I want highlight some of the translations that are ready or very close to being ready to print. Most of these translations are God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD). This resource is having a huge impact in getting believers (new and old) well established in their faith so they can effectively disciple new converts and other Christians. This was Paul’s burden for the churches:
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught” (Colossians 2:6–7).
The Arabic GPHD is expected to be complete the first week of January. God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC) is ready for printing and we ask that you pray with us for an open door to travel early next year to Turkey where these two books can be introduced to key leaders there.
The Farsi GPHD is finished and ready for printing. It will also be part of a Turkey launch. These two languages will impact much of the Middle East countries as well as churches that speak these languages here in America. We are hoping the Farsi GPHC will be ready in early January.
Starting in January, GPHD will be translated into Hindi. As persecution rises in India, there is a great need for the church and believers to be strengthened in faith so they will stand strong in these turbulent times.
Looking forward, we are amazed at the opportunities God has given us. We are unworthy of such a privilege, but desire to use these to bring Him great glory and praise through those who hear, believe His Word and pass it on to others. I will share more tomorrow.
As we come to the close of this year, our hearts reflect with overflowing joy and thanksgiving for all who have supported this ministry by prayer, interest and giving. There is no adequate way for us to thank you for standing with us, even through a very uncertain year.
That being said, I want to challenge you regarding the year ahead. Take a moment and ask yourself this question; what would be the greatest thing you want God to do through this ministry in 2021? Our goal has always been to train indigenous church leaders to reach the unengaged and unreached people groups in their area of the world. Could we ask God to use these leaders to reach 10, 20, 50 or 100 people groups by the end of 2021? NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!
When our expectations rest in what God can do, not man, we will pray with expectation that God will do what is impossible to us. He may take ways that are completely outside our imagination and ability. Remember what John wrote? “This is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
What are you expecting God to do next year that will bring Him glory? Ask and expect!
There have been many preachers of the Gospel, missionaries of the Good News, and teachers who ended their day very discouraged. After pouring their lives and energies into presenting the Word of God as accurately as they could; leaning on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and power, it seemed there was no fruit, no one heard and received the message, NO ONE!
Paul and Silas were no strangers to these circumstances. Their work in Corinth comes to mind. “When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles”” (Acts 18:5–6).
Like many other times in ministry, Paul could have given up, but “the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people”” (18:9–10).
A direct communication from the Lord like this is needed in your life and mine. It may not happen in the same way as it did with Paul, but I know the Lord is saying the same thing to me. Opposition and difficulties will come, but “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you”! The Lord’s work needs you to press forward with HIM!
It took only a few minutes for me to remember many of the missionary stories I have read about Hudson Taylor, William Cary, Adoniram Judson, C. T. Studd and many more to recall their trials, suffering for the sake of Christ and the gospel. They labored under extremely difficult conditions and for years saw little or no results. Some of their opposition came from persons within the Church! This was on top of being misunderstood by the indigenous people. They pushed on.
I was speaking yesterday with a young man who has a real heart for seeing others in America get excited about the study of Scripture. He has gone through God’s Plan for His Disciples and learned so much, but his other peers do not have the same passion. When they get together for their “small group Bible Study,” they are more interested in telling stories about their day than digging into the Scriptures and discovering its riches.
Sadly, this is common. The missionaries of another generation are not known today. Men and women like my friend are rare. What I said to him, I will say to you; DO NOT GIVE UP! We do not need to know the results of our commitment and devotion. After the missionaries were gone, God made sure there was abundant fruit from their labors. My friend may never see on earth the fruit of his devotion, but God will make sure that His word “shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Will you persevere so others will follow?
Observing others can be very instructive. Because of the current restrictions resulting from COVID, I am watching many believers and church leaders around the world respond in different ways. Most in the western world use their energy to complain and even start opposition campaigns in the attempt to change the outcome of this crisis.
What is more interesting to me is watching those who seek the Lord and ask Him for ways to be more effective in spite of the crisis. They are using tools such as Face Book, Zoom, smaller groups and many other avenues to keep doing the Lord’s work a different way. What emerges is that God has removed distractions and given people more time and energy to study God’s Word. Their newfound joy and excitement is impacting others in such a way that the old ways could not do.
