Tuesday, March 28, 2017

An Englishman In India

(God is always providing spontaneous, unplanned, and divine appointments in our lives. We simply have to look for them.)
On one of my recent mission trips to India, I spent several days partnering with a local Pastor named Sammi. He pastors his own church, founded and runs an orphanage with 37 children, plants villages churches, and installs pastors to lead those churches.

We spent our days conducting evangelistic meetings in the mornings, afternoons and evenings, in three different villages each day.

On one of those evenings, we were in the town where Pastor Sammi had his own church for an evening crusade meeting.

That evening, a large tent was erected in front of Pastor Sammi’s house/church building right on the main road in the middle of town. We were praying for a large crowd of Indian people to hear the Gospel.

(Don’t picture a huge worship center with a beautiful lawn and shrubbery. Think more of a modest, aging stucco structure with a thatched roof, and a dirt yard with a tent in it, along a dirty, busy road.)

During the worship time, a white man (non-Indian) in his mid-thirties walked up to the tent. Pastor Sammi greeted him and introduced him to me. His name was Jonathan.

He told me that he was from England, and that he was here on a month-long spiritual retreat among the Hindu people. I told him that if he stayed around, that I believed he would find what he was looking for.

He stayed, and I preached about the blind beggar who called out to Jesus and whom Jesus told him that his faith had made him see.

After the preaching, as myself and other local pastors were praying for people, Jonathan came up to me and said, “I only speak to experts about spiritual things. I think you are an expert on faith.” Well, needless to say I am no expert, but I do know a thing or two about faith. So we talked, and at the end of our conversation, he committed his life to the Lord!

The next day, Pastor Sammi and I went to the place where he was staying to continue to encourage and challenge him. I gave him my bible, and told him to share what what he found in Jesus with his family and friends when he returned to England.

Jonathan came to India looking for answers, and left having found the Truth! This is why I love to go to India and minister…

Would you like to help financially? You can click on the "Donate" button at the top right of this page, or send checks to me at PO Box 2125, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742. (Please write "India Mission" in the memo line of the check.) Thank you for blessing me!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Have You Ever Hugged A Leper?

As I am preparing for my 15th mission trip to India, I am spending time reflecting on the great things God has done on my previous trips. I remember one day in 2007, on my very first trip to India:

I remember on that trip personally seeing and experiencing things that I had only heard about or read about. On one particular day, God allowed me to see the part of His Kingdom that He loves the most, what most Americans don’t get to see. It shook my soul.

That morning, I had accompanied a local pastor to a very poor area that included a settlement for crippled people. We stopped and spoke with people who had all kinds of physical limitations – twisted limbs, turned feet, unusable limbs – and shared God’s love, then asking if we could pray for them. Just about everyone in the village was Hindu, and the concept of a Savior who not only could forgive sins and heal was very foreign.

A few hundred meters away was a leaper colony, and we went there next. We walked through the village, stopping to speak to people, and groups would form. The pastor would share the Gospel, and then I would lay hands on and pray for the leapers. I remember my heart was so moved with compassion as I saw these outcasts, whom no one loved or wanted to be near.

After I had prayed for the first man, I heard the Lord say to me very clearly, “Hold him.” And so I wrapped my arms around the man and held him for a few minutes. I did this for all of the leapers that I prayed for.

(The Indian culture isn’t big on hugging, so this was very strange for them. Added to that, they were leapers and had not had any human physical contact for perhaps decades.)

When we were leaving, and walking back to the pastor’s car, an old leprous man who had been banished to the colony for over 40 years, came out to the road, hobbling on a stick he could hardly hold. He had heard that we were praying for people, and hugging them. He said: “Pray for me!” I did, and as I held him he put his head on my shoulder and began to cry.

And so India beckons, again....

Would you like to help financially? You can click on the "Donate" button at the top right of this page, or send checks to me at PO Box 2125, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742. (Please write "India Mission" in the memo line of the check.) Thank you for blessing me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

India Beckons Again...

