|Overcoming Evil part - 1||1 John 3:8||Aug|
|Vision for Airborne||Zech 1:7-10||Sept|
|Being Encouragers||Eph 5:25-27||Oct|
|Overcoming Evil part 2||John 17:10||Dec|
Walking in the Spirit Gal 2:20 Jan The Dignity of Christ Heb 2:10-18 Feb Faces of failure - Faces of freedom John 20 Apr Touchdown - Karachi Mission Dec
Touchdown - Copenhagen Mission Jan Touchdown - Brisbane FCAP AU Apr Touchdown - India Kosak Sep Slaying in Wedgewood USA Dec Growth in Suffering Christmas Dec
In the vision of Zechariah (Zech 1:8) the horse may be seen metaphorically as representing Faith. If we imagine riding a powerful responsive horse, we can see the advantage this would provide for a warrior. So in Kingdom work, God would have us mount up in faith and take up the weapons of warfare he has already provided (Eph 6 and 2 Cor 10:4). This leads us to a position of advantage in prayer, faith and intercession.
In 1 John 3:8 we read that: "the reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work".
Jesus called the devil a liar and murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). As servants of the living God, we are likewise called into the continuing mission of destroying the works of the devil. Lies and murder are the outcome of warped / evil ways of thinking and wrong attitudes, such as –
These are the core of the evil works we are called to combat - first in our own lives and then as servants to those around us, those God causes to come across our paths (2 Cor 10:6).
In comparison with the devils ways, Jesus modelled how we should relate to God and others, with –
Humility and obedience
Love and unity
Acceptance and reconciliation
Truth, which sets the captive free and allows us to worship God.
Is a spiritual stocktaking in order for us all - to check that we are moving away from the devil's attitudes - and constantly seeking the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to lead us into the ways of Christ?
Christian ministry in the Airlines started in the early 1970’s with Joe Ivey in America and John Brown in England. These two ministries respectively grew into the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel (FCAP International) and the AAACF (Airline, Aviation and Aerospace Christian Fellowships) which have been faithfully serving Christ in the Airlines since their inception.
In Feb 1997 a member of FCAP and AAACF had a vision of a magnificently groomed brown horse, tall and strong and extremely responsive. The command given was: "get up and ride". Immediately it was obvious that great advantage in spiritual warfare was to be had when elevated and carried by this horse. It is so much easier to deal with sins and spiritual opposition beneath ones feet when astride such a magnificent animal. It is so much easier to use the sword of the Spirit in Spiritual warfare when mounted and supported (Eph 6:10).
The name of this horse is "faith" – we are to get up and ride, as faith is a living thing – able to carry us over the treachery and deception and works of the enemy. We need this advantage.
In this vision we are called to be servants, yet also those who are out front in a rising army of God. God’s leaders are servants called to point the way and inspire. To be those who encourage and set example. Those who are trained and know how to use their spiritual weapons (2 Cor 10:4). Those who follow orders and know their Commander with implicit trust. Those who don’t make excuses or argue, but can be trusted to get on with the task at hand. Those who inspire others to follow their Commander. These people never retreat.
Their armour is gleaming, they are purposeful and moving with clear direction. They are being led of God and pointing the way to where Jesus is working.
This is who we are, because we are called to be such: not because of merit but because we are amongst those who are "responding to God with a whole heart". Not calling our own tune, but listening and doing according to the instructions of the Holy Spirit.
Zech 1:7-10 confirmed this vision –
"They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth"
Are not Christians in the airlines sent throughout the earth? As we encourage our brothers and sisters in the airlines in faith, integrity and outreach – we want to see thousands of cockpit and cabin crew functioning as encouragers, intercessors, and all of the ministries of God as they go forward in their jobs.
With the advent of Internet communications, new opportunities for outreach in the airlines are opening up and Airborne is one way of exploring these possibilities. This outreach has no structure of its own, because Airborne seeks to work within the structures of FCAP and AAACF. It is currently working to establish an email and web network serving Christ in the airlines.
To this end we hope that the email and web resources of Airborne will be an adjunct and encourager of the on-going work of FCAP and AAACF.
As operating cockpit and cabin crew we airborne Christians have a unique field of mission in our jobs. We have the opportunity to be "Barnabas" type encouragers as we travel. In Acts 9:27 it was Barnabas who brought the feared Saul to the disciples - who could not believing he had become a disciple of Jesus! Barnabas was the one who bridged the gap.
In Acts 11:22 we read how after an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Antioch - it was Barnabas that the Disciples sent to investigate and encourage the new believers. Barnabas then went to find Saul, and they ministered together in Antioch for a year. It was here that believers were called "Christian" for the first time, and it was during this time that God called Paul and Barnabas for wider purposes –
"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." (Acts 13:2)
We can see that Saul and Barnabas were in effective service for Christ before the bigger picture became clear, so we also should be encouraged in Christian service, wherever we are right now.
Christian crew can see their jobs as opportunity to serve Christ and to encourage people in the Gospel wherever we go. What an opportunity we have to pray and seek out opportunities to support Churches and mission as we travel around the globe (Matt 28:19 and Zech 1:7-10).
Others serving Christ can be greatly strengthened and encouraged by a friendly Christian crew member dropping in on them in the name of Jesus. This is an exciting adventure possibility for our night stops – so let’s be open to the creativity of God leading us in unexpected paths of blessing, like Barnabas.
God’s plans for the Church are for her to be glorious. In Eph 5:25-27 we read: "Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church"
The Church is glorious, because amongst all the organisations of the world, only the Church is empowered to impart salvation and eternal life to a fallen world. We in turn have the wonderful opportunity to be part of God’s blessing to the Church where ever we go – bringing with us the encouragement and blessings of the Gospel, in a similar way to Barnabas in his travels.
