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phil-tuttlePhil Tuttle: Welcome to my blog! For those of you new to the site, I am the President of Walk Thru the Bible, an organization based in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to igniting a passion for God's Word—here in the U.S. and throughout the world. In this blog you'll find a crazy blend of random thoughts, bizarre humor, and even an occasional deep insight.

Please jump into the discussion because, as we all know, a conversation is way more fun than a monologue.


 

Philippines Update 5

2017-11-17

Hi, this is Ellen, and it's my turn to tell you what we saw God do today.

Sometimes God brings a person across your path again to remind you of how He continues to work out His plan and how your story fits into it. It's such a surprise and an exhilarating feeling when you realize that God has been directing your paths to intersect right when you need to be reassured that He is real and involved in your life, and you're having an impact because your work is making a difference. I call these reunions "full circle stories" where you find out why God brought you back together and what He has been doing behind the scenes.

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We got to hear a full circle story today when we visited the Tanza Child Development Centre in Tanza, Cavite, Philippines, with our World Teach Philippines team. The school was established in 1989 by a husband and wife team, Dr. Pedro Solis and Dr. Victoria Gabriel-Solis, both medical doctors. It offers Elementary, Secondary, and Senior High School education and is known for its excellence in robotics training at all grade levels. TCDC is currently directed by the founders' son and daughter-in-law, Profs Romeo and JoJo Solis.

TCDC serves families from all economic levels. Some of their students arrive in luxury cars, while others must sell fish at the market before coming to school.

Our World Teach director, Attorney Fetan Tancongco, knew Romeo and JoJo over thirty years ago through school and shared ministry in Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) but they had lost track of each other.

So recently they were surprised to meet up at church and find out that they had a lot in common. For the past twenty years, Romeo and JoJo have been using Walk Thru the Bible materials to train their faculty and staff. He had heard about the new course, Revolution, How Millennials Can Change the World, and What They Need from the Rest of Us, and was hoping to find a local source for it rather than ordering it from Atlanta. That's when they (coincidentally?? Not) bumped into each other after all these years. Fetan, through World Teach, has been providing these tools and leading training conferences and seminars for Filipino Christian leaders, pastors, and teachers for years now, so he was very happy to reconnect with Romeo and JoJo and plans to supply TCDC with the materials they need in the future as well as friendship and support in the ministry.

As we met today, we dreamed some big dreams for the future. Fetan is building a 12-course curriculum for these friends which they will use not only with their own faculty, but with many under-resourced pastors who serve in their area.

Their story came full circle! What a joy to see a reunion of friends who will go forward and accomplish great things together for God's kingdom.

Philippines Update 4

2017-11-16

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Not only is that how I'm feeling right now, it's also the name of the ministry where I just spoke. W.O.W. stands for Women Of Worth.

I guess God figured if I was going to crash a women's Bible study for the first time ever, it might as well be a big group -- like over 300! WOW indeed.

2017 11 16 image 2These women meet every Thursday morning, and for the past few weeks they've been studying our we course on the life of Mary. It's called Chosen: When God Calls Your Name.

The first three lessons were taught by three different women using the PowerPoint and workbooks we developed. These three gifted communicators studied the DVD series together and then personalized their talks. All the table leaders also went through the DVD series in advance so they'd be ready to lead quality discussions.

So it just so happened (if you believe in coincidences) that they were scheduled to present session four today while I'm in town. What an honor to teach such life changing material in person and then watch so many passionate women discuss the implications of Mary's life for them personally.

Today's lesson, When Life Must Go On, focuses on Mary's life after she watched her son, Jesus, die on the cross. Though her life appeared to be spinning out of control, she made four difficult choices that made all the difference. As each of us face our own tragedies, Mary's four choices can guide us when we feel like giving up but have to find a way to keep on living.

2017 11 16 image 3Nearly an hour after I finished teaching and had to leave for another meeting, the discussions at each table were still going strong. I wish I could capture what I experienced today, bring it home, and pour it all over our American churches.

