Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Be Good For Goodness Sake!

Here's what's happening now in our part of the country:

(From FOX
WASHINGTON, D.C. — You better watch out. There is a new combatant in the Christmas wars.
Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaig
n Tuesday.
In lifting lyrics from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the Washington-based group is wading into what has become a perennial debate over commercialism, religion in the public square and the meaning of Christmas.
"We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you," said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. (Click Here for the full story.)
Well, there's an interesting twist on Christmas, St. Nick, and all of the other Christian influences that are prevalent at this time of year.
Did you notice the statistic towards the end of the published article? Yet few Americans describe themselves as atheist or agnostic; a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll from earlier this year found 92 percent of Americans believe in God.
Hmmmm. To the non-believers out there I have one thing to say: You better watch out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Creative Entrepreneurs

I had a conversation recently with a friend concerning our current economic climate, and how it is affecting the staff of his organization. His observations were that the staff have become a bit paralyzed, simply going through the rote motions of doing business because there is "no money" to do anything else.

I came away from that conversation with a few ideas, and after considering them for a couple of days, here are some of my thoughts:

First, money drives the motivation and innovation in most people's lives. Many employees think that if there is no money, there can't be growth.

Second, in a recessed and downsizing climate employees ought to not simply get by, but rather step up and make themselves invaluable (even if for selfish reasons: keeping their job).

Third, all people can be entrepreneurial in their thinking (even as I have trumpeted the concept that all people are creative).

Fourth, if they will unpack the hidden entrepreneurial spirit they carry, people can go much further in all of their endeavors, personally and professionally. Instead of depending on your company and your paycheck for your livelihood, seek other streams of revenue for your area of work in your company and for your personal income.

In conclusion, let me encourage readers to think beyond the confines of always doing things a certain way and explore other possibilities. (Here I go): Everyone is creative! capitalize on your creativity and become entrepreneurial!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

India: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

After having been back in the states from India for a few days now, I have had a chance to "decompress" and look back at not only this recent trip, but also at the two previous trips that I have had the privilege of taking this year, and one trip last year.

I must say that each time I travel to India I receive a different experience. I have now ministered in four different India states and have seen God's hand in many different ways. From my very first preaching opportunity during my first visit to India in February of 2007, where I spoke in a thatched-roofed pole structure, to eating at the finest restaurant in Delhi as the guest of my new brother-in-Christ Manoj Dwivedi, I have the chance to experience much of India.

No matter what I have experienced (as you can read in my previous Blog posts), it always turns out as an adventure where I see the hand and providence of God. The one thing that I always come away with each time I leave that great country is this: the people are hungry for the truth... and we have the Truth that will set them free!

I look forward to my next visit to India. Plans are already being made for 2009. I only hope that as I visit and seek to minister and pour myself out to the people, that they will forget me, but remember the presence and power of the Lord Jesus. That is what I want my legacy to be.

Monday, November 03, 2008

India: The Big Weekend!

This past weekend was filled with ministry opportunities and God's power! We began an evangelistic crusade in Narsampet, a city where there are only a few churches and the work is in its infancy.

Narsampet is a hotbed of Communism (go figure) and when word got out that an outdoor Christian meeting was to take place, the city quickly cancelled the plans to use an arena inside the city limits. No worries: the "grain market" just outside the city limits was free and a makeshift stage and arena were established. The metting went forward!

The Saturday meeting got started with praise and worship Indian style, and then I was able to preach the Word of God to the close to 1,200 participants. An invitation to receive Christ was given and well over 100 came forward to receive Christ! After Pastor Daniel prayed and led them to trust in Jesus, we began to pray for the sick and needy, and saw God do many great miracles: the crippled walked, the deaf had their hearing restored, pains were removed, fevers gone!

