Tag Archives: 5 minutes with K.P.

5 Minutes with K.P. – Fighting the Law of Attrition

Fighting the Law of Attrition - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Nothing stays the same! Just one look at your car will confirm this. The tire tread is wearing thin, the muffler is rusting out and the engine will only go so many miles. Our houses have the same tendency. The paint peels off, the roof leaks after a few storms and the tile and carpet don’t seem to stay clean for more than a couple of days. In the kitchen the milk goes sour, the bread molds and the peach that looked so delicious three days ago starts to rot.

Even things we leave completely alone, like the pictures on the wall or the books on the shelf, collect dust, change color and become old. Half our time is spent washing clothes, cleaning house and repairing things that break down. We do this because we know that unless we continually work on maintaining our possessions, we surely will lose them to deterioration.

Exactly the same is true for our spiritual lives. Check it out for yourself by comparing your life and your ambitions with the ones you had when you first understood that Jesus wanted to use you to help win millions of people for His kingdom.

As time has gone by, your once-tender heart is now unmoved by the truth that, today alone, 80,000 souls will plunge into hell because they have died without calling upon the name of Jesus. Your eyes no longer have tears as you look at your world map and see the Muslim nations that are closed to the Gospel. You used to consider it a joy to write a check to support a native missionary, enabling him to reach his own people for Jesus. Today you’re almost sorry that you made that commitment because you would rather spend that money on yourself, like buying the newest CD from your favorite Christian music group.

You remember when you couldn’t wait to attend the prayer meeting for missions or to spend an hour alone in intercession for the lost world. Now you find it difficult to fit the prayer meeting in your busy schedule, and you have to kick yourself to get out of bed for a five-minute prayer.

Believe me, this is the situation for all of us: If our commitment and our call to serve God are left unattended, they will slowly deteriorate and be replaced with excuses and a thousand other things to do. We will then argue for our rights and our freedom and justify our lack of time and interest in the cause. Finally, our other involvements will become more important than the call of God on our lives.

Let me ask you, what caused a man like Adoniram Judson, America’s first foreign missionary, to be so different from us in his level of commitment and the achievement of his goal? What gave him the strength to go through incredible persecution and suffering, burying his first wife and three of their children on the mission field of Burma? Was it because he was a product of a different culture than ours in which the people and circumstances were more stable?

No, I don’t believe so. Each person has his own struggles and problems. I firmly believe Judson was able to bear even the greatest of losses and pay the highest of prices because he had made a lifetime commitment to win the Burmese to Christ or to die trying.

He deliberately kept his focus on his call and purpose, rejecting everything that would distract him from reaching his goal. God saw his heart and gave him the necessary grace to finish the race.

Another model of focused commitment is the life of George Whitefield.

George Whitefield, the great British evangelist, was often falsely accused and maligned. The clergy spoke out against him, artists painted mocking portraits of his meetings, and slanderous tracts were published to attack him. But when his friends urged him to defend himself against the lies he refused. “I am content to wait till the judgment day,” he said, “for the clearing up of my character. When I am dead I desire no epitaph but this, ‘here lies G. W. What kind of man he was the great day will discover.’ ” He had committed himself to the Lord. He was looking beyond this world.

“Though [Whitefield] wrote Journals of his ministry during its first three years, he thereafter refused to take any steps towards making a correct knowledge of his life available. With his eye fixed on his accounting in heaven, he sought no justification of himself on earth” (Arnold Dallimore). What a contrast with the hypocrites who justified themselves in the sight of men—but God knew their hearts (Luke 16:15). And He knows our hearts too.1

Our greatest problem is that we continually lose our focus. We allow ourselves to be sidetracked by the world, by our mixed-up motives and by our lack of discipline. It takes a radical commitment to live for the one goal God has set before us—to win the lost. Whatever part you have in it—be it to go, to intercede, to give, to send—make it the focus of your life. Start measuring everything that comes your way by this question: Will it further the cause God called me to, or will it be an extra weight and additional distraction in running the race? Learn to walk away from things and even people who will take up your time, your emotions and your money and thus hinder you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.

Like Judson and Whitefield, we must continually work on keeping our focus to be able to run our race with endurance—and win it.

Wearing out the saints (Daniel 7:25) slowly is the master tactic of the enemy. Don’t let him!

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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. – It Can Be Done

It Can Be Done - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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A few months ago, when my family was with me in India and Nepal, my wife and a couple from our Indian office staff took a two-day train ride to another state.

When my wife came back, she shared with me about her trip. She said, “While we were traveling in the train, I was sitting up late in the evening looking out of the window into the dark night. As the countryside was flying by, I could see tiny lights coming from thousands of little huts scattered everywhere. In my heart I began to wonder how we would ever be able to reach all those people with the Gospel.”

I told my wife, “It is true that India is a huge country with an enormous population. We must reach them one person at a time and one village at a time.”

Our confidence and encouragement are this: God will never ask anything from us that cannot be done! If there is a thought of impossibility, it is always with us—never with Him. He has solutions and ways prepared in His infinite wisdom about which we would never even dream. Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

For example, who could have ever imagined that when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God’s plan was to part the Red Sea as they were being pursued by Pharaoh’s army with no evident way out? Or who else other than this wonderful God could give His servant Joshua the confidence to pray for the sun and moon to stand still until the battle was won?

We serve this same God today. His thoughts and ways are still higher than ours. He already has answers and solutions about how to reach these billions of people with the Gospel. We can be confident that His ideas are much better and more effective than any of ours.

But how can we know the mind of God? The answer is by walking so closely in obedience to Him each day that He can guide and direct every single step we take.

Jesus is our example. The Son of God became the Son of man and demonstrated for us what it means to live a life that brings glory to the Father.

Jesus was not motivated by the desperate needs around Him. In fact, when He heard that Lazarus, the one He loved dearly, was sick, He could have easily gone and instantly healed him. But instead, He simply said that His time was not yet come. True, it was the Father’s will for Lazarus to be raised up. But according to the Father’s plan, it was not yet time. So Jesus waited for several more days for the exact moment to come. Jesus never acted out of urgency but out of His obedience to His Father’s plan and purpose.

Jesus told us that just as the Father sent Him, He is also sending us. First Peter 2:21 says that we are called to follow in His footsteps.

