The picture above was a total surprise to me. I was asked to do a crusade when I arrived in Pakistan. My host dressed me in his brother's wedding suit. The crusade looked like the Jewish Tabernacle with a large courtyard surrounded by beautiful cloth walls set in the middle of a field that earlier in the day was littered and ungroomed. Hundreds responded to Jesus. 5 hours later all public meetings were suspended due to Covid-19.
This last portion of the trip was full of surprises each step of the journey. Yet, I saw the gospel of Christ prevail. Thank you for your faithful prayers even in the midst of your own unsettling circumstances with self-quarantines and societal hysteria.
I arrived in Dubai and enjoyed a warm welcome from our Church Multiplication Coalition Partners. One of them works for Jumiera Hotels, so they treated me to an amazing dinner. My team needed me to meet with several home churches to help train their disciples. We discovered a strong unity of heart for surrendering everything to live as Jesus' disciples. These folks meet in homes as it is increasingly difficult to get permits to meet officially. Pastor Evan works in IT, but leads several home churches who also have many daughter churches in nearly every Emirate. The young lady in yellow asked for a blessing. But, when I placed my hand on her I sensed constriction of her torso. I asked if she felt like she lacked freedom in her chest. She said, "I'm fine." As I began to pray, the sense didn't leave me, so I asked Jesus to open her chest and bring freedom. The young lady began to giggle and bounce joyfully as I continued praying. "What is God saying," I asked. She said that as I began to pray, Jesus began to make her hips shift and back pop and it tickled. She said, "I have scoliosis and Jesus just healed me!" The young lady and I had no idea what God had for her that night!
CMC UAE Coordinators Welcome Dinner Amazing View
Home Church in Sharjah Home Church in Dubai
lavished with honor and hospitality. I stayed with his young family which included his extended family. Maybe 16 people lived in one house. There I had the opportunity to teach leaders in one village, preach at a crusade and speak at their church in their hidden gathering. Hundreds were saved. Many claimed healing and I held the first copy of the DT Journal in Urdu their national language.
Indriyas' Family Training with No Electricity
Dinner Preparations for Crusade Guests and the Crusade Poster
Church Met Secretly in this Family Courtyard.
COVID-19 restrictions followed me, closing ministry as I left each country until I arrived in Ethiopia. The day before I arrived, public gatherings were canceled. For us this meant cancelling a baptism of more than 1000 new believers and canceling two pastor trainings. Instead, we gathered two small groups of key Pastors around a meal to train and
challenge them to recommit to becoming a disciple of Jesus. Church work can turn us into leaders, administrators burdened with yokes not from Christ. We are first a child of God who needs their Papa each day. We are solving problems that require not our wisdom, but God's. We want to ensure we are building His Kingdom and not our own. These two key groups totaling 15 pastors represented 16 denomination, 25 cities and almost 2000 churches. All of the pastors committed to using the DT Journal which has been translated into their two primary languages in Ethiopia: Amharic and Oromo. To empower the team and build the local economy, the journals will be printed locally. I was able to deliver a binding machine and coils so they can start printing 600 journals.
Mezgebu - Ethiopia Partner Training Abraham to Bind Journals
The 5 Representing 1400 churches 15 denominations, 400 churches
Patrick is from DC Congo, traveling through Ethiopia to get to his wife and children in Japan. As I shared Jesus with him, I discovered a man who knows Jesus and has given up on churches. Many young people I encountered in Uganda, Philippines, Dubai, Pakistan and Ethiopia struggle with pastors who seem to use Jesus as a way to have a good life.
They have the finest clothes, live better, drive better cars and sit with the powerful. In their guts they know this is opposed to what Jesus did and asks. So, when I talk about following Jesus by forsaking everything they want to know this Jesus. Jesus said in Luke 14, "Unless you forsake everything, you cannot be my disciple." And, He also said in Matthew 28 that we are to go and make disciples. This presents a problem in our culture. Jesus had no place to lay his head. He tells us to not worry about life like the pagans who have no god, not to seek the Kingdom, and if we seek His kingdom and righteousness our needs will be cared for. Jesus also challenges us to check our hearts. Are we building our own lives and trying to take Jesus with us, or have we forsaken our lives to take hold of Jesus, letting him provide for us? The answer is found in your anxiety. It you built it, you are anxious. If He is building your life, you can enter His rest , because what He build, He maintains.
I am getting on a plane to head to Dubai and then on to LAX and LAS in 30 minutes. I am returning to an anxious America. I have seen the gospel prevail in these perilous days. Will anyone join me in discovering Jesus' Kingdom and how He wants to include us in it? We can not give love or forgiveness to those around us until we know it in our lives from God. You cannot be generous until you know God is truly your provider and not you. Will you seek to be clothed with the glory of God as your best outfit? That is found when you seek the face of God each day and let Him meet with you mouth to mouth as He did Moses.
First Love, then First Things. Join me. For His Glory,
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