Seeing several hundred people respond to the altar call each week during the New
Zealand Impact World Tour (IWT)
is an incredible privilege that only a few people get to experience.
Over a thousand last week alone. Who knows what awesome things for God just one of those
might accomplish for His kingdom? The word of God says the angels
rejoice - have a party?! - when just one new person comes into a right
relationship with God. Man, do we have reason to party?!
The Oscars may have helped put New
Zealand on the map yesterday. But the Lord
of Lords is up to something much of the world doesn't understand.
And the IMPACT for God's
kingdom is NOT just limited to those who respond to the altar call and
turn their lives over to God at the front. Let me tell you about
just one person I recently met on the Impact
Tom Bragg (founder of YWAM Publishing and friend since Bible
school days at Vanguard University
in Southern California) and I went to one of the satellite locations for one of the Impact World Tour events. We went a
couple hours early to find the place and get the Soul Hut
literature booth set up. Because of the stormy weather the venue for
the event was changed from a sports stadium to a shopping mall. The
crowed gathered under a large covered area and overflowed out into the
parking lot. But we almost left because we couldn't find a source for
light for the literature booth. We prayed, hung around, and again came
close to leaving - when it finally got dark enough to spot a place
where sufficient light was available. We managed to get things set up
shortly before the IWT Island Breeze
Among those who came
around to check out the Soul Hut booth
was a Maori man - full facial moko (tattoo) and all - and his child. He
got Loren Cunningham's forth book: Why
Not Women? for his wife just before the program started.
But something inside prompted me to go after him and give him one of
the Christian Heroes
books, about Gladys Aylward who went to China, and in spite of many
obstacles, accomplished great things for God and the people of China.
When I gave him the book, he looked at me puzzled, thanked me and
next night the Maori man was back. He came over to me at the Soul Hut, looked me deep in the eyes, and
asked, Why did you give me that book?
Thoughts of Once Were Warriors and missionaries for dinner flashed through my
head as I wondered why he was asking this question. (I had been reading
about John Williams who was
eventually eaten by Melonesian Pacific Islanders, after many years of
effective service in Polynesia.) du'no, I said. I just felt like God wanted me
to give it to you. Another pregnant moment
of silence before he responded. I couldn't sleep last night, he explained. The
book was so good. I know God was challenging me through it as I kept
reading it through the night. Can we get together later and talk more? *
(picture courtesy of
Island Breeze - not man at iwt)
I said, Sure, maybe we can go out for a
cuppa and talk. But it's likely to be a few hours before we're through
That's ok, He said. It'll have to wait till
we're all done with the Soul Hut after tonight's program, I responded. I understand. I'll be
here, he assured me.He
patiently waited around till quite late in the evening when everything
was over and we were all packed up in the van. Tom and I followed him
to his house in the van, then walked up the dark pathway to his place
on the side of a hill. It was only lightly raining at this point (in
the middle of what is said to be New Zealand's worst natural disasters
since 1931). He introduced us to his wife, graciously fixed us hot
drinks, and soon began telling us some of his life story: drug dealing,
prisons, Maori cult and eventually Jesus. But he also confessed that
his walk with God had been inconsistent, on-again off-again, back to
some of the old habits...
I told him it was no
accident that he got that book. That God was wanting him to make a
total commitment of his life to the Lord. I told him about my brother
and his life of crime and drugs before he came to the Lord in a Los
Angeles jail many years ago and how God has used him to reach so many
others - as the founder and leader of Teen Challenge in Los Angeles and
Hawaii, and as a pastor for many years, and then as a missionary
evangelist in lots of countries all over the world for many years.
And God has plans for
your life too, I told him. But
you've got to make a total commitment. None of this on-again off-again,
up and down stuff. It's all or nothing. Remember all the obstacles
Gladys Aylward went through. But she didn't let those things keep her
from doing what God put on her heart to do... What if Tom and I would
have left because there didn't seem to be an appropriate place to set
up the literature booth last night?
We had a good time of prayer together, of
re-commitment of his life to all that God wants to do in and through
him. He got a torch (flashlight) and walked us down the dark path to
the van. Then asked us to wait a bit more while he went back in the
rain to his house and returned with a totally un-expected gift.
The next night we were
in one of New Zealand's larger cities. Guess who was there? Yep. He was
after more books - Is That Really You
we're providing at just a fraction of the normal cost - and enjoying
another IWT program. He gave me a big hug and thanked us for coming
over and encouraging and challenging him and his wife. It was clear God
was doing some deep stuff in his life. Who knows what he might yet
accomplish for God?
the IMPACT for God's
kingdom is NOT just limited to those who respond to the altar call
and turn their lives over to God at the front. I was reminded of
the comment Loren Cunningham made to me a few years ago on our way to a
service he was speaking at in Hamilton: More
lives are transformed through the books people get and read after I
speak than through my speaking ministry. Quite
a confession from a man who has influenced many hundreds of thousands -
likely millions of people - through his public speaking ministry. But
this experience helped me understand why Loren would make such a
statement. And of course reinforced to me the importance of starting
the follow-up process of Impact World
Tour through Christian literature at the various events.
Please continue to pray
for God to IMPACT people's lives through this ministry - and the many
churches and Christians who are involved...For the many others God is
wanting to IMPACT for His purposes.
said he usually warns people that these Christian Heroes books can keep you up all night, they're so
good. But I forgot to do that. There are now 24 of these well-written
Kiwi authors. If you're interested - in any of these, or other IWT Soul Hut
specials - let me know.