Even so, much of Christian activity today is done in the energy of the flesh. The day of judgment will prove that it was nothing but wood, hay and stubble. All will be turned into just a pinch of ash. God will make sure that no product of the flesh will remain in eternity, even things that were done in the name of the Lord.

After three and a half years of teaching His disciples, the Master finally summed up all He had tried to teach and demonstrate to them—that without Him they could do nothing (John 15:5). Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). How much salt does it take to flavor food? Not much at all. But if the salt is without its saltiness, you can pour a mountain of it on your meal, and it will be useless. You see, the saltiness in us is the life of the Lord that flows through us unhindered. The mountain of activity that is done with our genius inventions, budgets, schemes and plans all means nothing because His very life is missing. It is all contaminated with our soulish strength and carnal reasoning. It is useless.

In the first century, a handful of people made a huge impact on their society because the life of the Lord flowed through them—when one community saw them, they simply cried out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6).

Turning our world upside-down—world evangelism and proclaiming the Lord’s kingdom in our generation—will never become a reality if we depend on the thousands of conferences, organizations, schemes and plans developed with specialized computer programs and Madison Avenue techniques. God is still looking for a minority of people who will seek His face with all their heart and do the work in His strength.

In one of his children’s books, C.S. Lewis describes a land cursed by a witch to have an endless winter. It is a difficult, cold time for all the creatures who live there. There is much suffering and hopelessness. But one day everything changes. A thaw begins. The birds, animals and flowers appear everywhere. Life bursts forth once more because Aslan—the great Lion, the Son of the great Emperor over the sea—is coming. It is His land, and He comes to set it free. The creatures are heard saying, “Aslan is on the move.” And then they sing: “When He shakes His mane, we shall have spring again.”1 The whole scene changes as the Lion advances into the cold, wintry land, and the power of the witch is finally broken.

This is what Jesus does. We can strive with all our own strength, energies and resources to do His work and reach this generation with the Gospel, but in the end it will all be for nothing. The little that we can do will be a total waste because it will have been produced in the energy of the flesh. If, on the other hand, we can come to the place of total submission to His Lordship—doing what He wants us to do in the way He wants us to do it—then we will have accomplished the task. God told Jeremiah: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). I believe this challenge is meant for us as well. God wants to share His thoughts and plans with us for winning these nations for Jesus, but He expects us to ask Him how.

We will have confidence in the Lord’s strength as we face seemingly overwhelming or impossible goals set before us, because we will have His thoughts and not our own. And the fruit of our labors will not only be effective but eternal.

A man or woman who knows God intimately will never be intimidated or controlled by anyone or anything.

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: GFA Reports | GFA.net | Instagram | GFA.com

5 Minutes with K.P. – Touching Heaven “Alone”

5 Minutes with K.P. - Touching Heaven “Alone” - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Unless we are praying and spending time alone with God, we really can’t understand what it means to follow Christ. We are deceived by thinking that dynamic preaching, a good worship service, special music, great choruses and an outstanding church program are where it’s all at. But they’re not.

We see in the Bible that one of the strongest agendas God has is to get people all alone. For example, Jacob ran 20 years or more. Finally, when God got him alone, He could make him into Israel.

You see, when it is only God and you, you are more apt to face your pride and your sins. With everyone else we argue these things away and look wonderful and smile. But when we are all alone before God, we face ourselves, and the cleansing and purification will take place.

We become less phony the more we are with the Lord. I cannot tell you strongly enough that each of us must develop a very strong habit of prayer; otherwise, our Christian walk will greatly lack reality.

But this is only the first step in God’s agenda for each of our lives. The next step is for Him to show us the desperate faces of more than 2 billion people who are unreached with the Gospel. Each of them is created in the image of God with a soul that lives forever. Yet they are bound in the chains of sin and heading toward hell without knowing there is a name to call upon for salvation. God searches for those people who will stand in the gap on their behalf and intercede for their souls.

I am not talking about a little phrase we say at the dinner table: “Lord, please bless our food and our family, and save the poor heathens in Africa.” I am talking about entering into incredible spiritual warfare. This means going consciously into battle against the powers of darkness for the release and freedom of people who cannot help themselves and don’t have anyone else to fight for their deliverance.

It is basically the hardest, most agonizing and difficult job we can ever embrace—but the only one that guarantees absolute victory.

It is amazing how easily we can get people in the Body of Christ motivated to demonstrate, to wear T-shirts, to collect signatures or to raise money for a worthy cause. But it is the hardest thing to get them to pray for a world that is lost without Christ.

Why are our views and priorities so distorted? Why are we so easily distracted from the one thing that really would get the job done? The answer is because we are up against an enemy who knows what can hurt him the most! The devil is well aware that prayer is our most powerful weapon—it defeats him every time. With it, we touch heaven and cause the hand of God to move in a mighty way. Therefore, the devil would rather see us doing every other Christian activity instead.

At Gospel for Asia, both on the mission field and in the home office, we consistently experience that prayer is the quickest shortcut to victory. What would take us 50 years of struggles to accomplish, God can do in no time at all.

But how can you start, and what can you pray for? Just watch the news on TV or read the international page of a newspaper. Scribble on a piece of paper what is happening in Myanmar, Afghanistan, China and other nations. Start praying for the needs of these nations. Put up a world map in your house and get the book called Operation World by Patrick Johnstone, which gives you a lot of information on the spiritual conditions of each country. Take Gospel for Asia’s SEND! newsmagazine and other mission publications; go through them and make every article a matter of your intercession. Soon you will discover that 30 minutes, one hour or two hours will not be enough to even scratch the surface.

It is the incredible wisdom of our God to ordain prayer to be the most powerful weapon of the church. If He had chosen anything else—like preaching, singing, money or education—many of us could never participate in fighting the war.

But prayer doesn’t require any talent and can be done anywhere, anytime and by anyone. A housewife, a poor person, a child, a 90-year-old grandmother, an executive or a lonely believer in a nursing home all are able to change the world and help change the destiny of millions of people through prayer.

If the Lord has spoken to you today, please respond by doing just one thing: “Pray!”

