Herald

aaron-burden-235761-unsplash

Spring

The earth stirs from slumber

As winter’s white blanket slowly slips from her

The Maker calls

And she thrusts her soft green carpet

Through the moist, dark, soil

Trees fling forth new growth

Leaves unfurl, clothing bare branches

They bow in gratitude to The Master

 

Reeds dance and wave in gentle breezes

Reflections of sunlight on morning dew

Teardrop shaped

Diamonds, pearls

And rainbows

 

The birds sing out their sweet serenade

A song of praise to God for all to hear

Daffodils burst from their hiding places

And turn trumpet like faces to the sun

 

Lilacs stretch—

And reach for the sky

Their fragrant blossoms fill the air

Shout!

Spring is here

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Purple_Lilac_Herald

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Psalms 19:1 (HCSB)

But ask the animals, and they will instruct you; ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you; let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10 (HCSB)    

Letter to a Skeptic

Dear heart,

You seem to have a lot of emotion toward a God whom you say doesn’t exist and to those who know him. I wonder what led you to embrace unbelief? What wound, what pain, what disappointment have you laid the blame of on The Creator, the heart healer, the giver of and meaning to life? Sin and Satan are our enemies—Jesus is a good God.

Rachael_M-Colby_Tattoo_it_On_Your_Heart_Daffodil_Herald

His ear is inclined to our cry. The Bible says God saves our tears in a bottle and one day He will wipe them all away for those who follow Him into eternity.

You call Him a fairy tale. But I know Him. He is more real to me than all the here and now you can touch and see. It is only logical that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the incomprehensible majesty, the lofty thoughts and mighty ways of our fathomless, infinite God.

He is higher than happiness; He transcends and brings purpose to pain. Jesus gives joy in the journey. He is my comfort, my sure and steady reference, my passion, my God. He is all encompassing goodness and grace. He is my hope, my help, my redeemer, my beloved.

Click black box below or here for reading of He is Risen, by Rachael M Colby 

aaron-burden-642437-unsplashYou compared faith in God to a child believing in Santa Claus. Well, in the story of Santa Claus, He comes to bring gifts to the good children. But Truth is, Jesus comes and gifts Himself to us. He gives the gift of His presence to wayward children lost in the depravity of sin and senselessness. He finds us and lifts us from the poverty and destitution of our sin and bestows us with the riches of His grace. He cleanses us and clothes us in His righteousness.

I cannot make you believe. 

The Bible says all creation praises The Lord and is a testament to Him

Man is the only one who is hard of hearing and blind to what is before him

Wake up! Open your eyes and see

Listen, He’s calling your name

He loves you.

He is not made for us, but us for Him.

The all powerful, omnipotent God

Scooped up a handful of dust

Breathed into it, and made humanity

He made us for Himself, so we could know Him.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

Click for Movie Trailer: The Case for Christ

The true story of Lee Strobel, an avowed atheist,  journalist, and an award winning legal editor with the Chicago Tribune. Lee embarks on a quest to disprove the claims of Christianity, but instead his investigation reveals unexpected discoveries which could radically change his world.

Click arrow below twice to play Lee Strobel’s video on Twitter about his new book, The Case for Miracles or click HERE

Click for: There is a God, Carman, (Official music video)

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  Romans 1:20 (HCSB)

More Apologetics Resources for Seekers, Followers, Writers—and Skeptics too 😉

Lee Strobel on YouTube

Cold Case Christianity, with J. Warner Wallace

Sean McDowell- Bringing Truth to a New Generation

Stand to Reason  “Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.”

The Real-Life Miracle That Absolutely Shocked Lee Strobel

CrossExamined.Org

Colson Fellows, A Powerful Nine-Month Entrepreneurial Discipleship Training Program for Christian Worldview in Action

New York Apologetics

Devotional Series: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – EARS, By Phyllis Clark Nichols

Devotional Series: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Eyes, By Phyllis Clark Nichols

Join the Conversation at #HealthyFaith Chat on Twitter for a lively, challenging and inspiring Q&A time on Biblical topics and how they relate to culture and our lives

How to Participate: All Welcome whether you are familiar with the books and resources or not. I lead the chats Mondays and Saturday’s about once a month. Type #HealthyFaith in the search bar at top right, then chose “Latest” at top left corner to see conversations in the chat thread in chronological order. *Make sure to include #HealthyFaith in all your comments so participants can see them.

Special Thanks

Phelix Estinvil of Mastermind Marketing, (mastermindmg.net) Audio file creation

Waterfall painting by Ariel Maria Aaltonen (Colby)

aaron-burden-235761-unsplash  aaron-burden-642437-unsplashPhotos by Aaron Burden on Unsplash 

Dear reader,

If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 4 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉

*If you haven’t yet read my Billy Graham post, here is the link to: What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

God bless you and thank you for reading.

© 2008, 2017, 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

Journal entry, January 16th, 2018

I’m not one to put people on pedestals. Even as a teenager I never had posters of celebrities on my walls. I guess fame in of itself does not impress me and I see people as BGEAinK.C.04-56just people—flesh and blood. I see the polls online asking if you could meet or spend time with any of the people they list, who would you choose. Their  lists are comprised of several Bible characters, great classic Christian authors, or other historic heroic leaders who have since died. It’s always a tough, if not impossible choice. But my heart says the one I most want to meet is not on their lists and we are blessed that God has graced us with still having my choice among us—Rev. Billy Graham.

It is one of my dreams to meet Billy Graham, but I fear I would be wasting his time as the only thing I’d probably be able to say is thank you. But maybe that’s appropriate when you are in the presence of greatness like his. Perhaps it not so much a time to talk, but a time to listen if he graced me with some of his wisdom—content to sit with him for a moment and just be—just enjoy being in the company of Billy and Jesus. When someone is as close to Jesus as Billy is, you can be sure when you are in his presence you are in Jesus’ presence too, and Jesus said, “Where two or three or gathered in my name there I am in their midst.” 

                   Journal entry, February 21st, 2018

IMG_2406

The day I’ve feared for so long has come and the world is a little darker for it. I cried today. I cried for me, I cried for you. I cried for the world for our great loss. But I did not cry for Billy. On this sad but jubilant day I’m sorry for myself and the world, but rejoicing for Billy as he is welcomed home by his Savior whom he so faithfully loved, served, and proclaimed.

Billy Graham was raised on his parent’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Great Depression. He gave his life to Christ just shy of his sixteenth birthday. He preached on six continents in 84 countries. He prayed withBilly_2 and gave spiritual counsel to our presidents and leaders worldwide. Through his crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies he preached to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries and touched millions more lives via television, radio, film, internet, and through his books. Billy reached out to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the least in society and God granted him audience before rulers. He was humble so God raised him to honor.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV

VIDEO: Billy Graham: One Man. One Purpose. One Message. A photo tribute journey through the life of Billy Graham.

This is the inscription on Billy Graham’s grave marker:

Billy Graham November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018

 Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ

John 14:16

That’s it—for the man who was the greatest evangelist in history.

