HUNGRY! HUMBLE! TEACHABLE!

Each of these precious men is a pastor of at least 2 to 3 house churches within their various communities. The persecution is so fierce that they would never be allowed to build a church structure of any type. So the born again believers meet and worship in various houses. These dear pastors exhibited such a tremendous appetitive for these teachings on evangelism from God’s word. Only 3, out of the 150, have had any Bible College training. The rest of them were laymen who had been converted and later called to preach. The only training that they would have received would be training from their pastor. Consequently, they were extremely grateful that someone would travel from the other side of the world and teach this most vital subject of biblical evangelism.

During the lunch break on the 2nd day of the conference, I experienced one of the most humbling and self- abasing events in my 39 years of walking with the Lord. I had been teaching all day, (which is almost an 11 hours difference from the U.S.). Of course, as always, my feet were fiercely burning from the peripheral neuropathy that I have been afflicted with for 16 years. But for some reason, the pain has increased in intensity lately; and this week was especially difficult, so I was preaching barefooted. However, I was the only person in the room who was aware of the reason for which I had taken off my sandals.

Up on the conclusion of the morning sessions, I stood at the exit door to greet all of these precious brothers. Out of the 150 pastors, only 3 of them spoke any English. So as they would exit the teaching room, I would stand by the door and shake their hands and give them a smile. But on this particular lunch break, these dear pastors, being overwhelmed with gratitude for the teaching of God’s Word, began (one by one) bowing to the ground and would kiss my filthy, burning and swollen feet!!!! Bimal told me that many of them were quoting, “How beautiful are the feet of them who bring Good News.” Of course, my eyes filled with tears, for I was overwhelmed by their humble hearts of gratitude to God for the teaching of His Word.

Oh, there are so many testimonies that I could give to you, of how the Spirit of God worked so mightily in our midst. But let me share the words of Pastor Bimal Jena, as he shared a few of his thoughts concerning the conference, “ Dear Bro. Ed! It was indeed a blessed time to serve the Lord alongside you in the ‘Christ-centered Evangelism’ Conference in the Odisha state of India. It was a great joy to see you face to face, after about 3 years of email communications. The Lord answered our persevering prayers, in granting the Odisha pastors this tremendous opportunity to be a part of this very meaningful conference. We all praise God for your life, as well as, the teachings that you prepared for the ‘Kingdom building’ in the state of Odisha. I also want to thank God personally, for I too was extremely blessed by the teachings. My thinking has been radically and gloriously changed, concerning God’s way of evangelism. As I was interacting with the pastors, during the evenings of the conference, I realized that all of these precious pastors have been greatly blessed by these biblical teachings. These teachings were very powerful and uniquely scriptural. Furthermore, the workbook format was so very helpful to all of us.

The awesome truths of ‘Christ-centered Evangelism’ have shifted us from the ‘so-called’ traditional ways of evangelism to a far more ‘biblically-based evangelism’; both in the methods that we must employ and the message that we must proclaim! Bro. Ed, you had previously informed all of us that the first two days of teaching would produce many questions to our minds; but, that the last two days would give us all of the answers from the Word of God! You were absolutely correct! We have clearly understood how to do ‘God’s work; God’s way; for God’s glory!'

Most of these Baptist pastors minister in various villages throughout the state of Odisha. They are all pastoring at least 2 to 3 house churches. Very few have somewhat larger congregations, because of the terrible persecution in this state! Oh, but I am so encouraged to inform you that all of them will now have the privilege to use the teaching materials, in their ministries. Bro. Ed, I also want to state that, “I praise God that, in spite of your many health challenges; you served us so joyfully and enthusiastically. The Lord also enabled me and gave me the strength to serve Him alongside with you, in the translation of your teaching. We do pray for you, your health and the God-given ministry that you are doing in many parts of the world. May the Lord open the door for you to serve Him again in the Odia and Hindi regions of India in the coming days. On behalf of your entire Odisha team of pastors, I want to give our thanks for your love, your labor and your concern for us. Please pray that we will be able to multiply all of these teachings into the lives of many others. Yours in His mission - Bimal Jena.”

To understand more fully of these pastors’ hunger for the Word of God, I will give you a little glimpse into the daily schedule for the conference. I would teach all day, with a short break for lunch. Then afterward, I would return to my room to prepare and pray toward the next day. Meanwhile, after their evening meal, the other men would gather again and Bimal would go over all the teaching of the day. But they joyfully and intently sat through all the training, because of their yearning to learn more about the Word of God.

