Monthly Archives: February 2011

5 Minutes with K.P. – Choosing Not to Return

Destined to Soar - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

After we are saved and begin our relationship with God, we learn that our journey with Him has just started. We discover every day that the ordinary components of life—relationships, emotional security, accomplishments, our profession or position, financial stability or even our cultural or national heritage—can hinder us from fully giving our lives for His purposes and growing closer to Him. One by one, God calls us to walk away from these things.

Abraham, Moses and Joseph—all those in the “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us—were also called to walk away from their “normal” lives (see Hebrews 11:4–12:1). Let us see how they responded:

All these people . . . admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13–16, niv).

The “opportunity to return”—what a significant phrase this is!

It is a challenge to follow His call to walk away from these things—but it is an even greater challenge to realize we always have the chance to turn around, to go back to a life that is more comfortable.

Our Enemy, the devil, knows this, and he works hard to persuade us to do so. Let us look at what he uses to try to make us return:

Material things. Demas, one of Paul’s co-workers, had this problem. This man traveled so many miles with Paul and shared hardships with him; he could have become another Timothy, but Paul says of him, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). We will face financial struggles of some sort, have friends who are better off than we are, and feel the need to do something to improve our lives or take better care of our families. The devil will use this. It’s a strong pull, but we must make the decision: Life or death, we will not return.

The fear of the unknown. The children of Israel suffered under terrible slavery in Egypt. Yet after God led them out and did mighty acts on their behalf, they longed to return, remembering the leeks and the garlic. What happened? They were afraid of what would happen to them in an unfamiliar land filled with giants. We, too, face unknowns; what we must remember is that God is bigger than the giants, our problems and our fears.

Losing our focus and vision. Paul’s earthly journey was marked by his passion to know the Lord intimately. He said he counted everything as a loss compared to knowing Christ (see Philippians 3:8). Those in the cloud of witnesses had one thing on their mind—their desire to be in heaven with the Lord. Our aim is the Lord Himself. Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2, niv).

And out of that pursuit of Him, who first loved us, comes a heart to reach the lost. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (see Luke 19:10). And as we grow to know Him more, what is important to Him becomes important to us. Out of Paul’s pursuit of the Lord came an undying passion for the lost. He was constrained by his love for Christ to live a life of incredible suffering, from which many heard the Good News (see 2 Corinthians 5:13–14, kjv).

Paul kept his focus and was able to say near the end of his life, “I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7). You and I will stay faithful to continue on this journey as long as we keep the end in mind. Don’t let the devil use day-to-day discouragements to take you off course.

Spiritual deception. So many Christians lose sight of God’s call when they become ensnared in self-focus and introspection—all in the name of godliness, deeper life and devotion.

Only one theme runs through the entire Bible: Christ, the Savior of the world. The Old Testament promises the coming of the Redeemer. The four Gospels narrate the fulfillment of Old Testament promises through Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, thus completing the work of redemption. The book of Acts is the account of those who knew Jesus as Lord as they went about preaching the Good News of Christ throughout the whole world. The Epistles instruct believers on living and demonstrating Christ’s life to the world. And the book of Revelation is the final chapter in which we, the redeemed, will meet at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and will be with Him forever and ever.

Knowing Christ and walking intimately with Him will produce a love and passion for the lost world. In more than 40 years of serving the Lord, I have found that the more I get to know the Lord, the more concern I have for the lost. It is no longer about the need, but it is for the Lord’s sake. If our so-called “deeper life” doesn’t have this result, it is a counterfeit and a distraction.

So as we face the pull of this world and the pressure from the devil to walk away from God’s call, let us remember that we are on earth for only a short time. We are strangers and aliens to this world. We only have a visa for this life, but our passport is from another country.

The men and women of Hebrews chose not to return to their earthly country because they recognized that God’s work went beyond time and space. Their true country was a heavenly one. May the Lord find us, too, focused on what is real and authentic—beyond circumstances, what we feel, what others say or what the Enemy throws at us. And if He were to write another chapter like Hebrews 11, may He use your name and mine as examples there for others to follow.

This world is not our home—let us journey toward that eternal city.

 

Destined to Soar © 2009 by K.P. 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.

 

Conclusion – A Life of Balance

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

Balance is brought through a continual focus on Christ. Imbalance comes when we lose this focus. We are so easily distracted from pure and simple devotion to Christ. Peter was distracted too. In John 21:21–22, (NIV) we find him asking Jesus about John, his fellow disciple, saying, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus simply said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” This is what Jesus says to us today. “What is that to you? You must follow me.”

