A Dream of Light That Brought Refugee To Jesus

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Achmed lives with his family in a refugee camp. He had never seen himself as a good Muslim and would often beat himself up about his lack. One night, he had a dream where he was in complete darkness. Then suddenly, a hand reached out to him, pulled him out of the darkness and into the light. The next day, Achmed met one of our workers, disciple Prabu, and shared about the dream. Although he was affected by the dream, he was unsure how God could ever forgive him for the life he had led.

Prabu began discipling Achmed, and over time Jesus opened Achmed's heart to His forgiving and loving nature as a Father. Achmed started a bible group that has grown into two groups! Jesus continues to show His love among refugees all around the world through dreams and stories!

Share the miracle, and show what God is doing among the nations!

Helping People Respond to a Fallen Leader

It is shattering for people to put their trust in a leader and then discover that leader has betrayed their trust. When a leader sins, not only is their life and the lives of their family devastated, but the lives of those who follow them are also deeply impacted. Below are a few things to keep in mind when helping a church or ministry to recover after the fall of their leader.

• It is important for people to forgive as often as they think about the leader. Lead them in praying for this person. Encourage them to speak out their forgiveness. Speak it out in prayer. Gently guide them so that cynicism and mistrust may not be allowed to find a hiding place in their hearts. Remember, they have been sinned against. They need time to work through the emotions of what has happened to them.

• Help people to recognize the difference between forgiveness and restoration. Even if the leader has repented, there is a necessary season of restoration for them to go through. The greater the sin the longer the period of restoration will be. The character weakness that led to the sin needs to be repaired and made right. If the sin was hidden over a long period of time and was not voluntarily disclosed, the greater the consequences.

• God is more jealous and concerned about the fallen leader’s character than anything that he/she has done for the Kingdom. God will sacrifice a person’s public ministry to regain right relationship with them.

• God will allow His own reputation to be hurt for the sake of bringing a leader to repentance. God will endure being mocked from outsiders in order to bring loving correction to our lives. How does He do that? He will expose a leaders sin publicly if that’s what it takes in order to restore them.

• "Anointing", "fruit" or effectiveness in ministry does not equal God's stamp of approval on any man or woman. God has allowed many a leader to experience His blessing while striving at the same time to bring the person to a place of repentance. Why does God allow that to happen? Because of His mercy. Because biblical truth will bear fruit even when the one speaking the truth may be living in sin. Eventually, a man’s sins will find him out and he will reap what he has sown.

• There are many ways people grieve the loss of a leader. When a leader falls, people go through the normal stages of grief: denial (shock), anger, bargaining, blame and acceptance of what happened. Each stage of grief is valid and we need to make room for people to grieve in their own way while helping them through the process.

• Followers are not responsible for their leader’s sin. Some people will blame themselves. Guide them away from that response. Their responsibility is their reaction to their leader’s sin. It may take some time for them to come to a place of Godly forgiveness and then acceptance that the church may need to move on without their former leader.

• Allow the church family to be a safe place for people to express their emotions, including anger, forgiveness, blame, etc. Some people may react for a period of time by closing down their hearts completely, or just giving lip service to the right action. Guide people to a place of forgiveness and healing and then on to restoration of the church. Counsel them about the importance of choosing to fear God so they can see how sin impacts God’s heart most of all.

• Establish a restoration team for the fallen leader. Give them clear guidelines as to how the restoration should take place and to whom they are accountable. Decide if the leader should be restored to their role within the church or to go elsewhere for restoration.

• Provide regular pastoral oversight and care for the church in the weeks and months after events have taken place. The church also needs a “restoration team” of godly leaders. Sometimes it is beneficial to have people from outside the congregation, help them to a place of complete restoration.

The Gift of Rejection

God uses rejection to shape our inner world. John 6:60-71 records a time when some of the disciples of Jesus rejected him: "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father. 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve."

Rejection creates two character strengths when we respond correctly:

  1. Toughness
  2. Tenderness

Leaders cannot lead in the fear of the Lord without toughness to keep going when people turn away from them, and tenderness to those who reject them as they leave. Rejection is so important in the development of leader’s lives, that if we do not bring about our own rejection through bad choices and lack of wisdom, God will bring it about for us. Regardless, God uses rejection to shape our character and prepare us to be the men and women He wants us to be.

Has someone important to you rejected or betrayed you? Have you considered the possibility that this is God’s doing? Jesus suffered rejection. Should we expect anything less as his followers?

Why Jesus' followers rejected him – looking deeper in verses 60-71 in John 6:

  1. hard sayings of Jesus - vs 60
  2. they didn't understand him - vs 60
  3. complaining by some infected the hearts of others - vs 61
  4. they took up offenses - vs 61
  5. seeing in the natural what they could not see in the Spirit - vs 62
  6. flesh cannot understand the spirit - vs 62
  7. unbelief - vs 64
  8. betrayal - vs 64
  9. the spirit was not drawing them - vs 65
  10. the devil was at work - vs 70

Fallen, broken human beings reject one another. The pain of rejection goes deep. The lie of rejection is that we have to withdraw from others to protect ourselves. But God has a different purpose for rejection. He uses it. At times he may even cause it. Does this shock you? Do not be surprised that God will orchestrate relationships that are painful in order to test you and teach you and mold your character.

Why?

To toughen us. To turn us to himself. To produce godly determination in our character. To teach us not to fear what people say or do, to impart to us a godly backbone of steel. God needs men and women who will not give up when things are hard, who will not sulk and whine and turn back when others do. God uses human rejection to produce divine desire and determination in our character.

To soften us. If we respond right to those who reject us, we do two things at once: we forgive them and we keep going. We learn to forgive as we forge ahead. Toughness without tenderness is rude and uncaring. It is harshness. It is rejection in response to rejection. But those who embrace rejection as the gift of God, learn to forgive those who reject them and to continue to obey God 

One of the greatest pictures of rejection and resulting tenderness and toughness in the Bible is when Joseph forgave his brothers, the very brothers who plotted to kill him, who sold him into slavery, who were jealous of their father's blessing in his life. When Joseph met his brothers again after many years, he was able to forgive them. And lead them without fear or favor – all while maintaining a tender and forgiving spirit.

Are you in the midst of a rejection test orchestrated by God? Have you blamed it on people but failed to see what God was up to? Perhaps your test of rejection took place many years ago – it is not too late to go back to the point of pain, to forgive and to take hold once again of God’s purposes in your life. It is never too hard and never too late with God.