Are We Willing to Lose Our Lives for Him?

The young man from Nepal whose testimony is detailed below.

I am again pondering my November time in Nepal. Nepal…you have affected me! You have challenged my heart and my perspective.  One young pastor, about 25 years old, got up one day to sing a song. His purpose was to bring his anointed voice to bless us before we started several hours of teaching. His voice was powerfully anointed, bringing tears to Deborah’s eyes only two bars into the song. However, it was his brief testimony (not planned) that tugged at my heart and challenged me as a pastor, leader, apostle and as an example in the body of Christ. He said that he had lived in a Hindu village where there was little Christian presence. However, someone testified to him of Jesus and he accepted Christ at a young pre-adult age. His father immediately threatened to throw him out of the house, cut off relationship and disown him from the family. His father demanded that he renounce his new faith in Jesus. This young man refused to bow to his father’s threat (a major affront in this culture) and said he would continue to follow Jesus. The father did not throw him out or disown him. 

Sometime later the young man got married. Soon thereafter this young man felt called to be a pastor and to go to Bible College in India. His wife said if he left to go to Bible College she would leave him. His father also re-invoked his earlier threat and added that he would burn his house and all his possessions if he went to Bible College and became a pastor.  The young man refused to change his mind and bow to the threats from his wife or his father. When the young man came back from college his wife received him and his house and possessions were intact. 

God soon called him to relocate and plant a church in a Buddhist village. When he and his wife arrived and began the ministry, a local witch doctor began cursing and ‘witching’ him and threatened to kill him. Local villagers came to his house and told him he must take his family and flee to save his life. The young pastor said he was not afraid of the witch or his power, God’s power was greater and he would not leave! He knew he was called to bring the gospel to this village and that is what he would do. Three days later the witch doctor died. 

Today, at the age of 25, he is senior pastor of that rapidly growing church in a Buddhist village. He walks in humility AND authority wherever he goes. 

I am challenged by his brief testimony in so many ways. First, his conversion was radical, complete and unapologetic. It was 180 degrees opposed to his culture, family and national traditions. He completely aligned with His heavenly Father in a way few can fathom. Second, when his father and wife intimidated him with threats of estrangement and loss, he refused to back down on his call or his purpose in life. Family and relationships would not deter him from his destiny. And third, direct intimidation by overt evil only solidified his resolve to bring the Good News of Jesus to that village. He knew that the One who was for him was greater than the one who was against him.

This man’s journey brings tangible reality to the words of Jesus. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matt. 10:37-39)  This man found his life in Christ and was willing to give up life as he knew it to follow Christ. Let this man’s testimony be a challenge and inspiration to all of us.


Advancing the Kingdom in Nepal

Harvey presenting Kalli with a CFIA graduation certificate.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing (Col. 1:6a).  Today I am reflecting on my time in Nepal ministering to a select group of 31 pastors and leaders.  This was my first time back to Nepal since 2005. My perspective of ministry, especially success in ministry, has changed in these past 10 years. I now see how the Father uses a small number of people to cause demonstrably large shifts in cities, states and nations. I call this the ‘remnant principle’. While we ministers may cast the seed of the Word broadly, it is only a few recipients, a remnant, that bear fruit that remains; fruit that bears more fruit, 30, 60 and 100 times what was sown (Mk. 4:20; Luke 8:15). Such people produce cultural shifts and kingdom results! Among those to whom I ministered is such a man named Kalli, now 72 years young and continuing to sow the word of grace that produces fruit.  

Thirty-six years ago, Kalli a passionate young pastor, visited a high mountain village in the Himalayan Mountains. A handful of people accepted Christ and became believers. Shortly after, a young Buddhist mother gravely ill and filled with demonic influence from her culture, asked for prayer. Those new believers gathered at her house and prayed for her in the name of Jesus. She was healed, delivered from demons, and accepted Christ. Seeing the hand of God in action, some more families in that village believed on Jesus Christ, and a church, the only church in that district was birthed. That young mother had a 13-year old son, a goat herder, who accepted Christ. Even though he had no education and could not read he began to teach himself the Nepali alphabet letter by letter and accrued a minimal reading ability. As he grew in spiritual understanding he became a passionate evangelist and Kalli mentored him and sent him to Bible School. At the age of 30, Kalli installed him as pastor in his local village and he soon planted 4 more churches. He mentored the leaders of those churches. Over a period of 19 years those 4 churches spawned 35 more churches. Today there are over 235 churches in that district! 

