One of our AN couples based in India is asking for 50,000 people to pray for the Padhar of India near where they live. This is the group they are going to visit and reach. There are a few believers but not yet a people movement to Christ. Please pray.
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Posted in Events
Tagged India, Pray
Jesus loves Africa! Of that I am sure.
There is great brokenness in Africa, but there is also great beauty. I see beauty in the hospitality of African peoples.
There’s beauty in the smile of African people. And there is great beauty in the music – no one can sing like Africans!!
There’s beauty in the spirituality of Africa… Even though that spirituality has often been hijacked and misguided by the enemy into ancestor worship and spiritism.
There’s beauty in the courage of Africans. All throughout the continent of Africa you will find bold African evangelists proclaiming the Gospel. The church is growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than any other continent in the world!
Though there is beauty in Africa, there is also brokenness in, and it breaks the heart of God: we see the brokenness in the wars, preventable diseases, AIDS, famine, corruption and suffering children.
When I pray for Africa, hope fills my heart for the continent. But when I read the reports of problems I start to lose hope. So I know the answer for me… I need to be more impressed with God than I am with circumstances and newspaper reports. And I need to keep praying for Africa.
Isn’t that true for all of us? Don’t we all need to continually be more impressed with God’s greatness than with human problems?
The church in Africa is the hope of Africa. And spiritual leaders are the hope of the church.
Sally and I feel called to give the rest of our lives to invest in the leaders and the church in Africa. Why? Because the church is the hope of Africa.
Every African leader needs friends who believe in them – and who will invest in their lives through friendship and discipleship.
This is an article written by Mark Buckley from Living Streams Church. I think it is worth pondering on…
August 2015 – Selah
I became friends with Larry Bresnan my senior year in high school. Larry went to a Fellowship for Christian Athletes camp after graduation and gave his life to Jesus. Larry found peace with God, started reading the Bible, and continually told me “Jesus is alive.” Even though Larry seemed to be on a radical Christian trip, his peace and persistence impressed me. If Jesus was alive, I wanted to get to know Him as well. In January of 1970, I followed Larry’s advice and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Larry moved to Oregon, where he got married and had four children.
Twelve years later, I heard Larry had colon cancer. My friends Billy Stockton and Mike Griffiths joined me in fasting for three days asking God to heal Larry. We drove to Oregon to pray for him. I was heartbroken when he died several months later. I have always been thankful for his influence in my life, which continues to this day. I had a dream about Larry last month.
In my dream, I saw Larry with his curly brown hair, a bushy beard, and a big smile on his face. As I moved nearer to him, his face grew dark. I heard a voice say, “You cannot see his face.”
“It doesn’t matter, I know what he looks like,” I replied. I kept moving closer to Larry because I was so glad to see my friend once again.
Then a voice said, “I have a message for you.” At that moment, I realized it was the Lord speaking to me. He gave me a one-word message, “Selah.”
I woke up after the dream just after midnight. I thought about the Lord’s message for a while, and then got up and opened my Bible to read Psalm 24. Selah is a Hebrew word used many times in the Psalms. It is used after particularly meaty phrases. Its primary meaning is pause. Pause, think about what this means, wait a moment, and let this truth sink in before going further.
The editors of the new NIV Bible have removed Selah from their translation. That is unfortunate, because we need Selah now more than ever. It is a simple concept which can help us grasp truth.
A nap is a Selah in your day.
A Sabbath day is a Selah in your week.
A vacation is a Selah in your year.
A Sabbatical is a Selah in your career.
Selah helps seeds of truth take root in our hearts when we read the scriptures. Selah can help restore our soul when we are on vacation. Selah can help us understand our spouse in a discussion. Selah can prevent us from saying something we regret in an argument. Selah can help restrain us when we are angry, and restore us when we are tired. Selah is what a golf pro told me to do at the top of my backswing. Selah is what Jesus said to me through Larry in my dream.
I lay awake on my bed thinking about Larry alive with Jesus. I felt like I had seen him for the first time since he died. Then I thought about our son Matthew, and others I love who are alive with Jesus. I asked the Lord to forgive me for ever doubting the reality of heaven. My heart has been broken, and my heart has been healed, because Jesus is alive. Jesus said, “Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn. 20:29).
