We took a 20-minute taxi to Koh Samui International Church Friend of God. I chose this church because it was in English, and the pastor had great reviews.
When one arrives, it always takes our Western minds a moment to adjust. The location is unassuming, small, and hard to find.
There is no greater joy for a Christian parent than to worship with family.
The pastor, Russell Watson, originally from South Africa, greeted us with hugs. There were about 35 attendees. We made up a large part of the congregation, but other visitors had come from South Africa and Switzerland.
The announcements were made by a local woman encouraging us to get involved in their church outreach activities, if our time on Koh Samui allowed it. There were prayer meetings, house fellowships, hospital ministry, fisherman’s wharf outreach, and women’s fellowship.
The music with a mellow island vibe was led by a group of four people: keyboard, electric guitar, singer, and percussionist who played on a beat box and used his foot to tap a tambourine on the floor.
We sang the following Hillsong music: Open the Eyes of my Heart, Your Presence is Heaven to Me, Still, Love You So Much.
The last song had the words “You are my sun and shield.” These seem so evident when you are at the beach.
2 Corinthians 9:10
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Bring us Back to the Garden
This song was accompanied by spontaneous clapping. Yes! Restore what was lost and bring us back to the garden.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? How many have you broken already?
Pastor Watson said that he has had 25 years of sculpting his body to look this way so it would likely take 25 years to change it back. (HA)
Instead of resolutions we should be involved in a revolution, have a revelation or a transformation.
The year 2020 has its obvious meaning of seeing more clearly. (20/20 is not perfect vision as there is more to vision than what is straight ahead.)
I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.
Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.
Have a vision, make a plan and find a way forward. Write it down.
We don’t like when God makes us wait. We often accept an Ishmael instead of a Jacob. Sometimes waiting is requested of us to show our trust in God.
Go back to the original plan.
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
Most of us lack vision or revelation or, if we do have vision, we don’t start.
Are you riding on someone else’s revelation?
There is a story about an apostle pulling the wagon and his followers are pushing. After a while, those who are pushing get tired and sit on the wagon. The load gets heavier for the apostle.
He asked the congregation to raise their hand if they are ready to be sent. I AM READY! I raised my hand as did another lady. He asked us to come up and speak to the congregation. The other lady laughed and declined. I went up. Paul said to always be ready. God wants to work with the willing. I was counting on the Holy Spirit to speak through me.
The most anxious time is at the starting blocks. We are afraid of a false start. (I often feel that…my ideas need action.)
In our lives we sense God telling us to do something. We, like Moses, ask many questions and don’t feel qualified.
“When do we go?”
“When do we start?”
“When do we wait?”
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
We have the same mandate as all Christians that have gone before us and will follow us.
There is nothing new under the sun. All nations are to be discipled. There are no exceptions. This has always been the plan…for all to live and serve.
When God tells you something, it is normal to ask questions. Ask Him the Five W’s and H.
God, our father, through the Son by way of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s plan, carried out by His Son, Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What Are We to Do?
God responds when you ask Him. He has the plan.
How much will it cost? All religions of the world try to win favor of their favorite idol. Not so with Christians. In fact, Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship.
Followers of Jesus Christ are set free. Everything was accomplished by Jesus by His death and resurrection.
Give us this day. If He gave you the day, He will provide for your needs.
When Must We Respond?
As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
No excuses, no job descriptions, no discussion with family, etc.
Act now. Immediately!
Where Do We Start?
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
Time is short. Humanity and creation feel it. There is a sense of urgency.
Jerusalem is under your feet. Your neighbor. It is where you live and work.
As a foreigner, we introduce ourselves to everyone. How easy it is to talk to each other! Our neighbor is another story all together. We must deal with our neighbors on a regular basis.
We don’t seek out others who are different than us. We want to be with people we like.
Judea is your country or state.
Pray for Thailand
Ninty-five percent are Buddhists, 4.5 percent are Muslim, 0.4% are other which includes Hindu, Mormon, Catholics, Christian, etc.
Sex trade is legal. There is a lot of gender confusion. Boys want to be girls and girls want to be boys. Spirit houses are seen at nearly every home.