How can two different approaches make such a difference? Though I have often mentioned Acts 16:6-10 in this blog, I must take you back to it again. Paul and Silas came face to face with obstacles – yes, they were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia,” NOT Satan!
So often people will tell me that ‘Satan’ has stopped their work. Wait! Should we attribute every obstacle to Satan? What if God is using a crisis to change our direction as He did with Paul and Silas? What if the Spirit wants to teach us to be more creative and innovative in our ministry so we can be more effective and even more biblical? Would you be willing to let Him teach you?
With Christmas behind us, there are realities that suddenly remind us that everything in this world is not “MERRY.” Many face one crisis or many depending on their situation.
“A crisis is not necessarily a bad thing? I wonder if Mary and Joseph thought that Caesar Augustus’s decree for everyone to be taxed in his hometown posed a kind of crisis for a woman who was at the end of her pregnancy and had to ride on a donkey to get there (at least according to tradition). Then when they got to obscure Bethlehem, you know the rest of the story … “there was no room in the inn” (Luke 2:7). So, the Savior of the world would be born at night with the farm animals. We might say, the birth of Jesus Christ was a “merry crisis.”
The familiar verse I read yesterday that really drove this message home was John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Trouble…tribulation…affliction…crisis. In ths world, Jesus taught that such an experience is to be expected. But Jesus also taught a “merry crisis” worldview, one in which we can “take heart, take courage, be courageous or never lose heart!” Why? Because Jesus himself “overcame,” “conquered” and “won the victory over the world” in every crisis.
Two times Jesus told his disciples before His final hours, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:1, 27). How could He say that? Because Jesus was troubled in our place. In John 12:27 Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.” What hour was that? The crisis hour was His death in which He would glorify the Father by giving up His life for everyone who would eventually believe in him. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that He endured the cross “for the JOY that was set before him.” Even the crisis of the cross was a “merry crisis” for Jesus.
BE OF GOOD CHEER! Whatever trouble or affliction you are experiencing today or will face in 2021, you can have in Jesus Christ peace as well as His joy so you can face courageously whatever comes your way. “Merry Crisis!” (Terry)
It is so important that we try to put into proper perspective the birth of Jesus, always remembering our human limitations in being able grasp how deity was involved. Even with all the prophetic writings, witnesses and accurate accounts of what took place, we will never understand the full extent of God work in this part of history.
From a human point of view, we could trace twenty-eight generations from Abraham down to Joseph. No individual in that lineage was a mistake. Pagan rulers dominated the land of Israel from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and now Rome ruled with iron oppression. The news of Jesus birth made Herod rise up in senseless anger and “killed every male in Bethlehem…two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16). This forced Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt to protect their son. On the other hand, wise men and shepherds became part of the secret reception for the Son of God.
From another perspective, we are told of angels communicating to Mary and Joseph, guiding the shepherds and the heavenly hosts praising God for this glorious event. A star is purposely making it special appearance in the heavens at night to make sure invited guests find the place where they can worship the Lord of lords and King of kings. There has never been a worship service like this!
This babe was the center of the universe and it all ordered itself around His humble appearance. For us who have heard the message and purpose of His coming, why is it so difficult for us to order our lives around Him? God will never change His center. If we accept this fact, we will begin to see glory shine through our dark and confused world and it will change us, giving us a new center.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'
So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God" (Galatians 4:4-7).
“When I first believed in Jesus almost 40 years ago, a wise, mature Christ-follower said to me: "God is not always on our time, but His time is always the right time!" This truth we have all experienced in life, and especially this year. Covid-19 has disrupted our schedules, locking us down at home, and stopping many of our family gatherings. We wonder when all this will end. God knows and we trust in His TIME.
This TIME has grounded me from traveling to the nations, and only God knows when it will be safe and wise to board airplanes again for long flights. We wait on Him. But in the midst of all of this, God has raised up indigenous leaders in Africa and Asia to carry on the work, advancing it better and further than we ever expected!