So as we go, let us seek opportunities to disciple, encourage, mentor, and bless our brothers and sisters in the Church around the world, for in so doing we are serving Jesus in his first love.
From the very beginning the reason Jesus came to earth was to "destroy the devil’s work" (1 John 3:8). Yet Jesus came in the most defenceless form... that of a baby. God entrusted the saviour of the world to a family in a total dependant way!
How is it that the devil was not able to "rub out" his mortal enemy when Jesus was of himself, totally defenceless?
Well the devil tried -
Firstly through Herod, when he had all the boys in Bethlehem who were under two murdered - in an attempt to kill Jesus (Matt 2:16).
Secondly he tried to destroy Jesus morally and spiritually in the wilderness. He attacked Jesus in the very areas where Adam and Eve failed: in pride and ambition, in abuse of authority, in abuse of the Scriptures for personal gain, in trying to displace God as the centre of our worship.
Thirdly a crowd tried to throw Jesus over a cliff, but they couldn’t harm him (Lu 4:28).
The devil couldn’t lay a hand on Jesus - until it was in the timing and purposes of God... when Jesus laid down his life in our place to secure our salvation.
So how was Jesus life protected in these critical times?
By obedience -
The obedience of the Magi in not going back to tip off Herod (Matt 2:12).
The obedience of Joseph in dropping everything at once, and going to Egypt in response to the instructions given to him in a dream (Matt 2:13).
The obedience of Jesus to the Scriptures, in the wilderness (Matt ch 4 and Eph 6:10-18).
In John 17:10 Jesus included the following in his prayer:
"All I have is yours and all you have is mine" (John 17:10)
In a nutshell, this thought encapsulates the basis of Jesus relationship to Father God. Yet the Scriptures also tell us that:
"it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus," (Eph 2:5)
In other words, we who are in Christ, have also been brought right into the position of John 17:10! Can you imagine that? We need to ask the Holy Spirit to confirm this truth to us. And for what purpose? You can find an expression of the answer to this question in 1 Peter 1:1-2. Please look up this Scripture and meditate on its application in your life.
So we are called into Jesus service as a part of the glorious Church - tasked to continue destroying the works of the Devil. Wherever we go, we are to turn on the light of Christ and cast out darkness.
And as with Jesus, we enjoy the protection of God because we are his own dear children. This doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering. There will be suffering. But by faith and obedience we can walk with Jesus in triumph in all the circumstances of this world. For further reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9 and 2 Kings 6:11-18.
The purpose of these messages is to encourage growth in closeness to God. This month as the series on the protection of God was being prepared, there was a sense of need to switch to something else God is focussing on this month. To be attuned to this you will need four things: time, an open Bible, an open heart and an inquiring mind.
So pull up a chair, relax, let’s open God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to relate God’s word to our hearts - footnotes are provided for your reference and meditation. OK, let’s make a start…
What is God like? The ‘world’ will say that we cannot know! But for those who do want to know, the wisdom of God has been given to us in his word1 (the written word2, the living word3 and his living letters4), so that we may know.
In Exodus 34:5-7 we have recorded God’s own description of himself. Take a moment to review and consider this insight... Now we need to ask ourselves: how are we assimilating the nature and purposes of God in our lives?
Here is another place where we can tune into God’s opinion:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa 55:8-9 NIV).
"If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways" (Psalm 81:3).
Here rests the crucial point as to whether we will settle for religious mediocrity and compromise - which tests the patience of God - or whether will we will be amongst those who find their real destiny in God? For we all have the same essential calling: to find our heart’s desires fulfilled in God - enjoying him, blessing him and blessing others as a result of our following his ways. What do we really want in life? For what we receive largely depends on what we really want5
So let’s get real with God. You are born again. You attend Church. You may even be involved in ministry – but are you also sensing a lack in your life? Are you too busy or compromised? Here’s a brief checklist –
Are you OK in your daily integrity: your honesty, truthfulness and trustworthiness? Do you normally prioritise others before yourself? Do you have a burden for the salvation of others6? Do you enjoy being with your Christian brothers and sisters and look out for them7? Is God first in your thoughts and desires8? Is delight in him your daily joy? Are you excited about God, about Jesus, about the Holy Spirit?
This checklist is not for condemnation, but to ignite the fire of God in your desires. In other words we can’t accept second best with God! Here is the heart of the message:
Personally speaking - after asking God to be first in my life, he answered. Early in my Christian life it was a very real question of my being willing to give up my first love for him: my flying career. At the time it took me about a year to submit this to him. But through such practical testing I have learnt that he is pre-eminent in my life. God brought me through my personal alternatives to Himself.
Am I holding anything back from God today? Are you surrendered to him in such matters as: where you live, what job you do, where you go, how you worship, giving the Holy Spirit free reign in all aspects of your living? If this is relating to you, then now is the time to transact with God at the deepest part of your being. You know one of the greatest things about being a Christian is that any point of time you can have a fresh start with God! It’s always time to ask him to be first in every aspect of our lives. This is the reasonable basis of our relationship with God.
However this is not easy because it is crucifying the flesh - our natural desires and instincts. However as we do this, we will be able to say with St Paul: "I have been crucified with Christ". It may take time. We may first have to first pray: "Please Lord, make me willing to be willing". But there is no way around this dying to self. If we won’t die in our own fleshly desires, then we cannot be born again to the Spirit of Christ.
This process is practical. It’s our submission and God’s acting in our lives. It is switching from "I" having it’s own natural way in our lives, to God having his way - because he is God, not only in the universe, but in us. This is our only reasonable position with God.
