Tag Archives: Dr. KP Yohannan

KP Yohannan: When We Have Failed – What Next?

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan Books

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When We Have Failed – What Next?

by: KP Yohannan

Chapter 1: There is Hope

Robert Robinson lived in the 18th century. Converted through George Whitefield’s preaching, he himself went on to become the Methodist minister who wrote the famous hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” You probably remember the lines:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.

In his latter years, Robinson wandered from the faith to pursue the pleasures of this world. While riding on a stagecoach during this time, he sat by a woman deeply fascinated by a book she was reading. When she came across a lyric she considered especially beautiful, she turned to Robinson and said, “I am reading something wonderful. What do you think about it?” This is what she read:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.2

She had no idea she was sitting next to the very man who had penned those words years earlier.

Upon remembering the song and the man he once was, Robinson broke down. With tears he replied, “Madam, I am the poor, unhappy man who composed that hymn many years ago. I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.” Through this encounter, Robinson was brought back into the outstretched arms of his loving God.

This story of restoration at the end of sin’s winding road is neither the first, nor will it be the last. From the beginning of time, history has demonstrated that there is hope for the one who has fallen.

The fact that you picked up this booklet shows that you too are seeking for that reassuring hope. I want you to know there is hope. Our failures are no surprise to God. He knows, with greater understanding than we, the creation He made. And this One, who sees our sins, also knows His purposes for us.

History Reveals

In the Bible, God left us the complete stories of spiritual giants through whom He worked—Moses, Elijah, David and many more—just as they were, flaws and all. He did not touch up the negatives or use Photoshop to present them in a better light. There was no cover-up.

Look at Moses. What an incredible life story is his—forsaken at birth and then rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised in a powerful family of influence. As an adult, Moses’ heart was burdened for his people, and he spoke out against the cruel slavery inflicted upon the children of Israel. Unfortunately, he “ruined” what he felt God had called him to do by killing a man and subsequently spent 40 years hiding in the desert.

Remember that Moses was a real human being with the same feelings as you and I. Forty years is a long time to contemplate failure. When the Lord eventually came to offer him hope and unfold His rescue plan, Moses responded that God was making a mistake and that He should look for someone else (see Exodus 4:10, 13).

Elijah—the great prophet of God—was one who, in a time of terrible discouragement, simply said, “I want to die” (see 1 Kings 19:4). Talk about singing the blues!

David is another classic example. This shepherd boy turned king seemed to take the worst fall of them all. This national hero who began so well, anointed by God and considered a man after His own heart, fell into adultery and then murdered the woman’s husband to cover it up (see 2 Samuel 11). Does it get much worse than that?

Why does God show us the failures of these great leaders? Could it be He wants us to know that in spite of our fiascoes, He can still make something glorious out of our lives?

The list of names in Hebrews 11 underscores this truth. In this passage, men and women of great faith are noted—ones whom God Almighty approved. One might be shocked, however, to discover how many of them were restored spiritually following failures such as deception, drunkenness, adultery, idolatry and murder.

Consider Jacob. What a saga his life story is. From birth, God gave him a remarkable promise that he would be blessed and his older brother would serve him. With this kind of divine assurance, it would seem like Jacob would turn out to be the perfect saint. Instead, he became a crook who lied to his own father, stole his blessing and lived a life full of deceit. Jacob ended up wasting 20 precious years of his life.

I consider his biography one of the most interesting of them all. Here is why: Numerous times throughout the Bible, God reminds His people that He is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:15). In fact, in this same verse, God says, “This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”

Toward the end of Jacob’s journey, God changed his name, which means “deceiver,” to Israel, meaning “Prince of God.” So, why doesn’t He say, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and . . . Israel”? How strange! How come He associates His name with a cheat who wasted two decades trying to do things his own way?

Through His name, His very identity, God wants to say to you and me, “I am still the God who makes failures into princes of God. I remain the God who takes broken lives— people with multiple divorces, sick in body because of sin, in prison for decades, labeled as losers, crazy folk nobody wants, outcasts with no hope—and turns them into something beautiful.”

Beauty for Ashes

The nation of Israel was betrothed to God. Yet she cast her beauty before every possible lover she could find, forsaking her true suitor. As we read through Psalm 78, we see time and again God’s faithfulness displayed in contrast to Israel’s unfaithfulness. In spite of her vulgar idolatry and the terrible offering of human sacrifices, God did not cut Israel off forever.

What does God say about her? “ ‘You have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:1, NKJV). Instead of deserting Israel because of her countless sins, He declares that there is hope, saying, “I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope” (Hosea 2:14–15, NLT). These are gracious words from the living God about His adulterous people.

Today there is a gateway of hope. God is the original and ultimate rescuer. And for all who want to be rescued, He is able.

There is no sin too great,
God cannot forgive it.
There is no loss,
He cannot restore.
There is no scar,
He cannot heal.
There is no distance you can go,
His grace cannot reach.
There is nothing—absolutely nothing—
to stop His love and mercy for you.
If there is breath in your being,
there is hope.
There is hope.3

The thief on the cross confessed that he failed miserably and admitted he deserved the horrible death he was dying. It was all over for him—hell waited, its mouth open to devour him. At least that was what he believed. Yet because of his confession and the marvelous grace of God, he made it into paradise that very day with the Son of God (see Luke 23:43).

