Unconditional Thankfulness

Did you know that Jesus was thankful? I’m sure you did. He is God, after all, and He knows what is “good” better than all of us.

If you were to review the New Testament, you would see Jesus giving thanks to His Father several times. But I’d like us to focus on one occurrence in particular—the Last Supper:

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said,“Take this and divide it among yourselves.For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vineuntil the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying,“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying,“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” 

Luke 22:17-20 (ESV)

What a baffling Savior we have, who gives thanks before both friend and traitor for His oncoming suffering.

Indeed, Jesus models for us what unconditional thankfulness looks like. He demonstrates how to face even the darkest of nights and then turn to face His Father and say, “I am glad.”

What might we be able to learn from this? How should this affect our lives?

Just as Jesus was thankful for His Father’s plans, provisions, and answers to prayer…we ought to seek to rejoice in where He has led us, what He has given us, and how He answers our prayers. To be clear, we ought to rejoice not in spite of our situation but because of our situation—regardless of whether it is what we had hoped for—because we can trust our King knows what He is doing. We can trust His decisions are, first and always, filtered through His justice and love. So, no matter the difficulty of the path set before us, we too can say, “I am glad.”

It’s not easy, Jesus knows that well. He Himself sometimes wept over the cup He had been given. But we must not think He resented the plan or doubted the kindness of His Father because of it. For as much as Jesus grieved, did He not, even more, trust the One who had sent Him and love the ones He was suffering for?

As you celebrate this Thanksgiving—whether your heart is crowned with joy or crippled with grief—will you follow Jesus’ example of giving unconditional thanks for God’s plan and provision?

I pray that we both forsake our pride and embrace God’s wisdom.

I pray we both surrender our self-pity, distrust, and resentment and cling to God’s wisdom.

I pray we both learn how to carry thankfulness even when it feels the heaviest.

You’re Invited!

You are invited to a short, one-hour Zoom gathering of globalLead staff and friends from around the globe to celebrate together all that God has been doing through your ministry, globalLead.

Hear from leaders from Nepal, the Philippines, Europe, USA, and others!

We are excited not only to celebrate 2022 but also to let you hear about plans for 2023 and beyond!

Will you come and celebrate all of the good that God is doing?

A Throne without Decay

As we pray this month for your globalLead ministry around the globe, I am reminded that every country has unique political leadership and circumstances. In the last few months, two of our offices have requested prayer for election times, and we know, in many other countries, the times when power changes hands can be most tumultuous.

We find ourselves wondering whether these leaders will be loved by the people and whether they will be loved for the right reasons, whether their leadership will enable or inhibit Gospel growth, whether their power will be used for good or evil, whether their “rule” will last long enough for it to even make a difference.

The recent death of the long-reigning Queen Elizabeth II reminds us that our leaders are temporary, but we serve a God who is eternal. His power remains in His hand, regardless of the collapse of nations or the roaring of the leaders in them. Here, we have a leader and King who is good, kind, and just. Here, we have a leader who cannot be intimidated or overthrown. Here, we have a God who hears us, loves us, teaches us, and will reign forever. And to His incorruptible, ageless throne room we, His children, come with confidence.

As you pray this month reflect on the following verses lifting up God and His great attributes and care for all of us, even (or maybe especially) when the reign of others ends:

3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day, his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them, …
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
  Praise the Lord!

Psalm 146:3–6,10 (ESV)

The World is Starving

Have you ever wondered why people flocked to the wilderness to see John the Baptist?

It wasn’t simply for the novelty of seeing a man who ate locusts, wore uncomfortable clothing, and preached feverishly. It was for a reason much greater.

You see, these people had heard ancient stories passed down from their great-great-great grandparents and read aloud to them in Temple. These were stories of men who cried out in the streets, challenged kings, lived as outcasts, and most importantly, spoke for their God. Then suddenly they heard about a man in their day—acting erratically, stirring up trouble, preaching repentance, and declaring “the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Luke 3:1-20; Matthew 3:1-12)—and they began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, God was speaking to His people again.

Due to Israel’s disobedience, God had been silent for 400 years, just as He said He would be if they persisted in their sin. But the faithful among His people never stopped being hungry for His Word to return and be present. So, of course, they leapt at the chance to listen to one through whom God was speaking with divine power and inciting holy dread and repentance.

My friend, the world is starving again, starving for the knowledge and presence of our Lord. And, while He may no longer speak through the voices of men, He has given us the sufficient and final treasure we call the Bible.

As followers of Christ, we must champion this gift, and as a ministry, we must rely on Scripture as foundational for both our practices and teachings.

Join us in thanking God that each member of globalLead’s leadership is committed to Biblical principles above all else, and pray we continue to treasure Scripture as the focus for decades to come.

Debt, Cancelled

If you’ve been paying attention to the news in America, you’ll know it has been filled with the discussion of whether it is fair to cancel student loan debts. Whatever your opinion is on this idea, I would encourage you to direct your attention back toward God. For while this possibility may affect the United States and the wallets of those living in it, we, as believers, are aware of a present reality affecting the entire world and the eternal destiny of those living on it.