As we do submit to God we can move on with him on a continuing basis: "it’s no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me". Here everything changes: It’s not my values, but Jesus values. It’s no longer my natural desires, but Godly desires. It’s no longer my plans, but God’s plans for my life. It’s no longer my ways, but the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Oh what joy – but oh what tension. Joy as we fall in with God. Tension when we are at odds with him in what we want! But as we practice giving up our own ideas and desires in favour of his ways - we are crucifying the flesh and promoting the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is the on-going way, called the process of sanctification9. This is the victory walk - giving the Spirit victory over the flesh in our lives, especially in matters to do with sex, money, ambitions and fears10.
How do we make these submissions? In Galatians Paul says: "The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’. In other words: I have learnt absolutely that God loves me, because Jesus died for me just as much as for any other human being who ever lived. He gave his life for me, and so I can give myself to him in return. This is my reasonable response, which is also known as the "exchanged life".
As we take one step of faith and see it work - then our confidence is lifted and we can take further steps of faith. One step building on another, ie: walking with God by making a progression of steps by faith. This is this way we "live by faith" in Jesus.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20).
"Christ lives in me" - I am not doing this in my own strength, but rather learning about my own limitations, laying down any resistance I may have to God’s ways in my life, and drawing on his strength for my every need. This is the way we live in the Spirit. - I am not doing this in my own strength, but rather learning about my own limitations, laying down any resistance I may have to God’s ways in my life, and drawing on his strength for my every need. This is the way we live in the Spirit. - I am not doing this in my own strength, but rather learning about my own limitations, laying down any resistance I may have to God’s ways in my life, and drawing on his strength for my every need. This is the way we live in the Spirit.
As we do this, we will wake up with praise in our hearts. With God magnified in our experience. With his joy and purpose lighting our way. With his blessings flowing through us to others. Verses will jump off the pages of the Bible with personal relevance. We will know the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.
However we will also pass through the valleys of trial, persecution and suffering – but as we do so we will have one at our side who will never let us down11. We will have learnt what life is about, we will have left behind a life of grotty sin and mediocrity12. We will have found that redemptive suffering is necessary in coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ. We will have been in the school of preparation for eternal life in the kingdom of God!
Hold nothing back from God, because He is the one who loves us and provides for us in every way. Be greatly encouraged and be bold. Step out with God without restriction. Let him be God in your life. Now is the time.
References: (1)1 Peter 1:23; (2) 2 Peter 1:19, 2 Tim 3:16; (3) John 1:1-5; (4) 2 Cor 3:3; (5) Prov 37:3-7; (6) Prov 11:30; (7) John 13:34-35; (8) Matt 22:37; (9) 1 Thes 5:23; (10) Rom ch 8 & Gal ch 5; (11) John 14:16, Heb 13:5; (12) Gal 5:24.
Those of us who are Christians in the airlines have a calling in our industry: to lift the sights of our colleagues to see the unsurpassed dignity of Christ. We are tasked to take Jesus to people where they are and to meet them as they are - not just sit back and wait for them to come to us, on our terms. This will bring both great joy - and suffering where we experience the rejection of Christ.
This meditation is based on Hebrews chapter 2:10-18, as follows -
Here we may take the word "perfect" to mean that Jesus completely discharged his purposes. He brought glory to God by completing the tasks allotted to him, through suffering (see also John 17:4).
The dictionary defines dignity as "the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect, an inherent nobility and worth, the dignity of honest labor, poise and self-respect." By completing his tasks perfectly - at no matter what cost, Jesus presented himself to both God and man with great dignity, and so he is fully worthy of our respect, praise and honour.
Here is a challenge for us also: to complete the tasks God has assigned to us! These completed tasks will follow us to glory and also bring their reward with dignity before God (see 1 Cor 3:10-15).
Hebrews 2:11 continues -
Jesus is not ashamed of us, even calling those of us who accept his redemption his brothers and sisters! What unbelievably great news and what great joy! Doesn’t this inspire us to want to respond in kind, singing Jesus' praises and telling others about how great he is and about the wonderful salvation that only he can offer? This even brings God to singing about us -
This is good news, bringing gladness of heart... and now continuing with Hebrews -
Jesus modelled the way for us - his example of committing his trust fully in God. Accordingly this is the way of victory for those of us who are in Christ. As I write this there is a clear leading that we should also refer to Jer 17:5-10 and Psalm 62. From these Scriptures we may ask: ‘Are you feeling your need’? Then shouldn't we use our mind in the way Jesus did, and decide to put our trust in God? He modelled this disposition of faith in his humanity…
We need not fear, because Jesus is with us and in us (1 John 4:13). He is sufficient for every situation.
Accordingly, our trials are an opportunity to get these truths about faith out of the realm of theory (that we agree with), and into the realm of practical reality. This is the way we can dignify Christ in our lives. This is a process of applying faith principles to our situation…
Make a clear decision towards faith. Say to God and to yourself: "I will trust God in this situation". I will follow the way Jesus modelled (Heb 2:12).
As we continue to do this, the Holy Spirit will come alongside and empower our new and godly disposition of faith (Heb 2:16 & John 14:15-17).
Later our emotions and feelings will tag along - but first we use our will to get our thinking going in the right way. So reject negative thinking and fears! Then we can start to see what God is on about in our circumstances.
This passage in Hebrews concludes -
For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." (Heb 2:16 - 3:1).
Let us then turn our backs on all negativity, fears and temptations. Let us not accept demeaning actions and outcomes, but raise the name of Jesus higher through faith, thus bringing dignity to his name and his Church. Let us declare in our spirits:
"I will live alive to Christ"
May all of God’s blessings be with us as we practice this way. Please email back your encouragement for the benefit of others – sharing how this way of faith and declaration has brought break-throughs for good to God’s glory.
