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. Double quakes rock Japan—Double your Gift!

    KumamotoEarthquake100k 565x327

    I felt an urgency to get this letter to you immediately! A generous, kindhearted donor has recently offered a $100,000 matching gift for earthquake relief in Southwest Japan. So now I want to give you an opportunity to respond to this huge need, starting with assisting Pastor Yoji Nakamura of Kumamoto Harvest Church. But let me provide some context for you…

    As you know, the Island of Kyushu in Southwest Japan was hit by two very large earthquakes and multitudes of smaller tremors continue to rock the area. 

    Here are some current reports from the quake zone:

    • More than a thousand earthquakes have been recorded in the quake zone in the first two weeks since the two major earthquakes hit, killing 65 people.
    • Twenty thousand homes have either been destroyed or severely damaged, and 37,000 homeless are now sleeping in evacuation centers.
    • The Red Cross says many people are exhausted, and the continuing aftershocks are testing already frayed nerves.
    • The Japanese Meteorological Agency stated the threat of another major quake along the fault line has not yet passed.
    • People are afraid that a bigger, more serious earthquake will hit soon. So many are staying out in their cars and open ground due to this fear. The atmosphere in the area is tense and the fear is palpable. The amount of continuous shaking is unusual and is reported to be taking a toll on people’s nerves.  

    Mashiki, Japan 2016

    Compassionate Actions Bring Hope & Support

    Yet, if we’ve learned one thing from Japan’s Triple Disaster of 3/11/2011, it’s that the compassionate actions of the Church of Japan can bring hope and practical support in the midst of great fear and pain.

    The Church has risen up to help their brothers and sisters in the midst of this most recent crisis and to this day, people in Northeast Japan still talk about how followers of Jesus are the only ones still there long after all the relief workers have left the country. In addition to providing relief and care, more people have been reached through the Gospel in the last five years than any comparable period since the end of World War II.

    Experience and Relationships

    Asian Access has plenty of experience in Japan, Nepal and Sri Lanka following natural disasters. Our philosophy of disaster relief is to leverage our relationships and resource the local church to truly become God’s primary vehicle for delivering ministry.

    nakamura yojiWe have strong ties to churches on Kyushu Island where the earthquakes hit, having launched a church multiplication network there about 10 years ago. One of our alumni in the area is Yoji Nakamura. After planting Kumamoto Harvest Church, he participated in the Asian Access Pastor Training program and later in a church multiplication network with two other churches and Asian Access missionaries.

    After the earthquakes in Kyushu, Rev. Nakamura immediately formed a network with other pastors for relief efforts. They coordinate the work with volunteers coming from outside the area. They are distributing goods as well as clearing debris. Now he and other leaders are asking to connect with pastors from the triple disaster in northern Japan to strategize their ministry in Kumamoto.

    Additionally, Asian Access missionaries have already made their first trip into the relief zone to help deliver goods and assess the needs. They told stories of people who were trying to retrieve goods from their condemned properties and of feeling the fear of the people they met.

    The opportunity is now!

    Will you partner with us to come alongside local pastors like Yoji Nakamura to continue to minister to the people in great needs in his community?

    100k earthquake 3795 thermometer 250x350Let’s seize this opportunity to make an eternal difference in Japan. Will you consider making a gift of $50, $100, $250 or even $1,000 that will be doubled for the people of Southwest Japan?

    Yours for a stronger Church in Japan,

    joe sig blue
    Joseph W. Handley, Jr.
    President – Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

    How to Give toward Asian Access' Relief Work

    • The Church of Japan is already helping the earthquake victims in Japan. But they can do so much more with help from people like you. Remember, your gift will be doubled with the $100,000 matching grant.
    • Support churches who are doing relief work. A2 is distributing funds raised through local churches in Japan for use where it's needed most. To give online, click the red “Give Now!” button (US$) below or click here...

    Give Now!

    JPY¥

    ...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.

     

    More Information

  2. Why Asia?

    I’ve been reading a lot of news lately… The election has been on my mind a fair amount and most of you know where I stand there. At this point, it’s looking like I’ll be voting for a third party candidate or making a write in vote!

    More important than all of that though, is what I’ve been reading about where the world is heading and how we can be strategic influences. All the strategic analyses I’m seeing seem to point in the same direction: Asia is going to be crucial in the coming decades. Just take a look at this collection of graphs I found from places like the Economist Intelligence Unit, the World Economic Forum, etc... Check these out! (Click to enlarge.)

     

    Greatest Strategic Importance to U.S.

    Strategic Importance

     

    Where the Least Reached Live

    Most Unreached

     

    Most Common Native Languages

    Languages

     

    Asia on the Rise

    Asia’s influence on the world is critical. That is precisely why we at Asian Access are wholeheartedly committed to building the capacity of kingdom leaders across this great continent. 

    Please pray as we seek to come alongside emerging kingdom leaders to help them accelerate in their calling as pastors, business leaders, and servants of Jesus. May they shepherd the Church as followers of Jesus to be the difference makers God wants them to be! I believe they are going to be the heroes in the coming generations of this world!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

  3. The Forgotten Key To Growing A Healthy Organisation

    By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

    key to leadership 500

    A recent study in America by George Barna concluded that only 7% of pastors in America had the gift of leadership. His conclusion, “Where have all the leaders gone?”

    In a recent article by Ed Stetzer called ‘My Love/Hate Relationship With Leadership’, he writes “The difficulty is that leadership has fallen on hard times in evangelical churches…. Everything was leadership in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, but now the pendulum has swung the other way”.I believe that we are now experiencing a call to a revival of leadership. And not before time. In addition, might I say that hopefully we will see a revival in the mentoring of leaders, because leaders grow leaders. Courses and resources on leadership can be helpful, but only if they are taught by leaders. For academics grow academics and administrators grow administrators. We need experienced leaders to respond to the call to train up a new generation of leaders. We reproduce after our own kind and can only take people as far as we have gone ourselves.

    The following is a selection of quotations from articles that have come to my attention in recent times on the subject of ‘Leadership: The Forgotten Key To Growing A Healthy Organisation’.

    Leadership is not a position, or a title, or years of experience, or academic qualifications. Leadership is Influence. May the reading of this timely cluster of excerpts inspire you to rise up to model a life that will inspire a new generation of people to become great influences for the world in which they live.

