A2 Blog Centre

A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News

A2 Blog Centre is an aggregation of all official blogs of Asian Access
  1. travis dave 200x200px"Just as Leadership Network focuses on developing leaders in North America, Asian Access focus on developing leaders in the emerging Asian context is vital for the future of Christianity. Asian Access is a timely ministry in this critical day when we are all looking to build closer relationships with believers in Asia. I commend their ministry to you."

    Mr. Dave Travis
    CEO,Leadership Network

     

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  2. Greetings from Mongolia! Thank you very much!

    jigjidsuren chinzorig headshot 2016 Apr 400px"I would really like to thank all the people who are committing themselves in prayer, in giving and in being part of the global movement of advancing the kingdom of God through church planting and equipping and training ministries. Everybody, because we believe in the priesthood of every believer, we all have been serving by our gifts, by our resources, and by our calling.

    So thank you very much for all of your investment and contribution to the churches in Asia and eventually the global Church. Thank you very much."

     

    May God bless you all!

    Thankfully,

    Chinzorig Jigjidsuren
    National Director, Asian Access/Mongolia

    map of Mongolia

     

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  3. by Michael L. Wilson

    wilson mike 2016Dec 500px sqareI grew up in a household where PTSD was the norm. Over the years—especially in my youth and early adulthood—I had some counseling as well as healing prayer.

    Since my freak bike accident trying to get two disciples to the train station and then LAX, I have entered a yearlong journey toward normal function of my arm and shoulder. My custom is to practice meditation on Christ with alertness. During this crisis, God has reminded me of an uncle who committed suicide and a cousin who was killed in a train yard trying to buy drugs. I am confident if this type of making efforts to be mindful of God was not my custom, I would not have “caught” what God was alerting me to. I know that now I have less anxiety about the long journey I am on.

    If you have only read the New Testament, then you may be surprised to know that the Jews were at times in their history very spiritual and had a custom of meditating on God. When they came back from the exile, they did not want to fall into apostasy again. This is one of the strategies they used to “abide with God.”

     is the Jewish term for being intentionally attentive to God’s presence in every aspect of living every moment of every day. Because life has many distractions only some of which have a spiritual source, we must be alert and bring ourselves “back to center” on Christ. This activity if it becomes a habit can draw you closer to God and have more of him in you.

    The Early Christian Church Fathers continued the early habit they had learned when they were unsaved Jews. They called meditating on Christ throughout the day with alertness to distractions from the enemy Nepsis. Could this be one of the reasons Christianity is the world religion with the most followers globally even today?

    This holy habit has been known in modern times to result in signs and wonders where persecution of Christians is common.

    Your homework is to try to do this daily for a week and make a daily journal entry. You will not be able to do it perfectly, but don’t worry, our Wonderful God does not expect perfection from us. Good advice is to keep short accounts—when you sin and God’s Spirit brings it to mind confess it immediately and add a prayer to keep the devil away from you and never let him return.

    A suggestion:

    Center your attention on Christ at least four times per day, saying a prayer like:

    “Lord, you are my God,
    I long for you like a dear in dry and thirsty land without water.
    Be in my head and my understanding.
    Be in my eyes and in my seeing.
    Be in my mouth and in my speaking.
    Be in my heart and in my speaking.
    In Jesus’ most Holy Name.”
    AMEN

    If you are committed to this kind of intimacy with Christ, you will see an increase in “divine appointments” from God for the one committed to his will his way always.

    Let's be mindful.

    Michael L. Wilson - signature

    Mike Wilson

     

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  4. pearson john formal 200x150"You can sense the energy and optimism of a ministry by visiting its website and meeting the key leaders. But…to know the heart and heartbeat of the ministry, get acquainted with their board members. As the board goes, so goes the ministry. So I’m delighted to say—based on up-close and personal observations and interactions—I know that Asian Access is led by God-honoring board members who care deeply about the Gospel and the Great Commission. And as stewards of the ministry, the board ensures that Asian Access continues to meet or exceed the rigorous accreditation, integrity, and transparency requirements of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)."

    Mr. John Pearson
    Board Governance & Management Consultant
    Author,Mastering the Management Bucket
     

     

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  5. Nozomi のぞみ = Hope

    brokenness beauty sign

    Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Nozomi Project and wow, I didn’t expect how powerfully God would move in my own life. As we were sharing together I heard the amazing story shared in this video about an autistic boy: https://vimeo.com/164225374

    Thing is, I didn’t expect it to hit me personally. You see, I have an autistic sister so I shared a lot in common with the family in the video. As you’ll see in the story, the mom was encouraged through the Nozomi team, and particularly by my colleague Sue Takamoto, that her son’s life has purpose and meaning.

    That led me to share part of my own journey growing up with my sister. You see, I’m not naturally a very compassionate person but growing up with my sister, there were times where I felt compelled to defend her and protect her from mean people. Growing up with my sister, Suzy, allowed God to melt my heart and I believe is one of the key reasons why He called me into mission today. You see, its simply very difficult to live a life of mission without having a heart of compassion and my sister, Suzy, is a big reason why I have a compassionate heart today.

    It didn’t end there. Suzy has become, I believe, my most supportive and passionate prayer warrior. She prays simple prayers for her brother, me, and my family as well as for Asian Access and the ministries that are touched through us. As I started sharing my story with this young lady, we both started to weep and at one point, I couldn’t even talk for a few minutes. Today, Suzy likely prays for many of you when I share your stories or needs publicly. She’s a BIG part of God’s redemptive plan. And, I believe it wouldn’t have the ministry I have today if it weren’t for my sister!

