Monthly Archives: January 2011

Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks - The Beauty of Christ through Brokenness - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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There seem to be thousands of Christian bookstores today filled with “how-to” books—“How to have a happy life,” “How to have a happy marriage,” “How to raise your children,” “How to be financially solvent.” We like quick and easy fixes. It’s like putting food in the microwave and pushing the button—“pshht”—just like that, it comes out ready. Instantaneous Christianity!

But brokenness in our lives is a process, one that we continually learn and grow in. May the Lord help us all as we go through this life. Slowly but surely we are learning. God never gives up on us. Consistently He works with us. He never says, “I can’t work with you anymore. You are hopeless.” Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. We can trust Him always, even when we fail. He is all good, all perfect and all love to us.


Lord, please help us to choose those opportunities to give in, to bend, to break and to walk humbly with You and with our brothers and sisters. Thank You for the example that You give us. We are learners, Lord, and we bend our necks and say, “Lord, please, let Your yoke be upon us.”

Thank You for Your Word that comes to our hearts as an encouragement. You are working with us, changing us day-by-day to prepare us for eternity and to restore to us that which was lost. Your intention is to make us more like Your Son. Lord, thank You for working with us. Make us teachable like little children. Give us Your grace to stay soft and broken. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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The Beauty that Comes

The Beauty that Comes - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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In the ancient town of Bethany there lived a woman, whose story we read in Mark 14:3–9. One evening she traveled to the house of Simon the leper, because she had heard that Jesus was there. She came seeking to do one thing—to pour out her costly perfume to Jesus. “A woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head” (v. 3).

Please notice that Scripture does not say she came and poured out two or three drops and then closed the flask and went home. She did not pour out half of the contents and then decide that was enough. No. She broke it. All the contents were poured out as the vessel was broken and the entire area was filled with fragrance.

My brothers and sisters, the Lord desires the same for us, for these earthen vessels, these jars of clay, to be thoroughly broken before Him, that Christ within may come flowing out in all His beauty, making our lives a blessing to all those around us.

Inner Transformation

When we come to the place at which we experience this brokenness, we begin to change within, in our character. The climate of our heart changes and we start to daily walk in repentance. There’s no more defending ourselves and the things we’ve done. There is no more shifting blame and saying, “It’s my nerves, the circumstances. You don’t know what I have to live with! I only reacted. It’s my weakness. It’s my DNA from my great-grandfather.” None of these things is left. We simply say, like the prodigal son, “I have done wrong; I have sinned.”

The prodigal son’s response to his father was not, “Father, I never would have left this house if this creep, my older brother, didn’t treat me so badly all of my life. Father, I would have been more thoughtful about not leaving if only you cared about me and had some feasts like this one once in a while in my honor. I would have been more content if you gave me some pocket money to spend on myself. It’s because of you, Father!”

There were a thousand excuses he could have come up with for leaving home and squandering his father’s wealth. But he didn’t use them. He was broken. He was humble. And he simply said, “I have sinned” (see Luke 15:18).

Not only do we walk in repentance over our own sins, but we repent for others as well. The Bible is full of broken individuals who wept over the sins of their people. Consider Daniel or Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet. Like Jesus, we are moved with compassion for those who have gone astray.

Broken by our own sin, we no longer judge our brother or our sister, but our hearts are soft enough to break for the sin in their lives. We enter in and become part of their struggle, agonizing with them and carrying their burden. Like Nehemiah, we cry out before the Lord for them (see Nehemiah 1:4–11).

When we come to the place of genuine brokenness, we also come to the end of our own strength. Our own strength is often one of our biggest enemies. But when we are broken, we realize we have no strength except what God supplies. Flesh has no strength to do good. Paul says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18).

Have you ever wondered why God picks the least, the last and the nobodies to do His work? Except for Judas who betrayed Him, all the disciples of Christ were plain, ordinary, uneducated men. God didn’t select the 12 disciples from among the strongest and the best.

In Scripture, we see how God often does the greatest through those who admit they have no strength of their own. Consider Moses as one example. He was once a great orator and leader, but when God broke him of his own ways out in the desert for 40 years, he came to the end of his strength and ability. Left with nothing but the strength and ability of God, Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt.

When our flesh stops trying, when it is thoroughly crushed and broken, His purposes for our lives are unhindered, and we bring true glory to His name.