Christ Centered Evangelism Conference - Odisha, India

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we KNOW that He hears us, whatever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” — I John 5:14-15 The blessed assurance of this precious promise resonates in my heart, as I consider the mighty works of our Lord in the most recent Pastor’s Conference in the State of Odisha, India!

Only a few weeks ago, I was graced with the tremendous privilege to teach “Christ-centered Evangelism” to 150 church planters in the state of Odisha, which is located on the east coast of India. The conference was held undercover, because of the fierce persecution of the Gospel in this area. The Joshua Project designates this particular area in India as an unreached people group. Only 0.18% of the vast number of people even claims to be a Christian! Then the math would inform us that 99.92% of the residents in this state would be antagonistic to Gospel truth! The born again disciples of Jesus face ongoing persecution from the government. This was the first state, in the nation of India, to enact an ‘anti-conversion’ law. This harsh regulation states that ‘no person shall convert or attempt to convert either directly or indirectly from one religious faith to another, by any inducement or any fraudulent means’. In other words, if a Hindu converts to Christianity they can be imprisoned. If a born again believer is caught seeking the conversion of a Hindu, through evangelistic outreach to that person, they too, will face imprisonment. Furthermore, to complicate this issue, there is no legal explanation of the difference between ‘conversion by force or by conversion by persuasion’. Subsequently, this extremist ‘state constitutional measure’ has opened the door for radical Hindus to take the law into their own hands. This has resulted in ‘burned down churches, severe beatings of pastors and other believers and even, in some cases, martyrdom’! One of the leaders of this militant Hindu nationalist movement has recently made this declaration on television, “We must also pass a reconversion law, and force all Christians to reconvert to Hinduism. If we can pass this bill, we will make India free of Christians by December 2021.”

And yet, in spite of this severe pressure and persecution, these 150 ‘house-church pastors’ congregated from all over this state, to study ‘Christ-centered Evangelism’ at an undisclosed location. The concept of holding this conference, in this very difficult area, was initiated by the Lord, in the heart of another dear friend and brother in Christ, Craig James. Bro. Craig is the Director of Missions for the North Central Baptist Association in Louisiana. Bro. Craig had shared with the Baptist leaders of Odisha about “Christ-centered Evangelism”. He testified to those leaders that they needed to have this teaching for all of their pastors. Accordingly, I was contacted approximately three years ago, concerning the possibility of coming to Odisha to teach this study on biblical evangelism. You may recall, it was the Missionary William Carey, who translated the Word of God into the Odia language in 1808.

Pastor and church-planter Bimal Jena is one of the key leaders in the Baptist work in this state. He would be the brother who would translate the evangelism workbook into the Odia language. He would also be my interpreter for the conference. Furthermore, Bimal would be the co-director for the entire conference. However, approximately 2 years ago, I received the horrific news that Bimal had become extremely ill. He had been diagnosed with stage 4-colon cancer. The specialists were going to attempt colon surgery; but they were preparing Bimal and his family that this diagnosis was terminal!

During his illness, another dear American brother (Scotty McDowel) had given a gift to aid in the care of Bimal’s family for a period of time. But sadly, I was receiving nothing but news of his imminent death. After a long period of time had passed, I assumed that Bimal had graduated into glory.

Now on my end of the situation, I have a “Christ-centered Evangelism” workbook, which was translated into the Odia language. But now, I had no interpreter, no director and no known avenues to move forward in ministering in this state. I had been persevering in prayer, asking that if it would please God, that He would open doors into new states of India, for this specific teaching. It has already been translated and taught in 5 different languages in India. However, there are 22 major languages within this vast nation. It appeared as if the door had been closed to the Odia language, as far as this teaching was concerned. Oh, but brothers and sisters, I must always remember, “The prayer that reaches Heaven is the prayer that was initiated in Heaven!”

An entire year passed by, and there appeared to be no in-road to hold this conference in Odisha. in Odisha state Oh, but then (in God’s perfect timing), I received an email from Bimal Jena! With great rejoicing, Bro.Ed.”
he wrote these words, “I have fully recovered from colon cancer. It took a full year, but I am in God has perfect health now. We are ready to receive you in Odisha state Bro. Ed!” God had answered our answered our prayers, according to His sovereign will, His divine agenda and in His perfect timing!