    For years, we have prayed for her healing from autism but God in his wisdom had a higher purpose for my sister. He has the same higher purpose for this young autistic boy who now even has a jewelry line named after him. Check it out: https://nozomiproject.com/collections/daiki-key-chain

    "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” 
    — Exodus 9:16

    The same is true for you: God has a higher calling for you. No matter where you see yourself in life, God has an important purpose for you. You see, all of us are broken vessels whom God intends to shape for his divine plan. Out of the brokenness of our lives and out of the brokenness of Japan’s triple-disaster, God can bring Nozomi. He can bring hope! 

    If you need a little boost of hope today, check out the links above and go to the Nozomi Project website to explore more: https://nozomiproject.com/

    I’m praying for you and there’s a good chance that my sister Suzy is too!

    Blessings,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

    2016 anniversary

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    {vimeo}https://vimeo.com/164225374{/vimeo}

  6. joe and nakamuras

    Pastor Yoji Nakamura, who leads the Kyushu Christ Disaster Relief Center in Kumamoto, is an amazing pastor. You can learn more about him in this post from last fall: Mr. Christ… Christ, Christ, Christ!

    sign 2

    kumamoto collage

    I had the privilege of spending a few days with him in Kumamoto following up on the earthquake that hit the region about nine months ago. He was so inspiring and as he shared in church that morning before I preached, he told the congregation another amazing story that brought tears to all of our eyes! 

    As they’ve led the relief efforts, they have tried to adopt people from the disaster areas who live in temporary housing and Pastor Yoji adopted a little girl who has been particularly challenging to work alongside. Most people avoid the child because she’s so oppositional. But, Yoji just loved on her.

    One day, as they were preparing to leave the shelters, this little girl ran up to Pastor Yoji and said:

    “I think I like you.”

    It was one of those days where you feel like, "I’m exhausted and not sure how much more I can do." But, this little one encouraged Pastor Yoji.

    He returned later that week and again that little girl ran up to him grabbing his leg, begging him not to leave, saying “I like you!” All of us were in tears as he shared this story. You see, it’s little moments like this, little glimmers of hope in the midst of the trials that we know God is working. The whole church was inspired to keep serving. And, Pastor Yoji has a big vision for reaching these hard hit communities. He launched the Kumamoto Mission Network the week prior to us arriving and we had the privilege of meeting with them.

    Will you pray for them as they seek to build upon the seeds God has planted? When the community calls your efforts “Mr. Christ” and when little girls who have lost all hope start to say “I think I like you.” you know God is doing something.

    My sense is that God is doing something special in Japan these days… And, I hope you’ll join me to see more of this momentum build. Please pray. Please give. Please come!

    In Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  7. You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but ontablets ofhuman hearts.

    — 2 Corinthians 2:2-3

    Kent and Yuko Muhling 2015

    Being with Kent and Yuko Muhling last week in Sendai inspired me. They are trying so many different ways to reach out to their neighbors, I was deeply impressed. You would be proud of them!

    One story in particular captured my imagination. They shared about a man who has been watching the Christian relief teams not far from Sendai City. He lived through the disaster and has seen the relief teams come and go. But, he was particularly inspired by the ongoing efforts of the local churches, missionaries, and believers from all over the world who keep coming and serving.

    jpn temp housing

    As he thought about these people and what they were doing, he watched them very closely. He noticed that despite all the trials they suffered in serving, all the challenges they face on a daily basis and even the difficult circumstances through which they live, they always had joy in their heart and a smile on their face.

    He said, “I want a face like that!”

    smiling face

    So, this gentleman is very close to, if not already by now, has come to Christ. It is so true what Paul said to the Corinthian Church: our lives are a letter being known by those around us. As we walk in the Spirit, the living letter that we are shares the aroma of Christ.

    I was inspired once again… Our lives, lived in front of others, being filled with the Spirit are a living testimony to those around us. I wondered that day, “What does my face reveal?"

    How about you? Do you have a face like these pastors, Japanese believers and missionaries serving near Sendai? 

    Pray for the churches of Japan and missionaries like Kent and Yuko and their children as they all live out the hope of Christ in the midst of all that has happened in the country. We need your prayers!

    In Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  8. tomoaki goto and joe 500px

    Recently, I experienced a great deal of joy at Asian Access/Japan National Conference. Story after story was shared that inspired me!

    One pastor who just graduated from Asian Access/Japan, Tomoaki Goto, shared an incredible vision. He wants his church to be known as the Joyful Church. And Pastor Goto lives out the essence of the word “joy”. Just look at his face pictured here with me. That says it all!

    Before he shared, several ministry strategists spoke about the needs of the church in Japan:

    1. We are an aging society so we need to reach the elderly.
    2. We have to reach the youth or we won’t survive.
    3. We must even practice Genesis evangelism. [Hint: we need to have more babies!]
    4. We must be about church planting in order to grow.
    5. And, finally, we must meet the needs of our community.

    Pastor Goto hit all five in the vision God has given him for his church. Between that and his contagious spirit, I was sold! 

    What a joy to see an emerging young leader like Pastor Goto and his generation of pastors who want to take up the torch to reach Japan for Christ. His vision is to have a church that first and foremost is joyful as a signal of hope to his nation. And, his strategy addresses all the critical needs addressed during this conference, including having a new baby! He and his wife are expecting.

    Join me in praise for what God is doing in Japan. I have a sense that this is harvest season as more and more I am hearing reports of people coming to Christ and a more open spirit across the nation. What a joy to be living here at this significant season of time! 

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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    • Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/YXa6ZPHo9mk
    • see Pastor Goto's smiling screenshot below...

    tomoaki goto screenshot

  9. A2 50th Anniversary Save The Date postcard

    Join us for our Jubilee in Jarkarta!

    Friends, this is an exciting year for Asian Access. We get to celebrate 50 years of ministry, and we want to invite you to something special.

