A former student wrote and asked if I would answer a few questions for him. For some strange reason I agreed and below is what transpired. Whilst you might disagree with my off-the-cuff responses it might be worthwhile thinking through what your answers would be to the questions. (I have deliberately left the questions as they were given to me.)
Moa, these are “off the cuff” comments in answer to your questions, I hope I have understood properly what it was that you were asking. I chose not to go back and edit my answer but believe in my spontaneity you have an insight into my heart.
I assumed you did not want polished theological arguments with verses quoting. I am writing from my own point of view which is essentially “Spirit and Word” directed (charismatic) in nature.
1. success and failure you came through
My personality helps me to remember the failures more readily than any success. For example, I failed to love my first wife as fully as I should have done. She died (of cancer) in India working to fulfil the call God had given us. I tried to serve her, tried to love her, yet I look back and know I could have, and should have, done more.
Possibly that illustrates one of my great failings, the failure to love sacrificially. Christ called us to that life, called us to take up our cross and follow. The choice is not mine yet too often I have failed because I would not pay the price he called me to pay.
In ministry I am called to train leaders and make disciples. So success can be seen in any person whom God has called upon my path and whom I have influenced to walk more passionately as a disciple. Many such “successes” are small and insignificant in the worlds definition of this term.Yet for me enabling someone to give a small fraction more of themselves, to be more devoted to Christ in their life, to walk with greater determination, to fight for Christ inwardly and outwardly, then in my opinion I have been successful.
2.what is your view about salvation?
Salvation comes in and through Jesus Christ, there is no other name under heaven by which mankind can be saved. Salvation is often diminished by the falsehood propagated today of saying a prayer and receiving it. This attitude has not only diminished the value of salvation but has also cheapened our view of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Having said that I would agree we are saved at a particular point in time, but we continue to be saved, continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. It is this aspect which is desperately lacking in many evangelical churches today. we simply do not tell people that salvation is going to cost you your life so that you might live for Christ.
3.the vision you have for mission?
Mission is essential to the life and ministry of the Body of Christ. Where the body forgets mission it becomes self centred, egotistical and narcissistic. We see this in many models of prosperity that are espoused in denominations (and their related churches) around the world today. This is not a Pentecostal problem but many Baptists I have met in india believe that god really wants to bless them and that means a house, car, money etc.
My vision for mission is that Christ is all, and therefore he expects all from me, “To live is Christ…I want to know Christ”
4. encounter of holy spirit in ur ministry,
For me encountering the spirit of God is the lifeblood of my ministry. It is a daily prayer and demanded reality. One of my old mentors used to say that, “The Holy Spirit is God in the present tense.” I passionately believe that and try to live the reality of it.
I do believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an ongoing encountering of God. Biblically I believe the evidence is for multiple encounters along with a daily infilling of the life of the Spirit.
Many many times I have seen people healed, set free, delivered, liberated and changed when they encountered the Holy Spirit.
5. future vision u hav for God’s kingdom.
I long to be part of a church (universal and local) which is accomplished in word, deed and sign. The nature of the KOG is such that we see Jesus healing the sick, casting out demons, lifting up the oppressed, standing for righteousness, opposing religious bigotry and domination. I do not believe God made me or called me (or most believers) to have great riches. if he gives to me he does so that I can have the pleasure of giving away and seeing his kingdom extended.
I long to see “Spirit & Word” training (in the church and in colleges / training centres) conducted where disciples are made who can minister in power and proclaim with gentle boldness.
7. what is the best way to deal with the non-believers?
Christ suggested that we love God first and then we love our neighbour. i am not good at doing the latter (and often struggle with the former), yet I hold that this teaching is his great revelation on reaching the lost world for him.
True love is hard to resist – but it is not simply caring on a physical level – it should be rooted and founded in the compassionate love of God. Jesus was motivated by these two inextricable forces, if we can be likewise then I think we have a chase of seeing change in the lives of non-believers.
8. how will you like to is the exhort us through your experience? (the message)
Jesus Christ is worth everything, every part of your life. Hold nothing back.