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. What can a ministry accomplish when God is leading the way?

    Asia (MNN) — What does the phrase ‘Jubilee in Jakarta’ bring to mind? Certainly, a celebration…probably one in Indonesia. You’d be right on both counts. Asian Access (A2), a ministry dedicated to leadership development and church planting in Asia, is marking what God has done with the initial vision of empowering pastors in Japan 50 years ago.

    Asian Access' 50th anniversary celebration in JakartaA2’s Noel Becchetti shares, “The immediate, exciting stuff going on for Asian Access is next week…we have two new countries beginning.” What started in Japan has grown into core leadership partnerships with a dozen other nations, including the newest in the Philippines.

    At the same time, Becchetti explains, an orientation session is launching in a creative-access South Asian nation, “which means by early summer, the new class will be fully involved in its course material.”

    The commitment from A2 is firm, and the strategy the ministry uses requires a commitment from all its participants. “Once a country has given us the ‘green light’ to move forward, we then invite about 25 to 30 potential participants in the class, and then we spend about three days in a kind of extended introduction to Asian Access.”

    Becchetti describes the first meeting as an orientation period to help these church leaders know what they’re getting into. “‘Is this what I thought I was hearing about? Is this something I might be interested in? Do I think God might be calling me to it?’ When people commit to Asian Access, they’re saying, ‘I will be at eight four-day sessions over a two/two-and-a-half day period with no absences.’”

    For example, “What came out of the Philippines just recently is, out of the 30, they’ve got 12 leaders whom they have invited formally or those people who have accepted or committed formally — so that starts next week.” The relationships built in this cohort will serve in multiple capacities: network, council, colleague, and friend. That’s especially helpful when you consider the challenges faced by many of A2’s leaders.

    Becchetti observes what he calls a ‘global pendulum swing’ in many countries toward intolerance, authoritarianism, and persecution. In the last two years, he says, it’s been marked. “In areas where the Gospel is really exploding — where a lot of them are becoming believers, and a lot of them [come] out of a context like Islam where it is volatile when they do so — there just seems to be this pushback spiritually.”

    Asian Access' 50th anniversary celebration in JakartaIn the celebration of legacy, A2’s leadership also looks forward to building on the foundation that’s been laid. One of the cornerstones is prayer. That’s especially true now that the last couple of years have seen significant opposition rising up against the Church. To that end, these leaders are asking for prayer for boldness and wisdom, explains Becchetti. “There are no guarantees, but I think [pray for] protection in even knowing what to do. Honestly, in India, it’s happening so rapidly — even our leaders, including our guys here, are asking, ‘What do we do? How do we respond to this?’”

    The answer might seem like it’s a dream, but as Asian Access can tell you, a lot can happen in 50 years when you dream God-sized.

     

     

    Listen to the broadcast (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Apr27-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  2. chun pamela"Praise God for the gifts he's given Asian Access through its fifty years of faithfulness: the gifts of relationships, respect, wisdom and understanding that cross bridges, opens doors and welcomes people into the family of God."

    Mrs. Pam Chun
    Co-Founder and Vice President, Hawaiian Island Ministries 

     

     

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  3. calver clive 300x300px"For Asian Access the words 'cultural sensitivity' do not denote a slogan, but a lifestyle. Without ever minimizing or compromising the good news we all proclaim, they have made it accessible, available, and understandable to millions. This is a work for which I am grateful and truly privileged to endorse."

    Dr. Clive Calver
    Teacher, Author, and International Speaker;
    also former Senior Pastor, Walnut Hill Community Church and former president, World Relief

     

     

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  4. Hi Friends,

    It's Joe and Silk Handley here from Japan during cherry blossom season. It's gorgeous outside.

    We just want to wish you a happy Easter. He has risen. He has risen indeed.

    God bless you.

     

    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe & Silk Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    emailshandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter
    @jwhandley

     

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  5. jethani skye 400x400px"There are plenty of ministries to help Christian leaders develop their skills. What sets Asian Access apart is a focus on the transformation of a leader’s soul. A2 holds an integrated vision of life and leadership that refuses to separate a person’s calling in the world from his or her communion with Christ. By targeting this deeper level of existence, Asian Access equips leaders with a new vision of faithfulness and not merely new tools of effectiveness."

    Mr. Skye Jethani
    Author, Speaker, Consultant and Pastor. Former senior editor for Leadership Journal

     

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  6. Asian Access Faculty, Rod Denton, reflects on "Growing Big People" (an approach we celebrate at Asian Access!)

    “When people grow, everything attached to them grows. But when we try to grow the activities attached to people, but we neglect to grow the people, we finish up with small people trying to handle and grow big things. This results in getting people who are burned out and exhausted and resentful. These people are then involved in constant changes of roles because they have been trying to do things of which they are not capable. Consequently, our greatest asset is not our finances or resources; rather it is always going to be people. It follows that our greatest priority is to grow and empower people, big people who are capable of growing other big people who together will advance God’s purposes in breakthrough ways.”