First Peter 2:23 (NIV) tells us, “When they hurled their insults at [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

When we are broken like Jesus, we are able to forgive people, truly forgive them, and desire no revenge. A good example of this is found in the life of Joseph. When his brothers came to him desperate in the time of famine, he had every reason to turn them away and let them die. But he didn’t. He said, “My brothers, don’t be afraid, the Lord sent me here for you” (see Genesis 45:5).

What an incredible heart of forgiveness! There was no revenge, no wish for evil. This can only come through a life that has been truly broken. All those years in slavery and in prison, all the hard circumstances and rough terrain of Joseph’s life were used to break him, so that one day he could become a blessing to many, even to those who had hurt him most.

And there was no pride in Joseph being able to help the ones who hurt him. This is because when we are truly broken, our lives are rooted in humility. We live in the reality of Philippians 2:3 (NIV), and we “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than [o]urselves.” There is no room for boasting.

Look at Jacob’s life and see how when he was finally broken, there was no more “I am this . . .” and “I am that . . .” Instead, in Genesis 47, we find Jacob leaning against his staff at the end of his life and simply worshiping God, in awe of who He is and what He had done.

When we have been broken of our own ways and our own life, we walk as Jesus did, in true submission. This is not just an outer compliance, but an attitude of our hearts. It is not always easy to submit, either to what the Lord is saying or to one another. This is surely an impossible thing for someone who is not broken to do. But when we see Christ and embrace brokenness as He did, we have no reason to fight for our way or consider doing things independently.

Jesus never operated independently at all. He only spoke and did what the Father gave Him (see John 14:10). He never sought His own will. He came to do only what the Father desired. In everything He was in submission to the Father. And we are to live the same way, in submission to the Lord and to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This kind of life seeks nothing but the Father’s approval. It no longer matters what people think of us or what we have accomplished. “We make it our aim . . . to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9, emphasis added).

All of this beauty comes because we are broken. We no longer have anything to fight for because our lives have been crucified with Christ. We no longer have anything to boast in because our outer man is crushed, our strength is done away with, our reputation insignificant. It is only Christ within us that matters now. And it is only Christ within us, in all His beauty and grace, who can be seen now. His living water is free to flow out of us and bless others.

The Fruit of Brokenness

When we live a life of brokenness, not only do we become a blessing to many, but we live victorious over the Enemy. Scripture tells us that Jesus overcame him who had power over death through His death on the cross (see Hebrews 2:14).

It was not when Christ performed miracles and walked on water and raised Lazarus from the dead and fed the five thousand that He defeated Satan. It was when He suffered. It was His brokenness and giving up His life that brought victory.

It is through our choosing brokenness that we also find victory over the Enemy— victory over the one who creates the anger, the jealousy, the discouragement, the bitterness and strife, the fighting for our rights and all the other stuff we struggle with. We find victory through simply letting go and, like Jesus, giving up our lives.

When we live a life pleasing to Jesus and broken before Him, He is able to remake the failures in our lives. He, the Master Potter, is able to take the broken vessel and remake it into the precious one. He is the One who has promised that He would not destroy the bruised reed (see Matthew 12:20).

All of this causes us to become a blessing to others, filled with the same meekness of Christ. Through brokenness, we become just like Him—approachable, highly sensitive to others’ needs, hurt and pain, and genuinely caring for them.

Just think about it. There was no one afraid to come to Jesus. Everyone from the tax collectors to the prostitutes felt welcomed and safe around Him. There was a love in Him unsurpassed by any before, because He, the Bread of Life, allowed Himself to be broken. His brokenness became our blessing.

My precious brothers and sisters, I encourage you to learn of Him who gave up everything. Jesus was so broken on the cross. There was nothing He held on to. Learn from His humility and brokenness. Only on that foundation will we be able to reflect His image and do what He calls us to do. I want that, and I believe you do too.

© 2004  by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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5 Minutes with K.P. – A Heart That’s Tender


A Heart That's Tender - KP Yohannan - Gospel for AsiaYou know one of the hardest things I have to deal with is to sit in front of a man who has done awful, stupid things in his life or ministry yet has no conviction of sin. Even if he is caught, he acts as if there is no problem and simply asks for a transfer. I am weary of it.

These were the exact words to me from a minister whose denomination appointed him as a counselor for its ministers and church workers across several nations.