Billy and his beloved wife, Ruth, were both buried in caskets made by inmates of the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. That man is determined to continue preaching to us, even from his grave.

VIDEO: Making Billy Graham’s Casket

Billy Graham was greatness wrapped in humility, which is what real greatness looks like. Like Jesus.

The same man known for his graciousness and humility is also known for his righteous passion. Like Jesus toppling the tables in the temple, Billy wasn’t afraid to fly in the face of cultural norms and injustices such as communism, apartheid, and segregation. He ripped down the ropes segregating blacks from whites thus hosting the first truly integrated revival meetings, and was friend and co-laborer with Martin Luther King jr. .

The deepest problems of the human race are spiritual in nature…The problem is the human heart, which God alone can change. —Billy Graham

Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Click here to watch the rest of: Taking Down the Ropes of Segregation

Billy was a cup of comfort and a nod to can-do in a harsh and discouraging world.

A journalist once set out to investigate Billy, but found nothing to discredit him. The journalist’s conclusion about Billy Graham was, “He is a man without shadows.”

Nevertheless, judging by a few articles and social media posts I’ve read, some have formed opinions about Billy based on parts of stories about him rather than the whole, the beginning, rather than the conclusion of a matter. Billy wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes, but he admitted his shortcomings and made amends. He kept himself accountable.

Christian means Christ follower. Those who make Jesus their Lord and are governed by His Word, the Bible, will sometimes find themselves on the opposite side of issues than secular culture. God sets boundaries because He loves us and for our good. He is the definer of morality. But know this, though our beliefs differ from some, that does not mean we disdain or wish ill on those who chose to use their free will to live otherwise. It distresses me that some don’t understand it’s possible to disagree with people and still love them. Because we love people, we cannot support behavior we believe harmful to them. Because we love God we strive to be faithful to His Word and will for our lives. Christians are just sinners saved by the Savior’s grace, trying to share Jesus, the author of and answer to life. 

Billy hated sin and how it destroys lives, but he loved people. Jesus hates sin, but He loves the sinner. He gave His life for us. 

“If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this—God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.” —Billy Graham

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.”

Jesus said, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

Billy was faithful.

He was the salute to my Sunday mornings when I was a little girl.

I was raised in Jamaica by my grandparents until I was nine years old. On Sunday mornings I’d run into their room, jump onto their bed and curl up at the foot of it. Grandpa would reach for the knob on the old wooden radio that sat atop his dresser and with a twist and a click, it burst to life with— “This is Billy Graham coming to you live…” and George Beverly Shea singing, How Great Thou Art, and we’d listen to Billy preach before we went to church.

George Beverly Shea, How Great Thou Art, 1969

I vowed  growing up that I wouldn’t fall into the same pit some of my loved ones fell into. I didn’t want to repeat their mistakes, but as hard as I tried to climb that mountain it was like a landslide under me. At 20 years old my life was in shambles and as I stood weeping I heard the words recorded in the Bible that Job’s wife had spoken to him, “Curse God and die!” It wasn’t the first time suicide had knocked on my door. I fell to my knees. “No!” I said. “God I’m not going to curse You. I still believe in You. Help me.”

Later, I found a Billy Graham Decision Magazine in my mailbox and I remembered Billy’s preaching when I was a little girl and how it comforted me. The address label indicated the magazine owner lived on the other side of the complex. “Hello,” I said. “I have your Billy Graham magazine. But I’d like to read it for a minute before I give it to you, if you don’t mind.”  He chuckled and we arranged a time to meet by the pool which separated our buildings, but I never showed up. I was so caught up reading, his knock startled me. I opened the door to meet the gentle smile of Rev. George Horton, a Baptist minister.

Billy was a stepping stone on my road to salvation. He was someone sure in a shaky world because he stood on the Rock, the foundation of all eternity.

I just wanted to say thank you for showing us what grace looks like, what faithfulness, righteousness and humility looks like.

IMG_2408Billy Graham was a light in the dark, a night light of sorts. A steady reference, a clarion call in the midst of an unsteady world of shifting sands. He was faithful to God and faithful to his call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now he has received his reward. The dawn of a new morning has broken on Heaven’s horizon for Billy Graham.

Our life is a vapor—shorter for some than others. I have a question for you. When you step out of this world and into eternity will you find yourself at Heaven’s or Hell’s gates? Is there eternal life or eternal night waiting on the other side for you? The choice is yours. God longs for you. 

They say you should use scripture sparingly when you write. But the Word of God is alive and powerful and able to accomplish way more than any words I could ever write. 

“I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with authority, quoting the very Word of God—He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart.” —Billy Graham

All your goodness won’t get you to Heaven. Jesus said our our righteousness is as filthy rags.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Short is short. We all miss the mark.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. John 8:34 (NKJV)

But no matter your sin, it’s not enough to keep God from loving you. He wants to give you a new life, destiny, peace and joy.

IMG_2409For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 (NKJV)

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeedJohn 8:36 (NKJV)

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)

Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (NKJV)

“You ask, ‘What is repentance?’ Repentance means that you say to God, ‘I am a sinner, I’m sorry for my sins, I’m willing to turn from my sins. But Lord, You have to help me to turn. I’ve tried so many times to give up things I know that are wrong, and I just can’t do it.’

Then, by faith, receive Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Open your heart and say, “Yes, lord Jesus, Come in. I’m ready to follow you.'” —Billy Graham

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)

VIDEO: 1957 Billy Graham How to live the Christian Life 

A Prayer of Commitment

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In your name. Amen.”  — BillyGraham.org/Commitment

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Christian_Fellowship_Ministeries_CFM
Click here if you need a church home.

If you are committing your life to Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association would like to know, and so would I. You may send me an email via the Contact by Email box or leave a reply in the Comment box at the end of this post.

You may contact the Billy Graham Evangelical Association here:              1-877-2GRAHAM/ 1-877-247-2426                                                        BillyGraham.org/Commitment

IMG_2410

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” -Billy Graham

Yes, Billy. This world is not my home. It’s just the road to where I’m going. Heaven is my home, and Jesus is my prize.

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. Psalms 116:15 (NKJV)

Well done, thou good and faithful servant. 

I’ll see you on the other side, Billy.

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

An Invitation from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE

More Videos and Links to Resources

Billy Graham’s, Steps to Peace With God

Blog post by author Jerry Jenkins who helped Billy write his autobiography, Just as I am Precious Memories: Billy Graham 1918-2018

Remembering Billy Graham Special- The Tami Jackson Show with Jerry Jenkins

Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham

Billy Graham A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist, Terry Whalin

Books by Billy Graham

In His Own Words: Billy Graham Talks About Heaven

Touching Moments from Billy Graham’s Funeral Service


Billy Graham: A Life Remembered – Billy Graham TV Special

Billy Graham’s 99th Birthday: Notable Reflections

A Tribute to Billy Graham, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Billy Graham Audio Archives: Over 1,600 Sermons spanning over 60 years of ministry

https://billygraham.org/tv-and-radio/radio/audio-archives/

Billy Graham Educational Resources (Lesson plans for elementary school through high school.)

