From the Pastor
When I went to seminary education in August 2001, I focused a lot on Biblical and Theological studies attempting to better understand Christ. I had the opportunity to study 140 credit hours (in the USA, it can be 72 credit hours) at the Evangelical [Presbyterian] Theological Seminary in Cairo to finish my M.Div. There I completed three-summers residency at different churches. During that time, my focus was on understanding what the church must know about Christ. I was a dogmatic person who just thought primarily about doctrines. After graduation, I got my license to preach and was ordained in May 2006. My ministry, as preacher and as a pastor in the South of Egypt challenged my viewpoint at that time.
My main question became, “how can we be disciples of Jesus Christ?” I want to focus on two aspects of this important question. First, when we talk about our Lord, we usually concentrate on his divine nature and forget his human nature. In my first quest, I sought Christ’s divine nature in biblical doctrines and overlooked his humanity. My sermons did not relate to my congregation and to their daily life. The name of Jesus Christ is a reminder for us that he was Jesus (a human name) and Christ (a divine title), fully human and fully divine. Second, being a disciple of Jesus Christ is more than having intellectual understanding about him. A disciple must also have a relationship with Jesus , and continue to follow him in real life, with all its ups and downs. If we focus solely on understanding doctrines, the dogmatic concentration will illude us. We need a comprehensive understanding of discipleship which means we LEARN, LIVE, and SHARE the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I invite all of us to examine how we become disciples of Jesus Christ here and now. During our last sermons, we introduced this question and we will continue our search during February. I pray that the Holy Spirit opens our eyes more and more.
Finally, I would like to share some news with the congregation.
First, For more than a decade, we have had a declining average worship attendance of -7%, but we have seen an increase in our church participation. Our Sunday worship average increased from 40 in the first half of 2023 to 47 persons in the second half of the same year (+17%)! On December 24, we had 80 worshipers, a number we have not seen for more than 5 years! We pray this growth will continue in the coming years, and our church will help many to experience God’s good news in their lives.
Second, My new book, The Emergence of the Evangelical Egyptians was published by Lexington Books and is ready for purchase at Lexington Books, Amazon, and other book stores (Note: special 30% discount offer with Lexington Books! To get the discount, use the code LXFANDF30 when ordering).
Third, I agreed with Tusculum University to present Theologian-In-Residence in February 2025. The theme of these sessions will be “Christianity in the Modern Middle East” and are free and open to the public.
Grace and Peace,