    These words of Paul Scanlon stirred me late in 2015 to develop a leadership training experience that would take a selected group of 12 people on a journey in 2016. I was further challenged by some words at the time that in most of our courses “we usually overtrain people and underdevelop people.” How true this has been as I come across leaders who have accumulated shelves of training resources and yet who continually fall down in their ministries leaving a trail of destruction behind them. With all of this in mind I put together a course called GROWING BIG PEOPLE:

    The group would meet one Sunday night a month for 2.5 hrs.

    • Each member would be required to take up the daily SOAP Bible study journaling that would take them through the Bible in one year.
    • The monthly meetings would begin with a time of worship that would lead us into the presence of God.
    • Following the worship, members would gather in small groups to share what they had learned from the set assignment material that they would be required to complete each month.
    • Two books would be studied, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret and Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray. I have never seen these books included in a leadership training course and yet they have dramatically transformed lives and caused group members to be reduced to tears as they studied them.
    • Each meeting I would teach a session on some aspect of Spiritual Leadership.
    • Video clips from some of my favourite leadership teachers would be presented and discussed.

    At the conclusion of the 2016 course, the testimony night proved to be an amazing night of stories of leaders who had been through a year of intense development and who had grown to be bigger people.

    Some of the feedback from the course included:

    • “Without a doubt the course has been the best investment I made in 2016.”
    • “Rod’s leadership course has been a transforming experience for me. It has taken me to a new level of leadership. My only regret is that I did not learn these principles twenty years ago.” (A Pastor of 25 years’ experience) 

    Rod Denton

     

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    rod dentonRod 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

     

  7. Living in Japan brings all sorts of new life experiences for me. Stateside I focus mostly on ministry and family but here in Tokyo, Silk and I share house duties more because she is teaching and we live in a world that requires us to do more teamwork when it comes to daily living.

    fish for sale in Japan

    Areas where I try to help out are weekly shopping, cleaning the dishes and once in a while laundry. No one trusts me with cooking so this is the best I can offer and all of these things I rarely participate in stateside. It certainly helps me grow as a Christ-like leader. It helps me develop character, one of the biggest challenges in Christian leadership today!

    As we were walking down the aisles at Costco the other day, it struck me that shopping with Silk is like walking with God. I never know what way we’re going to turn or what road she’ll take me down. Every time is an adventure. And, it drives me crazy! You see, I hate shopping! Can I say that again, I HATE SHOPPING!!! 

    shopping market in Japan

    When I do shop, I'm like a bullet and if I can avoid the store and do it online, I’ll take that any day. I would never wander from place to place and then circle back to places I’ve been, sometimes again and again. Although, that may be a little hyperbole. Nevertheless, shopping drives me crazy. But, it is part of what we call the School of God here at Asian Access. You see one of the biggest problems today in Christian leaders is a lack of Christ-like Character.

    Walking with God is a journey much like shopping with Silk. I never know where God will lead… My job is simply to follow Him! And I develop character in the journey. 

    "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
    – Proverbs 16:9

    Just like the apostle Paul in the book of Acts, we never know how the Lord will lead. Check out Acts 16! Paul was heading to Bithynia but the Holy Spirit blocked him! He had a more important assignment: going to Macedonia! 

    Isn’t it interesting that I once lived in Bithynia and my wife is ethnically Macedonian?

    Journeying with Silk, making little detours through shopping and all other aspects of our lives reminds me of my walk with God. I never know how He’s going to lead me or where but I know it’s important to follow. And, along the way, my character strengthens as well. Going shopping, doing dishes, and helping with the laundry makes me a better person, a better Christ-follower, and a better leader. I may not like it, but it’s good for me!

    How about you? What helps you in your walk with God?

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

      

  8. “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” — Matthew 17:20

    Mt. Fuji

    Asian Access is passing some significant milestones in 2017. We are celebrating 50 years of ministry this year and are major celebratory event is happening at the end of April: Jubilee in Jakarta!

    Also this month, on April 1, Asian Access/Japan passes another significant milestone: passing the torch from one national director to another. Takeshi Takazawa, whom many of you have been praying for has been planning for this moment for some time when he took the leadership post 3 years ago. On April 1st, Takeshi (pictured below on left) hands the leadership to Joshua Hari (right).

    takeshi and joshua

    I’ll never forget the day sitting in our Asian Access/Japan board meeting last fall when Takeshi described this moment in time. He told his fellow board members:

    "We have taken the ministry to the top of Mount Fuji but now we must pray for Joshua because it’s time to scale Everest!"

    Way to Mt. Everest

    Japan to Nepal relief teamOver the last 50 years, Asian Access has made significant strides in ministry and now we are poised for the adventure of a lifetime. I found it so interesting that Takeshi used images from both Japan and Nepal because those two countries have been collaborating via the Asian Access community the last few years. Both went through massive disasters and as you can see in this picture they have sent teams back and forth.

    As Joshua takes the helm of Asian Access/Japan, we are closing in on our humongous 2020 Vision! And, as Takeshi stated about him above, the heights are even greater. Now the Church of Japan has an even larger vision: a vision to see 50,000 churches planted in Japan!

     

    We are definitely going from Fuji to Everest!

    Mt. Everest peak

    Pray for us as we step into the future and pray for Joshua Hari as he takes the leadership in Japan. We and he will need all the prayers we can get!