    Timely Words On Leadership

    “It all rises and falls on leadership.”
    — John Maxwell

    “I studied a large number of successful churches from a variety of denominations and found one consistent characteristic that was common to them all: It was leadership.”
    — Rick Warren

    “When Mike Dodson and I were researching and writing ‘Comeback Churches’ we wanted to find what factors led to Church Revitalisation. We expected to find Prayer, Preaching, Evangelism etc. We researched and we studied more than 320 churches. We called them and did multiple interviews with dozens of them. Do you know what we found? Everything rises and falls on leadership. The lack of leadership development is, in my view, one of the primary reasons churches plateau. Too many pastors are incapable (or unwilling) to identify and cultivate leaders within the church. They struggle mightily just to recruit workers. But, until pastors are able and willing to train leaders and leaders of leaders, the church will always stop growing at the furthest reaches of the pastors’ own ability to work.”
    — Ed Stetzer, My Love Hate Relationship With Leadership

    "I have served as a Church Consultant for more than fifteen years. The work has been steady, as few churches on the North American continent (or around the world, for that matter) are fully healthy. The weaknesses in most churches are several, including a lack of evangelism, a failure to disciple, a focus turned inward and a myriad of other issues. At the core of most concerns, however, is a singular pressing issue: a failure in leadership."
    — Chuck Lawless, Paul's Missionary Methods

    “An organisation, corporation, church ministry, market place business will grow to the size of the leader. I have seen churches that have been at 200 for years, people come and people go, but they will only grow to the size of the leaders. When an organisation does not grow, we often try to fix things somewhere else in the organisation. Now this might be needed, but we should always look first at the leader.”
    — Sam Chand, Leadership Capacity

    “Because of a mediocre culture, most churches retain just enough volunteers to keep things afloat. This has a serious and unintended consequence – high capacity leaders stay away. They simply don’t want to be part of poorly led teams. The result is that church leaders can’t find enough great leaders who can attract other capable leaders…”
    — Carey Nieuwhof, Lasting Impact

    “Most organisations are over trained and under developed. Training is about a task. Development is about a person. A lot of people are trained, but not developed. We train people but we don’t invest in people as persons, how they behave, their assumption of responsibility, their understanding of why they are there, what is their culture and their daily courtesies.Training is easy, development is difficult. Development requires mentoring and coaching (by a leader). There are people who can deliver on a job given to them, but in the process they run over people, they are rude to people and you as the leader have to follow after them and pick up the pieces. The problem is that they are over trained and under developed.”
    — Sam Chand, Over Trained And Under Developed

    “If climate drives business results, what drives climate? Roughly fifty to seventy percent of how employees perceive their organisations climate can be traced to the actions of one person: the leader. More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people’s ability to work well.Our basic argument, in a nutshell, is that primal leadership operates at its best through emotionally intelligent leaders who create resonance. Indeed, interviews with two million employees at seven hundred American companies found that what determines how long employees stay – and how productive they are – is the quality of their relationship with their immediate boss.”
    — Daniel Goleman, The New Leaders

    “People join companies and leave managers.”
    — Marcus Buckingham, The  Gallup Organisation

    “The pastor is the person who is the key to the growth of the local church. I have yet to see a growing church in which the pastor does not want the church to grow and is not willing to pay the price.”
    — Peter Wagner, Your Church Can Be Healthy

    “At the end of the day, however a vision statement is just a statement. It has no life of its own. It cannot, nor will it ever, energise, unify, or align an organisation . This task falls to the leader. A vision statement is only as strong as the leader is. Vision is only as clear as the leader is. Vision is only as compelling as a leader makes it. A vision is stewarded and sustained by a leader.”
    — Shawn Lovejoy, Be Mean About Vision

    “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
    — Luke 5:27

    Questions to Ask

    1. How would I score myself as an effective leader?
    2.  What steps have I taken to grow as a leader in the last 12 months? How many books, courses etc have I processed on the subject of leadership.
    3.  How many emerging leaders have I attracted to work with me in the last 12 months?
    4.  How much time do I spend each week in my development of leaders.
    5.  What changes do I need to make in my job description to be able to invest suitable time in my own leadership emergence and in the leadership emergence of others?
    6.  To what degree have I developed a leadership culture in my church or ministry?
    7.  In what ways am I currently being mentored in leadership development?
    8.  What goals do I need to set and achieve to get to the next level as a leader?
    9.  How well am I doing in my growth in the area of Emotional Intelligence? (see Daniel Goleman’s book ‘The New Leaders’)
    10.  If an organisation grows to be the size of its leader, what is my current capacity to grow a church?

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-forgotten-key-growing-healthy-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

  4. A new appointment for a new age of Mission Engagement

    wilson maryjo headshot 2016 200pxLast year Asian Access made a pivotal and strategic shift. We changed the role of one of our vice presidents. Why?

    The world is changing rapidly. The Global Church has shifted from West to East and from North to South and we have entered a new era of missional engagement. It is no longer from the West to the rest as many have pointed out. Rather, our world is completely changed and we live in an age of “From Everywhere to Everywhere”.

    The era of colonialism is behind us or so it should be! Yes, there are still problems with the spirit of the colonization. But, it’s time for a new approach. Yes, many have pointed to the post-colonial reactions… But, it’s high time we moved to a decade of mutuality: where the best from every sector of the world can enhance one another.

    JapanThat is why we have shifted the role of Mary Jo Wilson from a field leader in solely Japan, for which she still overseas our missionary efforts, to a role serving more globally, helping us engage with one another cross-culturally. Mary Jo, now our vice president for missional engagement, will be with me these next two weeks co-teaching in India. 

    map of AsiaPray for us as we teach on Global Mission and seek to invest in the lives of our current cohorts in both the North and the South of India. We seek to encourage our friends as fellow co-laborers in Christ’s kingdom. I’m sure we’ll learn more from them than they will from us! It’ll be a fantastic few weeks together. 

    Pray too for us at Asian Access as we seek to move beyond the colonial and post-colonial eras of mission to a place of deep mutuality and partnership in mission! We hope to begin to build new East/West partnerships between churches in the West with churches across Asia. If this is of interest to you, write Mary Jo at mjwilson@asianaccess.org We’d love to be in touch from you and learn from you!

    How do you see the future of mission engagement?

