Are you being a good steward of what God has given you?
Pioneering a missions center, school, ministry, or practically anything, anywhere, is difficult. Our vision is often bigger than what we currently have. It's easy to have our eyes on the future in anticipation, but are we truly being good stewards of what we've been given?
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’" Matthew 25:14-30
Although there is no specific explanation of this parable in the Bible, given the context, it seems to be speaking a great deal about our stewardship with the word of God. The majority of the parables in Matthew 24 and 25 are about the coming of the "Son of Man." Are we being good stewards by sharing the knowledge that we have about God? Are those that we shared the gospel with, now sharing it with other people? The master in this parable expected his subjects to know his character and plans when he delegated responsibility to them.
1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
Suppose you've been given the gift of hospitality but you are at a church or part of a YWAM base that only has a handful of people. Perhaps you feel called to leadership and your only leadership role is on a weekly dishes roster. If God has told you to be a worship leader and you only know two chords, how are you using that knowledge? If you only get $300 a month, how are you using that money? Are you being a good steward of what you've been given?
Don't worry if you don't have as much resource or influence as you would like. Just use what you have. That is all He requires!
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley
Staff at YWAM Myrtle Beach
"Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work." - A.B. Simpson
When my friend asked me to help her start a brothel ministry in our city four years ago, I quickly agreed, knowing that those girls were on God's heart. It was already being done in other cities around Australia so the founders agreed to come to our YWAM center and help us get it started. In the months leading up to their arrival, I was staffing a Compassion Discipleship Training School and was leading weekly prayer times at the different brothels around the city. Prostitution was legal in our state, NSW, so we easily found the brothels and would pray and do spiritual warfare around a different one every week for three months.
After receiving the training from the founders, they accompanied my two friends and I into the city to do outreach. That night, we got into every brothel except one and were able to pray for and encourage several of the girls and managers. The founders said that they had never found such favor on a first night!
Even though I often prefer to run straight into things, I'm so thankful that we had that foundation of prayer before we started the brothel ministry in our city. We could feel God's favor and presence in the brothels even though evil and disheartening things went on in them. The spiritual warfare that had taken place months beforehand was quite evident and the ministry in our city is still going on strong today.
This is a simple story but has a strong principle: prayer is pivotal to any ministry. When pioneering, don't underestimate the power and importance of prayer.
“Almost everyone believes that prayer is important. But there is a difference between believing that prayer is important and believing it is essential. ‘Essential’ means there are things that will not happen without prayer.” – Dee Duke
"Prayer is not a preparation for the battle; it IS the battle." - Leonard Ravenhill
“We will only advance in our evangelistic work as fast and as far as we advance on our knees. Prayer opens the channel between a soul and God; prayerlessness closes it. Prayer releases the grip of Satan’s power; prayerlessness increases it. That is why prayer is so exhausting and so vital. If we believed it, the prayer meeting would be as full as the church.”– Alan Redpath
John 15:7: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you."
Ephesians 6:18-19: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
In 1984, I was seated next to two men on a plane on our way to Hong Kong from the Philippines. As I was leading one to the Lord, I saw that the man by the window was watching but not saying anything. When we got off the plane, I briefly talked to the man who was watching and asked, “Can I do anything for you?” “No.” Was all he replied before he walked away.
About five months later, it was Christmas time in the Philippines and I was a part of an evangelism group called FEET (Far East Evangelism Teams.) We were performing some dramas in the park when I saw that man from the plane again! He introduced himself as ‘Jon' (I’m using a pseudonym for safety reasons) and explained that he was only here for the weekend and was due back in Saudi Arabia for business. He pointed to the stage and asked, “What does this drama mean? I don’t understand it.” Despite the protests from those around me—everyone was trying to concentrate on the skit—I felt that I was supposed to share the gospel with Jon. I caught him up and explained that Jesus was taking on the sin of the world. He responded with a both puzzled and troubled look on his face, “I know about Jesus but I didn’t know that it was MY sin that put him on the cross." I felt to open the Bible and share about ‘the deeds of the flesh’ from Galatians 5 with him and that’s when he started to bawl.
Jon was gasping for breath as he saw Jesus, who was actually my future husband, Jeff, being crucified. Through ragged breaths he explained that he was a religious man but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. He simply wanted a new life. I invited my leader over and then encouraged Jon to speak out the strongholds and sin in his life. He opened his mouth and a river of repentance came out, not finishing until he knew that his heart was right before God. I could tell that this was a genuine hearted salvation and I began to cry tears of thankfulness; this was definitely a divine appointment.
Seven years later, I was in India with my husband, Jeff, and the Holy Spirit told me to pray for Jon. I got out of our bed made of rubber bands, knelt on the marble-like floor, and began to cry out for Jon. After I said his name in my prayer, Jeff exclaimed, “I know him!” I asked him how that could possibly be and he answered, “When you left, he ended up joining FEET and then did a DTS! I was his staff before he went back to Saudi Arabia.” I was overjoyed! I went back to praying but this time it was full of thanksgiving and praise.
We were in Australia a few weeks later when I heard that my friend had just returned from Saudi Arabia. I asked her if she knew if a man by the name of Jon Ku was still in YWAM and she responded, “Don’t you know who the leaders are? Jon is now the biggest church planter in Saudi Arabia!” I could hardly believe it; the Filipino man that I had heard from God to pursue was now a leader with YWAM in one of the most anti-Christian nations! He has led over 10,000 locals to the Lord and has planted about 600 churches!
