This is a short video report of my activities here in Cambodia.
This is a short video report of my activities here in Cambodia.
In the Old Testament God revealed Himself by various names. Those names reveal His character and His desire to meet the needs of mankind. When we pray for people we can pray for them according to the names of God:
We pray by asking questions:
When you are visiting house to house or when you meet someone for an altar call or in any situation you can use these points to pray for them.
Cynde and I moved ourselves and our four children to Cambodia in April 1995. We lived here for 12 years then went back to the United States for 5 years. We returned in November 2011. We moved here to do our part in bringing blessing to the people of Cambodia in seven spheres of society:
We have had varying degrees of success in this endeavor but after more than 20 years of investing in Cambodia and now in our early sixties we can say we are still passionate and excited everyday about what God has done, what He is doing and what He will do. We are still involved in the church that we helped plant, New Life Fellowship, which now has about 2,000 people in attendance in Phnom Penh and 180+ congregations in 14 provinces. We have a strategy to plant 500 more congregations in the next five years including 7 city churches. New Life School has more than 225 students and our Children at Risk Ministry supports more than 250 children to stay in school through out Cambodia. All thanks to your faithful prayers and generous giving.
Thank you so much for your personal donations that keep us in Cambodia. We have sold everything in the USA and all of our possessions are now in Cambodia. God willing, this is where we will live and die – investing our strength and experience to help bring positive change in this nation of Smiling People!
Below is a montage of photos from 2015.
I believed in Jesus as my Savior and Lord in May 1974. The first Christian book I read was The Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey. I actually don’t remember much about the book but as I recall it focused on the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth, the Anti-Christ, Mark of the Beast and collapse of society and something called “The Rapture.” One of the first books of the Bible I read was the Book of Revelation, which is a symbolic message from the Lord Jesus Christ about the final era of this earth, judgment of all those who have rejected The Way, The Truth and The Life and the creating of a new earth.
There was a lot of talk 41 years ago (as of this writing) of Jesus coming back to this earth.
Of late I’ve viewed several videos on You Tube about some interesting events happening in September 2015. In fact, in Asia, where I live, we just past a significant milestone in September, that of 23 September. This month and this day was supposed to be a significant event according to those who think they have figured out the Hebrew calendar and many other types, shadows and symbols in the Bible. One Baptist man made several presentations on You Tube about this and said that possibly even “The Rapture” might occur on 23 September. He was not adamant, but he strongly suggested it. Well, I’m here on 24 September and you are. Nothing happened again.
There have been countless times just since I’ve been a Christian, not to mention since the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, that people have predicted the end times, Jesus returning and the end of the world. (Remember when we entered the new millennium?
So what about all this? People have been saying for hundreds of years that Jesus will return. Is all this a myth? Hype?
What I Believe
The God of the Universe anticipated scoffers and mockers in regards to the Second Coming of Christ, so don’t get discouraged about that:
2 Peter 3:1-15
3 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation,
Here are some bullet point thoughts:
The Bottom Line for Me
For me, I don’t think much about all the Hebrew calendars, “signs of the times” and all that. I pay attention. I listen. I consider. But for me the bottom line is not to be distracted from the Main Thing: Reaching this world for Jesus!
If Jesus truly is coming back soon then we must make an extra effort (actually an “extra effort” to us is just normal effort to God – “sacrifice” to us is just the normal Christian life God expects of us) to reach this world for Christ. God is patient because he doesn’t want any to perish.
How about you? Do you care if millions die every day who have not heard the Gospel? Are you living the kind of Christian life as if the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back next week? This, my friend, is the normal Christian life. Please consider the times. Your life is limited. If you don’t know for sure you will go to heaven when you die, please do something about that today. Speak to Jesus right now and say something like this:
“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I have done many wrongs. I know I must be punished for my sins – big and small. But you died on the cross on my behalf. You took my sins and my punishment on your body. Lord Jesus, please forgive me. Wash me clean. Draw me to you. Help me to change my life according to what pleases you and not what pleases me. Invade and rule over every aspect of my life. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.”
Final Thought: Find a local church. Worship. Serve. Give. Study. Do everything you can to live a life pleasing to God. Help others know him, too.
