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.
“In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers…”
I have the honor of standing with Rev. Murli Menon (India),
Bishop Trevor Manhanga (Zimbabwe), and Pastor Rodney Frazier
(Wakefield Family Church in Wake Forest, NC).
Dear Friends & Partners,
What a full and exciting service for Patt and me this Sunday in Wake Forest, NC! We truly experienced the glory of the Lord as we worshipped multi-culturally and multi-racially. But before that report, let me begin with a brief study on the church.
It is impossible to be a committed Christian and not be committed to the Church – both local and universal. While the Church was born in Jerusalem on Pentecost, it matured and came of age in Antioch.
Two truths about these two great churches …
First, while the Jerusalem church was largely Jewish, the church at Antioch was largely Gentile. That’s because the Jerusalem church was primarily parochial – while the church at Antioch was more global. An authentic New Testament church must be both.
The true church of Jesus Christ must be firmly anchored locally but have its sails set globally. Otherwise, the church becomes ingrown rather than outgoing. She becomes selfish and self-serving – rather than selfless and self-giving.
That’s the model of the church at Antioch. That first century church is the model church that we should seek to emulate and duplicate in the twenty-first century.
One thing is for sure: Jesus is passionate about the Church – which is His Bride. He came to this earth with one goal in mind: “I will build My Church,” Jesus proclaimed, “and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:19). Over 2,000 years of church growth have proven Him true beyond any doubt.
Jesus has an eternal love affair with the Church. She is His top priority and passion. So you can’t love Him without loving her! Jesus and His Church are one – they are inseparable and indivisible. To accept one is to accept the other. To reject one is to reject the other.
Sadly, we have many who call themselves Christians today who have not “connected the dots” between Jesus Christ and His Church. Or they have sought to “disconnect the dots” from Christ to the Church. While they are believers, they are not “belongers” – which is a spiritual oxymoron! It’s a contradiction of terms! It’s like saying: “I believe in marriage and love my spouse – I just don’t want to live with them!” Impossible!
Three spiritual powerhouses for the Lord Jesus:
Bishop Trevor, Pastor Rodney, and Reverend Murli.
Second, the church at Antioch had a balance of “prophets and teachers.” Note the plurality of both terms. A careful study of the names of these leaders clearly reveals that the church in Antioch was both multi-racial and multi-cultural. There wasn’t just one “super-star” preacher, prophet or teacher who was expected to be the fourth member of the Trinity – to be everything to everybody all the time! Another impossibility. The Biblical model is a plurality of leadership – not “solo-leadership.”
At Antioch, there was a Biblical balance of both. And balance is the key word here. As I often teach: “Prophets will ‘stir you up' while teachers will ‘dry you up.’ But as they minister side-by-side as twin graces and callings, they will ‘build you up.’”
So, through a consistent balance of the prophetic and didactic, the Holy Spirit will “grow you up” – so that He can then “send you out” – just like He did with Paul and Barnabas from the church at Antioch.
It has been our joy and privilege through the years to help establish churches after the Antioch model in America and in other countries. It has been exciting to see this Biblical and ecclesiastical DNA produce strong churches in many remote corners of our world. But it has also been exciting to see God use this model to transform existing, tradition-bound churches from being exclusively local to inclusively global – churches that develop a balance of up-reach … in-reach … out-reach.
Pastor Rodney Frazier, Founding Pastor, and his wife, Pastor Valerie, who
opened and led the order of worship for the Mission service.
This past weekend, Patt and I were once again privileged to participate in a special Mission Sunday at the Wakefield Family Church in Wake Forest, NC. (www.wakefieldfamily.org), founded a decade ago by Pastor Rodney Frazier, along with his wife, Sister Valerie. Soon after his retirement from the NFL, he moved to the Raleigh area as a business entrepreneur. A mutual friend, Dr. Jim Seymour, brought him to visit me at NDI, where Rodney was deeply impacted by the global outreach with which God had graced us.
After making a number of mission trips to Africa through our “Ministry to the Motherland” initiative led by Dr. Seymour and me, “Pastor Rod” was forever changed. His vision and passion quickly encompassed the world! So, he built global missions into the DNA of his church from the very beginning. It has only deepened and widened since then!
Reverend Murli Menon and Bishop Trevor Manhanga.
Two of our strategic national partners, Bishop Trevor Manhanga from Zimbabwe, Africa, and Rev. Murli Menon from Coimbatore, India, were a part of the service. And what a powerful and anointed service we experienced through the Holy Spirit! The Sunday morning service started at 10 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. – 3 ½ hours long – and no one wanted to go home! That’s the way authentic spiritual worship impacts you. That’s why we read this telling verse about the church at Antioch:
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said: ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3).
This past Sunday was truly an “African-Asian-American” church service – just like we will enjoy eternally in heaven! You too can have a similar service in your local church by inviting in gifted and anointed national leaders like Bishop Trevor and Murli.
The Wakefield Worship Team and the children led
the service with wonderful mission music and dance.
Pastor Rodney and Sister Valerie with Evangelist Elizabeth Strickland,
who has served the Lord through mission work around the world
for 28 years, and is supported by Wakefield Family Church.
Murli brings greetings and a challenge from India. A new Kingdom
friendship and partnership has begun between Murli, Valerie, and Rodney.
Bishop Trevor preached a powerful message on accepting our position in Christ
as being loved by the King. In accepting that position, we can move forward
with confidence in our families, our church, our communities, and the world.