In all of this, let us have a heart of love toward others in maintaining balance. You don’t have to be angry or upset with anybody for having a different view. You are free. A life of balance sets us free—free to follow Him and to love one another.

If this booklet has been a blessing to you, I would really like to hear from you. You may write to Gospel for Asia, 1116 St. Thomas Way, Wills Point, TX 75169.

 

© 2017  by K.P. 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.

Information and Action

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

To be honest, I am sometimes critical of people who live to gather more information and knowledge but don’t do much with what they know, especially when it comes to world evangelism. But this attitude is not always right. God used Ralph Winter and the information he obtained to bring to the church’s attention the concept of unreached people groups. God used Luis Bush and his information to bring forth the concept of the 10/40 Window.

One of the things that troubles me the most is the fact that today—right now—we have more information than ever before about every possible aspect of the Christian life and missions. From knowing the Lord and living for Him, to raising godly children and our responsibilities as followers of Christ, you can walk into a Christian bookstore and choose from several hundred books. You can find more information and resources in our world today than at any other time in history.

Yet despite this fact, one-half of the world still waits to hear the Gospel! We have all kinds of information on every country and people group, especially through books like Operation World,1 more than we could ever imagine! But still, the tragedy is that with all this information, more than 96 percent of all the resources and personnel out there are used to meet our own wants. We forget the more than 2.7 billion people who still need to hear the Good News!

There is such a tremendous imbalance between what we know and what we do. I once heard it said that there are over 1,000 commentaries on the book of Acts in the English language alone. But how many churches are there that really resemble the early church model found in the book of Acts? In other words, we are so fed with information, and our “spiritual knowledge” is so blown out of proportion, that we can hardly stand or walk.

It’s easier to just take one side and say, “What is the use of all this information? All the information in the world will not reach one single person.” But the truth is, we need information. We need the U.S. Center for World Missions. We need AD 2000 and Beyond. We need the Joshua Project and Global Mapping.

Some are called to generate information, and some are called to get out there on the mission field. Personally, I want to be one of those on the field. But I thank God for those who are generating the information, too. The people on the information side of things discover unreached people groups. Now we have hundreds of unreached people groups identified so that we can plant churches there. Thank God that we can do something with the information. This is the beauty of balance, the Body of Christ working together.

One of the greatest challenges for us today is to be not only hearers of the Word, but to become doers of the Word. This issue is even more serious when it comes to our responsibility to world evangelism. What we need to do individually, in our personal lives right where we live and serve, is to go out of our way to find opportunities in which we can be involved in reaching the lost world. Whether it is through prayer, sharing or going—whatever way the Lord shows us, each of us must take responsibility and do everything we can to get the job done.

Information without action is like shooting blanks. You know exactly how to load, aim and pull the trigger, but there is nothing effective in it. Information without action is like a pilot flying missions in a cockpit simulator without ever getting into a real plane. Our problem today in missions is there are too many spectators who know all about how things are supposed to be done and too few who are actually daily living it. It’s like a football game; there are thousands of football fans who know all about the game but only a handful of players actually sweating it out on the field. We must cultivate a balance between information and action in our daily lives.

Notes:

1 Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Publishing, 2001).

© 2003 by K.P. 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.

5 Minutes with K.P. – The Mark of Humility

Destined to Soar - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

Two men went to the temple to approach God in prayer and seek His favor. One, a Pharisee very sure of his outstanding spiritual achievements, recounted to God his flawless service record. He even thanked the Lord that he was better than others, especially that tax gatherer over there. This other man didn’t dare lift his head. He stood at a distance and pleaded guilty as a sinner, asking God for mercy (see Luke 18:9–14).

It is obvious that the Pharisee, though his outward behaviors may have looked good, was full of pride. And in contrast, the tax collector was quite aware of his unworthiness and was sincerely humble.

It is important to note: Lack of humility is the proof of counterfeit spirituality. The Pharisee thought he had everything so right, but his “spirituality” was not authentic. So many people have so many things to say about the Lord and their walk, but there is a sense that there is nothing real in the spiritual life they’re portraying. The mark of humility is missing. True spiritual maturity will be marked with humility. After 20 years of preaching and a life of hardship and sacrifice, Paul said with a sincere heart, “I am the chief of sinners” (see 1 Timothy 1:15).