It is never too late. God is not mad at you. He is, in fact, for you. Don’t give up. Mighty to save and faithful to love is He (see Zephaniah 3:17–19). It is to the very ones who know the pain of personal failure that He comes and extends hope:

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, . . . to comfort all who mourn, . . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:1–3, emphasis mine).

Maybe you are like Robert Robinson who wandered away from the God he once loved. Perhaps you revisited a sin from the past you thought you were through with. You may be living with painful memories of what once was or simply shaking your head at a sin that seems to surface too regularly.

In any case, whatever letdown you are facing, whether considerable or minor, my sincere prayer is that in Robinson’s words, you will experience God’s “streams of mercy, never ceasing.” Another line from this same hymn I have been quoting reads:

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.4

Is that your hope? Then let today mark a new beginning for you.

You can read Chapter 2 next week. Or go to the Gospel for Asia website and download this book in its entirety for free. Click here.

A Life of Balance © 2006 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.

KP Yohannan: Relying on God Alone

Living in the Light of Eternity - KP Yohannan Books

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Our opportunities are unlimited. Beyond the challenge to spread the Gospel into developing nations, something else is far more pressing: We are totally dependent on God. If we do not look to Him but rather to ourselves to meet our needs, only disaster can result.

Something wonderful happens, on the other hand, when we regard ourselves as helplessly dependent on the Lord. In our hearts and attitudes, we must remain as children before Him. If we are enabled to accomplish anything, it is because of the Lord and His grace. The secret of His blessing on any work, large or small, is that all the glory goes to Him.

But we are self-willed individuals who live in flesh-and-blood bodies and strive naturally for personal praise. How can we regard ourselves as helplessly dependent on the Lord and give Him all the glory? Look at Psalm 103:14: “He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” This verse assures me that the Lord knows the stuff I am made of. The question is, Am I able to remember it? Will I daily recognize that all I am made of is a little handful of dust?

The Lord rescues us repeatedly from our tendency to stop depending on Him and start depending on ourselves. He often keeps us from doing things in our own flesh instead of in His strength. Sometimes, in His mercy, He even causes those things to fail.

Because when all is said and done, when history is sealed up and time runs out, God will make sure that nothing that is a product of the flesh will last for eternity. He has never accepted a work of our flesh and He never will, however good it might look to us. Nothing, not preaching thousands of sermons, not even seeming to turn the world upside-down, will enter eternity if it has been a product of our flesh. Anything lasting for eternity will have been done by Him and Him alone.

We must heed the warning of God to the children of Israel as they were about to pass over the Jordan River into the Promised Land:

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. . . . Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God. . . . You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” Deuteronomy 8:10, 12–14, 17

We are no different than the children of Israel. Take a look around you at the people and ministries you know God has called to do His heart’s desire. Often flesh gets in the way. People become arrogant and take the glory for themselves. When the Lord uses people for His purposes, He often has to strip away dependence on intelligence, education, abilities, strengths. He has to make them nothing before He can build them back up again for His service.

It is refreshing to see how God carries along a person or ministry that acknowledges dependence on Him. Some things we plan never take place. Other things we never expect may happen in a mighty way. This helps us know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has accomplished these things.

Excerpt from Chapter 12 of Living in the Light of Eternity (ISBN 9781595891402) © 2014 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.

5 Minutes with K.P. – God Didn’t Do It!

God Didn’t Do It - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Lok Bahadur, a man from the country of Nepal, had been suffering from severe back pain for three years. As he began listening to Gospel for Asia’s daily Nepali radio program, he learned that Jesus was the Son of God. That’s when Lok decided to join the broadcaster in a prayer to Jesus. He simply asked the Lord to heal his back.

A few weeks later, our Nepali office received a letter from Lok. With great joy he reported that Jesus had heard his prayer and healed him completely!

For us it’s always an encouragement and a challenge to witness how God delights in answering the prayers of people who often know so little about Him. He responds to their simple faith in Him and the Word of God they have heard.

Whenever Jesus taught His disciples about prayer and serving God, He listed two specific groups of people they were not to imitate. The first group was the Pharisees, whom He often labeled as hypocrites. The second group was the Gentiles living across the border.

I have no doubt that the disciples immediately understood why the Gentiles were totally off course with their idol worship, long and repetitious prayers, and unholy lifestyle. But when Jesus marked the Pharisees as bad examples, He must have shocked everyone who heard Him.

After all, the Pharisees knew the Scriptures like no one else. In fact, they devoted their whole lives to studying the law. They faithfully prayed, fasted, gave alms and tried to keep every requirement they could find. For Peter and the rest of the disciples, it was inconceivable that God could require an even higher level of commitment and service from them. No one could do more!

But Jesus was not looking for a greater number of good works from His followers. Rather, He desired their lives and service to be more effective than that of the Pharisees.

First, He wanted them to be real and to serve God out of love and with all of their hearts. Second, He wanted them to do everything by faith.

That’s where the Pharisees had their blind spot and were dead wrong. They believed God accepted them on the basis of their own righteousness, generated by their effort to keep the law. They never understood Genesis 15:6, “And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Hebrews 11:6 makes it even more plain: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God].”