There was a great outpouring at the end of the service,
as almost the entire church came forward for prayer.
Pastor Trevor exhorted the believers to accept how
precious they are to God, and to fulfill their spiritual
destinies in Christ, both locally and globally.
The women of the church did a wonderful job in preparing and serving this
delicious "international buffet" with foods from around the world.
Murli went for the Indian vegetarian dishes first!
Patt enjoys this delicious meal that appealed to
every palate ... another way to highlight missions!
While Bishop Trevor has already returned to Zimbabwe, Murli will be here through the month of October, and still has some openings in his ministry schedule. He would be delighted to come to your area for church services, mid-week home fellowships, Bible Studies, businessmen’s luncheons, etc. You can call or contact him through us: firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly at: email@example.com. He may also be reached by cell phone at 336-684-5103.
Patt and Sister Valerie, who has also traveled
to Africa to minister, will be returning in
November with her husband and two children.
Invite a national pastor to meet your church family and share his passion with them. You and your church will never be the same, and you will become more and more like the saints at Antioch!
P.S. For further study on missions, I recommend my book, A Strategic Paradigm in Missions. This book outlines the strategic paradigm shift that needs to occur in the current thinking on global missions: so that instead of cross-cultural missionaries going "over there" to accomplish projects, they first and foremost focus on building relationshps. Please click on the picture at right to order a copy.
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Standing in Delhi with Pastor Bharat Tamang
and his daughter, Tabitha.
Dear Ministry Partner,
Over a dozen years ago we had the privilege of building and dedicating a church in Delhi, India, for the Nepali Diaspora there. It is estimated that there are nearly a half-million Nepalis living in Delhi – mostly in slum situations. They compose much of the labor force for building and construction.
A few years earlier, God sovereignly connected me with Pastor Bharat Tamang, through Pastor Hanok Tamang, at a Conference we were sponsoring in Kathmandu, Nepal. At that time I learned about Pastor Bharat’s pioneer ministry among the large number of Nepali Diaspora in Delhi. He had planted several small church fellowships, but had no permanent place to meet. Through a gracious gift from the VanWingerden Family Foundation, we were able to build them this beautiful Anugurah Church.
To help Pastor Bharat travel all over the capital city of Delhi in his ministry to the Nepalis, we equipped him with a motorcycle that was provided by one of our ministry partners.
Each year Pastor Bharat sees a number of Nepalis come to faith in Christ through his gift of evangelism, prayer and healing. After a time of being discipled, they are given water baptism – which is an important public declaration of their faith in Christ.
Pastor Bharat’s daughter, Tabitha, worked at her father’s side in ministry. While his passion was reaching adult Nepali workers in the slums, Tabitha had a passion to reach out to the children. So she started a number of programs to reach out to them through Sunday School and VBS. Most of these children were very poor.
As is often the case, Tabitha identified a number of children who were either orphans or semi-orphans. So she took a step of faith and “adopted” them. Most were undernourished and sickly. Soon the children began to flourish physically and spiritually as a result of good nutritional food.
We helped Tabitha make a few modifications in the church structure to house these children. As a result, the Anugurah Children’s Home was born.
Tabitha enrolled the children in a nearby school for the first time. Through her love, care and tutoring, they quickly excelled. We started a sponsorship program for these children and have been supporting them monthly ever since.
My sister Judy Baer and her “Closer Walk Bible Study Group” raise funds each year to sponsor this Children’s Home through their annual Garage Sale.
As all of us know as parents: as children grow, their needs grow. As the children have gotten older, we have had to make separate rooms for the boys and girls. In addition, they needed another room where they could study and play.
As always, we did not have a dollar or rupee to start with. So we joined Pastor Bharat and Tabitha in praying for God to miraculously supply this need in His perfect time and way – which He did. God placed on the heart of a businessman and his wife to give a gracious gift that would cover the cost of this entire project. And they were relatively new friends and partners to Patt and me. While they have never yet been to India with us, they have made an indelible footprint there for the Kingdom of God by funding this Children’s Home!
So as a result of their generosity, we recently undertook a major renovation and expansion of the Church and Home to give the children more room through this large, two-story addition. At left, Patt and Tabitha stand on the site of the addition and below are some summary pictures of the building process that is now 98% completed.
Building supplies are purchased to begin the project.
Pastor Bharat prays for God's anointing and blessing on the work, and
on the workers, before the construction project begins.
Before the new foundation could be laid, the old septic tank
had to be emptied and destroyed.
After the old septic tank was cleared away,
the new foundation wall was constructed.
God blessed us in this project through the partnership of friends at EMI (Engineer Ministries International). As a Non-profit Christian Development organization, the architects, engineers, and design professionals of EMI "donate their skills to help children and families around the world step out of poverty and into a world of hope." While based in Colorado Springs, EMI has a regional office in Delhi, and was able to send out several of their engineers to inspect and guide the renovation and building process.
The new larger septic tank was built, and the construction of the next
two floors began.
The walls go up for the large Study Hall on the first floor ...
Once the walls go up, the roof is prepared and poured for the second floor ...
After the second floor is completed, the finish work begins ...
The inside rooms are painted, tiled and completed ...
The beautiful two story addition now completed ...