It all started with one man, Kalli, who sowed the Word in a remote village. Kalli then mentored and discipled the young goat herder who then mentored other young men. From goat herder to Word sower, from gathering goats to mentoring ministers...it started with a remnant that produced fruit, much fruit, fruit that remains.

Today, Kalli alone has seen over 400 churches come from his labor. He is now focused on the highest mountains near Tibet, traveling as much as 9 days on foot to reach one church, a remnant. What Paul the apostle said to the believers in Colossae, are words Kalli could also speak today, ‘All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its Truth.(Col.1:6) 


Intimidation - The Tool of the Enemy

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph. 6:13)  

 As I have ministered recently on the topic of Living in the Kingdom of God amidst a Culture of Corruption, I am reminded of the warrior identity we have in Christ.  Much of the church in America is dressed as a wimp rather than a warrior. We walk more like a lamb than a lion.  

Earlier this year we received a prophetic word that 2014 would be a ‘year of contrast’, contrast between those who wholeheartedly follow Christ and live in His kingdom, versus those who do not.  I see this contrast in this election season. Christian leaders are being tested to wholeheartedly follow Him to bring contrast in America. Recently, many Houston pastors received court orders to hand over all their sermons, emails, and correspondence because of comments they may have made about a gay friendly city ordinance. We see it in the letters American pastors receive from a secular organization prior to every election. The letters threaten IRS retribution if pastors speak out on political issues. The enemy seeks to intimidate church leadership. The enemy goes about ‘like a roaring lion’ (1 Pet. 5:8). The enemy seeks to intimidate us by imitating the power of the lion. Its intimidation by imitation! Lambs can be intimidated. Lions cannot! It is we who carry the true lion on the inside of us, the Lion of Judah, the soon coming King. We do not imitate a lion, because we carry the authentic Lion on the inside!

Every pastor and ministry leader in America has contrasting choices ...to stay silent on the many moral and cultural issues of the day, or to speak out in truth and righteousness bringing clarity to the cloudy world of politics. I am drawn to Paul’s words again in Eph. 6:13 that we are called to ‘stand.  We must stand together or fall together. 

For each of you in leadership in America, I urge you to speak clearly with conviction on the key issues facing this nation in the election. For those of you in other nations, pray that we in America would have courage to declare truth to America in this election. Pray that we would embrace the identity of the Lion and the Warrior and stand against the imitator!

Be very blessed as each of you stand, bringing contrast on behalf of the King of Kings in nation.


Biblical Values Under Fire

Rom. 1:21 ~ For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Vs. 32… Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. 

The Apostle Paul’s words to the Romans deserve pause and consideration for us today.

We live amidst a culture of corruption in America. We see it in the area of core values, world views and our national moral compass. The futility and darkness of our culture is apparent in so many areas that it is difficult for me to address just one or two as examples. But let’s take the Biblical view of sexuality and marriage. The Biblical view is clear that man and woman are designed distinctly differently, yet are designed by God to come together in marriage to become a union. God considered this union to be His design and plan. We find no latitude in scripture to endorse or advocate for same sex marriage and, until recent years, there was no latitude in our culture for such endorsement or advocacy. However, same sex unions and lifestyles are not only accepted but endorsed, advocated and even celebrated. 