For us who have received salvation through faith in Jesus, to continue walking by faith should be easy. But that’s where we miss it the most. Whenever we fail to enter the realm of faith in our prayer life and service to God, everything we do or accomplish remains in the realm of the physical: our own selves.

Perhaps we don’t realize the seriousness of our “great works” done without faith. Hebrews 4:2 explains that even chaos, destruction and death can result if we do not combine God’s Word and faith in our hearts: “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

Consider the Israelites. Can you imagine several million people who left Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, were fed by manna from heaven and were led by a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day? They encountered God, made a covenant with Him, received the law and defeated every enemy with His help.

After a short trip, they arrived excitedly at the border of their promised land. Just a few more days and they would enter in. All they were waiting for was the report of the 12 spies Moses had sent ahead of them. With great anticipation they welcomed the men back and gathered to hear what they had found out on their mission.

“There are giants in the land and huge, fortified cities,” 10 of them reported. “It’s impossible for us to defeat them.” Those few words started a riot. The other two men, Joshua and Caleb, tried their best to persuade the people to put their faith in God and believe His promises. But it was too late—the damage was already done. The people’s hearts were defiled by the negative reports.

The rest of the story and the account of what happened to the Israelites are written in Numbers 14. First, they never entered their promised land. Second, God gave them exactly what they had asked for when they had grumbled, “Would God that we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2, KJV). They had to wander 40 years in the desert until that entire generation had died, except for Joshua and Caleb.

We might ask ourselves, “Why did God do such a cruel thing to these people? What possible enjoyment could He get out of it?”

God didn’t do it! They themselves caused it to happen! You see, the living God is bound and restricted by His own Word. That’s the reason He has said, “But the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

The commentary on this law is the account in Hebrews 4:2: “But the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” They died without another chance.

This verse is probably the most serious warning for us as believers. You see, we too have received God’s promises for our lives and our service for Him:

•   If our family is unsaved: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).

•   If we are in need of healing: “And by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

•   When we have needs: “And my God shall supply all your need . . . ” (Philippians 4:19).

•   When we feel lonely: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

•   If we lack strength: “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

•   For our ministry: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you” (Joshua 1:3).

The Bible contains hundreds of promises that God is eager to fulfill in our lives as we walk with Him. Yet we will never see a single one come to pass unless the Word we have received from Him is united by faith in our hearts.

Only those who are weak in themselves can believe God for the impossible.

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

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5 Minutes with K.P. – Anyone Can Criticize

Anyone Can Criticize - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Sixty thousand football fans fill the stadium to watch the most exciting event of the year—the Super Bowl. While spectators relax in their seats, drink their favorite soft drinks and eat their popcorn, the two teams in front of them are involved in the hardest battle of their lives. Each player is giving his utmost. Each tries his best to catch the football, run almost world-record speeds to score points and risk everything he has to win the game and a Super Bowl ring. The players are desperate in their efforts, regarding hard work, sweat, agony, physical exhaustion and possibly even injury as part of their pursuit of glory.

While these 22 men race across the field, covered with dirt, giving their all, the 60,000 spectators contribute absolutely nothing to the game, except some cheers . . . and their expert criticism. Very few of them would have even a fraction of the athletic ability to take the place of one of those players, but they consider themselves qualified to criticize every move these 22 men make. The truth is, any fool can criticize, but it takes someone with character, discipline and willingness to work hard and truly accomplish something.

In our world, it seems impossible to escape criticism. If we do poorly at school or at work, people will criticize us. Should we do well and excel in business, we still face criticism from people who are jealous of our success. It seems to be a favorite pastime of the human race to take one person after another, good or bad, and “skin them alive” with criticism.

What makes people act this way? Psychologists say one of the underlying reasons people criticize each other is to take revenge for the hurts they once received. Whether deserved or not, criticism is always painful. No one likes it. Yet people seem to enjoy themselves when others are cut down.

Most believers have accepted the fact that the world will criticize us regardless of how saintly we may live or how many charitable contributions we may make. However, I have found that the greatest shock and discouragement for believers come when they realize that they encounter this same heartless criticism from their brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Of course, God never meant this to happen. But many Christians have never allowed the Lord to cleanse their lives from this destructive behavior. It’s a very serious problem; and if it is not dealt with, it easily can destroy a church.

Imagine this: Jesus, the sinless Son of God, faced His worst criticism—not from the Roman government or from ungodly people—but from the most recognized and pious religious leaders of His nation. Paul experienced the same thing. His worst critics were people inside the Church, not the heathen he tried to win. In fact, he deals very thoroughly with this problem in his second letter to the church in Corinth.

Perhaps you have served the Lord with all your heart in your local church or in a mission organization. You have truly poured out your life in service to others. While you were doing your very best, others around you behaved like those spectators at the football game. They watched you fight the battle; and instead of encouraging your efforts, they criticized everything you tried to do.

Whether criticism comes from the world or from within the Church, it is important for us to know how we should respond to it. The Bible clearly instructs us in Romans 12:17 not to pay back evil for evil, which means we must not lash out and respond in anger in the same manner we were treated. On the contrary, God wants us to respond differently. We are to maintain our love for the brothers and trust the Lord to handle our defense. Only if we do this will the cycle of destructive criticism be broken.