Obstacles and Resistance
We know that there are obstacles and resistance to establishing God’s Kingdom on this earth. Among human and natural obstacles and resistance there is primarily spiritual resistance. The devil – Satan – and his demonic force have occupied every village, city and country in the world for thousands of years (since Adam turned over his authority to the devil – Genesis 3) and will not relinquish his authority easily. One of the foremost weapons God has given us to establish His Kingdom on this earth is through prayer:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: Matthew 6:9-13
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
However, most of we Christians are too lazy to engage in this kind of prayer that breaks through barriers. May the Lord help us to repent and engage…for the sake of Jesus and those whom He died for.
Read about the demonic spirits that oppose us: Ephesians 6:12
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The Power of Prayer
The God of the Universe has chosen prayer to be one of the primary methods of establishing His Kingdom on the earth. James 5:13-18
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Note the characteristics of effective prayer:
There are different kinds of prayer, but Elijah modeled a powerful kind of prayer I call “Birthing Prayer. Birthing Prayer is the kind of prayer that gets a Word from God and persists until we start to see results. This is a kind of breakthrough prayer when we’re trying to birth a new truth into someone’s life or create something new or establish something God wants established.
1 Kings 18:41-45
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” 44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
Note the process:
Breaking Through Obstacles
It’s been my experience that from time to time in my life and ministry I’ve come up against something I really feel is the will of God, but just can’t seem to get a breakthrough. It’s at that time I feel I need to get serious with God in a renewed way. For me, this means getting a Rhema Word of God. A fresh Word from God regarding the situation. That Word then becomes the Living Word of God burning in my heart and becomes the Sword of the Spirit.
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word (Rhema) about Christ.
The second primary Greek word that describes Scripture is rhema, which refers to a word that is spoken and means “an utterance.” A rhema is a verse or portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention with application to a current situation or need for direction.
Every word of God is inspired, and “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). It is the Holy Spirit Who illuminates particular Scriptures for application in a daily walk with the Lord.
The words of Jesus are significant on this point. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also stated, “The words [rhema] that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
I commit myself to focused, consistent prayer and fasting until I receive a Rhema Word from God about that situation. Then my prayer changes – I start commanding. I start calling into being what God has willed.
17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
2 Corinthians 4:13
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
This is the Process:
Someone once told me that if the leader is not absolutely clear on his vision his followers will not be clear at all. To move forward and accomplish a task one must have a clear vision, then add to that SMART Goals and Action Steps.
Here are a few thoughts on Vision:
1. A clear vision must communicate a principle for the head and a picture for the heart. This means we must communicate a sentence or a purpose in a statement but we must also describe that principle, or describe our vision in practical terms. This may mean a story, a picture or describing what the future will look like when the vision is fulfilled.
2. Leaders must be men and women who encourage others. There are many, many obstacles and difficulties on the road to fulfilling vision – Finances, People who oppose the vision, Supplies. However, we must commit ourselves to focus on the positive, the potential and the outcome rather than the difficulties. We must always be a person who encourages others. Even when we correct someone we can do it in a positive and encouraging way.
3. Where there is no hope in the future there is no power in the present. If people do not have a future hope they will not be motivated to discipline themselves, learn, sacrifice and do what is necessary to achieve that future hope. Leaders must hold a future hope out for people to see clearly and tell them what they must do to achieve that hope.
4. If you stop learning today you’ll stop leading tomorrow. We can build on what we learned in previous years, but we must also continue to equip ourselves by learning more. We must read, attend seminars, listen to lectures and learn from others to enlarge ourselves to become the person and leader whom God wants us to be.
5. A big vision without core values is like a winding road without guardrails. The guardrails on a narrow mountain road keep us from falling off into danger. The same is true about Core Values. We must have core moral values of what we believe. About what we must do. About what we will never do. These keep us focused morally as we seek to fulfill the vision God has given us. Will we do ANYTHING to fulfill our vision? Cheat? Lie? Cut corners on quality? Take the short cut in developing others? What are your Core Values as a leader?
