Tuesday, March 31, 2009

iPhone Wedding

My second son, Zachariah, got married this past Saturday to Jessie. It was a huge milestone for my wife and myself, as our families and friends gathered to witness and celebrate the joining of this couple. All I can say, as I am still decompressing from the experience, is WOW!

It was an honor for me to officiate the wedding ceremony (which I did completely from my iPhone). Even Zack and his now-bride Jessie, who wrote their own vows, pulled out their iPhones to recite them to each other. It was the first all-iPhone wedding that I have ever seen. Very cool!

Continuing my desire to create, as well as to motivate and inspire others to create, I wrote a song to be played as a surprise during the reception for the Mother/Son dance. I wrote it while I was in India, and, when I returned, I knew I had only 10 days to record the music, secure a vocalist, get her into my studio in my house (without my wife or son knowing about it), recording, mixing and mastering (and get all this done while working and getting everything for the wedding). The finished product is a song called Let Go Of My Hand and you are welcome to listen by clicking here or the link on the right.

A huge weekend with an incredibly happy ending!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is There Any Truth?

Here's an interesting fact: According to a poll done in 2008 by the Pew Research Center, only 18% of Americans believe all or most of what the New York Times publishes. (NYTIMES.COM / 2.13.09)

What does this tell us about Americans confidence in the news media outlets? Is there a greater percentage of Americans who believe what the television news reports? Is there any substantial confidence in anything that is considered fact or truth?

In our world, the terms fact and truth seem to be becoming more and more relative, with the foundation of this truth as liquid as quicksand.

How do we who live by Truth respond? We need to to model a deep conviction and adherence to the Truth, as opposed to a fluid and "qualified" standard.

We need to stand on our Standard.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Wedding And A Farewell

Today is Monday, and later this afternoon I leave for the airport in Hyderabad to catch my flight back to U.S.A. It has been an incredible experience for me, this my fifth trip to India. The Spirit of the Lord has been strong as I have had the privilege to minister among the India people.

I did have one more ministry opportunity this morning, as I was asked by Pastor Daniel to participate in a wedding, giving an exhortation from the Word of God and then later pronouncing a blessing on the bride and groom, Anita and Moses Ramesh. This was a gypsy wedding, complete with native dress and dance. It was a great experience for me!

What made it even better was that just one week ago I had the privilege of baptizing Anita. So for me it was a double blessing, being involved in two major life events for her.

I thank the Lord for this opportunity to come and minister, and am looking forward to returning soon to India, my second home!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Busy Weekend Ministry

Saturday and Sunday proved to be busy days of ministry. Each month, Pastor Daniel holds a special outreach on the second Saturday. We had a great service here. I preached the Gospel, then we had a time of prayer for the people with needs.

Pictured here is a woman who had been experiencing rheumatoid arthritis in her body for over ten years. We prayed for her, and she testified that immediately her pain was gone! What an exciting time that afternoon. Hers was one of several testimonies where we saw the healing power of God touch broken lives.

On Sunday I was invited to speak at two different churches in Kazipet. A bit of speaking and shuttling was in order for me, as I spoke, prayed for and then immediately whisked by car to the other church. Whew!

Both churches were very open to this American and his stories, and both congregations responded to the message of salvation and encouragement.

The Indian people are very big on paying honor to guests, and what you see pictured is the 12th time I was "garlanded" and honored this trip. I am grateful that I am welcomed here, and that the message of salvation and hope that I bring is received.

Tomorrow I am participating in an Indian wedding, bringing the encouragement from God's Word to the bride and groom. Then, it's off to the airport for the long journey home.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Koya Wilderness Outreach

Friday began early as our team of five left Kazipet to travel into the wilderness interior of India. At first the roads were passable, but the more we traveled, the more we were met with rock-strewn "tracks", pitted with pot-holes (some big enough to swallow a cow with just it's head and shoulders showing). Several times we traveled for a few miles at no faster than 5 mph.

This is where the Koya villages are. The Koya are a virtually unreached people group that are beginning to hear about Jesus. Dirt floor houses with thatched roofs, some with only one or two brick walls, a single strand of power line to service the entire village stretched beween twisted, weathered poles. Dust two inches thick covering the roads that dissected the villages. An open-sided, thatched roofed structure that served as the church building. (Pictured. The pastor is a member of the first graduating class of the Bible School. His daughter shown in white is a member of the recently gracuated 10th class.)

Reaching these people and those like them is the heart of Pastor Daniel. That is why Immanuel's Bible Training Center in India exists: to raise up, train and release young men and women to go into places the Gospel has never been heard, and to make disciples of Jesus.