Notable Reflections

https://memorial.billygraham.org/notable-reflections/

The chain reaction of influence and conversions of men who became preachers and leading to Billy Graham’s conversion (Toward end of post.)

Christianity Today magazine, founded by Billy Graham: April 2018 issue, Billy Graham 1981-2018

Decision magazine (Founded by Billy Graham)

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association https://billygraham.org/

An Invitation from The Billy graham Evangelistic Association: 

“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE.

Easter Offerings

Rachael_M_Colby_tatto_it_on_your_heart_face-the_Son_North_Light_StudioToday marks the day of the ultimate love story, the day when Jesus, God incarnate, bore our sin, shame and the penalty for our sin and gave His life on the cross so we could gain forgiveness and eternal life, so we could know Him and have hope. For this reason, we call it Good Friday.

I am reminded that at what seemed to be the darkest day, at the greatest human injustice, is when God was most in control. —Dr. Sean McDowell 

Dear Reader,

Please forgive me for being absent from my blog for so long.  My miserable excuse is I’m undergoing treatment for an impinged nerve and two numb fingers. That makes for painfully slow typing and a somewhat distracted foggy mind. (No, it’s not carpal tunnel and the cause is not typing.) Prayers appreciated.

I am almost finished with my Billy Graham Post, and hope to have it up this weekend. But until then, here are some suggestions for your Easter weekend and beyond as well as excerpts and links to my posts from last Easter.

May you know the depths and heights of Jesus’ love for you and delight in Him and the great plan He has for your life.

Rachael

Christ Revealed documentary film series featuring 25 world renowned experts

Click here to register to watch #1 Christian Documentary of 2017/2018, Christ Revealed, offered free for a limited time. This series reveals astonishing facts about the validity of Christ and the resurrection

New Movie! The third in the God’s Not Dead Series

Today, Good Friday March 30th, 2018  PureFix releases their new movie, God’s Not Dead: A light in Darkness, in theaters across the USA.

Return to the Holy Land
This Easter: Watch & Share This Graham Family Devotional
Join Franklin Graham and his family in this video as they explore the rich history of Israel, and study the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the land of the Bible.

Below are excerpts from and links to my posts from last Easter

Reflections

I tried to quell the yearning for a greater something, a purpose bigger than the here and now and myself.

I chased all manner of both good and evil earthly pursuits, but nothing fulfilled. Not even religion. It was all vain distraction.

But then, He found me.

I met mercy and forgiveness on the road to grace…

How often I miss the splendor of God’s glory passing by, what He is doing and calling me to, because it isn’t wrapped in the earthly trappings I expect or want. Of the people who did recognize Jesus as Messiah and greeted Him with palms and called Him King of Kings, I wonder how many had the revelation that the road led to the cross? Death before resurrection…

Hey heart, do you turn aside when the road goes uphill, or against your will to the place of self death and sacrifice?  Do you hold out when you are called to be poured out and lift others up to Christ?

Because He is risen I have…

Click here to continue to Reflections

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_I_Am_The_Guilty_Man_

Am I Enough?

“Am I enough?” He said.

“Yes, Lord. Of course, You are enough.”

“Then stop making excuses. Whatever you lack, whatever your need, I Am enough. Come to me.”

Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Jesus_Wants_Your_Worst

You don’t have to be a victim of your failures, shortcomings, or circumstances. Every obstacle, every failure, every defect, every unmet need is a chance for Jesus to move on your behalf, to prove Himself in your life, and bring Him glory. Your defeat is Jesus’ opportunity to bring victory if you give yourself to Him. He is the God of the turn around, the God of a new beginning…. Click here to continue to, Am I Enough? 

Rachael_M-Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Offering

Copyright 2017, 2018   Rachael M Colby    Tattoo It On Your Heart

Can We Talk?

 

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Can_We_TalkI believe Christians ought to be able to consider another’s view, amicably agree to disagree on some things, and still appreciate each other.

I don’t believe in just tossing relationships because of disagreements, nor only having discussions with those we agree with. There is a give and take in relationship and it should be especially so in the Church.

Sometimes we will be right, and sometimes wrong.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. Ephesians 2:2-4 NLT

Some things we won’t know for sure until we get to Heaven. What’s crucial and clear is that we adhere to the Bible’s instructions which dictate the road to salvation and share those with the lost and dying world.

Some issues are worthy of debate, and some aren’t. But even when they are, scripture admonishes us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NASB)

If we do speak, let this govern us:

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

Regardless, we don’t need to take it as a personal assault or be offended because others have a different view. Neither should we be offensive.

But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 2 Timothy 2:16 (HCSB)

 

“Do you just want to be right, or do you want to be effective?” -Pastor Artie Aragon

 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

Someone’s passionate adherence to their belief is not necessarily a persecution of another’s. If our heart is to pursue truth and persuade others of it, then we ought not be offended with others’ attempt to proclaim their position, but rather, be patient and open to learn from and teach each other as the situation dictates. We can choose to use opposition  as an opportunity to strengthen our beliefs by further study.

Reading is crucial to personal growth and gaining understanding of others and the world. We can’t effectively engage others and present truth if we don’t know where they are. What they believe is the starting point to reach them.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Do not be hasty to close the door on relationships because of differences and lose the chance to influence others with truth. 

My desire is to glorify God, to share the Gospel with the lost and encourage other believers.

“Lord help me to be faithful to Your call, to present Truth with grace and love. Help us to be quick to forgive each other when we fall short. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

The real issue isn’t which translation of the Bible Christians choose to read. The problem is people aren’t reading the Bible more—or at all.

May our discourse push us to study, to seek truth, strengthen our faith and pursue Jesus’ heart.

Now go find a lost soul to preach the Gospel to.

 

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32 (HCSB)

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

 

Colossians 3:12 (KJV)

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Colossians 3:12 (NKJV)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12 (NASB)

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

Colossians 3:12 (HCSB)

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,

 

John 13:35 (KJV)

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:35 (NKJV)

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35 (NIV)

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:35 (NLT)

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13:35 (NASB)

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35 (HCSB)

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

IMG_2018

Peace.

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

 

Part 3: Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker_Part_ThreePART 3 of 3: Family First or Church First? An interview with dragon slayer, disciple maker, Pastor Brian Williams and his wife Ruth from Agape Missions International, Nepal.

Question 20: How do you have the energy and balance your time between studying, preaching, writing, caring for your family, and other ministries?

Family First or Church first?

  • Is the God we serve only a community God?
  • Is the God we serve only a personal family king?
  • Is the God we serve only a serious father?

Here below is some type of weird ideology based on the world’s value system:

  • God first.
  • Family second.
  • Ministry third.

Now, where do we find that in the Bible? Nowhere, can we find any of this in scripture. That unbiblical and soulish concept is propagated by intellectually challenged, worldly people in the church.

Here is another piece of theology that betrays biblical orthodoxy:

Family ministry or Church ministry? But not both as a priority?

