Power of Passion | Nepal’s Church Planting Initiative
Well, we’ve been back from Nepal for almost two weeks, and the power of passion was real! I’m already making mental preparations for my next trip. Karen and I had the privilege of speaking at two different Global Advance conferences. Karen spoke at a women’s conference and I was part of a team that was training potential church planters. Both conferences were absolutely amazing with over 250 participants at each one. It’s a good thing Nepali people are smaller than us, because we were packed in!
Our team was filled with amazing people and it was an honor to work with each of them. Besides Karen and myself, there was: Whitney Daughtry, director of The Global Advance Esther Initiative, Ken Janke, director of just about everything at Global Advance (I just call him “El Jefe”), and Taylor and Irene Dufrene from Northplace Church in Sachse, Texas. Taylor and Irene are originally from Louisiana, which got Karen cranked up. They talked about Cajun food the entire first day, which made me constantly hungry (I promise Whitney, it was their fault!).
As I’ve come to expect, God brought each member of our team together for a reason. Over the course of the week, not only did we grow really close, we began to recognize and rely on each others unique strengths. It’s always cool to watch how God does that.
That Nagging Feeling
As each conference progressed throughout the week, each one had their own unique high points. Our team enjoyed swapping stories each night over dinner or at this really cool coffee shop we found a few blocks from our hotel. But I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that told me something was different about this conference. Maybe not so much different, but something deeper, something God wanted to highlight for me, something He wanted to challenge me with.
It seems to happen everywhere I go. Rarely is it some earth-shattering revelation that I alone, the great and anointed man, am the one that God shares His secrets with. It is usually something simple and obvious that God makes even more clear, or some basic truth that He will cause to pierce even deeper into my heart.
This is becoming eerily similar to that point when I’m preaching when Karen gives me some kind of signal that I’ve chased this rabbit far enough and it’s time to get back on topic (I’ve learned to ignore her over the years – I can’t have that kind of negativity when I’m so obviously onto something that will blow the minds of those listening and change their lives forever!). So please bear with me for a moment…
I’ve learned to just be patient when God nags me like that. Over the years it has become increasingly clear how much I don’t know. Even the things that I think I know, or that I know I know, I don’t really know. You know? Anyway, I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with my ignorance rather than the assumption that I know everything – but that’s a secret, so let’s not get carried away with the implications of that statement.
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” It’s that “piercing to the division of soul and of spirit” and “discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” that we miss sometimes. When we miss these points, we never get beyond what is seen, or known, on the surface level. However, if we let Him, God has this way of taking something simple and piercing our soul with it so that it becomes an even clearer, tangible truth that moves from our head to our heart, to some place deeper inside of us. When that happens, it ceases to be intellectual knowledge and takes on an experiential, and often transformative quality. I’m trying to learn to look for those moments. They seem to be all around us, if we will just slow down, get comfortable in our ignorance, listen to what the Spirit is saying, and pay attention to what God is doing.
Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah; God was nagging me…
The Power of Passion
It hit me on the morning of the last day. Ken was preaching on the process of discipleship and the need for the older men to mentor the younger men. In the middle of his message, he asked all the men over 40 to go out into the courtyard and line up side by side. We had around 265 men and slightly less than half were over 40 years old. While we were trying to get them lined up, Ken told the younger guys that it was their responsibility to seek out mentors, to find older men to disciple them. So he told them to go outside and simply walk up to one of them, whoever was available, and ask them to pray for them and to bless them.
What happened next was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. When they started asking for prayer, the older men didn’t hesitate. They prayed, and they prayed hard! What started as a few guys praying built into a low roar! They were crying out to God as they prayed for each other and then together began to pray for their nation. Let me tell you, the power of passion was real and all of heaven broke loose! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that level of passion-filled prayer in a group of men before.
Jesus said in Matthew 11 that the Kingdom of Heaven is forcefully advancing and violent men take it by force. There was some violence being done in the heavenly realms that day. On September 7, 2016, a couple of hundred men linked arms, crossed generational and social classes, showed the power of passion, and stormed the gates of hell together, and Nepal will never be the same
When The Power of Passion Meets Faith
As I listened to these guys pray, images of the rest of the week came flooding back to me. I remember watching them furiously take notes and watching their faces light up as each of us spoke. I recalled memories of watching them sit around their tables and dreaming together about what God was calling them to do while writing their own personal mission statements. I remember being able to hear the women praying from across the courtyard even though I was sitting right next to one of our speakers. And I will never forget the way God unified them around VISION-2020 – a plan to train 150 church planters in the next 4 years and see a new church planted in each of the 75 districts of Nepal.
I remember talking to Ken and Taylor one morning about how they actually believed that God could change their country. Then again, “humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (Mark, 10:27, NLT) That’s another example of something that we believe with our minds, but for most of us, it hasn’t yet pierced our souls. But after witnessing first-hand what God is doing in Nepal, I am even more convinced that when the power of passion meets faith, that’s when we witness God do the impossible.
I want some of that!