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  5. A Theology of Dish Washing

    Lord of the pots and pans and things,
    since I've no time to be
    a saint by doing lovely things,
    or watching late with thee,
    or dreaming in the dawnlight,
    or storming heaven's gates...
    make me a saint by getting meals
    and washing up the plates.
    Thou who didst love to give men food
    in room or by the sea,
    accept this service that I do—
    I do it unto thee.
    — Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God

    Several times while teaching for Asian Access, I am reminded of this quote by Brother Lawrence who reminds us of how we can always be in God’s presence, even in the most mundane tasks. As I head to India tomorrow, this rings true once again as the community there washes the dishes together after every meal. It’s their corporate way of reminding themselves that they are servant leaders as pastors, husbands, and fathers. This same practice happens across many of our countries.

    I’ll never forget listening to my colleague from Cambodia tell me that all the wives came up to him in tears thanking him for Asian Access. They said, “We hate it when our husbands go to pastors conferences. They leave us home alone to manage the house and all the problems of the church come to us. But, things are different when they go to Asian Access. When they come home, they are washing the dishes, changing the diapers, and doing the laundry. Beyond this, they learn to raise up other leaders so all the church problems no longer come only to us.”

    takeshi washing dishes 2016 04 28

    I noticed this picture on Facebook recently when one of our Sri Lankan students commented about one of our faculty members. It brought me back to washing dishes in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Bangladesh. What a powerful reminder of the importance of serving first! And, as Brother Lawrence reminds us, these very acts are opportunities for us to grow even closer to Christ. 

    Jesus himself modeled this type of leadership for us. See his words below to his disciples.

    Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. -John 13:14-17

    Now, if I could only consistently live up to these values in my own home! I do well from time to time but too often I fall far short… May I practice your presence Jesus by modeling your leadership in my home and my life more often!

    How about you? Do you practice what Jesus preached? Do you practice being in his presence as you serve no matter the task at hand? I’d love to hear your wisdom in this area of life… Do share!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    jhandley@asianaccess.org | @jwhandley

  6. Putting a wrap on the A2 Global Leaders' Summit

    Jakarta sunset 500

    Dear Friends,

    "Thank you everyone for praying for us this week we've been here in Jakarta, Indonesia for our Global Leaders Summit with Asian Access and it has been a fantastic week...

    C.B. Samuel from India has been investing deeply in our lives, helping us grow stronger in Christ, grow stronger in community, and helping us as we build capacity of those leaders that we work with, so that we can be about investing those things in others' lives across the Asia.

    Today folks are going home to twelve different countries, and I pray that you would pray for them as they go forth. You know a lot of them are facing things like persecution in their country; we've been praying for them this week. And we know that you're faithful to pray for them.

    We're also grateful for your support. So thank you for walking with us this week. I know many of you have been praying for us, and we are deeply grateful.

    Pray for us as we look to the year ahead. This is going to be Asian Access' 50th anniversary this next year. And so we're excited with what God has in store for us in this coming year, so keep us in your prayers and thank you for your support."

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

     Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdP0YTzZI-g

  7. A2 Global Leaders' Summit 2016: day 3 reflection

    Joe Yoshiya screencap 2016 04 22Dear Friends,

    I asked Yoshiya Hari, Assistant National Director of Asian Access Japan about his highlight from day 3 of the Global Leaders' Summit wrapping up in Jakarta. Yoshiya was honored to lead worship—the first time he's ever done so in English—today for the group of leaders from a dozen countries.

    Yoshiya appreciated C.B. Samuel helping us to dig deeply into these three daily emphases:

    • Intimate love relationship with God
    • Living in Community
    • Accelerating Kingdom Leaders

    He also mentioned other activities we all enjoyed, such as praying together (supporting one another in prayer) and playing together (zip-line, volleyball and soccer) as a community of brothers and sisters.

    Finally, Yoshiya also thanked everyone for upholding Asian Access in their prayers during this summit. Watch this brief video clip.

    Please be praying for this summit as it concludes tonight. We'll continue posting more updates in the coming weeks...

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

     Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dONVLJq4o

  8. A2 Global Leaders' Summit 2016: day 2 reflection

    joe reflection day2 protected screenshot 2016 04 21Dear Friends,

    I sat with a long-time friend of Asian Access to ask what his highlight was from day 2 of the Global Leaders' Summit held in Jakarta. He was impressed with both the teaching on community earlier in the day and practicing it in the afternoon. "You don't only say it, you do it." Watch this brief video clip.

    Please be praying for this conference as it wraps up on April 22. We'll continue posting updates...

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

     Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snGIV2-EkwA

  9. A2 Global Leaders' Summit 2016: day 1 reflection

    joe sterling screengrab 2016 04 20Dear Friends,

    I asked Sterling Miller, Asian Access Missional Partner in Japan for his highlight from day 1 of the Global Leaders' Summit, April 20, being held in Jakarta. Sterling also offered a unique way to pray for the Church in Asia. Watch this brief video clip.

    Please be praying for this conference; we'll be posting updates throughout the week.

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

     Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJsmQ6QjOdI

  10. Anticipating A2 Global Leaders' Summit 2016

    joe and meng aun 2016 04 19Dear Friends,

    I pulled in Meng Aun Hour from A2/Cambodia for a quick preview of the A2 Global Leaders' Summit 2016. Listen to Meng as he shares his anticipation and his prayer requests for the gathering, which starts Wednesday. Watch this brief video clip.

    Please be praying for this conference; we'll be posting updates throughout the week.

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

     

     Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X966DLZ6w54

  11. A Marathon Earthquake in Japan

    Two major earthquakes and more than 500 aftershocks have rocked

    Published on 19 April, 2016 By 

    Japan (MNN) — Over 500 aftershocks have followed two major earthquakes near the Japanese city Kumamoto since last Thursday.

    “The continuous earthquake is making the situation worse and…rescue work has been delayed,” Asian Access’s Takeshi Takazawa says. “So it’s fighting with the time because [the] first earthquake has happened the fourteenth and it’s been more than three, four days has passed. So it’s getting difficult.”

    Epicenter near Kumamoto, Japan (graphic courtesy BBC)

    The earthquake epicenters have been shallow so damages are concentrated in smaller areas, but they’re still extreme.

    About 42 people have been killed, and 2,000 are estimated to have been injured. People are still missing, some trapped inside fallen buildings. Roads have also suffered damages and are expected to suffer more. Mudslides are making it difficult to access villages and towns and heavy rain is predicted to come soon, triggering more. Electricity has gone out in a number of areas, stirring problems for those in need of medical attention.