Now, where in the Bible do we find such an either/or dichotomy so as to prioritize one over the other? This comes from an unbiblical worldview of splitting values when none is required. This is opposed to the Judeo-christian way of doing things.

Thus seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, is:

Church Family Ministry,

Family IN Ministry and

Family AS Ministry.

Here is what I believe is the pure Bible worldview on family and the kingdom of God. This truth encompasses all three of the concepts below in perfect unity without surrendering any of the three ideas.

  1. Participating in local Church Family events IS ministry.
  2. Families involved in spiritual exercises IS ministry.
  3. Fun family activities in a family IS also ministry.

To speak about Biblical balance in another way, let us look at these three sentences:

Our church is our family and our family is our church.

We are to minister IN our immediate-family/joint-family which IS our ministry too.

Our nuclear family is called to a BE type of ministry, as well as serving God in a DO type of ministry also.

Let us dig a little deeper without excluding any of the three threads mentioned above.

  1. Church Family Ministry

Many families reluctantly drag their kids and their spouses to a local fellowship. It’s a sad thing when a family enjoys every other program in their locality other than a church program. Many research studies show that those who have a committed church community as their primary social network live longer. Do we go to a local church and give our time, talent and treasure to that church community together as a family? Or do we just warm the carpet and do a bench warming activity there? Paul mentioned this priority beautifully in Hebrews 10:25 “Not FORSAKING the ASSEMBLING of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”

      2. Family “IN” Ministry

Most families wait until their children reach college for them to serve God. Then, it’s sometimes too late because they are already fixed and anchored in their ways. They have received no training at home. If we do not fellowship, evangelize, pray and enjoy the Bible together as a family, why will they do it when they grow up? The Jews were wisely commanded by God to tell their kids stories of what God did. Why? The word of God was supposed to be on their doors. Why? I think it was so they would read it, remember it and enact it every time they went out into society and came back home. They had Sabbath meals with great Bible symbolism so that they could experience Emmanuel in all the areas of their family life. The family that prays and does spiritual stuff together stays together.

Joel 1:3  TELL your children about it, Let your children TELL their children, And their children ANOTHER GENERATION.

     3. Family “AS” Ministry

So many people show their families by their lifestyle that they serve a boring God. If our God and our Parents do nothing but pray, read the Bible, go to church and evangelize, then we have shown our God as a fun killer at worst and a dull God at best. Do we dance with our kids? Do we play football with our kids? Do we go cycling with our kids? Do we watch movies with our kids? Do we go on picnics with our kids? Do we read books with our kids? If we have no recreational activities with our kids then we serve and portray our God as a spoilsport, a very grumpy old man who has is no fun and joy. On the other hand, fun was created by God but perverted by the Devil. We must take back what the devil has stolen.The family is itself a ministry and we must enjoy it without having to do stuff that is Christianese only. We are definitely not called to participate in sinful activities but there are other things we could do like, going to, zoo’s, picnics, parties and sports events. 

That is why 1 Cor 10:31 counsel’s us in this way “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do all to the glory of God.

Some concluding thoughts:

The family that prays together stays together.

But

The family that plays together stays together too.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

But

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

Discerning Family Seasons:

So in conclusion, we must strike a healthy balance between investing our time for church community moments and a time for our personal and private family seasons. We must apply wisdom when we are to do which and for how long. Sometimes “family ministry” is the priority, other times the “church family ministry” is the priority, and still at other times, “family fun ministry” is the priority. Only the Holy Spirit can help us put the kingdom first by creating that balance in the prayer closet for each of the days of our week. 

On average how much time does it take you to put together a sermon, including research and study?

Depends on Question number 20. FullSizeRender (7)-002

How much time do you spend in personal Bible study and prayer a day?

Depends on Question number 20.

What is the hardest part of being a pastor/ pastor’s wife? 

Balancing Question number 20.

What is your biggest challenge in your ministry? FullSizeRender (1)-003

Implementing Question number 20.

What most breaks your heart?

People neglecting the values of Question number 20.

What has being a preacher and your ministry cost you? FullSizeRender (3)-002

Persecution.

Do you ever want to quit?

NEVER.

What keeps you going? FullSizeRender (4)-002

Our quiet time. 

What most encourages you?

The ongoing testimony of God lovers.

FullSizeRender (5)-002Who inspires you?

Those who incarnate the Bible in their localities. 

What has been the most unexpected benefit of your ministries?

Serving at risk people has brought out the best in me, my wife and five kids.

Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, direction, FullSizeRender (6)-002encouragement, prayer—someone you can be really open with?

My wife has an Indian lady and I have an American and Nepali guy whom we are accountable to.

How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?

Serve them in His power and strength.

What are some things your church and others could do to lighten your load or refresh you and your family so you can better serve God and them?

People living out the gifts that they have been given.This lightens our burden and revives us.

What do you see as the biggest threat to the Church today?

Atheistic believers, worldly Christians and religious denominational-ism.

What do you believe is the key to revival?

Praying and evangelizing.

How do you feel about Jesus’ return, the rapture?

I am to serve Him till He returns. I am a PANMillennialistEverything will pan out when He comes back.

How are mission trip teams like the one my daughter, Abigail, came on with Adventures in Missions this past summer helpful to you and your ministry?

The greatest ministry your daughter and her team left behind was probably not Bible studies, hand-outs and eloquent speeches, (they are great too). But it was mainly by empowering the local leaders in Tami Nepal and our networks.

They did this by birthing and serving long term relationships, by an act of deep interpersonal koinonia in the hearts of the local long term workers. We are hoping for not only short term  success for the short space of time they were here but the long term successes by them investing generously their time, talent, treasure, (money and things etc), and touch, (prayer), in me, my family, my team and my partners. This model of “one-another” ministry was lovely to see in practice. Working together with the Holy Spirit and each other is key to our mutual success. This is only possible when short-term people/teams leave a legacy behind with us, their co-workers. Nothing is worse than an individual or team coming here and doing fast and furious ministry all by themselves while the local ministers are just tag-alongs.

The African Proverb is so true:

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

Abigail and her team were lovely in being our friends and continue to be close to us by e-mail and Facebook. We pray and hope some of them come back again to be with us.

What is your favorite memory of your ministry?

From Street Kid to Pastor

by Kayla Strickler

Sachin was the name behind the face of a child beggar on the sweltering side streets of Nepal. Street kids are extremely common in this country; they often spend their days begging, sometimes at the urging of their very own families. Street kids typically lie, fabricate tear-jerking stories, or play dumb to coax more money out of unsuspecting travelers. Sachin was a kid that needed no such ploys; he had an obvious physical challenge in one leg. Even so, he traded the street life for a job in the carpet industry when the enticing opportunity arose. And just like that, he became a statistic and joined the ranks as one of thousands of Nepal’s child laborers.

In Nepal, child labor for the carpet industry is rampant. Despite many efforts to bust the business over the last several years, the fight to end child labor is still far from over. World-famous carpets come from Nepal—the smaller the knot and the finer the carpet, the better and more valuable. Consequently, tiny agile hands often work 16-hour days and stitch until their fingers bleed raw.