The feelings of deep hurt and discouragement that follow criticism can easily bring us to a point of despair, giving up our calling or even suicide. In no way must we allow this to happen! If we give in, the enemy has reached his goal of stopping us from building God’s kingdom.

Let us take Jesus and the apostle Paul as our examples and act like they did when they were confronted with severe criticism. They never allowed these things to hinder or stop them from following God’s call. Their allegiance and faithfulness were to God alone and were independent from whatever others said. With their total focus fixed on the goal set before them, they were able to endure until the end and fulfill their calling.

Paul shared openly in his letter to the church in Corinth about the criticism he faced from some of that church’s self-appointed leaders. In 2 Corinthians 10:7–18, he addressed the issue of being belittled by them and having his authority questioned. If we read his response to their accusations, we cannot help but recognize that Paul wasn’t threatened by their criticism. He knew exactly who he was in Christ, what position he held in God’s kingdom and how much authority he had received from the Lord as an apostle. He didn’t try to impress his critics or the church by fighting for his rights or proving his superiority. He felt totally secure in his position and would have simply told them: “Whether I am absent or present with you, I am the same Paul. There is no pretense or games with me. I live what I am in Christ, and that’s all.”

The best we can do when we receive criticism is to look at it objectively. If the accusations are simply empty talk, we should dismiss them and by God’s grace go on with our life. On the other hand, if there is any truth in the criticism, let us be willing to change, improve and grow in that area.

As believers, we are commanded to love and serve one another, just as Jesus did. That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to close our eyes when we see a brother or sister err. The Lord has given us the responsibility to watch out for each other so that all of us will win the race. This includes helping one another to correct mistakes and overcome defeats. However, to accomplish this, we are allowed to use only constructive criticism and never any words that will destroy our brother or sister. Constructive criticism flows out of a deep love and genuine concern for the person who needs help. It’s never associated with gossip, revenge or anger.

Jesus used this kind of criticism with His disciples when they slept instead of prayed or totally lacked faith for a situation. However, He talked to them in private with gentleness and a readiness to forgive, bear their shortcomings and even wash their feet. He had their best interests in mind and was willing to lay down His life for each of them. His goal was to build them up in every way possible. Even when He had to correct them often and they felt terrible after they failed, they always knew He did it out of love so they could grow.

We must truly have the mind of Christ when we deal with other believers and the world around us. Anyone can criticize, but we have received the power of God to build up. Let’s use it!

Remember the words of Christ in John 8:7: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 2004 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.

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5 Minutes with K.P. – Motivations

Motivations - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Almost daily we are exposed by television, radio or newspapers to disasters, famines and much human suffering around the world. And added to this, we are reminded frequently of the millions who die daily without ever hearing the Gospel of Christ.

But as followers of Christ, we know that we can’t just “walk away and forget it.” Therefore, many of us get personally involved or give to various causes, ministries and organizations.

But as a Christian, have you ever examined yourself and honestly answered the question, “Why do I give, pray or get involved in this or that activity for the kingdom of God?” Is it because the cause presented is so urgent or desperate? Is it because of some internal guilt feeling? Or is it because you are so overpowered by compassion or pity?

All these reactions are normal human responses; but according to the Bible, they are not good enough reasons to give to the Lord!

Then, of course, there is one more reason that probably motivates more believers to do good works than any of the above. This “reason” is that we are told that God is in terrible trouble and we need to help Him out! The appeal usually goes something like this:

“Things” are going to crumble . . . Christian media programs will have to go off the air . . . building projects will be shut down . . . social programs can no longer be continued . . . souls will go to hell, if you don’t give now.

This is actually an appeal to our unbelief. And worst of all, we are reminded that if these things happen, God’s glory will be gone, and the devil will win—unless, of course, we come to the rescue!

Now, I don’t doubt that a number of those projects would not be able to continue without these kinds of appeals! Sadly, we have been trained for decades to give to this kind of request—and too many Christians only give when they hear needs presented in this faithless way. But I also believe the main reason some of those projects would “go under” is because God never ordained them in the first place! Or maybe He is trying to get our attention because He wants to create something newer or better.

I’ve always believed that God is not in any financial trouble. We never need to panic, thinking that somehow we need to help Him out of a tight spot. He has made no promise that He is not able to keep. God is not helplessly looking at a lost world hoping that someone will finally feel guilty enough to do something. He promised that His kingdom will never fall—and the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. He has enough power to complete whatever He sets out to do.

God is not the One in trouble—we are. We don’t understand that He doesn’t want our money unless He can have our hearts first!

Isaiah would be shocked. Ezekiel would be shaken. Jeremiah would be shattered. If these prophets were alive today, they would barely believe what their eyes would see. There is an abomination in the household of God.

Unsaved marketing experts write appeal letters for money-starved ministries . . .

Huge computer printers spew out mass produced “personal prophetic words” by the thousands . . .

Women in skin tight bodysuits advertise the latest in “Christian aerobics” . . .

TV preachers in costly apparel promise you riches if you send tithes to their ministry . . .