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: Twitter | GFA Reports | GFA.net | Instagram

5 Minutes with K.P. – Are We Seeing Through the Eyes of Jesus?

Are We Seeing Through the Eyes of Jesus - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Things aren’t always as they appear to us at first glance. It’s true, isn’t it? Let me explain what I mean: You make a phone call to an old friend just to say hello, but he responds with harsh words and shows no interest in talking with you. By the time you hang up, you are convinced he is upset with you. A week later, you find out that his wife was diagnosed with cancer just hours before you made your phone call. The situation was not at all as it appeared, and you had to revise your earlier judgment.

How easily we judge others every day, without actually knowing the full story! In the book of Samuel, we read the story of Hannah, a lonely, heartbroken woman who came to the temple to pour her soul out before the Lord. In her pain and heaviness of heart, she wept bitterly and could barely utter a few words in prayer. The priest Eli, who watched from a distance, only saw her lips tremble as she sobbed her request to God . . . and he promptly accused her of being drunk. When she explained her story, Eli no longer condemned her, but with a heart of compassion he blessed her in the name of Jehovah.

Eli made the mistake of basing his quick judgment of Hannah on her outward appearance. God corrected him by making him look at her heart and take time to listen to her whole story.

What Eli did is exactly what we do to others: We pass judgment without knowing the real condition or situation, and we end up condemning others. Furthermore, we often use harsh, sarcastic words and expressions in our “verdict” and end up hurting others deeply. Although they may respond to our sarcasm with a smile, deep down in their heart they are weeping. We must never forget that when we carelessly hurt the least of our brothers and sisters, we are hurting the Lord Himself.

Why is our perception of others and their problems often so inaccurate and insensitive, even if we consider all the facts? Because we lack God’s perspective on their situation. As human beings, we are so limited in our ability to understand one another. We don’t see the world through the eyes of our fellow man, but only through our own. Subsequently, our own experience, traditions and values are the measuring scale for our judgment and the reality we perceive in the world around us. If we use ourselves and our circumstantial views of reality as final authorities for assessing others, we will inevitably make hopeless and inaccurate judgments.

Because each person on earth lives and judges by his own perception of reality, how can we ever respond to a situation in the right way? We can’t—until we recognize that God alone is the measuring scale for all things and that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are incapable of discerning the hearts of men, their true needs and God’s answer for their situations. In other words, we must learn to see others through the eyes of Jesus.

The story of Peter in the 10th chapter of Acts is a classic example of how Peter’s view of reality, which was created by his upbringing, traditions and convictions, became a major hindrance to his ability to do God’s will. Being a Jew, he could have no dealings whatsoever with Gentiles. But here we see Peter throwing out his lifelong judgment on Gentiles and traveling to the house of Cornelius to lead him and his entire family to Christ. What happened to Peter? He allowed the Holy Spirit to replace his own faulty conception of reality with God’s perfect one; and as a result, he was able to respond as Jesus would.

I believe the most disturbing reason we are so quick to judge others is our deep-seated pride. We don’t want to admit it, but we often secretly delight in their flaws and problems. Their failures give us something to talk about and at the same time make us look holy. In reality, our hearts are so wicked that we actually feel elevated when someone else falls! If we could see them with the eyes of Jesus, we would intercede with tears for their restoration.

Do we judge the motives of others? This is one of the worst things we can do. Without even asking one question, we make up our mind and say things like, “I know why he is saying this or why she is doing that.” When we do this, we seat ourselves on the throne of God, because He alone can judge the motives of men’s hearts.

The Word of God clearly warns us, “So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether someone is a good servant or not. When the Lord comes, he will turn on the light so that everyone can see exactly what each one of us is really like, deep down in our hearts. Then everyone will know why we have been doing the Lord’s work. At that time God will give to each one whatever praise is coming to him” (1 Corinthians 4:5, TLB).

Remember, by the judgment you give, you will be judged also.

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: Youtube | Twitter | GFA Reports | GFA.net

5 Minutes with K.P. – Somewhere Down the Road

Somewhere Down the Road - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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It was an exciting day for the Christians in Antioch. The whole church had gathered together to pray for Paul and to send him off on his second missionary journey.

Everybody was curious to see who would be on his team this time. You see, just a few days before, there had been quite a heated dispute between Paul and Barnabas, who had accompanied Paul on his first trip. Barnabas wanted John Mark to join them again so the young man could have a second chance as a missionary candidate. On the last trip, he had deserted them when things got rough, but Barnabas believed that John Mark had now changed and would do better.

But Paul’s list of qualifications to serve on his elite team didn’t include such generosity! In fact, if Paul had lived in our days, the advertisement he might have published in Christian magazines would read something like the following:


for Mission Work in Asia Minor and Europe

 Job description: Serving, praying, preaching, teaching and church planting.

Qualification: Love Jesus more than life itself.

Terms and conditions: Hard work; 24-hour shifts; difficult travel; storms; shipwrecks; nakedness; poverty; hunger; constant danger from Gentiles, false brothers, robbers and wild animals; misunderstanding; loneliness; desertion by coworkers; persecution; beatings; stonings; imprisonment and possible martyrdom.

Job does not include the following benefits: Salary, position, title, promotion, securities, health or life insurance, secure future, good health, long life or retirement fund.

Send your application to: Paul of Tarsus, apostle to the Gentiles.

I am certain that very few of us would have dared to venture out and join Paul’s “death squad” missionary team! In fact, most of our comfort-loving churches would have labeled Paul as crazy, dangerous, and cultish and warned their members not to attend his meetings or read his letters.

However, when we read the Gospels, we are surprised to discover that Jesus made the same offer to His disciples when He asked them to follow Him. He even told them, “You must love Me more than your own life.” We read the results in the book of Acts and in Church history: Nearly all of His disciples lost their lives for the sake of the Gospel they preached.

On that day when Paul headed out for his second missionary journey, “a few good men” had actually made his team! Everyone in the church knew that these men had to be the cream of the crop, the best of Christianity: men full of faith and the Holy Spirit, mavericks, steadfast, fearless and invincible.

Paul and his team were incredibly successful. Everywhere they went, they drew people’s attention with the message they preached and the miracles God performed through them. People were saved, churches were established and together, this team actually turned the known world upside-down (see Acts 17:6).

Years later, however, Paul wrote an interesting paragraph in his letter to the Philippian church: “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father” (Philippians 2:19–22, NASB).

