A lot has happened in the Global Youth Evangelism ministry since my posting last Summer. During a Global Youth Evangelism board meeting last September, it became clear to me that I must pass on the leadership of our organization to the younger generation.
After more than 53 years of serving the Lord and GYE in ministry, I could see that the vision, direction and emphasis of our organization was about to change. This "new" vision is not in keeping with a burden and vision that the Lord had planted and sustained in my own heart concerning the operation and extension of the Christian Worker Bible Study Series. Our desire and focus was to make available a simple, low-cost Bible study to every hungry soul who desired to study the word of God. By God's mercy and grace, He has enabled us to reach hundreds of thousands in six continents with these Bible study materials. They are now helping believers in seventeen different languages to grow in their relationship with their Lord Jesus.
We believe that the Lord has blessed our efforts, because we continued to follow the spiritual principle of sowing (reinvesting) the benefits and proceeds derived the Christian Worker Bible Study Series, back into the same ministry. Following this principle of scripture (Isaiah 55:10, 11) of sowing the seed rather than consuming it, has been proven effective over the past five decades. Our desire and prayer is that under new leadership this principle will continue to guide future vision and practices.
So, in closing this final posting, I ask that you pray for the new president of Global Youth Evangelism, Rev Mike Farias. Please pray for wisdom, direction and guidance by the Holy Spirit and submission to the Good Shepherd Who is always gentle and merciful to His sheep.
Global Youth Evangelism will celebrate 50 years of international ministry, May 16, 2015. The Jubilee celebration activities are scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. at 1044 Trinity Street, Orland, CA. The program will include music, a video presentation highlighting the 50 years of ministry plus the dedication of the recently reconstructed publishing building. A long-time friend of the church, pastor Gaylord Enns will be the featured speaker. Rev. Enns is the published author of "Love Revolution" and has traveled extensively in connection with his book.
Global Youth Evangelism or "GYE" as it is known to its constituents was incorporated June 1, 1965 at Chico, CA. Since those early days to the present, with the work of their missionaries and ministry friends, the mission of Evangelism through Discipleship has touched six continents as well as several Pacific Island groups.
During the past 50 years "GYE" has been involved in: planting churches and youth training centers with one year Bible schools, publishing the Christian Worker Bible Study Series, an international boat ministry with its sailing vessel the Morning Star and establishing a Spanish Language School. Through these endeavors the Lord has graciously extended the influence of His kingdom touching the lives of hundreds of thousands around the globe.
We at Global Youth Evangelism give praise to God for His faithful sustaining power! 2015 is our 50th year of service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Church. In this, our year of Jubilee, the Lord continues to increase the outreach of the Christian Worker Bible Study Series. As 2014 came to a close, we received the following reports from the Southern part of the African continent. Missionaries and national leaders are using these Bible studies to help them train pastors and workers for the work of the gospel.
In South Africa proper, pastors are being trained and graduated from different Bible schools. (A few years ago we received word that the Christian Worker Bible Study Series had been translated into the Afrikaan language). In addition to South Africa, this same South African missionary has also provided our Bible study materials to help in training pastors and leaders in the countries of Malawi and Mozambique. (Mozambique uses the Portuguese language version of our Bible studies.)
Last month, we also received a report from Namibia. There, several of the Bible studies have already been translated into the Kwanyama language for the training of pastors and workers in that country. This nation is located just south of Angola in the southern part of Africa.
Finally, we also received a newsletter from Angola that reported the graduation of about 20 Bible school graduates in Sao Tomé (Saint Thomas). This small, Portuguese speaking, Island nation is located farther North just south of Nigeria.
As previously mentioned, Global youth Evangelism is celebrating its 50th year of ministry. (1965-2015) Please stay connected for details as plans are developed for our celebration!
VALUE IN THE INSIGNIFICANT:
Several times in this blog we have shared reports from different places telling of the thousands who have benefited from The Christian Worker Bible Study Series, and we have been encouraged by these reports. Today we will share a couple of individual experiences which have also been an encouragement to us. These individual reports are examples illustrating the truth that nothing is insignificant in the Kingdom of God. ("You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things." (Matthew 25:23 NKJV)
Several years ago, a former graduate of our Bible school in Guadalajara, Mexico asked me to return and help him teach a Christian Worker's conference. On the very first day I was approached by a local missionary who said: "So you're the one who helps produce the Christian Worker Bible Study Series". He then proceeded to relate an experience that happened during a mission outreach in the Southern mountains of Mexico. In a small, primitive and insignificant village, tucked away in the mountains, they met a family of new believers. They did not even have a Bible, but somehow were receiving inspiration from a small booklet titled: The Christian Worker Bible Study Series, study of Galatians! The word of God is like a seed that will grow where ever it falls into the soil of a hungry heart! (Luke 8:11)
While I was reflecting on that memory, I recalled that years ago, our office received a request for a Bible study from Central Africa. The request was a note scribbled on a food-stained sheet of blue paper. The sheet of blue paper was the inside cover torn from our Introductory Bible Study. The note said: "I was visiting a friend in his home, and he served me a piece of bread wrapped in this paper. When I returned home, I read the words printed on the paper that spoke of a Bible study that was produced for all who have a hunger and thirst to know the truth of God's word. How can I get the Bible study described on this sheet of paper?" He was hungry for more than physical bread, which can never satisfy the spiritual hunger of the soul!