Before we focus on some encouraging aspects from the momentous Easter story, it would be helpful to read John ch. 20 first. We know the story so well, but let’s see if we can receive some fresh insights this Easter from the greatest story ever recorded…
Today, as I walk around the city streets of Copenhagen, I am very conscious of the sad faces that are so common. These faces invite our enquiring thoughts of the failures and betrayals that have etched their lines in these lives of failed hopes. As the saying goes, after 40 you are responsible for your own face ~ no longer can we cover over the hurts of the years! The contrasts are stark ~ between the advertising appeals of youth and beauty ~ and the faces of most of the elderly, few revealing inner peace and satisfaction with their life’s outcome. Could there be a more noble or smarter decision than to follow Jesus at the earliest possibility?
As we pick up the story at John ch. 20, cast your imagination back to the scene of the disciples in the locked room (20:19)… Faces of failure: dashed hopes, forlorn and dispirited. They had all run away at Gethsemane. Peter’s denial. Their leader killed. Their Messianic hopes apparently failed. In fear of their lives: who will the Jews come for next? Locked doors. Lost purposes. Hopeless mess. How do you think they felt about themselves? How do you think they felt about the future?
To this dispirited band the mighty risen Christ sends a message via Mary Magdalene: "Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." The first recorded act of Jesus after the most important event in history was… to own his friends at their lowest ebb!
"Go to my brothers", "My God and your God". Jesus' first focus was relationship. "Brothers." "Our God." Restoration of friendship and hope. Not rebuke, not judgment, not focus on failure… but the true nature of Jesus' love coming through. Praise the Lord, he made his friends glad (v 20).
After relationship, Jesus brings… peace (v19-21). He gives the gift of peace at the time of greatest loss and fear. This is the central component of life missing from most of those wandering the streets, in either Copenhagen, the city where you are, or in Jerusalem. ~ "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes." (Luke 19:41).
These lost folks, their lives have gone by and they have been looking for the wrong things. You can see it in their faces, the imprints of betrayal, abuse, dashed hopes, disappointments, bitterness and broken relationships…you can see it etched in the faces of failure. What we all need is Peace - Salem - Shalom ~ the peace that is only found through friendship with Jesus. The peace he loves to give.
So what comes next in our story from John 20? - Commissioning: "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." Not quite the graduation ceremony of a Seminary is it! Not the ones so perfect that God could use them! No, just Jesus friends commissioned at the lowest point of their lives!
Following commissioning came equipping: "And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." These men received the Holy Spirit and would never be the same again. Now the resource was not Jesus as their leader with them, But Jesus abiding in them.
Lastly comes the focus of the Cross: 'make sure forgiveness is central to everything you do' (v 23). As Jesus demonstrated forgiveness to his friends, so we are to pass it on... Being made whole through releasing the bondages and failures of the past. Inner healing and relationship with God through forgiveness.
From faces of failure, to faces of freedom.
Dear friend, some think holiness first is the way. Others think evangelism is the primary thing. Others focus is on the infilling of the Spirit. Rather let us learn from Jesus…
His top priorities after the resurrection were and still are: First relationship, then peace, then commissioning, then empowering with the Spirit ~ with wholeness through forgiveness central to everything we do. If we keep to the simplicity of these priorities we wont go too far wrong. So be encouraged and let's see where these priorities lead us in our daily walk with the Lord.
Check out the good news in Copenhagen.
Touchdown ~ Karachi
"We've wanted to write for quite some time regarding some prayer items for Pakistan… about praying for the Chinese here…yes! Did we say CHINESE?
Most definitely! Yep, the Chinese are scattered everywhere in the world. Pakistan also has quite a lot of Chinese who come down from their shared border in the North ~ to try and make a living, looking for greener pastures.
Our initial contact with them was about 2 years ago, when another Singaporean-Aussie family was working here and was very hospitable to them. This couple used to meet them in the streets, where they were selling medicated oil, Chinese trinkets, & pearls, etc. The couple would invite them home for meals after striking some conversation with them; or they would make friends with the cooks for the Chinese Restaurants. (Most of them are not the professional business people or doctors like those we meet in Singapore).
In fact, through them, many were brought to an ongoing Asian Fellowship in another person’s house which then comprised of Singaporeans, Malaysians, HongKongers, Chinese and Filipinos. Several in the group could not speak Mandarin, while those from mainland could not really understand English.
As a result, the fellowship could not really "gel" together, but we did have some time of makan (Ed: eating), singspiration, prayer, testimony and sometimes showed some mandarin videos like the Chinese "Jesus" film and the "Chen Chen Gui"/personal testimony tapes. Over the last 2 years there were many changes and the people who were initially hosting/leaders of the fellowship have left Pakistan for good.
The group began to "gel" together more in terms of background & language and they are now mostly Mandarin speakers either from Hong Kong or mainland. Last July a missionary couple from Hong Kong (pharmacists) became actively involved in this group and helped with the "shepherding" of the people in the fellowship.
At the same time we were doing the weekly "Experiencing God" Bible Study with another group. In some lessons, we learnt about the mighty work God could be doing in someone’s life if we really noticed what God was doing around our lives and our church (Experiencing God Work-book, especially units 11 & 12).
In those two weeks we started to notice more and more mainland Chinese coming to our Sunday Services, even though their understanding of English was very limited. Through the Experiencing God Bible Study the group realised that God was actively involved in our lives and interested in getting the church involved in His work with the Chinese. Our American pastor encouraged the BS group and the church to pray regarding some sort of ministry to the mainland Chinese here in Karachi.