The final phase that is near completion is the roof of the Church and Children’s Home. There will be an awning room and railings where the children can play, and church functions, baptisms, and other events can be held. I will have the joy of spending two nights there on the first leg of my upcoming Asia trip in October. Please be in prayer for our special dedication of the addition on Sunday, October 12, 2014.
On behalf of Pastor Bharat, Tabitha and the children, I want to thank each of you who have prayed and partnered with us in this wonderful project among the Nepali Diaspora in Delhi, India!
In His Love For Children,
JL & Patt
P.S. In my previous email titled "Good News From Ghana", I told you of the dynamic message preached by our friend and partner, Bishop Trevor Manhanga at our recent conference in Ghana. We are excited to let you know that this video is now available on YouTube. Please click on the picture at right to be blessed and challenged by this most gifted and anointed communicator and preacher of the Gospel!
“ … those with clean hands will grow stronger …
they go from strength to strength … ”
(Job 17:9; Psalm 84:7)
Dear Ministry Partners,
There is a popular leadership maxim that says: “Momentum is a leader’s best friend.” In many ways that’s true. Whether in marriage, ministry, missions or the marketplace – momentum is essential for growth. However, it is also crucial to remember that building momentum takes time and effort. It’s like pushing a stalled car from a dead standstill.
Overcoming inertia in life, marriage or ministry takes a lot of effort – what I call “sweating for Jesus!” Sadly, most young couples in marriage and young Christians in leadership want success without sweat. But the two are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. However, if we will consistently put in the “sweat equity” by faith and obedience, we will build that positive traction and forward momentum that will make things happen for God’s Kingdom and glory. Over time, that momentum will increase in our sphere of influence – and even far beyond our expectations.
But after a half-century of ministry, it has been my experience that no one builds strong momentum with a large impact overnight – unless it is based on dishonesty, deceit and deception. There are no lottery tickets for spiritual success in life. Neither are there any “get rich quick” schemes when it comes to authentic monetary momentum. Prosperity comes and fortunes are built one dollar at a time.
Neither does God make “overnight successes” when it comes to ministry. In any and every area of life, it takes time to build positive traction through a long obedience in the same direction. And that obedience must start first in marriage. That’s because marriage and ministry are parallel callings. One can be no stronger than the other. That’s why I often teach young leaders: “If you want a strong ministry – build a strong marriage first.” Since marriage is the foundation for ministry – it will either be shaky or solid. A good marriage is the single most positive momentum builder for a strong ministry.
Another important Biblical principle is this: Momentum is based upon maturity. Immature individuals make for immature marriages and ministries. So the more an individual matures, the more his relationships and partnerships mature – or should mature.
Biblical history and contemporary experience show that ministry maturity flows out of individual maturity. Simply put, mature ministries are led by mature people – like the ones you will read about in this report.
None of our national partners reached individual or ministry maturity overnight. Like many of us, they are still very much a “work in process.” While not perfect, each one is in the spiritual process of “… pressing on to maturity” in Christ and for Christ (Heb. 6:1).
Therefore, the more mature we are in marriage, ministry, missions or the marketplace, the stronger our momentum will be for the Lord. If we are honest we know that none of us becomes mature in our area of giftedness and calling quickly. Instant sainthood is a spiritual fantasy! There are no short cuts to maturity in any area of life. That’s why success in any endeavor takes time – and plenty of it.
When it comes to maturity, I often teach this simple principle: “God can grow a mushroom overnight – but it takes Him decades to grow an oak tree!” Sadly, we have a lot of “mushroom ministries” all over the world that are “here today and gone tomorrow!”
Any wonder, then, that God said of His people: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” (Isa. 61:3). That summarizes the purpose for all ministry momentum – to glorify God. Our good works are for the “ … display of His splendor,” not our own.
Also, for height and breadth to be sustained – whether in an oak tree or in a Christian – there must first be depth. That’s why God established this principle of growth in the physical, spiritual emotional, mental, social and economic realm: My people will “ … take root downward and bear fruit upward” (II Kings 19:30; Isa. 37:31). Any wonder that Paul exhorted young Christians to “ … be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being … rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith” (Col. 2:7).
That’s how you can tell the difference between a “ministry in the Spirit” and a “ministry in the flesh.” If a ministry is truly “ … a planting of the Lord,” then it will reflect God’s nature and character. Authentic spirituality is always evidenced first and foremost by agape because the “ … fruit of the Spirit is love," meaning that we must be “ … rooted in love,” which is the nature of God (Eph. 3:17; Gal. 5:22; I Jn. 4:8).
Therefore, the greatest builder of momentum in marriage, ministry or missions is LOVE – and lots of it!
Patt and I are awed and humbled by the forward, upward and outward momentum God has continually graced us with in marriage and ministry for a half century! He has given us influence far wider than we could ever have imagined – or deserved. In this final season of our lives, we are experiencing more and more ministry and mission momentum. And we are acutely aware that “ … the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23).
Each week, exciting ministry reports come to us from our beloved partners in many countries of the world – far more reports than we can adequately share! This ministry momentum has out-paced our time and means of reporting. Each of these ministries deserves more attention than we can give them in our weekly email reports because of the momentum they have developed for the Kingdom. However, we do our best to report to you as the ones who make this possible, through your prayers and financial support.
Patt and I hope that you will be blessed and encouraged by these brief “summary reports” about a number of our partners.