The debt we owe due to our sin is profound, grows every day, and ought to cost us our lives. None of us could do a single thing to shrink or alleviate its crushing pressure. Yet, without the awareness to ask for it and without having even imagined it as a possibility, we were offered the single greatest gift in the history of the world–Jesus.

Who would think God, who has never needed forgiveness, would invent it for and offer it to us? Who would think He would go to the end it required?

While my sin certainly should have permanently separated me from Life Himself, I have been released from all that I owe. Enough blood has been shed on my behalf, on your behalf, to eradicate the debt plaguing our mind, spirit, and body. It is gone for good. Praise the Lord.

  May we always champion this Christ-centered Gospel message of our need for Jesus and His redeeming payment for our sins through the cross. There was no other way, and there is no other message to bring: He came, He lived, He died, He rose, He seized victory, and you are invited to join Him.

As we hear of the topic of debt forgiveness, may we all pause and give thanks for the One in charge of everything, God Himself, who forgives our eternal sin debt. We praise the Lord for, in love, paying off our debt and offering us freedom, and we thank you for supporting this ministry so we can continue to spread the word of this gift across the globe.

A Lavish Gift

When you build anything, the foundation is critically important, and a good foundation requires good stones. You are an essential stone in the foundational strength of globalLead. As you support the ministry of globalLead, you can be assured we will always stand upon the strong foundation, Jesus Christ, in all that we say and do. Jesus Himself used the picture of building upon a rock in Matthew 7:24-27:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Both men heard the words of Christ, and both men were thrust into the midst of a storm–rain fell, floods came, and winds blew and beat. Their only difference was where their foundation had been laid, and it made all the difference.

We are sure that “in this world, [we] will have tribulation,” but those who hold fast to Christ have also been promised the presence of the One who overcame the world. What a lavish gift! The rest of the world lacks it and still faces suffering, and we, as believers, face suffering and often forget it. 

Together, we get to remind leaders, globally, about the truths of Christ–encouraging them to dwell on these words and inviting them to endure their tribulations and sorrows while having eyes for eternity and remembering the King is in control.

Any storm:

He is sovereign at the start of it.

He is the Sustainer in the midst of it.

He is the Healer at the end of it.

And He is the only sempiternal Foundation.

To God be the glory!

For these reasons (and many more), we rely upon only His wisdom and character as the foundation of our ministry and lives. Thanks for being a part of what God is doing across the world in the lives of ministers of the Gospel. We love doing this together.

When a Pastor is Hurting

What happens when a pastor is hurting?

What happens when the weight of ministry and the griefs of life accumulate but you can’t stop to tend to your wounds because you’re responsible for leading and feeding the Body of Christ? What happens when the accuser begins to lie to you–about God, about the people you trust and love, about yourself?

One of the focal points of globalLead came out of this question: who is pastoring the pastors?

Many people assume that pastors and ministry leaders can stand on their own. “They know God well. They have been trained in the Bible. They are strong in order to serve the rest of us.” Although the above can be true at times, pastors need to be pastored too. They struggle. They face hurts, pains, and stress like all of us–sometimes even more than us–as they carry the eternal and temporal weight of many others. And they often have no one tending to their souls, walking with them in accountability, lifting them out of dark places, and preaching the Gospel to their wounded hearts.

At globalLead, we are concerned about the internal and external areas of the lives of pastors and leaders. Psalm 78:72 states our desire for His spiritual shepherds,
“With upright heart, he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.”
It is heavy responsibility–caring for the spiritual welfare of others–and it is not the Lord’s heart that His ministers would run so fast and so far, carrying so weighty a load, that they find themselves collapsed and crushed before their work is completed.
Great is any pastor’s passion for the Gospel, but great will be his burnout if he labors vainly and by his own power.
Would you pray this month specifically for pastors and ministry leaders regarding their personal relationship with God? Not for their church, not for their ministry with others in the community… but start praying for them personally. Pray that, while they shepherd others and tend to the spiritual needs of their congregation, they again lean on Jesus as their own great Shepherd who calls out, offering an easy yoke, a light burden, and rest for their souls.

Being an Eternal Great, Great Grandfather!

Can I ask: what is important to you? What have you invested your time, money, and energy into that really matters? Now let me ask, is it eternal? Is it something or someone that continues to impact others for generations to come? Through your ministry alongside globalLead, you are involved in something important, eternal, and that continues to impact multiple generations across numerous countries around the globe. Let me go back to August of 1999. By this time, I had been traveling for a few years to Kenya to train youth ministry leaders. I did not realize the impact this training would have for decades to come.

There was an energetic part-time youth leader, Nick Korir (pictured above with Chris), from the small Kenya city of Kericho attending this August training. Honestly, I do not remember a lot about Nick during this training, but what I do remember vividly is that Nick came back for more training prematurely during my next trip. Typically, we ask leaders to wait a year before returning so they have time to implement the training, see results, and have challenges to discuss in Level 2. When Nick came to our Level 2 training, the host asked if we should send him home. Though I wanted to, I realized he had sacrificed a lot for travel expenses, so I allowed him to stay. 