On Wednesday, April 19th I will be boarding a flight from the USA and traveling to India for 16 days of mission work: Preaching, praying, encouraging, and leading. My brother-in-law, Dr. Pat Kennedy will again be traveling with me as we make our way to an enchanting land whose people have captured my heart.

We will be partnering with three Indian pastors, ministering alongside of men who have been wonderful teammates while in India: Daniel, Ashish, and Kelu. But, this trip will be unlike the others I have taken in recent years.

We normally would assemble and finance a team of Indian doctors and nurses, and along with purchasing medicines would travel by train between Telangana and Kashmir (over 1,350 miles with no interstate highways), stopping each day to conduct medical camps and Gospel meetings in the towns and villages.

Two recent developments are requiring us to alter our plans. First or all, monetary constraints will not allow us to finance the medical team and medicines. Instead, Pat and I will minister several days with Pastor Daniel, then fly to Jammu and Udhampur to minister several days with Pastor Ashish, and finally fly over the Himalayas to be with Kelu in the Muslim region of Srinagar. Pat and I will be on our own for this traveling adventure!

My friend Kelu: This man daily puts his life on the line to bring the Good News of Jesus to the Muslim population of his region where terrorism is commonplace. He suffers from partial paralysis of his right arm and hand because of a beating he received when he converted to Christianity. One of his three children is a special needs child. Yet he joyously goes every day to the city and villages to minister to the Muslim people. He asked me to baptize two new converts when I arrive to be with him. Kelu is my hero.

The second development is that two of my dear friends who were large supporters of my India ministry have passed away in the last year, and that has left a hole in our finances. The Lewis family have pooled resources to purchase my flight to and from India, but I need to travel in-country, as well as some lodging and food.

I do not desire to be a burden on the Indian pastors that we minister with and to, but rather like to bless them financially to meet needs that they have.

Meeting with, pouring into, and encouraging the Indian pastors is some of our most productive time spent.

So I am asking for your help in this endeavor. Pray yes, but consider helping financially. These pastors, especially Kelu, daily risk bodily harm while seeking to expand the Gospel. We desire to stand and minister with them.

You can click on the "Donate" button at the top right of this page, or send checks to First Baptist Church, PO Box 2125, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742. (Please write "Brad's India Mission" in the memo line of the check. You can also send checks directly to me at the same address.) Thank you for blessing me!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

What Will People Think?

I’m sure all of us have asked this question at one time or another during worship: What will people think? What if I raise my hands? What if I go forward and kneel? What if I shout “Amen?” What if I clap on 2 and 4? (A little musician humor...)
Look what King David did once when the Ark (the presence of God) was paraded through the streets: Wearing a linen ephod (type of clothing), David was dancing before the Lord with all his might. (II Samuel 6:14) He did this publicly and passionately, out in the middle of the street with everyone watching.
David was so filled with joy and a desire to express his praise to the Lord that he publicly danced before the Lord. He didn’t ask, What will people think? (And he had an entire kingdom of subjects who would be quick to judge him.)
I am not advocating that all of us dance before the Lord (unless that is God's specific word to you). I am however, suggesting that we consider what the Lord may be encouraging us to do in worship. And, to make His voice stronger than the voice inside of us asking, What will people think?
A few years ago when I was a youth pastor, I was about to speak at a conference of several hundred high school students. Just before I was to go up and speak, a student was on the stage singing a song called “All Rise.”
As I sat there on the front row, worshipping with my eyes closed as she sang, I felt a prompting in my heart to rise, to stand. She sang, “All rise, All rise, To stand before the throne in the presence of the Holy One.” But these thoughts crossed my mind: "What will people think? I’m the speaker. I need to set an example. What if the students think I’m crazy? Protocol says to sit calmly during a solo.”
Finally, I obeyed the Lord and stood. And as I did, I looked around and noticed that I was the last one to stand. Everyone else had stood and lifted their hands while I was sitting and wrestling with the Lord on whether I should stand or not.

Oh, may we hear the Lord in worship, and obey Him as we express ourselves… Lead Well!

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