Christ is going to raise us all from the dead, so there is no reason to worry, or hurry. We all have battles, and we all have pain in life; Selah can help us appreciate our blessings as well. Psalm 24:7 says, Lift up your heads you gates; be lifted up you ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Selah.
If you would like to read more of Mark’s reflections, click here
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The goal of processing grief is not to understand the reasons for loss, but to receive God’s comfort in the midst of loss. Four responses to loss that will circumvent the comfort God wants to provide:
- Blame it on the devil – over spiritualize the loss
- Look for sin in the camp – try to find whose fault it is.
- Rationalize it – a head-level response.
- Ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen – a form of denial.
As leaders, we have the privilege of guiding people to grieve their losses well. A wise leader creates space for their followers to ‘pay attention’.
Four steps for healthy grieving:
- Pay attention to your heart, acknowledging the pain, loss, anger, and sadness.
- Don’t rush the time between sorrow and healing.
- Use the Psalms to give a biblical language to your grieving.
- Allow (when ready) the old to give birth to the new.
As I have grown older, I have learned to pay attention to my heart and to process my grief with God honestly. I have learned not to hide from my losses.
I have learned the hard way that past losses can negatively impact present relationships if not dealt with before God and with others.”
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In my book Leading Like Jesus, I go through a Biblical approach to dealing with conflict. Here is a short portion of that chapter…
“It is hard to accept a conflict as unresolvable, but once we prayerfully come to that realization, it allows us to work through our part of it without unnecessary guilt or pressure. Paul and Barnabas never fully resolved their conflict over John Mark. The Bible does not justify the conflict; neither does it condemn either Paul or Barnabas.
How should we respond to a seemingly unresolvable conflict?
- Be secure in yourself. Jesus maintained a peaceful demeanor. When you are in turmoil, go back to God.
- Don’t react emotionally. Stay prayerful and practice the fruit of the Spirit. If you go on the warpath to attack others or defend yourself, no good will come of it.
- When you do respond, be concise and straightforward. Don’t offer explanations – you don’t owe them to people accusing you in the wrong spirit.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself. You are not the issue, even though others may target you or attack you. It may be an issue of incompatible vision or incongruent values, but don’t make yourself the issue.
- If given the opportunity, and you feel a release to do so, describe the issue clearly as you understand it. But only do this because you are led to speak about the topic calmly and in a respectful manner.
- Ask for a decision or response. It is not wrong to set a time frame for dealing with the issue. To drag it out may lead to an ongoing, unhealthy debate. Ask God to bring it to a head so everyone can move on with their lives.
- Ask people outside the situation to provide objective feedback. When faced with a conflict, I sought out unbiased, respected leaders to help me objectively assess myself and my responses. They offered affirmation, as well as feedback on my attitudes and actions. I also asked a trusted advisor to fly in and spend the day doing an “emotional and spiritual audit” on my heart. He asked very probing questions that I spent months reflecting on.
- Trust God to defend you. God may test you and allow you to be falsely accused, but someday the truth will come out. Keep your eyes on the Lord and be more concerned with what God thinks of you than what people think or say.
- Make up your mind to speak well of others. It is true – what we sow, we reap. This is not only true of sinful actions and words, but it is also true if we speak well of others we disagree with.
- Take time for your heart to be healed before you move into the next season. If you don’t, you might carry with you unresolved pain and bitterness towards others. This doesn’t have to mean waiting years for God to heal your heart. It could be as simple as winning the battle of forgiveness and laying down your rights – no matter how painful it my be – then moving on.”
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This is another excerpt from my new book LeadingLike Jesus.
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“God does not initiate every human situation that tests us, but he uses them all.
A leadership test is a crisis, big or small, that God uses to teach us to depend more deeply on Him. Testing is one of the least understood aspects of God’s ways. We often ignore God’s testing in our lives, to our great detriment.
God-orchestrated tests in leaders’ lives usually produce one or two results: drawing them closer to God, or pushing them further from God. That is a choice we must make for ourselves – God will not force us to trust Him.
