25 years ago I visited the land of India for the first time. As was I was on the way to the airport in Hyderabad to leave the country, I will never forget weeping in my vehicle. God spoke to my heart that night of the importance of passing on to Indian nationals, be they pastors or men called into the ministry, the need to teach the Scriptures to the people of God in India.
So much has happened since that day! How blessed I was to attend this year’s Pastor’s Conference and see the hand of God working wonderfully in the lives of believers there. What a joy it was to sit down with graduates of the Koinonia College of Theology (KCOT) and India Connection pastors from around the country and to hear them sharing their testimonies of how God’s Word is changing the lives of the people in their villages and cities.
It’s all about relationship
Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. John 5:39,40
Ray joins the Worship Team!
The theme of the Pastor’s Conference this year was building a relationship and fellowship with the Lord. The truth that struck me the most in our three days of meetings was this: lives are transformed by developing intimacy with the Lord, not by collecting more information about Him.
Obviously, training men and women at KCOT to make a difference for the Lord in their communities requires giving them a proper understanding of foundational bible doctrines and beliefs about God, the gospel, creation, prophecy, and a host of other topics. But, at the end of the day, if the information about the Lord, even information that is true, does not translate into personal intimacy with Him, we fall far short of the goal of the purpose of bible study.
The verses from John 5 quoted above were spoken by Jesus to the most radical religious group of His day. “Come to me, that ye might have life.” There it is, beloved! There is no such thing as having eternal life apart from knowing Jesus.
Scripture itself can only define for you what eternal life is. But Scripture is like a traffic sign that tells you that you are approaching a city. The sign is not the city. Again, The Master said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Our Assignment: Fellowship with God and each other
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1.3
Chris takes a selfie with pastors from around India
God ordained those special moments for me to speak with each KCOT alumni about the importance of their assignment in India. How encouraged they were to hear they were ordained by the Lord and were being used by Him to tell God’s people that their union with Him through faith in Jesus makes them men and women of significance where they live and serve.
I urged them repeatedly to keep the eyes of the people of God looking unto Him, and not their circumstances, good or bad. I reminded them that the primary purpose of salvation is fellowship with God.
I wanted them to see that it is from that vertical overflow of abiding in Jesus that all transformational life flows, just like when a branch draws life and nutrition from the Vine. My heart was freshly warmed as we spent quality time praying for an outpouring of His Spirit upon each of these men and their various areas of ministry.
Please continue to pray for the men and women who have graduated from KCOT as they minister in various villages and churches. Pray that they would “know the love of Christ (not just know about it!), which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3.19
Pray that they would comprehend that their most important assignment here on earth is to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3.18
All evangelism, discipleship, and ministry flow from fellowship with the Lord. That is not only their assignment, but yours and mine as well. Selah.