One of our team members was Dr. Joshua from Pastor Daniel's church. He served as the chief physician for medical camps that were inpromptutly set up at each of the three Koya villages where we stopped. (I had partnered with Dr. Joshua last May when we traveled to Jamu-Kashmir to hold medical camps among the poor village people there.) Here he patiently and lovingly saw the people who waited, giving a quick examination, dispensing pills or an injection, and then sending them to me to pray for them.

At two of the villages we conducted meetings where I was able to preach the Gospel to the lost, and encourage the believers. Then I would pray for the people individually, asking God to meet their physical and spiritual needs. Many gathered, many heard the Word of God, and many were touched by His power!

Fourteen hours, many kilometers, three villages, three medical camps, three ministry stations, two messages, and one powerful day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Humble Settings, Hungry People

A dirt field, bare wires strung across dead trees, lights hung on a rusty nail, a rustic stage, a makeshift pulpit... The last three evenings have been held in villages, two of them out under the stars. The team set up a portable P.A. system and a keyboard, and when the worship began people gathered from all around.

A few times the power went out and we raised our voices and preached with two penlights illuminating us. But people heard the Gospel and people committed their lives to Jesus!

The work that the pastors are doing in the small villages is very important. There is no other Christian influence, and the Kingdom is growing because of their labor.

I counted it a privilege to minister in such difficult circumstances to such hungry people. Tomorrow we get up early to travel to a Koya village (a half-days drive over some very difficult terrain). I know it will be great day of ministry! Thank you for sharing in it with me as you follow this Blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

India Video!

Putting Away Idols

Monday was a bit of a "catching-up day for rest" as we have been going strong for seven days straight. Pastor Daniel and I visited this evening in the home of a family who as Christians, have been witnessing to their next-door neighbors. The second family have recently come to know Christ, but their home was still full of Hindu idols.

We were asked to come over and pray that they would have the courage to "clean house". Please remember that we are talking about a religion that goes back literally thousands of years in most Hindu families. It's not like switching TV channels. There is persecution, disownment from their wider family, and generally they become social outcasts in their communities.

After a time of worship, I had the privilege of sharing a word of encouragement with them. Pastor Daniel and I prayed for the father of the house (he is very ill), and the entire household, and then another local pastor (a graduate of the Immanuel's School of the Bible in India) went through the house and "bagged up" all the statues, pictures and any other false god or indication of their former religion.

It was a HUGE day for the family and a HUGE day for me!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Salvation, Signs & Wonders

Saturday began with an excellent time of worship at the first of three crusade meetings that day. The first speaker preached in Telugu (I did my best to understand...). Pastor Charles spoke next (in English) on leaving a legacy to our children and grandchildren. What a great encouragement to believers!

Following the afternoon service, we had a time of water baptism. Pastor Daniel asked me to join him in the baptism "tank" and share in the baptism of over 60 new believers. What an incredible experience! To have the opportunity to personally lay hands on, pray for, and baptize 30+ Indian believers while Pastor Daniel baptized the others was an experience I will not forget. Many of the new converts to Christianity were Koya, an Indian people group that until very recently was unreached. The highlight of that highlight was when Pastor Daniel asked me to baptize his teenage daughter Susan (pictured with me), whom I had shared Christ with last May as we traveled on the train to Kashmir. WOW!

That evening Pastor Charles and I shared the platform and both preached messages of the hope and salvation of the Gospel. Close to 4,000 people gathered, and at the altar call time, upwards of 450 people responded to the invitation to follow Christ! After they were led in a prayer, Pastor Charles and I anointed everyone who came forward with oil, praying for the power of God, and healing on their lives.

This morning at the Sunday worship service (around 3,000 attending), Pastor Charles and I again shared the speaking responsibilities. This time he went first, as he had a plane to catch and return to the U.S.A. (I will be staying several more days to minister with Pastor Daniel in various venues.) The service concluded with me praying for the sick. Again the Lord was faithful to save, heal and deliver many people. The little boy I am pictured with was deaf in one ear and now he can hear! What a week!

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Big Weekend!

On Thursday evening we began the great evangelistic crusade, and it continued into Friday, with meetings in the morning, afternoon and evening. Pastor Charles and I shared Friday morning preaching duties (the usual way here is two messages in the morning, and two in the evening).

I had the afternoon service on my own (one message, then a time of prayer for the sick), and then after a brief rest and dinner break we were back at it in the evening with Pastor Daniel's brother Phillip preaching the first message and then Pastor Charles concluded the night with a powerful message on the woman at the well in John 4.