    So far, 180-thousand people have been safely evacuated from earthquake-hit areas.

    The Japanese government is working hard to provide food, water, diapers, and basic clothing. They postponed access for the U.S. Military until yesterday, four days after the tremors started.

    “There are still missing people, so with the U.S. forces, we would like for the operations to go into effect as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Col. Mashahiro Sugawara of the Joint Staff Council of Japan’s self-defense force told CBS News.

    About 10 people remain missing in the region and rescue workers are digging through debris to find them.

    Looking back at the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, there’s an awareness that the damages won’t last for a day, but will last for months.

    “Any big earthquake…it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” Takazawa says. “The rush and the speed is required for rescue stage, but the relief stage and the recover, and the rebuild stage, in order to move into that – it takes time.”

    Takazawa says one of the best ways to do that is by coming alongside the people and local church. That’s exactly what Asian Access is doing.

    The ministry is coming alongside indigenous people to empower them and restore strength. They’re providing supplies and encouragement, but ultimately they’re listening to what the people need.

    “We try to be sensitive to the local leaders for timing. Local church pastor[s] understand the local situation the best. So we try to listen to the local leaders that God has placed in those area and then try to respond to that.”

    With indigenous partners, Asian Access is identifying which areas have been overlooked or haven’t received enough supplies from government aid.

    The people are terrified as the ground continues to shake in more aftershocks, and lights are out.

    “Night is very dark. So that physical darkness gives the people very uncertain feelings,” Takazawa says.

    The local and global churches are helping people feel more at ease through their provisions for both physical and spiritual needs.

    God is using the disaster as a way for churches to reach people with His message. Only about one percent of the Japanese population are Christian. But with the demonstration of love, there is hope for new followers.

    “When [the] global church come alongside the local church in the disaster area, we experience tremendous love.”

    Asian Access asks for your prayer for the people in Japan. Pray for healing and that the people would hear the message of God.

    Asian Access has a matching fund of $100,000. If you feel compelled to help, “please join this endeavor and continue to serve the expansion of the kingdom of God in Japan and beyond.”

    Click here to help.

     

    Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:12)
    {mp3remote}http://www.asianaccess.org/mnn/4-5min-Apr19-2016.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  12. $100,000 Matching Grant for SW Japan Quake Relief

    Earthquakes Rock SW Japan: Asian Access Provides Relief

    Epicenter near Kumamoto, Japan (graphic courtesy BBC)

    Japan was shaken once again with two devastating earthquakes in Kyushu, Japan:

    • More than 250,000 people are homeless
    • At least 41 have died
    • And dozens more are feared trapped under the rubble
    • At least 2000 people were treated for injuries, 200 are in serious condition

    It’s a race against time to try to rescue them says Prime Minister Abe. See the latest BBC report here: Japan earthquake: Thousands remain without vital services

     

    Asian Access Disaster Relief Philosophy

    A2 disaster philosophy excerpt graphic

    In line with Asian Access philosophy of coming alongside local partners, we received a $100,000 matching challenge grant to bring hope and healing in the midst of the disaster.

    "Our principles of coming along side of churches to ministered to the communities affected by the earthquake would be the same as the Northeast triple disasters. For example, one church in the evacuation zone with 600 people never received food/water yet since yesterday. The pastor is asking us to bring food/water. We would like to help the pastor/church to help the community instead of "WE" help the community."
    — Takeshi Takazawa, National Director Asian Access/Japan 

    100k earthquake 3795 thermometer 250x350

     

    Pray for the people of Japan and especially the survivors. May the rescue workers find them quickly!Will you help us?

    • Give to help churches come alongside and bring the healing touch of Christ in the midst of the pain
    • Help us match this $100k challenge to bring aid to the nation

     

    How to Give toward Asian Access' Relief Work

      • Support churches who are doing relief work. A2 is distributing funds raised through local churches in Japan for use where it's needed most. To give online, click the red “Give Now!” button (US$) below or click here...

    Give Now!

    JPY¥

    ...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.

     

    We are grateful for your support and ask you to join us as we seek to serve through local communities together!

    With Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

     

    More Information

     

  13. 10 Keys to Reaching More People

    Moving Evangelism From An Optional Extra To An Important Priority

    people reach people

    There is much to suggest that the church in the west, at least, is living in a post Christian generation. Evangelism has fallen on hard times, and ironically it seems that seminars to help people learn how to share their faith are doing no better. And yet our denominations, although aware of their continued decrease in numbers, seem largely unmotivated to address the issue.

    If ever there was a time to get back to basics, then surely it is now and I would like to suggest that the following 10 keys will give you a platform on which to build a fruitful church that will reach lost people. These 10 keys will help you to take evangelism in your church from being an optional extra to an important priority.

    Key #1: People Reach People

    Let’s remember that Jesus said, “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8) and Paul stressed that “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through US”. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Of themselves, our best programs, our best technology, our best music and our best coffee do not reach people. Only people reach people. All of these resources are servants for us to use, but they are only as good as the people who use them. Because with these resources it is not what we do, it is what we do with what we do. It is true that some have the gift of evangelism, but we are all called to be witnesses. It may sound obvious, but it needs to be said first and foremost that PEOPLE REACH PEOPLE; evangelism is a priority for each one of us. It is useless for us to proceed without accepting this foundational key.

    Key #2: Particular People Reach More People

    Experience has revealed that there are particular people who have shown themselves to be more fruitful in reaching people with the good news of Jesus. Consequently, it would make sense that we identify these people, train them and release them to give priority time to a ministry of evangelism. We need to put them in the front lines of the church where they are more likely to connect with unchurched people. Included in this list of people are those with a particular gift of evangelism, those who are new Christians (they are the ones that still have a large number of non-Christian friends) and those who have been radically converted.

    This particular key came home to me when a lady in my church with the gift of evangelism joined our thrift shop team and began to naturally talk about Jesus to a steady number of customers that she met at the shop counter. For her, serving in our thrift shop gave her an opportunity to connect with people in our community about her faith in Jesus and a number of customers became Christians as a result.

    Key #3: Passionate People Reach People

    The best apologetic for Jesus is a changed life which results in Jesus becoming good news to the transformed person. Another thing I have learned is that you don’t need to do a course on how to tell good news. Try and stop a person from talking about the new addition to their family, or the person they have just married or their new car.