    I found it interesting that God put on my heart at that very same conference, God’s words to Joshua in the bible:

    "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:3-9

    God has given us this great vision. All he asks is that we be “Strong and Courageous”. And he promises us that he will be with us wherever we go!

    Asian Access has climbed Fuji over the last 50 years and now we are charged to scale Everest: a monumental task! But God is with us and like Joshua of yesterday, all we have to do is follow God as he will be with us wherever we go. The land has already been given… It’s our task to keep climbing!

    Great job, Takeshi and teams! AND, Go get ‘em Joshua! We’re with you. More importantly, God is with you!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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    2020 Vision for A2/Japan

    To deploy 100 church multiplication teams to start 1000 reproducing churches that would enfold 1,000,000 new followers of Jesus and send 1000 missionaries from Japan to the major cities of Asia which will be home to 1 billion people by the year 2020.

    hari joshua and megumiPlease pray for Joshua and his wife Megumi and he assumes the position of national director of Asian Access/Japan beginning in April.

  9. "We tend to overcomplicate the simplicity of listening to Jesus." — Tony Dale

    Not long ago I had the privilege of participating in one of our Asian Access sessions where Tony and Felicity Dale were teaching. It was brilliant and their stories inspired me.

    Today, they lead a Christ-centered business that is on mission and they’ve seen remarkable results. Many small fellowships have birthed out of their simple story and who knows how many people are now following Jesus because of their faithful presence!

    "My sheep hear my voice."— John 10

    They pointed to this passage and as highlighted above noted how so many of us overcomplicate listening to Jesus. Their advice: Just listen to Jesus!

    Years ago when Tony and Felicity were in Med School in England, they listened to Jesus and he encouraged them to start small fellowships of med students learning about Christ. They started with just 3-4 Med Students and soon enough hundreds were on fire for Jesus!

    You see God uses the ordinary to make the extraordinary happen!As they put it, God took a very ordinary group of students and he did something extraordinary.

    Today, Tony and Felicity do the same thing but in the context of a business based in Austin TX. It’s amazing to hear how God is using them as business leaders to see extraordinary things happen for his kingdom.

    Do you hear God’s voice? If not, Tony and Felicity have some advice:

    • Go somewhere where there are NO distractions.
    • Focus your thoughts on Jesus:
      • Ask, Lord is there anything you want to share with me?
      • Or, Lord I’m worried about this in my business (or family or church).
    • Listen for a flow of spontaneous thoughts.
    • Then, write it down.

    Invariably, God will speak to you. And when he does, obey! Do what he says.

    Are you listening to God these days? Do you hear his voice?

    Just listen to Jesus!

    joe sig blue
    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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    dale tony and felicity 2017 square"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
  10. starship enterprise 600x400

    A2.business Enterprise: Starship Log – Entry 2017-0321-09:33

    I grew up watching the TV series, Star Trek. I was recently reminded of the opening of that show at a session of A2.business in South Asia. Star Trek opened every show with Captain James T. Kirk saying,

    “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

    After spending the weekend together one of the CEO’s shared this A2.business group is the right group for marketplace leaders who must “boldly go where no pastor can go.”

    A2.business

    Life-on-Life

    gidoomal ram 2015 200pxThis takeaway came out of the group’s experience together of “life-on-life” with each other and with our faculty for the weekend, Ram Gidoomal from London. Ram shared deeply out of his life story, a rich history of God’s calling to Himself and to being a business leader. Precisely because Ram spent most of his life in the marketplace, he was able to kindle conversation about balancing success in business with a heart for mission. Ram shared out of both his successes and mistakes, and how his relationship with God grew.

    Out of this experience he learned how to be intentionally missional. He demonstrated through his own stories how to go into places in the marketplace that only a few leaders can go, always displaying the light of Christ.

    Vision of a Few to Change the Many

    The A2.Business leaders Ram spent the weekend with are a small group who have a vision to change many. They know they have been put in C-suite positions where they can help transform their countries from the inside out. Ram inspired the cohort to press on toward the high calling of being a Christ-like leader.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Elliott Snuggs, First Lieutenant
    A2.business Enterprise

    Starship Log – Entry 2017-0321-09:33

     

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    Ram Gidoomal (United Kingdom)

    Ram is a businessman and entrepreneur who over the last twenty years has used his business acumen to support the work of numerous public and charitable organizations and global and local missions. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of Traidcraft and the Lausanne Movement Board of Directors. Past roles include UK Chief Executive of the Inlaks Group, Crown appointee to the Court and Council of Imperial College London, and founder of the Christmas Cracker Charity which has raised over £5million, engaged upwards of 50,000 young people in the process, and mobilized many of them to world mission. He was a candidate for London Mayor for the Christian Peoples Alliance in 2000 and 2004 gaining nearly 100,000 votes in each election. (see article in The Guardian)

  11. By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

    brachiate

    During a recent conversation with a friend of mine, he mentioned a word I had not heard before... brachiate. He suggested I search it out on google when I returned home. He said it is a word worth discovering... and even more important, a word worth living. I did as he said and discovered the following:

    BRACHIATE: comes from the Latin BRACHIUM, discovered in the mid eighteenth century and means “arm” or “arm swinging”. The verb means to swing by the arms from one hold (branch or tree limb) to the next and one of its uses is for smaller monkeys that proceed through the jungle by swinging from one hold to the next.

    example of brachiate

    I began to think of other possibilities and thought of the monkey bars we used in junior school or the trapeze artists soaring through the air in a circus. To the monkeys in the jungle, brachiating has a degree of risk as they swing from one tree limb to another. For there are moments where they need to let go of the security of one branch to launch out hoping that there is another branch for them to grasp.