What were Paul’s words?  … ‘they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them’.   Approval comes in the form of politically correct cultural rules, new laws defining ‘hate speech’ and marriage, and government and corporate policies reflecting the same approvals and endorsements.  We see this in hundreds of examples in our nation, but let me briefly list a few; an attorney in Virginia is being disciplined for articulating his belief in the Biblical definition of  marriage, a newspaper editor in Iowa being fired for writing a personal blog describing his Biblical view of marriage, an Army Colonel describing the American Family Association as a ‘hate group’ for its Biblical view of marriage,  and a high school in California banning Chick-fil-A sandwiches because Chick-fil-A’s founder (now deceased) once said his view of marriage was between a man and a woman. So we see governmental, corporate, and media policy embracing the new normal; same sex unions and lifestyles are embraced and Biblical worldviews are excluded and even punished!

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently stated in a speech that America has experienced a ‘cultural reversal’. He defined a cultural reversal as when that which was condemned is now celebrated and those who refuse to celebrate it are now condemned.  His words are a precise expression of where we find ourselves in this nation on many issues, including the one described above.
So, is the Biblical perspective lost in America? No, it is clarified. It stands in stark contrast to the emerging culture. Those of us who embrace the Kingdom of God also embrace its fundamental truths and principles. Living out those truths and principles bring clarity to the Kingdom perspective of living. Embracing them also brings attention and forms of persecution from the culture. So how do we move forward with Kingdom clarity in our culture?  

We do the following:
·        We are alert for and resist the enemy and his strategies.
·        We pray in the spirit on all occasions.
·        We speak truth in love…love is not always ‘nice’ and agreeable.
·        We speak with clarity…ambiguity and gray language does not help!
·        We live what we speak…actions reflect Kingdom character and commitment.
·        We bless those who curse us.

Move forward with the Kingdom of God as your focus, your substance, and your provision every day. We focus on what Jesus did for us and for them as scripture says, ‘Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:3)


Church, Speak Up and Speak Out!

"...Every cultural issue facing the United States of America is addressed in the Bible and offers the direction and counsel of God."

Rom. 1:21~ For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 

Paul’s words to the people in Rome are poignant for today in America. Note that Paul says they KNEW God. This nation KNEW God, as a nation, as a people, as a culture. But most have become futile in mind and darkened in heart so that their world view, decisions, and life contain so much of ‘what ought not to be done’.

I have been ministering on this topic here at Crossfire for several weeks. I’m addressing the hot topics of our culture…education, court decisions, sexuality, national debt, immigration, Islamic intrusion, media bias, freedom of speech, political correctness and others. I am doing so from a Biblical worldview. A recent survey by a prominent social researcher in America (George Barna) discussed the results of pastoral leadership surveys revealing that almost 100% of pastors surveyed agreed that every cultural issue facing the United States of America is addressed in the Bible and offers the direction and counsel of God.  However, he also revealed that less than 10% of pastors surveyed are willing to publicly address these issues from the pulpit!!!(George Barna on American Family Radio 9.18.14).

We live in a nation that has become futile in thinking and darkened in the heart.  While we certainly have shining lights of the Kingdom of God shimmering amidst the darkness emitted from individual believers, ministries and churches, the nation and culture provide a large dark background to those lights. So…yes...this is bad news and really not news to those in the body of Christ who are deeply engaged by His Spirit. 

I believe we have entered a time of declaring apostolic clarity in this nation, clarity for the Kingdom of God amidst a culture of corruption. We have entered a time when leaders in the church must stand and respond to the prophetic call of the shofar to bring forth the Kingdom in this nation, not a theocracy, but a kingdomocracy, a worldview that is big and long term unto restoration of God’s intentions and purposes for the USA.  A kingdom mind toward the return of the King to a powerful, purposeful church and nation. Theologians talk about revival. I’m talking about a revolution…a revolution of thinking and worldview. 

This will not happen as long as the church, especially leadership, refuses to clarify the Kingdom compared to the corrupted culture. The church is called to be clarifiers not pacifiers, occupiers not observers. Without a vision the people perish, and the nation along with them! As leaders step up, the church will step up!

I will continue posting on this subject offering insight, hope and Kingdom keys to see this through. Stay tuned for more!