    The big problem with our evangelistic efforts is a MOTIVATIONAL problem more that it is an equipping problem. “If Christians lack the desire to witness, then our conferences and courses, strategies and schemes, missions and crusades, will all be utterly in vain. This is a simple truth that the church has been slow to learn.”(David Watson from ‘I Believe In Evangelism’).

    It was Francis Schaeffer in his book ‘Death InThe City’ that said, “Our decline in evangelical concern must be explained by one of two things – either we have lost the sense of the lostness of the lost (ignorance) or we have suffered a loss of compassion (indifference). When Jesus is good news in the life of a believer, a lifestyle of witnessing automatically follows.

    Key #4: Pastors (Leaders) That Model A Life Of Witnessing Will Build A Church That Reaches People

    This key has to do with the principal of modelling. It all rises or falls on leadership. Jesus said a student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) Studies show that the evangelistic culture of a church is driven by its pastor. The principle of modelling concludes that:

    • Leaders can’t expect followers to do what leaders are not doing.
    • A church ultimately becomes like its leaders.
    • Leaders need to have PERSONAL EVANGELISM in their job description (2 Timothy 4:5)

    Key #5: Praying People Reach People

    “I urge them, FIRST OF ALL, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for EVERYONE… This is good and pleases God our saviour, WHO WANTS ALL MEN AND WOMEN TO BE SAVED.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

    Prayer is important because evangelism at its basic level is spiritual warfare. It was J Oswald Sanders who said in his book ‘The Divine Art Of Soul Winning’ “Prayer is God’s mightiest instrument in the salvation of souls and it is to be doubted if any soul is saved apart from the believing prayer of some Christian.

    Prayer for our evangelistic initiatives should be included in worship services, in small groups, in prayer meetings and in personal devotions. Every believer needs to be taught how to pray with authority for lost people.

    Key #6: Prepared People Reach People

    “Always be PREPARED to give an answer to EVERYONE who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

    Prepared people are people who are EQUIPPED (few churches have a witnessing training program), EXPECTANT and ENTRUSTED as stewards of the gospel. I was challenged by the need to equip Christians to be effective witnesses when I read of the address by William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, to his first officers graduation class.   He said after taking 2 years to teach them how to share their faith, “it would be better had you spent five minutes in hell”, because then they would be effective soul winners of their own.

    I now conduct an equipping course over 4 nights or 1 day called Discovering A Life Of Witnessing. Please feel free to contact me for more details regarding conducting a seminar at your church or in your city.

    Key #7: People Who Partner With The Father Reach People

    I developed a whole new approach to witnessing after I gained new perspective from the words of Jesus, where he said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day and I, too, am working… I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:17,19)

    The new perspective that came to me from these verses encouraged me to see that:

    • Evangelism is the Father’s work and I am to partner with Him in that which He is already doing.
    • It is the Holy Spirit that prepares people’s hearts and prompts me to speak to these people.
    • I must be available to speak to people when and where I see the Father at work.

    The results of this new perspective have caused me to go to a new level of witnessing effectiveness.

    Key #8: Perspective (Visionary) People Reach People

    “When he saw the crowds, Jesus had COMPASSION on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9;36)

    In this passage we have an excellent example of how Jesus modelled for us a life of perspective.

    Perspective people can live their lives:

    • Seeing people as Jesus saw people.
    • Feeling for people as Jesus felt for people.
    • Connecting with people as Jesus connected with people.

    As I walk through my city, I check my heart to see if I have the same perspective for people as Jesus did.

    Key #9: Powerful People Reach People

    When Jesus sent his disciples out on mission, he only ever gave them two things – power and authority (the right to use power).

    Just before his return to his Father in heaven, he linked receiving power with the call to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8). Paul states that “our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power…" (1 Thessalonians 1:6) The Bible knows nothing of powerless witnessing. Consequently, any training course on witnessing needs to include a segment on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Key #10: P3 People Impact More People

    I learned from my church growth lecturer Dr Peter Wagner that the way churches define witnessing will determine the fruitfulness of their evangelistic initiatives.

    Dr Wagner had 3 progressive levels of defining evangelism. The further a church advanced in these levels, would determine their success in reaching people for Christ.

    These levels are:

    • P1 evangelism = Presence evangelism. All we need to do is be a presence in our community and people will be attracted to Jesus by our good works.
    • P2 evangelism = Proclamation evangelism. We will not only be a presence, but we will look for opportunities to speak about Christ.
    • P3 evangelism = Persuasion evangelism. Churches at this level define evangelism by the number of people coming to Christ and they accept responsibility for reaching their generation with the gospel.

    Here are 10 keys that will take your church from seeing evangelism as an optional extra to becoming an important priority. These keys will help you get back to basics. Why not give yourself a mark out of ten for each of these keys and start setting some goals that will help you become a New Testament Missional Church.

    One such church I have read of is the Mosaic Church pastored by Erwin McManus. He writes, “ We have no members – only missionaries. There is nothing to join except a community on mission. We have little patience for self – indulgent spirituality that insists on everything being above us. We are committed to removing every non-essential barrier between God and humanity. We refuse to allow the gospel to become lost in our nostalgia or to appear irrelevant because we are.”

    Perhaps our modern day lack of evangelistic endeavour may have more to do with the culture of our churches than with the state of the world in which we live. Let’s get back to basics.

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/evangelism-from-optional-extra-important-priority-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. I appreciate your interest in Asia!

     

    Hi! I'm Takeshi Takazawa from Tokyo, Japan.

    I would like to say a big thank you for you—each of you—who have heart for Asia, praying for Asia, giving financially to Asia, and going to Asia.

    Thank you so much for getting involved in the ministry that God is doing right now in many countries of Asia. God is answering your prayer. God is working in and through you in Asia and this [video clip] is too short—I wish I could just come to you and and say face-to-face, "Thank you!"...but I can't go to you. So please allow me to say this through the screen:

    "Thank you so much. Your ministry and your prayer are happening. God has been answering your prayers in Asia and God is doing amazing work in Asia. Thank you so much!"

    Takeshi Signature 

    Takeshi Takazawa

     

    More Information

    Takeshi Takazawa"Asian Access is coming alongside leaders to accomplish what God has called them to do in the way God has called them to do it. This is why I have been involved in this ministry for decades. Asian Access is not called to transfer knowledge, but to create learning communities. This is what gets me excited. I am convinced that true partnership always takes place in authentic community. Asian Access is committed to this type of community within and across cultures."