6. When you communicate vision, always give people something to act upon. Don’t just communicate a vision or declare what you believe about the future, but tell those who listen to you or follow you what they must do – step by step – to move toward that vision. If you don’t know the steps or process to fulfill the vision, you are not clear yourself, therefore, those who are following you will not be clear either. Figure out the vision and at least figure out the general steps to see that vision fulfilled.
Pastor Eric Dooley laid a firm foundation in New Life Fellowship during 1994-1997; that foundation is still firm, valid and strong. When Pastor Eric Dooley turned New Life Fellowship over to me in 1997 I knew what to do to help the church grow to the next level. I knew because I had been involved in a church growing from about 200 to 1,700 and we had studied church growth principles for years. At this point these principles are part of who I am and I think about them and try to apply them unconsciously. I share them with you for our benefit and hope to share them in a seminar form someday to help local churches in Cambodia grow in number. When I turned the church over to Pastor Jesse, Jesse took the church to a new level using his wisdom and keys from the Word of God.
Below are 10 Principles that I systematically put into place during the years that I was senior pastor of the Phnom Penh Church.
Principle 1: True Converts
Explained: I wanted to avoid Cambodians just joining our religion or following our customs but no heart change. I wanted them to truly love God and commit to serving him the rest of their life with no turning back.
Goal: Not just follow outward activities such as attend a class, attend a meeting, help or even read the Bible or be water baptized. I wanted them to have a transformation in their inner heart that will last until the day they die.
Process: We preached the Bad News first to help them have a strong desire to want the Good News. People must first understand that they are hopeless sinners before they will want God’s salvation and will remain true to him.
Principle 2: Clear Path to Make Disciples
Explained: I wanted to have the Word of God and basic truths and principles to help them grow taught to new converts in a systematic way so as not to miss any key point. I wanted to create the culture for them to study certain classes and then teach them to others.
Goal: Study through the Knowing God Book (true conversion); Foundations Book (Foundations of the Faith); and Family of God Book (Church Life) and teach the lessons to others.
Process: In the beginning there was not a culture to study like this. In fact it was difficult to get them to come to a Sunday church meeting for an hour and a half, but then we added a one hour class before the Sunday church meeting. At first hardly anyone attended and attendance was inconsistent. But we persisted and now it is our culture – someone comes into the church and they just know they’re supposed to take these classes. These classes are the doorway to other ministry in the church. The lessons were written with the intent of being simple and reproducible so anyone who has completed the class could easily teach it to someone else.
Principle 3: Small Groups for Fellowship and Discipleship
Explained: I understood that people do not make friends or become disciples in the Sunday church meeting. The Sunday church meeting is for casting vision, the Holy Spirit to move in a dynamic way and for celebration. Discipleship and friendship occurs in small groups.
Goal: Everybody to become part of a small group.
Process: As I recall, we started one small group with Eric leading it and one with me. We meet with leaders and they met with others. Personal invitation is the best way for people to join a group. We made a simple meeting schedule for them to follow. The groups were to grow and members were to become small group leaders themselves.
Principle 4: Constant Emphasis on Evangelism
Explained: I understood the principle that Christians seem to lose their passion to reach the lost after 2-3 years of being a Christian. They like to fellowship with other Christians instead. Also, only about 10% of the church are bold to share their faith. I realize that I and the leaders must continually declare the vision to evangelize in every way and at all times. We must not quit but find ways to emphasize this in every meeting and provide opportunities.
Goal: Everybody is passionate about sharing their faith in Christ or at least passionate about leading Cambodia to Christ and willing to invite people to evangelistic and church activities.
Process: In prayer meetings, sermons, altar calls, testimonies we remind the church members to reach their lost friends, neighbors, workmates and classmates. We provide training in evangelism and church activities to bring their friends. We provided evangelistic tracts they could use as well.
Principle 5: Family Atmosphere as committed brothers and sisters
Explained: When Eric turned the church over to me I felt we had a group of young men becoming disciples, but we were not yet a family. A family cares for one another, sacrifices for one another and stays faithful to one another.
Goal: Church members are committed to the local church as something important to them because they have friends whom they consider like family.
Process: I felt the key to this was eating together and having fun together. Therefore, we began to have regular meals together and to places to have fun as a group. I tried to arrange activities so they could get to know one another to become friends.