Having that mark of humility is God’s plan for all of us as believers. But often we all still experience a lack of respect and love for mankind. We can be insensitive to people’s feelings and indifferent to their circumstances. It can show up as hidden anger, impatience, irritation, bitterness and a tendency to quickly pass judgment. If we analyze these feelings and actions, we find that all of them have their roots in pride. Like the Pharisee in Jesus’ story, we feel superior in some area, and we aren’t able to manifest the long-suffering love of Christ in our relationships.

In contrast, Christ dealt with people in humility. During His earthly life, He sought to lift others up, even when He confronted them with their problems. He never looked for opportunities to gain a higher position, more respect or greater honor for Himself. That’s why He could tell His disciples to follow His example and be servants of all, to choose the last seat instead of the first and most prestigious.

We cannot manufacture humility. The moment someone tries to be humble, we notice it like a bad taste in our mouth. The outside actions may look right, but their spirit doesn’t match. Humility manifests itself from the reality and understanding we have within us. Natural man with all his knowledge and determination cannot simply be humble.

Christ is our answer. He must be our focus. It is Him working within us and us responding to Him by which we will truly become humble. When we humble ourselves before Him and desire His work in this area, He has the open door to work with us. And He will.

Then in our relationships with others and our daily events of life, we will have many chances to humble ourselves in response to His promptings. Each of these moments is an opportunity for us to be conformed into the humility of Christ and have that mark of humility on our lives.

James 4:10 exhorts us: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord.” For our transformation into Christlikeness, this is where it starts. Will you make a commitment today to practice this Scripture? You will find that your love and compassion for others will grow tremendously, and you will experience the joy of being a servant like Jesus.
Destined to Soar © 2009 by K.P. 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.

As You Run to the Finish Line

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

In the midst of the enormous vision for world evangelization, we need to keep a balance between commitment to our vision and commitment to individuals. We must always see the big picture—like the 2.7 billion unreached people in our generation. But at the same time, we must not lose sight of the individuals the Lord has placed around us. God never forgot the individual. He saw Noah, Abraham, Hannah and David, knowing each by name.

We humans are so easily moved by large numbers and the majority. We see this in the ways of the world—so political that one individual is easily disregarded, sent to the slaughterhouse for the sake of some kind of gain. But God does not operate this way.

In the parable of the lost sheep found in Luke 15, Jesus talked about the importance of one in the midst of a multitude. He spoke of a man with 100 sheep, who, when discovering one little lamb was lost, left the entire fold to search for the one. The shepherd did not say, “Oh well, I’ve got 99 left. Let the one go. It’s okay.” No. He left the 99 to pursue the one lost, searching until he found it. Then he carried that one that strayed home on his shoulders, rejoicing. The Lord said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7, NIV). The heavens rejoice when just one person finds his way to the Father’s love.

When I was 16 years old, I was part of a mission organization involving some 450-plus people. Even though I couldn’t speak English fluently and was not very qualified, someone saw me as an individual made by God, with potential from Him. If that person had looked only at the entire movement and the big vision God gave, they could have said, “You don’t qualify. There’s no way to fit you into our system,” and passed me by. But somebody was willing to see me, the little individual, in the multitude of people.

The same thing happened in Genesis 16. Here we see the Father’s heart for the individual through the story of Hagar, a woman alone and crying out in desperation. Even though Hagar was just an Egyptian maidservant and not a part of the house of Israel, God came down solely to minister to this woman and give her a promise.

Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Looking at the way Christ dealt with individuals helps us understand how much He cares about each one of us. Jesus looked for the one man Matthew, a tax collector whom nobody loved or cared for. He sought after one Nicodemus, one Zaccheus, one Samaritan woman, one woman caught in sin, one sick man lying by the pool for 38 years, one blind beggar. This is the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet He who spoke to and cared for the individual did not disregard the multitudes. “When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). He cared for millions, while at the same time caring for the individual, finding time even for a handful of little children.

We must see the world, “for God so loved the world” (John 3:16). This verse shows us a glimpse of the Father’s love and knowledge, His care and concern for every human being—that means the approximately 6 billion people living on planet Earth at this time in history. At the same time, that statement includes one individual like you and me. In the book of Psalms, the writer says, “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now” (Psalm 40:17, NLT).