    Takeshi Takazawa
     National Director, Asian Access/Japan

  15. Exciting year of empowering and equipping national leaders

    {youtube}https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh5BbQxDebI{/youtube}

    Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh5BbQxDebI

    This is an exciting year for Asian Access. There is a lot happening out there. I just spent the last few days with four key leaders from different countries like Japan, Mongolia, Cambodia and India. And listening to them would inspire you. I wish you could be here with me to hear their voices.

    It's exciting as we look to the future:

    • The church in Mongolia wants to be at ten percent of the population following Christ by 2020.
    • The church in Japan has a vision to go from 8,000 churches to 50,000 churches.
    • The church in Nepal wants to reach 75,000 churches.
    • And the Chinese church wants to repay the debt they owe God by sending 20,000 missionaries from their country to help finish the task of reaching this world for Christ.

    The work of these men and women Asia is inspiring, and we hope to lift up their voices in the future by allowing them to share what God is doing and put on their hearts.

    Our vision at Asian Access is simply to come alongside to help empower and equip them as God has called them to these amazing feats. I hope you'll join me in this effort and thank you for partnering with us.

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

     

    More Information

    Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh5BbQxDebI

  16. C.B. Samuel

    CBSamuel 2016"Over the years through my missional involvement with Pastors in the region I have recognised four critical leadership challenges. First, the exercise of Pastoral Spiritual authority that is derived from clarity of call and purpose of the call; second, the definiteness of a Vision that is bigger than their own congregations, third, is the ability to move people to the vision through sound Biblical teaching, building community, developing reproductive leaders and passionate commitment to mission. And fourth, is the openness and the experience of working with the larger community of Pastors in the region. My experience is that Asian Access has been specifically meeting this challenge by providing a forum to learn from experience and expertise both from external resources and also from the members of each cohort."

    Rev. C.B. Samuel
    Advisor, Micah Global;
    Former CEO of EFICOR (The Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief)
    Council of Reference, A2/India

    More Information on C.B. Samuel:

    CB Samuel, is a Bible teacher, pastor, theologian, mentor, former CEO of a major Indian relief and development organization (EFICOR), missiologist, evangelical leader and passionate advocate for the poor.

    While CB has developed a global ministry, teaching frequently in Asia, USA and Australia, he and his wife Selina remain strongly engaged in integral mission in India. They have a particular passion for building and strengthening younger leaders in their spiritual formation and their mission engagement. CB serves as a Theological Advisor for both EFICOR and Micah Global.

     

    Read more endorsements...

  17. Helping Leaders Thrive

    {youtube}https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvlFsVZ0S_8{/youtube}

    Play video >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvlFsVZ0S_8 

    Introduction to Asian Access

    Studies have shown that the biggest challenge we face in the world today is a crisis of leadership. Leaders are struggling to survive. All sorts of problems being thrown their way, and they don't know how to handle it. Leaders are faced with war, natural disasters, poverty, famine, political unrest, social injustice, and persecution to name a few. By building a learning community through a 2-year transformational process, Asian Access is seeing significant impact.

    Joe Handley"Asian Access comes alongside to help leaders thrive in their ministries and in their lives."

    — Joe Handley

     

    From the Inside Out

    1. Develop. We help leaders grow, first in their walk with Christ, learning to nurture their love relationship with God. From there, they focus on growing in Christlikeness, living this character transformation out as leaders. [more...]
    2. Multiply. From this inner life growth as a foundation, ministry flows out. They begin to reproduce disciple-making leaders, so that the leaders flourishing in their churches and communities. [more...]
    3. Transform. It is these transformed leaders who become the hope of the future. They become the church planters in their nations and missional CEOs in their companies. These leaders minister in their worlds by becoming agents of transformation in their families, churches, companies, communities and even countries. [more...]

    Essentially Asian Access acts an accelerator for church leaders, helping them thrive in ministry and helping them impact their communities, their families and their nations.

    It's amazing and humbling to see what God is doing. Thank you for partnering with us.

     

    Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvlFsVZ0S_8

     

    Asian Access


    samuel-chiangGreat leaders engage busy intersections across multiple domains. Asian Access has not only equipped indigenous leaders to speak effectively into their communities, but also developed local ownership with profound transformative and sustainable changes. Their results are astounding!

    Rev. Samuel E. Chiang
    CEO,Seed Company

  18. Follow up to broad daylight assassination in Bangladesh

    Bangladesh: tracking down MBBs

    by

    Map of BangladeshBangladesh (MNN) — It took 28 years to get a petition before the High Court in Bangladesh, putting the official state religion in question.

    Yet, as soon as the case opened it was shut, with the judges choosing to maintain the status quo. The threat of instability was already rising, as more attacks against Christians and Muslim-Background Believers (MBBs) surfaced in the days leading up to the hearing.

    Religious minority groups raised concerns over the ruling, saying this would only embolden Islamist forces from inflicting more terror in the country. Says Peter Mazumder, with Asian Access, persecution is not a new problem. The pressure has been increasing steadily for over a year–about the same time fundamentalist Muslim groups surfaced.

    That’s proven especially true for Gospel workers. Although the constitution includes freedom of religion, and there aren’t blasphemy laws or an anti-conversion bill on the books, in practice, antipathy toward Christians is severe.

    Pressure to recant the Christian faith will be exerted by family, friends, and neighbors. That’s doubly true of a Muslim-Background Believer (MBB).  The murder of 65-year-old Hossain Ali last month resonates deeply within the Christian community in Bangladesh. It was also a warning. Extremists are hunting down the so-called “apostates” and punishing them for leaving Islam for Christianity, regardless of how long ago it happened. Mazumder says, “We found that they have lots of lists, how many years they became a Christian, from their ministry background.”

    (Photo courtesy A2) Islamic extremists have taken to posing as people who are expressing an interest in learning more about the story of Jesus. “Those who were hearing the Gospel [the extremists who were posing], most of them were finding out who is actively doing this kind of work, identifying them, and then killing [them],” he explains.

    What’s more, even though Ali’s murder was blamed on a group that has sworn allegiance to ISIS, “When the government found out, they did not believe that this was related to the Islamic State. They think that this is the work of fundamentalist groups who are trying to collapse the government.”

    Because of the terror threats around religious holidays, “The government is giving some protection when we have a church service, like when we have some kind of Christmas gathering or Easter gathering,” says Mazumder. While they are grateful for the protection at that time, he adds, “It isn’t a long-time protection.”

