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It Is Transformational – Gospel for Asia

August 9th, 2010 No comments

It Is Transformational

The people involved in the tremendous growth of the early church were not considered to be tools used to get things done. Rather, they threw their lives into their calling, and all the while God was using them to impact the world and carry out His plan, they themselves were actually being continually transformed and changed in the process.

Jesus focused on people’s potential instead of on weakness. He did not recruit perfect people, but people who could change, who would have a heart commitment. You’ve read enough of the Gospels to know that His disciples came from the dregs of society. (Gayle Erwin talks about this in detail in The Jesus Style.) Just imagine the scenario that surrounded Jesus in just the last 48 hours of His life: 12 men fighting among themselves over who was greatest . . . one of His closest followers betraying Him . . . and the rest running away when the danger got too close. Yet He entrusted these men, in whom He had invested three years of His life, to carry on the calling God had given Him. It was unto Peter, who denied His Master three times, that Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom (see Matthew 26:75; 16:18–19)!

Think about the apostle Paul after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Most believers did not want to have anything to do with him. “He’s dangerous,” they believed (see Acts 9:21, 26). But then you see Barnabas enter the scene, put his arm around Paul and vouch for his integrity to the early church (Acts 9:27). And Paul, who had once worked tirelessly to persecute believers in Jesus and eradicate all traces of Christianity, becomes totally transformed into one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. How did this happen? Not all in one day, but in a process that took time, starting with 14 years out in the wilderness.

In our early days, when we thought about recruiting staff members, we had no application form or interview process. I’ll never forget the day when one couple just showed up on our doorstep with their little baby in their arms, ready to serve God with us. I never even thought to ask him for references! It was all so fresh and amazing.

You’ll find that same wonder, awe and fear of God in the beginnings of any organization. God just brings people—no forms to be filled out—He works in their lives and changes them, and then uses them to change others. It is a continuous, perpetual motion in which somehow things just keep happening. Nobody stops to think about how! You see, God is always more concerned about people than about what they can do. And if we follow Him, He will make sure that we keep this in mind. God’s approach is always from the inside out (Luke 11:39–40; Psalm 51:6). Character is the important thing. If this is taken care of, the rest will follow.

Jesus’ only requirement for those who wanted to be His disciples was that they obey and follow (Matthew 16:24). He did not ask about anything else. He knew, like a potter, that if the clay would submit, He could mold and transform it to become the most precious vessel to be used for His kingdom.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Are You Qualified? – Gospel for Asia

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

Remember David and Goliath, that familiar Bible story we were taught in Sunday school? We smile as we remember the flannel board display of this childhood story. Maybe you can even recite how the story unfolds: The young David, with sling and stone in hand, walks up to Goliath, trusting God, and lets loose the shot that caused the huge giant to fall.

But the story of David and Goliath is so much more than flannel board and familiarity. It truly happened. It was a real war, with real men defending their own country. David was just a boy, never skilled or trained in war, and Goliath really was a fearful giant. Step out of the familiarity and put yourself in David’s shoes for a moment. Can you imagine how he must have felt when he spoke to his king about victory, only to have the king laugh in his face at his “youthful courage”? Picture yourself in a battle for the first time, your countrymen watching you as you’re armed with a childhood toy. Hear the opposing troops chuckle as you pull out your slingshot and grab a stone from your pocket. Watch as some of your countrymen bow their heads in embarrassment as they see you ready your sling. The moment of truth is at hand. How sweaty your palms must be as they steady the shot. There’s no turning back now—this is all or nothing.

The story of David and Goliath is truly amazing! It’s a remarkable display not only of God’s faithfulness, but also of David’s incredible dependence upon the Lord. David had absolutely nothing to rely on—not a weapon, not experience, nothing. The only thing he depended on was the ability, faithfulness and power of God. And that was enough! He killed the giant that day—not because of his strength or his plan, but because he was depending upon God to give him the victory.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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God Speaks to Us – Gospel for Asia

August 2nd, 2010 No comments

I’m looking for one who will wait and watch

For My beckoning hand, My eye—

Who will work in My manner the work I give,

And the work I give not pass by.

And oh the joy that is brought to Me

When one such as this I can find—

A man who will do all My will,

Who is set to study his Master’s mind.

Recently in our ministry, there has been a spiritual renewal taking place in the lives of our leaders on the mission field. As a result, these leaders have called for 90 days of continuous chain-prayer, involving thousands of people, to seek the Lord for greater spiritual reality and renewal among those who serve with us.

It all began when some of our senior leaders met for four days of planning and consultation concerning the ministry and what needed to be done. Because the work is growing so fast, we remain with only one thing that is permanent—change. Every two or three years, new systems need to be deployed to handle the increase. People have to be transferred. Strategies must be reworked. It is often out of sheer necessity and urgency that these meetings are called.

Several meetings were scheduled throughout the Indian subcontinent, with the first one taking place in North India with 25 leaders present. As usual, their time started off with the first few hours of the first day’s meeting in a time of worship. The room was filled with worship and prayer, but as time went on, the prayers wouldn’t stop. They continued on into the evening, and the Lord’s presence became very real in that place.

God began to speak through one of the senior leaders in attendance. With a specific word given to him, he spoke what the Lord was saying to the leaders individually. The Lord knew just what each one was facing in their lives and ministry, and He exhorted them and spoke the exact word needed at that time.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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How It Begins – Gospel for Asia

August 2nd, 2010 No comments

If you look at any movement that God begins, you will see three distinct characteristics. You will find these in the early church.

Let us take some time and go back to the book of Acts, to the very beginnings of the Church. If we can live with these believers for a while and feel what they felt, I believe we can return to our own situations and circumstances with some timeless principles.

It Is Radical

It does not take long when reading through Acts to discover that these believers were radical. They were willing to take all kinds of risks. To the rest of the world they were crazy people, blind to reality nuts!

But this is what Jesus was after: radical, fearless men and women. These were the kinds of people He was looking for when He told them:

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

When the early Christians understood that Christ had risen, victorious over sin and death, they readily burned all their bridges behind them and said, in essence, “There’s nothing to go back to. This is a one-way trip” (see Acts 2:45; 4:19–20; 5:29–32; 7:51–60).

At this time in history, the city of Jerusalem was completely anti-Christian. Imagine trying to preach the Gospel out in the open today in the nation of Afghanistan or in a Hindu temple. Believe me, that would be easier than doing so in Jerusalem in A.D. 33. The early Christians knew they would be beaten up and put in prison if they preached the Gospel (see Acts 8:3). It did not matter to them. They did it anyway, considering it an honor to suffer for Christ’s sake (Acts 5:41).

These people were so radical that nothing would stop them. They were not concerned with preserving their lives. They were bold and adventurous. They were open to new ideas. They wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They were motivated from within rather than from tradition. They were willing to endure any hardship, but they wouldn’t keep their mouths shut. And ultimately these characteristics earned them the reputation of being “world revolutionaries” (see Acts 17:6).

When I think back to the beginnings of our movement, I see that same radical attitude in our early days. I can honestly tell you, I don’t know how on earth we did what we did! The way so many of our programs developed was not through planning, scheming or figuring. They just happened out of spontaneity, love, dreams, hopes and ambitions rather than out of rules or regulations. We were not on any kind of schedule or timetable. Today I carry a planner with me to help me remember my appointments—but I had nothing of the sort then. I did not know just what was going to happen, but it did—amazingly and radically so.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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