    Come celebrate our Jubilee year with us! We are thanking God for 50 years of ministry in Asia. Join us as we both reflect on what God has done for the past five decades, and look forward to what God has for us into the future.

    Ajith Fernando thumbDr. Ajith Fernando, a gifted speaker and Bible teacher from Sri Lanka, will explore the theme of Jubilee, with special focus on how it applies to A2’s vision for the next 50 years. Gather with our A2 community from countries throughout Asia as we fellowship together and engage our calling to see a vibrant community of servant leaders leading the Church in Asia.

    We would love for you to join us for our "Jubilee in Jakarta" this coming April. Please come! Help us celebrate 50 years of ministry with Asian Access. It's going to be an exciting, wonderful time.

     

     

    Considering coming? Contact Us!

    The dates are April 26-28, 2017. If you are interested in attending, let us know. For more details about attending our anniversary Jubilee in Jakarta, visit: http://www.asianaccess.org/a250...

    Warm wishes for a fantastic year ahead,

    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

    A250 pos tag 375x140

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    A2 50th Anniversary Save The Date postcard

  10. Asian Access/Philippines is underway.

    A2 philippines 1 1 B 500px

    On January 16–19, 30 handpicked leaders attended an orientation session co-sponsored by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and the Philippines for Jesus movement (PFJ). Between them, PCEC and PFJ represent 55,000 of the more than 68,000 Protestant churches now active in the Philippines. They include churches from more than 75 different denominations.

    Bishops Noel Pantoja from PCEC and Dan Balais from PFJ headed the group that attended the session. Bishop Noel told us:

    bishop noel headshot 2017 125px“Asian Access/Philippines is an answer to a prayer for greater unity that we have been praying since 2010.”

    Bishop Dan added:

    bishop dan headshot 2017 125px“A2/Philippines is an important step in the ongoing reconciliation process God has been leading our respective movements through, as we repair damage that was done when a key Philippine pastor ran unsuccessfully for President.”

     

    A2 philippines 1 1 A 500px

    Rev. Adrian De Visser, Asian Access/Sri Lanka National Director and A2 Vice President for Partnership Development, led the orientation session. He introduced the leaders to Asian Access and gave them a brief overview of what the full two-year experience can offer.

    “What we can do over a few days is to give you a taste of what Asian Access is like,” Pastor Adrian explained to the gathering of 25 men and five women. “From here, you and your leaders can discern who is called to become part of the first A2/Philippines class.”

    The dates for all eight sessions of Class One have been set. The next steps will be led by Bishops Noel, Dan, and their colleagues as PCEC and PJM together determine the 12–15 leaders who will now be invited to join Class One. Session One will be held May 5–8 at CCT Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center just outside of Manila, where the orientation was held.

    “We are excited to be a part of what God is doing to bring the Philippine Church together,” Rev. Adrian shared. “This is an historic time for the Philippine Church, as they move forward with a vision to double the number of churches in the Philippines by 2020. The need for spiritually-grounded, empowered, and equipped pastors will be greater than ever.”

    All of us at Asian Access are excited about the launch of A2/Philippines. It is indeed an answer to prayer. And it is made possible due to your friendship, prayers, and financial support. THANK YOU for all you have done and continue to do to support the work of Asian Access!

     

    Noel Becchetti
    VP for Leader Development

    A2 philippines 1 1 C 500px

     

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  11. BuildingBlocks Leadership Scripture 464502576 500px part4

     

    By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

     

    Qualities of a Great Leader, Part 4: Seventeen Essential Qualities

    This is the final post of my 4-part series about great leaders that took me 36 years to write. Here is a summary of what I've shared:

    1. Six Foundational Qualities
    2. Five Spiritual Qualities
    3. Two Relational Qualities
    4. Seventeen Essential Leadership Qualities

    Having studied leaders, it is clear to me that when God wants to get something done, He finds a person, but not just any person. He looks for a person with certain qualities.

    MY THESIS:

    Great leaders who achieve great things are characterised by certain qualities.

    In addition to the six foundational qualities shared in Part 1, five spiritual qualities in Part 2, and two relational qualities in Part 3, there are additional characteristics consistently found in great leaders. These are seventeen essential qualities:

     

    Essential Leadership Qualities

     

    14.  Influence (Motivator)

    Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him. — Luke 5:10-11.

    They were on their way to Jerusalem with Jesus leading the way and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. — Mark 10:32.

    All those who were in distress or in debt or disconnected, gathered around David and he became their leader. — 1 Samuel 22:2.

    The test of leaders is to turn around and see if anyone is following them.

     

    15. Presence

    The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. — Mark 1:22.

    The leader not only has influence, but also has impact, which comes from an authority that they possess. Consequently leadership is given to a person it is never taken by a person. It is not ultimately gained by years of experience or academic qualifications or even being placed in a position of leadership.

     

    16. Vision and Faith

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations …” — Matthew 28:18-19.

    • A vision helps to define a leader.
    • God gives God-sized visions that will require steps of faith to achieve them.
    • We are not to determine what we can achieve with our resources, but rather what God can achieve with our resources.
    • “A vision = a complaint” — Paul Scanlon
    • “Show me your vision and I’ll prophecy your future.” — Paul Yonggi Cho
    • He/she who gets vision, gets job.

     

    17. Achiever

    So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost self-confidence, because they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God. — Nehemiah 6:15-16

    “There are three stages in any great work of God:

    • Impossible
    • Difficult
    • Done”

    — Hudson Taylor

    Leaders are overcomers, resourceful, focused on solutions rather than problems and willing to pay the price to get things done.

     

    18. Self-Motivated

    Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. — Mark 1:35.

    Leaders are:

    • Low maintenance people (Paul Scanlon)
    • Intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated

    Self-motivated People are:

    • Emotionally inexpensive
    • A joy to be around
    • Team players                                                               

    Unmotivated People:

    • Exhaust us
    • Deplete us
    • Take from us and don't give to us
    • Manipulate us
    • Create conflict.                       

     

    19.  Intuition

    Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts… — Luke 2:8.

    The difference between leaders and followers is perspective. This might be called intuition, discernment, insight, the big picture or something else, and it results in the ability to see things that followers don’t see, to anticipate things that others don’t anticipate, to make decisions that followers don’t make and to grasp opportunities that followers don’t grasp.

    “This is an ability to get a handle on intangible factors, understand them and work with them to understand leadership goals…. Intuitive leaders can sense what is happening among people and almost instantly know their hopes, fears and concerns…” — John Maxwell

     

    20.  Courage

    Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. — Joshua 1:6, 7, 9.

    Courage is the ability to bear pain and requires mental toughness.

    Courageous leaders:

    • have a secure identity
    • fear God rather than people
    • live proactively rather than reactively
    • don’t compromise leadership in difficult times
    • are prepared to pay the price
    • do not get intimidated

     

    21.  Executive Skills

    Nehemiah chapters 2 and 3.

    Leaders need to be mature not only in areas of character and competence, but also in executive skills.

    These include:

    • Planning and organizing
    • Self-Management
    • Recruiting and team building
    • Evaluating
    • Communicating
    • Managing information systems
    • Strategising
    • Managing funds
    • Delegating
    • Monitoring progress
    • Timing
    • Decision making

     

    22.  Attitude

    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus… — Philippians 2:5.

    If leaders lose their attitude, they lose their ministry.

    Leaders can’t determine what things will come their way, but they can determine their attitude to what comes their way.

     

    23.  Excellence

    But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. — 2 Corinthians 8:7.                                                                                                       … if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. — Philippians 4:9.

    Acting slovenly is an insult to the Holy Spirit. — Oswald Chambers

    Coffee stains on our trays means that our engines don’t work. — American Airlines

    If God gave us His best in Jesus, shouldn’t we desire to give our best back to Him.

     

    24.  Continual Learner

    And Jesus GREW in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and men. Luke 2:52. Leaders are continual learners so that they can be continually growing. People who stop growing effectively stop leading and should remove themselves from leadership. However, beware, leaders can be OVERTRAINED and UNDERDEVELOPED.

    An important element of continual learning is to keep finding good mentors who will empower you along your life’s journey.

     

    25.  Communication

    All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they came out!” And the news about Him spread throughout the surrounding areas. Luke 4:36-37.

    “Your voice is your identity in sound. The key to connecting is authenticity, being yourself. The greatest gift for those listening to you is to be able to listen to you. People follow people. When you speak, people are asking the question, “Do I want to follow this person?” We drive behaviour by speaking from the heart (by finding your life message). An average speaker with passion is more effective than a great speaker without passion. People catch what you’ve got, not what you say you’ve got.” — Notes from Paul Scanlon’s Communication Master Class.

     

    26.  Integrity

    Now the overseer must be above reproach… — 1 Timothy 3:2

    And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. — Psalm 78:92

    Character opens the door for our competence.

     

    27. Gift of Leadership

    The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt, I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians … So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” — Exodus 3:7,8,10.

    There are a high percentage of people in leadership positions that have little or no gifting in leadership. They may be good managers or administrators, but they lack the essentials of a leader.  So, are leaders made or born. From experience it seems that both options occur.

    Perhaps the more important issue has to do with that of CALLING. For when God calls a person to a leadership role, it usually emerges that God anoints or gifts that person to lead people to a destiny.

     

    28.  Developer Of Leaders

    Jesus appointed 12—designating them apostles—that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. — Luke 3:13-15

    A God sized vision will always be more than you can handle. So you must recruit leaders, train leaders, delegate ministry to leaders and build a leadership team.

    Work in your strengths and delegate to your weaknesses.

     

    29.  Define Reality

    They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire.” — Nehemiah 1:3.

    Leaders who can DEFINE REALITY can explain where they have come from, where they are right now and where they are going.

     

    30.  Creative

    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. — Genesis 1:1.

    We have the most creative person in the world living within us. He does not give us a drawing on a paper to colour in; He gives us a blank sheet of paper on which to draw.

    The Father is at work in your life/ministry/church doing something He has never done before.

     

    Final Thoughts

    “When people grow, everything attached to them grows. But when we try to grow the things attached to people, we finish up with small people trying to handle and grow big things. Then we get burnout and exhaustion and resentment and constant changes around the people, because we wear out the people we have who are trying to do things they are not capable of doing. Consequently, our bottom line is no bigger than the talent of the people who are producing the bottom line. Growing big people reminds us that our ceiling is not finances or resources, rather it is going to be people. Our greatest asset and our most challenging asset is people. Our greatest priority is to grow and empower people, people who are capable of growing breathtaking things.”
    — Paul Scanlon, Growing Big People

     

    I have now listed 30 leadership qualities that great leaders possess. What do you think about my list? How does your list compare with mine?

     

    Application

    1. Are you listening to areas of tension in your life? We all naturally tend to avoid tension in our lives. But if we have a discerning perspective, tension in our lives informs us what areas need attention. Rather than running, we should embrace these tensions; rather than ignoring tensions, we need to listen to them. As the Holy Spirit to put His finger on some areas...
    2. Areas of strength: Which of these relational qualities that I've listed do you consistently exhibit?
    3. Areas of weakness: Which qualities are lacking in your life?
    4. Get specific: Of the various questions I've asked above, which ones highlight areas you will need to focus on to strengthen?
    5. Identify next steps:What specific steps can you take today to get on track for developing this quality?
    6. Who can help you? Who can you share your goals with so that you build in some accountability? Contact them today.
    7. Commit it to prayer: Pray that God would bring more depth to you as a leader; pray specifically for Him to help develop those weak areas He's identified.

    In Part 4, we will list seventeen essential leadership qualities that great leaders also possess.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/qualities-leadera-paper-took-36-years-write-denton-rod

    _________________

    rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

    See also, Asian Access Faculty

  12. BuildingBlocks Leadership Scripture 464502576 500px part3

     

    By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

     

    Qualities of a Great Leader, Part 3: Two Relational Qualities

    This is the third post in a 4-part series about great leaders that took me 36 years to write. Here are the categories of the 30 leadership qualities I will enumerate:

    1. Six Foundational Qualities
    2. Five Spiritual Qualities
    3. Two Relational Qualities
    4. Seventeen Essential Leadership Qualities

    When God wants to get something done, He finds a person, but not just any person. He looks for a person with certain qualities.

    MY THESIS:

    Great leaders who achieve great things are characterised by certain qualities.

    In addition to the six foundational qualities shared in Part 1 and five spiritual qualities in Part 2, there are relational characteristics consistently found in great leaders. These are two must-haves:

     

    Relational Leadership Qualities

     

    12. Self-Leadership (relation to self)

    Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

    Consider these principles of self-leadership:

    • The hardest person to lead is myself.
    • I do not qualify to lead others until I have led myself.
    • I cannot take others further than I have gone myself.
    • I cannot take my church to the next level until I have taken myself to the next level.

     

    Areas of Self-Leadership
    1. Punctuality – Am I generally on-time to events and appointments or do I keep people waiting?
    2. Fitness – Am I in shape or do I struggle to manage my body better?
    3. Reliability –- Can others rely on me?
    4. Food – Does my appetite control me or do I have the ability to wisely choose what to eat?
    5. Organisation – Am I in a state of chaos or is my world structured enough to get the right things done?
    6. Spiritual disciplines – Do I regularly train myself with spiritual disciplines or am I spiritually undisciplined?
    7. Motivation –  Do have the motivation to accomplish the right things today or do I often struggle with laziness?
    8. Actions = Words – Can I bridle my tongue and speak life words or do I often later regret what I say or do?
    9. Attitude – Am I characterized by a positive outlook (e.g., Tigger) or am I often complaining (e.g., Eeyore)?

     

    13. Emotional Intelligence

    Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought but rather think of yourself with sober judgement in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3

    Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise your emotions, understand what they are telling you and realise how your emotions affect people around you. Emotional Intelligence also involves your perception of others. When you understand how they feel, it is possible to manage relationships more effectively.

     

    Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence
    1. Self Awareness (strengths and weaknesses) – Do I have a handle on where I'm strong and where I'm weak or am I often confused when someone shares a critique of me?
    2. Self-Management (self-leadership) – Like with #12 above, can I manage myself or do I seem mastered by old habits or outside forces?
    3. Social Awareness (empathy) - Am I aware of how others feel or am I self-absorbed, oblivious to the perspective of others?
    4. Relationship Management (causing a team to work together) - Am I a team player and can manage others to get the job done or am I consistently experiencing relational tension with others in my life?

     

    Application

    1. Are you listening to areas of tension in your life? We all naturally tend to avoid tension in our lives. But if we have a discerning perspective, tension in our lives informs us what areas need attention. Rather than running, we should embrace these tensions; rather than ignoring tensions, we need to listen to them. Ask the Holy Spirit to put His finger on some areas...
    2. Areas of strength: Which of these relational qualities that I've listed do you consistently exhibit?
    3. Areas of weakness: Which qualities are lacking in your life?
    4. Get specific: Of the various questions I've asked above, which ones highlight areas you will need to focus on to strengthen?
    5. Identify next steps:What specific steps can you take today to get on track for developing this quality?
    6. Who can help you? Who can you share your goals with so that you build in some accountability? Contact them today.
    7. Commit it to prayer: Pray that God would bring more depth to you as a leader; pray specifically for Him to help develop those weak areas He's identified.

    In Part 4, we will list seventeen essential leadership qualities that great leaders also possess.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/qualities-leadera-paper-took-36-years-write-denton-rod

    _________________

    rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

    See also, Asian Access Faculty

  13. BuildingBlocks Leadership Scripture 464502576 500px part2

     

    By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

     

    Qualities of a Great Leader, Part 2: Five Spiritual Qualities

    This is the second entry in a 4-part series about great leaders that took me 36 years to write. Here is the outline of the 30 leadership qualities I will cover:

    1. Six Foundational Qualities
    2. Five Spiritual Qualities
    3. Two Relational Qualities
    4. Seventeen Essential Leadership Qualities

    As I shared in Part 1, when God wants to get something done, He finds a person, but not just any person. He looks for a person with certain qualities.

    MY THESIS:

    Great leaders who achieve great things
    are characterised by certain qualities.

    In addition to the six foundational qualities shared in Part 1, here are spiritual qualities consistently found in great leaders:

     

    Spiritual Leadership Qualities

    7. Doing what the Father is doing

    • "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does." John 5:19-20.

     

    8. Abiding in Christ

    • "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

     

    9. Filled With The Holy Spirit

    • "… be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18

     

    10. Prayerful

    • "…pray continually…" 1 Thessalonians 5:17

     

    11. In The Word

    • "Do not let this Book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8

     

    Application

    Which of these spiritual qualities do you possess? Which ones do you need to focus on to strengthen? What step can you take today to get on track for developing this quality?

    In Part 3, we will look at two relational qualities that great leaders possess.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/qualities-leadera-paper-took-36-years-write-denton-rod

    _________________

    rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

    See also, Asian Access Faculty

  14. BuildingBlocks Leadership Scripture 464502576 500px part1

     

    By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

     

    Qualities of a Great Leader, Part 1: Six Foundational Qualities

    This is the first installment of a 4-part series about great leaders that took me 36 years to write. Here is the outline of the 30 leadership qualities I will cover:

    1. Six Foundational Qualities
    2. Five Spiritual Qualities
    3. Two Relational Qualities
    4. Seventeen Essential Leadership Qualities

    When God wants to get something done, He finds a person, but not just any person. He looks for a person with certain qualities.

    Consider the following examples:

    1. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Exodus 18:21.  Jethro to Moses (also Deuteronomy 1:9-13)
    2. Brothers choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. Acts 6:3.  The 12 Apostles to all the disciples
    3. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2. Paul to Timothy.
    4. Elders and Deacons Paul to Timothy – 1 Timothy 3:1-13. Paul to Titus – Titus 1:5-9.

    Even in the world of human endeavour, there are many examples of leaders who had a clear picture of those that they wanted to join with them on their great adventures.

    Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer once placed this advertisement in a London paper.

    “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”

    They all returned to their homes safely, and were given honor and recognition.

    The Italian, Garibaldi, set out to liberate his country from the clutches of bad government. While enlisting men to join forces with him he was often asked, “What’s going to be in this for me?” He would answer, “No pay, no rank, no residences. I will offer you hunger, thirst, forced marches, and even death.” And then he would make this appeal. “Let him who loves his country with his heart and not only with his lips, follow me.” History reveals Garibaldi recruited an army that placed the worthiness of its cause above its temporal comforts and though many gave their lives, they also freed their land.

     

    MY THESIS:

    Great leaders who achieve great things
    are characterised by certain qualities.

    Ever since I accepted a calling into full time Christian ministry in 1980, the greatest issue upon which I have focused is “who is the person God uses?” I wanted to become that person and I wanted to develop leaders who would become such people. Now many years later, I am aware of a significant number of men and women with whom I have served, who are now scattered around the globe, being used mightily by God. As I reflected, I have noted key qualities that I have found to characterise people who are making an impact with their lives.

     

    Foundational Qualities

    1. Servanthood

    • Those who wish to be great among you must be your servant. Mark 10:42
    • The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
    • Don’t promote on potential or qualifications, promote on performance and heart.

     

    2. Obedience

    • If you love Me, you will obey Me.   John 14:15, 21, 23
    • An obedient heart reflects a teachable spirit.
      • Don’t give a person authority until they have come under authority.
      • Don’t appoint a person to lead until they have learned to follow.

     

    3. Humility

    • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  1 Peter 5:6
    • God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
    • And being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

     

    4. Love

    • Teacher, which is the greatest commandment… Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 36:39

     

    5. Availability

    • So they left everything and followed Him. Luke 5:11
    • “If there is anything of power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life." General William Booth.

     

    6. Faithfulness

    • I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4
    • Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

     

    Application

    Do you have these qualities? Which ones are strongest? Weakest? What step can you take today to develop one of these leadership areas?

    In my next post, we will look at five spiritual qualities that great leaders have.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/qualities-leadera-paper-took-36-years-write-denton-rod

    _________________

    rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

    See also, Asian Access Faculty

  15. The persecuted Church reflects on strength amidst trials

    persecuted pastorsInternational (MNN) — Yesterday, we told you about some of the persecution the Church in Southeast Asia is up against, but what happens when those trials subside? Noel Becchetti of Asian Access might have an answer.

    For example, Becchetti says, “Nepal was going into… an era of relative peace and harmony after quite a bit of persecution, [and] the Church in Nepal has grown dramatically from a few hundred people 30 years ago to almost two million today.”

    When he asked local church leaders why their churches were experiencing such exponential growth, they informed him that “our church has grown because of persecution. It has made us strong and it has made us unified.”

    However, just because external conflict has subsided doesn’t mean the Church can relax and become lazy. Becchetti explains, “There [are] a lot of leaders, say, back in India, who will tell you the Church in India, while it’s large, is struggling with all sorts of issues like integrity and corruption.”

    Even though “they actually in some ways have been flourishing numerically in terms of Christians,” leaders in Nepal and India report “they are dealing with horrific integrity problems.”

    And that corruption is leaving an impression on outsiders. “The upcoming generations are going, ‘I don’t want anything to do with the Church. If this is what the Church looks like, I don’t want anything to do with it,’” informs Becchetti.

    He and the leaders he has communicated believe, “It’s when pressure is put on that God somehow uses that and it does create a kind of spiritual energy that otherwise doesn’t exist there.”

    Although he admits that times are tough, Becchetti says he “wouldn’t be surprised if in five, ten years some of the leaders might go, ‘You know, this has been a tough time, but boy, it really brought us together. It’s created a unity and a sense of purpose we didn’t have there for a while.’”

    Photo Courtesy Asian AccessIn fact, in some countries, the trials are already strengthening the Church. For example, “In Bangladesh… it’s been a tough time, but the leadership has really come together, and it has given the Christian leaders a real sense of unity and purpose.”

    The pastors and other leaders are recognizing that in hard times, they don’t have time for petty fighting and are bonding through their faith in an all-powerful God.

    Becchetti says they are also careful to acknowledge the facts. “It’s not like they’re just walking through this in some state of euphoria [or] spiritually induced ultra-confidence.” However, they also recognize, “This is what happens sometimes in history, in societies, and in culture. Things happen, and the pressures, however frightening they truly are, actually press the Church forwards, not backwards.”

    He reminds believers, “The odd side of freedom sometimes is it unfortunately lets some of the lower parts of our natures have more play even in those of us who are Christ-followers.”

    If you want to help the persecuted Church as they prepare for storms, we can connect you here. In the meantime, Becchetti asks for prayer for “their courage, comfort and peace.”

    Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:39)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Dec30-2016.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  16. The Church in Asia prepares for increased pressure

    International (MNN) — As last year has just come to an end, it’s easy to look ahead to the new year as a chance for resets and new beginnings. However, Noel Becchetti of Asian Access says for the Church in Asia, what might come is more intimidating than rejuvenating.

    He says there “is a rising intolerance and direct pressure against Christians and then sometimes others [who] may not be Christian but [are] people who are not part of the ruling group.”

    (Photo courtesy SAT-7 via Facebook)Bangladesh

    Take Bangladesh. “Up until a few years ago, Bangladesh, while a Muslim majority country, has really been known for its tolerance,” explains Becchetti.

    However, “About three years ago, kind of out of nowhere, some attacks began.” He says these attacks targeted “pastors, other Christian leaders, other religious leaders, and even secular NGO leaders.

    “Pastors were getting SMS messages saying, ‘Make sure you eat your favorite foods cause you’re going to die next week.’”

    This sudden spike in persecution went hand-in-hand with a rise in new believers, but that caused another problem. “There was an authentic rise in interest in Jesus among university students, but it was also sprinkled with infiltrators pretending to be seekers so they could get in,” remembers Becchetti

    During a recent conversation with a local church leader, Becchetti discovered, “Things are better, it has calmed down, but [believers have] got to be vigilant in a way [they] never were before.”

    Photo Courtesy Asian AccessThe Philippines

    And Bangladesh isn’t the only country to undergo critical leadership changes. In the Philippines, a new president was recently elected “who has vowed to go after the drug dealers and the drug addicts in the Philippines.”

    The problem is, the methods this president is using to fight the drug empire are violent and unpredictable. Becchetti says about 3,000 people have been killed in this crusade, and “the newspapers were saying that about 2,000 of those cannot be traced to anything related to drugs. They’re just vigilantes going after people they don’t like or people who they disagree with.”

    India

    One of the other primary countries struggling with persecution is India. Since a new prime minister was elected, the government has taken steps to “Hinduize India” and implement Hindu beliefs and policies into the political sphere. Christians and Muslims have been particularly targeted, and although “there was some pushback by responsible leaders in India and others elsewhere… the party has replaced people in key positions,” says Becchetti.

    Nepal

    And the effect is spreading even beyond the borders of India. For example, “In Nepal they’re still recovering from the embargo India imposed on them.”

    Photo Courtesy Asian AccessWhen Nepal passed their first constitution, India’s government was dismayed. The constitution was secular in nature and allowed some religious freedom instead of declaring the nation to be a Hindu state.

    In response, Becchetti says India “shut the border down for about a year,” and although it has been reopened, “for a while the only way you could get things like gasoline, cooking oil, [and] most of their supplies was through a black market.”

    With so many countries starting to participate in persecution, Becchetti explains some local pastors believe, “Our main church won’t even be there anymore, they won’t be allowed to, and so we need to start working now for that.”

    Becchetti says of a pastor friend, “His personal church network has already started and implemented a whole new system of house churches… They’re going from a formal church model to an intentionally informal [model], led by couples who have been trained and equipped to do this kind of work,” preparing the Church for whatever may come.

    If you want to see how you can help, we can connect you at Asian Access’s website here.

    In the meantime, be sure to remember believers around the world as they head into this new year and prepare for the coming challenges. Pray that they would anticipate what is to come and continue to spread the love of Christ to their friends and enemies alike.

    Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:40)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Dec29-2016.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  17. Greetings from Cambodia! Thank you very much!

    hour meng aun headshot 2016 400pxMy name is Pastor Meng Aun from Cambodia. I'm the country director of Asian Access in Cambodia.

    I just want to take this special time to say thank you for your prayers, for your support, and for your partnership through Asian Access.

    Asian Access is really playing a very important role in Cambodia to train our pastors and equip our pastors. Through Asian Access, we are so blessed, and that's why we just want to take this time to say thank you for your support. Thank you for your prayers.

    May God bless you all!

    Thankfully,

    Pastor Meng Aun Hour
    National Director, A2/Cambodia

    map of Cambodia

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  18. A2 50th Anniversary

    2017 holds a lot of promise for us this next year. Asian Access is really thrilled with what’s in store, and I'm excited to just share with you a few of those ventures that are upcoming:

     

    Jubilee in Jakarta50th Anniversary & Eastern Voices

    First and foremost is our 50th anniversary—our Jubilee in Jakarta. I hope you'll join us for that. As a part of that celebration, we're showcasing a new series, and their first volume will come out in Jakarta called, "Eastern Voices". We’ll share more with you about that soon.

    More info: A2|50th Anniversary...

     

    Philippines flagExpansion to New Countries

    We will be opening the country of the Philippines, and we're exploring several new countries. Many of them are unreached areas for the gospel; some of them are completely closed to the Gospel's advance.

    More info: Asian Access expands to the Philippines...

     

    A2.businessA2.business

    A2.businessIn addition to that expansion of our core program, we're opening new ventures with our business side of the ministry, which is pretty exciting. A2.business is ramping up in two new countries.

    More info: A2.business...

     

    Women in MinistryWomen in Ministry

    And we're more broadly investing in women in ministry. We're hoping to open up this program in two new regions to impact more difference-makers on the front lines.

    More info: "Women Hold Up Half the Sky"...

     

    younger leadersYounger Leaders

    Plus, we're doing one brand new venture trying to invest in younger generations across the continent.

     

    2017 holds a lot of promise for us Asian Access, and we'd appreciate your prayers happy new year. God bless you, and thank you for supporting us.

     Warm wishes for a blessed year ahead,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  19. elephant and rabbit

    “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” - Matthew 13:31-32

    Pastor T from a restricted access and persecuted country recently shared in Japan a concept behind a key principle of Asian Access: Small is Big!