Our partner Markus, who is a native born Bhutanese, makes regular trips inside Bhutan from the Indian border to share Christ, meet with home churches, and to encourage new believers. Since Bhutan is a mountainous country, there is a lot of hiking to do to reach these remote home church fellowships.
Markus trekking in to meet with small home church fellowships,
scattered in the mountains of Bhutan.
Sharing God's Word with these underground Believers.
Meeting and encouraging house church leaders. A new believer ready for baptism.
In a previous email, we shared about the need of Pastor Santosh Ramdam for a new van for his Bhutanese Church in Atlanta. The one that we gave him several years ago died beyond repair – with over 250,000 miles on it. Through one of our local ministry friends, we were able to buy a used van for them.
However, the “new” used van is over 30 years old with 90,000 miles on it! So we are still looking for a donation of a newer 15-passenger van for Pastor Santosh’s church ministry. Pastor Santosh continues to minister among the 65,000 Bhutanese Nepali Diaspora in America, individuals who have been repatriated from East Nepal, where I first began working with them some 3 decades ago.
Pastor Santosh laments the death of his old van.
The new used van we were able to purchase for Santosh for $1,000. After the
van arrives in Atlanta from Burlington, some of the church members pray and
give thanks for the "new" vehicle.
Pastor Santosh's church in Atlanta meeting in a rented building.
Pastor Gyan Sunawar has headed the EBCO (Everest Base Camp Outreach) since its inception over 20 years ago. He has planted churches all the way up to Mt. Everest Base Camp – where churches had never been planted before in history. In order to help with the evangelism and church planting, he started a small Bible School in Jiri, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Each year he trains and mentors young Christian leaders to evangelize and plant churches in this mountainous region.
Pastor Gyan addresses this year's graduates from the Bible School
that we help support monthly.
The new graduates receive certificates, and are commissioned for ministry.
Please pray for this year's graduating class.
The new Bible College students for this year - ten new evangelists and
church-planters in the making!
Sadly, there are monsoon rains and mudslides almost every year in Nepal. As a result, many homes are washed away with a great loss of life. Once again this year, Pastor Hanok headed a relief operation to take in supplies to those who had lost so much.
Some of the devastation to homes and lives caused by the horrific mudslide.
Pastor Hanok buys supplies with funds provided by our partners through JLPF,
and loads two truckloads of food and cooking supplies for the needy.
Two trucks purchased by our ministry partners transport the food supplies,
and the older red truck is newly repaired and loaded to capacity with relief items.
The new truck recently purchased for Pastor Hanok, provided through the
generosity of a ministry partner, is also used for carrying in relief supplies.
Pastor Hanok helps distribute food and cooking supplies to those who
have lost everything.
A victim of the mudslide carries a heavy bag of rice home to feed his family.
Hanok shares with an elderly woman who lost her entire family in the mudslide.
One of our ongoing partnership ministries is to distribute animals to needy people – primarily women and widows. This helps these precious ladies to stand on their own two feet and provide for themselves and their children. Pastor Godfrey Mkolo, assisted by Tailos, has been a key catalyst in this animal distribution program in Zimbabwe.
Tailos and Godfrey prepare for a goat distribution, and Godfrey assists the women
as they receive their goats.
Each woman pledges to give back their "first born" goat to the program
so that other needy women can be blessed. At right, pigs are ready to
Last year we were able to build a large, beautiful “African Tabernacle” for one of our oldest partners in Zimbabwe, Pastor Simon Mkolo. But there was also a great need for an “Ablution Block” (toilets) for the hundreds of people who use this facility regularly. So, through the generous donation of $25,000 by a ministry partner, we have almost completed this much-needed facility.
Tailos, who supervised all of these building projects, stands with me in front
of the "African Tabernacle". The nearly completed Ablution Block, with
one side for men and the other side for women.
The foundation for a new home for Tailos has been laid and prepared
on the Conference Center Campus. The total cost of his new home
is just $3,000 - half of which we have already sent by faith.
We are now praying for a matching donor who will give the other
$1,500 to complete this much needed home for this dear brother.
Each year it is my privilege and joy to spend a half-day teaching a Leadership Seminar for Rev. Woody Lamm and Pastor Ron Harris. Both Woody and his wife Nancy are former NDI staff members. Woody was an NDI Board Member and is now a member of the Board for JLPF. Founder of PMOS (Piedmont Men of Steel) along with Pastor Harris, Woody and Nancy with Ron and Patricia are raising up and mentoring the “down-and-outers” who are struggling to rise above a life of crime and substance abuse. They are helped and supported by beloved NDI icon Rev. Herbie Spruill. Through the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, these men’s lives are being transformed into trophies of God’s grace! So it was a special honor for me to spend time teaching these leaders for the fifth consecutive year when I am in country.
Teaching the leaders of the various North Carolina chapters of PMOS.
Herbie always blesses and challenges us with his tearful exhortations
and joyous rendition of his trademark song, "I Feel Good". As I stand
between Pastor Ron Harris and Pastor Woody Lamm after the recent
Leadership Seminar, I feel that I am between two spiritual giants
for the Lord Jesus!
Thank you for this opportunity to share a brief ministry and mission snapshot from a few of our strategic partners. Through their faithfulness, each has built strong ministry momentum for the Lord Jesus. And it has been our joy to do all we can to help them build some of that spiritual momentum for God’s Kingdom in their sphere of influence – all because of God’s grace and your partnership!
