Re-published from October 10, 2014 Village Schools of the Bible blog post by Warren Coe, Executive Director


In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

A Destroying Virus in a Nation

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”

A Nation’s Downward Spiral of Greed

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”

As citizens and Christians in the United States, we are commanded to be salt and light.  We have an obligation and responsibility to vote in this year’s  elections on November 8.  Make a difference.  Please vote.


Reflections on Psalms

psalm1119105One of the important dynamics of Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey is writing weekly reflection papers.  Students read the appointed books of the Bible for that week.  Then they interpret specific passages.  A big goal is helping people bridge the ancient biblical world with our world.  It is called the application of God’s truth to our lives.  Almost all of our students will say that this exercise while challenging is where their greatest transformation takes place.

In this blog post I want to share a paper by Phyllis Hovey.  Phyllis and her husband Brian are preparing for the mission field.  Enjoy reading her insights into the book of Psalms.     — Warren Coe, Executive Director

By Phyllis Hovey

Since April of 2008, I have had the privilege of having a journaling Bible.  The margins are extra wide in order to take notes or make notations.  April of 2008 marks the pursuit of missions in my life as a single.  When I married Brian in August of 2012, he gifted me with a NEW journaling Bible as we celebrated one month of life together.  He wanted a Bible for me that had my “new name” in it….:0)

I have a practice of when I desire to make a note, I write the date in my Bible and try and be as succinct as possible so as to record as MUCH as possible and as MANY insights as possible regarding certain passages.  The date helps me recall the life season I was in when I encountered certain Scripture and gives context to the comment I have recorded beside the given Bible passage.  It is a neat way of recounting lessons God has taught me afresh as I read the Word.  Anyway, I share all that to give context as to how I remember certain things about the Psalms today.  The Psalms have been go-to passages both in times of exultation and delight as well as during seasons of sorrow, doubting, and sincere wrestling with the Lord.  Two Psalms that stand out particularly in my mind when considering meaningful passages are Psalm 139 and Psalm 112.

As a single on the field in India at an orphan home, I LONGED to be known and to know someone I was serving with WELL.  I served over a period of three years for a total of about a year’s time.  Due to visa restrictions, it wasn’t a consecutive chunk of time, but it was always to the same place and the same group of kiddos.  I was often the only Caucasian that I would see during my months there.  I was terribly lonely for someone who understood me and could relate to my worldview.  I didn’t have access to skype or internet often, so it was very isolating.

During that time, I found great comfort in verses 1-5 of Psalm 139.  They spoke of God KNOWING me and discerning my thoughts….He is acquainted with ALL my ways and He KNOWS my words.  He hems me in, going before, behind and WITH me EVERY step of EVERY journey that I take (paraphrase).  In the margin of my Bible, I have written, “…I long for marriage because I want to know someone and be known by someone for a LIFE-time…how WONDERFUL to see in Your Word that I ALREADY am!  And Lord?  You have ALREADY given me all I need to know You!  I am overwhelmed and truly grateful!!….”  I also have the reference John 10:14 written beside that note on a different date, which says, “I [Jesus] know my own and my own know me…”  These verses and words from the Lord spoke of His intimate understanding of who I am, who I was, and who I am becoming, and they were water to my soul at that critical life juncture.

Moving forward in time to my days after marriage but right as we were entering the parenting scene, I recall the significance of Psalm 112.  Brian and I were approximately 3 months pregnant with our first.  Because my family had doctor had told me that I should never have children on the medicine that I took to regulate my bi-polar disorder, I was TERRIFIED when I found out we were expecting.  I didn’t know what to expect or if the baby would even make it, so I didn’t get attached to the idea of becoming a mom.   A breakthrough happened for me as Brian and I were headed down to the south of Chile for a little break.  We had about 8 hours of car time and about 5 hours into it, I got tired of listening to music, so we started listening to radio programs and podcasts that Brian had on his ipod.  He chose the initial couple, and then he asked if I’d like to choose one.