    And that’s when the reality of living the Christian life came home to me with fresh perspective. For following the Lord has a lot to do with brachiating. Let me give you a few examples :

    1. ABRAM

    The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you,” Genesis 12:1. Notice, Abram had to leave that which was familiar to him to go to that which was at the time unknown. He was being asked to brachiate.

    2. PETER and JOHN

    “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:11

    All Peter and John had was a call to follow Jesus, not knowing where it would take them, what it would involve or how their needs would be met. They were being asked to brachiate.

    3. PHILIP

    Now and angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:26. Philip was leading an amazing evangelistic outreach in a city in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) and was instructed to leave it all and head for the desert, not knowing what was going to happen next. He was being asked to brachiate.

    4. ELIJAH

    ‘Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have instructed a widow there to supply you with food.” ’ 1 Kings 17:7-8

    What was Elijah required to do when he heard the words, “the brook has dried up”? He was asked to do something quite illogical that required a great step of faith. The widow who was to provide him with food was in fact poor and incapable of feeding herself, let alone Elijah. He was being asked to brachiate.

    Modern management theory would advise us to examine our options which for Elijah might have been:

    a.) Do nothing and hope for the best which would be the equivalent of watching your church gradually die and close down.

    b.) Take some human initiative like drilling for water or applying for a grant of money which might require a church to compromise its convictions and calling.

    c.) Revert to the traditions of the past and build monuments to the ravens (the good old days) and not accept the fact that God has moved on. Elijah was being asked to brachiate.

    As I read the scriptures, I have come to the conclusion that the practice of brachiating is quite common for those who would wholeheartedly follow their Lord. In fact, as long as we follow the Lord, we will continually be asked to step out and brachiate.

    So what can we learn about brachiating from Abram and Peter and John and Philip and Elijah and others who have been used greatly by God?

    1. They were people who surrendered their lives to God. They were people who realised that when they surrendered their lives to the Lord, He had the right to interrupt their lives and cut across their plans anytime He chose.

    2. They were people who heard the voice of God. This meant that they were people who made it a high priority to spend time in the presence of the Lord in serious Bible study and prayer. Henry Blackaby said in his book Experiencing God, “One of the greatest tragedies among God’s people is that while they have a deep longing to experience Him, they are experiencing Him day after day, but do not know how to recognise Him.”

    3. They were people who took bold faith steps in obedience to God’s word. They recognised that it is only in the continual taking of faith steps that they gave God room to move. Such faith steps although at times illogical, connected them to the resources of God and the open doors of God. To brachiate will require a person to leave a place of security and to momentarily hang suspended, trusting that the Lord will provide the next tree limb to grasp.

    4. They were people like the great missionary Hudson Taylor who led the Chinese Inland Mission on the principles that he would : a. Never ask anyone for money b. Never go into debt c. Depend totally on the promises of God

    How about you? Are you living a life of brachiating? It is a word worth living. Has the Lord been speaking to you like He has spoken to so many people in the scriptures in the past, and down through church history and is still doing so today?

    • Abram: Leave your country... and go to the land I will show you.
    • Peter and John: Leave everything and follow me.
    • Philip: Go south to the desert road.
    • Elijah: The brook has dried up. Go at once to Zeraphath... I have instructed a widow there to supply you with food.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brachiatea-word-worth-living-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

     

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  12. By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

    univ of desert 800px

    God's choice training ground for future leaders

    “At certain times and places God will build a mysterious wall around us. He will take away all the supports we customarily lean upon, and will remove our ordinary ways of doing things. God will close us off to something divine, completely new and unexpected and that cannot be understood by examining our previous circumstances. We will be in a place where we do not know what is happening, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives by a new pattern and thus where He causes us to look to Him.

    Most Christians lead a treadmill life – a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way. But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone.” 
    Streams in the Desert, 5 April — LB Cowman

    It took some time for me to understand God’s University of the Desert and then to trust Him in those deep experiences. But then it took even further time to recognise not only God’s presence in the loneliness of the desert, but also God’s purposes in the desert as He would be preparing me for the next season of my life.

    In the process I found perspective as I began to read the scriptures with a desert paradigm and I was surprised how many of God’s choice leaders spent time in the desert at critical seasons in their lives.  Many of them became my mentors on how to live life in the desert. People like Joseph (Genesis 37:36), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7), Moses (Exodus 2:15), David (1 Samuel 22:1-2), John The Baptist (Luke 3:2-3), Jesus (Luke 4:1-2), Paul (Galatians 1:16-17) and the Apostle John (Revelations 1:9).

