July 2015

Three Spiritual Growth Indicators

By Eddie Broussard

 Photo Courtesy of Rachel Pfuetzner

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Pfuetzner

Just a week ago my doctor ordered a set of blood tests for me. No one likes to have blood drawn, but medical tests like this are important because they provide doctors with ways to measure our true physical health. They give us an accurate reference point for how our bodies are doing. We might feel fine, but a blood test can reveal a lot that would otherwise go unnoticed.

In our spiritual lives, it’s easy for us to do Bible study, memorize scripture, and pray; but how do these things indicate our spiritual health? Without accurate reference points, we can’t assess our true spiritual condition.

What light does scripture shed on this question to help us as we seek to know God more and more? Let’s consider three simple, powerful words that serve as good indicators of how well we are growing in our relationships with God.

Love
The apostle John writes, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:8). This simple and profound statement challenges our idea of what it means to know God. We may have mastered biblical truth and memorized great portions of scripture, but if we do not love others, the Scriptures say we do not know God. This is because love is a central attribute of God’s character. We cannot claim to know God and not love others. To know God is to walk in relationship with Him and to experience Him with such depth that it changes who we are and therefore how we act. When we know God we become like Him. And He is love.

Trust
There is a relationship between knowing God and trusting God. Psalm 9:10 says, "Those who know your name will trust in you. . . ." The true depth of our knowledge of God can be seen in the extent of our trust in God. If we are struggling to trust God, our struggle indicates that our knowledge of God is deficient. Lack of trust reveals that there is something about His name and character that we do not really know; if we really knew Him for who He is, we would trust Him. So, trust indicates the depth and strength of our knowledge of God.

Obey
In another of John’s powerful comments he writes: "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4). This scripture tells me that my obedience to God determines the true character and depth of my knowledge of God. It is through a life of obedience that my fellowship with the Lord grows richer and deeper. When I choose to obey him I move closer to Him, and the Father and Son will more deeply disclose themselves to me (John 14:21, 23). It is on the path of obedience that our knowledge of God reaches greater depth and richness.

These three words—love, trust and obey—suggest that knowing God is primarily a relational and experiential journey. The spiritual disciplines are essential to the journey of knowing God. Spiritual disciplines connect us more deeply to the life of God. They help us to know God more deeply because they help us relate to God as holy, righteous, true, just, merciful, and omniscient. The disciplines also help us experience God, who is our Father, Shepherd, Rock, Redeemer, Helper, Savior, Refuge, and Judge.

God invites us to know him! Scripture reminds us that as our knowledge of Him deepens we will love others more naturally, we will trust Him more readily, and we will want to obey Him. And we will grow in our knowledge of Him. We will experience more of God, and we will be more satisfied with the one truly amazing relationship that God has offered humanity—the relationship with Himself.   

Eddie Broussard joined the International Executive Team in May 2015. He became Navigator staff in 1980. In 1992, he joined the CoMission movement, working in the post-Soviet countries. From 1998 to 2014, he served on the U.S. National Leadership Team. Eddie and his wife, Barbie, were married in 1996.

Taking the Gospel into Nairobi

By Esther Waruiru

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Chris Amulo, a former veterinarian born in rural Kenya, has a vibrant vision to advance the Gospel into the cities of Africa. He’s been giving his full-time effort to equipping young professionals so that they can take the Gospel to their workplaces and relational networks. Chris has seen God establish a strong ministry to professionals in their 20s and 30s.

“In the marketplace, young professionals spend more than 40 hours a week with their peers and colleagues,” says Chris. “Well-resourced, mentored and coached, they are the incarnational presence of the Gospel in their families and relational networks. . . . We want to see these transformed people being the champions of justice and righteousness in our society.”

God’s generational impact through Chris is exciting. I would like to share the stories of two men—Victor Kilwake and Jay Muia—who were discipled by Chris.

Chris met Victor after high school, took an interest in him, and became his friend and spiritual mentor. Chris began helping Victor grow in his devotional life and live by God’s promises. Chris also helped prepare Victor to lead others to Christ and to disciple them.

“Chris modeled for me the things he taught,” says Victor. “I was able to observe his deep knowledge of God and His Word, and also his humility and servant heart. . . . The Lord transformed my life.”

Victor is now a Navigator staffer and a leader of the ministry for college graduates. He and Chris equip young professionals to be influential in the workplace.

Victor is mentoring a young man who works as a certified financial analyst in Nairobi and who is passionate to live out his faith in the workplace. Recently, Victor’s friend has been working with students at a business school. At the time of this writing, he is looking for an apartment next to this university so as to facilitate his relationships with the students in the evenings after work. Victor is supporting his friend in this initiative.

God has also used Chris to bring about a generational impact through Jay Muia. Jay is a Ph.D. student at Daystar University, and his wife, Sarah, is a lawyer in Nairobi. Jay came to Christ and first met Chris fresh out of high school in a Navigator Bible study. Chris discipled Jay over many years, helping Jay be God’s man in his profession. As a result of Jay’s honesty and hard work, he was honored by the Ford Foundation and Youth Agenda as a rising national leader in Kenya.