Hundreds came to give their lives to Christ as Pastor Daniel called them forward to make commitments. What an exciting event to experience! Seeing the hungry and even desperate spiritual condition of a person without Christ as their lives are transformed by their faith in Jesus is overwhelming! Glory to God!

What is also impressing me is the exuberance with which the Indian believers express while worshiping. Led by Pastor Daniel's young nephew Alfred (affectionately called Freddy), he and his team sing, worship exhort and guide the crowd to the throne of God with musical skill and powerful anointing. Keyboards, drums (some of them native Indian), flute, singers, dance and flags all combine to offer a passionate and intimate offering to the Lord! (Click here to view Freddy's music video.)

I have been with Freddy four times now over the past year, and it is exciting to see the maturity and greater level of skill and anointing that rests on his life. His diligent practice and hunger for the Lord have set him apart as a premier worship leader. His humble spirit only magnifies his effectiveness. It is an honor that he has allowed me to spend time with him and speak into his life as a bit of a mentor and leader.

Today we have a full day of crusade meetings, again with Pastor Charles as the main speaker. I will have the privilege of sharing the pulpit with him this evening as we conclude this great crusade.

May the Lord provide a great harvest of souls for His Kingdom!

Thursday, March 05, 2009


This morning we held the commencement exercise for the 10th graduating class of the Immanuel's Bible Training Center in India. It was a solemn and at the same time a celebrative atmosphere as the 30 graduates were charged by Pastor Charles and later given their diplomas.

This morning's event capped-off the previous two days of teaching, led mainly by Pastor Charles with contributions by two of Pastor Daniel's brothers and myself. I count it a privilege to commission and send out young, excited and trained workers into the mission field of India. May the harvest be plentiful!

This evening we begin a great evangelistic crusade where Pastor Charles and myself will be preaching to thousands of attendees who will be coming from all over the city and surrounding areas. We know that it will be a great beginning to the crusade which will last through Saturday evening.

Watch for great reports!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


The title of this post does not refer to the need for food in the stomach. Rather, it refers to the condition of the hearts that are present in the Bible School students.

As the Word of God is taught during the six sessions throughout each day, the expectation among the students, both present and former, is electric! It is almost as if one can hear them crying out, "More, more!"

The take notes with diligence. They hang on every word, spoken both by Pastor Charles (or myself) and the translator. They respond at the end of each session with renewed commitment to serving the Lord. This is truly a remarkable, dedicated, eager and passionate group.

Pastor Charles has been teaching on the Song of Solomon, highlighting the love of the bridegroom for his bride, and the love of the bride for her husband. With the same devotion that is described by Solomon, we are being encouraged to love our Lord Jesus Christ. We are also hearing about young men and women in the scriptures who were passionately in love with the Father, and who had given themselves whole-heartedly to serving the Lord.

I am teaching on Elisha, another from God's Word who was passionately in love with the Father, and who was fully committed to serving Him. His encounter with Elijah, as Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven, is giving an excellent backdrop for teaching and encouragement to be humble, serving and passionate about following after God.

This afternoon and evening will be more of the same, and we will conclude tomorrow morning with the commencement exercises for the 10th graduating class! Then beginning tomorrow evening, a great evangelistic crusade starts, and we are expecting to see many come to trust in Jesus and many to receive healing and restoration as we pray for them.

The move of God is strong here in India! Continue to pray that it gets stronger!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Ministry Begins!

Greetings from India! Right now it is Tuesday afternoon in Kazipet, and we have begun the time of ministry among the Bible School students, graduates and alumni. On Monday evening, the day Pastor Charles and I arrived, we gave the graduation presents to the 30 graduates that make up the 10th graduating class of the Immanuel's School of the Bible in India.

It was exciting to see the joy in the faces of the graduates, as they were presented with bicycles, P.A. systems or sewing machines (whichever would best suit their ministry needs). They expressed their thanks to the people of Immanuel's Church who provided the gifts, and who regularly support the work of the Bible School here in India.

This morning Pastor Charles spoke to the 360+ current and past students out of the Song of Solomon, encouraging them that they are loved by the Lord, as a bridegroom loves his bride. The passion and heart for the Lord is very evident in their lives as they worshipped, prayed and received the Word from Pastor Charles.

I will be speaking this afternoon, and Pastor Charles will speak again this evening.

It is a privilege to be among so many who are completely committed to the work of the Lord among their people. I am honored to be here and see what God is doing in this part of the world.

More to come!

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