Many respected Christian agencies report record attrition rates of up to 80 percent for their well-trained, postgraduate field workers. Most barely survive their second term, and only a few make it past their third. The number one reason for leaving the mission field is not death threats from an anti-Christian community or lack of funds, but personal relationship conflicts. They simply can’t get along with their co-workers or the leadership.

Recent studies have estimated the divorce rate among born-again Christians in America to be anywhere from 35 percent to as high as 72.5 percent. Incidentally, the likelihood of divorce appears to be identical for both believers and nonbelievers. Most couples file for divorce not because of a spouse’s infidelity, but because of incompatibility. Again, it’s a relationship problem that destroys the foundation of our families and fills our prisons with delinquent teenagers.

Because these reports are not about secular society but represent the condition of the Church at large, we must ask ourselves: What’s wrong with our hearts that we would produce such a poor testimony?

It seems our hearts are no longer tender toward our God, toward our brothers and sisters in Christ or toward our spouses and families. At the center of each of these relationship problems is our unwillingness to humble ourselves and take responsibility for our sin. Instead, we fight and manipulate others to protect our self-image.

The phrase “I have sinned against you with my words, attitude or response” comes only with great difficulty over our lips. We find it much easier to say, “I just made a dumb mistake . . . forget it.”

What’s missing in our so-called repentance is the deep sorrow the prodigal son had when he realized how much he had hurt the heart of his father. This sorrow caused him to lay aside all pretense and self-protection and then to confess with a broken heart, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight” (Luke 15:21).

Several leaders from a mission field I was visiting approached me with the urgent request to help them make peace between two co-workers. I agreed to talk with both men. The interesting thing was that neither one was willing to give in and admit any wrong. I realized that, technically, the brother who was the leader was absolutely right in what he had said and done. If he took his case to a court of law anywhere in the world, he would be vindicated as innocent. But if he was so right, why was the other brother so hurt? Why did he continue to insist he had been wronged?

Finally I spoke to the leader.

“I understand what you said to this brother,” I told him. “But tell me, in what spirit did you speak those words?”

There was dead silence. Then he responded: “I understand what you mean.”

Even truth can divide and destroy if it is not soaked and covered in love, grace and mercy—and presented with a tender heart.

If that tenderness of heart is missing in our relationships with our brothers and sisters, God’s work is greatly hindered. For Jesus said, “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). With these words, the Lord clearly identified the foundation of prayer: oneness in relationship with each other.

Before going to the cross, Jesus prayed His incredible prayer on our behalf recorded in the Gospel of John. His main petition was “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).

But how is this oneness possible? Will it happen if we all think the same thoughts and, as a result, respond to one another with great kindness, love and understanding? And 68 Destined to Soar can we achieve these same thoughts by some deeper-level education that eliminates all differences between us and causes us to live above such things?

You already know the answer.

Humanly speaking, that is impossible. Even in a small local fellowship, the believers come from different family backgrounds and upbringings. All have different personalities, behavior patterns, levels of education and spiritual understanding.

However, one key to love, unity and following the Lord is my willingness to take responsibility for my sin. When my heart is tender before God, I will no longer accuse my brother or sister for my failure.

Instead, I will say, like the prodigal son, “Father, I have sinned.” And that attitude will open the way for God to unite us as His people and fulfill His promises. Blaming others became part of our human nature with the fall of man. Imagine this: While Adam and Eve were sinless, they daily walked hand in hand with the Almighty, who dwells in light no man can approach.

But when they sinned, everything changed. God came to Adam and asked, “What on earth have you done?” and Adam answered, “Me? I didn’t do it. If You want to know the real problem, it’s this woman You gave me” (see Genesis 3:9–12).

Here God had just caught Adam red-handed. The man stood there totally naked, except for a withering fig leaf. He had just lost everything, yet he was unwilling to admit his sin. Instead, he protected and defended himself and shifted the blame to his wife.

And then when God questioned Eve, she responded,  “Well, what can I say? The serpent deceived me” (Genesis 3:13, paraphrased). There will never be unity or rivers of living water flowing through our lives until we come to a place where we take responsibility for our sin.

The thief on the cross experienced this truth in the last minutes of his life when he said, “I deserve this punishment for what I have done.” And Jesus immediately responded, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Unity only happens when we yield our rights and admit our failures. If we desire the oneness with our brothers and sisters for which Jesus prayed, then keeping a tender heart is not simply an option, but it is our highest priority.

Whom does the Lord want you to talk to? Don’t put off His best for your life.

Destined to Soar © 2009  by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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