I heard an amazing incident that took place during the Special Olympics years ago. Nine physically and mentally handicapped children lined up for the 100-meter dash in which the participants trained for months. Finally, the big event was at hand. Everyone readied for the race to begin. At the sound of the gun, they darted off. A few moments into the race, one boy stumbled, fell to his knees and began to cry.

Sitting there on the track, he looked up to see everyone else running ahead of him to the finish line. Along with the pain in his knees was the pain from everything he had worked so hard for—gone in one fall. The boy’s cries filled the track area.

The spectators in the stands heard it, as did the other runners competing. Then the most beautiful thing happened. All the other runners stopped their racing and ran back to the injured boy, helping to lift the fallen one. And together, all nine children linked arms and went toward the finish line.

Of course, all those who watched cried and cheered and clapped. But the question must be asked, will we do the same for someone who fails or needs a helping hand?

It may be in the way of writing a letter or making a telephone call. It may be saying a word of encouragement to lift them up in their time of discouragement. It simply could be giving some money or material things in a time of need. Sometimes it is simply saying nothing but just listening.

Whatever it may be, remember, this is how the Lord treats us. May we, in our following Him and fulfilling what He called us to do—being very busy and doing His work—not overlook the individuals who may need our attention or our help. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus also told us we must do unto others what we would want others to do for us. Surely you and I do not want to be forgotten or ignored. Let us be Christlike in our response to all people.

Everyone the Lord places in our lives, everywhere, at any time, is important. My hope is that while maintaining vision and running toward the finish line, we will not trample over the individual. We must never let a world vision blind us from seeing the people working right alongside us who need attention, care, love, affection and understanding.

 

© 2003 by K.P. 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.

Love and Doctrine

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

The balance between sound doctrine and love is imperative. Doctrine is important, and the Word will always be our final authority, keeping us on course; but love must always remain our means of travel.

There are those who say that all we have to be concerned about is full-fledged ecumenism among all churches and denominations, regardless of what they believe or do not believe. Keep in mind, however, that the apostle Paul spent half of his life defending the faith that he preached because of the apostasy that began to creep in and destroy so many churches. As you read the writings of Paul, you will see that he was a man aching with such a burden for the purity of the faith and the truth of the Word of God.

Church history clearly shows that when the Word of God is not taught and commitment to doctrinal purity is not maintained, the Church enters into a dark age. Examples of this are found throughout the centuries. Had it not been for Martin Luther, who in the sixteenth century stood up to defend the purity of doctrines, risking his very own life, the Church might have remained in utter darkness. The Reformation, which was the fruit of his life, took place because of the preaching and defending of God’s Word.

Even today, all over the world, the Church at large is once again moving toward another dark period due to the liberalism being taught and perpetuated in great numbers in many theological institutions. Not giving heed to sound doctrine will lead to syncretism and pluralism. And these have become some of the most serious, destructive forces throughout the church today.

Paul warned Timothy to take care of the sound doctrine he received, while at the same time continuing in the grace and love of Christ. In his letters to Timothy we read Paul’s exhortations concerning this balance: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20–21). “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1–2).

Another example of this balance to be kept is found in Revelation 2:2–5, a passage in which Christ speaks to the church at Ephesus. These believers had pure doctrine and were extremely fundamental in their faith. Yet the Lord said that He would put out their light because of their lack of love.

Love must be the root and foundation of all that we do in our service for the Lord. Let us not forget the exhortation in 1 Corinthians 13—“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3, 8, 13, emphasis added). Without love, all means nothing.

The Church is called to evangelize the world and to call all men to become part of the Body of Christ. But this purpose can only be carried out as we walk in love. In John 13:34–35, Jesus said to His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). In his classic book Love Covers,1 Paul Billheimer says the biggest hindrance for the world to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ is the sin of unloving attitudes and division in the Body of Christ. I fully agree.

We must be very careful not to make rigid boxes of “our doctrine” and try to squeeze people into them. People have asked me, “Was Mother Teresa a Christian? Is she in heaven?” By some people’s denominational teachings, Mother Teresa is not in heaven. Based on what some churches believe today, many people who headed the Reformation—bringing enlightenment to the entire Christian world—will go to hell because they didn’t fit in with “sound” doctrine.

