Saturday, February 28, 2015

Small Business Capital in Indonesia Yields Saved Souls

Small Business Capital in Indonesia Yields Saved Souls

February 26, 2015
A chainsaw rental business thrives on demand to clear away trees.
In impoverished areas among Indonesia´s varied peoples, Christians are learning to run small businesses to support themselves and their ministries – and to open avenues to Muslims and Hindus that otherwise would be closed.
An indigenous ministry in Indonesia has granted workers funds to start businesses that were key to the recent planting of two churches in Bali, where 83 percent of the people are Hindu. Along with dozens of other churches the ministry previously established with the aid of small businesses, the micro-enterprises recently helped plant a church in the western province of Sumatra, where Muslims make up 87 percent of the population, as well as four churches on the 73-percent Muslim island of Borneo, the leader of the ministry said.
The small businesses, from beauty salons to chainsaw rentals, have been integral to these church plants, he said.
“As people in the church begin to have their own micro-businesses, they have income, and that funds the establishment of a healthy church in that area,” he said. “Recently church planting servants have testified that more than 1,000 people have been reached with the evangelical faith through methods of micro-business in Indonesia, and more than 20 people who have received Christ Jesus were baptized.”
Among the enterprises that have begun with start-up assistance from Christian Aid Mission are laundry, frozen treat, used clothes, farming, sewing machine, soccer center, café and chicken egg businesses. These services have created inroads to resistant communities.
“Because we are in a Hindu area, Christians are not welcome into a village or area unless there is some product or service that can be helpful to the community,” the ministry leader said. “If the Christian has a helpful business or service, he is welcomed into the community and has opportunities to build relationships with people. The discussions that naturally happen as a result are very effective evangelism.”
Hinduism is one of six recognized religions in Indonesia. Though Hinduism is practiced by only 1.7 percent of the total population, that amounts to more than 4 million people. Indonesia is home to the world´s largest Islamic population, 204.8 million, which is 12.7 percent of the world´s Muslims.
In one enterprise in Bali, a pastor fit cooler boxes of frozen treats onto a motorbike, which drew children and their mothers to invite him to their doorstep.
“Over time, this has created relationships and great opportunities for evangelism in this Hindu culture,” the director said. “Without the tool of the iced treat business, the opportunity to build relationships and share the gospel would not be there.”
Residents of the island of Bali meet for worship.
Once established, the pastor enabled several church members to run their own frozen treat businesses.
“They all now have successful iced treat businesses, which have expanded the evangelistic outreach to this community, but also have funded a healthy local church,” he said.
Benefiting the community is one of the fundamental purposes of business, according to numerous Christian philosophers and theologians, who affirm it as a public service rather than just a means of seeking personal gain. As the late British politician and industrialist Sir Fred Catherwood wrote, “Our creed is that we are here to serve not ourselves but others. We should, therefore, be much more conscious than others of our standards of service.”
The indigenous ministry leader noted that small businesses in Indonesia provide income for local missionaries, pastors and church members; these workers find that Christian values, such as industry, honesty and integrity contribute to business success.
In familiar settings without tension and conflict, the ministry leader said, conversations about Christ take place within business relationships on deep levels. While not all of the business workers travel, they follow in a tradition established in the early days of Christianity, when the gospel spread in large measure through Christian merchants, slaves and other workers taking advantage of the Roman Empire´s excellent roads, according to historian Justo L. Gonzalez.
In Central Java Province on the island of Java, another ministry has helped start small businesses that have revived the spirits of pastors discouraged over their lack of livelihood. In these impoverished areas, the ministry’s director said, village pastors receive no financial support from their congregations.
“Before we introduced this micro-enterprise system, the typical pastor spent his time going to ministry conferences sponsored by foreigners in hopes that someone there would offer him money for a project, or an offering to help him feed his family for another week or so until the next ministry conference,” said the director of Kezia Ministries. “In their communities, pastors were viewed as individuals who lived very poorly and did nothing but go from conference to conference. The result was a negative impact on the work of the ministry, in that no pastor focused on his true mission of the Great Commission.”
Micro-enterprise assistance from Christian Aid Mission has enabled many pastors in these areas to sustain their families and ministries, as well as help the local economies.
“Not only does the small business offer the pastor a way to provide for the needs of his family and ministry, but it can also provide jobs for church members and a bridge to reach those who do not know about Jesus,” he said.
In Wonogiri County, a pastor runs several small businesses, including one producing Indonesian crackers. The enterprise provides jobs to Muslims and possibilities for the pastor to explain the Christian hope he carries within. Kezia Ministries provided low-interest business loans to the pastor so that he could expand the business.
“We not only mentor pastors as business owners so they can be self-sustaining, but also provide needed discipleship training for the pastors so that they can be fully equipped for the work of the ministry in every way,” he said.
The ministry thus provides strategic guidance to pastors, from start-up to management and expansion phases, along with discipleship training.
“These pastors are trained in how to use their micro-enterprise as a ministry vehicle to spread the good news of Jesus Christ while sustaining their families and their ministries,” he said. “Thank you for allowing pastors to be free to do the true work of the ministry. Please pray that the Lord will grant a harvest of souls through microenterprise ministry in Indonesia.”
To help indigenous missionaries meet needs, you may contribute online using the form below, or call 434-977-5650. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 800TENT. Thank you!