I also wish you could have each been here to witness what I saw today. It's your generous donations and faithful prayers that make the creation and distribution of resources like Chosen possible. So thank you. Thank you very much.

P.S. If you're curious what choices Mary made, consider ordering the Chosen DVD series and workbook for yourself, your family, your small group, or your friends. After all, we each need a little more "WOW!" in our lives, don't we?

 

Philippines Update 3

2017-11-15

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Big, high visibility, public events are great. They help build awareness, momentum, and can often open new doors for our ministry.

But the real story of our Walk Thru the Bible is the small, private events that few people even know are happening. Such is the case this week here in Manila.

2017 11 15 image 2It was exhilarating to share Revolution, our new course on Josiah, with over 3,000 small group leaders last Friday night. And to watch them purchase 1,692 DVD sets to share this life changing teaching with their groups was nothing short of thrilling. And speaking to over 1,300 Christian school teachers and administrators on Saturday was also pretty cool.

But those things are nothing compared to what I got to witness on Monday. I had the privilege to stop in and visit a group that is among our first ntLIVE trainees. They were beginning several days of hard work learning to teach our new 40-step overview of the New Testament under the able guidance of Gil Balignasay, our Filipino training director.

Gil asked me to give these 14 men and women an overview of what God is doing through Walk Thru the Bible around the world. They were thrilled and motivated to realize they're part of a huge global family of like-minded Bible teachers in 138 other countries. Gil also asked me to challenge them from the Word as they begin this new ministry adventure.

What an honor! And so humbling to see my 31-year-old self in each of them as I remembered my first training with Walk Thru 29 years ago. (Yes, your math is correct, I'll hit the big 6-0 in January!)

Hardly anyone even knew that training was taking place. And yet, before they're finished, that tiny group will impact more people for Christ and turn more people on to the Scriptures than all my big events this week put together.

Such is the miracle of multiplication. We are a 2 Timothy 2:2 ministry committed to entrusting what we've received to faithful people who will in turn teach many others, most of whom we'll never meet this side of glory.

2017 11 15 image 3So if you've ever wonder what happens after I get on a plane and fly home, don't worry. Things continue on just fine. My role isn't that of superstar. It's more like player-coach or maybe even cheerleader.

The real miracle of Walk Thru the Bible is being carried out by quiet servants like Gil. Nearly every week of the year there are multiple trainings taking place in the nooks and crannies of this planet. And someday when we gather in heaven, you'll meet people from every tribe, tongue, and nation whose lives were changed by anonymous servant leaders who are intimately known by our Lord.

Until then, please pray for Gil and these 14 new instructors and the 25,000 or so men and women who actively teach our courses around the world.

Big events have their place, but often it's the smallest events that yield the largest, most lasting fruit.

Philippines Update 2

2017-11-13

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After the huge first evening I told you about in my first report, I thought things couldn't get any better here.

But I was wrong.

2017 11 13 image 1One of the members of our Filipino board is Dr James Tan (pictured). His mother founded a Christian school soon after WW2. She had no land, no money, no building, and no husband after being widowed. What she did have was five amazing children, laser-like vision, and inexhaustible perseverance.

Fast forward to today, and Grace Christian College—that's what they call it though it actually is a collection of schools from kindergarten through university—is one of the largest and best in the world. Her son James and his wife have faithfully led this bilingual (Chinese and English) school for decades.

When Dr Tan realized that our visit would coincide with their annual conference for 1,300 Filipino teachers and administrators, he invited me to give two keynote addresses. Those talks on Keeping First Things First and Protecting Your Family from Your Ministry went great, but that's not what I want to tell you about.

Our team of excellent Walk Thru the Bible instructors here in the Philippines (see photo above) offered several of our courses as workshop tracks during the two-day conference. They've seen this partnership flourish over the past 20 years.

When I say "several" courses, I mean precisely 13 different titles!