    (Photo courtesy A2) Faced with the extremists who are essentially hunting down MBBs, A2 partners need a creative response. “We just ask God to reveal different ideas of how we can share the Gospel in different ways.” They are also wary, Mazumder adds, “especially in our office. We just hired two more extra security officers so that not just anybody can come inside the office.”

    There’s also subtle pressure. “One of my staff converted from Islam 15 years ago, along with his parents. Now he has his own coaching center. The thing is that the students [found out] he converted from Islam, and they stopped coming.” And that morphed into outright threats, notes Mazumder. They said,

    “‘You converted from Islam to Christianity, and you dishonored us, so we won’t come to your place to study. Be careful of your life.’ Pray for [the staff member], because he’s also in danger right now.”

    Under the threat of instability, Asian Access international committees are praying in concert. Mazumder explains, “They are very concerned and helping us to connect with the prayer warriors in different areas who are praying with us.”

    Pray for Bangladeshi Christian community to boldly proclaim Christ in spite of persecution. Pray that other “should come to Christ, and also that they should not leave their faith.”

     

    Listen to the broadcast (top story)
    {mp3remote}http://www.asianaccess.org/mnn/4-5min-Apr07-2016.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    More Information

  19. 3.11 - God’s Presence and My Purpose in Midst of Pain

    I met some new friends recently, Masaki and Kat. My wife and I enjoyed a good bowl of ramen with this great couple a few days ago, along with mutual friends, who have been trying to introduce us for a very long time. The ramen was good, but the new friendships are even better.

    kat mcdowell website screenshot

    As we talked about our lives and love for Japan, we realized that Kat McDowell is a tremendously talented musical artist, based in Los Angeles, but with a global reach. The former Sony label artist has now launched her own indie label and can be found at http://katmusic.jp / http://kat-mcdowell.com. Kat’s father is from New Zealand and her mother is from Japan. She grew up in both places. This is her YouTube channel description:

    Healing, inspiring and connecting the world through words & melodiesI'm a half Japanese/ half Kiwi girl living in Los Angeles and touring the world!

    This video clip, which she made herself using an iPhone, is an emotional testimony to God’s presence with us, even in the midst of life’s storms, including the Great Japan Disaster of 3.11.11. It's also about the human search for meaning and purpose in life.

    Its message compliments the clip “Journeying with the Japanese” that I posted on 3/11/2016 about Asian Access missionaries, who are trying to physically show God’s presence. They are trying to help their friends in NE Japan find Jesus and the hope He can bring to them. It’s not over yet.

    I am excited to show 3.11 to you…

     

    3.11 Official Music & lyric video [字幕付き]

    View on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAQz5BjOxgk

     

    Jeff Johnston

    ___________________________

    Video Information

    from Kat’s 3.11 YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAQz5BjOxgk

    Published on May 10, 2012 — My first music video from the album "Hope in you" (release is 2012/6/20). I you like this video please share it with your friends! Like it, comment etc!! I will do my best to keep writing better songs and making better videos!

     

    Japanese Lyrics/Translation

    0:14     3.11だった
    0:18    海が私の家をれて行った
    0:21    ほこりだらけの空
    0:23    の音
    0:24    怖さとい
    0:26    カモメが泣いてる
    0:28    あなたが写ってる写真が泥だらけになってた
    0:31    あのいつもの何かたくらんでそな笑
    0:35    ぼやけた景色がほほをつたって流れる
    0:38    静かさが泣きはじめ耳をつんざくよ
    0:41    
    0:44    教えてほしい
    0:47    あなたがいるのは分かってるから
    0:51    私をしてほしい
    0:56    いろんな人生
    0:59    いろんな質問
    1:02    いろんなの川が海に流れてく
    1:09    私の人生って何
    1:12    なぜここにいるの
    1:16    答えを必ず探しだす
    1:19    たとえ人生最後の呼吸をするまで時間がかかっても
    1:37    混乱のまま夜になった
    1:40    子供を探す母もいた
    1:43    目に映るイメ
    1:46    止められない
    1:48    忘れられない
    1:50    星が夜空を照らしてる
    1:53    こんな星空今までた事がない
    1:57    一番暗い夜光をなくした
    2:00    でもあなたがいたの
    2:02    ずっといたの
    2:03    
    2:06    教えてほしい
    2:09    傷跡と心をいやす方法を
    2:17    一つの命
    2:21    一つの理由
    2:24    一つの希望
    2:28    一つの季
    2:31    私の人生って何
    2:35    なぜここにいるの
    2:38    それを必ず探し出す
    2:42    まだわってはいないから
    2:49    まだわってはいないから
    2:58    まだわってはいない

     

    Available on iTunes

    Category: Music
    License: Standard YouTube License

    去年は東北に何回か行って、色んな人の話を聞きました。
    この曲はその人達のストーリーを私なりに世界の皆に伝えるためにあえて英語で書きまし­た。iPhone でストップモーションのミュージックビデオを作ってみました。
    もし気に入って貰えたら友達ともfacebook でシェアしたり、つぶやいてください!
    この歌についてのストーリーも今後アップするので登録してね!

    katmcdowell logo

    Contact Info

    Photo credits

    Images courtesy Kat McDowell, website: http://www.katmusic.jp / http://kat-mcdowell.com/

  20. Six Characteristics of the Person Jesus Uses

    luke5 left nets followed

    From the time I left the business world to enter full time ministry, I had a conviction that to grow a church I needed to focus on growing leaders who would grow the church. Or as Paul Scanlon has said, "To grow a big church, focus on growing big people.

    This led me to a very important question, "Who is the person Jesus uses?" For I wanted to be a person Jesus could use and I wanted to raise up a generation of people that Jesus could use.

    Good leaders know what and who they are looking for and consequently have a better chance of achieving their ultimate goal. Take, for example, the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who placed the following advertisement in a London newspaper:

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

    Shackleton and his men did return to their homes safely, and were given honour and recognition.

    Jesus was another person on a mission. In the early days of his public ministry, his influence grew rapidly and there came a time where he took a strategic step to bring together a team of emerging leaders to train and raise up to serve with him and ultimately to take over from him. Perhaps the main reason why many churches remain relatively small today, is that their leaders are either incapable or unwilling to take this step.