We began to seek God’s guidance regarding this group and also continued with hosting the fortnightly fellowships. Since then several have come to know the Lord and have left Pakistan. Some are still here and have been baptised. In Dec’97, we realised that this Chinese group needed to grow more in the word of God and apply its principles to their lives… so started a Chinese BS with them, led by the HK family.
The group is still very young in the Lord. They are about 15 who still faithfully come to church, even though they do not understand English much. We know that it is the Spirit of the Lord that touches them. The group is now undergoing transition. It is time for the HK couple to leave Pakistan for good as they have other commitments. There is a leadership gap. We can only do our best to facilitate the group as we need someone to come and help with the "spiritual" Mandarin, not the poor everyday "market conversation" Mandarin that we speak. Please continue to pray for this group with so much potential to grow. We understand that in Karachi itself, there are about 600 Chinese living here and 600 other business Chinese passing through. There is room for more in the Lord's fellowship.
In any ministry, there will be triumphs and trials and we do see quarrels, factions and feuds occur as an attack of the enemy to try and discourage and break up the group. They have many problems - mostly about finance and money. Just a few weeks ago, some of the older believers among them had to step in to facilitate reconciliation and forgiveness.
We are constantly praying for someone to come and lead and carry on this work. There is a real need for someone to take over this work - as our time here in Pakistan will not be long term.
We know that the Lord had sent us here to be used of Him. Initially, we asked ourselves - why a posting to Karachi? Why to a land that is now still fraught with poverty and scary things happening like bombs, killings, robberies and hijacking? We feared for our security.
We were like Jonah, initially unwilling to come… but our fears were slowly dispelled as we began to see the good things of life here. Yes, there are many good things here! Now, after almost two years in Karachi we are glad to be here.
It is our hearts' desire that we be in the centre of God’s will, making the most of our time to serve Him, even in the midst of our "secular" daily work. May we challenge you to do likewise and keep your eyes open for any opportunity God gives to you serve Him while you are at work. Pray for God's strength, wisdom, and protection for us, and also for this group of special, special people in the Lord.
The Lord Bless richly as you pray for the people & work in Pakistan."
Introducing Pastor Ravi and Lillian Chandran.
Ravi is the Pastor of the English-speaking congregation at the Copenhagen Christian Culture Centre. This Centre is an exciting new project in Copenhagen that marks a spiritual break-through for this country.
The Centre is scheduled to open on Sunday March 7th 1999... and is made possible by nine congregations of the Pentecostal Church in Copenhagen coming together in a combined plant activity. These congregations will be having services in Danish, English, Philippino and Spanish at the Centre and around the city of Copenhagen.
Amongst the developers of this project are Danish Christians who have weathered the storm of cultural liberalism and are now seeing God move in Denmark in new ways.
This significant Christian movement is called a "Culture Centre" as this best fits local perceptions and describes the facilities of the centre, which includes…
. Main Worship Sanctuary
The Centre is nearing completion in a five story high converted and renovated ex Technical School, only 15 mins from the centre of Copenhagen.
Ravi is a Singaporean missionary sent from Calvary Charismatic Centre in Singapore to Copenhagen. He came from a Hindu family with no Christian background. The Lord called Ravi spontaneously into Christian faith and service when he was 17 years old. He has since served in mission in Asia and Africa before coming to Denmark.
God has given Ravi gifts in teaching and worship-leading which draws folk closer in their love relationship with God. The language is every day English. His style of worship is international and encompassing... which is attractive to folk of a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
Aircrew and travellers visiting Copenhagen are warmly invited to get in touch with the Church and to attend both Sunday services and mid-week meetings. The Centre phone number is Copenhagen: 3531-0010.
Check out the Copenhagen page on the Airborne web site at - www.airborne.org/touchdown.htm
. Is your city included
Report from the FCAP South Pacific Conference - Brisbane, April 1999. By Renee Tan, FCAP Singapore.
FCAP members attended from BNE, MEL, SYD, PNG and SIN. The Theme was "One Body, Many Parts" (members). The speaker, Pastor Peter Salisbury shared on the Joy of Belonging.
Let me share with you what I have learnt in this convention…
The message started with THE CAPTAIN WANTS TO SEE US! Here our speaker was speaking metaphorically about our Lord.
The Lord (Captain) wants to show us our position and our place of responsibilities. He wants to show you the vision of FCAP. Are you interested? If you are, please get out of your seat and move yourself to the flight deck. The Captain wants to see you and at the flight deck! What do you mean by "at the flight deck?" At the "flight deck" in this sense means to be in the Presence of God. In His Presence is a place of true understanding, a place of protection and a place of satisfaction. In His Presence is to find fullness of Joy and Strength.
Put your finger in a glass of honey. Touch, try and taste. It will give you satisfaction. Not until you touch, move to try, and then taste… would you know that it is sweet and satisfying.
The Pastor highlighted the following aspects of our Lord that we, as members of the body, should know…
What kind of a
body should we be?
Do you know that you are… IN CHRIST? What does this mean, by to be IN CHRIST? Let this understanding comes from the Lord Himself as per 2 Cor 13:5.
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?"
The Captain wants to see us! We who are trusting in Christ are already at the flight deck. So let us provoke one another to good works and encourage one another as the days are here for harvest.
For those who are not at the flight deck… get out of your seat and go! The Captain wants to see you… and show you a panoramic view of life with him at the head. He chose you and would want to show you your place of responsibility in His kingdom.
Let us continue to be with the Captain in FCAP Ministry. Let us remember the joy of serving, the joy of unity and satisfaction… this will keep us strong in Him. The Captain wants to be close to us all the time.