Satan knows that a house divided against itself cannot stand (see Mark 3:25, NIV). And so he cunningly seeks to divide the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ on many minor issues. Particular subjects that create disunity include specific views on the Holy Spirit, Calvinism, Armenians, translations of the Bible, the second coming of Christ, and many others. I am convinced that the thousands of divisions in the Body of Christ today have very little to do with doctrine. The majority is based on the overemphasis of minor issues and traditions. Once we start investigating, it is amazing how few differences there actually are in fundamental doctrines among most churches. Yet there is such an unloving attitude and division at large.

Please remember: God is much more concerned about our heart than our head. I have met people who are a little “off” in some doctrines that I consider important. But they are still people deeply devoted to the Lord, knowing Him intimately.

How do we explain all this? I am not sure. I don’t have all the answers. But one thing is certain: The Pharisees, who knew all the answers and had “sound doctrine,” are the ones who crucified Christ. Let us keep in mind that the most important evidence of those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ is not seen in their commitment to fundamental doctrines, but in their life of love. The world will know we are Christians by our love, not by our doctrines. When love is absent, doctrines have no use. Truth without love is a lie. We must maintain a balance.

 

Notes:

1 Paul Billheimer, Love Covers (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1980).

© 2003 by K.P. 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.

5 Minutes with K.P. – What’s the “One Thing”?

Destined to Soar - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

Two individuals came to Jesus, each with a deep spiritual problem. One found life, but the other lost it. What went wrong in this counseling session?

The first person was a rich young ruler who approached the Lord with the most burning question of his heart: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).

He was not seeking a religious debate as so many others did. He honestly wanted to know. When Jesus listed five of the commandments, the young man replied that he had a perfect record in keeping them all. Christ simply responded to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor . . . and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). Scripture tells us that the rich ruler went away sorrowful (see Matthew 19:22).

The second man was also rich, but he had gained his wealth by shamelessly defrauding others. Zacchaeus was a well-known crook. When Jesus came to his house, He said nothing to the man about selling his house or giving his money away. Amazingly, Zacchaeus freely made the decision to give half of his possessions to the poor and restore four times the amount he stole to everyone he’d cheated.

What was it that compelled Zacchaeus to respond so differently than the rich young ruler?

When Zacchaeus saw Christ, he saw the pearl of great price. He saw in Him everything, all things, completion. He realized, If I have Him, I can easily give away everything. What else do I need?

But when the young ruler saw Jesus, he didn’t see the pearl of great price. If we could know what his thoughts were that day, I imagine most of them were focused on what he would be giving up, more than what he would gain in Christ.

We very often make the same mistake as the rich young ruler. We truly want to follow Christ and experience His abundant life, but we focus on what we may have to give up and are afraid to let go of those things we have relied on for so long.

I believe the Lord looks for that “one thing” we grasp so tightly and depend on. It could be anything: our strength, our abilities, our education, a meaningful relationship, our years of Christian experience, our connections, the good reputation we have established, our position, our extraordinary discernment and other spiritual gifts, our plans for marriage or the things of this world like the rich young ruler.

In the New Testament book of Revelation, we encounter a group of people in the church of Laodicea who were convinced that they were rich and lacked nothing. Yet the Lord told them that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Why did the Lord think they lacked everything? It is because they had become self-reliant, which prevented them from experiencing the genuine life of Christ.

As long as we hold on to that one thing in which we trust, we will never be able to surrender fully to Christ. Consequently, there will always be a distance between the Lord and us. Such lack of closeness results in frustration and discouragement on our part. In addition, that one thing will be a constant hindrance for the rivers of living water to flow freely out from us and give life to others.

How do we recognize the “one thing” still lacking in us? We will know it by the discouragement, tension, bitterness, frustration and irritation that fill our hearts, when that “one thing” is tampered with. God will open our eyes, and we will recognize it if we truly desire to. We will then have the grace to surrender it to the Lord, not by looking at what we are letting go, but by looking at all that we have in Christ— the pearl of great price.

You see, if “our riches,” that which we value most, are the Lord and what we have in Him, then no raging storm can cause any disturbance. Amy Carmichael once wrote, “A cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.”1

I believe the Lord wants us to live in a continual state of seeing Him as everything and being content in Him alone. Those whose life is full of joy and the unhindered presence of the Lord are the ones who experience a continuous feast on Him. Nothing else will matter to them, and abandonment to Christ alone is their obvious choice.

Will you believe that He is truly the pearl of great price? Step out. You’ll find Him to be so much more than you imagine.