    So, who is the person Jesus uses? Can we draw some conclusions from the way he went about calling men to join him and follow him? I think we can, and it was when I reflected on his calling of four fishermen in Luke 5:1-11 that I saw some key qualities identified in the lives of those Jesus called.

    Robert Coleman in his timeless classic The Master Plan of Evangelism, comments on the men Jesus called:

    "What is more revealing about these men is at first they do not impress us as being key men... For the most part they were common laboring men, probably having no professional training beyond the rudiments of knowledge necessary for their vocations... Most of them were raised in the poor section of the country around Galilee... they were impulsive, temperamental, easily offended, and had all the prejudices of their environment. In short, those men selected by the Lord to be his assistants represented an average cross section of the lot of society in their day... YET JESUS SAW IN THESE SIMPLE MEN THE POTENTIAL OF LEADERSHIP FOR THE KINGDOM. They were indeed 'unlearned and ignorant' according to the world's standard (Acts 4:13) but they were teachable."

    It is of interest to note that Jesus did not recruit his men from Bible Colleges or Universities or the political arena. He largely found ordinary men in the marketplace, men with certain qualities. And we see in the calling of these four fishermen an important principle; He TESTED them to APPROVE them and then to ENTRUST them with resposibility. How did he do that? Let's follow the story.

    Jesus comes to the Sea of Galilee and is looking for a vantage point from which he can teach the large crowd that is following him. He sees a few tired fishermen cleaning their nets. They had been out fishing all night and failed to catch anything. Jesus imposes on Simon Peter and asks him to put out a little from the shore so he could sit down and teach the people. In this testing moment we see the first quality that is revealed: A SERVANT HEART.

     

    1. Servant Heart

    For Jesus asked Simon to serve when:

    • he would not have felt like serving;
    • he was already busily occupied;
    • he was asked to do something quite menial;
    • he wanted to go home to catch up on some sleep.

    This incident reminds me of a person who said, "I don't mind being called a servant. What I do mind is someone treating me like a servant." Jesus looks for and uses people with a servant heart. Speaking of himself he said that he came "not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Further, he gives great importance to the one who is willing to serve when he says," whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant..." (Matthew 20:26).

     

    2. Obedience or a Teachable Heart

    The second quality Jesus identified in this encounter with these four fishermen is the quality of OBEDIENCE or a TEACHABLE heart. When Jesus finishes teaching the crowd he asks the fishermen to do something that on the surface seems quite illogical. He tells them to put out into deep water and put down their nets for a catch. This call would have tested their willingness to obey Jesus because:

    • he (a carpenter) asked them (fishermen) to do a task in which they were far more experienced than him;
    • he asked them to lower their nets after they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing;
    • he asked them to do something when they would have been far from feeling like doing it. They were tired and disappointed.

    It was important for Jesus to ensure that these men would pass the test of obedience before he called them to follow him, even to the point of offending their minds to reveal their hearts. His philosophy was that a person needed to become a follower before they would be entrusted with a position of leadership. He who cannot obey, cannot command. Authority is given to those who come under authority.

    To the astonishment of these fishermen we read that they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Simon Peter's reaction indicated another quality that would reveal the person Jesus uses. We read, "When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.' " Suddenly Peter recognises who Jesus is and he humbles himself in the presence of Jesus. Here is the third quality Jesus is looking for: HUMILITY.

     

    3. Humility

    The humble people are people who are aware:

    • of their sinfulness and the grace of Jesus;
    • of their inadequacy and their total dependence on Jesus;
    • that if they have Jesus and nothing else, that they have everything.

    Jesus spoke of the importance of humility when he said, "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. And he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11).

    Humility is the one characteristic that attracts the presence of God above all others. In Isaiah 57:15 the Lord provides us with his address where he lives : "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him/her who is contrite (meaning crushed or broken) and lowly in spirit..." In other words, God uses broken people.

    So far so good in regard to the leadership selection interview. Jesus moves the interview forward when he says to Simon, "Don't be afraid, from now on you will catch people." Here Jesus mentions the job description he is calling these four fishermen to undertake. Here we find the fourth quality of the person Jesus uses, that of HAVING A HEART FOR PEOPLE.

     

    4. Having a Heart for People

    The person Jesus uses will go through life leaving behind a trail of lives that have been transformed in Jesus name. They will be consumed with how they can continually be adding value to people. Their hearts will be broken by the things that break the heart of Jesus who, "when he saw the crowds, he had COMPASSION ON THEM, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36).

    I have been surprised at times to find leaders who don't seem to like people. This is not so with the person Jesus uses and so I continue to look out for people who display this deep quality of compassion and are willing to invest their lives in things that are eternal, people.

    So we come to the climax of this encounter and wait to see if these four fishermen will display what is perhaps the greatest of all qualities that Jesus requires. And we are not disappointed, because we go on to read of these men, "So they pulled their boats up on shore, LEFT EVERYTHING, and followed him." The fifth quality of the person Jesus uses is AVAILABILITY.

     

    5. Availability

    One of my favourite axioms is this : "Jesus uses ordinary people who make themselves AVAILABLE to him, to do extraordinary things."

    Jesus uses people with great availability more than those with great ability. Jesus wasn't afraid to make big demands on people, for it is only then that he would get big responses from people.

    The founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, once said,

    "The secret of success for me has been that God has had all there was of me to have. There may have been men with greater opportunities: but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart, and a vision of what Jesus Christ could do, I made up my mind that God would have all there was of William Booth. 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."

    That's AVAILABILITY.

    The story of Jesus calling of the four fishermen to join his team ends there. But there is one more quality that is vital. I am going to add five more words to the response of the four fishermen: "So they pulled their boats up on the shore, left everything and followed him" AND NEVER STOPPED FOLLOWING HIM.

     

    6. Faithfulness

    The sixth quality that Jesus demands is the quality of FAITHFULNESS, of never giving up, of finishing well. The test of any person is what it takes to stop him/her. Unfortunately, studies show that few leaders finish well.

    One final thought. Will you notice that all of these qualities have nothing to do with a person's IQ, but everything to do with a person's heart. So you can qualify, if you are willing to pay the price and leave everything to follow Jesus. And what a great epitaph to write on a person's tombstone and to have recorded in heaven for eternity; "Here is a person Jesus used."

    And don't forget, Jesus TESTS to APPROVE to ENTRUST. In what way might he be testing you right now in the specially designed leadership emergence program he has mapped out for you?

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/person-jesus-uses-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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