I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
Dear Prayer Partner,
Our country and our world continue to be assaulted by one natural disaster after the other! In America we are currently facing record-breaking floods in the midwest along the Mississippi River…fires on the West Coast and eastern North Carolina…tropical storms and hurricanes in Florida and the south east…capricious tornados in many States…and continuous severe droughts in the south. Each natural disaster leaves behind it a path of homes reduced to ashes…twisted houses and businesses…flooded cities…or dry lakes and parched lands. Unbelievable destruction and death are left in the wake of these storms! And as tragic as these devastated losses are, the emotional toll will last a lifetime for those who were impacted.
THE BLESSINGS OF AMERICA
In spite of the devastation by these natural disasters, America will in time rebuild because of our prosperity and power as a nation. Even in the face of a depressed economy, spiraling fuel prices and escolating food costs – we are still the most powerful and affluent country in the world. So, we will survive these natural disasters over time – just like we have in the past. But others around the world are not so fortunate. They are either under repressive governments, inept governments, corrupt governments – or all three. And most live in countries with little or no infrastructure to deal with such crises.
THE ASIAN CRISIS
As tragic and destructive as these natural disasters have been in America, even worse ones have recently happened in Asia. China was hit with a massive killer earthquake in the Sichuan Providence – taking the lives of over 50,000 people and leaving nearly 5 million homeless.
Shortly thereafter, Burma/Myanmar was ravished by cyclone Nargis that left tens of thousands dead – the worse storm in that area in recorded history! Because of China’s strong economy, they have been able to largely deal with their massive disaster with little outside help. But Burma/Mynamar is a far different situation. It is under one of the most repressive military juntas in the world that has held the people and country in their iron grip for a half-century! And because of their paranoia, they immediately banned all outside workers from entry – leaving their people to fend for themselves with little or no resources to work with. And the conservative death toll is already 100,000 people!
THE BENEFIT OF NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP
Because of our strong partnership in Burma/Myanmar with a local Pastor, we were able to immediately begin relief work in the Name of Christ when the government was not permitting outside relief workers in. As World magazine reported:
“Scores of relief workers with stockpiles of supplies sit dormant in neighboring countries eager to respond but unable to secure visas…Those
agencies without native staffers have little chance of shipping in the personnel they need” (May 31/June 7, 2008).
Fortunately we were one of those ministries with “native staffers” – so we were able to go to work almost immediately. We were able to do the same thing within several days of the Tsunami through our partners in India, Bishop Ezra Sargunam and Murli Menon, as well as through Pastor Ranjan Fernando in Sri Lanka.
I first went to Burma/Myanmar in 1987 at the request of Franklin Graham. We took supplies in to one of his partners supported by Samaritan’s Purse. I have had a heart for that Buddhist country ever since that first visit over 20 years ago. And several years ago I made another fact-finding trip there to encourage the work of the local Pastor.
This partnership with the nationals has always proved to be an advantage for us as we have worked in various countries through key indigenous leaders.
At times like this they are able to immediately go to work helping their people in a way an outsider never could. So, while the repressive government of Burma/Myanmar was refusing to grant visas to all outside workers,
we were able to immediately go to work through our partners there
. You supplied the money and we deployed it to our partners who immediately bought water… rice… cooking oil to give to the people – along with Christian love…witness …prayer…and literature about Jesus Christ. And because of their connections as natives, they were able to hire the trucks and boats to deliver the relief materials.
I am thankful to report that because of the prayers and support of you, our NDI partners, we were able to go to work immediately through the local Pastor and his Bible School students. They went to the remote regions of Burma/Myanmar to give both physical food and spiritual food. I hope you have seen the several reports we have already been able to send out through our emails and web site.
JOSEPH TO BURMA/MYANMAR
Now my son, Joseph, is headed to Burma/Myanmar this Saturday for a week of work along side our partner. I am shooting you this quick email to ask you to be especially praying for him this next week. Hopefully he will be able to send a “field report” while he is there if he does not face any interference by the Government. I really wish I could be going with him – but the doctors have “grounded me” for two months! But I am SO proud of his going as the CEO of NDI to give personal leadership and encouragement to the local Pastor and his Bible School students in behalf of you and NDI!