    Gradually it dawned on me that God has a choice discipleship training school called the University of the Desert. It is not one in which we can formally enrol and undertake classes of our own choosing and be graded on our academic achievements. Rather, it is one in which God sovereignly works through the circumstances of our lives to test us in order to approve us and then entrust us with responsibilities that are known only to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:4.) Sometimes it is only God and I that are aware of the fact that the class in the University of the Desert is in session.

    The following are some of the lessons I have learned as a result of studying the scriptures and from my experiences in the desert.

    1. It is normal for God to sovereignly plan seasons in the desert in the lives of His servants.

    So important is the desert experience in God’s leadership emergence program that it is unlikely that the people God uses will avoid time in the desert at some critical stage in their lives. There are some tests that can only be passed in the desert and there are some lessons that can only be learned in the desert where the flesh life is dealt a stunning blow and total dependence on God and a humble spirit is developed.

    2. In the desert, God tests us to reveal what is in our hearts.

    “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert those forty years to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.”  Deuteronomy 8:2 (Also Proverbs 17:3, Deuteronomy 13:3, 1 Samuel 16:7)

    God does not promote people on mere potential, but rather He promotes those who pass the tests that come their way, often unnoticed, like tests of integrity and obedience and faithfulness that can come in moments of disappointment and rejection and failure.

    Perhaps there is no better reference that a person can have than the reference we find in Romans 16:10: “Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ.”

    “Storms may sweep down upon us from different directions and for different reasons. Sometimes Satan causes the storm, sometimes people cause the storm. Sometimes I cause the storm. And sometimes the Lord sends the storm. But no matter who or what the cause, they all work to reveal the same things: the nature of my faith, the strength of my commitment, the level of my maturity, the health of my attitude, the measure of my teachability.”
    — John Maxwell

    3. Our Journey that leads us into desert experiences does not take God by surprise.

    Even in Jesus life we read that He “was led by the Spirit in to the desert, to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1)

    Sometimes it might even seem that it is a consequence of the sinfulness of other people that causes us to go through a painful season in the desert but God is sovereign and He is still able to work out His purposes in the most difficult of experiences. Joseph teaches us the importance of attitude and focus on God and not our circumstances in the desert when he speaks to his brothers who purposed to destroy him years earlier:” Don’t be afraid. Am I not in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20)

    4. In the Desert God allows many or all of our ‘Props’ to be removed from us.

    In one particular desert experience, I witnessed the closing of some familiar doors that had become sources of security for me. These props were removed and in the process, I realised that it was appropriate to let go of them as God began to reposition me and remind me that my security and identity needed to be found in my relationship with Him alone.

    In the desert, God is taking us to a place of total dependence on Him and that can involve some painful moments of props being taken away as we learn to walk by faith. Some of these props can include sources of income, areas of responsibility, positions of influence, relationships, health etc.

    5. The Desert is a place of choices.

    Options emerge in life in the desert. I can take control of life in the desert and react to the circumstances in which I find myself, or I can trust my situation to God and surrender my circumstances to Him. But I must make the choice as to which option I will select. In one desert experience, I remember clearly hearing God speak into my unfolding situation. He said, ‘In this desert, Rod, you can give birth to an Isaac or an Ishmael.” And I remember the story of Abram and Sarai as they needed to trust God for the birth of their promised son. To choose an Isaac requires a person in the desert to wait on God and trust God for what is humanly impossible and is born of the Spirit. To choose an Ishmael results in a person in the desert taking control and rushing ahead to do that which is born out of the flesh and is humanly possible.

    6. The Desert is an intensive time of personal character growth.

    Consider the contrast in the life of Moses before and after his desert experience. In his first forty years of life we read “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” (Acts 7:22). Compare this with Moses’ own words after the second forty years of his life after his desert experience, Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10). What an incredible change as Moses experienced brokenness and a loss of confidence in the flesh and now was forced to be totally dependent on God. He would now learn that when he was weak, he would be strong.

    Often we find that when a person’s growth in competence outgrows their growth in character, this becomes a recipe for self-destruction. The desert is a place of humbling and brokenness where we are stripped of our independence and pride and learn to become God dependent.

    7. The Desert is a place of Spiritual Warfare.

    “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit in to the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1

    Not only is the desert a time where God is at work preparing us for future seasons of life, it is a time when the enemy will do all he can to remove us from the arena of God’s purposes. In the desert, our points of vulnerability can become even more acute and Satan, who knows us all too well, will press in to try and cause us to fail the tests of the desert.

    Paul challenges us to be “strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and to “put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11. Remember, the devil is persistent. “When the devil had finished all this tempting (of Jesus), he left Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

    8. The Desert is a place where we learn to experience intimacy with God at a deeper level and see things from His perspective.

    Life in the desert is less cluttered and more simplified. In the desert God strips us of the things of the world and frees us to go deeper with Him. The wells of life are deeper in the desert. More and more we begin to see things the way God sees things. This is perspective, that quality which separates leaders from followers. The desert is a place of revelation, as we see in the case of John the Baptist: “The word God came to John… in the desert.” Luke 3:2

    The desert is a time of preparation for the future and is a time where God teaches His chosen servants to learn how to follow His promptings and partner with Him in what He is doing. In the desert, we transition from knowing about God to knowing God, as we are weaned from the accumulation of things that have hindered us from hungering and thirsting for the Living Water.