Below are the components of unique tests we go through as individuals and the common tests most leaders go through at some point.
Components of God-appointed Tests:
- Difficult Circumstances (or a crisis) – If it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be a test.
- Desired Response – God wants us to seek Him
- Delight – God delights in our growth as we develop deeper dependence on Him. This is the reward He gives us for passing the test.
Common Tests for Leaders:
- Rejection – Dismissal by friends, family, or trusted co-workers
- Isolation – A wilderness time of loneliness or confusion
- God’s Silence – When God does not speak
- Integrity – To be true to our convictions no matter how hard
- Hearing God’s Voice – Knowing it is God speaking
- Obedience – Doing what God says, no matter the cost.
- Laying Down our Rights – Not insisting on having our way
- Word Test – Obeying God’s direction to us
- Faith Test – Believing God in spite of overwhelming odds
All leaders are tested and we will do well to recognize the test and its importance for our development as wise and faithful leaders.”
This is a little story from my book Leading Like Jesus.
“Living in a small Holland village, I remember walking down a long hallway in the training center I led. It was very early in the morning so I had the building all to myself for prayer and meditation. As I paced up and down the hallway, I noticed a candy wrapper thrown carelessly on the floor. I thought to myself, “I must say something to the students about being so thoughtless.” Back and forth I walked, repeatedly passing the wrapper. Praying. Seeking God. Annoyed with the students. Then I heard a still small voice: “You pick up the candy wrapper.” I protested, “But if I start using my quiet times in the mornings to pick up candy wrappers, where will it end?”
Through the hallway window, I could see a few other randomly scattered bits and pieces of paper around the campus. I pictured myself marching from one end of the campus to the other, using my precious time to pick up scraps of paper all day. But the voice persisted, “You pick it up and don’t lecture the students about it. Just do it and carry on.”
And so I learned ‘The Lesson Of The Candy Wrapper’. Just do it. Don’t call attention to yourself. Don’t consider any task too lowly for you to do. Don’t fancy yourself too busy to pick up candy wrappers.”
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This is a portion from Leading Like Jesus that I believe is helpful to those who lead and pioneer new movements …
“Don’t let desperation for help drive your team building! Jesus chose team members prudently.
Effective leaders have a clearly defined set of qualifications for team members.
Team Selection Guidelines:
- Courtesy – Do they know how to respect other team members? Are they collaborative in their approach to decision making?
- Chemistry – Do they have good chemistry with you as the team leader and with others on the team? Are they likeable? Can they have a good time with those they work with?
- Competence – Do they have the skills necessary to add strength to the team?
- Character – Do they display servant leadership qualities? Do they show integrity? Are they reliable and do they keep promises?
- Core Values – Are their core values aligned with those of the rest of the team?
- Courage – are they willing to take risks? Do they exercise faith and take on new challenges when called upon?
- Capacity – Do they have the emotional capacity for leadership responsibility? Can they handle stress and pressure?
- Culture – do they work well with people of other cultures? Are they sensitive and adaptive to different cultural contexts?
- Calling/Commitment – What are their spiritual gifts? Do their gifts complement the team? Do they have a clear call from God to serve with you?
- Clear Expectations – Have you discussed your expectations and theirs?
Team building presents many opportunities to learn humility and grow in wisdom. The principle of multiplication goes hand in hand with the principle of selection. Jesus came to launch a movement. To do that, He needed trustworthy men and women to lead and reproduce the movement.”
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“Three Reasons To Spend Quiet Time Alone With God…
- God wants it – one should not take lightly an invitation from the Creator of the universe to be with Him
- We need it – we need the wisdom, forgiveness, power and spiritual food for our soul that only God can give.
- Others wait for it – they need our prayer. God has chosen to use the prayers of spiritual leaders as a way of partnering with Him to accomplish His purposes in other people’s lives. Without prayer, God has chosen to limit what He does.
Prayer is not about a thing to do, but a person to talk to. It is not about a duty to perform, but being with our closest friend.”
This is an excerpt from my new book ‘Leading Like Jesus’
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