Healthy Glow

A toddler receives a nutritious meal at an orphanage run by an indigenous ministry on the Indonesian island of Bali. As in many poor areas of the world, orphanages care not just for children who have lost their parents, but for children whose parents cannot afford to provide for their needs. After these parents leave their children at the orphanage, sometimes it is possible for the orphanage to enable the kids to re-establish contact with their families. "We then reconnect the orphans, when possible, to their Hindu relatives and show them how well the children are doing,” the ministry director said. “They are amazed, and it becomes another opportunity to share about Jesus with their relatives.”

Buddhist parents told daughter she couldn’t attend church

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Buddhist parents told daughter she couldn’t attend church, which almost killed her, but Jesus brought rescue
By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
BANGKOK, Thailand (February 26, 2015) -- Raised in a strict Buddhist family in Chanthaburi, about three hours east of Bangkok, her parents didn’t understand when she became a born again Christian.
“My parents brought me to the temple, but I never felt connected to those things,” says Blue Erika Ployamporn. “They prayed in a language I didn’t understand.”
An unusual thing happened to her as a young teen. “When I was 13 brushing my teeth God called me,” Blue recalls. Her mother had been ill, and she told Blue she would have to take care of her brother and sister if she died.
She began to weep because she realized she didn’t know where her mother would go after she died. “I didn’t know how to see her again,” she says. “They said there is the next life, but you can’t choose where you go. I felt so hopeless.”
Where will I go when I die? she wondered. Will I remember myself after I die? Will I remember my name is Blue?
Shortly after that experience, she moved to Bangkok, where she attended school and lived with her cousin. One day a Christian neighbor knocked on her door.
“Hello. How are you?… Do you know Jesus?” the woman asked.
“Who is Jesus?” Blue replied. She had never heard the name of Jesus.
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Soldier of Karen people became soldier of Christ

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Soldier of Karen people became soldier of Christ
By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SANGKHLABURI, Thailand (February 26, 2015) -- God miraculously protected him in his battle against the Burmese government, but still he refused to turn from his sinful ways, until alcohol provoked a crisis in his life.
“Before I received Christ my life was meaningless,” says Enormous Ehtoo, a former officer in the Karen Army, one of the tribal minority armies at odds with the Burmese government for many years. “I was so wicked. I drank a lot of alcohol.”
In late 1986 Ehtoo survived an ambush by the Burmese government. Ehtoo had been the officer in charge of laying landmines to kill Burmese troops, but the government had tracked him down and were prepared to finish him off.
With bullets flying all around him, only small stones kicked up in the dirt hit his legs. His walkie-talkie took a direct hit. Amazingly, his body did not have a scratch and he survived the assault, ready to fight another day.
Even though he felt God’s miraculous protection, he refused to turn his life over to the lordship of Jesus Christ. He was raised in a Christian family, but he didn’t know Jesus personally.
“My life was so hopeless because I drank a lot,” he recalls. “I was an officer, so people gave me alcohol.”
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Indian Priest Kidnapped in Afghanistan Released after Eight Months