As Sachin grew into adolescence, working hard hours in this industry, he encountered someone who introduced him to a life of faith in Christ. As a new believer, he began attending a church that was willing and able to put a roof over his head; but this supposed miracle was short-lived. The life of that roof expired when the church abruptly changed their policy and chose to no longer support street kids. As quickly as the roof had been put over his head, it was taken away. Sachin found himself blindsided. He was physically limited, uneducated, and now completely homeless.

In his destitute and dejected state, an Agape affiliate got word about the boy with the sick leg and bleeding, carpet-making fingers. Before long, Sachin came under Agape’s wing to be developed as a leader through an internship, with a roof over his head, and no longer needing to work slave hours six days a week. The boy that was once on the streets now had a roof, food, a family, and above all, a chance in life.

Around the same time Sachin was beginning his journey with Agape, another miracle was being worked out in someone else’s life who would also soon join forces with the mission.

Agrata, a bright and steadfast young woman, joined Agape to grow and help fulfill her calling as a leader. As one of only two Christians in her otherwise Hindu family, she needed a place to live as her current living situation fell through. Staying where she was meant stress and ill health because of the tense environment; going back home to a Hindu family would mean re-crucifying the Jesus so important to her, (since returning to a Hindu family would mean renouncing her Christian faith). Caught between a rock and a hard place, she found a third option and made her home for the season in Agape, where she could live and grow with a community of believers.

Agrata and Sachin’s love grew fast and strong. Two years into their internship with Agape, their romance was a beautiful avalanche rushing down a hill, gaining their faith and maturity before they got married, but to the besotted couple, the avalanche was already gathering great speed. Brian’s wish was that they spend another six months in a development program growing really unstoppable. They quickly tied the knot and set out on their own, blissfully in love and choosing to branch out on their own.

A local church they had been attending helped the couple secure a place to live and work: two rooms, one for a meat business to support themselves, and one room to live in. Soon, they started a family. Life continued in this security for a comfortable length of time. When they were pregnant with their second child, they happened again upon Agape’s staff. When they did, Agrata and Sachin came bearing news of all the great things happening in their lives: pastorship, children, business… Except, one thing was noticeably amiss—Sachin and Agrata had grown weary of working in the meat business, and their hearts yearned to focus more on ministry. They rejoined Agape, reunited in the place they first met—this time with two little ones in tow. But, in the blink of an eye, they chose to return to their church and meat business. Then, the unthinkable happened. The infamous earthquake hit with ferocious strength, and left their home, business, stability, and life all rubble in its grip. Sachin, Agrata, and their two kids were officially homeless.

They came to Agape for help. In Brian’s own words, “Sometimes a couple needs help two or three times, to establish themselves…” And so, with great love, Sachin and Agrata found themselves back at their roots. In another beautiful partnership with Agape ministries, Sachin and Agrata were blessed even more than before. The couple remained with Agape until they were on their feet again after the earthquake. In due time, they had a well and a house built with a room for church, two bedrooms, and a washroom. They now serve faithfully in Nepal, running their own church, bringing more and more people to the knowledge and saving faith of Jesus, the one who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than anyone could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

What is your vision for your ministry, your calling?

Small is Beautiful!

It’s not terribly important how big a work we have, but rather how big a work God does and is doing through us.

Tami Asia Calling:

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:5 For every man shall BEAR HIS OWN BURDEN.

CAR CUP Nepal/ TARA School Nepal/ WARM Nepal

(Who is God? What is true/ real Religion?)

Click for Video: Meet Ruth

https://youtu.be/-I80BIz7yIE

James 1:27 PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS in their affliction, and to KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.

Psalms 68:5 A FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS, and A JUDGE OF WIDOWS is God in his holy habitation.

Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even A CUP OF COLD WATER to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly NOT LOSE THEIR REWARD.”

Psalms 113:6-9 KJV Who HUMBLES himself to BEHOLD the things that are in heaven, and IN THE EARTH! He RAISES UP the POOR out of the DUST, and LIFTS the NEEDY out of the DUNGHILL; That he may SET HIM with PRINCES, even with the PRINCES of HIS PEOPLE. He makes the BARREN WOMAN to keep house, and to be a joyful MOTHER of CHILDREN. Praise ye the Lord.

The Prodigal Son,  Luke 10:25-37

Click for Video: Meet Our Team.

Bethesda Bishram Nepal

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his OWN WORKS, as God did from his.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ,who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the living God?

Click for Video: Meet Brian

https://youtu.be/EMLPWThJyCU

Bethel Ashrm Nepal 

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same COMMIT THOU TO FAITHFUL MEN, who shall be able to TEACH OTHERS ALSO.

Blessings FullSizeRender (8)-002          

Cheers

Prayers

Because…

Together we do a great work for God

Rev. Brian Reshma Williams

*Click here to read PART 1. 

**Click here to read PART 2.  

***You can read my post featuring my daughter, Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here:  Echoes 

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Us****Please respect the request of the interviewees that neither the link  for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post on other platforms.

Thank you for your consideration.                                                                                                  © 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

 

Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal (Part 2)

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby _Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker-A _Preacher _Wages War_Part2

Part 2: Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas—Continuing the Conversation with Reverend Brian Williams and his wife, Ruth, of Agape Missions, Nepal

Brian, where do you currently preach?

I oversee 200 churches, so I find myself travelling to these pulpits in India and Nepal. That brings me to our vision.We see this fleshed out in Bethesda Bishram, Agape’s second house in Kathmandu, Nepal, and it serves different functions. Throughout the year, you may find it populated by local pastors attending seminars, short-term missions groups working with Agape, or a family trying to get themselves back on their feet.

FullSizeRender (5)-001Bethesda Bishram serves a different purpose than Bethel Ashrm. It is a house for rest, revival, refreshing and renewal for leaders and their families. It is a place of retreat and fellowship.

Agape recognizes the importance of rest because it allows us to listen to the Lord and His will for our lives, because without retreat, there is no surrender. The purpose is to invest in the leaders of Nepal, so that they may be sustained. It gives them a chance to escape the fishbowl experience, the sense that one is always on display, of public ministry and find refuge, strength, and rest in Christ.

Ruth, did you think when you became a Christian you would become a preacher’s wife?

No, but I love the practical teaching style of my husband.

You are a church planter and overseer of churches and the author of five books on Biblical economics. Why is this important? What is your vision?

I have a simple dream. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use these Biblical Economics seminars for the glory of Jesus by helping the priestly people of God walk in financial fruitfulness. My prayer is that the kingly royal anointing would be upon them and that they will experience good success in every area of life. They will be the head and not the tail of their community or society, the top and not the bottom of their locality or village.

FullSizeRender (6)-001FullSizeRender (7)-001

FullSizeRender (8)-001My prayer is that:

It is high time that the Peter’s of today walk out their humble calling with their heads held high and not be frowned upon as old school missionaries. The Bible is never out of date and my desire is that there will be an explosion of the biblical Peter model of volunteer missionaries all around the globe. That they will destroy the fads and gimmicks of false doctrine by continuing a life of volunteerism faithfully.