And with sorrow, Paul wrote to Timothy at the end of his life: “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10).

What strange things is Paul writing about in these letters? He’s actually talking about his own coworkers! How is that possible? What happened to his elite team, the ones he handpicked and personally trained?

In the beginning, it was fantastic how everyone worked hard and gladly sacrificed and suffered together. No one asked for a title or claimed a position. Each one was eager to serve Paul and the other team members. But as time went by, something shifted in their hearts. They became secretly concerned about their own career as Gospel workers. One after another, each man said to himself: “I love the Lord, the ministry and Paul, but if I go on working for Paul, I’ll miss my chance to build my own ministry and make a name for myself.”

Many left Paul and his team for various reasons. Paul was sad and hurt, not because he didn’t want his coworkers to be used by God elsewhere but because he recognized that the motivation of their hearts had changed. The driving factor in their ministry decision was no longer love for Jesus but rather their own interests, dreams and ambitions.

In the Old Testament, we find another example of a man being motivated by his own interests and desires. Gehazi, the servant of the prophet Elisha, had stood with his master through difficult and turbulent times. He had traveled with Elisha, carried his bags, cooked his food and shared all the hardships and persecution Elisha faced in his ministry. It was not an easy life for Gehazi. Surely no one envied him for his job.

I believe Gehazi had originally joined up with Elisha because of his love for the God of Israel and because he truly believed Elisha was a genuine prophet of the Lord. He saw it as a special privilege and honor to serve such a man and help make his life a little easier.

For his part, Elisha might have looked at Gehazi as a gift of God to his ministry. Perhaps he even thought: “Could it be that God has sent Gehazi to live with me because He is preparing him to be the next prophet for Israel after I am gone? After all, Moses’ long-time servant Joshua became his successor; and I myself used to be Elijah’s servant.”

Gehazi worked hard and seemed faithful in his service—until Naaman, captain of the Syrian army, showed up and offered Elisha riches out of gratitude for curing his leprosy. But when Elisha refused to accept the goods and Gehazi watched Naaman and his treasures disappear down the road, he panicked. I imagine he thought something like this: “How could Elisha do this? If he didn’t want any gifts, that’s his choice. But he could have thought about me just this once, and let me have a little reward. I have nothing to show for all my years of faithful service. Unless I act quickly, I will lose the chance of a lifetime to get something for myself!”

So Gehazi ran after Naaman, got some free gold and clothing—and became a leper.

This is a very sad story. We can’t help but wonder how Gehazi could make such a fatal mistake after being with Elisha for so long. Surely he must have known that he would never get away with this type of greed.

Was Gehazi perhaps always a selfish man and served the prophet only for a chance like this? Or could it be that his heart went from a state of total commitment to seeking his own benefit in just a matter of hours?

I believe Gehazi actually started out with the right motivation, but somewhere down the road, his heart was lost, long before he encountered Naaman.

Is it that God doesn’t want us to have any blessings as we live for Him and serve Him? No, not at all! On the contrary, He is eager to shower us with His goodness. But He doesn’t want us to make the blessings and benefits our goal and reason for service. He knows that if we do, we will lose the purity of our motivation, which should be to serve Him out of love.

A third example is found in the church in Ephesus, which Paul himself planted. This church was a model to all of Christianity: genuine love for Jesus, commitment, maturity, sacrifice and hard work. When Paul wrote them a letter, he didn’t have to spend time reteaching them the spiritual ABCs but instead could share deep spiritual truths with them.

But years later, another letter reached the Ephesians from the apostle John, with a message he had received from Jesus. The content was very short but extremely serious; in essence, it said: “I know all you do—your work is way above average. However, you have lost your first love, and there is nothing I can accept as a substitute. Repent, and love Me as you did in the beginning. If not, I will walk out of your church” (see Revelation 2:2–5).

It is shocking, but when we study about Paul’s coworkers, Gehazi and the church in Ephesus, we find the same problem. The beginning of their ministry was wonderful. Their hearts were right, and their motives were pure. But as time went by and their knowledge of God, their experience in ministry and their ability to lead others all increased, their hearts changed.

Their problem—and ours as well—was not the start of the race but that long stretch before the finish line. Looking at those who have gone before us, we can easily see that this is where we face our greatest battles and where so many fail. Perhaps with time, we become more casual and careless and take much of our walk with the Lord and our ministry for granted.

Paul, on the other hand, ran the race and kept his faith and motivation intact until the end of his life. Time did not seem to affect him. What did he do to live victoriously until the end? I am very sure he applied Proverbs 4:23 literally to his life: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

Paul watched over his heart with the eyes of an eagle, alert and ready to detect any early warning signs that he was losing his pure motivation. If this started to happen, he immediately corrected his course.

Above all, Paul never considered himself more than a bondservant or slave of Jesus Christ. As such, he had laid down every right to his own life along with every ambition he ever had. His only remaining desire was to please His Lord and live for Him. He entertained no dreams beyond that.

In the light of all this, seeking recognition, titles, position, a pat on the back, salary or benefits in the Lord’s work, whether secretly or openly, must be an alarming warning sign for us. If we choose to pursue these things, it will be only a matter of time before we have lost a pure motivation of the heart.

Our enemy is our own self-centeredness.

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | Youtube | Twitter | GFA Reports

5 Minutes with K.P. – Does Your Reading Count?

Does Your Reading Count - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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While visiting China a while back, I was shocked when I learned that hundreds of church congregations there are without even one copy of the Bible to share among themselves. They are without any kind of Christian book, and still in many parts of the world it is impossible to find a Christian bookstore.

In free countries, especially in the West, thousands of books on every conceivable subject are available to believers. One might logically conclude that because there are so many Christian books, most of the people in these nations are very spiritual and radical in their commitment to Christ!

Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, even though so many Christian books are available, many of God’s people are truly illiterate when it comes to reading books that could really make a difference in their lives. When you visit the average Christian bookstore, you’ll find that there are more books on self-help and how to make one feel good or how to improve one’s situation, than on the radical call of Christ to lay down one’s life and live unselfishly to reach this generation with the Gospel.

Many publishing houses will not publish a book with the name “mission” on it, simply because it wouldn’t be a money maker. Furthermore, hundreds of priceless books are out of print because the topics are contrary to our self-centered, self-pleasing, watered-down Christianity. And do you realize the latest trend is to read Christian novels? In other words, we are looking for anything that makes us feel good.