The blood-washed Church of the Son of God has gone Madison Avenue. Let the prophets weep and wail! The mighty have fallen—and fallen and fallen. Who would have thought we could have stooped so low?

The children of the Lord are hiring out the people of the world to help raise funds for the work of God. Sons of darkness are being consulted on how to merchandise the gospel of light. The hand of God has become attached to an arm of flesh. How can this possibly be?

There was a talented young man in the fund raising industry. He had written many outstanding appeals for religious and secular clients alike. His prize winning letters hung framed on his office wall. He knew how to bring in the bucks. But he didn’t know the Lord at all.

He had just finished writing an emergency plea for a prominent international ministry when he received word that his Christian grandmother was dying. He rushed to her side. But she had only one concern. She had to get her social security check mailed out to that very ministry before she died. She had just received their urgent appeal. They desperately needed her help. Could her grandson please send out the funds—before it was too late?

Little did she know that it was not her beloved “TV pastor” who wrote the letter. Little did she know that she was being moved by worldly psychological pressure and not the Spirit. And that young man, her own grandson, was to blame.

He was so shaken up when he saw the effects of his letter that he said, “Never again.” He swore off the business for life. But the ministry that hired him just marched right on. How many other dying grandmothers did they plunder? How many poor widows sent in their last dollar? And how much of that money was paid out to the marketing company? How much actually went into the work of the Lord?

God could easily do all His work by Himself without our involvement. After all, He spoke the world into existence. He doesn’t need us to get Him out of a disaster. Some of us have our theology all wrong. We don’t understand the role that God has created for us—submission to Him and utter dependence on Him in all we do and undertake.

God has commanded the Church to evangelize the lost because He wants to give us the privilege of learning to obey Him and to love this needy world as He does. He wants His people to participate with Him in the redemption of the world!

It is our greatest privilege, then, to serve Him out of love.

Because we have failed to understand this great truth, we serve Him with the wrong motives. No wonder so much of the Church today lacks commitment. No wonder our own personal Christian walks lack power and joy. With wrong motives, our service for Christ naturally has become a burden—and even a guilt trip for many.

Let us once again return to loving the Lord above all our programs, possessions and our very lives. Then our service, our giving and our praying will turn from being a burden into the greatest privilege and joy we have on this earth.

Remember, you are not your own.

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7).

Let God be God in your life.

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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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. – Commitment Plus Sacrifice Equals Victory

Commitment Plus Sacrifice Equals Victory - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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As she was overpowered by the soldiers of the Sri Lankan army, the woman struggled desperately to swallow a deadly cyanide pill from her necklace, but to no avail.

She was a well-known Tamil Tiger, a guerilla fighter. She lived for a single cause: the war to gain homeland rule for the Tamil population of Sri Lanka. After her capture, an official of the Sri Lankan government visited her in prison. As he talked to her, he was amazed by her absolute commitment to the cause. She didn’t beg him for her life, and she did not offer valuable secret information to save her skin. Fully aware of her impending execution, she appealed to him: “Please help our cause. When we are in power, we will remember you.”

When he asked her why she had joined the liberation movement, she gave him the following explanation: “I was in my late 20s, well-educated and working as a medical doctor. Then one day my whole life was changed when my parents were killed by soldiers. I left my profession and everything I knew, and I subjected myself to vigorous training to become a freedom fighter.”

It was from the very official who had met this woman in prison that I learned about this encounter. This story challenged me afresh to think very deeply about the meaning of commitment to a cause and the willingness to sacrifice all in the attempt to accomplish it.

Of course, this guerilla fighter was giving her life for an earthly, ideological goal. Her dreams might never come to pass. Even if they would materialize, they would all be for the here and now. None of those dreams would last for eternity.

Jesus has not asked us to follow Him for a cause whose outcome is uncertain or questionable. Instead, He has already won the victory over Satan, sin and death through the cross and His resurrection. With His life, He portrayed the elements needed to win any kind of spiritual victory: total commitment to God and His purpose, and unrestricted willingness to sacrifice everything to accomplish victory.

Jesus not only lived this truth, but over and over, He also taught it to His disciples and anyone who considered following Him. He wanted to make sure that we clearly understand that there is no other key to spiritual victory and no other way to fulfill our responsibility to proclaim His kingdom here on earth. To choose Him above all else and to love Him more than our own lives—this is the commitment required to be able to do His will. The sacrifice needed to accomplish His cause is none other than what Jesus told us in John 12:24: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

When we read the New Testament, we cannot overlook the most direct application of this teaching in the lives of the apostles and the early Christians. As they took the Gospel into all the world, it caused them to regard suffering, agony and even martyrdom as privileges. They knew that tremendous victory and fruit would be produced for eternity as a result.

Think what Christ could accomplish through our churches—and in our lives—if we would accept such commitment and sacrifice as the means to victory! What is the result when a church joyfully decides to be satisfied with a modest building and simply the essentials, instead of spending millions on a palace of comfort and prestige, and then uses the money to help reach those who have never heard the Gospel before? And all out of love for Christ? I believe they discover that their sacrifice brings them greater joy sitting in a simple church than they could ever experience in the most costly building.