In Him … through Him … for Him, all things (Rom. 11:36),
JL & Patt
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
Two important observances are taking place this month. The first one occurs on September 11th, and the second on September 25th. So, I wish you a sober “9/11 Anniversary” as well as a “Happy New Year!” That last greeting about a “Happy New Year” may surprise many of you at this time of year! But less than two weeks from now, Jews worldwide will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. It will be celebrated on September 25/26, sundown to sundown like all Jewish Feasts & Festivals. For the Jewish people it will be the year 5775 – not 2015 as our Western New Year will usher in on January 1st.
For those who know anything about the “7 Feasts of Judaism,” you know Rosh Hashanah begins with a l-o-n-g and LOUD blast of the trumpet, or shofar. It is a call to “wake up … get up … stand up … speak up … pray up … sing up” for Jehovah as the only true God and King! Their New Year begins with a clear acknowledgment of who the true God is – Jehovah. In comparison, all other gods and goddesses are Satanic counterfeits and religious imposters – whether Krishna, Buddha or Allah! (For more information on the Jewish New Year and the advance of Islam, please click here to read the newsletter from our good friends, Shmuel and Pamela Suran.)
But, how appropriate that the Jewish New Year begins with a loud “wake up call” through the blast of the shofar! We Americans in general – and Christians in particular – desperately need to hear and heed that spiritual trumpet call!
Sadly, the majority of the American population, including Christians, are snoozing, slumbering and sleeping when it comes to the realities of Islamic radicalism that is jihadist to the core of their religious being! Radicalism and terrorism is in the very DNA of Islam – beginning from their spiritual patriarch, Mohamed, who started this “religion of the sword” and “by the sword.” Any cursory reading of the Koran clearly reveals this bloody fact.
I pray that our day of reflection on this September 11th will wake us up – and keep us awake – to the fact that the Islamic sword is mainly aimed at a couple of groups of people: Christians and Jews everywhere, and America and Israel in particular. We dare not sleep or even doze through the Islamic assault!
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial with Yacob Tshering.
While we were rudely jarred out of our national malaise by the events of 9/11, we soon went back to sleep again. But, we did not relapse back into our spiritual, political and cultural slumber until we had built a beautiful memorial in NYC for the over 3,000 who were brutally murdered by this unprovoked act of war on American soil. However, as soon as the “Freedom Towers” penetrated the clouds and rose above the New York City skyline, we crawled back into bed as a nation when it came to the realities of the explosive global growth of Islamic terrorism.
Once again, we are getting a fresh “wake-up call” through the rapid and unexpected rise of ISIS. Their savage mass executions, religious cleansings of other faiths, senseless suicide bombings, crucifixions of Christians and beheading of two American journalists – alive and in living color on TV for the world to see – have terrorized the world afresh!
Just like the ancient Romans in their declining days of decay and decadence lined the road to Rome or Jerusalem with hundreds of crucified people, ISIS has done the same thing by displaying mass executions and the decapitated heads of children on stakes for everyone to see. Their bloodthirsty savagery is doing just what it is designed to do – strike terror in the hearts of people worldwide. For this rising brand of Islamic radicalism, there are only two choices for all infidels: “convert or die.”
So much for Islam being a peaceful religion! And enough of this nonsense about Islam being “hijacked” by religious fanatics and terrorists! If that is really true of true Islam, why have not “moderate Muslims” worldwide cried out with a unified voice against these murdering fanatics? Why have the “peace-loving Imams” not verbally attacked the hijackers of their religion and thrown them off the airplane called “Islam” they supposedly have hijacked?
Contrary to what President Obama has repeatedly said, the “War on Terrorism” is NOT over. According to the Bible – it will never be over until the return of Jesus Christ. Sadly, our President can’t even call this global conflict a “war” – but only “radicalism” that needs to be “contained and controlled.” But what are genocidal mass murder, suicide bombings, raping and ravishing of women and beheadings – other than clear acts of war?! And what is the ISIS threat to ultimately fly their black flag on the White House – a gesture of peace and harmony?! Hardly! It’s a “Declaration of War” that they are hell-bent on winning!
Ever since his early speech in Cairo after his election, President Obama has sought to promote his political leftism, sexual egalitarian, multi-culturalism, economic socialism, and religious pluralism on America and the world. He has sought to disconnect and decathect Islam from its bloody past. In many of his eloquent speeches, he has tried to sanitize Islam from any verbal association with radicalism, terrorism and jihadism. And far too often, he has extolled the virtues of Islam at the expense of our Judeo-Christian heritage as a nation – which he often apologizes for on the national and world stages.
It has been all too obvious to the watching world – even to his Democratic allies and leftist media supporters – that ISIS caught him completely off guard! (Note: In order to post this article in time for 9/11, I had to write it prior to President Obama’s prime-time address to the nation on our response to ISIS. I hope he finally gives a clear and decisive message about America’s response – and then steadfastly sticks to it. Time will tell).
After Osama bin Laden was taken out by our Special Forces, President Obama convinced the American people that our war with Islamic Terrorism was over. So as we retreated from Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama led our nation toward a dangerous military disrespect, disarmament and disengagement.
With those dirty, regrettable and unfortunate wars over, he thought he could retreat to America and spend the rest of his presidency on social issues – of which we have plenty! His agenda was to redefine the very DNA of America from a democracy to a socialist state. But while al-Qaeda was weakened through the death of bin Laden, Islamic radicalism only increased as other fanatical groups sprung up on virtually every continent. Today there are a minimum of 40 Islamic terrorist groups around the world: Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, ISIS/ISL, PLO, LTTE, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Al-Shabaab, Army of Islam, Ansar al-Dine – just to mention a few.
