Eternal Seeds Planted

By John Porter

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What happens when Christians take the time to pour their lives into people who don’t know Jesus?

This is an actual story from, one of our FFC members.

Ever since I can remember while growing up, my parents would be inviting missionaries over to stay at our house and be sponsoring refugees from various parts of the world. The day before Ann and I went to Colorado for Christmas this year, my mom told me that there would be 2 ladies joining us for our family Christmas.

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These ladies were at one time refugees from Azerbaijan and my parent’s church had sponsored them to come to the United States about 10 years ago. Through the years my parents took it upon themselves to invite these ladies over to their house for holidays and special occasions. They also took them on trips around Colorado, to dinner plays, to different restaurants around Denver, and invite them to church activities.

Last year, these ladies invited Jesus into their lives and were baptized as a result of my parents and others relationship with them, being obedient to the Holy Spirit and sharing Christ love and the gospel with these ladies.

It was great having these ladies with us this Christmas. I had never met them before, but had prayed for them and learned of them from my parents. They were so fun and interesting to talk to and they were so appreciative for what my parents had done for them and now they are part of the family of God, through Christ.

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On Christmas day another lady and her family came over to my parents. Her name is Binh, she was a refugee from Vietnam that my parents sponsored in the mid 70’s when Vietnam fell to communism. When they came to the United States, they had never heard of Jesus, they were all strong Buddhist. My parents shared with them about Jesus, took them to church and developed intimate relationships with them. Several became believers in Jesus, one is now a pastor, and Binh started an orphanage in Vietnam which is helping thousands of children abandoned or who have aids, in the name of Jesus.

These stories show what can happen when we Christians just take the time to pour our lives into people who don’t know Jesus.

What impact will your life have on those that God brings into your life in 2015?

Our Role In Prayer…

December 18, 2014 | By Pastor Tom Clegg

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The lesson I took from the refugee camp in Africa began with my pain-filled prayer, “How could God let this happen?” It immediately came back with a sobering question to me: “Tom, how could you let this happen?”

I’m convinced that God’s work is a cooperative effort. He could have ordered the world so that deliverance from sins never involved other people. But he didn’t. Nor did he, like a clock maker who went on vacation, get things going and then leave the rest up to us. Instead, God’s plan involves working together with us–and often, not just “God and me” but “God plus me”, along with a handful or a hundred or a thousand or a few million others aligned with Him.

I’m not sure just how God does all He does. I don’t get the implications of every little nuance about free will and stuff. But I do know this: the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. What’s the main thing? Connecting with God through prayer! Things happen when people pray:

“Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV). God wants to use you, too, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV).

For some reason we often see prayer as our last resort rather than our first response. But prayer isn’t a program to be added; it’s a power to be released if people and churches are to reach their highest potential. Prayer is the fuel of living. Prayer is your most vital tool in God’s service. Pray as if your friends’ lives depend on it–because they do.

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If you don’t have a prayer pattern already, you can use the following very practical strategy inspired by Alvin VanderGriend, executive director of Houses of Prayer Everywhere (HOPE). He teaches people a five-and-five prayer challenge.

“The idea is to pray five blessings on five neighbors starting at five minutes a day, five days a week, for five weeks. One person who accepted the challenge was a pastor in Walnut Creek, California, named Johnny Jones…Jones reported that within a month, one neighbor came to the pastor and said, ‘I’ve always wondered what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.’ Jones saw her come to faith in Christ. Another neighbor came to Johnny, admitting an involvement in drugs and asking for help. A Buddhist Vietnamese neighbor asked to go to church with him.”

Prayer unleashes the limitless resources of heaven’s unstoppable forces. This energy can’t be measured in megatons, kilowatts, or horsepower. It cannot be stopped, squelched, or slowed. It can’t be deterred, detoured, or delayed. When submitting to the will of an all-powerful, all-merciful, and all-knowing God, we position ourselves in the place of victory even before the battle begins! Without prayer, we try to fight a foe of unimaginable power with nothing but good sentiments, and we’re doomed before we start. As E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer is not preparation for the battle. Prayer is the battle!”

The need is so great that we can begin to understand that Jesus’ first command isn’t that we pray for the harvest of people who need to know God’s love, but that we pray for more laborers to go out. As Jesus said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:37-38).