    “But when God who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but went immediately into Arabia (the desert) and later returned to Damascus” (Galatians 1:15-17)

    9. The Desert is a place where we strengthen the disciplines that form a strong foundation for our future lives and ministry.

    God has no shortcuts in His training program and the dropout rate can be high. The desert has a way of stripping life down to the basics and causing us to evaluate what is ultimately important and what is not. In the desert we are set free from the world’s agendas to create a materialistic heaven on earth and we realise that it is in the establishment of spiritual disciplines that we can move beyond the superficiality of our culture and deepen our foundations. Upon these foundations, God is then able to build a strong kingdom.

    10. The Desert is a place of victory that leads to a new future in the fullness of God’s time.

    “Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert. And streams in the wasteland.” — Isaiah 43:18-19

    “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

    There comes a time when life in the desert will end. For life in the desert is a time of preparation, a time of revelation and new perspective, a time of learning how to walk in the presence of God, a time to pull all the props away and move on from the things of the past and a time to walk by faith into the future and trust God to be our provider. Just as the Lord leads us into the desert, so it is that He leads us out of the desert, often with the promise that the best is yet to come.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/university-desert-gods-choice-training-ground-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. This day will be a day I never forget.

    Six years ago, in just a few short hours from right now, I was in Karuizawa, Japan for our annual Japan Staff Spring Retreat. It was a wonderful time together with our Asian Access/Japan family as always and as we were in chapel that afternoon, the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced hit: over 9 points on the Richter Scale. Even though it was centered several miles off the coast of Japan and many miles further from my location, it was still the single longest and strongest quake I had ever lived through. And, I’ve lived through some pretty strong quakes living most of my life in Los Angeles.

    This morning as I awoke, I was reminded of being here in Japan that horrible day. Silk and I were in Japan and our thoughts went to many of the pastors and churches we know in the heaviest hit regions plus staff we have all over the country who were unable to make the retreat. We also were thinking of our children and families back home and what might happen to us.

    As you know it was a devastating quake that triggered a massive tsunami that wreaked havoc on the shorelines of Northeast Japan. They call it a triple disaster because the tsunami also hit the Fukushima Nuclear plant which subsequently had a meltdown leading to the evacuation of the entire city, much of which is still a ghost town today.

    To get a sense of how etched this is in our memories, take a look at this article by Asahi: SIX YEARS AFTER: 3/11 tsunami banner evokes the unimaginable in Tokyo’s Ginza. Notice the picture in the article posted here showing how high the waters rose impacting Japan. Up to the fourth story! 

    highest watermark during Tsunami of March 2011

    It was an awful day for Japan.

    A day that she and none of us who lived through it will ever forget. 

    Many times I have preached and shared about the reality of Romans 8:28 following the disaster: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    As some of you know, recently I was able to travel around Japan seeing first-hand what God has done following this horrendous tragedy. You see God brings good out of the bad for those who love him! The local Japanese churches rallied to help their neighbors and the body of Christ became a beacon of hope that is still living and active today. Just check out a few of my posts and news reports following that recent visit to the disaster areas:

    All these efforts have led to a new perception of the Japanese Church. It is more and more seen as a part of local society rather than some foreign religion. And, response rates to following Jesus rose to 5-7 times normal the last few years. 

    And, that is just the beginning. Many feel that the soil has been prepared for a greater harvest still to come. So, please join me in praying! Learn more here: Prayercast: Japan

    I’ll never forget this day. It is etched in my memories forever and it was God’s opportunity to teach me again the truth of his words: All things work together for good to those that love God. It may not always be rosy and in fact there may be devastating things along the way, but ultimately God works these things out for good over the long haul.

    Join me in praying for Japan today!

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

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  14. My first cross-cultural teaching experience

    Written by Wesley Kyaw Thura

    cam wesley teaching closeup 375pxIn Asian Access, we believe that God is empowering our leaders to take larger roles in the movement. This includes developing more leaders within Asia who can teach Asian Access in their own countries. But beyond that, we are dreaming that A2 leaders can teach in one another’s countries throughout the movement.

    That dream became a reality for me. In February, I was invited by my good friend and colleague Meng Aun Hour (National Director for Cambodia) and his Working Team to help to teach for the A2 Cambodia session. I joined Rev. Paul Ariga from Japan and Dr. Steven Taylor in teaching the leaders in the current Cambodian class.

    The first day, I shared on the subject What Does it Mean to be a Servant of God?, focusing on the concept of servant leadership. The second day, they allowed me to share my ministry journey. This journey has taken some surprising twists in the last few years, as God has led my wife Alma and me to leave a secure ministry career and launch, on faith, a ministry to the poor, hardcore-Buddhist day laborers of Myanmar, a ministry called New Life in Christ.

    When I arrived in Phnom Penh, I was warmly welcomed and received into their midst. The participants are all top pastors and leaders in Cambodia, but they radiated a loving, humble spirit that I very much appreciated.