As those of you who read my reports are aware, our dear friends and partners in Mali have gone through a similar carnage by Islamic radicals – especially in the cities of Gao and Timbuktu. I will soon be featuring a full report on the recent return of Pastor Nouh Yattara, who was “enemy #1” to Al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Dine that totally took over the whole north of Mali – ravaging everything Christian. He recently wrote:
“We had the feeling that jihadists wanted to wipe out any trace of Christianity in the north of Mali. But God in His goodness has not allowed such an eventuality. The church is still there and most of the believers have returned, albeit in very difficult conditions, without external assistance or the financial resources needed in such circumstances. And despite such adversity we are determined to resume our ministries because after all, this northern Mali is ours. We have the right to freely exercise our faith and we are firmly committed to make this happen.”
For the last several years we have been doing all we can to help rebuild churches and homes in Mali destroyed by the Islamic Jihadist – and will continue to do so.
While these radical Islamic groups differ in leadership, training, financing and organization, they share one goal: a worldwide Islamic Caliphate under Sharia law.
Already the leader of ISIS, pictured at right, has replaced Osama bin Laden as the number one Islamic terrorist leader in the world. He has proclaimed a Caliphate in the vast lands he has so quickly conquered in Iraq and Syria, something that bin Laden never did. He also has called himself “Abu Bakr Baghdadi.” This name is highly significant because “Abu Bakr” was the name of the first successor of Mohamed. So while President Obama and many other naïve Americans may be confused over Baghdadi’s intention – he is crystal clear in his intent to establish a global Islamic Caliphate!
But the two major obstacles to the fulfillment of this global mandate of an Islamic Caliphate are Israel and America – the “Great Satan” and “little devil” that must be wiped off the face of the earth!
This is not a new terrorist threat to Israel and the Jews. Satan has been using nation after nation to try and “wipe them off the map” since God first called them through Abraham. How contemporary and relevant is this ancient cry by the Psalmist:
“O God, do not keep silent…O God, be not still. See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against Your people, they plot against those You cherish. ‘Come … let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’
With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against You."
The Apostle Paul gave the same sober warning to the elders at Ephesus when he said: “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock” (Acts 20:29). And it happened just as he warned them in the First Century. Now in the Twenty-First Century, ISIS is ravishing some of the most ancient Christian groups on earth living in the areas of Iraqi Kurdishstan.
The Psalmist clearly understood that the real enemy to these foes of Israel was not the Jewish people – but the Jewish God. He was their ultimate enemy. There cannot be two sovereign Gods ruling and reigning. Either Jehovah or Allah is the true God – not both!
What was the response of the Psalmist in the face of this mounting threat to the existence of Israel? Did he retreat into passivity, pluralism and peaceful co-existence? NO! He prayed to God to take swift and decisive action that would defeat them and exalt Him:
“Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm. Cover their faces with shame SO THAT men will seek Your name, O Lord … Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord – that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps. 83).
More Americans need to be joining our Jewish brethren in praying that same prayer – beginning from the President on down. It is interesting that the Psalmist asks God to “terrify them” – which He ultimately will do. Rather than arrogant pride, “shame” will cover their faces.
You see, God is the Ultimate Terrorist to everyone and everything that defies Him! Holy love can do no less.
The Biblical and secular historic record is clear. God will not forever tolerate the rebellion and rivalry of a false god. Just like He did with the pagan gods of ancient Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Rome – or the secular gods of Marxism, Communism and Maoism. He will do the same with the false god of Islam – Allah. He will once again prove Himself as the one and only “Most High over all the earth.”
Ultimately, the whole world will not be brought under an Islamic Caliphate by jihadist terrorism. Humanity will not be forced to submit to the Sharia Law of the prophet Mohamed. They will not bow before the Allah of Islam. No! Never!!
All humanity will bow before Jehovah – not Allah. They will acknowledge that “Jesus is Lord” – not the prophet Mohamed. It will be “ … at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven and on earth … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11). Then, the world will not be under the rule of a Caliphate – but under the benevolent rule of Christ. It will be God’s loving will, not the will of Allah that will triumph! What John saw in his beatific vision will become a reality:
“The Kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He will reign for ever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15)
Until then, there will be one “hell of a battle” after another as the evil one does his best to hijack God’s cosmic plan of redemption. But since I have read the “last chapter” of human history, I know I am on the winning side! I know who is the true God! I know who is the only Savior of the world … I know who is coming again … I know who is “King of kings and Lord of lords!”
So I will not ... retire … rebel … renounce … retreat … regret … or resent. I will continue to be a “ … good soldier of Jesus Christ” and not go AWOL. By the power of His Holy Spirit I will continue to “ … fight the good fight of the faith” clothed in the “ … whole armor of God” (I Tim. 6:12; Eph. 6:10).
I will do everything in my power through the resources God entrusts to me to revere … redeem … ransom … reconcile … rebuild … restore … respect … refresh … and reward. And through it all, I will always seek to rest in His perfect will and rejoice in His unmerited love and grace! And, my friend, it doesn’t get any better than that this side of heaven!