A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
Finally, it has been interesting to hear the news anchors, media pundits and meteorologists talking about all of these natural disasters in apocolyptic terms. Most are using terms like: “…more frequent than ever…largest in recorded history…breaking all records…unprecedented destruction!” But from a Biblical perspective, Jesus said that these natural disasters were but the “…beginning of birth pains” (Matt. 24:8). Therefore, like a woman approaching child birth, we can expect more of these natural disasters with greater frequency and greater intensity! And while we do not always fully understand God’s ways in and through nature – we know with absolute certainty that His is sovereign over all! He is both the Creator and Lord of nature. So nothing happens in the natural realm without His active or permissive will. That’s why the Bible assures:
“He sends His command to the earth; His word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down His hail like pebbles. Who can withstand His icy blast? He sends His word and melts them;
He stirs up His breezes, and the waters flow” (Ps. 147:17-18).
What are we to be doing in the face of these frequent natural disasters? Certainly we are not to be “…fainting with fear, apprehensive of what is coming on the earth,” as Jesus said many would. No, He said that when we see these things happening we should “…know that the Kingdom of God is near” (Lk. 21:31). We should “keep watch…be ready” and “lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Matt. 24:42-44; Lk. 21:28).
Jesus said we should also seize these opportunities to minister His love and compassion through practical good works
– even “giving a cup of cold water in His Name” (Matt. 10:42). “It will be good for that servant,” Jesus said, “whose master finds him doing so when he returns” (Matt. 24:46). So there is no greater way we can honor the Lord than through ministering through these natural disasters in His Name!
THE STORMS OF LIFE
Finally, if you have not already read my book, The Storms of Life, I hope you will do so as we enter into our annual “hurricane season.” It is predicted to be another series of very stormy months as we face a number of tropical storms and hurricanes. This book is a study of every storm in the Bible and how the people of God faced them. It can help you get spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for any “Storms of Life” that you may have to face.
Thanks again for your faithful friendship and partnership – and especially
your daily prayers and intercession for Joseph as he travels to Burma/Myanmar this next week
. And if you have not given a special gift for our “Burma/Myanmar Relief Work” I hope you will do so. Joseph will be able to strategically deploy it.
In His Sovereign Love & Power,
PS: Click on the link to read my study entitled “Stormy Lessons,” I hope you will do so.
Happy Father’s Day!
All over the world men are fleeing from their God-ordained masculinity. Like Adam, we flee from God…flee from ourselves…flee from our mate…flee from our marriage…flee from our children…flee from commitment…flee from responsibility…flee from church…flee from righteousness and holiness…flee from accountability.
But God wants us men to be as “…bold as a lion!” Lions are known as the “King of the Jungle.” They do not flee from anything or anyone! Lions are fearless…stately…proud…bold! They are aggressive by nature. Lions are not known for fleeing but for fighting. They are hunters…pursuers…stalkers…killers. A ‘timid lion’ is an oxymoron – a contradiction of terms. A ‘fearful lion’ would be an anomaly of nature. They are naturally bold.
When I have ‘walked with lions’ in Africa they keep my adrenalin flowing! Even though they have been raised in captivity in preparation for repatriation in the wild, you know that these are not domestic pussy cats! They are anything but docile and domesticated! Every step you take with them you sense their self-confidence…fearlessness…boldness. You know you are ‘out of your element’ and ‘on their turf.’ Every moment you are acutely aware of your vulnerability to their natural instincts to attack, kill and eat you!
God created us men with a “lion’s heart.” Tragically though, many of us have become domesticated and emasculated. We have become docile and passive – especially when it comes to spiritual things. We have swapped our God-ordained boldness for timidity – which we have sought to cover up by aping the machoism of the world. Or we pump our masculinity vicariously through fantasy, pornography and sports.
However, as the verse above reminds us, it is only righteousness that produces boldness. It is only when we men have found our righteousness and sufficiency in Christ that we can be bold Christians…bold husbands…bold fathers…bold church members…bold Kingdom entrepreneurs…bold servant-leaders…bold lovers…bold givers…bold livers!
So men and brothers, let’s ask God to make this ‘Father’s Day’ one that will increase our commitment to spiritual righteousness that will result in greater boldness in our homes…our churches…our businesses for God’s Kingdom and glory and for the blessing of our wives, children, grand children and business associates. I encourage you to click on the link below and read the special study I have done on “Biblical Fatherhood.” I hope it will be a blessing to you over this Father’s Day weekend.
In His bold love,