Oh, precious believers, this conference was an awesome time of the mighty working of the Spirit
who was aware of the reason for which I had taken off my sandals. Continued on next page of God in our midst. My heart overflows with rejoicing, as I recall the precious privilege that our Lord has given, to serve these 150 pastors, in an extremely difficult spiritual environment. For even in the midst of this heavy pressure and persecution, these brothers exhibited such hunger, so much humility, tremendously teachable spirits; and so very penitent over various areas of their doctrine of evangelism, their message of evangelism and their methods of evangelism. One particular evening, as I was preparing for the next day's teaching, I could hear the radical Hindus (who are avowed enemies of the Gospel), as they paraded passed the facility in which we were holding the conference. These adversaries were singing their mantras and beating their DRUMS. If these Hindu radicals had known what was taking place within the walls of that facility, they would have surely stormed it with clubs and began beating these pastors. And yet, as I heard those chants and drumming in the worship of their false gods, my heart was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the amazing grace of the One and Only true God. For I was once an enemy of the glorious Gospel! I was once beating on my drums, as an ignorant and arrogant rock and jazz drummer! BUT GOD, Who is rich in mercy, made me alive when I was dead in trespasses and sins.

Upcoming Schedule

Jan 10-12………………………….Graceway Baptist Church - Oklahoma City, OK - Focus on Evangelism

Jan 19-22………………………….First Baptist Killen, AL  - John 15 Study

Jan 24-25 …………………………The Fellowship Church - Albertville, AL   Dianne Teaching – Ladies Conference

Jan 27-Feb10…………………….Christ-Centered Evangelism Pastors’ Conference – Undisclosed Country

Feb 23-26 ………………………..Woodside Baptist Church  - Ocala, FL

March 1-5 ………………………. First Baptist Church - Rainsville, AL - Christ-Centered Evangelism 

YOU ARE CO-LABORERS WITH THIS MINISTRY!

This was my 15th annual outreach mission to the nation of Kenya; as well as, the 8th annual pastors’ conference at KMTI. Each year, our ministry commits to pay for the:

  • Travel expenses for each of the pastors - (which averages approximately $8 per pastor). § To feed each of the 600 pastors 3 meal a day - (which equals to 9,600 meals)
  •  We provide a workbook for each pastor- (which I teach from on the particular theme for the year), in either Swahili or English!
  • We pay for the rental of the extra sleeping space - (for KMTI can only hold a little over half of the 600 students for sleeping).
  • Our ministry also commits to cover all of the other various expenses, which are always involved in a conference like this.

 The commitment of the pastors, church planters and evangelists is to simply to give their time, for the purpose of sitting under the divine authority of exposition of the Word of God! Consequently brothers and sisters, each one of you, who willingly and so fervently,

  • Pray for these various international conferences and graciously give
  • Financially to support this ministry

is an indispensable and strategic instrument and aide, in our Lord’s mighty multiplication into the lives of thousands of church members in East Africa.

I am continually receiving reports, from many African pastors, concerning how they are growing and multiplying the truths that they have learned, into the lives of countless disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you devote yourselves, either directly or indirectly, to be involved in spreading the Word of God throughout the world, you are living out this spiritual reality of being a ‘co-worker with Christ’! Thank you for coming alongside of us as we strive to Fight the Good Fight of Faith together, for His Name Sake!

Brothers and sisters, we are God’s middlemen, in this Great Commission. For the honorable obligation of being ministers of reconciliation has been left in our hands. Each one of us are called and commanded to do ‘God’s work; God’s way; for God’s glory’! Since we are all ‘co-laborers with Christ Jesus the Lord’, we ought to carry out the Master’s work in the Master’s fashion! The Lord Jesus is calling each of us in 2020, “Come and work side by side with ME.” Friends, when our Lord calls us to ‘work in His vineyard’, we can be certain that this is the highest honor that we can possibly know!

When I think of how the grace of God sought and saved this former agnostic, arrogant, argumentative (nearly alcoholic) rock and jazz drummer; and then called me to be a preacher of His Holy Word, I can only respond, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ... .” Oh dear friend, may the Spirit of God grace us with ‘2020 spiritual vision’, as we enter into this New Year. May we prayerfully and purposefully live this year for the glory of the Lord!

We love you in the Lord Jesus,

Ed Lacy 

Spiritual Warfare - Fighting the Good Fight of Faith

 