2017 11 13 image 2Everything from Bruce Wilkinson's classic 7 Laws of the Learner, to Chip Ingram's Effective Parenting in a Defective World, to Howard Hendricks' 7 Laws of the Teacher, to my last few courses in the Biblical Character Series. I think I managed to capture nearly all of the workbooks in the photo here.

I was blown away by the passion and excellence of our team! They served up something for everyone, and I overheard several delegates struggling to pick just one. The good news is they can choose another course next year, as this 20-year partnership just gets deeper and richer. Dr Tan believes there are simply no better tools to equip these teachers and administrators. Some of these men and women travelled 17 hours by bus to learn how to serve their students and their families more effectively.

Each of our global regions excels in something. They set the pace for the rest of the world in one or two areas, and we all learn from each other. Our team in the Philippines are the best in the world at building partnerships. They rarely sell a single event or resource. Instead, they forge lasting relationships with churches, schools, denominations, businesses, and government authorities.

Many of you who are reading this are generous financial supporters and faithful prayer partners. I wish you could have seen what I saw yesterday. The seeds you're helping plant and cultivate are yielding a huge harvest here in the Philippines through the power of partnerships. We truly have much to be thankful for!

Update From the Philippines

2017-11-10

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Greetings from Manila, where we're 13 hours ahead of Atlanta time. Ellen and I landed here at 10:00 pm Thursday night, and were warmly greeted by our regional director, Fetan Tangcongco, and his wife Dell and daughter Trisha. Manila traffic is insane anytime day or night so it was 12:30 am before we checked in to our hotel. Exactly 24 hours after our flight left Atlanta.

After a restful day, we experienced an evening of great impact. One of my favorite ministry opportunities ever!

Tonight I got to teach an overview (2 hours) of our new course on the life of Josiah. It's called "Revolution: How Millennials Can Change the World (And What They Need from the Rest of Us)."

Once again I was invited by Pastor Peter Tan-chi to share with his amazing church called Christ's Commission Fellowship. What began with a few families in his home has steadily grown to 20,000 average attendance each weekend. That's just at the main campus and doesn't include those at their 40+ satellite locations all over the Philippines and beyond. Peter and I team-taught Detour (Joseph) three years ago, and I treasure the unique bond God forged between us.

Tonight over 3,000 attended. The vast majority are small group leaders and half of them are Millennials, men and women in their 20's and 30's.

Can you imagine? 3,000 young adults exhausted from a full week of work fought through dreadful traffic to learn more about God's Word. Amazing, humbling, convicting, motivating.

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They were so hungry and so attentive. Thankful to be hearing something positive about their generation.

I affirmed the parallels between today's Millennials and Josiah: their cause orientation; their passion to fix problems inherited from past generations. And their balance between spiritual and physical ministry. They also opened their hearts when I challenged them to become people of the Book like Josiah. Like him, they need to learn that social justice is rarely sustainable without spiritual revival.

I thought tonight couldn't get any better but God had one more surprise. Peter Tan-chi enthusiastically endorsed this new resource and said it is exactly what the church in the Philippines needs. As a result, about 1,000 of their discipleship group leaders lined up to purchase DVD kits and workbooks so they can share what they learned with their own D-Groups.

And now Ellen and I are back at our hotel less than 24 hours after checking in. We're tired but so encouraged.

Tomorrow is another full day speaking at a conference for Christian school teachers and principals. We're being picked up at 6:00 am so I better sign off and get some rest.

Please pray for us daily the next 10 days. Our schedule is full of strategic opportunities. Our team here is wonderful at leveraging my gifts while allowing enough downtime for rest and relationship building.

I'll send more updates when I can. Mostly we need your prayer support but we also need your encouragement. Between the heat, humidity, jet lag, traffic, and spiritual drain it's easy to get tired and lose perspective. Even a sentence or two assuring us of your prayers and support mean more that you will ever understand. Thank you dear friends.

Jordan Update #5

2017-07-12

2017 07 12 Petra1When something is hyped to the max, reality usually disappoints. Occasionally expectations are met. But rarely does an actual experience surpass sky high anticipation.

