From Allah to Jesus

BehaTraining church planters in India, raising support for orphans and missionaries, writing gospel tracks, and preaching through technology can be laborious, especially when all of that is on top of leading a church here in the USA. However, whenever I get a testimony like I just received, all I can do is fall on my knees before the Lord and thank Him for allowing me to be a small part of His work of the great commission.

This is the testimony I recently received from Beha*, who is pictured to the left. Read through the entire story and you’ll see the miraculous change that only Christ can do in the hearts of people. The entire testimony is below, including the words she capitalized for emphasis. Continue reading “From Allah to Jesus”

End of Construction–Thanks for your patience!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a recent vacation trip with my wife, we visited the Billy Graham Library and museum in Charlotte, NC. It was fantastic! Throughout the visit, the message of the gospel was penetrating, convicting, and refreshing. Being a pastor in my 52nd year of life, and realizing that the sand in my hourglass of time is getting low, I cried and rejoiced at the same time observing the brevity of time and the importance of making every moment count. Kudos to the BGEA for their superbly built and God-honoring museum.

There is so much that could be discussed, but I want to mention the last thing viewed during the tour of the site. It was the gravesite of Ruth Graham, Billy’s wife who passed away in 2007. Ruth grew up in China as one of the children of medical missionaries, married Billy after meeting him at college, and was with him as his dear bride for over 60 years. She had the front row seat of the life of a man who preached face to face with more people than anyone who has ever shared the gospel. Continue reading “End of Construction–Thanks for your patience!”

Jesus is Still the Friend of Sinners!

Rati (Madam)I get many testimonies from the front lines of church planting in rural India. They are filled with stories of the Holy Spirit’s work similar to what we read in the book of Acts. The Lord is just as committed to reaching men and women that are looking for truth as He has always been. After all, Jesus is the “same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) Thank God He is, and here is a story I recently received that demonstrates the Lord’s tender care for all people, regardless of where they have come from. The lady being baptized in the photo is Rati, who wrote this letter to me.

(Names and villages changed for security reasons) Continue reading “Jesus is Still the Friend of Sinners!”

Allah Did Not Answer, But Jesus Did!

Muslim lady and husbandThe power of the gospel is not limited to the written words of the Scriptures only. The Lord promised to pour out the Holy Spirit upon all flesh. (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17) One of the most powerful promises that Jesus left for His followers is that He would speak and His sheep would hear His voice. That promise has been true down through the centuries since He walked the shores of Galilee. Jesus still speaks…and His sheep still hear His voice! (John 10:27)

Working among the rural areas of India, our PROJECT INDIA church planting team confronts many situations from atheism to pantheism, and from Islam to Hinduism. One such opportunity came to light recently as revealed in this testimony sent to me from a lady who was raised a Muslim. I’ll let you read the testimony she sent to me. (I have changed her name for security reasons. The capital letters in this message are the ones she added. This is the letter in its entirety.)

“Hello, my name is Herra, a follower of the Muslim religion. I had never heard about Jesus. Since I born and brought in Muslim religion and a traditional family, I was never allowed to hear about the other religions. The last few years my family has gone through much suffering and poverty. We were not able to bare it anymore and so we made plans to die by drinking poison. Many times we prayed to our Muslim god ALLA, BUT WE RECEIVED NO ANSWER from him.

3 months back a pastors wife Suvartharani visited our home. She shared her testimony how we could meet the Lord Jesus. And she also shared the powerful and loving message of cross through DVD where Pastor Terry Ivy shared about the love of Jesus. As I was hearing the word, I felt Jesus himself talk to me. Continue reading “Allah Did Not Answer, But Jesus Did!”

A Tract…A Man…A Church

New VillageA couple of weeks ago, our Project India team traveled and did outreach and evangelism in a village where people came to market in order to sell their vegetables, fruit and fish. Our team gathered small crowds and passed out gospel tracts. One tract, “The Cross” is a message I wrote last year for the team to translate and distribute. It discusses the plan of salvation from Creation, the fall of Adam, the promise of a Messiah, and the birth, life, death resurrection and ascension of Jesus. I wrote it in very simple language because it had to go through translation and printing for the rural villages we are reaching in India.