My prayer is that:

The Priscilla’s and Aquila’s of today would not be shunted out of modern missions as irrelevant. My prayer is that many couples would turn their homes into churches and their workplaces into pulpits. That they would not accept being called second class workers of the gospel, which they are not. Accepting a salary or making a profit must never be allowed to be frowned upon by modern Constantine’s. That they would boldly remain in their holy calling thus defeating the false teachers of today who have demonically labelled them as the, ‘half time calling,’ people.

My prayer is that:

The Paul’s of today would continue to faithfully obey the higher calling of God by FullSizeRender (9)-001walking in financial wisdom as per the season they find themselves in. Many times the people of God in this dual model have walked in financial ignorance and so when crushing financial times have arrived they have left the ministry. I hope these books help multiply these amazing street smart Paul model missionaries who will be salaried or free volunteers as and when the need of the ministry hour demands.

You have a ministry for at risk women, rescuing some and their children from the sex trafficking trade and also a ministry to the sukumbasi (slum/street) children as well as developing leaders through two leadership homes. What is the road that led you to these ministries?

The Agape Mission International was founded on the great Commandment (Matt 22:37) the great Commission, (Mark 16:16) and the great Commitment, (Isaiah 61:1-3). The vision the Master gave me in 1998 was of a river flowing down a mountain to the lowest and the least in society. The hurting the helpless and the broken are whom the love of God and the power of God works best in and through very easily.

James 1:27 “PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS, (Children at Risk), AND WIDOWS, (Women at Risk), in their affliction…”

That led us to work with children and women at risk and not just orphans and widows.

Can you tell us about your Women at Risk Ministry?

FullSizeRender (8)-003We have 8 projects for women caught in sexual trafficking and exploitation.

WARM (Women At Risk Ministries) Nepal projects below:

1. A Tailoring Shop.

Therefore, those desiring tailoring skills are welcome.

2. A Computer Lab.

Then, those desiring software and hardware skills are welcome.

3. A Language Class.

Those desiring English Language speaking and writing skills are welcome.

4. A Beauty Saloon.

Also, those desiring beauty parlor and fashion sector skills are welcome.

5. A Food Outlet.

For those desiring cooking, baking and chef skills are welcome.

6. An Adult Literacy Center.

And, those desiring pre-school teacher training and educational skills are welcome.

7. A Candle Making unit. FullSizeRender (7)-003

Plus, those desiring scented candle-making and interior decoration skills are welcome.

8. A Handicraft Products workshop.

Finally, those desiring sewing, jewelry and crochet skills are welcome.

What is the process for rescuing and restoring women from the sex-trafficking trade?

We rescue and restore women from cabin restaurants, dance bars and elsewhere.We have intervention programs as well as prevention programs.

Please read more here:

http://womennepal.blogspot.com/

http://womenstorynepal.blogspot.com

Our training center continues to train more than 50 ladies daily. One girl aged 14 years who was sexually abused in an orphanage was rescued by our team. She is now going to school, and has accepted Christ. Another girl who was married with a child was thrown out of her home after she accepted Christ. She is now taking beautician training amongst us.

FullSizeRender (9)-003

                                                           

From my daughter’s accounts from her mission trip to Nepal, and from reading some of the stories on the links at your site, it seems like many women, some with infants, end up in the trafficking trade as a result of their husband’s abandoning them.Why is this? How does the culture in Nepal view marriage?

Marriage is viewed very highly in Nepal. The problem is that the men find it very easy to run away from their wives and children. I think it’s a manhood issue rather than a marriage issue. Most women remain faithful till the end.

Prostitution and brothels are illegal in Nepal, but trafficking takes place when poor villages girls are falsely lured into better job opportunities. They are tricked and taken to India, the Middle East Muslim majority countries and Kathmandu’s dance bars and cabin restaurants, (actually brothel’s).

Please read more here:

http://fleshtradenepal.blogspot.com/

FullSizeRender (10)-003

 

Some are called  Dalit untouchables. What does that mean?

In Hinduism there is a caste system.The low caste, the high caste and all the rest in-between.The low caste people are the untouchable dirty Dalit people. There is a passage in the Rigveda, (Hindu scriptures), which enumerates the four castes in the being of the Heaven-Man called Purusha. The Brahman is called the mouth of Purusha, as having the special privilege as a priest of addressing the gods in prayer. The arms of Purusha became the Rajanya, the prince and soldier who wields the sword and spear. His thighs, the strongest parts of his body, became the agriculturalist and tradesman,the chief support of society, and his feet,the emblem of vigour and activity, became the Sudra or labouring man, (Dalit-Untouchable), on whose toil and industry all ultimately rests.

FullSizeRender (12)-001

FullSizeRender (11)-002

FullSizeRender (12)-001

FullSizeRender (13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you tell us about your Children at Risk ministry?

We operate two non formal schools in the slums.We also have a street kids soccer and feeding program.The purpose is to serve the poor but also model these ministries for local churches to start their own work amongst the marginalized.

FullSizeRender (4)-003

FullSizeRender (5)-003

We minister to more than 100 kids on the streets and in the slums daily.We feed them, FullSizeRender (2)-005give them basic education, play music and football with them and tell them Bible stories on a daily basis. More than 50 of these children now attend children’s church every week.

 

We want to educate, empower and equip them. Our hope then is that they become good family people with sustainable jobs.

Please read more here:

http://streetkidsnepal.blogspot.com/

http://streetkidstory.blogspot.com/

http://slumschoolnepal.blogspot.com/

http://slumstory.blogspot.com

FullSizeRender (6)-003

FullSizeRender (1)-004

What is the craziest situation you’ve experienced during your ministry that you are free to share?

Every Ministry Has a Judas

by Kayla Strickler

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. 2 Corinthians 2:17

Thirteen years ago began Tamasi’s story with Agape ministries. Tamasi originally belonged to another ministry in Kathmandu run by a reputable African man named Chibuzor (Nigerian for “God first” or “God leads”). Chibuzor ran a successful ministry in the city, but when he fell in love with a Norwegian woman, he elected to leave the beautiful mountains of Nepal for his soon-to-be wife’s homeland. Chibuzor left the ministry he had put so much blood, sweat, and tears into to another African brother. Under this leadership, Tamasi was the ministry manager.

One otherwise still and peaceful night, Chibuzor appeared to Brian in a dream. He bore a message, and through the hazy outline of the dream’s frame spoke: “Brian, I don’t care about any of the office affairs that may occur—I want you to take care of Tamasi, my manager. Don’t let her go. Keep her with you.” Chibuzor vanished. Brian’s eyes opened.