Please join me this September 11th in a commitment to bravely proclaim the Gospel in our homes, neighborhoods, cities, states and the uttermost parts of the world!
In His love & liberty,
PS: Because of the dual enemies of fear and ignorance about Islam, I am taking the liberty of providing this link to a 3-part Power Point teaching series on Islam. By clicking on the picture at left, you will be directed to our website. Once there, please scroll down to the series titled "A Christian Perspective on Islam", where you will find Parts 1-3 available for download.
The series is a good basic review course for you as an individual, as well as a timely teaching tool for your Church, Sunday School Class, Youth Group or Bible Study. Easy to download to your laptop for personal study or public teaching, please use it with my encouragement and blessing.
And if you have not read it already, my book, “A Christian Perspective of Islam" is another timely tool for your spiritual arsenal. To order, please click on the picture of the book cover to be redirected to our website for complete ordering information.
“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth
and He adds no trouble to it.”
Business Entrepreneur, Nana Oduro, Ghana, West Africa
Dear Kingdom Partners,
The hope for Africa is not more foreign aid. It’s not more handouts by well-intentioned expatriate missionaries. It’s not new government welfare programs that produce more dependency. The hope for Africa – as well as for America, Asia and the rest of the world – is more free enterprise generated by the entrepreneurial spirit of people who are called and gifted in business.
However, economic empowerment can only follow spiritual empowerment through the transforming grace of Jesus Christ and indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. It is only when people’s spirits are liberated through grace that they can become a spiritual and economic transformer in their country, culture and context. As a result of God’s gifts to them, they become “givers” rather than a “takers.” They become “Kingdom entrepreneurs” for the Lord Jesus.
But to flourish, these new young entrepreneurs must also have governments that foster and reward the entrepreneurial spirit of creativity and innovation that boldly thinks and acts “outside the box” of current business paradigms. Sadly, most entrepreneurs struggle under governmental and political systems that diminish or destroy their entrepreneurial abilities through bureaucracy, dishonesty, greed, corruption, incompetence, bribery, pay-offs, tribal favoritism, extended family leeching and unreasonable taxation!
All of these kinds of “institutionalized corruption” that have been a way of life for generations constantly drain the economic life-blood from free enterprise and prosperity across most of Africa. In spite of incalculable natural resources of every kind, millions of people in Africa languish in abject poverty! And the vast majority of this human tragedy is man-made!
We Americans have achieved a level of prosperity and power greater than any other nation in human history. And it is only because our Constitution and Bill of Rights were based on the Judeo-Christian principles revealed in the Bible. As a result, our Founding Fathers laid a foundation for peace and prosperity by acknowledging God as Creator and mankind as equal before Him. And in doing so, they set definite safeguards around the role and rule of government. Let me quote those founding principles from our Constitution:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
It is that Constitutional right to live under a government that is both “for the people” and “by the people” that gave our nation distinction and blessed her with the possibility to succeed like none other in history. It is those God-given “unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” that the human spirit cries out for – especially those with an entrepreneurial passion!
The good news is that God is raising up young, creative, dynamic, passionate entrepreneurs in Africa who are persevering unto success – often in spite of their governments rather than because of them!
Patt and I with Nana and Stella Oduro in their home
in Accra, Ghana.
Our dear friends, Nana & Stella Oduro, are such entrepreneurs. They have been friends and partners in Ghana for as long as I have been going there – over 3 decades. They have also extended Christian hospitality to me on each trip by graciously letting me stay in one of their homes and providing transportation when needed – in addition to chefs who “feed me like royalty!” Their generosity to Patt and me, and to others I have taken to Ghana, has saved untold amounts of ministry money.
As usual, Nana hosted my recent time in Ghana with Bishop Trevor Manhanga that I reported on in my last email. It was a special joy to bring these two Kingdom Entrepreneurs together for several days of fellowship and synergistic sharing. We believe that out of this new friendship new initiatives will be born that will bless people in both Ghana and Zimbabwe.
Nana hosted a dinner for Bishop Trevor Manhanga
and me in Kumasi, Ghana.
Because of their great humility and servant hearts, it has taken me years to get their permission to share a small part of their success story! They do not seek publicity or the spotlight. They simply want to remain anonymous … stay in the background … quietly meet needs ... generate jobs … enable others to succeed – all in Jesus’ Name.
Nana was discipled and mentored as a young boy by my friend and partner, Yaw Asante. Yaw also performed the marriage ceremony for Nana and Stella, and has been a friend and encourager to them ever since.
Starting with only $40, Nana has built a business empire that touches hundreds of thousands of people all over Ghana. He now employs more than 1,000 people in his various business enterprises across Ghana.
Nana’s first successful business was his “A-Life Supermarkets” (“Abundant Life”), the first of its kind in Ghana. As a result of his retail and wholesale of food, he was able to build equity to branch-out into other areas of business. The following pictures and captions give you just a small glimpse at his growing business success that is providing jobs and hope for so many people in his country.
Because of the great need for loans for people who want to start small businesses, Nana opened his “First Allied Savings & Loan” Companies. He purposefully did so in the inner cities and rural areas where the bigger banks would not go. These banks help the “little people” with savings and loan programs empowering them to stand on their own two feet. To date they have 22 “First Allied” institutions spread across Ghana, and have made over 100,000 loans with a 98% average payback – which is incredible for any country!
It was a joy to take Bishop Trevor around to visit several of these Savings & Loan Companies while we were in Ghana.