Next year Year 2000, the FCAP South Pacific / Asia Conference will be held in Papua New Guinea, 21st to 23rd July. We hope you may be able to be with us on this coming occasion and to prepare for this time of fellowship with prayer support.
From Capt Gary Kosak... I promised a full report to everyone who had indicated that they would be praying for me as I travelled to the Middle East and Asia. The time has flown by and has seemed like only a few days in some ways. I was busy from the time I left home until arriving last night after about 28 hours of straight travel from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Paris to New York, to Tampa Bay.
First, you who have faithfully prayed, have a real stake in all that happened. I know that the anointing that I walked under came as a direct result of your prayers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every word or thought that you sent forth to the Lord on behalf of the ministry that I shall now briefly describe.
I will review how all of this came about. I was involved with ministering for the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel (FCAP) two years ago in Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay). I was part of a ministry team that had gone to teach and encourage other airline Christians at an Asian convention. During the time that I was in Mumbai, I also had the opportunity to go to a pastor's meeting with one of our hosts. After the meeting, an Indian pastor came up to me, and after a short conversation indicated to me that the Holy Spirit was speaking to him and that he felt that I was to go to his church in Bangalore, India and teach his people.
I answered that I was not even a Pastor, but an airline pilot, and that I would be leaving India within two days. I did not know when I would be back in India, nor how I would possibly have the time to spend for such an endeavour. Nevertheless we agreed to stay in touch.
Several months later I received a letter from the pastor in Bangalore, inviting me to come to his church to teach. Other communications came at different intervals of time reaffirming the invitation. My answers to the pastor generally were non-committal. I wanted to go, but had no idea how I could, since I had not the time off from work and limited resources to make such a trip.
His letters continued. His church was fasting and praying. I was a little uncomfortable over all of this, but continued to submit everything to the Lord. I didn't pray hard. I just said something like, "Lord...I don't even see the slightest possibility of making such a trip, but if You want me there, You are going to have to make a way for me."
A year and a half had now passed since meeting the pastor in Mumbai. I had been working for Kiwi International Airlines, an airline that flew mainly in the USA and a few island destinations and Mexico. I decided last June to leave Kiwi, and join another small airline, Tower Air, which flies Boeing 747 aircraft out of JFK International Airport in New York. I went through training and began flying Tower's very diverse schedule that takes me all over the world.
Several months ago, I became aware that Tower Air had signed a contract with Air India to fly the "Haj" – taking Moslem pilgrims from various Indian cities to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. I would be flying 747's full of these pilgrims, and you guessed it....Bangalore was one of the cities that I would be flying to and from.
I contacted Pastor Arthur Paul of the Grace Gospel Church in Bangalore. I told him of this "coincidental" turn of events, and that I might be able to come to his church for a few days. He informed me that his church was continuing to fast and pray. I had to check with my crew scheduling department. I made my request and was astonished at how wonderfully cooperative that my crew scheduling department was. They said,...."we'll work it out somehow."
I emailed Pastor Paul and told him that I would be there in Bangalore if he still wanted me to come. His answer came quickly. It was a reaffirming "yes". I began my preparations. "Lord...what would you have me to teach?" "What can I say to these people?" "What would YOU have me to say?" I prayed. He began to stir me into preparing a number of messages.
The dates were set. I would minister from the 3rd through the 7th of March (1999). I continued my preparation. although I was a bit nervous. This was another big "stretch" for me. Up to this time, I had been fairly comfortable with teaching Bible studies, seminars and workshops. I had been a co-speaker at an African Conference for the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel in Entebbe, Uganda. This time, I would be tasked with teaching and preaching at 4 days of meetings....morning and night. I would be responsible to the Lord for the effect that I might have on hundreds...even thousands of lives.
Grace Gospel Church has approximately 3,000 members, most of whom are scattered into 50 cell groups all around Bangalore. The main church facility consists of a building which seats approximately 600-700 people. No chairs. Just mats on the floor. A large courtyard next to the building allowed for an overflow of people. The latecomers had to sit outside and listen over a speaker and peer through an open doorway and windows. At the major evening meetings and on Sundays, there are more than 1,000 people there at a time. It is absolutely awesome what the Holy Spirit is doing in this ministry.
Other traditional Christian ministries in the area have left-over church buildings from the British influence of past decades. The buildings are there, but there are few to no people within. Pastor Paul has a different problem. He has all kinds of people coming, but no where to put them all. Their church is saving from meagre resources to build a larger facility.
My first personal visit took place on Sunday, the 28th of February. I just "happened" to have been assigned a trip from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Bangalore where I over-nighted on a Saturday night and was to return on Sunday afternoon. It was a last minute surprise for me, and doubly so when I called the church on Sunday morning. I was asked by the pastor's son, Samuel, if I would like to come to the service that morning. I, of course, answered in the affirmative, but did not know how to get there. He quickly answered that he would be coming to pick me up. In about 20 minutes, I was in a van, bumping down the road to the Yeshwanthpur area of Bangalore.
I arrived at the church (remember, this was the Sunday before I was scheduled to teach and preach) and was ushered into the church building. All the ladies were dressed in their beautiful sarees and were seated cross-legged on the right side of the humble sanctuary. The men were in white shirts and dark trousers, sitting on mats on the left side of the church. I was instructed to remove my shoes. I did so. Little did I realise that I really was about to walk on holy ground. I was ready to join in the beautiful singing and praising that was already in progress. Instead of being seated with the congregation, I was ushered to the front of the church, up on the platform, and the pastor asked me if I was ready to preach. "Ready to what?!!!", I was asking myself. I did not have my Bible and had no notes. I was not prepared for this.