Only one short week later, Brian’s phone rang. It was Tamasi. Through anxious breaths and a crack in her voice, she failed to disguise her worry as slowly the story unfolded. The man who Chibuzor entrusted his ministry to had embezzled everything he could, including money, sensitive documents, and other information from the computer, and had disappeared—never to be seen again. He vanished still $3,000 indebted to the landlord of the rented ministry building, but in his disappearance, the debt now fell on Tamasi. Her plea to Brian was for help, so that she would stay out of jail for a nonpayment that was never meant to be hers.

Brian and Agape ministries stepped in to help. In God’s sovereignty and promise that he works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), when Brian showed up to help Tamasi with the situation, the landlord instantly recognized his face. “Brother Brian!” he shouted. “It is you!”

The two jovially talked. With a puzzled look on her face, Tamasi watched the curiously joyous interaction. It took a moment for the realization to strike: Brian and the landlord were old football friends. Through his glee, the landlord agreed to loosen the reigns on debt collection and simply told Brian to call him whenever he was ready and able to pay. Tamasi’s dilemma and fear of imprisonment were eradicated. But this wasn’t over. A hazy picture of Chibuzor flashed across Brian’s memory. He remembered the dream he had a mere week ago and knew that he was to do more than just help Tamasi stay out of jail. So, looking at her background and skill set, he offered her a job in Agape’s ministry for women at risk.

And so began the long stretch of Tamasi’s work with Agape. For quite a few years, the partnership was fluid. But in time, word started getting back to Brian about Tamasi speaking ill of him and the ministry behind his back. (Nepali culture is known to be indirect in a way that fuels gossip, but this particular flame grew like a wildfire whose smoke was extra poisonous.) Soon enough, other team members couldn’t ignore the flames. They couldn’t ignore the tension in the air. Team members started asserting their opinions that Agape needed to dismiss her from staff, and even Brian agreed. But one thing was stopping him: the memory of Chibuzor speaking to him through a dreamy haze. As Brian remembered Chibuzor’s words, he knew what he had to do. The more he prayed about it, the more he remembered both the dream and the story of Judas. In Brian’s words, “Jesus still chose Judas. Everyone needs to have a Judas.”

And so, even though according to Brian, the last three or four years she was with Agape were “hell on earth,” every year at Christmastime Tamasi’s salary still increased. She was treated exceedingly well, even when Agape didn’t want to and their hearts told them to let her go. Then, out of left field one day, Tamasi unexpectedly left. She explained she was not feeling well; that she needed to stay home and take care of herself. She mentioned her husband and her mother as other reasons. She had been trying to get pregnant; she explained the doctor advised her to rest, and then she may be able to conceive. All seemed like plausible reasons, they thought.

But rotting fish will eventually smell.

Around six months later, all of the Agape students from the women’s center inexplicably started attending another institution. The mystery was solved when Brian learned that Tamasi had started her own center, and the drama unfolded tenfold when he rushed to check the records from the Agape program: Tamasi had stolen and deleted them all. Brian had no way to even contact the women who now attended Tamasi’s program instead of Agape’s. To add exponentially more fuel to the flame, Tamasi had approached one of Agape’s biggest financial supporters and slandered the ministry, spreading accusations of corruption. The donor believed Tamasi’s lies and began to put his financial support towards Tamasi’s ministry instead.

According to Brian, there are many lessons in this story. “She keeps me humble,” he says. Even though Brian wishes he could run into her on the street and confront her, it is a choice to love people—it is a choice to not be offended, and stand ground. It is a choice to love a betrayer despite their betrayal. It is a choice to focus on the fact that Tamasi still does something people will benefit from. It is a choice to lean on the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians describing people peddling the word of God for profit. It is a choice to acknowledge that some preach the word with an attitude that is good and some with one that is bad; but what is most important is that the truth still gets preached. It is a choice to look at people like Tamasi and intentionally not to come against them, even when the opponent is outgunned.

Perhaps most people would choose retaliation. Perhaps many would look at Judas and shout about how he should have never been with Jesus in the first place. But Jesus still used Judas, and every ministry will have one. How will you react to your Judas?

                                                         ~~~*~~~

What is the religious climate in Nepal? What is the Anti-Conversion Law?

General Information:

Nepal is a secular country with some degree of religious freedom. Nepal has gone through dictatorships, civil wars, guerrilla warfare, and earthquakes, which has made the people of Nepal very resilient in good times and bad. Nepal has never been under foreign rule, so it is very welcoming to tourists, but we still must be careful of sharing our faith in a wise way.

Specific Information:

The Anti-Conversion Law bill passed in parliament several years ago and it roughly goes like this.

  • You cannot force anyone to change their religion.

  • You cannot bribe anyone with money etc. to change their religion.

  • You cannot force a person to not become an atheist if he/she wants to.

To this they added last month, (September 2017):

  • You cannot harass any other religion that is not yours.

This Bill was passed into law by the first female president of Nepal. The funny thing is that Christians and all other religions believe and agree with the bill. As you know none of us in the Christian faith convert anyone or practise the above four points. The Spirit of Christ leads them to the Father.

So it’s business as usual…

We are open to get persecuted but not because of our foolishness. Therefore, all our churches and work in the slums and with women offer practical education, job skills and adventure evangelism with local churches, so we will always be okay. Of course the enemy goes around like a prowling lion and we must be alert also.

*To be continued in Part 3: God, Family, ministry. Which is priority? 

**Did you read Part 1?

***You can read my post featuring Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here:  Echoes

***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.

 © 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker_Part_OneIt is my honor to interview and introduce you to dragon slayer, disciple maker and preacher, Reverend Brian Williams and his wife Ruth whose ministry my daughter, Abby, served under on her mission trip to Nepal. You can read Abby’s account in my prior post entitled, Echoes.

Please welcome Brian and Ruth.

Part 1

I am an Anglo-Indian. My ancestry is a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized. I look Indian and I am most at ease in an Indian culture but I speak and think with the English language.

Brian Leonard Williams is my name and I grew up speaking English as my mother tongue.

My maternal Grandfather’s name was Edwin Joseph Seaman, a British engineer and part of a group of pioneers of the Indian Railway.

 

Himalayan Railway Train

These were the days when British engineering was revolutionizing communication and trade across India, much of it to the benefit of the British.

Image from: On India’s Frontier; or Nepal, the Gurkhas’ Mysterious Land Author: Ballantine, Henry     

My biological Father was an Englishman named Edward Canute Roberts. However, after getting my Mother pregnant, Edward left for Australia without marrying her. So I was born in the huge metropolis that is Calcutta in 1970 to a single Mother, Antoinette Matilda Seaman, who had little means to support us; a gritty start to life. To the rescue came my Dad, Roy Ainsley Williams, a gifted diesel-engineer. He fell in love with my pregnant mom Antoinette and they got married. So Roy became My ‘real’ Dad. He was a wonderful Dad in spite of being a hopeless alcoholic. We went for walks together and ate fried fish, it’s still my favorite food. It turned out that Dad Roy was a great friend, but a poor provider. Given half a chance he would sell everything and disappear for several months at a time. I hardly ever saw him sober. I remember yearning for a sober Dad. My Mother rescued the family finances. She was industrious and resourceful, finding work as a secretary. We were poor but never went without food.