    He shared that he learned in bible school and seminary (bachelors degree to doctorate) to have a huge megachurch from schools in India, Korea and America. However, his world was turned upside down when he attended Asian Access leader development process.

    Even if all the top pastors in his nation were to have a megachurch, it would be a drop in the bucket of really making a difference in his country. As they did studies, they learned that the average person in their country walks 2 hours one way to attend church every week. Some people walk more than 7 hours one way!

    dale tonydale felicityWith this, they learned this principle from Tony and Felicity Dale who actually will be teaching in his country next week! This quote is taken from the back cover of their book, The Rabbit and the Elephant: Why Small Is the New Big for Today's Church

    If you put two elephants in a room together and close the door, in three years you may have one baby elephant. But when you put two rabbits together for the same amount of time. . . .

    Pastor T, along with all the other participants, realized that their country would be better off having a church every three kilometers in their country so that they would be walking distance from everybody. The size of the church really didn’t matter. Today, Pastor T leads one of the larger churches in his country but he’s more concerned about trying to make disciples and seeing small, simple churches spring up so that the Gospel is accessible to more people.

    coleman robertIn a similar fashion, Asian Access ministry operates on this basic premise: Small is Big! One of our council of reference members, Robert Coleman, wrote a classic book on evangelism The Master Plan of Evangelism where he points out that Jesus spent most of his time with the twelve disciples. So, on a similar scale, Asian Access carefully chooses 12-18 pastors, and now business leaders, to go through a 2-3 year dynamic learning process, where they learn in community together.

    You see, Jesus’ words in the New Testament, highlighted in the verse above, point out that his kingdom is different: Small is the New Big! All it takes is the faith of a mustard seed and a movement can occur. You can even move mountains! (Luke 17:6)

    Likewise, we at Asian Access are small. We focus on choosing the right 12-18 key pastors or leaders and by walking with them together “at the feet of Jesus” for a few years, we see remarkable fruit!

    Do you want to move mountains? You might want to think and pray about Jesus counter-cultural, upside-down wisdom: Small is Big!

    I’d love to hear your stories about how Jesus wisdom plays out in your life. Do share!

    joe sig blue
    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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    t-f-dale-275"Felicity and I have had many trips with Asian Access to help develop pastoral leadership in countries that may be underdeveloped economically, but are hungry for the development of the church. What a privilege these trips have been. Meeting across denominational lines, with leaders from multiple denominations embodies the unity that Jesus prayed for and commanded in John 17. Watching those leaders not only embrace each other, but also embrace ideas that may have been outside of their experience so far, has been humbling and rewarding. The impact of these church movements will be far reaching in the development of these countries and of the body of Christ within these countries."

    Dr. Tony and Felicity Dale
    Founders (with others) of House2Houseauthors, and founders of The Health Co-Op
  20. Militants set fire to a new church; believers undeterred

    Sri Lanka (MNN) — Sri Lanka is known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. The moniker describes a beautiful picture, but the struggles reveal something darker.

    (Capture of Sri Lanka courtesy Prayercast)It’s considered the third most religious country in the world. Although the constitution guarantees religious freedom while favoring Buddhism, minority Protestants have experienced violent persecution as well as discrimination.

    Although it is legal to convert to Christianity in Sri Lanka, Christians often face opposition from politically active Buddhist monks. The Voice of the Martyrs notes the persecution of Christians has escalated in recent years with the rise of militant Buddhist nationalist groups in Sri Lanka. In fact, more than 250 churches have been destroyed or damaged in sectarian violence.

    Asian Access has a presence in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, they are not immune to the trouble. Adrian DeVisser is the national director for Asian Access/Sri Lanka and A2 vice president for Partnership Development. He describes what happened to a church plant on January 5th.

    “This church was attacked. They threatened the pastor, the leader of the church and said if they go to the police, they’ll kill the entire family, and then they burned the church down.”

    Police were slow to respond to calls for help, and as of Friday morning, no arrests had been made.

    The church, he goes on to explain, was fairly new and growing quickly. It was one that was drawing the ire of the militants in the area because, “Almost 100 percent of the believers in the church — it is not a very large church — they are all people from other faiths. Pray for their faith, that persecution will not discourage them, but rather, strengthen their walk with God. Pray for our leader that he will be able to give leadership to his own people. He, himself, is a new believer.”

    How this man and his family came to Christ was also well known. “This family, the leader, they came to know the Lord because the wife, she was demon-possessed and she was delivered.The people in the area knew she was demon-possessed and they also knew even though they had been to the religious leaders, they couldn’t get any help.”

    The attackers, also known. “We know the leaders who were responsible for it; these were some of the religious leaders in the vicinity. I was able to contact some of the police officials and I requested they take action and we also sent our lawyer to represent our leaders.”

    Meanwhile, death threats have come in against the church leader and his family. His church has been destroyed. Yet, DeVisser says, “The church leader wants to remain there. He’s not willing to move out. There is a threat on his life. We have now provided some of the food stuffs they need. Some of our workers reached out to him, but he’s determined to ride the wave of persecution.”

    (Capture Sri Lankan man praying courtesy Prayercast) Will you pray for the safety of the family and also that God will use this situation for His glory? Persecution never destroyed a church and never will, adds DeVisser. Suffering isn’t new, and won’t be going away anytime soon.

    “We have been through a civil war between two ethnic groups. Now that the war is over, it seems to me that the extremists would want to incite a religious war, and they want to use the Christians as the scapegoat for the problems in the country.”

    Ask the Lord to work in the hearts of those targeting Sri Lankan believers so they will repent and come to faith in Him. Pray that Christians in Sri Lanka will continue to share the news of God’s grace.

    Listen to the broadcast (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jan09-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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