Early in my Christian life, one of the best things that happened to me was that George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization, at which I was serving, asked us young people to carry with us the book True Discipleship, by William McDonald. He wanted us to read it several times each year. Then I was introduced to the many books by A.W. Tozer and by Watchman Nee. And, of course, one cannot forget the book Calvary Road by Roy Hession. I’m sad to say that many of these books are not even available in the most popular bookstores. They have to be special ordered.

Read the Gospels and see how Jesus called His disciples. He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). And, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Of course, Jesus promised a hundredfold more blessings than anything we can ever forsake. But He said these blessings would also come with much persecution.

There is a price to pay in this generation if we are serious about seeing the multiplied millions of people in this world come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. We are truly in serious spiritual warfare. Satan is serious not only about what he is doing but also about drugging us with this lukewarm Christianity and plunging us in a fog that blinds us to reality.

I encourage you to get some of the books I mentioned previously. Read them and meditate on them. Then read the Gospels and let the Lord speak to you in a fresh and new way.

Next, pray. There is no greater test of a person’s grasp on reality than seeing how he is committed to prayer. How can we watch 139,000 people being wiped away in a cyclone in Bangladesh, 50,000 slaughtered in Sri Lanka or hundreds killed on the streets in China and then take it so casually? If Christ were there in the flesh to witness these events, how would He react? I believe His heart would be breaking, and food, sleep, hobbies and anything else that might be considered important would become secondary. Would Jesus not fall down weeping and praying? Isn’t this what we ought to be doing? I believe the daily events happening in the world should become a prayer letter we can use to intercede for this generation.

As you think about getting some of these excellent books, I would also recommend Operation World, by Patrick Johnstone. It is a must, because it gives the reader information on how to pray for each country. If you are unable to get any of the books I’ve mentioned in your bookstores, please let Gospel for Asia know. We may be able to help you locate them.

Read not just for information, but to learn and obey.

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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. – What Is Normal?

What Is Normal - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Many years ago, my oldest brother came to know the Lord in a very intimate way. At that time my mother was a believer, but the rest of our family wasn’t saved. One day my brother read the promise in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” The message of this verse went deep into his heart. As he read it, the Holy Spirit touched his spirit, and he said, “If this is what God said, it must be so! I will believe it.”

From that day on my brother began to pray for everyone’s salvation, believing that his family was already saved. One by one, our entire family came to know the Lord. Their children were also saved, and most of our extended family was saved as well. In fact, many of our family members are either in full-time ministry or in preparation for it.

It was only many years later that I realized what my brother had understood was the mystery of walking by faith described in Hebrews 11:1. Unfortunately, many Christians do not have this kind of trusting faith.

I believe the devil laughs when he sees us sitting down with our calculators, logic and expertise to figure a way out of our problems and battles. He knows very well that even if we held 10 Ph.D.s, we couldn’t outsmart him. I imagine he actually enjoys watching us depend on our great knowledge, the latest management strategies, and human psychology to run our churches, evangelize the world and heal our ills. You see, as long as he can keep us believing that we can find answers and solutions in the realm of the natural, we are not much of a threat to him.

God, on the other hand, urges us to live in the supernatural. This means walking by faith and believing His Word, even if it defies everything our five senses tell us.

Faith has nothing to do with human logic, mathematics or what we can see, hear, feel, smell or touch. But it has everything to do with how God operates! Faith disregards the obvious facts and trusts that God will do the impossible. The Bible clearly demonstrates that God requires this kind of faith from His people:

•   “Moses, stretch your rod over the Red Sea, and it will part.”

•   “Joshua, march with your army around Jericho for seven days, and the walls will crumble.”

•   “David, go to war against Goliath with a sling and a stone, and you will kill him and deliver your people.”

•   “Bartimaeus, call out to the Son of David, and He will open your blind eyes.”

•   “Woman, touch the hem of His garment, and you will be healed.”

•   “Father, bring your son to Jesus, and He will deliver him from the demon.”

•   “Martha, if you believe, you will see the glory of God and Lazarus will live.”

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” meaning that when I walk by faith, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that God’s promise to me is the absolute truth. I then act and live at that very moment—before I ever see the evidence—as if I have already received the fulfillment. If I do this, the Bible declares that I will have my request.

To our human logic it sounds as if God wants us to lie about our real situation. It sounds so foolish, so opposite of reality and so unscientific! But according to Hebrews 11:1, we are not lying at all; and we haven’t fallen into a trap of hopeless self-deception. No, we are just acting normally—by the laws that govern heaven!

None of this makes sense to our human perception. It blows our minds just trying to figure it out.

The most important thing for us to remember is this: It is impossible to apply the laws of the natural realm to the realm of the supernatural.

Jesus said in John 17:14 that we are not of this world, just as He is not of this world. We are born of the Spirit of God and belong to another kingdom that is not a part of this earth. For us as citizens of heaven, it should be only normal that we live according to the laws of our home world!

Perhaps some of us are reluctant to enter such a walk of faith as described in Hebrews 11:1. We have seen a lot of fraud with a pretense of faith, and it has scared us off.

True faith has nothing to do with lies, foolishness, manipulation and claiming wild things God never intended for us to have. True faith first receives a clear promise of God that is within His revealed will and then acts on it.

Once we have determined to walk by faith, we will encounter severe opposition from the devil. In fact, our greatest battle will take place between the time we decide to believe God’s promise and the actual, visible moment of fulfillment.

That’s the time the enemy fights the most. He attacks our mind and tells us, “What kind of a fool are you to believe God would heal your sickness, restore your marriage, save your son or provide for your needs? It’s already been three weeks since you decided to pray by faith. Take a look at your situation. Has it changed? Nothing has happened—nothing at all!

“How long do you want to continue deceiving yourself? You are way off course with your religion. Even if God does such miracles for others, what makes you think He would do them for you? Just look at you. You are not good enough to qualify. You don’t even pray enough. . . .”

Satan tries his best to discourage us with all these doubts. He wants us to give up walking by faith and consequently never see the fulfillment of God’s promise to us. We must resist the devil and his attack on our minds, and he will flee from us.