I soon realized that Nick was special. He had implemented what we taught him regarding ministry in the patterns of Jesus and had seen his small youth group grow exponentially in just a few months. I could see Nick’s impact and leadership right away, so even though he was not yet a certified trainer, I asked if he could share with the Level 1 group. The next 24 years were amazing!

Fast forward to today, Nick is the Senior Pastor of one of the largest
churches in Nairobi, Kenya and has established church plants throughout Kenya and into other nations. Throughout these years, we have walked together with Nick and Julia through their marriage and adoption of two local boys (Dan and Don). He has walked with Penny and me through our adoption of Levi. We have walked with Nick through many life and ministry decisions along the way. Nick has served in multiple roles with globalLead and is a champion for this ministry wherever he travels. 

On my recent mission trip to Kenya, I took time for breakfast with Nick. It lasted until the lunch hour! He continues to serve and disciple young leaders. In fact, he sent three of his top staff to the Heart of the Leader event we led in Nairobi.

One of the great joys Nick and I focus on is eternal, generational, and global gospel impact. One of the young men Nick and I have discipled and mentored is Festus Omato. I met Festus in 2020 at our first Africa-based Heart of the Leader event. Since then, I regularly mentored Festus and during my trip to Nairobi this May, he was serving beside me as a mentor in our Heart of the Leader ministry. Over the past 2 years, I have ministered to and mentored Festus. And now, I’ve multiplied with and through him so he can serve other leaders. Not only did Festus and I serve in Heart of the Leader, but he insisted that I meet his “children in the faith”: a group of young men he disciples who kept asking Festus if they could meet me. Festus said that he mentions things we discuss with them and they wanted to meet “great-grandpa.”

When you serve for over two decades in one location, God produces spiritual fruit that grows and multiplies globally. You, as a partner of globalLead, have been a wonderful part of this generational faith passing, ministering, mentoring, and multiplying that is not limited to this one story or country. 

What started as a vision to launch a mission to train young ministry leaders back in 1996 continues to grow today from God, through you and me (and other globalLead staff) to Nick, Festus, and now those he is discipling. Even Festus’ young men are asking when they can add more people into their group so they can personally disciple. Wow…great-great-grandchildren in the faith that you have developed through globalLead. As I often say, “we get to do this!”

Thank you for your eternal multiplying ministry!

 

The Birthplace of the Reformation is Unreached

This Friday, I [Chris Davis] will be traveling from the Heart of the Leader conference in Nairobi, Kenya to Brussels, Belgium. There, I will work alongside Pastor Nixon Echavez to meet with over a dozen pastors, youth pastors, and key leaders for the continent of Europe. There will be four European countries represented in person at this gathering (Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and the UK) but that doesn’t account for those who will be attending via the internet.

This gathering is critical to the next steps in building Nixon’s team and getting trainings out for this continent. 

Nixon, who is originally from the Philippines, is hoping to move his family to Brussels this year… and you might wonder why.

The truth is, this continent is desperately unreached.

Over the last 100 years, Europe is the only continent where the church has not seen growth. In fact, Biblical Christianity in Europe has been in decline, and Evangelical Christians represent only 2.5 percent of the population, which is currently at 749 million. That is 18.75 million remaining believers in the once-thriving seat of Christianity and the birthplace of the Reformation…over 36% of the countries in Europe have less than 1% Evangelicals (7th edition, Operation World, Jason Mandryk, 2010.) This statistic means that over 36% of the countries in Europe are, by definition, unreached–i.e. less than 2% Evangelical Christians.

While Nixon has been training and mentoring ministry leaders from Europe virtually, by moving to Belgium, he is trusting God’s provision, both for the financial support and for a fruitful ministry. Please be praying with us that it is a productive meeting with these individuals as we begin to lay the groundwork.

Read more about Nixon, his passion, his family, and his budding ministry.

He Refreshes My Soul

Words cannot express the excitement I sense as I update you and request prayer for my ministry travels to represent your investment in globalLead for His purposes! Because today…

I am in the process of traveling to Nairobi, Kenya to lead our teams in an IN-PERSON Heart of the Leader event!

We have 12 men and 12 women attending with an additional group of 9 mentors and apprentice mentors from multiple countries including the Philippines, USA, Kenya, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Uganda, and Ghana. 

Of course, please pray that everyone’s travels go well. But we mainly ask that you help us pray that all involved will have a significant time with the Lord, His Word, and His example for ministry. Our goal is to care for the souls of pastors and church leaders so that they can open their lives more to Him and to one another and find Biblical support and encouragement.

We’re trusting God that this will be a fruitful time of community, prayer, learning, and healing. This gathering has been a long time coming (thanks to COVID), and all involved have been so faithful in organizing the event and preparing to minister to these ministers.

Pray that the Lord refreshes weary souls, tends to wounded hearts, and revitalizes the passion, identity, and calling of these men and women in ministry!