God's work in Africa has expanded in amazing ways! In Nigeria, we are seeing a huge multiplication of the gospel in the midst of severe and widespread persecution; yet in this TIME, the need for our materials, God's Plan for His Disciples and God's Plan for His Church is exploding. In January we will print 10,000 copies of these books, and we expect these will only take us through 2021! And beyond all expectation, in God's TIME, He has already provided every bit of the cost of printing!
In Burkina Faso, through zoom meetings with a key leader, the potential for reaching the entire country is laid before us, and this work is poised and ready to impact Niger as well. In Uganda, new training events are going forward with new leaders leading them. In Zambia, our brothers are traveling many miles over difficult roads and dangerous waters to reach swamp people with the gospel, and Bibles, in the languages of the people, which are distributed to those who have never held one in their hands. In Kenya, the next generation of emerging leaders are being equipped to share the gospel and plant churches.
On the continent of Asia, leaders in Myanmar have found new ways to teach GPHD & GPHC to people who are locked-down by the government. In China, God's people suffer from the government disbanding and destroying churches, but the gospel is expanding into new areas. In Malaysia, God is working through faithful brothers and sisters who are trusting God to transform lives even without meeting together since March.
God's TIME is NOW, and He has not taken a back seat while the world struggles with new strains of disease that keep people worried and depressed. NOW is the TIME to celebrate the truth of Christmas that has made our redemption from sin a reality! NOW is the TIME to rise up by the Spirit and call out to our Abba Father who loves us more than we can know. And NOW is the time to declare our faith out loud: I am no longer a slave to sin, despair or anything else in this world, and my future is secure because I am an heir of ALL of my Father's blessings. NOW is the time to pray and take the gospel to those who need Him desperately.” (Randy)
“Darkness and cold are restrictive. It’s hard to do many things when it’s dark and cold because it’s hard to see, dexterity is lost, we are limited by how long we can bear the cold. The truth of our situation is hidden by darkness and cold. Decisions are affected by the darkness in our souls. Without the light of Christ shining in and reflecting out of us, we are restricted, depressed and confused.
Jesus said, “abide in in Me and My word abide in you” (John 15:7), or in simple words, get to know Him intimately through the Scriptures - rest there, exercise there, work there, plan there, sleep there. This is where we find this Light. The Light that guides us also exposes things that are crushing our souls, the Light that gives us hope, forgiveness, compassion and truth. This is where we will be set free from our soul’s cold and darkness. He is our Salvation from the “soul’s winter”! No winter, no darkness can linger with Him hidden in our hearts.
I’m writing this more to myself than anyone because the Spirit has encouraged me to solidify the encouragement in my mind and heart and give me something to reference later. May it hold some encouragement for you also during these dark winter days and dark times.
May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all and may His light hold back the darkness in your life, today and forever.
“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation!” (Ps. 27:1). He always was and always will be! Merry Christmas!” (by Antony Driver)
“The day after winter solstice is quickly becoming one of my favorite days of the year. This day marks the beginning of the march back to longer days...more light and warmth! It has always been a hard thing for me to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. I quickly forget the next day, or a week later, that the days are getting longer as we enter the winter desert wasteland called January and February.
While I was thinking about how special this day is to me, John 8:12 came to mind. “Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.””
Is Jesus speaking about short winter days when he says “darkness”? No, but I do believe he is speaking about a sort of winter in our souls, a cold darkness that has closed in around our lives in a spiritual way, a lack of something. Jesus has the ultimate cure for this “soul winter” and it’s not a pagan celebration. Jesus offers himself... the “Light of the World.” He is the cure for this “soul winter.” He warms the frosty blades of grass in our soul’s landscape with His warm light.
He brightens the corners and valleys of our soul’s geography with His piercing light. He shines in bright purity, with friendship, faithfulness, gentleness, humility, strength, authority, consistency and eternal hope.
Later in John; “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”” (John 8:31-32). Both light and truth are extremely important if we are to grasp the reason Jesus came. He is the “light” of our Christmas!” (by Antony Driver)
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