This experience has humbled me greatly. God is so faithful and has bigger plans for us than we often realize. In conclusion, I urge you to always say ‘yes’ to God; you never know what He has in store.
*The real name of the Filipino leader and evangelist is not mentioned here because as far as I know, he has been in prison in Saudi Arabia for several years.
-Jennifer Ray with Faith Yoder
After a 14 month long missions tour around Asia, my friend Mike and I found ourselves back in the Philippines asking ourselves what shape our work would take. I was offered a job as a youth pastor and there were several other ministry opportunities, but Mike didn't feel that it was smart to jump right into anything. I agreed, "We really need to hear from God what He thinks. Let's set aside time to pray and seek direction from Him before we agree to do anything."
We prayed and waited, and worshipped and prayed, as we housesat for a missionary couple that was on furlough. After several weeks had passed, the couple was about to return and we didn't have any specific direction! We dug our heels into prayer and desperately cried out to God that he would speak to us and lead us. As the time ran down, two very clear words came to my mind.
"I was praying early this morning," I told Mike, "and two thoughts came to mind. The first was 'student ministry' and the second was 'Baguio'. Have you ever heard the word, Baguio?"
"It's a city up north." Mike responded. "But I don't know much else." We looked it up on the map and sure enough, it was a city in the northern mountains of Luzon. I folded the map, went to the window, and looked out at the quiet street and said, "These are the biggest clues we've had yet. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Mike nodded his head and said enthusiastically, "Let's do it! Student ministry in Baguio it will be."
Neither Mike nor I knew anyone in that area but after sharing our vision for a property that would be suitable for a coffee house with a friend's parents, they put us in contact with Mrs. Brady. "She has an excellent reputation in the city, she is very well thought of and educated. She's been involved in real estate and with the City Hall for many years. I've also been told that she has recently gotten involved in the charismatic movement. If anyone could help you guys, she'd be the one!"
We were eager to get into student ministry as soon as possible so the next day we made our way to Mrs. Brady's home. After we spoke to her maid, we waited several minutes before an elegant woman came to the door and urgently asked, "Do you know anything about the Holy Spirit?" Mike and I both smiled and nodded our heads affirmatively. She responded with another question. "Do you speak in tongues?" We smiled and said yes. Her eyes brightened. "Can you show me in the Bible where this happens?" Again we said yes. "Oh!" She exclaimed, "You've been sent by God! Please come in."
Over the last few months, she had been holding all-night prayer meetings in her home with her extended family and employees. During one of those nights, Mrs. Brady was alone in her room offering supplications to God. “Suddenly,” she said, “it was as though the sun started to shine like a laser beam down upon me. The room was filled with unnatural light in the middle of the night. The light came right through the roof of the house, into my bedroom where I was seeking the Lord. It shone like a flashlight, a beam of white light right on my head.”
She looked at us and blushed. “Then there was a tremendous power, like electricity. It repeatedly surged up and down through my body, from the top of my head down to my feet. I should have been terrified but I wasn’t. I felt a peace like I had never experienced before, and when the light started to fade, I started to speak these funny words, without quite knowing what was going on. I had never heard those words before and I couldn’t understand them.”
She went on to explain that a friend said that perhaps she had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Her daughter, Christine, had told her friends about her experience. They were intrigued and wanted to come to the house to get a language they too could speak without having to study at school. Since Mrs. Brady had no explanation, she had asked for two weeks before she invited them to her home. She was just finishing three days of fasting and praying when Mike and I showed up.
We took her through the Bible and showed her through Acts and the New Testament where the Holy Spirit had come upon the early church. We read stories of how the early church was empowered by God, how they went out speaking in tongues, with holy boldness, preaching the gospel and seeing thousands come into the kingdom. We explained that we ourselves were like that all over Asia. The Holy Spirit is available to us today, just like He was to the early church.
We were invited to Mrs. Brady’s house to meet with her daughter’s friend the following night so we came, prayed, encountered the Holy Spirit, and all six of the students accepted Christ. They started speaking in tongues and begged to bring their friends the following night. Matching their excitement measure for measure, Mrs. Brady responded, “My house is the Lord’s house! You are most welcome to bring your friends.
Night after night we returned to Mrs. Brady’s home and every night, people came to Christ and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Word began to spread through the student body of Baguio. Mrs. Brady was well known, well connected, and highly respected throughout the city. Some nights the house was overcrowded--it got so full that people had to stand outside on upside-down boxes in order to peer through the windows to hear what we had to say. God met many students there in a very personal way. The anointing of his Spirit was tangible and flowed generously in that home.
But God was not only interested in changing young students’ lives; lawyers, judges, housewives, teachers, and other professionals were all amongst those who experienced this fresh move of God.
Through this, many other opportunities sprang up and Mike and I were nearly run off our feet. Mrs. Brady helped us find a more permanent place to do ministry since our team had quickly grown to around forty people! We settled into a large pink house and found it to be a great place to do discipleship and evangelism.
Though things were going well, we began to experience some supernatural opposition in the forms of false teachers, healers and some very real demons. We were reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness.
In response to our prayers and Mrs. Brady’s deep longing for the Holy Spirit, we established a long term work among the students in Baguio. The Pink House was the place of many more stories of spiritual warfare and the work of God. It was the birthplace of Youth With A Mission in the Philippines.
-An edited and partially summarized chapter from the book, 'Adventures In Saying Yes To God' by Kel Steiner with Andrew Kooman.