So....there I was, standing on the platform in front of about 1,000 people who were singing and praising God....and this pastor who I really only knew through letters was introducing me to preach. I believe that if the Lord is a practical joker at all, He was really enjoying this. With my proverbial knees knocking, I stood at the small podium and began to speak. I gave the people a short testimony of my life, followed by the basic Gospel message. Samuel, the pastor's son, translated my English into the local Kannara and Tamil languages. In about one hour, I was giving the people an invitation to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. (There are usually many newcomers each Sunday). Approximately 60 people responded, Hindus....many of whom had reached bottom in their personal lives. Their gods did not answer their sacrifices and prayers. Jesus did. I astonishingly watched as the Holy Spirit moved through the crowd bringing people to conviction and repentance and birthing them into the kingdom of God. I listened to personal testimonies of people that had been caught in the clutches of sin and were now free because of what Jesus had done with them.
After the meeting, I prayed one at a time for literally hundreds of people who came forward. In late afternoon I was taken back to my hotel, I joined my crew and flew back to Saudi Arabia with about 460 Moslems making the "Haj". My mind was reeling with the goodness and the surprise of the Lord. I was now looking forward to the 4 days of meetings that were coming up in the next week.
It was now Wednesday night, the 3rd of March. I had flown back to Bangalore, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I had my notes and my Bible. I was met at the airport by Pastor Paul, a couple of his 5 sons and the church van. We left for his house.
The meetings began on Thursday. The people showed up en masse. There were fewer during the day than in the evenings due to family and work schedules, but the people were there in strength. They were thirsty for God's Word. They had their pens and pads and most had Bibles. They sat on the concrete floor with only a thin straw mat between their bottoms and the cement. They did not move. They did not squirm or fidget. They paid close attention to every word that I spoke. They did not care about the time. They only wanted more of Jesus.
On one evening, I was totally oblivious to the time. I had been given no limits. I was to speak and teach as the Holy Spirit led. I was unaware that the last bus left the area at around 9:15 PM. Many who were in the meeting had to catch that bus if they were to make it home that evening. No one cared. They just stayed until the teaching and prayer was finished. They then simply went from a sitting position and lay down on the hard floor, sleeping in the church hall until tomorrow, when they would receive more teaching.
On Friday night, there was a very large turnout. This was the weekly all-church prayer meeting. We began the singing and praising at about 6:00 PM. I began teaching/preaching at about 7:30. I finished at a little past 9:00 PM. Then we hunkered down to prayer and praise. No one looked at watches (most did not own one anyway). The prayer and praise went on into the night. We finished at 0500 the next morning, and went back to the pastor's house.
The Indian church that I was supposed to be ministering to....was ministering and teaching me. This was the church that is written about in the book of Acts. These are the people of God who gather together and fast and pray until they touch God. This is the church that sees miracles.
I was introduced to a 16 year old girl. She was the picture of beauty. Her face could have graced the cover of an international woman's magazine. She was that beautiful. And she was totally free in Jesus. I watched the videotape of this same girl's deliverance that had happened only weeks before. I did not know that I was watching this same girl. As I watched the videotape, the pastor asked me to guess the age of the woman that was undergoing deliverance. I ventured a "very used 35 or 40 year old". I watched as this woman lay on her side and went through incredible contortions. Her face was greatly distressed and twisted in its expression. Her tongue was sticking out of her mouth and rolled so that the tip was underneath the rest of her tongue. She was biting down on her rolled-down tongue so hard that the blood dripped from her mouth. The church continued to pray. And the work of the Holy Spirit took place.....and the distressed "middle-aged" woman was delivered. There was light in her eyes, and that 35-40 year old woman appeared as the 16 year old that she really was. This was only one of the miracles that I observed as I ministered in Bangalore, and as the Lord ministered to me.
I had the privilege to baptise 16 new believers who had come to Christ and had been schooled in the fundamentals of their faith. Pastor Paul was no "man-pleaser". He questioned each potential candidate for several minutes in front of everyone else. He asked about their personal walk with Jesus. He asked them about their understanding of Jesus and the baptism they were about to undergo. One woman gave some rather indistinct answers that did not satisfy the pastor. He politely but firmly told her that she was not ready. She would perhaps be baptised in the next group.
This was a disciplined church. When there was sin found in the camp, it was confronted. If the sin was not forsaken, the member was disfellowshiped. As the pastor explained a few cases to me, he had a loving smile on his face. He said something like, "They eventually come back....after they have experienced the consequences of their sin....and we restore them."
I had the privilege of ministering communion on my last Sunday with the church. This is a very sacred event in this church. The pastor does not allow open communion. Communion is ministered after all of the newcomers to Christ have been ministered to and after those who came out of curiosity had their questions answered. They were then invited to come back at another time, and the real spiritually re-born and schooled believers assembled for more prayer and praise in preparation for communion. The service had lasted from 10:00 AM until about 3:30 PM, and nobody cared about the time. They were there to fellowship with Jesus.
As I am writing this, I have just received an email from the pastor and his church in India. While I was not aware of this at the time I prayed for this particular woman, these are the words from the e-mail that I have just received:
"We take this opportunity to narrate how a lady who was suffering from fever, head trouble and completely unable to move. This lady was brought to one of your healing meetings and when she came for prayer for healing, you laid your hands on her head and she testifies that she experienced an unexplainable healing immediately after you removed your hand from her head and she was completely and totally healed of all the various diseases she was suffering from. Praise God for this wonderful miracle."
That's what the Holy Spirit was and is doing in Bangalore, India for a church that is sold out to our Lord Jesus. He has used this lay preacher/teacher who simply made himself available, and He is doing the miracles. He is showing up at the meetings. He is answering the prayers of His people. He is blowing holes in the spiritual darkness that clouds India and other places in the world. Again, I thank each one of you for your prayers and your faithfulness in this ministry.