As our team passed out tracts, they gave one to a man who was at the village that day selling fish to get money to provide for his family. He lives in a coastal village several kilometers away. His coastal village has a high rate of illiteracy, and most of the population worship the water and fish hindu gods. Very few from his village can read or write, but he was one of the few. He took the tract, placed it in his pocket, and carried it back to his village after he had finished selling his fish.

After arriving back at his coastal village he discovered the tract and began to read it. As he did, his heart leaped with joy as he read the news about Jesus coming to die for the sins and forgiveness of mankind. When he reached the end of the tract, he prayed and Continue reading “A Tract…A Man…A Church”

Changing Hurdle Jumpers

hurdleWe have been rapidly moving toward a post-Christian culture. That can be daunting to those, like myself, who are old enough to remember the Christian dominating culture and have lived through the transition. However, if we embrace one important dynamic, it does not have to be the hurdle we think it is.

In order for many of our neighbors in our culture to ‘come to church,’ they must jump many hurdles to get to our services. Some of those hurdles are:

  • Meeting times – do we worship a day or a person?
  • Dress codes – do ties and dress slacks make us more spiritual?
  • Meeting protocol – why 3 songs, an offering, a sermon and a prayer?
  • Bible linguistics – why heavy theological language which most don’t understand?
  • etc.

The average ‘posty’ (my term for a post-Christian person) must jump over these and many other hurdles in order to ‘fit into’ our puritanical and centralized pattern of church. Continue reading “Changing Hurdle Jumpers”

Go and Tell…

recording4A young man sits in an outreach meeting in a rural village in India. His name is Babu.* He listens as the Gospel is proclaimed in his village with clarity during a street meeting. Conviction comes upon his heart and he responds to the call to repent of his sins and surrender to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. When he does, his life is changed forever as God washes away his sins and makes him a new person in Christ. (2Cor. 5:17)

This story is unfolding time after time through the work of Project India, as we have seen nearly 4,000 come to Christ in the past 14 months and planted 41 churches in previously unreached villages. However, the story of this young man will help explain some of the phenomenal results we are seeing.

Soon after his conversion, Babu is praying and senses the Holy Spirit directing him to action. He obeys and is immediately thrust into action in the kingdom of God. What does he do? Babu is very poor, but feels he is to take all his money and buy a video camera and Continue reading “Go and Tell…”

Snake Oil Salesmen and Their Strange Gospel

SnakeOilSalesman_zps28c5676fTurn on religious T.V. and it is easy to hear gospel messages about how to “be a better you,” learn to “think positive,” or get “healthy and wealthy.” These messages soothe the egos of the ignorant and carnal, helping them to continue down their egotistical path of selfishness and materialism. These messages are preached every week by false teachers who are nothing more than modern day snake oil salesmen. Millions are thinking they are hearing the gospel, and worse than this, most of them will not find out they have bitten into a lie until they stand before the Lord and realize that are headed to hell—but it will be too late!

The airwaves are filled with these “strange gospel” messages. The Christian message has been reduced to psychological self-help by many of the speakers on television. This should not surprise us, for both Paul and Peter warned us that these days would come about. (2Tim. 3:1-9 ; 2Pet. 3:1-19) We have modern day snake oil salesmen who use a few words from the gospel as a means to make gullible people feel better about themselves without true faith and repentance. It is a strange gospel.

The gospel of the New Testament is a message of reconciliation, faith and repentance. Until we surrender our life to Christ by faith, we are wicked, lost and headed for destruction, regardless of all the positive thoughts and self-help gimmicks we embrace. (Rom. 3:9-18) Jesus said a man “must be born-again” in order to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-7), and unless a man repents, he will perish. (Luke 13:3,5) Paul said we Continue reading “Snake Oil Salesmen and Their Strange Gospel”

A Grandmother’s Prayer

MaryAliceI was three month’s old as I lay on the floor on a home made baby pallet. My grandmother, Mary Alice, was ironing clothes and watching over me and my older brother and sister. It was a delight for her to keep three of her grandchildren as my mother got away for some shopping. However, this was not an ordinary day…not for Mary Alice, and certainly not for me.