To most folks these two incidences may seem to be insignificant. However, to the workers and staff that have labored during the past thirty plus years to expand and increase The Christian Worker Bible Study Series, they are much more! We are encouraged to keep on with the ministry that He has placed in our hands. Thanks be to God that in His faithfulness, He has enabled Global Youth Evangelism to introduce these Bible studies around the globe into six continents!
For our community of Orland, CA, this has been a month of both tragedy and hope. On April 10, 2014, a fiery head-on crash of a semi-truck and a charter bus filled with students occurred just about 100 yards north of our church property, which is located next to Interstate 5. There were students filled with hope as they journeyed to investigate their possible future enrollment in a North State University. The lives of so many, filled with hope for the future, suddenly were filled with heartache, sorrow and many questions.
The multiple sirens wailed as the first responders sped to the scene of the accident, guided by the column of thick, black smoke rising against the horizon. As the minutes and hours passed, the full extent of this horrific event began to unfold. Innocent teens looking forward to further education as well as productive lives, were among the ten fatal victims. We "Orlandites" were confronted with the fact that this was not happening back East nor in some Midwestern town. It was happening in our own community! Orland, California is barely visible on the map of United States, but now it was the focus of national news! How would the community, local government agencies and churches respond? A local town hall meeting later revealed the competency and speed of the first responders which included our volunteer firemen. The community response was so tremendous that the Red Cross asked that the public stop bringing food, water and blankets to help the victims.
Last Friday many in our community remembered another tragic, historical event which resulted in the death of an innocent and blameless person. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, gave up His life voluntarily on the cross. Sorrow and hopelessness also filled the hearts of His followers on that first "Good Friday". However, their sorrow and despair was changed into hope three days later as the word spread that Jesus was alive, and then they celebrated His resurrection!
In light of the tragedies of life which bring sorrow and despair, we who believe in Jesus Christ also often fail to come up with answers to life's questions of why. When we can't answer them and don't understand them, then we like Mary and Martha in the Gospel of John chapter 11, can also go to Jesus. When we do so, no doubt we will also hear the same message of hope that they received from Him: "Trust Me, for I am the Resurrection and the Life! He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live!"
As we post the "rest of the story", we would like to relate one more testimony before we get to the reason for the title of this article.
"A new convert fell ill and doctors told him 'you're going to die; there is nothing more we can do'. That night, after three hours of waiting on God's hand, the elders and this young man witnessed the power of the Lord as God raised him up from the agony of his death bed. The next morning he was up early to complete a bit of yard work neglected during his illness.
Time would fail to tell of great testings and great miracles, including the meeting of impossible financial needs not mentioned to anyone but our gracious Provider."
Now, for the reason behind the title of this article.
"It was a Tuesday evening service; great fear and great expectancy possessed the people. The Holy Spirit took charge of the church service, and people were entering in to know the Lord -- the atmosphere seemed charged! Suddenly the Holy Spirit broke forth in waves throughout the congregation and men could not stand to minister because of the strength of His presence. Soon after this outpouring, a commotion erupted outside as firemen with hoses and axes went about to investigate the building. It seems that one passer-by and then another had reported that the top of the roof was engulfed in flames. They saw fire on the roof! The fireman didn't know what to make of it. But we did."
NOTE: All these events happened in a small church hidden away in the Santa Cruz mountains; it seldom ran over 120 in number. The nearest town was more than ten miles away. Out of that small insignificant beginning, the Lord has raised up a ministry, (Global Youth Evangelism) that has touched six continents with the word of God!