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Indian Priest Kidnapped in Afghanistan Released after Eight Months
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (  
NEW DELHI, INDIA  (ANS. FEB. 26) Indian Jesuit priest Alexis Prem Kumar who was kidnapped in June 2014 in southern Afghanistan has been released. He arrived in New Delhi on Feb. 22 with the intervention of the Indian government.
“Delighted at securing the release of Indian Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar from captivity in Afghanistan,” tweeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Feb. 22  as the priest was on a flight to New Delhi.
According to a story by Anto Akkara for the World Watch Monitor,  Modi himself also called family members of the 48-year old priest in Chennai - capital of southern Tamil Nadu state - and broke the “good news” to the family.
“Have spoken to Father Alexis Prem Kumar. Informed happy family of Father Alexis Prem Kumar of his safe return after eight months in captivity,” Modi said in his tweet two and half hours before Kumar landed in New Delhi.
Following the tweet, over three dozen media personnel, along with a dozen Jesuits and other priests, were at the international airport awaiting Kumar’s arrival.
Based in Afghanistan since 2011 and heading the Jesuit Refugee Program (JRS) there since 2012,  Kumar was abducted by gunmen on June 2 at a school built and run by the JRS at Sohadat village in Herat province.
“First of all, I thank God Almighty. I thought I would be never safe. God has saved me,”  Kumar told World Watch Monitor, in an interview at the Ashoka Hotel to which he was escorted by government of India officials from the airport.
Kumar also thanked Modi and the government for  “taking lot of efforts for my release and millions who prayed for my release.”
He added, “The Prime Minister spoke to me. When he was speaking, I felt that the whole of India was welcoming me. I am grateful and thankful to the Jesuit s and all others who have worked for my release.”
“We are thrilled. Words are not enough to describe our feelings,” John Joseph, younger brother of Kumar, told World Watch Monitor.
Joseph was flown to Delhi along with his 78-year old widowed father A. S. M. Anthony and sister Elizabeth Rani, a nun of the Congregation of Foyer de Charité and principal of her convent school at Vellur, by the government round midnight
“Our prayers have been heard. God is there,” said Joseph. 
Asked to comment about his more than eight months of captivity, World Watch Monitor said that the priest, who looked extremely thin and weak, declined. 
“I want to forget everything for some time. Anything about Afghanistan or what happened (to me), I am not ready to share now. Please pardon me,” Kumar told the reporters who waited for him at the hotel. 
“I have plenty of stories (to share). But I feel it is not the right time to share all those about the time (I spent in captivity),” he reiterated.
However, he pointed out, “Though I had my troubles and hard times, I feel proud that I am an Indian citizen and the country will take care of me.”
World Watch Monitor said Father Joy Karayampuram, the JRS South Asia spokesperson, in a press statement, thanked Modi and the foreign ministry  “for securing the safe release” of Kumar.
From southern Tamil Nadu state, Kumar had worked over 12 years in areas of social action and development, including Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and with tribals.
Director of the JRS in India from 2005 to May 2011, he began his assignment with the JRS in Afghanistan in July 2011, and was heading the JRS operations in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped. 
JRS has been working in Afghanistan since 2008, accompanying returnees home from exile in Iran and Pakistan and providing education and healthcare services in Bamiyan, Kabul and Herat. 
In 2013, more than 6,000 disadvantaged people from disadvantaged communities benefitted from these services, according to the JRS.
World Watch Monitor said asked whether he was frustrated by the kidnapping and captivity,  Kumar said “I will continue to work with people who are neglected and who have lost hope wherever I am sent.”
Kular was mentioned in the Vatican Congregation’s report on church workers killed and targeted during 2014. 
Fides, the Congregation's news agency, said the fate of five abducted priests belonging to religious orders, including Father, was  “unknown.”
Though neither the government nor Kumar gave any clue regarding the kidnappers or their motive, World Watch Monitor said the Times of India in its report on his release alluded to a “burgeoning kidnapping industry in Afghanistan.”
Quoting a “top intelligence officer,” the Feb. 23 report described the priest’s abduction  “as part of the conflict economy,”  fed by tens of billions of dollars that the international forces and community have pumped into the country since 2001. 
“The law and order situation has worsened due to inherent differences within the Unity government of Afghanistan ... This has given Taliban and other petty criminals an opportunity to indulge in extortion via kidnapping of foreigners either associated with journalism or aid workers or private civil contractors,” the official said, recalling how most abductions ended either in payment of ransom, or killing of the hostage. 
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After “Charlie,” Latest Incident of Pakistani Christians Targeted by Muslim Anger