“The biblical lessons about integrity that I learned from this period created convictions about how to live as a Christian in a secular workplace,” says Jay about his times with Chris.

Jay is also working with recent college graduates to prepare them for professional life. He is helping lead a university outreach effort at his church, and he and Sarah often speak in high schools about Jesus.

As Victor and Jay invest in the next generation of young professionals, Chris continues to maintain a strong friendship with them and to pray for them. One of the promises he prays for Victor and Jay is found in Psalm 145:3-4: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.

The Navigator vision of God advancing his kingdom through spiritual generations is alive and well in Kenya through men and women like Chris, Victor, and Jay. Please pray that many more people will come to Christ as they carry the Gospel forward into the marketplace.    

Esther Waruiru served with The Navigators of Kenya and the Africa Regional Team prior to serving as an International Vice President from 2005 to 2014. She is now an associate to the IET.

Missional Communities in Malaysia

By Alan Ch'ng

 Photo Courtesy Alex Block

Photo Courtesy Alex Block

Choo was a typical, hardworking, Malaysian engineer who was nominally Buddhist and highly self-reliant. Living in the populous metropolitan area of Kuala Lumpur, Choo worked with Shiau Yi, a Navigator woman. Over time, Shiau Yi invited Choo to meet her husband, David. Before long, Choo had been embraced by an entire community of Navigators who, like him, were 30-something working professionals.

Choo’s life would never be the same.

The group Choo encountered is a “missional community,” a Christ-centered group of friends that seeks to advance the kingdom of God through relational networks. They are intentional about working together to advance the Gospel among the lost. Although they hold down jobs and raise young children, all of them are focused on serving as local Navigator leaders. They are helping non-believers know Jesus, and equipping young believers to do the same.

Choo first accepted invitations to join the group for dinners and other social gatherings. He sincerely enjoyed the friendships. But for some time he resisted the group’s invitations to join them for Bible discussions.

Eventually, he agreed to look at the Gospel of John with the group. He enjoyed the conversations because they were relevant to his life. The Holy Spirit and God’s Word captured his heart. After two years of thoughtful study, Choo entrusted his life to Christ. Not long after, his wife joined him in that decision.

Choo says his decision was influenced by the hope-filled lives of his Navigator friends. He experienced the genuine love and grace of the group, and he saw first-hand the quality of their relationships. He witnessed the difference Christ made in their marriages.

Living in God’s grace was not easy at first. Choo thought that he would be required to fulfill “good works” in order to be accepted by God. For example, at a conference, leaders spoke on the Navigator Calling, Values and Vision statements. Hearing this for the first time, Choo became worried that he would have to fulfill everything in those statements in order to be accepted by God and the group!

Thankfully, he shared this struggle with a friend in the Navigator group. The friend showed Choo what Jesus said in John 8:32: If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Choo realized that Jesus’ acceptance of him was not based on keeping rules or performance; yes, he was called to live fully for Christ. But the truth of God’s grace had set him free.

Choo’s Navigator friends have continued to help him grow as one equipped to handle the Word of God and to share his faith with others. Today, Choo and his wife, Yoke Chien, are active participants in the “missional community.” He is investing his life with many young adults and youth, and sharing the Gospel with his close friends from college and work.

In a beautiful display of God’s work through spiritual generations, Choo and Yoke Chien have led his college friend, Yew Lee and his wife, Lay Mee, to Christ. Choo and Yoke Chien are now discipling them and helping them to reach out to their own network of friends.

This missional community in Malaysia is advancing the kingdom of God through relational networks as a body, not just as individuals. As non-believers come into their midst, they become connected to a whole community of Christ-followers. Within this rich relational context, the multifaceted gifting of the Body of Christ is more fully expressed. The entire community plays a role in helping new believers grow.

The local leaders in this Malaysian work are also committed to their own personal growth as leaders. Most have committed to participating in a leader development effort.

We have a lot to learn from our Malaysian brothers and sisters. Their model shows us that any person can be actively engaged in advancing the Gospel as part of a local community. As you pray for the Navigator work in Malaysia, consider ways to apply what our Malaysian friends are learning in your own context.   

Alan Ch’ng is an International Vice President. Before joining the International Executive Team, Alan led our Asia Pacific Region for more than six years. Alan and his wife, Connie, moved to Colorado Springs in April 2013. They have three grown sons.

Pray for the Middle East and North Africa

By IET Communications

The Regional Director for the Navigator work in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is requesting daily prayer over the next three months as Navigator leaders seek to recruit pioneering missionaries to their team.

In addition, please pray that God would bless the MENA team as they launch a new ministry in the region. The Regional Director asks that we pray that God would provide the resources needed for missionaries who have already been identified. He also asks that God would call new missionaries who are gifted as high school and university professors to join this effort.

Jesus and the Apostle Paul took recruiting seriously, says the Regional Director. In first Corinthians 12, Paul mentions many of the spiritual gifts needed for each role as he sought to advance the Gospel. As the MENA leaders seek new workers, please pray that God would specifically call those with gifting as evangelists and pioneers.

We encourage you to pray daily for the MENA region over the next three months. Ask God to work powerfully through Navigator laborers to reach many with the message of His grace and love!