To conclude this blog posting, we refer to the words of Jonathan, son of King Saul, in 1 Samuel 14:6 "... it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few." (NKJV)
Testimonies are taken from the article "Fire in Our Time" , Behold He Cometh, published by Global Youth Evangelism, June, 1966 (Used with Permission)
The above is the title of a magazine article published by Global Youth Evangelism almost 50 years ago. The reason for this particular blog is to add a few more details
to the early beginnings of our vision that have already been posted about our history. The following are excerpts from this article:
Difficulty was not new for the little house church situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Before God began to visibly move, the congregation dwindled from 24 to 12. First one disappointment came and then another. The well for the church and parsonage dried up. Then a baby belonging to a newly converted couple died suddenly in the church. Yet the men of the church continued to meet for prayer every morning at 6 A.M., before they went off to work. One rainy Saturday night, a few souls felt burdened to go to the house of the Lord to pray. One by one people led of the Lord came from as far as twenty miles away to seek His face. Before any had returned to his home that night, they all knew they had experienced a supernatural oneness in the Holy Spirit. The God of glory had bestowed healings and under-girded the spirits of His people for the trying ventures of faith that stood ahead.
By this time God had started to work in our midst. His people had entered the conflict and they saw God move. A spirit of conviction rested mightily on sinners. Souls were saved at the Christmas play. One young man walked in the church door and down he went in the aisle, his strength departed from him in the strong presence of the Lord! Thirty minutes later he arose and headed for the altar where he gave his heart to the Lord. Another time , at a youth service, a carload of young "hoods" came in to creat a disturbance. The leader sauntered down the aisle smoking a cigarette, but before long both he and his gang were at the altar weeping before God. After many conflicts, a few defeats and several victories, our Redeemer was pleased to send His Spirit once again in a powerful way. On a Sunday morning, five or six fell under mighty conviction of the Holy Spirit. One young woman, a refugee from Castro's Cuba and a first time visitor to an evangelical service, fell to her knees crying out to the Savior to save her.
There is much more to the story and we will continue it at a later time.
As we read and re-read the testimonies of these encounters with God, our hearts are challenged to seek His face afresh and experience new adventures of faith and victory. The message to us today, is the same as it was to Israel in 2 Chronicles 30:6 " Return to the Lord and He will return to us".
Testimonies are taken from the article "Fire in Our Time" , Behold He Cometh, published by Global Youth Evangelism, June, 1966 (Used with Permission)
Several events of the recent Thanksgiving season, along with some comments in a recent newsletter of a fellow minister, drew me to the Apostle Peter's second letter. Several times in his letter he exhorted his readers to remember. Memory for many is a "mixed bag" of some good times, but also contains experiences we would rather forget.
Returning our focus to Peter's letter, it appears that he was stirring up their memories with words of warning previously declared by the prophets of old and spoken of by his contemporary apostles, to better prepare them to avoid to pitfalls lethargy and deception.
However, the comments in the above-mentioned newsletter caused this writer to recall and focus on several personal experiences of powerful movings of the Holy Spirit over the past decades. The effect being twofold; first, as a reminder that God the Holy Spirit is still desiring to transform lives through the miraculous, and secondly it awakened a cry and spiritual hunger that too often dozes in the comfort and blessing of daily living. Thanks be to Jesus who is always faithful, even when we are not. (2 Timothy 2:13)
We wonder are there others who perhaps remember powerful times when the Spirit moved in our midst, but somehow these experiences have faded into just memories of how things used to be. If we cry out to our faithful God, He will begin to stir our hearts, not just to remember the piles of stones of past experiences and ask "what do these stones mean?" (Joshua 4:6, 7) , but crying out to our faithful God to move again by the power of His Spirit and transform our churches, our cities and our nation so that we also can set up our own piles of stones. Stones as memorials to contemporary exploits of our Mighty God! May those who come after us ask: "what do these stones mean"!
There is something deep within me desiring to declare the words of Elisha as he struck the waters of the Jordan River with Elijah's mantle: "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?"! Are there others who will join in the cry?
Some time age we received this report from the brethren who are utilizing the Christian Worker Bible Study Series in the Island nation of Cuba.
" I trust that this report will give you an over-all picture of the work we have been able to accomplish with the Christian Worker Bible studies here in Cuba.
With several different printings we have been able to produce enough materials to help train over 55,000 men and women in the Bible both in churches and in prisons throughout our nation!"
If you have a story about your experience with the Christian Worker Bible Studies in your location and or ministry that you would like to share with the GYE family, we welcome your comments.
In Paul the Apostle's letters to the Ephesians and Colossians, one can begin to understand his position and practice concerning prayer. Both in Ephesians 1:16-19; & 3:19, 20 and then again in Colossians 1:11. He emphasizes the greatness of God's mighty power at work in us.