As we continually walk by faith and not by sight, we live in the supernatural. God’s very life flows through us unhindered, and we become a mighty weapon in His hand. He is now able to use us to bring millions of people to Jesus, change the course of nations and proclaim His kingdom on earth.

All things are possible if only you believe.

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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. – Don’t Look for Peace

Don’t Look for Peace - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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As followers of Christ, we very often forget that we are engaged in a serious battle with bullets flying all around us.

Just recently I counseled a Christian leader in India who was deeply discouraged because of the sudden pressures he was facing in his ministry. Some years ago, this man had graduated with top honors from engineering school and was employed in Nigeria. He had plenty of money, a huge house and everything else he could wish for in life. One day his father, just prior to death, wrote him a letter, which ended by saying, “Son, remember you have only one life. It will soon be gone. Make a decision how you will invest your life.”

The last sentence of his father’s letter caused him to resign from his job and leave everything to follow Christ’s call and give his life to serve the Lord full time. He began to recruit young people, train them at a small Bible college he started and send them out to mission fields in northern India.

They all were serving the Lord quite well and his ministry was growing when he came to me so downtrodden. I was a bit surprised to see this brother in such despair—wanting to give up the ministry and run away from the community in which he was working—and ready to fall to pieces. I wondered what had happened to him. He is known as a man with great understanding of the Lord and His Word, and he has a deep walk with God.

So I sat down and listened to his story. This is what he said:

“My wife and I and our children gave up everything we had to serve the Lord. We held nothing back. Now I am facing misunderstandings with my coworkers and criticism from other people. I don’t know what to do, and I can’t take it anymore.”

I patiently listened and let him cry about all the terrible things that had happened to him. To me a lot of them seemed insignificant, but he was being destroyed by them.

In the end I said to him, “Brother, let me tell you an instant solution to all your problems. If you follow my advice, I guarantee you total recovery from criticism, problems, misunderstanding and even the sickness you are facing.” His face lit up, and he was eager to hear my solution.

“Brother,” I continued, “go home and tell your wife and children that you are getting out of the ministry and that you might go back to engineering or join an organization that doesn’t get involved with the frontline battlefield.”

What I said visibly shook him up. He had not expected this kind of solution.

“I am not joking with you,” I said. “I am dead serious. Tell me, did you have any of these problems before you walked away from engineering?”

“No,” he answered. “I had a mansion, servants, cars, and everything was going great.”

“Brother,” I said, “now your life is all messed up and you are being destroyed. This is cause and effect. The reason you are having all these difficulties is because you are actively fighting against the kingdom of darkness. The apostle Paul was engaged in this same warfare and look what he faced.”

I opened the Bible to 2 Corinthians 11:23–28 and showed him the list Paul made about his sufferings on behalf of the Gospel. He was shipwrecked, beaten, forsaken by all, near death, hungry, misunderstood and so on. I told him the best way to get away from all these troubles was to stay home or do something besides pioneer evangelism. “However, if you want to serve the Lord, you don’t have many choices. You will not only face your present difficulties, but all of them will be multiplied a thousand times in the days to come. Perhaps you will even face an early death. But that is what Jesus promised. Will you accept it?” I asked.

I prayed and encouraged him, and he went back to his home. Before I left India, he sent somebody to tell me that his life was completely turned around. Now he is not expecting an easy road. He is fully expecting service to the Lord to be a battle and a struggle.

I myself needed that same encouragement when I was “down” some years ago. At that time I called Brother Alfy Franks, one of the senior Operation Mobilization leaders in India, and told him that I was in bad shape. This is what he told me, “I’ll tell you what your problem is. You are looking for peace. When you are working in frontline evangelism, you never get out of the fight. You get into one battle; and as soon as it is over, you get into a new one. This is a nonstop war, especially when we are involved in reaching the lost world.”

Since that talk with Brother Alfy, I have never again looked for peace or for a time when I could say, “Oh wonderful, everything is going great.” No, I am prepared for battle and for staying in the fight. I get wounded sometimes and discouraged. All of us do. This is normal in a battle!

But like Paul we can say: “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). In the end after the battle is over, we will still be standing and going forward. That is God’s promise.

This is not fatalism. No, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. So by life or death we serve Him, knowing that He is our victory.

You are not your own—remember that blood was the price Jesus paid for you!

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: GFA.org | Wiki | GFA| Facebook

5 Minutes with K.P. – Who Qualifies to Stand in the Gap?

Who Qualifies to Stand in the Gap - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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It was by far the darkest hour in the history of the people of Israel. The lives of the entire nation were hanging by a very thin thread. At any moment, the judgment of their righteous God could wipe them off the face of the earth. They knew that each breath they took was only on borrowed time.

Frightened and trembling, the people stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, watching one old man slowly climb up the rough terrain to reach the top and meet the Holy God face-to-face. Moses’ mission: to plead for mercy on behalf of several million people, to ask God to forgive their sin and continue to lead them to their promised land.

Moses himself must have felt the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. He knew God better than anyone alive. God couldn’t simply forget His righteous standard and pretend the people’s worship of the golden calf had never happened. He had to punish sin in accordance with His own character and His law, which demanded death for such a grave offense.

Considering all this, why did Moses even try to make this tiring hike and approach God in such a hopeless situation? I believe he must have said to himself: “I have no doubt that because the people have broken their covenant with God, He must punish them. But from all my previous encounters with Him, I have learned that He is also a merciful God who dearly loves His people. Perhaps there is a chance He will spare them if I stand in the gap for them.”

Chapter 32 of the book of Exodus contains the dialogue between God and Moses on Mount Sinai. The first part of their conversation had taken place when God gave Moses the tablets with the commandments and informed him of the idol worship that was going on in the camp of Israel. The second half happened after Moses went down to see for himself, smashed the tablets in the process, destroyed the golden calf and then came back up the mountain to plead for the lives of his people.

Here we see Moses standing in the breach of a broken dam, fighting to hold off the imminent flood of destruction that is about to wipe out an entire nation. Imagine with me, if you will, their conversation: God says, “Moses, step aside and let Me destroy them. They have gone too far—there is no hope for them. I will raise you up as a new nation instead, and your descendants will be My people.” But Moses simply answers, “Please, God, You cannot do that. These are Your people. You are the One who led them out of Egypt. If You are going to destroy them, then please kill me also. Wipe my name out of Your book.”