In Koh Sumai, the churches used to be ineffective and did not communicate with each other. Now there are 16 churches in Koh Samui that get together regularly.
Samaria is distant lands or people different than you.
Pray for Australia
In Australia fires are burning out of control. There are charred remains of animals. Forests are being destroyed.
How many call on the name of Jesus? Thirty percent of the people in Australia do not believe anything. Only 10% are Christian.
The fire on earth will eventually be put out! What about the fire that can never be extinguished?
Ends of the Earth
This refers to all nations.
God planned for us to be transcontinental as soon as possible.
The early explorers were missionaries that came to tell the good news to those who had not heard. Sadly, that turned to exploitation.
Pray For Our Countries
The good news is meant to be global. The enemy is working. The time is short. The remnant will need to rise up and testify.
How long are we going to keep still?
This church on a small island in a small country has become a hub for the nations.
How do we impact the world? Sometimes, it means staying or going.
Do something, tell someone. Do not waste one more moment. Be specific.
The world is starving. You have the food they need. Feed them.
We must look with both eyes…not just one eye.
If we have multifocals, we can choose how we look at the world…. up close or far away however it suits us. The perfect vision of God sees the whole picture.
Why Should We Do It?
Mark 12: 29-31
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
Not if you feel up for it. It is what makes a Christian a Christian.
How Will We Be Able to Do It?
The disciples had given up everything for Him and now He’s dead. Now what?
They must have been thinking about returning to their old way of life.
It must have been like being given this amazing car but not having any fuel.
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
We waste so much time arguing with the devil. He has been judged. Our side is to spread the good news.
Our ears have been unstopped, our eyes are open, and our hearts are new.
A pastor put a really long rope down the aisle of the church. He was on one end and five strong men were on the other end. When he said go, he let go of his end, and the men went flying. The battle is not ours.
Go into the cleft of the Rock. No need to fight, battle and argue. Jesus said, “Come to me.” He fought for you.
In 2020 don’t continue in a battle that has already been won. It is finished!
We are all members of the same body. Each one has a function. Be faithful with what He has given you. And especially, wherever you are, make a difference. Build relationships. Don’t be insolent.
Today we have high walls, big dogs, security systems, etc. So it is hard to get to people, but today our cell phone is how we get around, anywhere, anytime.
“I have over 2,600 “friends” on Facebook but how many people are walking beside me?
Hugs are better than a handshake. God sure doesn’t want a handshake. He desires closeness.
The pastor was visiting his daughter in LA, and she thought that he would enjoy a cruise down to Mexico. (The closest that he had ever been to Mexico was a taco.)
He had seen all kinds of behaviors that were unacceptable to God. Pastor Watson planted himself in the Jacuzzi and listened to the conversation.
After a while, he asked if they minded if he made a comment. They agreed. He spoke about 25 minutes from Ephesians 5. As he began to leave, they pulled him back in and asked him to pray for them.
Don’t look for the perfect moment. When God speaks to you, that is the time to act.
The pastor asked “the bearded one” to pray for our communion meal. How happy we are that William agreed to serve us in this way?
After the service the pastor wanted to give us a tour of their upstairs. He is very excited about what God is doing. He has been listening to God speak and has made dormitories for visiting missions teams, disciple trainings and retreats. God has miraculously provided materials and workers to make this happen.
We left a small donation to be used to further this project along.
Pastor Watson, a former convicted drug addict who served time, feels that God gave him two personal mandates:
1) Wash the feet of the people of Thailand. This is a really big deal as this culture does not touch feet. He has made a big impact here. They want to pay him. (Massage?) They want to earn merit. (Buddhism?) He tells them of the free gift of Jesus.
2) Raise people from the dead. This certainly could be those who are spiritually dead, but he thinks that God wanted him to physically raise people from the dead. He visits hospitals. The closest that he has come to bringing someone back from the dead was a woman who was in a coma and through prayer came out of it gradually over several weeks.
Our family left the service inspired by the message. How will each of us live these truths out in 2020? How about you?