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” - 2 Timothy 2:3

Spiritual WarfareThe New Testament identifies the born again follower of Jesus in a variety of ways. We are called ‘Citizens of Heaven’ in Philippians 3! The Lord Jesus also designated us to be ‘Living Branches’ in union with the Vine! In I Corinthians 12, every authentic disciple is described as being a ‘Member of the Body of Christ’! Moreover, we are depicted as being ‘Adopted’ into the family of God, and graced with the title of being ‘Heirs’ of God and ‘Joint-heirs’ with Jesus Christ’! However, in this text of scripture, the Apostle Paul portrays the bonafide believer as a ‘Soldier’ in the army of the Lord of hosts’! The fact that every believer is depicted as being a ‘military man’ reveals that we have been born into a blessed battle! Dear fellow disciples, every one of us have been converted to ‘fight the good fight of faith’! I submit to you that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a cruise ship. It is a spiritual battleship, which has been called to battle stations! Brothers and sisters, we are resident aliens within this fallen world system. Every believer has been enlisted into the Lord’s infantry. Furthermore, we must remember that we are fighting behind enemy lines. Consequently, every Christian soldier is summoned to live a life of active duty on the front lines of battle. Our conquering Commander is leading us into enemy territory, to cooperate with His great mission of gathering in His bride and to establishing His kingdom! As soldiers in the army of the Lord of hosts, we have been issued orders to ‘put on the whole armor of God’!

 This was my theme for the annual ‘pastors conference’, which I recently taught at the campus of the Kenya Ministries Training Institute in Kitale, Kenya. I entitled this most recent workbook, ‘Christ-Centered Warfare’ (Spiritual Weaponry For Fighting The Good Fight Of Faith). Nearly 600 pastors, church planters, evangelists and other spiritual leaders gathered together from all over the nation of Kenya; as well as, over 100 pastors from eastern Uganda. Hundreds of these spiritual leaders are either past graduates of KMTI. or present students at their various campuses. There was also a very large contingent, of well over 100 spiritual leaders, which annually attend from another ‘leadership training organization’, which is entitled CBLT – Kenya, Church Based Leadership Training! These blessed soldiers of the Cross, annually sacrifice a week of their time, to attend these intensive studies which cover various biblical themes. I personally consider this annual conference in Kenya to be a major highlight of each and every ministry year!

I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude that our God has sovereignly orchestrated my ‘life-path’ to cross with Dr. George Wafula and Rev. Larry Neese of KMTI., along with the entirety of their leadership team. I will also be forever grateful for Rev. Fredrick Mulei, Pastor John Machuka and the godly leadership of CBLT. For I have been a ‘first-hand’ witness of the tremendous impact that God has produced, through these godly lives and ministries. Both KMTI. and CBLT are being an awesome ‘ministry of multiplication’, into the lives of thousands of churches and individual disciples in East Africa! These dear brothers have committed their lives to ‘admonish every man and teach every man, that they may present every man complete in Christ’! It is a blessed privilege for me to come alongside of these ongoing ‘pastoral training ministries’, for a few days each year, and plant an ‘exposition of the incorruptible Seed of the Word of God’ into the lives of those who will ‘teach others also’.
 

Tragically, there have been multitudes of false teachings, (some which originates from our own nation), which have poisoned evangelicalism on the continent of Africa. This area of the teaching, concerning ‘spiritual warfare,’ is no exception to this catastrophic phenomenon. For friends, spiritual warfare is primarily a ‘battle for truth’! Our adversary is the master deceiver. He is the father of lies; and he operates chiefly in the realm of spiritual deception. I submit to you that the enemy’s primary weapon is ‘doctrinal defilement’ within the walls of evangelical churches. Consequently, the Word of God is our only accurate source, which is able to supply us with the proper armor, both to stand and advance in victory. I want to share just two of the hundreds of tremendous testimonies, in relation to how the Spirit of Truth mightily applied the Word of Truth; and obliterated the numerous unsound teachings that have contaminated the church in Africa, especially as it relates to this vital area of ‘spiritual warfare’.

The first testimony comes from the heart of the Director of K.M.T.I., Dr. George Wafula:

 “Bro. Ed, one person has well said that, ‘You will never know that you don’t know, until you meet someone who knows’. I have heard a multitude of statements, which are very similar to this, from many of the pastors and spiritual leaders who attended your most recent conference entitled, ‘Christ-Centered Warfare’ (Spiritual Weaponry For Fighting The Good Fight Of Faith). As you well know, Africa has been the victim of a multitude of ‘bad theologies and false teachings’ for many years now. There are so many good leaders, within our churches, who have an authentic passion to serve the Lord. However, they have been misled and misdirected by a plethora of false teachers and false prophets. These spiritual leaders have been sincere, in both their beliefs and their behavior; but they have been sincerely wrong! Consequently, these teachings have really affected the church in this section of Africa in a negative way. For wrong teachings produce wrong believing; and wrong believing leads to wrong living.