    The first couple of days, I listened as Rev. Ariga and Dr. Steven taught their sessions. I tried to listen to both what they were sharing and how they shared it, seeking to find bridges upon which I could build when my time came.

    As I listened, I noticed some differences between A2/Cambodia and A2/Myanmar. Unlike Myanmar, where our teaching and learning styles can be intense, the atmosphere in Cambodia was quite relaxed. At the same time, my Cambodian friends stayed on their timing schedule to the minute. In Myanmar, “8:00am” can mean more like 8:10 or 8:15; in Cambodia, 8:00am meant—well, 8:00am.

    When it was my turn to teach, I realized some of the challenges involved in teaching cross-culturally. When I speak English, I am used to doing so to native English speakers; this influence the words and phrases that I use. In this case, I was speaking English to leaders whose native language is Khmer. I quickly learned that I needed to exercise care to be as clear and concise as possible in my use of language.

    cam wesley teaching wideshot1 500px

    I also learned quickly that humor does not always translate across language. A joke I made regarding a popular American soft drink was immediately recognized by Dr. Steven, but was a puzzlement to the rest of the group.

    What most impressed me about the Cambodian leaders was their responsiveness. They came to the sessions with a genuine learning spirit. When given questions for group discussion, they jumped into those discussions. The discussions were deep and serious, and the feedback afterward with the larger group was meaningful.

    cam discussion triad 2017 500px

    It was an amazing privilege for me to be able to be part of the session in Cambodia. It was also a powerful learning experience for me. To be honest, I was a little scared going into my first-ever cross-cultural teaching experience. While God graciously allowed me to have the experience with a warm, caring group, He also taught me some lessons:

    • Prayer is crucial. Because of my nervousness, I asked a group of brothers and sisters in Myanmar to pray for me during my time in Cambodia. I very much felt the power and comfort of their prayers.
    • Serious preparation—spiritual, mental, and physical—is vital if one is to be effective in a cross-cultural teaching experience.
    • I must be willing to meet, mingle with, and listen to my new friends. It is important that I get a sense of who they are if I am to be able to connect with them in a teaching environment.
    • In partnering with veterans like Rev. Ariga and Dr. Steven—leaders with previous experience in cross-cultural teaching situations--it was important that I both listen carefully to their teachings and ask them for advice.

    cam key leaders 2017 500pxI am so grateful to Meng Aun Hour and the A2 Cambodia Working Team for their invitation, graciousness, and warm hospitality to me. It was an energizing first experience in the area of cross-cultural teaching, and I am looking forward to more opportunities in the future. And I am very excited that in September, we will welcome Chinzorig Jigjidsuren, Asian Access Mongolia National Director, to teach at our session in Myanmar.

     

    Wesley Kyaw Thura
    National Director, A2/Myanmar

     

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  15. McConnellDoug 300x300 72dpi BW"One of the joys of aging is the opportunity to reflect on the work of God throughout the world. My first knowledge of the work of Asian Access came vicariously through a professor at Fuller talking about Scrum Dendo in Japan over thirty years ago. In the two decades that followed I had the chance to work with various people and ministries of Asian Access, building my confidence in the deep work that God was doing in and through the organization. For the past decade it has been a joy to closely watch the work flourish and develop. I respect the work of Asian Access and rejoice in this wonderful historical milestone. Congratulations on a job well done!!"

    Dr. Doug McConnell
    Provost and Professor of Leadership and Intercultural Studies,Fuller Theological Seminary

     

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  16. As recovery stagnates, Gospel growth booms

    Damage left by the 2011 tsunami. (Photo cred: Tamaki Seto via Wikimedia Commons)Japan (MNN) — Broken remnants and barricades remain six years after Japan’s deadly ‘triple disaster’.

    “There are still tens of thousands of people in temporary housing…. That place (near the Fukushima nuclear facility) was so devastated that the local people cannot afford to go back into their homes and rebuild them,” says Joe Handley of Asian Access.

    Worse yet, the Japanese government is ending housing subsidies for some Fukushima residents. Financial aid will end this month for “those who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones,” according to Japan Today.

    Yet, Handley found hope during a recent visit to Japan.

    “The people who had been displaced would refer to the Christian groups coming in as, ‘Oh, there it is! Mr. Christ! Mr. Christ! Christ is coming! Christ is coming!’ because they don’t know the word for ‘Christian’ or anything in terms of religious terminology.

    “They just see these people coming that are representing Christ, and they see them as ‘Mr. Christ’.”

    Context makes this even more profound.

    “The response rates to the Gospel have skyrocketed during this period of time, which is stunning for Japan,” Handley notes. “You don’t see this kind of response normally; it’s a very difficult place to reach for Christ.

    “It’s stunning to see what God is doing.”

    One man watched Christian relief workers with skepticism and suspicion. As months and then years passed, something in the man’s heart softened.

    Many NGOs rushed to Japan’s aid in the initial months following the triple disaster. However, as time went on, so did the responders. Eventually, only the Christians remained.