Notes:

What’s the “One Thing”? 1. Amy Carmichael, If (London: SPCK Publishing, 1951), p. 37.

Destined to Soar © 2009 by K.P. 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.

 

Zeal with Wisdom

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

When you read about Paul, Peter, Philip and others in the book of Acts, you see how their lives were marked by passion. They were full of zeal, enthusiasm and excitement, red-hot in following the Lord. Nothing could stop them.

I believe the Lord desires for us to be the same way today. Even Jesus had a direct purpose and a goal. He pressed onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will, focused on what His Father required of Him. And so must we—but not at the expense of wisdom. As somebody once said, “We can become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” We need to be wise in our zeal. Sometimes we need to slow down, be sensitive and listen. In all His zeal, Jesus still took time to simply listen to the woman at the well and play with the children.

One time when I came home from the office, Gisela was crying about something going on at the house. I don’t remember exactly what it was that was bothering her. I automatically started quoting Bible verses and preaching to her, thinking that was what she needed to hear. She stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “Can you please stop? I can preach all those sermons and quote all those Bible verses too. I just want you to listen.” In my enthusiasm and zeal, I had completely missed what she needed. There was no wisdom in that.

There are many different ways that zeal without wisdom can manifest. Numerous times, women have come to me asking for prayer for their unsaved husband. They explain the strife and incredible pain they live with, telling me all the ways they have tried to convert their loved one, but to no avail. Often, this zeal takes a turn, and soon the wife starts criticizing, putting down and pointing out all the husband’s wrong ways. In turn, the husband is driven even further from the Gospel than he was before. And further from his wife.

Zeal to see a loved one come to know the Lord is good. The Bible shows us the wise way to handle this zeal—and it never mentions to argue and fight or tell the whole world how bad someone may be. Rather, in meekness and gentleness, we are to live a godly life before that person. This becomes the means for someone to come to know the Lord (see 1 Peter 3:1–7).

How often we end up losing precious friends and bringing such disunity in our fellowship or in our home by handling the truth without wisdom.

Once a pastor came to visit the GFA office. As I spent time with him, he began telling me all the things he was doing for mission work. Something within me wanted to rise up and say, “This guy is off-the-wall. He is so completely ignorant about what is really going on.” I wanted to explain the whole picture to him and give him the real story of world missions. But suddenly I thought to myself, “There is a time for everything. Is this the time to do it? He is so happy, so enthusiastic. He wants to pour out his heart and tell me what all he has done and where all he has gone. If I start lecturing at him now, what would be the point? I must love him and respect him and honor him. Dignity should be given to him.”

So I listened . . . and listened . . . and listened. I said, “Wonderful, I am so glad you have been to this place.” And then I said, “May I have your business card so I can contact you again?” Then I gave him my book Revolution in World Missions1 and said, “When you have finished reading it, would you give me a call?” He said he would.

Ten years ago, I would have acted differently. I would have said, “You think you know this and that! Well, let me tell you, you are wrong. It’s really like this . . .” But this is not how the Lord would have responded. We need to make a conscious effort to be sensitive to one another in this way. We need to keep our zeal and walk in wisdom at the same time.

Wisdom is knowing how to properly handle the information and knowledge we have, especially when it comes to relationships. And the Word of God tells us we receive wisdom by having the fear of the Lord. That simply means a close relationship with the Lord, seeking His face and living in obedience. This brings wisdom to our hearts.

Notes:
1 K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions (Carrollton, TX: gfa Books, 1986).

 

© 2003 by K.P. 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.

Where is Your Focus?

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

A balance needs to be kept between our concerns for a deeper life and our concerns for world evangelism. God wants us to grow and become more like Him. He wants us to know Him intimately. He is a jealous God who longs for our fellowship and seeks our undivided love and attention. All this is true. But it is also true that He has sent us into the world as His representatives to seek the lost. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

It is good to desire a deeper life, and it is good to go forth telling of Jesus. But we will only have a balance in these things when our focus is on Christ and Christ alone. Paul had a desire to know God and a desire to preach the Good News. Both desires existed simultaneously because both are in God’s heart. The same should be true of us.

I encourage you to go to the average Christian bookstore sometime and look at the titles spread all over the shelves. The majority of them are about how to fix your life or how to get a deeper life. But how many books are there about half of the world going to hell? How many books do you see talking about the needs of millions in unreached areas?

