Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In Memory of John Wesley

Many have asked what my thoughts and feelings about such a traumatic trip are. I think the one word that describes how I feel after this trip is, “Resolved”.

Never before have the guys who were with me and I been so resolved to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with power as we are today. Watching the enemies’ response to our message has shown me how big of a threat we are to his kingdom. I believe that the aspect of our ministry that the enemy fears most is the multiplication of ministry. When we arrive at these places, many times there are only a few people, if any, walking in the power of the Kingdom. By the time that we leave, there are dozens actively walking in the power of the Gospel as a lifestyle.

Kingdom multiplication is this: one can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousand to flight. That means that a small group of even just 10-20 can route the enemy in their community. No wonder the enemy hates the Gospel! When we’re building orphanages, handing out food or having crusades, there are still just a few operating in power. But when you equip the church to pick up their swords and start hacking away at the kingdom of darkness, you become a major threat.


DEALING WITH DEFEAT
Make no mistake about it; the death of John Wesley was a defeat. Sure, God can turn tragedy into triumph, but we lost a soul to the enemy’s power. What we know is this, the witch doctors in the district began cursing us when we started equipping the people and the quick sickness and death of Edouard’s child was the immediate result. Although we prayed our guts out, he didn’t come back. I can’t hear from anyone that this was somehow God’s mysterious will. God is mysterious, but He’s mysteriously good! He’s not mysteriously evil! To me, there’s no mystery about it. I have no questions to ask God. The enemy is bad and God is good. Jesus brings life and the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy won this engagement, but he has lost the war.

To many folks, a defeat like this would cause them to change their theology. But in the fire is no place to alter your theology. I remember David Hogan preaching that Americans think that when something goes wrong, they have departed form the will of God. Their view in Mexico is the exact opposite. They believe that you aren’t doing right if you don’t encounter difficulty. They believe that a pain and problem free existence is a sign that you are ineffectual and not a threat to the enemy. Here in the states, our popular theology is the exact opposite. The motto here is, “no pain, no pain”.

And then there is the opposite extreme; the people who thrive on tragedy and live in poverty, apart from the blessing and protection of God. That’s crazy. I don’t want either extreme. I believe a balanced view that the scriptures teach is this; God is good, but His wonderful, perfect will is sometimes thwarted and always resisted by a profoundly evil enemy, the devil. I mean why would Jesus tell us to pray, “Let Your Kingdom come, Let Your will be done” if God’s will is always done? In fact, it isn’t. God’s will is being actively resisted by the enemy of our souls. It’s our responsibility to enforce the will of God here on the earth.

Sometimes we have great success and sometimes we do not. When we have success, it’s a party, but when we fail, it hurts. Sometimes holding on to the truth apart from the manifestation is painful and difficult. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to seek God to raise the dead and give yourself to the manifestation of it, because when they get up, the world sees the greatness of God.

No, it was not God’s will for John Wesley to die at such a young age. But it is not God’s will that the people of the Congo live in darkness, fear and superstition either. When we were there, many met the Lord of Light and through the witness of the newly empowered believers of Edouard’s church, many more will. It’s not God’s will that the people of Congo live in sickness and disease. When we were there, many were healed and through the effective witness of the newly empowered believers, many more will be healed and delivered from their sickness and disease.

In all things I pray, “Father, let Your Kingdom come and let Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven!”

Amen!


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This is a short slide show that Nathan Martin put together from the trip. It’s a tribute to John Wesley. The first shot is John Wesley and his mother and the last shot is Edouard and John Wesley.

Be Blessed,
Ryan


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9 comments:

Sarah said...

Thank you for your work expanding the kingdom, and for reminding us of the truth that God is good in all things. Even in defeat and loss, He is good. I am humbled by Edouard's story and motivated to imitate him as he imitates Christ. No cost is too high for this gospel and this King. May He be glorified in all the earth!

Anonymous said...

wow......

Nikolaj said...

Perhaps it was God's will that John Wesley would be spared from greater grief?

However it is, it was never Gods will for sin to come into the world.

Resolvement is good. Amen!

Ian said...

Hi Ryan,

I enjoyed reading the extensive coverage on your trip to the Congo.

I've a slightly different question though. Do you think that part of the solution is assisting the local population to build up their infrastructure in areas like education, good nutrition, increasing employement opportunities, better primary health infrastructure and the like? I guess I see the work of the kingdom and God's grace bringing freedom in these areas also. Did you folk get the opportunity to assist or see others working with sort of stuff and if so what sort of impact did it make?

Ryan Lawson said...

Ian,

What you are describing is more about social action than preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. The scriptures make it clear that our #1 priority is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, not practice social action.

However, in societies where the gospel takes hold, social reform is a product of revival. So, yes, I am all for social reform when it is a fruit of the Gospel, but it's not our Biblical mandate.

Blessings,
Ryan

Ian said...

Hi Ryan,

For sure Ryan I guess what you are saying is what I've heard for most of my life but lately I've been seeing things a little differently.

Some of the stories that Jesus told like the good samaratin, giving someone a cup of water, not telling someone to be blessed and sending them away hungry, etc are also about looking after their physical well being. I guess for me the gospel and the kingdom mean good news that folks are reborn with Christ's spirit, born into a celestial family and take on board part of Jesus' mission to destroy the works of the enemy. Things like poverty, bad water and nutrition, poor relationships between the sexes, inadequate housing ... are part of the total deal of realeasing the captives or at least I would like to think so.

One last point, and perhaps this is more something for me than anyone else reading this, but I think more and more that writer of Ephesians was right on the money when he said "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." I don't see that there should be a split between things of the spirit and temporal things - I just don't see that in Jesus example.

That being said my comments are not a criticism of what you have written about - you got off your butt and did what God told you to do. It has also given me an opportunity to reflect upon what happened and see if God is telling me something so for that thank you.

Cheers,
Ian

Anonymous said...

Could be that God has called some to preach the word and save souls and thus has given them the talent of speaking His words clearly and concisely...and perhaps he has called others to bring the more physical impact of Christian love (with the end goal still the salvation of the eternal soul. In the end, our physical bodies are temporary objects on this earth, yeah, it's good to have them fed and clothed and healthy. But the eternal home of ones soul is even more dire). Perhaps Ian, you are the latter :) Obey God and do it! :) Said with 100% encouragement!

Shane said...

I honor Christ in you guys there in the Congo, living the message of God and revealing the Kingdom and the power. I was really challenged and encouraged by your post. My heart goes out the Edouard and his family, I am so sorry for their loss.

Jenni said...

I am getting an error 404 file not found on part 5...