked in fields, and enjoyed amazing Nigerian hospitality (my favorite, though, was giving rides to kids on my shoulders).  We served among the Tangale people in Bauchi state, in the NW region of the country, near where Boko Haram holds power today.

While my wife Shannon has made three trips to Africa in the past fifteen years, I’ve stayed home with the boys.  I’ve loved hearing her stories and supporting her efforts, but I’ve missed seeing first hand what God is doing and serving alongside her.  But now that we are empty-nesters, I will be able to join her this April on her next trip to Monrovia, Liberia.  Shannon will be traveling for 3 weeks (she is also visiting Guinea Bissau); I’ll be gone for two (April 5-19).

We have been invited to serve alongside staff from LIFES (Liberian International Fellowship of Evangelical Students).  There are currently 1400 students involved in LIFES and only two full time staff.  Liberia is the fifth poorest country of the world and is still recovering from a fourteen year civil war (1989-2003) and the recent Ebola epidemic (2013-2016).

Moses, one of the staff, has asked us to be flexible, but we know for sure that we’ll be the main speakers for the LIFES Easter student conference: “Knowing Christ and Making Christ Known,” focusing on the book of Philippians and John 1-4.  We will have other opportunities to speak in churches, and work with students and local pastors doing training in Bible study skills. Most pastors in Liberia do not have access to seminary training, so I’m hoping my presence will be a blessing to them.

In order to allow their limited financial resources to remain in the country, I am hoping to raise $2500 to cover my expenses.  If you’d like to contribute, you can go directly to the website: https://donate.intervarsity.org/support/shannon_lamb.  Funds need to go through Shannon’s IV account because my account is still in process.  If you would like to receive email prayer requests please send me your address (dlamb@biblical.edu).

If you’re the praying sort, we’d appreciate prayers
for health (I have reflux which is easier to control at home,
for safe travel,
for God to move powerfully, and
for great partnerships with Liberian staff and pastors.

LIFES Flyer Image April 2017