Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, on a dark highway somewhere in India) I remember reading that one famous missionary once said that a missionary must always be ready to preach, pray or die. For some reason that saying comes to mind every time I am in India. It’s not that I plan to die, but one does think about that possibility more here than in the USA. It’s the first two that really set the groundwork for my approach to ministry here. I often don’t know when I will be called upon to get up and speak for anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes. So when told to stand and speak I always ask ‘how long.’ I am always aware of what God would have me speak of to a group in case I am asked, and I don’t remember never being asked. My Bible, notes and magic tricks are always within an arm’s reach.
Praying, too, is often at a moment’s notice. “Pray for this sick woman.” “Pray for this home, there are many problems here.” “Pray for this man’s ministry.” “Pray for this girl as her parents look for a proper husband for her.” “Pray for this boy who is crippled.” “Pray for this woman. Her husband beats her (or he left her for another woman).” “Pray for this ministry.” Pray pray pray pray. I must always be ready, close to God, listening to His voice, sensitive to what He wants me to pray. Sometimes the prayer is translated for all to hear, sometimes not. I don’t know until I pause after the first sentence to see what they do.
In India I must always be ready to preach, pray or die. But that should be true in the United states as well, shouldn’t it? And it should be true of each Christian, not just missionaries or pastors. Are you ready to speak about Jesus, pray to Him or sacrifice even your life for Him at a moment’s notice. You don’t’ have to come to India to do that. You must be ready to do those this day. Are you?
This was another long, full (6 messages) day of pastors conference and 2 churches in the evening. But despite the daily physical I am feeling more blessed than I can begin to put into words. I am humbled and amazed how God has used so many things in my life to contribute to the lessons and ministry here. As I teach God forms the words and sentences precisely to wisdom and truth that is just perfect for their needs. I am amazed at what God has developed through these 5 years and almost 50 pastor’s conferences’ I am amazed at how perfectly developed each session is, and how the 4 I use each day fit together so well to train, motivate and encourage these fine men. It’s way beyond anything I could do myself. I feel like the Old Testament writers who would write something from God, then sit back in total awe of what they wrote. I am certainly not claiming inspiration, but I know all this is far, far beyond me. I feel blessed and honored by God to be have the privilege of being His instrument in this time and place. The effects of these teachings, and the books which further develop and spread what I teach, will have effects reaching to generation after generation of pastors and believers in India. I have just been in awe of God, totally amazed and ‘blown away’ by His goodness and grace. It’s more than a human being can really take in and appreciate. It’ll take all eternity to praise Him for the wondrous things I see Him doing. The misery of the first 2 weeks is more than made up for by the blessings of this final week!