When you think of God, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Big? Angry? Loving? Powerful? Faithful?
In the first week of our DTS, we have been learning about the nature and character of God. This teaching can challenge some of our previous thoughts or ideas about God. What we believe shapes our lives. As we study God’s nature and character we are compelled to respond, aren’t we? Our hearts begin to worship Him for who He truly is, praising Him for His unchanging ways, thanking Him for His eternal love, or humbling ourselves before His mighty power. Once the truths of who God really is sink in, we can’t help but go and be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
The amazing thing is that God invites us to share in His characteristics. He even calls us to demonstrate His character in our daily lives. He is holy and set apart. Is there an area of your life that needs to be sanctified? To be made pure? Or set apart for His purposes? God is the only true God. Are there other “gods” at the center of your life instead of the ONE true God? God’s love is constant and personal. Are there people in your life that need to experience His unconditional love through you today?
The truth of who God is transforms us to be more like Him!
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