Well, yesterday it did.

For years the ancient site of Petra has been on my bucket list. A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the new seven wonders of the world, it's no surprise that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas couldn't settle for any other location for their blockbuster film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Despite several visits to this part of the world I'd never seen Petra with my own eyes. Until yesterday.

The pictures we took don't do it justice and there's no need for me to compete with Trip Advisor in persuading you to go. I wouldn't recommend visiting on a 100° day like we did, but if you ever have the chance to go -- do it.

My main reason for telling you about our visit to Petra is because it serves as the perfect metaphor for this entire week of ministry.

Everything significant about this trip has exceeded my very high expectations.

*The two Walk Thru parter couples who came with us to experience our ministry up close and personal have been delightful. I have an aversion to traveling with high maintenance people, but I'd welcome the chance to go anywhere with Steve & Tina Hood and Brian & Vicky Burgess.

*Michael & Molly Gunnin as well as Ashley Mosteller have performed their duties with excellence and grace. With the help of videographer Isaac Deitz, we have captured great stories of our work in some very difficult places. If you're not already receiving our free quarterly magazine, Pathways, send me your address ASAP. Make sure you also follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram.

*Ellen has been my constant friend, encourager, and lover for over 36 years. There's no way I would have wanted to make this trip without her.

*The response to our new course Revolution on the life of Josiah vastly exceeded my expectations. My apprehension about how this course will work in other cultures has totally vanished. This new resource is a winner that God is going to use big time in lots of places. Every workbook we printed was purchased by a delegate from one of the 16 countries represented and they can't wait to teach it to others.

*Our partners from Middle East Leadership Training Institute (MELTI) were amazing. Even though Wahid & Laila Wahba couldn't be here, the conference was five star. Thank you Wafaa, Esther, George, Maged, and the rest of your team.

*And YOU have exceeded my expectations. Your level of engagement through emails and texts has been off the charts. I've never felt such tangible support before. Thank you for traveling with us through the miracle of prayer.

Though Walk Thru the Bible was founded 41 years ago, there's no doubt in my mind that God birthed this ministry for now. Igniting people's passion for God's Word, equipping under-resourced pastors, and encouraging believers in hostile locations have never been more needed than today.

So thank you again for your generous financial investment and your faithful prayer support. There's never been a better time to be part of our Walk Thru the Bible global family because the adventure is just beginning!

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Jordan Update #4

2017-07-11

Today's update is from Ashley Mosteller, our Donor Engagement Manager. Ashley is our newest and youngest employee but she totally gets the essence of our ministry. You're going to love this one!


Group ShotOn the bus ride to the Dead Sea today, I was listening to the movie soundtrack from the Prince of Egypt as we dipped in and out of the desert valleys that the Israelites wandered for 40 years. One of my favorite lyrics from the score is this one: “A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shines, can never see its purpose in the pattern of the grand design.” Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to meet, interview, and worship with Christian brothers and sisters from 16 countries. It’s been extraordinary to see how each one is contributing a unique thread to the gorgeous tapestry that God is weaving together in the Middle East. They come from radically diverse backgrounds. Some are wealthy and some are barely scraping by. Some enjoy religious freedom while others face severe persecution on a daily basis. Some are university students while others are serving God in their old age. But as they learned from the life of Josiah this week, each one has a vital role to play in the advancement of His kingdom in the Middle East. And when they come together as one, their colors are dazzling.

As Walk Thru the Bible’s resident storyteller, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many of the conference participants, both on and off camera. Yesterday I talked to two people in very different seasons of life. Both left the conference full of new biblical insights and encouragement. Their names are Nabil and Luna.

NabilNabil is an Egyptian man in his late 70s who attended the conference with his son. He shared with me that for many years he viewed younger generations in a negative light. They were vacuous, shallow, lured away from the Lord by technology and media and all the trappings of this world. Church leadership should remain firmly in the hands of the wiser, more committed generations, he believed. But over the years, God has changed his heart. He became involved in high school and college ministry at his church, where he was encouraged to mentor passionate young believers. This week has confirmed what God has been teaching him, Nabil said. He had many opportunities to worship alongside millennial participants and hear about their ministries. He realized that technology served to connect them and spread their gospel message. Learning about Josiah’s life under Phil’s teaching filled him with confidence that his church could and should entrust more leadership responsibility into the hands of the millennial generation.

LunaLuna is an effervescent Jordanian woman in her late 20s who was attending a Walk Thru the Bible conference for the first time. God has placed a burden on her heart to serve and mentor younger women who have experienced abuse, divorce, and other hardships. As she seeks to expand her ministry by founding a safehouse for the women, she’s run into countless barriers. She came to the conference hungry for hope and guidance. After only a few sessions, she called a local pastor and told him excitedly that every young person in Jordan should hear this message. As I spoke with her, she could hardly formulate words fast enough to express everything that she felt. Though she’s still praying for the Lord to open a door in her ministry, she left in a fiery blaze of joy at the ways God was using her generation to change the culture.

These are only two threads of the tapestry. Even if I interviewed every participant twice, I’d have a hard time capturing all the stories of struggle, loss, redemption, hope, and transformation that these brothers and sisters brought to Amman. I wish that you could be here in Amman to hear their stories firsthand, but I’m looking forward to sharing the next issue of Pathways and the video we filmed.

Stay tuned!

Jordan Update #3

2017-07-08

Today's update comes through the eyes of Steve and Tina Hood, long term Walk Thru the Bible partners who live in Indiana. They traveled with me to Ukraine and Russia years ago, but this is their first time in the Middle East. Enjoy!


The HoodsChristianity is ALIVE here in the Middle East! The day began with worship and praise from the heart! We Americans might not have known the words to the songs or the words that were lifted in prayer but we did know they were filled with love and sincerity to the Lord.

What an amazing day of teaching and sharing for us as first timers to the Middle East with a bit of culture shock. To be able to talk to, worship, and learn together with such a diverse group of God fearing Christians has been a blessing. As Americans, it has been easy for us to stress over the current political and economic climate in the U.S., but it was evident after just a short time today that most of the attendees are facing much graver situations each and every day but still their love and commitment to the Lord is tremendous!

As Phil went through the lesson today on Josiah, it was obvious that the complaints and issues that are expressed at home about the Millennial generation are not just restricted to the U.S. Phil briefly defined the Millennials as a group of young adults ranging in age of 17-37. They tend to be cause oriented and passionate about correcting problems from the past with a balanced view of the ministry where both physical needs as well as spiritual needs are met. He showed us that Josiah would be considered a Millennial based on his passion and age in his reign when he sought God in 2 Chronicles 34.

As the generations were defined today, it was easy to see how the tension between Millennials and the older generations are a global concern. (With the discussion one would have thought we were in the U.S.) However, we were able to witness today a group of people representing four generations willing to work together to help spread the Word of God through encouragement to make God's church even stronger for the next generation. There was a wonderful time when about 20 Millennials were lined up across the front of the room and the older participants were asked to go up front also, choosing one young person that they could encourage and pray with. It was a very touching time to see young and old together, encouraging and supporting each other. Tina talked with a young lady from South Sudan who it turns out, had never received any words of encouragement before. I, Steve, was able to pray with a second generation pastor from Pakistan that is able to come along side his father and help the lost Millennials of their country. It was a Holy Spirit driven period this afternoon.

Finally Phil challenged us all to be changed by studying God's Word. Josiah was changed and brought Israel back to God through hearing God's Word. The reading and study of God's Word can change anything and we were all asked to share how consistently and joyfully we are currently in the Word. The responses varied I am sure, but a solid case was made about how change doesn't occur without God's Word involved.

Today was a time of problem solving, encouragement, and challenges. How can God's people, no matter what age, work together to strengthen and advance God's church whether here in the Middle East or at home in America? We saw how solid biblical teaching placed in the hands of committed followers of Jesus, no matter what their age, can truly change the world.