    “Then he noticed something else different about these people,” says Handley. “In the midst of their challenge of serving…they have a smile on their face. They’re not worn out, they’re not burnt out…they’re there serving with a joy in their expression that he was just stunned by.

    Muhling Family with smiling faces

    “He said ‘I want what they have, I want a face like that.’”

    Please pray for this man’s salvation. Pray that Japanese Christians will be encouraged by this response, and will continue sharing the Gospel faithfully.

    In addition, ask the Lord how He would have you respond. Find more updates and “next steps” here.

    Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:37)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Mar02-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  17. david nd2016 lrLast Fall, Pastor David Dayalan, Asian Access VP for Program Development shared a devotional highlighting letting Jesus take the lead with our board of directors. I thought you might enjoy seeing a taste of what we spend our time doing in seeking to prepare Christ-like leaders… You’ll quickly see that it’s not about us being leaders. It’s really about us being followers!

     

    Why did Jesus lead the way he did?

    1. He knew who he was.

    "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God…" – John 13:3

    • Jesus was sure of his identity.
    • Rather than focusing on pleasing people, Jesus led by focusing on the Father.
    • Why do we focus on other things, David asks, such as… achievement, degrees, work?

    “If we have a clear identity, then we are able to lead radically like Jesus!” – David Dayalan

    2. He was controlled by the Spirit.

    "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness." – Mark 1:12

    • Rather than trying to control things, Jesus allowed the Spirit to lead him.
    • The Spirit often leads us to places we don’t want to go… Will we follow?
    • Since the Spirit is given to us in abundance as scripture tells us, so am I functioning in the Spirit?

    “Today, leadership is seen as doing but it is really about being!” – David Dayalan

    3. He was in command of the Scriptures.

    • Jesus thoroughly knew the Scriptures and used them to teach, clarify, encourage, correct and rebuke.
    • Are we good students of the Word, able to handle it correctly?

    “As leaders, we are teachers, so we need to be in command of God’s word.” – David Dayalan

    4. Jesus is wholesome.

    "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." – John 10:10

    • Jesus was covered with integrity.
    • Is God in control of our lives?

    “Am I whole?” – Pastor David asks.

    5. Jesus was committed to God’s purposes.

    • Jesus was committed to God’s kingdom… not his own kingdom

    Are we committed to God’s whole kingdom? Or do we focus on our own? – David Dayalan

     

    Ask yourself these questions today on Ash Wednesday. Do you let Jesus take the lead in your life? Are you truly following him?

    As I head into this lenten season, I'm asking myself, "Which of these reasons do I need to focus on making strides?" As a leader, will you join me in asking this of yourselves? Let's be more like Christ and follow him more deeply.

    Folliowing Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

  18. Written by Peter Debekar Mazumder

    bang 3 6 group

    We got an energizing and provocative word from the Lord at the Asian Access Bangladesh class in February. Rev. Adrian De Visser of Sri Lanka was our faculty. His topic was Evangelism Through Grace.

    bang 3 6 adrian2

    Grace? That seemed odd to some of the participants. Evangelism is about proclamation and warning people away from Hell, isn’t it? But Brother Adrian gave us a new look at this vital area of the ministry.

    bang 3 6 teabreak

    Adrian began by identifying the four aspects of a human being:  physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. He told us,

    “As ministers, we too often focus only on the spiritual side of a person. While this side is very important, it can cause us to ignore the other three components. All four, together, are vital to a healthy and balanced disciple.”

    At the session, Adrian spent extensive time on emotions. “We need to understand a person’s emotional needs as well as their spiritual needs if we are to reach them for Christ. But we also need to be healed from our emotional wounds if we want to be an effective leader. Without addressing the emotional needs of others and of ourselves, we cannot understand God’s grace in our lives.”

    Brother Adrian then shifted his focus onto evangelism. “There are two things we need to remember,” he told us, “Truth and Grace. But if we first approach an unbeliever with truth, without showing any grace, they will react to the truth—that they are a lost sinner. 

    “For those of us in shame/honor cultures like Bangladesh and my country, this can be devastating. But if we can first show grace to others, it can make a bridge to open their hearts. Then, we can share the truth.”

    He noted that, as Asians, we got the gospel from Western missionaries. While their intentions were good, these missionaries served at a time when people did not realize that they might be adapting the gospel to fit their own cultural interpretations. 

    “We must identify how Western culture has negatively impacted our understanding of the gospel and learn how to communicate the gospel in ways that can be understood by our culture. We can then share the gospel in more meaningful and effective ways.”

    Finally, Brother Adrian laid his hands on the participants to bless them so that they can build big dreams and seek God’s vision, which will guide them to impact the nations His glory and Kingdom. The participants then took the opportunity to pray for Pastor Adrian, his family, and the ministry God has given him to serve others.

    bang 3 6 sports2

    bang 3 6 sports1We were also able to take some time for fun at nearby Nandon Park (see photos). All in all, this sixth session was a great time of dynamic training and fellowship. Praise the Lord for this special session and time of companionship.

    bang 3 6 group2" />

    mazumder peter sig
    Peter Debekar Mazumder
    National Co-Director, A2/Bangladesh

     

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  19. 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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  20. 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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