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After “Charlie,” Latest Incident of Pakistani Christians Targeted by Muslim Anger
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (  
PAKISTAN  (ANS. FEB. 26)  The publication of Charlie Hebdo’s  “memorial edition,” with its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad crying, sparked - in one or two countries - a violent backlash against Westerners in general and Christians in particular. 
According to a story by Asif Aqeel for World Watch Monitor, it was notable in Niger, where 70 churches were destroyed, Algeria where police and protestors clashed, and in Pakistan. 
There, in Karachi, a march in the streets hit the international headlines. 
However, one incident which only emerged sometime after it happened took place in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan. 
On Jan. 26  in the city of Bannu, the Pennell High School and College for 1,800 students was working as normal, despite a protest march against Charlie Hebdo being called for by other school and college students. 
Pennell Principal Fredrick Farhan Das told World Watch Monitor that hundreds of protestors, mostly students between the ages of 15 and 18, broke away from their march to storm into the school after climbing up and forcing the main gate open. 
He said, “The protestors first pelted the gate with stones and then climbed over the 14 foot high wall… Some of them were armed with knives and pistols; the young children were terrified that it was an attack like the one in the Army school in Peshawar where at least 132 students were massacred.” 
Teacher Pervaiz Qazi added, “It was break time, around 11am. All the students were out of class, when those protesters entered  … They created panic, started smashing windows, showing their weapons openly and raising anti-Christian slogans.” 
Since the Peshawar attack, security around Pakistani schools has dramatically increased and schools have been ordered to take stringent security measures.
Sources close to the Punjab Education Department told World Watch Monitor that military schools and Christian mission schools across the country are designated as A+ category - at the highest security risk of being targeted.
Das explained, “There are two posts on the second floor where two policemen are permanently deployed by the district administration…When the protestors pelted the gate with stones I told the guards to keep the gate closed. If the two policemen had fired in the air, then the protestors would not have braved the boundary wall….They wanted the school closed...they damaged our property and smashed our windows. This caused a stampede. We had four students injured.”
USCIRF: Pakistan “poisoning textbooks with religious hatred” 
For many years, Pakistani Christians have been subjected to violent attacks to avenge “anti-Islam acts” taking place abroad, especially in Europe and the US. 
World Watch Monitor said the attacks stem from the perceptions that the West is Christian and the local Christian community is akin to them, that non-Muslims are “enemies of Islam,” and that jihad is a violent struggle against the “enemies of Islam,” mandated for every individual.
Such attacks began in early 1970s at least, meaning the citizenship and patriotism of Pakistani Christians have long been under question. 
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report  “Connecting the Dots: Education and Religious Discrimination in Pakistan - A Study of Public Schools and Madrassas” notes, “Thee Pakistani national identity and Islamic religious identity are correlated. This is a similar emphasis on ‘Islamic Pakistan’ to that found in most textbooks.”
Though Pakistan was founded when its religion had “nothing to do with the business of the State,”  the USCIRF report says that, through poisoning textbooks with religious hatred “Pakistani political leadership has undermined the tolerance once enjoyed amongst the various sects and religious minorities in Pakistan.”
World Watch Monitor said the USCIRF research notes, “In all the textbooks analyzed, the student is presented a world where concepts such as nation, constitution, legality, standing armies, or multi-lateral organizations- except where they are prescribed by Islamic doctrine or shariah law-do not exist.”
 It went on to show that all public school teachers and students interviewed believed jihad meant violent struggle, compulsory for Muslims to engage in against the enemies of Islam, and about 80 percent of them viewed non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam.” 
“The majority of public school teachers cited blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed as a significant cause of anger towards religious minorities.” 
The USCIRF report also says that  “foreign cultural invasion” through mass media is perceived a threat to Islam and the very existence to Pakistan.
 Similarly, World Watch Monitor reported, the Christians living among them are perceived as perverted in their beliefs and immoral in their practices. 
Students and teachers said anger against religious minorities arises from “a feeling that they do not respect Islam and Muslims.”

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Remembering a Fallen Brother in Kenya

Remembering a Fallen Brother in Kenya

The name Ezekiel means “God strengthens,” and this week a ministry in Kenya is asking for prayer for strength and comfort as it mourns the loss of one of its young pastors.
The gospel worker, Ezekiel Lenato, was robbed and killed in a rural area of northern Kenya Dec. 29 after leaving a village where he had preached earlier that day. The incident is believed to be a random act of violence by bandits in a region where such attacks have increased in frequency during the past few years.
“We are saddened by the death of one of our newest pastors, Brother Ezekiel,” wrote the leader of Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry in a Dec. 30 email to Christian Aid Mission’s Africa director. “His body was found in the bush today. We visited him just last week in a village where he had planted a new church.”
“Pray for his young family during this time of sorrow,” he continued. “I am so down as we have worked with him for the last five months.”
Recently married, Ezekiel leaves behind his wife, Susan. The 35-year-old was also raising his two nephews whose parents died of AIDS.
Ezekiel experienced a somewhat unusual introduction to Christianity in 2009. As described by the ministry leader, Ezekiel and six fellow Samburu “warriors” were in the bush looking after their cattle when a pastor passing through stopped and shared the gospel with them. Ezekiel and his friends were stirred by the message, and at the end of the preaching Ezekiel kneeled and prayed for salvation. Soon thereafter he joined a local church.
Recognizing the young man’s potential and his passion for the gospel, another Christian brother became a mentor to Ezekiel. He personally trained him in discipleship, then helped him enroll in a Bible school. Ezekiel completed the program in 2011.
Missionaries with Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry took Ezekiel under their wing last April, providing him with a bicycle and other tools of evangelism. Recently he discovered a village that had no believers. Ezekiel made a second trip to the community on Dec. 20, nine days before he was slain. During this visit he showed the JESUS film and more than 30 people committed their hearts to Christ.
The ministry was working on logistics to open a church there for him to pastor. On the day of the deadly attack, Ezekiel had been preaching in another village nearby. He left the village around 6 p.m. and was walking through a remote area when the bandits confronted him.
“It is our prayer that in the new year we will start a church in Siunta village in Samburu County, where Brother Ezekiel sacrificed his life to minister to the people,” the ministry leader said.
Banditry incidents are common in northern Kenya, a sparsely populated area that is poorly policed and plagued by fighting between clans. The director of Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry has himself been accosted and robbed several times.
Currently the ministry has more than 80 full-time gospel workers and over 300 part-time workers, some of whom are college students and teachers. They work in 13 of Kenya’s 47 counties, proclaiming the love of Christ to semi-nomadic tribes like the Turkana and Samburu.
Ministry workers have planted some 1,300 churches in Kenya and led thousands to faith in the Lord. Christian Aid has assisted their evangelistic efforts by providing missionary support and equipment such as public address systems and bicycles.
Use the form below to contribute online. Or call 434-977-5650 to contribute by phone. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 572CEM. Thank you!

Young Scholars for Christ

Xinjiang Arabian Bible School was established in 2008 to train Chinese Christian leaders to share the gospel among minority groups like the Kazakhs and Uyghurs. Christian Aid Mission helped to start the training center and small house churches in the area. One of the leaders of the school is an ethnic Kazakh who was led to Christ by an indigenous missionary in China. Her thirst for God’s Word could not be quenched. Even now she rises around 6 a.m. every day to memorize Scriptures chapter by chapter in both the Kazakh and Chinese languages. In addition to teaching classes, she is in the process of translating both the Old and New Testaments into the Kazakh language. Some of the Bible school graduates eventually return to their homelands in Central Asia, where they bring the good news of God’s Word to areas that are closed to western missionaries.

Asia Bibi’s family say her release is expected

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Asia Bibi’s family say her release is expected, but they are ready to flee Pakistan
By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service
PAKISTAN (ANS, Feb.20, 2015) -- Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi, the woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, has said that he expects her to be released, but that the family will then have to flee the country, according to an article by Madeleine Davies in The Church Times, the leading Anglican Weekly,
The Church Times article says Mr Masih is waiting for his wife's appeal to be heard in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. "We have belief in God that she will be out this time," he said last Friday.
Masih told The Church Times he last saw Asia Bibi on January 15 and reported that she was "doing fine . . . She is in a good mental condition and very single-minded in her faith to live and die for Jesus Christ. She can pay any cost for that."
Masih says he is convinced that, if his wife is released, the family will have to flee the country: "It is not safe for her after her release to stay in Pakistan, because they will kill her. I do not have any idea where we will go."
The Church Times report says Mrs Bibi, a 49-year-old mother of five, was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in 2009. She says that she was falsely accused by some Muslim women who bore her a grudge. Her death sentence, which was imposed by a regional court near Lahore in 2010, provoked an international outcry. It was upheld by the High Court of Appeal last year -- a decision branded as "cruel" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
According to Mr Masih, their mother's imprisonment had had a "very bad" effect on the children. He said: "They really miss her and want her to come back soon. It's important, because most of the family depends on the mother; so the fact that she is not here means the young girls are facing a big problem." Although the children were attending school, they had to move "every two to three months" before people recognized them.
The Church Times said Mr Masih believes that Pakistan's blasphemy law is being abused, and must be amended. Previous attempts by MPs to do this have been countered by assassinations. On Saturday, the guilty verdict on the assassin of the former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer was upheld by one of Pakistan's High Courts. Mr Taseer was shot and killed by his bodyguard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, in 2011, after trying to overturn the blasphemy laws and speaking out in defense of Mrs Bibi.
Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), warned that the failure of the appeal would "redouble efforts" to see Mrs Bibi's appeal fail. "If this is the case, it would take a brave Prime Minister to free Asia Bibi by presidential pardon. However, this is a duty the leader of a nation should commit himself to despite external pressures."
The BPCA is calling on the UK Government to reconsider its asylum policy to ensure that Christians in Pakistan are offered a "safe haven" there. In December, it welcomed a decision by the Dutch government to designate Pakistani Christians as a "risk group," making it easier for them to be recognized as refugees.
The BPCA plans to present a petition to the Pakistan High Committion next month:
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Are You Searching for Good or Evil?

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Are You Searching for Good or Evil?
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer's Opinion)
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – Feb. 20. 2015) “If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!”—Proverbs 11:27 (NLT).
We can read the Bible cover-to-cover many times but never recall every scripture. However, the Holy Spirit brings the perfect one to mind in His timing. That’s what happened to me when I recently attended LifeChurch.TV with a friend on a Saturday evening.
The first scripture Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel cited in his sermon was Proverbs 11:27: “If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!”
Using a real-life example, Pastor Groeschel used birds to demonstrate his message. A buzzard, he said, searches for dead things, like road kill, to feast on. However, the tiny hummingbird flits around looking for sweet things—the sweet nectar of a flower or that provided by a human in a feeder. “Both,” he said, “find what they’re looking for.”
As I thought about the scripture and the pastor’s example, I realized how true it is. If we don’t look for the good, then we will certainly see the evil in everything. I’m not saying we should look at the world through rose-colored glasses but neither should we be a “Negative Nancy” or a “Debbie Downer.” (Note: If your name is Nancy or Debbie, please do not be offended.)
How often we take offense, choosing not to seek the good in another person or a situation we cannot change. Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Through the renewal of our mind, which can only happen through a transformational relationship with Jesus Christ, we can begin to see the good in the world. Some believe it’s difficult to see the good when we are blasted constantly with negative news, courtesy of the media. Maybe that’s because bad news travels faster than the good. There is a common saying in the journalism business which is, “If it bleeds it reads.”
Instead of focusing on the evil in our world, which has been around since the beginning of time—remember Satan in the Garden of Eden—we need to see our world through the eyes of God. Evil breaks God’s heart. Genesis 6:6 says, “The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”
In Romans 12:9, Paul writes, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
Clinging to what is good should be the choice each Christian makes. Complaining about the evil in our world doesn’t change it. However, when we choose God’s way of life, we can even find beauty among the ashes. And often change our world in the process.
American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting—a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”
(For more inspiration, visit the author's blog at
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