I scrolled through the titles of ones he’d downloaded and came across one entitled “Parenting as a Calling,” put out by Family Life Today.  Dennis Rainey was the speaker that particular broadcast and was sharing about his life verse, Psalm 112:1-2.  It says, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!  His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”  His story behind his life verse and why he chose it challenged me deeply.  I cried most of the way through the broadcast.

Dennis Rainey shared that he had a granddaughter who survived less than a week out of the womb.  She was born without a fully developed brain, and simply couldn’t make it on her own.  He talked about the anguish for himself as a parent to watch his daughter and son-in-law struggle through the grief and sorrow of it.  He confided in his own personal emotional turmoil of feeling helpless.  I resonated with many of the emotions he spoke of and was afraid that was what we were facing into.  At the conclusion of his talk, he shared that he nicknamed his granddaughter “Mighty Molly” with this verse in mind.  He said that he put her hand print in ink over this passage in his Bible before God took his granddaughter home.

Dead silence in the car followed the conclusion of the broadcast.  Well, dead silence except for my sniffling and grabbing Kleenex.  Finally, Brian bravely ventured, “Do you want to talk?”  I caved and started listing all my fears and apprehensions, doubts and worries, heart wrenchings and unfathomables regarding the what ifs and the unknowns in our pregnancy.  After I sobbed my way through my onslaught of emotion, Brian took a minute and then gently asked, “Do you want me to say something or would you like me to just listen?”  I shot back in a desperate plea, “I’d like you to say something!”  God gave my husband wisdom beyond his years, and he gently began….

“Phyllis, wait.  God made you perfectly.  GOD is making our baby PERFECTLY…(pause)…we didn’t decide or ‘make’ this baby.  Our kid is GOD’S kid and HE is the One who is Sovereign and IN CHARGE.  HE is the One deciding how our baby is made and it is our job to TRUST HIM AND ENTRUST our baby TO Him.  Phyllis, we are doing and are going to do the best we can by our child with God’s help, but ultimately?  Our baby is NOT OURS, he/she is GOD’S and GOD will work in them and THROUGH them to accomplish the purpose and plan HE has for their life!” (paraphrase)

Psalm 112:1-2 always reminds me of that moment and further down in verse 7, I see truth to back my husband’s words.  It says, “He [the man who fears the Lord] is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”  Of course, Psalm 139:13-15 also support Brian’s conviction and I am grateful for those words as well!

Wow.  I didn’t get as many Scripture references covered and shared as I had hoped, but I think due to lack of paper space, I better stop there.  God is good.  His Word is active and living and cuts to the quick.  I am grateful for the Psalms and other passages that He has used to grow me and challenge me, refining my faith and deepening my walk with Him!

Reflections on Psalms

The Twin Cities Immigration Explosion


What do we do about the immigration explosion? God has brought people from half the world to our doorstep. Over the decades up to 2016, almost a million refugees and immigrants from 96 countries — from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe — will have arrived in the Twin Cities. This number could almost double by 2040. 80% of immigrants don’t know Christ. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for the city’s 3,600 churches. We have discovered the Bread of life (John 6.35) — we would be heartless not to share it!

Will the church rise to the challenge? The biggest obstacles to mission might be our busyness, indifference or complacency. In Acts chapter 8, we read how the Holy Spirit had to get the newly birthed church out of its comfort zone to be Jesus’s witnesses, and spread the gospel. On the other hand, the apostle Paul risked life and limb for the gospel, contending with shipwreck, robbers, angry Gentiles and Jews, heresy, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold and exposure, as well as imprisonments, beatings, lashings and stonings, which on occasion left him nearly dead (just read 2 Cor 11.23-28!) In more recent history, Adoniram Judson (missionary to Burma — modern Myanmar) and Jim Elliot (missionary to the Huaoroni people in Ecuador) left their comfort and safety for the sake of the gospel. Will we?