One of Nana's 22 First Allied Savings & Loan Companies in Ghana.
Bishop Trevor, Yaw Asante and I visited a branch of the First Allied
Institutions, hosted by Nana's associate Yaw Berhene Bonsu.
At right, customers are served inside the warm and welcoming bank lobby.
The Mission and Vision Statement of First Allied Savings & Loan,
where a friendly cashier is ready to serve.
A couple is instructed in the savings and loan procedure.
A customer counts her withdrawal for her small business.
Another of Nana’s enterprises is farming. Currently he has a poultry farm with 110,000 thousand chickens with his own feed mill.
Bishop Trevor shares ideas with Nana's poultry staff. He also has a chicken
project in Zimbabwe, and is seen here standing in front of a new
chicken house built with Hydra-form bricks, another entrepreneurial project
we introduced in Ghana.
In the last couple of years, Nana has expanded his farming operation to include a piggery. He now has over 600 pigs, with a goal of 1,000. When he reaches that level of production next year, he will start producing the first ham, bacon and sausage products in Ghana.
Nana observes some of his "baby bacon" on the hoof!
One of the exciting opportunities I had at the end of this past trip to Ghana was to visit the Hope School and Children’s Home that Nana and Stella have played a strategic role in making possible. The vision for this wonderful facility was born in the heart of their senior pastor at the Trinity Baptist Church in Accra. Pastor Kingsley Appiagyei and his wife Cynthia felt the Lord called them to start this School and Children’s Home for needy children in the Cape Coast area of Ghana – one of the oldest and most deprived parts of the country. Their vision resonated in the hearts of Nana and Stella, who quickly became partners in the project as patrons and directors. The partnership between this local church in Accra, their daughter church in London, and Nana and Stella from the business community, has resulted in the establishment and development of this exciting project that will transform the lives of children for decades to come.
Hope Centre is a state of the art facility that would be a tribute in any city in America or Europe. Currently caring for 17 orphan children referred through the Social Services of Ghana, the school is already growing with many children from the surrounding area. In the years ahead there are plans to build a Christian University in this same location to give quality higher education with a Biblical worldview.
The exciting thing about this beautiful School and Children’s Home is that it has been funded from start to finish by Africans for Africans – all because of the success of visionary Christian entrepreneurialism! It is rightly named: “Hope Center” because it will bring practical hope in Jesus’ name to children – who are the present and future “hope of Africa!"
The entrance to Hope School and Children's Home in Cape Coast, Ghana.
The classroom blocks for the school.
The children enjoy colorful classrooms, and can sleep in
security with full stomachs and healthy bodies.
Two of the homes for the orphan children.
Happy children enjoy the growing school library.
A new state of the art computer lab, and some of the children and me.
Pray for these children who are receiving a wonderful
education in an environment of Christian love and truth.
One of Nana’s latest ventures has been the launching of a 24-hour TV station in the UK to reach out to the millions of Africans living there. After only a couple of years, they already have the top rated Black TV Station in the UK!
Recently Nana was recognized and awarded for his entrepreneurial Leadership efforts in Paris, France. We rejoice in this platform of entrepreneurial excellence awarded him.
Nana is awarded in Paris, France, for his excellence in business leadership
in his country.
In closing, let me say that first and foremost, Nana and Stella are dedicated and devout followers of Jesus Christ. Their personal lives, marriage and business enterprises are constantly bathed in prayer. They are also faithful church members at the Trinity Baptist Church where they serve as deacons. It was a joy to fellowship and minister in their church in Accra on a previous visit.
But Nana and Stella are also Ghanaian nationalists in the best sense of the word. They love their country, just as we love ours. Unlike hundreds of thousands of their fellow countrymen who have chosen to leave Ghana for “greener pastures” in the UK or America, they have stayed to work for the prosperity of their people. While they have had many opportunities to leave Ghana and settle in the West where life is easier and opportunities abound, they have stuck it out ... toughed it out … worked it out … prayed it out – for the Lord’s glory and the good of Ghana. They have continuously looked to the Lord as their Source and Sufficiency – not to America or the west. They have proven that God’s prosperity is not bound by man’s geography!
It is this kind of Christian entrepreneur that is the long-term hope of Africa! That’s why we are passionate in doing all we can through our “Kingdom Entrepreneur” initiative to nurture small and large business enterprises in Africa, as well as in other underdeveloped countries in which we minister. As the wise man of Proverbs reminds us: “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and He adds no trouble to it.”
Both the Bible and secular history reminds us that “worldly wealth” generated by dishonesty, corruption, greed, and bribes always brings “trouble” with it for the possessor, his family and associates. But when it is the “blessing of the Lord” that brings “wealth,” that person becomes a blessing to others – just as Nana and Stella are doing for thousands in Ghana. That’s why God said to Abraham: “I will bless you and make you a blessing” (Gen. 121-2).
Thanks for helping us “bless others to be a blessing” to their own people through your seed gifts to our “Kingdom Entrepreneur” initiatives. Whether through goats, chickens, wells, sewing machines, greenhouses, drip irrigation gardens, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks – you can help us empower others to bless others in the Name of Christ! Together we are giving spiritual and economic empowerment to those waiting and working for a “hand-up” rather than a “hand-out!”
For His Kingdom & Glory through others,
Three Kingdom Entrepreneurs partnering together in Ghana.