I spent the next few years at St Bedes orphanage and boarding school in Chennai, India run by the Roman Catholic Salesians of the Don Bosco order. My Mother scraped and saved money to send me there, searching for every discount and scholarship available.

My Father was Church of England and My Mother was a Roman Catholic. But we only went to church at Christmas and Easter. I had been exposed to religion at school, but essentially I was non-religious; my religion was the dance floor. I lived for dancing and womanizing every Saturday night—Shakin’ Stevens, The Bee- Gees, Boney M. I had all of the vices you would expect from a teenage lad. I remember rewriting and singing hymns for fun in the Chapel with rude and mischievous words, fighting, lying, lusting, cheating, stealing. Not in a big way, I was just one of the lads, and we got up to all sorts of pranks.

When I was nineteen, our family returned to Calcutta. I went to college to study for a Bachelor’s degree in commerce. For two years I continued to play the field. Addicted to women, I danced and drank my way through all of the pleasures that life had to offer. I lived for the day; I was an Epicurean. But the more I filled myself with worldly pleasures, the more empty I felt. Was self-centered pleasure all that there was, or was there a purpose to life? What did life mean? What if I was Michael Jackson, with all that money, fame and success? Would that satisfy? I put myself in Michael Jackson’s shoes. No, it wouldn’t, I decided. What if I had a family, a loving wife and a tribe of happy children? I would take my place in the natural birth and death cycle— would that satisfy? No, it wouldn’t. I came to the conclusion that life was utterly meaningless.

We tagged along from Calcutta with a band, just hanging out, parties and lots of fun—you know the way young people do. I found myself joining a group of music friends in Hyderabad, a large city in central India. Then a band member gave me some prophecy books which had Bible verses and newspaper articles on either side of a page. I was shocked that Bible verses had meaning in current events. I then found a Bible, but when I saw a long genealogy, just a list of names, I thought it  was an out of date meaningless book. I threw it in the corner of my room. However, whether out of a sense of politeness or by divine prompting, I decided that I should at least out of courtesy, read a few verses from the Bible, then I would return it. I opened the Bible at random and found the book of Proverbs. It was like holding up a mirror. I saw myself in the words of Proverbs, like the woman at the well. This book told me about myself like no other literature I had ever read. I read right through Proverbs, then Ecclesiastes, warming to its theme of ‘everything is meaningless.’ I thought, I could have written this book. By the time I was reading the book of Psalms I was on my knees in my hotel room committing my life to Christ. That was in 1989.

I read through the Bible three times in just nine months. I welcomed Christ into my life and started attending a Church in Hyderabad. I left my old lifestyle and returned to Calcutta to finish my degree in commerce and was baptized as a Christian. At the age of twenty-two, I was marching to the beat of a very different drum. But I still have a lot to learn from God’s word and daily yearn to feel His hand on my life.

How long have you been married?

My wife is a Nepali from Darjeeling, India, which once belonged to Nepal, but was taken by the British for their amazing tea. Before that, the kings of Nepal sold Darjeeling to the kings of India for a harem of girls, so it’s a very complicated place. Ruth Reshma and I were married in 2001 in Mirik, Darjeeling. We came to Nepal on our honeymoon and never left. So technically we are still on our honeymoon…sixteen years and counting.

How many children do you have? I know some of your children are fostered. Can you tell me a little about them?

We have four sons and a four month old daughter. Three of them are chosen from the womb of my wife and two are chosen from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. One son, Sujan is an outreach leader with Youth With A Mission in Lucknow, India and another son, Sameer, is a youth leader in a Christian school in Denmark. Our two biological children, Samarth and Saran, are in primary and secondary school. Our small boy loves sports and his older brother loves to play the guitar and soccer.

Did you think when you got married you would be fostering children?

Never planned to, but we are pleasantly surprised. Before Marrying Ruth Reshma I went on an 80 day fast for our marriage and family. God told me that I was the sun and Reshma (means moon) would have nine planets in our solar system. We tried to figure out what that actually meant. We have five, so four more planets are yet to form in our family.

FullSizeRender (1)-002Please Describe your Ministry.

I, (Brian Williams), founded The Agape Mission International, (Tami), in 1998 in India, with the goal of living out our biblical calling to assist women and children at risk, as well as to create new apostolic disciples. It started with a church in south India, (which still exists) but is now a movement of 200 plus churches in Nepal and India.We oversee seven head pastors who manage all these churches.

We serve the at risk people group in a FullSizeRender (2)-003multitude of ways.We minister in the slums through our Tara Non-Formal Schools. We have our street kids soccer and food ministry.

We reach out to cabin restaurants and dance bars all the while maintaining a Women at Risk Ministry Center where we offer training for eight different skills for women at risk.The Bethesda Bishram prayer and retreat house is where we give local pastors retreat opportunities as well as a camp to host mission teams into mountain villages.

Bethel Ashrm is a place for mentoring at risk people into leadership as well as marginalised youth from churches who are going through various challenges.

You have other people living with your family. How many people live in your home?

Bethel Ashrm, is our home in Kathmandu, Nepal. Its name represents what takes place there. Bethel means “house of God” and Ashrm is taken from Hebrew and means “fire, head, and water.” Therefore, our vision for Bethel Ashrm is that it would be a place where our mind is set on fire by the Holy Spirit and washed with the water of the Word of God.

Inside Bethel Ashrm, we care for rescued FullSizeRender (3)-001children and disciple four to five young people at a time to start their own ministries and churches both in Nepal and around the world.

We offer Leadership Internships and Apprenticeships for Missionaries going to and from Nepal, India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We also have youth volunteers who are sent to my churches for leadership mentoring.

Along with our five children, we currently have ten other children living in our home. These ten children include kids who were rescued from dance bars, the streets, abusive homes, or abandoned during the earthquake.

Please read more here:

http://leadersnepal.blogspot.com/

http://leaderstorynepal.blogspot.com/

http://bethelashram.blogspot.com/

How did this came to be? Did you and your wife envision your home like it is when you married?

Nope. One day I returned from India and found that my wife had closed down the staff boys and girls houses and had taken a house so we could all live and learn together. We were then taught by God to make it into a “live and learn” house for our family and others.

Ruth, how long was your husband away when you moved your family to a different house and brought all these people to live with you?

One week.

Did he have any idea you were going to do this or was it a complete surprise when he returned home?

A total surprise.

Were you worried about what his response would be?

Nope. He came home and I took him to the new community house.

FullSizeRender (10)-001You have 15 children and several adults living in your home. How do you orchestrate meals and household chores?

Good and healthy delegation. Even the teens cook.

Brian, what were your first thoughts when you returned home and found out what Ruth had done?

I was stunned, and then realized it was the best ministry decision we ever made. Still shocked daily at seeing this ministry become the bedrock upon which all other ministries grow.

*To be continued in Part 2:  Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas

     **Read my prior post featuring Jacob’s and Abby’s stories of their mission trip to Nepal here:  Echoes

***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.

© 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart