Seeing God Move as You Learn to Persevere | By K.P. Yohannan
Church growth depends on consistency, courage, and faithfulness. When God’s people persevere, miracles follow.
As I studied the Gospels, it became clear to me that Jesus understood well the principle of reaching the poor. He avoided the major cities, the rich, the famous, and the powerful, concentrating His ministry on the poor laboring class. If we reach the poor, we have touched the masses.
Since 1979, my team and I have ministered to people throughout Asia and Africa, and we have seen mighty miracles. Thousands of suffering and marginalized men and women have found hope in Jesus — often because we refused to give up, persevering in faith instead.
The Right Weapons
The battle against hunger and poverty is really a spiritual battle, not a physical or social one as secularists would have us believe. It is through the love of Christ that we will effectively win the war against disease, hunger, injustice, and poverty in Asia, America, and elsewhere around the world.
To look into the sad eyes of a hungry child or see the wasted life of a drug addict is to witness the evidence of Satan’s hold on this world.
All bad things, whether in Asia or the West, are his handiwork. He is the ultimate enemy of mankind, and he will do everything within his considerable power to kill and destroy human beings. Fighting this powerful enemy with physical weapons alone is like fighting an armored tank with stones.
If pastors and ministry leaders want to alleviate suffering in their communities, they must fight the right battles.
God shows up when we stand firm.
I can never forget one of the more dramatic encounters we had with demonic powers. It was a hot and unusually humid day in 1970. We were preaching in a place called the “desert of kings.”
As was our practice before a street meeting, my seven co-workers and I stood in a circle to sing and clap hands to the rhythm of Christian folk songs. A sizeable crowd gathered, and I began to speak in Hindi, the local language. Many heard the Good News for the first time and eagerly took our Gospels and tracts to read.
One young man, named Sundar, came up to me and asked for a book to read. I sensed in my spirit that he was hungry to know God. When we got ready to climb aboard our ministry van, he asked to join us.
As the van lurched forward, he cried and wailed. “I am a terrible sinner,” he shrieked. “How can I sit among you?” With that he started to jump from the moving van. We held on to him and forced him to the floor to prevent injury.
That night he stayed at our base and the next morning joined us for the prayer meeting. While we were praising and interceding, we heard a sudden scream. The young man was lying on the ground, tongue lolling out of his mouth, his eyes rolled back.
We knew immediately he was demon-possessed. We gathered around him and began taking authority over the forces of hell as they spoke through his mouth.
“We are 74 of us,” the voice shrieked. “For the past seven years, we have made him walk barefoot all over India. He is ours….” The voice blasphemed and cursed, challenging us and our authority.
But as three of us prayed, the demons could not keep their hold on the young man. The demons came out when we commanded them to leave in the name of Jesus.
We could have given up. We could have allowed fear to derail our efforts. But we didn’t. We persisted because we had compassion for the young man, and we knew that Jesus could set him free.
Winning the War
Sundar was delivered and gave his life to Jesus. Later, he went to Bible college, and since then the Lord has enabled him to teach and preach to thousands of people about Christ. Several Indian worship places have been established as a result of his remarkable ministry — all from a man many people would have locked up in an insane asylum.
This kind of miracle kept me going from village to village for those seven years of itinerant preaching, and our lives read like pages from the book of Acts.
Whether you lead a small church in rural America or an international ministry in a sprawling urban area, the message is the same: Don’t give up! Disenfranchised people need to hear the gospel, and you are uniquely positioned to reach them.
Notice the poor and engage them in conversation.
Strategize practical ways to help people who are facing significant challenges.
Give them opportunities to learn about Jesus.
Pray — and stand firm.
The work is hard, inconvenient, and scary at times, but every soul is worth it.