Could we boldly pray for the nations as Christ’s heritage? To Christ, the Lord says, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage” (Psalm 2:8). Some considerations:

  1. Embrace God’s vision. God’s vision is enlivening and spirit-giving: inspiring awe, uniting, and guiding our endeavors. God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us — Eph 3.20. Institutions without movements are lifeless. Start a multiplication-oriented gospel movement that will have an exponential impact. Research shows that new churches are five to eight times more evangelistically effective than older, established ones, so church planting is the most effective way to reach new people. To keep pace with population growth in the USA we need to plant 7,200 new churches a year — that’s just to keep up, let alone advance! The Twin Cities is an influential, strategic location, so in partnership with others, let’s plant and water and let the Lord provide the increase (1 Cor 3.6-7). Costly buildings and large overheads are not needed. If churches like Summit in Durham, NC, can successfully plant hundreds of churches, we can do it here too.
  2. Rely on God’s power. My word…shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it — Isaiah 55.11 As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me — John 15.4. As these passages show, God’s people rely on God’s power to accomplish God’s purposes.
  3. Use God’s gifts. You are not lacking in any spiritual gift, Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1.7). As churches engage and mobilize all Spirit-birthed gifts, callings and passions in the Body, people will discover outlets for their use amongst people flocking to our city. Find opportunities for God’s people to live out their faith amongst immigrants in all cultural domains, from education to medicine, government, business, justice, and recreation; or find opportunities to serve in areas of brokenness amongst the homeless, orphans, prisoners, unwed mothers, and school dropouts.
  4. Disciple children & young adults. Mission isn’t something we do — it’s who we are. Instill God’s vision for multiplication into our children. Let high school and college students spend a summer living and serving with a church planting team, so that they can learn what God is doing in our world and how they can be part of it. Use this time for intense discipleship, instilling spiritual disciplines such as Bible study, prayer and evangelism, as well as developing leadership through managing teams and planting churches. Passing the baton through leadership development is essential to the long-term success of the mission.
  5. Avoid paternalism like the plague! We are simply hungry beggars sharing Bread. Learn to be a true servant. Come alongside non-Christians to help solve problems together. This is a great opportunity to share common grace, learn from people with other experiences and world views, and develop long-term relationships characterized by friendship, service and prayer.
  6. Catalyze small groups for mission. Small groups and group leaders are the heart of an effective church. Provide training and opportunities for small groups to move into strategic areas together to sow and water, to help plant churches and bring about an outward-focused, inviting, authentic Christian community.
  7. Invite immigrants into our homes. It’s an easy thing to do. Many immigrants and refugees never develop friendships with Americans. 80% of international college students never set foot in an American home throughout their entire academic career! World leaders come to study at American universities, including the best and the brightest from closed countries — this presents a huge strategic opportunity for the Kingdom. Let’s not miss it!

How can Village Schools of the Bible help?

Village Schools comes alongside local churches as a partner and a catalyst, helping churches across the Twin Cities connect and mobilize, through Word-centered discipleship. God’s Word is God’s power (Heb 4.12). Therefore our core focus is to disciple people through God’s Word from Cover to Cover. In addition, we help people in practical ways apply their faith, every day, whatever their stage in life. Our goal is exponential impact through multiplication: to help churches make disciples who make disciples, and raise leaders who raise leaders in every walk of life. Every follower of Christ, and every church, was born to reproduce (2 Tim 2.2).

As we consider how rapidly the Twin Cities is changing, we’re pleased to have, among our teaching staff, a city researcher of the caliber of Dr. John Mayer, author of the annual CityView Report. This 185-page analysis of the Twin Cities is a powerful tool for cross-cultural outreach, strategic church planting, and movement development. Dr. Mayer’s consulting capabilities are sought after across the nation.

Village Schools of the Bible sees the changing face of the Twin Cities as a challenging — but exciting — opportunity for ministry, and, in partnership with others, we’re eager to help! We desire to partner with your church or organization to disciple the nations.

Ask of Me and I will make the nations your heritage. (Psalm 2.8)


  1. Downs, T. Finding Common Ground. Moody, 1999.
  2. Greear, J.D. Gaining by Losing. Zondervan, 2015.
  3. Mayer, J.A. CityView Report. City Vision, 2015.

(Written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations, Village Schools of the Bible.)

The Twin Cities Immigration Explosion