Rather than pray that the trials and persecutions of those first century Christians would cease or be diminished, he prayed that their understanding of God's love for them would increase. He prayed that the Lord would give them "mighty inner strength through the Holy Spirit". He seemed to indicate that the greatness of God's power within the believer would be more evident as a result of an increased understanding of how much God loved them.
In light of his own personal experience of having to depend upon the grace of God, he summed up his prayer to the Ephesians by writing: "Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work in us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope!" Eph. 3:20 (NLT)
Therefore, may our prayer life focus on the greatness of God's mighty power within us, rather than on the difficulties and hardships of any present trial or testing we may be facing.
I have recently been reviewing a couple of our Bible studies in the Christian Worker Bible Study Series titled Biblical Prayers. This review coincided with some recent challenges in the ministry of Global Youth Evangelism. We have always believed in the value of Spirit-led prayer and have practiced it through various decades, although admittedly in varying degrees. Yesterday, in a meeting with a dozen or so pastors and ministry leaders, I heard these words in a prayer: "Let us pray with the words from Your mouth". We sensed that this was a confirmation that we should refocus our attention on the patterns and the examples of the many effective prayers found in the Bible.
The following are some excerpts from the above-mentioned Bible studies:
"Through the centuries, powerful men and women of God have spoken and written about many outstanding concepts of prayer. Someone has said that “prayer is the subject most written and talked about in the Church but the least practiced.” Our doctrine says it is important to pray; however, while we are praying, it is often a temptation to think we aren’t doing anything for the kingdom of God. The truth is we are most effective as followers of Christ when we know how to pray effectively. The Lord changes hearts and lives and families; towns and cities are transformed; nations are shaken; all this is in the realm of possibility when God’s people begin to pray effectively!"
"It is not that we don’t believe in prayer. Most simply don’t do it, or at least not in a way that is effective. One of the purposes of this study is to examine the prayers of God’s people mentioned in the Bible, and hopefully, we as the Church of Jesus Christ, will receive a new or renewed vision to pray - until we as individuals are changed, until the Church is revived, until nations are shaken to the point of repentance and the powers of darkness are abated - so that the glory of the Lord will fill all the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Hab. 3:3)"
"Praying biblical prayers (or praying after the same pattern and using the same spiritual principles found in the Bible) gives us the assurance that we are praying in agreement with the word of God. We can be confident that God will always hear us and answer us. (John 11:41,42)"
"One of the surest ways to know that we are praying correctly is to pray in agreement with what God has already promised. Also, we can become an active part in the establishment of God’s will on earth when we pray in agreement with something that has already been prophesied in the Word of God."
"Thus, the question is not does one believe in prayer, not even do we pray from time to time, but are we effective in our praying. The greatest successes in the kingdom of God here on earth are the results of effective praying. Someone has said, 'When the house of God on the earth is a house of prayer, then heaven is most active.'"
(An excerpt from our missions page)
In early 1982, without knowing the full reasons for the trip but sensing that "God was in it", preparations began to be made to sail the Morning Star to the Marshall Islands. During the six month preparation time, which included repainting the boat and the installation of new equipment, the crew was aware of a constant urging from within. We were also blessed with many providential provisions of specific supplies needed for the 5000 mile trip.
Months later a clearer understanding of the purpose for the Morning Star's building and voyage to the Marshall Islands became apparent. At the close of a small church service on the Marshall Island atoll Ebon, Ebon, an elderly Christian gentleman came forward and through an interpreter expressed his gratitude to God for the return of the Morning Star to the Marshall Islands. He expressed, "Now I know that there is a God in heaven who hears and answers prayer." When asked if he had been praying for the Morning Star to return to his islands, he responded in the affirmative. Like a bolt of spiritual lightening the Lord spoke to our hearts and said: "You now have your answer. This is the reason you brought the Morning Star to the Marshall Islands, to be the answer to this man's prayer."
We will never forget the impact of that experience! God loves His servants so much that He will interrupt the lives of dozens of people at a cost of thousands of dollars in order to answer the prayers of His loved ones.
We are truly amazed at the marvelous work the Lord has done through the GYE ministry with the Christian Worker Bible Study Series. During these past decades ten if not hundreds of thousands of people around the world, who are hungry and thirsty for the word of God, are using this tool. (Many are able to study in their own language!)
Recently we received a note from a missionary to Portugal and Angola. He said, and I quote: “Thanks for all you have done for Portugal, San Tomí and Angola! We have about 5,000 students studying in Angola PTL!” He went on further to relate that they have plans for new buildings in order to expand their educational program for leadership training!