What happens when we first run our plans and wishes for a comfortable, secure life through the filter of commitment and sacrifice? Think about the time and money spent on entertainment, trips, cars, home decorating and clothes. Could it be that we would discover greater joy and satisfaction without these things if we chose instead to pray and fast for a lost world or to spend our resources to help win souls in the most unreached areas?

We actually deceive ourselves when we think that our clever strategies, conferences and token offerings of time and money will win this world for Christ.

There is no substitute for sacrifice if we care to follow the Son of God, who set His face to the cross and its shame.

Taking up the cross is the ultimate form of self-denial.

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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5 Minutes with K. P. – Giving Up the Good

Giving Up the Good - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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“This is the beginning of the end.” You have read it many times; you probably have heard many preachers say it. And possibly you have even said it yourself. The question is, the end of what? As is often the case, we use words and phrases without really thinking about what they mean.

“The end” does not mean the completion of a journey, or the end of some war that is raging, or the finish of any other thing that happens as a part of life’s events. In this phrase, “the end” refers to the disappearance of time as we know it. Soon the prophecy in the book of Revelation will come to pass, “. . . and time shall be no more.”

I’m shaken with this thought, knowing that there are billions of people living in my generation who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. They are rushing toward eternity, helplessly chained inside a house that is on fire. If they are not rescued, the end result for them will be eternal weeping, wailing and pain. Yet there need not be. Jesus died for them. I’m told to rescue them. I am supposed to walk into the fire and pull them out. Seconds tick by, and soon it will be too late. I hear their agony and their cries for help.

Incredible events have been happening around the world that signal “the beginning of the end.” There is no time to sit, to think or to plan—but only to move as fast as we can to win the lost. Time is running out. I believe the Lord is calling His people to commit their lives with absolute, all-out dedication to reach the lost and dying of our generation. However, as C.S. Lewis said, “Active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often [a man] feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”

In North America, we are inundated with Christian books, conferences and programs that keep us continually occupied. Eventually we become overly familiar with the things of God.

It was the same in Jesus’ time. So many voices called for His attention. He received so much advice and was enticed with so many good things, but He rejected it, and said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And we read in Romans 8:29, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” That is, you and I must become like Jesus. And as we become like Jesus, we will say “no” to many good things and commit our lives with an undivided heart and determination to reach multiplied millions who are dying and going to hell having never heard of Jesus’ death for them.

What are the many good things that are keeping you from the best and the most important?

May I challenge you, as I have challenged my own staff at Gospel for Asia, to recommit your life without any reservation to reach our generation for the Lord Jesus Christ? There is a price to pay. There is pain. There is agony. Tears. Hurts. Disappointments. Loss. But it’s all worth it. This battle is intense; it is hard. But it will not last very long. Time is running out.

Decide to pray daily for different countries of the world. Request the SEND! newsmagazine, published by Gospel for Asia, to help you pray with us. Live more simply. Don’t be caught up in and enticed by the world’s advertising. Ask the question, “Why do I need it?” Give more this year to support missionaries who are giving their lives to reach the world’s lost souls.

Please walk away from the lukewarm, selfish, “me, mine and ours” Christianity and dedicate yourself to a radical, all-out commitment to walk in His footsteps. His footsteps will take you to genuine, intense warfare that will cost you much, but in the end this is the best thing you can do. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”2

Consider the commitment of the Nepali brothers:

As a chilly wind started to blow over the steep mountain trail, the two men hurried to reach an area that was sheltered by huge rocks in which to bed down for the night. Just as the last glimpses of daylight disappeared, they reached their destination and gladly set their heavy back loads on the ground.

Extremely tired from the all-day climb, they hastily ate dinner, wrapped themselves in blankets, and went to sleep. At sunrise they had already resumed their difficult and often dangerous trek, ascending higher and higher into the mountainous Mustang region of northern Nepal.

Aaitaman and Suk Bahadur are porters carrying supplies from Pokhara, the last bus station on the way to the Loba tribal village of Jomsom, a six-day climb on foot.

But there is much more to their lives than carrying loads on their back and earning a living the hard way. These two young men are the answers to your prayers for God to send missionaries to the Loba tribal people!

After receiving a clear call from the Lord to work among this unreached people group, these two native missionaries from the Gorkha district traveled by bus to Pokhara and then walked for six days to the mountain village of Jomsom. Their plan was to settle there and pioneer a church. But things were not as easy as they thought.

They quickly found out that the local people would not allow outsiders to stay among them unless they had a job in the village. The brothers searched for employment, but nothing was available except carrying supplies like rice, salt and other provisions from the base of the mountain to the village at the top. For the sake of the Gospel and their love for the Loba people, Aaitaman and Suk Bahadur, graduates from the Gospel for Asia Nepali Bible school, accepted the job.

Every month they walk 15 days up and down the mountain, carrying heavy loads on their back—and witnessing about Jesus to every one they meet on the way. So far they have covered five Loba villages with the Gospel.

Their labor for Jesus has not been in vain; with the first few people they won to Christ, they were able to start a small fellowship in Jomsom.

Jesus asks no less commitment from us, for He gave His all, including His life, to save the lost.