What are you going to do? Just stand there? No! Pray. Then go!

Where Jesus Is Not Known…

Stepping off the train I felt like I had just put my head in an oven.  I was drenched with sweat. Have you ever had a day that made you wish you had rubbed antiperspirant deodorant over your entire body?  This was one of those days.  The sea of humanity before my eyes at the train station was overwhelming, even more than the intense 115 degree heat.

Arriving at the train station.

Arriving at the train station.

Families from all over India had descended upon this sacred town at the edge of the Ganges River.  Everyone was entranced in their pilgrimage experience, while my trek team and I clearly stood out as foreigners in a very foreign land.  The train station walking paths had been transformed into makeshift waiting and sleeping zones as people waited for the next train to arrive.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the fatigued expressions of the passersby resulted from tirelessly waiting for a train, or if they were suffering from the disappointment from once again not finding at the river the divine answers they were seeking.

This ancient city in North India, known as one of the seven holiest Hindu places, is also known for drawing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims during sacred festivals, but that day we joined a “small” gathering of only several thousand pilgrims.  Though I was briefed prior to my arrival on the significance of this sacred site, I didn’t anticipate what I would encounter over the next two hours.  Each step we took revealed a deeper level of despair and darkness buried within the sacred objects and rituals of the people we were observing.

Along the Ganges River.

Along the Ganges River.

Despite the fact that the Ganges River is known to be one of the most disease infested waterways in the world, thousands of Indians were submerging themselves in the water.  Many were swimming in the river as if it were a community swimming pool.  This activity seemed ridiculous to me at first, until I learned that the bathers were seeking ritualistic cleansing of their sins, hoping to be purified and justified before their gods.  Disease infested water is bad, but even if it were crystal clear and clean, a person can only use water to wash the outside of the cup, leaving the inside as filthy as before.

A few paces down the river’s edge we encountered a pedestrian bridge crossing over a split in the river.  A handful of elderly women had stopped to rest their weary legs, or so I thought.  Our guide explained that these women had in fact been abandoned by their families during a pilgrimage.  I figured they could just ask someone for help and explain their predicament, but then we learned that these women most likely didn’t speak the local language.  They were pilgrims; strangers in their own land which boasts over 1,600 languages.  Further down the river pilgrims were assembled to have their heads shaved.  They had recently lost loved ones, and they were grieving. Once their head was shaved, they would visit an adjacent merchant and purchase a hand-sized boat with flowers they would sail down the Ganges in honor of their family member.  Even further down the Ganges a series of shrines were available, each outfitted with a human-sized sculpture of a deity.  At this point the team and I were shoulder to shoulder with worshipers, seekers, the abandoned and the grieving.

A shrine of a deity.

A shrine of a deity.

I had to stand there and pause for a moment.  I was surrounded by people yearning for answers, consolation and reconciliation.  But none would be found. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever; at not through this water, any rituals or anything made with human hands.  Sadly, I was surrounded by thousands of people who knew no better option.  The visual sight was as overwhelming as the heat, but even more overwhelming was the realization that many, if not most, of these people were rejecting Jesus not because they didn’t want Him, but because they didn’t even know about Him.

I yearned for this crowd to hear about the water source (the Living Water) proven to satisfy every longing.  I wanted to proclaim that Jesus has promised to give water that will well up inside them into eternal life, starting right here, right now.  You don’t have to earn it, you don’t have to prove yourself worthy, you don’t even have to wait for it!

That day at the Ganges River reaffirmed this Great News in my heart and initiated a new burning in my soul for regions of the world that have no witness about Jesus (Acts 1:8).  God really changed the trajectory of my life that hot, steamy day in India, and my life has never been more exciting since God connected my life to serving those who have never heard of Jesus. India and many other countries are filled with people groups, tribes and clans who have never heard of Jesus, the Living Water.  How might God want us to join Him in reaching them?  The journey will be difficult.  The journey will be long.  But this is part of the greatest story ever told, and we get to have a role!  Now I have the privilege of connecting people in our church to God’s global rescue mission. The need is great, and each of us are invited by God to join the rescue team. The Gospel of Jesus is far better than just good news. It’s “Hallelulah—I’ve been saved—Jesus is my everything—You have to hear about it!” news!