Sunday morning found us at Pastor Daniel's church, where I was prepared to preach and encourage the congregation. When I arrived though, Pastor Daniel told me that there were four "high classed" Hindu men here who wanted prayer for their brother/cousin who was in the hospital, dying with cancer. He told me to meet with them and pray with them. I knew the timing was right, and with the help of an interpreter, I shared the Gospel with them and all four committed their lives to Christ! They came requesting prayer and left with new life!

Pastor Daniel and I did go to the hospital on Monday (today) and laid hands on the dying man and prayed for his healing and salvation. We are believing that he will rise up and be restored.

I did enter the Sunday morning worship service (a little late - but very encouraged about my recent encounter with the Hindu men) and proceeded to share a message that God had given me on the flight over here that was especially for Pastor Daniel's church. We spoke the Word, prayed for needs and concluded a very long, but rewarding morning (at 2:30 that afternoon!).

Sunday night we traveled again by car to the crusade in Narsampet. Many of the people who attended the first night came back and brought friends with them to hear about Jesus. There were over 1,500 in attendance, and I preached a very simple but clear message about faith in Jesus. Pastor Daniel brought the service to a climax and at the altar call, more than 300 responded to receive Christ. Remember: these are Hindu people with a heavy Communist influence. The Lord is great! Again we prayed for the hundreds who came for healing and to have their needs met, seeing before our eyes many miracles!

The rest of today will be spent with Pastor Daniel, encouraging him and dealing with some of the "business" and logistical side of ministry. I hope I can be an encouragement in this area also. Tuesday I spend a few hours with one of the musicians on Daniel's team, encouraging him (while he takes me to do a little shopping). Then Tuesday evening we travel to Hyderabad to catch a very early morning flight back home. I plan to arrive at BWI about 9:00 pm on Wednesday night.

The Lord has been good to me on this trip. I have had the privilege to meet with and minister the sick and dying, and the rich and powerful. I have spoken to crowds of pastors and believers, and to Hindu groups and crowds. My message and purpose have remained the same for everyone: to testify of the Gospel of the grace of God!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

India: October, 2008 Report

I'm back! I was unable to find any internet access for the last several days and wasn't able to update my Blog, but now we're back in the Blog world. The last few days have been amazing!

I have been attending a pastor's conference for Indian Pastors in Lucknow, Utra Pradesh and have been blessed by the over 3,000 pastors and leaders who passionately love God with all their hearts and desire to see the Gospel spread all over India and even around the world. I had the privilege of speaking to them on Thursday, challenging them to leave a legacy, pouring themselves into the lives of those they know who will in turn pour themselves into others, and pouring themselves out into the lives of people they don't know: the helpless, hurting and needy. What an honor to be able to stand before so many who are driven by the transformation in their lives and to simply pour more fuel on their fires.

I was able to tour a brand-new Bible College and pray a blessing over it and its staff, as well as visit a school for physically and mentally challenged children. There I was able to be with some of the children and minister to them and the staff.

My greatest ministry during this first part of my trip to India was for me to have the privilege of meeting with one of the richest and most powerful men here. He is a devout Hindu who has a place in his heart for the poor. An Indian friend of mine in the U.S. had an appointment with him this past summer, and upon hearing of my trips to India and my heart for the poor, he invited me to meet with him when I arrived.

After spending one day with him and his senior staff (complete with SUV motorcades, bodyguards with guns, entourages, expensive restaurants, gifts and flowers), he cleared his calendar and invited me back for a second day to meet with him. I had been praying and preparing for this time for several weeks and knew that everything was in place for something HUGE. During our second day together I shared the Gospel with him and his senior staff and they all committed their lives to Christ! I am overwhelmed by this divine appointment that I got to be a part of!

I flew out of Lucknow early on Friday and spent the day traveling. I am currently in Kazipet, Anhdra Pradesh with Pastor Daniel Kalyanapu. This evening (Saturday) we begin a two-day evangelistic crusade in Narsampet, about 1 1/2 hours from here. Pastor Daniel says that this is the first time any evangelistic work is attempted in this city, so we are expecting great results, preaching the Gospel and praying for miracles.

I know it will be a great second half of my trip!

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