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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5 Minutes with K.P. – Starting from Zero

Starting from Zero - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Each one of us would be absolutely terrified if we were asked to walk along the edge of the Grand Canyon during a pitch-dark night without any light. After all, we could fall off the cliff and die. We might be more willing to do it if we had a travel plan and a bright light that would allow us to see every detail ahead of us.

In the same way, we want to plan and control our lives while we walk with the Lord. We want to be sure of tomorrow, and we want to be certain how He is going to take care of us before we ever dare to step out on His Word. We don’t mind that He is our King as long as His actions are predictable and He shows and explains to us His schedule ahead of time.

On the other hand, we feel helpless, frustrated, and almost angry if all we hear from Him is “follow Me, trust Me” and “walk by faith, not by sight.” We have waited for details, plans and especially security, but all He gave us was His promise that He is all we need.

True walking with the Lord requires us to be totally stripped of everything that is of ourselves and in which we had put our trust, as well as our expectations of acceptance, approval, security, importance, abilities and our rights.

Being stripped does not at all mean to renounce the world and go somewhere to live in a cave. It simply means that we look at ourselves and recognize that we have nothing in us to stand on and nothing to hold on to. All we have is total emptiness. Once we recognize this truth, we are then in the right position to follow Him, totally depend on Him and trust completely in His sufficiency.

God deliberately waited until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90 before He gave them a son. He waited until there was no doubt that Abraham was aware of his own emptiness and therefore was totally dependent on God. Isaac became the son of the Spirit and not of the flesh.

Throughout the Bible we find examples of how God had to wait until His people came to the place of recognizing their own emptiness before He was able to lead them, give them victory and show Himself mighty on their behalf. At times God had to intervene to speed up this process, such as in the story of Gideon. God reduced Gideon’s army to 300 men to make it impossible for them to win the battle in their own strength.

How about you? Have you stepped on empty ground?

•   Is there something the Lord has asked you to do but you have put it off, either because you feel unqualified or because you fear you will lose control of the situation?

•   What has hindered you from giving unselfishly to reach the lost in our generation?

•   Can you honestly say, “This world is not my home. I am just passing through”?

•   If someone were to point a gun at you and say, “Deny Christ or I will kill you,” what would be your response? Can you say as Paul did, “Nor do I count my life dear to myself” (Acts 20:24)?

•   Is your prayer life proof of your total dependence on the Lord? Do you ask the Lord to show you His plans with a willing heart to obey them, or do you just ask Him to bless your plans?

God has never accepted the product of the flesh, and He never will, however good it might look in our sight. Our plans, our strength and our works, based on anything we find in ourselves, will all burn up. Only that which is of the Spirit will remain eternally.

If we want to follow Him, we must stand on empty ground. It is only in this way that all the results will be of the Spirit and all glory will be the Lord’s, not our own.

The Lord says: Cursed is the man who puts his trust in mortal man and turns his heart away from God. He is like a stunted shrub in the desert, with no hope for the future; he lives on the salt-encrusted plains in the barren wilderness; good times pass him by forever. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. He is like a tree planted along a riverbank, with its roots reaching deep into the water—a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried by long months of drought. Its leaves stay green and it goes right on producing all its luscious fruit (Jeremiah 17:5–8, TLB).

A warning such as this we must not ignore.

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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5 Minutes with K.P. – Keeping the War in Mind

Keeping the War in Mind - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Can you imagine an airline pilot flying a 747 over the Atlantic Ocean and in the middle of the flight forgetting his destination?

One of the strongest and most successful attacks of the enemy on the work of God is to cause us to forget our purpose and our goal. All of a sudden we find ourselves totally wrapped up in “normal living,” no longer able to answer the questions, “Why are we here? What are we doing?”

The Bible very clearly tells us that we are here not for ourselves but for the cause of a lost world that has never heard the name of Jesus and for its multiplied millions of souls who are heading for hell.

How can we forget nations like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and China, where there is so much spiritual darkness and physical suffering? How can we so comfortably live for ourselves while millions slip into an eternal hell? We can do it because our enemy has managed to replace our purpose as a Christian with a desire for comfort and self-realization.

You see, it is often in emergency or crisis situations that we are roused to action. For example, seeing the burning house where our own child is trapped inside would surely motivate us to do something about it.

But we have forgotten the reality of the lost who are heading to an eternity in hell and the urgency to tell them of salvation. In our forgetfulness, we lose sight of our motivation and purpose. Instead, we become self-centered. From that moment on, everything God asks us to do that would disturb our “heaven on earth” becomes a burden, a problem to us. We start looking for excuses to say “no, not me.”

During World War II, the people of England saw that if they didn’t win the war, they would lose their land, their freedom and everything that was dear to them. This realization caused them as a nation to scale down their lifestyles to the barest of essentials. For this one goal—to save their nation—they gladly sacrificed all they had: money, gold, silver, even their sons to fight the war.

This type of single-focused sacrifice is often manifested on the mission field. Shankar was born in a leper colony to parents stricken with leprosy. In order to save him from contracting the disease, a native missionary raised him in a home he had built for the children of lepers. Shankar received a good education and with it a chance to make a better life for himself.

