"I will never be silent when asked to give the reason for the hope that I have.” - Johnny Hunt
"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result." Genesis 50:20
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15
“Where the impossible becomes possible through prayer."
Introduction- Are you ever just tired of the relentless bad news in the media, every single day? Day after day we read about terrorism, governments fighting their own people in the Middle East, tragedies through natural disasters, children being orphaned, widows being abused, one tragedy after another. Do you ever feel helpless or heaven forbid even feel hopeless... hopeless to be able to do anything constructive about it.
I feel that way too.
I am not going to feel that way any longer. I am going to do something about it. Lord willing, we are going to do something about it….together. I have an idea. Let’s change the world. Let’s just do it! Let’s not have conferences to talk about it. Let’s not write blogs or books about. Let’s just do it.
My good friend Johnny Hunt once said, “prayer is not the last thing that we do, it is the best thing!” I am tired of treating that statement like a bumper sticker slogan that makes me feel good. What if Prayer really is the best thing we can do? What if we really took James seriously when he said “we have not, because we ask not.” James 4:2 What if we are not seeing peace in Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Iraq or Afghanistan because we are not intelligently and earnestly asking for our Father to reign down peace there? What if men like Abu Baker al Baghdadi (the leader of ISIS) seem unstoppable because we have never asked our Father in heaven to stop him. But what if we joined our hearts together and with unrelenting fervor began to pray against the destructive events in this world? What if we prayed intelligently and with understanding... unceasingly?
Jesus told a wonderful story in Luke 11:5-9... 5-6 Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’ 7 “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.9 “Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open.
I love Eugene Peterson’s rendering of that opening statement...”Imagine what would happen?...” Let’s imagine together what would happen if we began together to ask our Father, unceasingly, to stop the violence, to rescue the hurting, the poor, the weary. Imagine what would happen if we joined our hearts in an unbroken chain of prayer asking our Father to save men like Kim Jong Un (the President of North Korea), to work in the life of the president of the US, to rescue the people of Israel, not only from their neighbors, but from their own destructive disbelief. The ways we could change the world are endless if we as God’s children would effectively and intelligently pray. Jesus commends the man in his story for his impudence, his unembarrassed persistence. What if we began to pray together with an “unembarrassed persistence?” Could we, you and I, change the world?
I believe we can!
I am working on an initiative that I will soon be rolling out. I will be asking all fo us to join together to change the world. Do we believe that there is anything impossible with God? I don't think we do. Why then can we not pray and ask him to do what he already desires to do? What if? Hold that thought. I will eb coming with more soon.
Church on the Road Story
Follow-up has been going great this week with our COTR team. Out of our new brothers and sisters, two are really getting it! They are eager to start their new church this week. The first week they will have about 14 new believers worshipping together. The team also went up to Kassel, Germany. There they spent time discipling three new believers. On the way home, around 11:30 pm they stopped at a small Turkish kabob shop. There they ran into two other Farsi believers who wanted someone to teach them God's Word. They had lived in that village for 8 months and had never been to that kabob shop. That night they just happened to be really hungry and decided to go get something to eat. So at 11:30 at night in a small town between Kassel and Frankfurt the Lord orchestrated a meeting of his children. They want to start a new church in their town! The team plan to go back up there this week. Thank you for praying for them.
A week in Amir's life
On Friday a week ago, Amir received a notice informing him that he must report to a different refugee camp, 2 1/2 hours away from Frankfurt. He was to be there the following Monday morning. A supervisor from his previous camp told him to be careful there as this particular camp is often used as a “staging camp”; in other words it is a place where refugees are brought together right before they are sent back to their home countries. This may or may not be true for Amir. We do not think so.. Either way, he had no choice but to report to this camp.
When Amir arrived at the camp, he did a good job keeping us updated via WhatsApp (a way of communicating by texting and voice mail through the internet). He told us that there are about 500 refugees living all together in this camp. He was given a room in the camp with 3 other men. These men are Muslims, two of them from Afghanistan and one from Pakistan. Amir sent us a photo of one of his roommates. The man was going through his prayer rituals. Amir watched him and prayed to the One True God for the man's soul.
It is very risky for Amir to be around devout Muslim men because when they realize he is a follower of Jesus, they will mistreat him. His life could be in danger, even while he sleeps at night. So, soon after getting to the camp on Monday, he decided to keep quiet. He was concerned, well actually afraid for his life, so he planned to keep to himself and actually hoped to avoid sharing the Gospel while at the camp. It is like second nature for Amir to talk about Jesus, so this is very difficult for him. Those of you who know him understand exactly what I’m talking about! Anyway, he started out accomplishing his goal but soon an older man from Afghanistan came over to him and asked for help with translation. Amir knows English and some German so he helped him. The man asked him if he was Muslim. Amir thought to himself, “Oh no..here it comes.” Then of course he answered the man by saying, "No, I am not Muslim. I am a follower of Jesus.” In the course of their conversation the man mentioned that he not only needed help with the language but that he also needed help finding a doctor. He told Amir that he has so much pain in his shoulder that he cannot sleep at night. Amir told him that Jesus could heal his shoulder and offered to pray for him. The man allowed the prayer.