God heard Moses’ prayer as he pleaded for millions of people who had walked away from the living God. Amazing! His standing in the gap allowed the entire nation of Israel to be saved.

What was it that compelled God to listen to Moses? Why did God accept him and grant his request? God looked at Moses’ heart, and He saw a man who was totally unselfish in all his ways. His heart was pure. His motives were without hidden agendas. God could say this about him: “Moses, My servant, with whom I share all My secrets.” He walked with God in such a way that he could go up the mountain and sit and talk with God, and then go down and speak to the people. He was able to identify with them yet at the same time remain God’s faithful servant.

We can learn a valuable lesson from Moses’ life. When souls are hanging in the balance, it is not the majority of the crowd that will make the difference. All God needs and looks for is one individual whose heart is pure. My brothers and sisters, this means you and I can make the difference in our home, our workplace, our community, our state and our nation. Please believe me, we can—if our hearts are right.

The history of the nation of Israel is marked by terrible times of judgment, devastation and exile, yet there is always the hope of God’s promise—that He will not wipe them out completely and will show them mercy if they seek Him again.

When we read the Old Testament, we encounter a God who takes no pleasure in judging and punishing His people for their rebellion and sin. On the contrary, He is deeply grieved; and He actually looks for a reason to keep from having to go through with His judgment. In Ezekiel 22:30, we see the pain and sadness of His heart when He tells us through the prophet: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

The background to this verse is this: God’s people—the entire nation—had forsaken the living God. They were totally given over to idolatry, corruption, self-centered living, greed, lust and seeking after the things of this world. God was deeply grieved over His beloved people. He knew He would have to send His severe judgment and wipe them out. But in the middle of all this chaos, He must have paused and remembered Mount Sinai, and how Moses selflessly stood in the gap and saved his people. Right then, in His love and desire to find a way to ward off judgment, God must have decided: “I will look for just one individual—not 10, 15 or 10,000—with a heart like Moses’, whose intercession I can accept; one, among all My people, who is honest with total integrity, who has a deep concern for others and is pure in his intentions, who will stand in the gap on their behalf and pray and plead for their lives. I will carefully search through the entire nation, among the thousands of priests, prophets and people who declare they belong to Me and work for My cause.”

God made the most thorough search ever conducted on the face of the earth, but He came up empty-handed. “I found none,” He lamented, and the land was destroyed and the people killed or taken away into exile.

Why was there no one at all who could have stood in the gap for God’s people? At least among the priests and Levites there should have been someone who qualified. Were God’s standards higher than in Moses’ time? No, not at all. But something very alarming had happened in the lives and ministries of those priests and Levites who had been specifically appointed by God to teach and lead His people according to His Word. In Ezekiel 22:26, God describes very clearly why the spiritual corrosion among the nation was so total: “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean.”

When I read these words, they really spoke to my heart. I want to draw your attention to the part of Ezekiel 22:26 where God says, “They have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy.” This particular verse is interestingly paraphrased in the Living Bible: “Your priests have violated my laws and defiled my Temple and my holiness. To them the things of God are no more important than any daily task.”

Incredible! Among these thousands of priests and prophets, God could not find one person—even though every one of them was busy in ministry. What were these people doing? What was their problem? God says, “They took the ministry lightly and treated My work just like any other secular job. They lost the heart of the whole thing!”

The motive behind each action is what gives the action its value. The motive behind your service, your prayers, your toil—whatever you do—is what the Lord examines and evaluates. Your work may be minimal, or it may be a sleepless, 24-hour job. No matter what it is, the reason you do it is so much more important, in God’s eyes, than what you actually do. In other words, the question “why” is far more crucial than the question “what.”

Over the years I have watched Gospel for Asia expand to many countries and touch the lives of millions of people. All the while, this one burden and longing continues to grow in my own heart: “Lord, create in us a deeper reality. Make us authentic in our hearts, that we will be pure before You.”

You see, authenticity is what it takes to stand in the gap for a lost world and to do a work for God that will last throughout eternity. Otherwise, we will only end up with a huge pile of wood, hay and stubble that will be burned up into just a pinch of ash.

Do you remember how strongly and angrily Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and scribes of His day? These people were believed to be righteous and holy because externally, they did everything perfectly: They fasted, prayed, memorized the law of Moses and taught the Holy Scriptures. In fact, these men were scholars—the equivalent of Ph.D.s in theology. They were employed full-time in the work of God. Everything else in life was secondary. Their total lifetime commitment was to God and His law and to the task of teaching and practicing it.

But you know what? Jesus pronounced His worst judgment, not on the prostitutes, drunkards and the most wicked crooks in this society, but on this religious crowd. His words to them in Matthew 23:27, 33 are extremely strong: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. . . . Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”

Why did Jesus deal so severely with them? What was their problem? They did everything so correctly and according to all the rules and regulations. But Jesus was not looking at their outside deeds, but at the “why”—the motives of their hearts. What He saw there was the exact same problem as what occurred in the days of Ezekiel: They served God with an external form, but their heart was not in it. And thus they disqualified themselves from being used by God to stand in the gap for the people.

What about us as New Testament believers? What is our track record with the living God? We can boast of thousands of impressive churches and accomplishments in the name of Christ, and many of our preachers and evangelists have huge followings. But how would we fare as individuals if God would evaluate us by the same criteria He used in Moses’ and Ezekiel’s days? Would we qualify to stand in the gap for those who are about to be destroyed and plunged into hell?

Jesus had much to say about the heart motives of those who claim to be His followers. In fact, in Matthew 7:22–23, He described a scene from the future, the Day of Judgment: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ”

This is a very sobering passage of Scripture. Imagine for a moment how sad and terrified these people will feel as they cry out in desperation, “Jesus, You somehow must have made a mistake! Don’t You remember me? I’m the one who saw thousands of people healed in my ministry. Demons trembled and left people when I commanded them to get out in the name of Jesus. And Lord, how many thousands made decisions for You at my evangelistic meetings?”

Amazingly, Jesus doesn’t reply, “No, you’re lying. You didn’t do any of these things.” In fact, He makes no comment at all about the subject they used for their defense. His silence about the whole matter of their ministry accomplishments is proof and declaration that they did perform all those miracles and works.