Over the period of 4 full days, I preached and taught through 8 meetings, saw about 130 people come to Christ, had the privilege to baptise 16, saw deliverance, and listened to personal testimonies of miracles in people's lives. I attended my first truly all-night prayer meeting with an entire church.
Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope that this one more piece of email will bring you joy and encouragement at what the Lord has done in these recent days in response to your prayers. I am, because of Christ,
Your brother...............Gary Kosak
Have you ever wondered about, or been asked this question?
We should be absolutely certain that there is no end to what God will do to take the gospel to every person. The boundaries of resistance to this expression of his love are not from God.
The following story of the recent slaying at Wedgewood Baptist Church is a testimony to this... of the depths of the love of God ~ and how far he will go to take his gospel to every person.
In reviewing this story we have cross-checked the accuracy at the source of Wedgewood Church, and its authenticity has been affirmed to us.
This was also confirmed in the preparation of this bulletin - as the Lord drew our attention to the following two scriptures:
With this in mind we copy to you the following report...
Wedgewood Baptist Church Shooting
By now almost everyone has heard of the tragedy that took place on Sept.15th 1999 when a gunman entered Wedgwood Baptist Church and killed 7 people and injured 7 others before taking his own life. That morning had been the day of "See You at the Pole," when students gather around their flagpole in the morning to pray for their school and nation. What the media hasn't reported however, is how God has been so evident, both during and after the shooting. He has done amazing work.
Before The Shooting
Our pastor had prayed that God would do whatever it took to expand the ministry of Wedgwood Baptist Church. Our church is one that is used as a model of how NOT to pick a location, because no one in the world can find it. Now almost everyone in the world knows exactly where it is.
Evidence of God's Control During The Shooting
What God has done since the shooting
The faith of those who died has been multiplied many times over - "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world." (Romans 1:8).
Dear friends, we live in a fallen world where chaos will occur (see Romans 8:18-28). The question is not: "will those folk over there be lost" but rather, are we hearing the call of God: 'who will work with me to take the knowledge of my love expressed in Christ throughout the world' (per Matt 28:18-20)?
As the scripture
As we read the papers this festive season we will be inundated with commercial interests trying to convince us that purchasing their product will bring happiness.
But this Christmas we may be able to discover a gift we already have!
Let’s take a moment to look inside our suffering and see if there is a gift God may have for us there…
We can identify three kinds of suffering:
that which is of God as a part of his disciplining and growing of our character;
that which is a sad part of life, like the loss of a loved one; and
that which is a product of this crazy fallen world in which we live.
From this we may see that the nature of suffering can be identifiable:
the suffering to do with God is redemptive; while
the suffering of the world or the devil is negative or destructive.
However our culture sees all suffering as destructive… so in response we tend to do all we can to minimise the situation, ie: drugs, alcohol, insurance, the courts, over servicing in the medical profession etc.
But hang on, in some circumstances we may be experiencing a suffering from God which is redemptive… yet we could be thinking of suing someone that God may have brought into our lives for a higher good?
Or perhaps we may be cranky with crew scheduling for changing our planned trip or time off? Yet perhaps this change was from God… and there was someone on that flight we were meant to meet as a conveyer of God’s grace and peace.
I know this has happened to me on a number of occasions.
Perhaps you feel that your circumstances don’t neatly fit into any of the above. If so the answer is still the same… to draw on God’s grace as your strength for the situation. Not depending on our own strength, but Jesus in us, through the working of the Holy Spirit.
But perhaps we are not recognising the gift of God, in our situation!
Remember Paul’s words:
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Rom 5:3 and similarly Heb 12:5-12).
How can we "unwrap" a gift of redemptive suffering?
We can pray:
"Lord, thank you for my suffering"... consider Rom 5:3 and 1 Thes 5:18 as validity checks on this prayer.
Remember when David wrote:
"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word", and "…It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." (Psalm 119 67-71).
And we learn of Jesus that:
"He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered." (Heb 5:7).
If you would like to follow this through further, you may like to read Isaiah 30:15-26 in a contemplative way.
Is someone causing you abuse or heartache?
Let’s turn this to good, in prayer:
"Lord thank you for this person…… Help me to see them as your minister to me ~ because they are causing me to depend on you like I never had to before! They are showing me how much I need your grace and your forgiveness in this situation. Thank you Lord that while I may not be up to this, Jesus within me is sufficient! Please strengthen me to grow in your grace as I bless this person in your name."
Here we may find new perspective in the gift we already have.
We often hear Romans 8:28 quoted when the going is tough. However to gain a more complete understanding of this verse we need to see it as an outcome of verses 18 to 28. Then we can relate this insight through the subsequent verses... more opportunities for contemplation.
This Christmas season let us pray with thankfulness for all of our circumstances… and ask the Lord to make our sufferings redemptive. Here is great opportunity for reflection and supplication (Eph 5:20 and 4:30 - 5:2).
As we look for God’s redemptive purposes in our suffering we will move from self pity towards grace and faith.
Our prayer of faith can be:
"Thank you Lord for my suffering… please work your redemptive purposes in my life. I may not like it, but please don’t stop doing what you need to do in me."
Here also is a prayer for healing:
"Lord, I give you my body, mind and spirit to be totally united to yourself, in the name of Jesus our intercessor, Amen". (Heb 9:24). You may like to pray this prayer next time you are at communion with the Lord.
And finally, let us be part of God’s redemptive purposes in suffering… by being mindful and compassionate to those around us passing through times of trial.
May growth in the grace of God be our special gift this Christmas. It may be found in tough situations… but let’s unwrap it and give thanks to the giver of life.