Later on in the day, the man came over to Amir very excited, saying that he no longer had pain in his shoulder and that he wanted to know who this Jesus is that Amir follows, because he wants to follow him too.. So in less than a day of Amir’s arrival to this new camp, he had a new brother and friend. He tried not to share the Gospel but he just couldn’t help himself!
Amir and the new believer watched the Jesus film together that night.. The man was excited so they went door to door till 2 o’clock in the morning to see if others were interested in Jesus. Two people became believers that evening. They made a plan to celebrate and invite others to a Bible study the next afternoon.
They were afraid to meet in the camp so Amir went out and found a Chinese restaurant where he talked to the owners to see if maybe they could have a meeting there during a non-meal time. He told the restaurant owner that he would like to have maybe 15 people there in the afternoon around 4 pm. He said they would be talking together, maybe sing some songs, maybe dance. The owner of the restaurant said, “Oh you mean like a birthday party?” Amir said, “Well, yes kind of like a birthday party; it is a celebration.” The owner agreed.
There were 18 people at the celebration Bible study, the two new believers along with two more who had already been believers and then all the friends they had invited. Twelve more of the ones invited decided to follow Jesus during the “party”. Now they will meet each week together to worship and study the Bible. A Persian church has been started in a Chinese restaurant on day 2 of Amir’s stay at the new refugee camp!
Amir got permission to not sleep at the camp for safety reasons. He will sleep in his room in Frankfurt 2 1/2 hours away and travel back and forth to the new camp once or twice a week so that he can disciple the new believers and help them get their church going. The new group of believers is meeting again this week.
God took Amir from Frankfurt to another city. Amir had no choice but to go there. Even though he was recently give a 6 month visa no one has any way of knowing what will actually happen to him. Amir had been afraid of the outcome. Now he writes to us: “My heart is full of joy and peace..”
Even though the enemy means this change for Amir to cause harm and fear for all of us, God has something good planned. Bless His holy name! Amir wrote to David the following:
"Dear brother we win!
Dear brother we win this battle from devil thank you for praying we were 18 people two of them they were Christian in their country two of them they give Their life yesterday evening 12 of them they give their life today to Jesus and there were in tears and full of joy. And this was first time in their life to worship truth God. We are meeting on Friday again and they love to bring other friend as well.”
Our dear friend and disciple Amir has been waiting for 4 years to receive his permission to be granted German citizenship. He has been in limbo for all this time. This is unimaginable for us as US Citizens. Imagine if you had no country to represent you. I travel all over the world yet I so often take for granted that when I pull out a USA passport that it really means something! Only if you have traveled much will you truly understand what I am saying.
Amir has nothing. He has no passport, no birth certificate, no diploma, no document of any sort ever stating that he was ever even been alive. I can barely imagine what that must feel like. His family has declared him dead and have destroyed all his documents. There is not a government in the world who really cares for him as a person.
Four years ago Amir fled his country with no documents, no money and little hope. Ninety percent of those who left with him either passed away along the journey or turned back. He was arrested in Iran for documents and spent 3 months in a terrible prison. He was released and made it to Turkey. There he was arrested again and spent 4 more months in prison. Once again, he was released only to almost die several times at sea and almost froze to death in the mountains.
You can only imagine his joy of finally getting to Germany by foot and reporting to an asylum station there where they took his name, his thumb print and gave him a hot meal and a clean bed. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. He was assigned a social worker, given a room and told to wait. Throughout that wait God has blessed our brother greatly. He has also endured several more trials. In 2014 he was abducted by some terrorists, taken to a quiet place and beaten. His head was cracked in 4 places. He was stabbed with a knife 3 times and left for dead. By no coincidence, on that same day Sandy and I arrived in Germany to live.
The last few years we have together seen many lives changed. Hundreds have come to faith in Christ. Hundreds of others have traveled from the US to join us, if even only for a week. They have been changed. We have been changed. Many are studying God's Word for the first time. Leaders are being trained, Churches are being started.
Please continue to pray for Amir. His journey is just getting started. He lives and dies by the prayers of the saints...by your prayers. I hope you believe that! It is critical that you do!
12/24 On Christmas eve your gift and donations provided all the resources to host a Christmas Eve celebration here in Frankfurt. It was an amazing time. My brother And shared the Christmas story accompanied by a wonderful Good News testimony. People came to Christ. What a great testimony to see former Mslms declare their trust in Jesus as their savior on the eve of His birthday! It was such a special beginning for so many as well as the first Christmas celebration that most all of them had celebrated as new children of the Father through Christ Jesus. You played a significant role in that. Your prayers and your investment in this work has been one of the most significant things that I have seen this year. Thank you.