The other extreme is being people who are so full of zeal, constantly driven by the great need around them. We cannot work in the flesh and have no understanding of the Lord in our inner life. We must be people who continually seek the face of God to know Him.

There must be a harmony in developing our intimate walk with the Lord and our passion to reach the lost. If I really know Jesus who gave His life on the cross and shed His blood to save sinners, how can I not want to save people? How can I say that I know Jesus, or how can I enjoy a life of deeply loving Jesus, and not be compelled to do whatever I can to reach the lost world? We should not become unbalanced by all the deeper life teaching that we forget the reality of the lost world.

Anything of a truly deeper life culminates with us becoming more like Christ—having the mind of Christ. And Christ died for the world and paid the price for us to be saved and to spread this Good News to everyone. If we keep our focus on Christ—not specifically on gaining a deeper life for ourselves or on reaching the millions—there will be this balance.

 

© 2003 by K.P. 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.

5 Minutes with K.P. – Free to Make Progress

Destined to Soar - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

I was stunned and amazed to no end when I read the 19-page letter a man wrote me. He not only blamed me for all the mess he had made of his life, but he also pronounced severe judgment and terrible curses on me from God and the devil.

Never in my life had I received anything so full of poisonous hatred. The most incredible thing was that I had never met the man in my life. I had no clue of the situation to which he referred.

Because he had the audacity to make me responsible for all his tragedies and setbacks, I sat down to write him a fitting defense to his wild accusations. But just as I finished, I asked myself, “What am I doing?” I tore up my letter and threw it away.

Then I took an aerogram and wrote him a one-sentence reply: “My dear brother, no one on earth can destroy you, not even God; only you can destroy yourself.”

You see, the man’s real problem was that he never searched his own heart for the root cause of his crisis. Instead, he believed that if I straightened up, his problem would go away, and he would be happy and successful in his endeavors.

This man is certainly not alone in thinking he can blame people around him for his lack of success, peace, comfort, happiness or spirituality. That’s why a husband looks for his wife to change and a wife wants her husband to shape up.

Wanting to feel good and grow spiritually by changing everybody else becomes a vicious cycle. We are convinced that our progress depends on their compliance. We seldom stop and honestly look at ourselves.

It is true that others can be a source of trials, disappointment and challenge, but we cannot blame them for our own lack of spiritual vitality. That’s a matter of our heart and not of outward circumstances.

In fact, throughout Christian history, those believers who went through immense trials, horrendous persecution and martyrdom were the very ones who carried the Christian faith forward. They gained their spiritual strength and endurance in the midst of adversity, and their faith was refined as gold through fire. In order to grow spiritually and become faithful until death, they did not depend on people around them to change. Even in chains, they were free to make progress in pursuing God.

The truth is that no one person can hinder our spiritual growth or destroy us if we walk with the Lord and put our faith in Him. He will be our shield and defender just as He promised. Even God cannot destroy us, if we have trusted in Jesus as our Savior and our hearts are completely His. He will eternally abide by His own Word that says, “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Ultimately, I am the only one who can destroy me. By my own choice to reject Jesus as my Savior, I can send myself to hell. As a follower of Christ, if I violate God’s principles, I will bring destruction upon my marriage, my home, my work and myself. And if I don’t walk by faith according to the Scripture, I can prevent God from fulfilling His promises toward me.

How can we detect the real hindrance and remove it? The Apostle Paul advised the Corinthian Christians to examine and judge themselves (see 1 Corinthians 11:31–32). It starts with us being willing to be honest with ourselves. Instead of blaming others, we should search our own hearts when we find that we are not making progress in our Christian walk.

But it shouldn’t end there because “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind . . .” (Jeremiah 17:9–10). Our hearts can appear innocent to us so that we don’t suspect our troubles could be self-inflicted.

We must involve the Lord on this quest. We must be willing to be honest with ourselves and then invite God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24). Only He can tell us the truth and help us see ourselves as we are. That’s why each of us needs to follow David’s example— coming in humility to the Lord and asking Him to perform the examination.

God was always faithful to point out a sin or a wrong attitude in David’s heart that compromised his relationship with God and hindered his spiritual progress. David responded by humbling himself, repenting and accepting God’s correction.

It is the grace of God when He opens our eyes and shows us our true condition. And if we respond as David did, the hindrance that held us back will be gone, and we will be set free to make progress on our spiritual journey.

Lord, search our hearts and try us.

Destined to Soar © 2009 by K.P. 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.