It was a wonderful day. It was a day of igniting passion for God's Word for lasting global impact! For us it is a privilege to be involved in this ministry!

Blessings from Amman,
Steve and Tina Hood

Jordan Update #2

2017-07-07

Today's update is from Brian Burgess. He and his wife, Vicky, live in CA and have partnered with Walk Thru for many years. Here are Brian's thoughts after the first evening of our conference.


2017 07 07 BurgessGreetings from Amman. To visualize where we are, Jordan is just across the Jordan River from Israel. 

What a privilege for Vicky and me to be with such wonderful believers from these sixteen countries. It’s like meeting long lost relatives and immediately being bonded together. Vicky was pleasantly surprised seeing more than fifteen women that she will be getting to know, encourage and pray with.

Phil shared yesterday that we on this team are getting to meet people that we don’t deserve to know and seeing things that we don’t deserve to witness.

The goal of the conference is for our team to be a blessing to these church leaders who are continually putting their lives on the line in these battlefield countries, and for Phil to equip them with a Bible curriculum that they can use to disciple others.

As expected, Phil already has them laughing (after they hear it from the translator) and actively responding to his teaching.

How appropriate for this year’s study to be about the life of Josiah. Josiah became king of Judah when he was eight years old and during his thirty-one year reign, initiated a countrywide effort to reform the nation of Judah, by returning to the Word of God.

Yousef from Kuwait Yousef, who directs The Bible Society in Kuwait, shared that so many churches in his country receive very little Bible teaching, and thus there is such a hunger for the word taught by these courses.

It is expected that Josiah will be retaught through the multiplication process to 36,000 people from this region, just within the first year. The leaders will also be provided workbooks and supplies in their own native language.

If you want to join in this study with Phil through this Sunday, you’ll find King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34-35 and 2 Kings 22-23.

MENA Conference 2017

2017-07-06

Here they come! The 75+ delegates to our Middle East / North Africa conference here in Amman Jordan are arriving from 16 different countries. Some have traveled alone as the single representative of their entire nation while others arrive as part of a team.

They've come from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey.

They are a very diverse group. But their shared commitment to Jesus and their intense hunger for God's Word bind them together.

I've met about 2/3 of these men and women before so this conference feels as much like a family reunion as a training event. The hugs are long and strong, and the kisses cover at least both cheeks!

Josef, who directs The Bible Society in Kuwait, immediately starts telling us how Chosen, the course on Mary he learned last time we were together, has opened up new doors of opportunity with Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Others share reports of how they've been teaching Crucible (David) or Detour (Joseph) since we saw each other last.

Phil and George

Wafaa, Esther, and George (pictured here) from the Middle East Leadership Training Institute (MELTI) in Cairo have done an amazing job putting all this together.

And yet I feel an emptiness without Wahid and Laila Wahba who built MELTI from nothing. They couldn't travel with us from Atlanta because they're still waiting for their permanent U.S. visas to be approved and their attorney is concerned they might not be allowed back into the States if they leave the country right now. Ellen and I are grieving their absence and they are hurting deeply to not be here.

Two donor couples, Brian & Vicki Burgess and Steve & Tina Hood, are with us along with Michael & Molly Gunnin, Ashley Mosteller, and Isaac (a videographer from Atlanta). Rather than writing all the updates myself, I'll probably ask several of them to share their personal experiences.

Our new course, Revolution on the life of Josiah is ready to go. The workbook and PowerPoint have been translated into Arabic and I'll be working with Ali and Rand, two excellent translators that I have great chemistry with.

Everything and everyone is prepared. The only thing missing is your partnership in prayer. Unless God makes His presence known in supernatural ways we will have just had another meeting, and nobody needs another meeting!

Will you commit to pray for us every day for the next week? If so, please comment below and send us a few words to encourage our team? I can't wait to see and share with you what God is going to do with this amazing group!

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