Prospectus for the Upper Room-Frankfurt
"This area will be holy, set aside for the priests who minister to the LORD in the sanctuary. They will use it for their homes, and my Temple will be located within it." Ezekiel 45:4
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night. Nehemiah 1:6
In partnership with e3 Partners, LM2 and the Chase “The Upper Room” will provide a sacred space where we can engage in focused persistent prayer for the city of Frankfurt, for the nation of Germany, the continent of Europe, the unreached, the masses of Syrians, Iranians, Afghans, and North Africans who are immigrating here and for those who are coming to know Christ for the first time in their lives. The Upper Room will have a guest room, a bathroom, a small kitchen, and a consecrated room for prayer. It will be a place where people can come, stay and focus solely on the face of our Father and intercede on behalf of the nations.
Father has provided us with an incredible place this week. It is on the top floor of an old building situated right in the middle of Frankfurt. The area is close to all public transportation hubs, is well trafficked and is accessible for all who will come.
The one thing we have learned this year is that more than ever we need a powerful, focused and persistent prayer strategy. We need prayer to mobilize more workers. (Luke 10:2) We need prayer to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt 6:9-13) We need…. to have (James 4:2)
We are asking that Father provide what we need to conclude our phase 1 of this dream to become a reality.
We have received the equivalent of $ 7,000 so far for our phase one (getting the apartments and getting set up)
We need an additional $8,000 to get our phase one funded. We need that funding by Wednesday of next week.
Sandy and I would like to invite you to consider joining us in our phase one funding. I cannot remember the last time when Sandy and I have so clearly felt Father leading us in an initiative.
Phase 1 Opening the Upper Room’s door with deposits and set-up $7,000.00 $8,000.00
Phase 2 On-going rent of facility and maintenance of space. $22,800.00 $22,000.00
Fatima-(pseudonym) We had a beautiful baptism service for Fatima yesterday. She was overjoyed at her new life in Christ! She shared her testimony of how she came to a place where she longed to find forgiveness for her sin above everything else and upon discovering Jesus Christ her whole life has changed. Fatima was forcefully married to a 40 year old an at the age of 14. She is 34 and has three children. The other day she asked me if she could go to the Refugee centers with us and tell people about the forgiveness and love that Jesus gives. I love to see the transforming power of Father's love in the lives of these dear people who are being radically changed by our savior.
Rhadiq (pseudonym) of Afghanistan
Came to Germany several months ago with a large family group (parents, siblings, cousins, in-laws and small children) He has and continues to share his newfound faith in JC regularly and broadly. His father, sister, one cousin and brother-in-law, as well as a young Iranian friend have since come to JC, and been baptized. His insistence on living for Jesus has unexpectedly turned into him ministering to the earthly needs of many around him, he alone being able to speak English and help with all kinds of official matters with government and hospitals. Pray for his wisdom to regularly get away to /with the Lord and have his cup filled so that he can continue to give to others.
Loveson of Ghana
Came to Germany two and a half years ago, after a few years living in Italy. He has a good knowledge of the scriptures and good connections in a couple of local churches (one Spanish-speaking). He has been told that there’s ministry opportunity for him, but he wants to improve his understanding and application of God’s Word—to his own life and then be prepared to help others. Pray for his growth in grace and application of God’s truth.
Godlove of Cameroon
Came to Germany 6 years ago. He is a heart believer in God, but has had little guidance in his life. His father died when he was a baby and his single mother struggled to rear him and three other siblings. When he came here, he got off to a good start working and making his way, but was cut—he feels for racial reasons—and has since become very discouraged. He is now 2 years unemployed and doesn’t see God’s hand at work in his life. Pray for him that he learns to praise and thank God for all things in his life, that he focuses on the blessings he still enjoys and not what he doesn’t have. Pray the HS open his eyes to see his riches in Christ and know that then, he will see God working in his heart and life.
Bashir (pseudonym) of Pakistan
He is a dutiful, German-born son of Pakistani immigrants who came here 30 years ago. He has a good job with a large American company here in Frankfurt. He questioned many things about Islam, taking his questions to his father who, unable to answer the hard questions, told him to stop asking questions and just follow it. His UK education and lifestyle doesn’t allow him to just accept things without questioning, but he no longer asks his father. He asked many questions about JC and what we believe, and is now torn between his parents faith, which he inwardly questions and his own which does not satisfy his need. Pray for him to come boldly, yet humbly to JC with whatever burdens and fears his heart has (there are many), and trust in JC for all his life’s hopes.
Story from Jeremiah
Our brother Jeremiah lead a family to faith in Christ this past week and as one of the daughters was walking to school she was assaulted and was being beaten by some boys who had heard that she has turned her life to Christ. In the midst of this brawl Jeremiah came along and he heard the commotion, so he jumped in the middle of the fray trying to rescue this dear sister. he got them to break it and he got her safely home. I find this amazing, because remember....Jeremiah is totally blind. I never seem to get over how courageous all these brothers are for Christ. My faith is challenged regularly.