But then Jesus very plainly tells them, without further explanation or qualification: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

Let me ask you, how did such an incredible amount of spiritual Christian work, which received the applause of the whole world and drew enormous crowds, turn out in the end to be “works of iniquity”?

I believe the answer is this: Those workers did all their ministry not for the glory of God, but for their own name, their benefit, man’s approval and man’s honor. Their motivation and reason for serving God were carnal, and in the depth of their heart their intentions were impure.

My brothers and sisters, I know these are very strong statements. For all of us who desire to serve the Lord and are committed to reach our generation with the Gospel, my deepest concern is that we have a pure and authentic heart before the Lord. We must never work and serve because of a challenge, money, a title, a position or even because millions of people are going to hell and we have to do something about it. It is my prayer and hope that we serve the living God for one reason, and no other: deep down in our hearts, we love Jesus more than anything else in this life, and His love is our only motivation for action.

Only those things done out of sincere love will last in eternity.

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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. – Walking into the Fire: Living on the Front Lines

Walking into the Fire: Living on the Front Lines - KP Yohannan - Gospel or Asia

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While traveling in the Midwest, I was looking forward to meeting an old friend of mine. Years ago we had worked together on a Gospel team. I remember how I was challenged by his zeal for the Lord, his burden for the lost and his example as a servant.

The more we talked, the more I realized he was no longer interested in reaching those who have never heard the Gospel. His whole life now revolved around his career and providing a more affluent lifestyle for his family. He had no more tears or passion for the lost. His reaction to everything I said about the mission field was cold and without enthusiasm. I returned to my hotel room that night, sadly wondering what had happened to my friend.

Thinking about my friend, I realized that the most difficult part of maintaining a radical walk with the Lord is not practicing a new lifestyle. It’s not just mastering the basic teachings of the Bible or sharing our faith with others. It’s not even praying effectively in faith for those in need or fighting the devil over public schools and politics.

The toughest challenge for believers today is to stay close to our Lord on the front lines, practically engaged in reaching the lost. When we first come to know the Lord or enlist in His army, we are so full of zeal and enthusiasm we can’t wait to do combat.

However, as time goes by and we move from one battle to the next, we get weary. We wonder when the struggles will end. We discover that constant alertness and attack are exhausting.

We suddenly long for peace, relaxation and early retirement. Most of us have no plans to quit the army altogether. We still want to serve, but no longer on the front lines where we are under constant attack.

Quitting the battle is not an overnight decision. It’s a slow erosion of heart that often started long before. The shift is so subtle and gradual that we don’t see it coming. When we discover our compromise, we try to defend and justify our position. But in reality we have already lost much of the love and commitment we once had for the Lord and His kingdom.

How did it all start? What was the root cause? How did we backslide, get sidetracked, quit the battle and miss God’s perfect will? What was the powerful temptation that overran our post?

Let me answer these questions with a quote I read recently that went something like this: None are more formidable instruments of temptation than well-meaning friends who care more for our comfort than for our character.

Whenever you decide to live radically committed to Christ and His call to win the lost, watch out! Immediately you will find well-meaning people rallying around you to help you stay “balanced.” They’re not your enemies—but your friends, your family members and your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.

These people are truly concerned about your welfare. They give you heartfelt council: “Don’t overdo it. Think about your future. What about your family? You have rights too. You will burn out. This can’t be God’s will for you. God never wants you to go overboard with this commitment. Think about your wife and children. You will regret it later.”

The hardest decision you will ever have to make is to firmly tell those who love you, “I have decided to follow Jesus. Today I have put my hand to the plow and cannot look back. I have determined to give my life for the more than 2 billion people who are unreached by the Gospel and are dying without Christ. Don’t hold me back or feel sorry for me. My heart is fixed. Don’t hold me back from pursuing the cross.”

Unless you make a firm stand to choose Christ over comfort, you will sooner or later end up on the sidelines. The temptation to give in is powerful because of the relationship and love that bind you to these well-meaning people. Jesus knew this very well. That’s why He told His disciples, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26–27).

Why do so many of our Christian brothers and sisters try to persuade us to seek our own comfort instead of laying down our lives? I believe the reason stems from a basic misunderstanding—they don’t recognize that following Christ means to embrace the cross and, with it, death to our own self.

A careful study of Hebrews 11 reveals that everyone in the “hall of faith” paid a tremendously high price to be mentioned as our examples. Some left their countries, others high positions and riches. Many were persecuted, faced loneliness and rejection. A great number were beaten, killed, sawn apart, imprisoned or burned alive. Yes, God rescued some of them to demonstrate His power, but many of them died at the front lines in the battle. The Bible says the world was not worthy of them.

When we look at the disciples and many of the Christians down through the centuries, we see thousands who died as martyrs while others suffered severe persecution for their faith. Paul’s proof of his apostleship was not his “successes,” but the price he paid for preaching the Gospel. His account in 2 Corinthians 11:23–28 lists scourging, imprisonments, beatings, a stoning, shipwrecks and being betrayed by his own countrymen and false Christians. He could boldly say, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

If we want to be serious about taking the Gospel to the more than 2 billion unreached people of our generation and the 80,000 who die every day without Christ, then we must come back to this kind of Christianity. We must be determined at all cost to stay on the front lines until Jesus comes back. We must encourage one another daily to reject the temptation of choosing comfort over Christ. We must walk into the fire of battle with everything we have, paying the price as Jesus did.

If we are determined to stay in the battle, we need to constantly examine everything we do in the light of eternity. Think about the lifestyle you have, the vacations you take and the money you spend on yourself. What value do these things have in eternity? Do they help you maintain a broken heart for the lost world? If not, you need to make some changes. Consider one or more of the following:

•   Set aside one day of the week for fasting and prayer for the unreached countries of the world. Read the book Operation World by Patrick Johnstone to help you know how to pray for specific nations.

•   Be a bold witness to your coworkers at your job, the checkout lady at the supermarket, the man who sells you gasoline and other people wherever you go.

•   If you don’t currently support a native missionary, decide to support one today.

Think about what extra “stuff” you could cut out of your budget to free up just $1 per day. Do something that counts!

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

How many souls does it take to make our inconveniences worthwhile?

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 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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