As my brother and sister played in the room, I simply kicked my legs, and pumped my arms the way infants do, slobbering and spitting. Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to my grandmother. He said, “I have called him to preach.” It startled her, but as a deep believer in Christ, she was familiar with God’s voice. She looked at all three of us kids and asked, “Which one Lord?” As her eyes scanned from my brother, to my sister and finally settling on me, the Holy Spirit said, “I have called him.”

Mary Alice NEVER told me this. In fact, it was many years after her death that my mother’s older sister related this story to me. My grandmother had shared the story with her years after I responded to the Lord’s call into ministry. When my aunt shared this with me many things in my interactions with my grandmother added up. I always felt Mary Alice doted on me. I can still see the sparkle in her eyes whenever we talked, and I can still feel the special pinch she gave me on my cheeks whenever I got close to her. However, she kept the words spoken to her by the Holy Spirit hidden in her heart and only breathed them back to God in prayer.

As a young believer I really struggled with the call into ministry. I knew the sin of my heart and my various struggles with the flesh and I did not want to bring shame or disappointment to the Lord’s name or His work. One particular day I was standing alone Continue reading “A Grandmother’s Prayer”

Idolatrous Festival Director Comes to Christ

The power of the Gospel never fails to amaze me. The truth of God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit can penetrate the depth of any darkness in the heart of man. Jesus alone has the power to change a person’s heart and give them purpose and fulfillment in life.

Here is a testimony received this week of God’s redemptive grace. Some of the English is rough, but the message is precious. We are witnessing testimonies like this every week of people coming to Christ through Project India.

Hello, I am Seriva B__.  I just want say what the Lord  Jesus has done in my life. I grew up a very strong Hindu idol worshiper. We have mother goddess in our family  and I used to worship 15,000 goddesses  every day. I used to worship and pray to them since my childhood. The last 35 years I was also zone goddess festival director, but not now because I have resigned.    

Last 3 months I could not find peace. Something was happening in my heart. My burden was very high and I was even planning  to drink to poisons because I did not want live any more. I had prayed to all my 15,000 goddesses to give me peace but I could not hear anything from them. My friend, Raja shared about Continue reading “Idolatrous Festival Director Comes to Christ”

The Lord Reveals His Power to a Village

Over the past year the Lord has performed some astounding acts among rural villages in India. These villages had never heard the wonderful news of Jesus Christ before we reached them. They were no believers or church in their midst. This week I received a phone call of an event which demonstrates how the Holy Spirit is working among our church planters.

One of our church planters, Amand*, and his wife held an outreach service. (Pictured to the left along with their 3 boys.) They have planted two churches in two villages since January of this year. In preparation for outreach meetings, the believers give themselves to diligent prayer and fasting. Also, they pass out tracts and invitations to villagers who have never heard the Gospel. This particular outreach meeting was going to feature a DVD of one of the messages I shared at one of our Church Planters Conference. The subject was on “The Cross.”

The government leaders in these villages are upper caste Hindu. One of them, Bram*, suffered from serious heart conditions. He attended a physician and was told there was not anything which could be done to help him. He was sent home to die.

Bram received news about the outreach and, as a village elder, came to investigate what is was about. He listened to the message about “The Cross” and became convicted Continue reading “The Lord Reveals His Power to a Village”

Homosexuals, the Closet and the Marketplace

For the first time in American history, we have a president who openly supports homosexual marriage. His brazened humanism, though guised with words borrowed from Christianity, is another step by the privileged and elite to force the convictions of the few upon and against the convictions of the majority; and against the moral foundation of our nation. This is certainly tragic and it reveals the slippery slope of moral decay our country has been on for several decades.

But really, how bad is the thrust of homosexual openness in our country? As more and more come ‘out of the closet,’ does it lead us to another step of social apostasy? Were we really better off when the “Billie Joe MacAllisters” of this nation just ran and jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge! (For the young readers, google ‘Ode to Billie Joe.’)

How would we see it if we stepped back and gave an honest look at the situation from a larger context? What opportunity does it offer to the Church? Continue reading “Homosexuals, the Closet and the Marketplace”