Along the way Shankar gave his life to the Lord and received a call to full-time ministry. Just before Shankar graduated from Bible college, the missionary brother told him that he was free to go to a new place and start a new Gospel work. Shankar replied, “No, I will work among my own people, the lepers, and tell them how the Lord has changed my life and how He can save them.” Today Shankar has laid down everything he has gained and his chance for a better life to live and work as a missionary in the leper colonies of India.

He remembered the war.

We too must keep the war in our mind—at all times. Let us not forget why we are here. God is looking for people with a wartime commitment that will save our generation.

What about you? Are you willing to stand in the gap for a person, a village, a state or a nation? The Lord was looking for a person who was willing to make such a commitment when He spoke through the prophet Ezekiel and said, “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” (Ezekiel 22:30).

Make a list of 10 people who don’t know the Lord and pray for them daily—fast and pray. Witness to people about the Lord wherever you are. Carry Gospel tracts or booklets and pass them out. Find out about the unreached nations and people groups of the world and adopt them as your prayer focus. Pray and believe for their salvation.

You are called. What are you waiting for?

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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5 Minutes with K.P. – How Narrow Is the Narrow Road?

How Narrow Is the Narrow Road - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Have you ever wondered how narrow the narrow road is that Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:13–14?

Most of us have discovered that indeed the gate is small that leads to life. We’ve tried our best either with works of self-righteousness or with man-made philosophies to prove otherwise. But we finally came to the conclusion: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We called on the name of Jesus, entered through the narrow gate, and received salvation and eternal life.

However, as soon as we walked through the gate, we made the discovery that the road behind that gate was even more narrow than we thought. We started to walk on it thinking it might broaden as we got farther along, but it didn’t.

We looked around to see how other Christians were handling this precarious path. To our astonishment, we found out that most people who call themselves Christians had construction crews deployed on both sides of the narrow road working very hard to enlarge and widen it.

When we asked them why they were doing this, they said, “We are dealing with a modern world that has different needs and expectations than in the past. We are called to minister to people when they come to Christ, and we must do all we can to make them feel comfortable and welcome. After all, we are competing with a world out there that has everything to offer. If we tell them about picking up the cross and denying themselves or giving up everything and laying down their lives for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, we will definitely lose them. These old views of Christianity were a misunderstanding of Scripture and don’t fit any longer. As Christians we deserve the best of everything in this life as well as in the next life.”

Believing this lie, we have tried to make the narrow road wider and wider to accommodate all our wants, dreams and wishes.

To many, God has become a servant to fulfill all of our expectations. Our church buildings cost millions of dollars; our Christian programs, entertainment and resources are the best in the world; and we are very proud of these achievements. Our personal and family lives are structured to meet our desires of comfort and ease. For far too many, the narrow road has slowly become so wide that it is hard to distinguish it from the broad one!

What does all this mean for the unreached peoples of our generation who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

It means no one cares for them, no one sacrifices on their behalf and no one will tell them the wonderful news of God’s love and salvation. Have we become so self-centered and so insensitive that we can no longer hear the call of Jesus to give up our lives for those who have never heard His name?

Even if we still can hear His call, we naturally reject and walk away from anything that requires pain and suffering or that threatens our comfort.

Oh yes, we may put a $10 bill in the offering plate when a missionary speaks at our church, and we may donate a sweater for the homeless. But is that the extent of our compassion and personal involvement? If so, our heart is far, far away from the love of God, who willingly went to the cross to give His blood for our redemption.

We must remember that God Himself never enlarged His small gate or His narrow road. They remain the same as they were 2,000 years ago when Jesus first described them. In Matthew 7:14, He said that only a few will ever find this road.

That is so true. But there are even fewer who are willing to consider walking on the narrow road after they have found it. Deciding to choose the narrow path means they will have to walk alone while others enjoy traveling comfortably on their enlarged versions. Today, in a world with mega-churches and multiplied millions of Christians, only a few will ever stop to hear the call of Christ to lay down their lives for a lost world. He might ask us to go, to support missionaries, to intercede in prayer or to invest our strength as well as our means in order to win the lost. Recognizing that it will cost us a high price, we go to our church and to other believers for counsel.

There are wonderful pastors and elders who will encourage us to go and pursue God’s call. But more often than not, we are counseled to do the opposite. We are told that if we go, no one will be able to replace us in the fellowship; and if we give our resources to missions, the church’s own programs will suffer. If we get involved in pursuing missions, we won’t be able to do justice to our church duties.

Maybe you’ve heard this call of Jesus on your life, but you were truly concerned over who would take your place if you “sold out completely.” Believe me, there are others who are just as qualified as you who can take your place. But there are so very, very few who know or understand what you know. George Verwer, the founder of Operation Mobilization, once said, “It might be hard to find one in 10,000 or a million who will understand that half of the world has never heard the name Jesus and are plunging into eternal hell, and who will give their lives away to die and be unknown, unnoticed for their sake.”

This statement is so true. Only a few will ever hear the call and choose the narrow road that leads to life, not only for themselves but for the lost world as well.

You plus God make a majority. Choose the narrow path—the Son of God left His footprints on it. At the end of the road, you will meet Him.

What are the things that are holding you back?

Reflecting His Image © 1998, 2004 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.

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