Principle 6: Big Events with Strategic Follow Up
Explained: Big Events such as holiday activities, concerts, crusades, special-interest meetings can help a church get a name in the community and can help push the church over the growth barrier, but there must be organized follow up after the event.
Goal: Have regular Big Events with follow up.
Process: We would take advantage of Cambodian public holidays as well as international holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas. We would organize, advertise and try to do follow up. However, in those days no one had cell phones, street addresses were not consistent and I discovered that Cambodians often went by one name at home and another name among friends! It was very, very difficult to follow up!
Principle 7: Mindset to Multiply Yourself and Release Christians to Ministry
Explained: Most people leave church because they have nothing to do in the church (it has not become their church) or they have no friends or they get out of the habit as a result of a significant life change. My mindset was to teach Cambodians everything I know and teach them how to do everything I know how to do, thereby multiplying myself to some degree. We tried to model this, teach it and provide opportunities. If you play an instrument, teach someone else. If you speak English or use a computer, teach someone else. If you know how to pray, teach the Bible, etc., teach someone else to do it. It’s in this way we multiplied musicians, preachers, teachers and all kinds of ministries.
Goal: Everybody should be teaching someone else what they know how to do. Everyone should be teaching and everyone should be learning.
Process: I modeled this in making disciples and training leaders in every way and encouraged the disciples and leaders I was training to do the same.
Principle 8: Feeding God’s Flock at Balanced Spiritual Diet from the Word of God
Explained: During the course of a year the pastor must teach truths from the Bible that are useful for every area of the Christian life. Pastors have a tendency to teach primarily the things they like. We need to plan well-balanced teaching from month to month and we need to teach in a series of sermons, with the former sermon reviewing the previous sermon to remind the listeners that we are on a journey through the Word of God on that subject.
Goal: Plan a preaching schedule for 52 weeks of the year.
Process: We must determine where our church is at spiritually at this time and where we want to lead them during this year. Make a list of all the important subjects (skills and knowledge) that are necessary for a Christian to grow to maturity (do the same for what leaders need) and make a schedule for each month – four sermons each month on the same subject but differnet aspects of that subject).
Principle 9: Preaching Practical Sermons that are Useful for Their Life
Explained: Many pastors preach sermons and teach lessons that are about Bible history or Bible knowledge but they are not useful for the everyday life of the people in their church. Also, they teach without passion and do not show the church members how to apply what the Bible says about that subject to their lives every day.
Goal: Preach sermons that will help Christian grow and tell them how to apply the Word of God in every area of their life.
Process: I believe a short sermon is better than a long one. Most church members don’t remember our sermons anyway. Make a clear introduction with a story and just 3 or 4 points then a conclusion. I like to ask myself these two questions when I finish preparing the lesson: 1) What do I want them to know as a result of this lesson? 2) What do I want them to do as a result of this lesson? If I can’t answer those two questions in two clear sentences then I don’t know what the main point of my sermon is and those who hear me won’t know either. I try to tell them clearly how to apply this. Also, I give an opportunity for them to respond to the Word of God through the sermon by praying, declaring the Word of God, laying hands on them or providing some other kind of opportunity for them to show they will obey and apply the Word of God.
Principle 10: Releasing Church Members to do the work of the Ministry before
they are fully trained
Explained: It’s not necessary for a church member to be fully trained before we release them to ministry. It’s not necessary for them to go to a Bible School before they are released to ministry. Jesus trained his disciples and leaders as they were working together. He showed them how to do it by modeling it for them. He released them, then they reported back and Jesus corrected or encouraged them according to their results. We want men and women who are trained. We don’t want to release them too soon and we don’t want to release them too late. We try to find the middle ground.
Goal: Be willing to release Christians to help in a ministry or lead a ministry before they are fully equipped, but make sure you follow up with them and guide them.
Process: We would do ministry together. I would explain what I’m doing – how and why. I would let them help and watch them. I would allow them to do it and report back to me. We have regular meetings for reporting and follow up. I used the principle of “Low Experience and Motivation needs High Supervision. High Experience and High Motivation needs Low Supervision. When they were new I gave a lot of supervision and guidance. As they gained experience and strong motivation I didn’t supervise them as much.