Oh, but I want to thank my God for raising you up, as a grace gift to the church of Christ, especially here in northeast Africa. For these annual conferences (which have been attended by hundreds of church leaders, pastors, evangelists, overseers and church planters) are impacting the church in East Africa in a powerful way! For these annual conferences are building the church into a sound Biblical theology for the glory of God. Through these biblically oriented teachings of God’s word, the bad theology and bad belief systems are being dismantled and destroyed. And in their place, you have been edifying the body of Christ, by replacing these false teachings with a solid foundation of biblical theology, in a multitude of areas of Christian life and ministry. Our people are now having the opportunity to hear the pure and undiluted word of God.

Many overseers and pastors came to me, at the conclusion of these meetings, and repented for ‘believing, teaching and propagating falsehoods’, in relation to this essential area of spiritual warfare. We had been taught that spiritual warfare was about taking territory. However, we have come to the biblical reality that spiritual warfare is a battle for living the truth; walking in the truth; and warring by the truth! These most recent teachings have been both a tremendous challenge and a glorious blessing to every teacher who was in attendance.The exposition of Ephesians 6:10-17, during this year’s conference, was a powerful eye-opener for so many, including myself! For you dug deep into God’s word in this vital area of spiritual warfare. God used you to assist us to comprehend the armor of God in its proper context. For years, all of us had been preaching from this passage; but with only a very limited knowledge. Oh, but as you opened up the Word of God, during the entirety of the conference, the spiritual cobwebs and blinders of ignorance were gloriously removed from our minds. And the light of God’s genuine teaching on this monumental subject powerfully illumined all who were in attendance. I am so thankful for your passion for the Lord and your commitment to come every single year to be a tremendous blessing to us. The KMTI family is overjoyed to continue to host you for these life- changing meetings." We love you - Dr. George Wafula

 
 

The following testimony comes from Rev. John Machuka, one of the overseers at CBLT-Kenya:

Many African pastors have had problems demystifying and appropriating the armor of God, as taught by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6. Most of us could not bring out the correct interpretation of the text and draw the appropriate applications of the same to their own lives and ministries. But now, they have known and embraced a correct interpretation of this critical passage, which has consequently brought about a massive correction and an enthusiastic application of God’s Word in regard to spiritual warfare.

Friends, until this conference, I did not fully comprehend the gravity and magnitude of the reality of spiritual warfare to the born again Christian. It is an understatement that most believers are oblivious of this reality; and have ended up being casualties of the fiery arrows of the adversary. I have learned from this conference that ‘whether we know it or not, every believer is born into a colossal conflict, which is continually occurring in the heavenly places’. This teaching was extremely relevant and timely in helping address the erroneous fads which are practiced in churches here. African Christian charismatic movements have, to some extent, been infiltrated by practices of animism. This is predominant in African independent churches, which comprise about 60% of church-going Christians in the rural countryside. Mysticism is a key characteristic of these movements.

There has been much ‘mere intuition and so-called secret knowledge’, in attempt to know God and get into a place of communion with Him. I have personally encountered churches where the speaker begins his message by asking for a moment of silence in the service; so as to receive revelation directly from God and pass it on to the adherents. In such churches, the speaker does not come with a sermon that he has diligently studied. He comes empty, expecting to receive mystical revelation from God! This unbiblical trend affects every other aspect of their Christianity. Some of the people, who attended the conference, were previously involved in such false doctrine. Therefore, the teachings about the need to hold out the objective truth of God’s inerrant and infallible Truth, as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, was a great help to the churches here. The eyes of the people were enlightened from the vast exposition of this portion of Ephesians 6. For the master deceiver had lured preachers into ‘receiving and believing unbiblical concepts’ concerning him. Hence, making the people of God largely ineffective, moribund and apathetic in their practice of the faith.

 It is a divine imperative to all pastors to feed their flocks, through a correct and accurate exposition of the objective truth. This ministry has to extend to all those in our churches, and to all that the Lord brings in the sphere of the influence of our lives. Bro. Ed has set a good example for all of us, in all of these conferences. For he always lays the truth bare before our very eyes. I was particularly challenged by the depth of exposition, as he drew facts and background information from Paul’s second missionary journey to the idolatrous city of Ephesus in Acts 19. This set the historical context, which was absolutely vital in understanding the epistle to the Ephesians; and more specifically chapter 6. Kenya has been a fertile ground for false teachers and self-proclaimed apostles and bishops. Most of these false teachers are peddlers of the Word of God; either ignorantly or with partial knowledge of the truth. This challenge has been exacerbated by a naivety and ignorance of the truth, on the part of the professing believers in our churches. In my assessment, we share a similar context of idolatry and doctrinal and moral corruption with the first century church of Ephesus. This teaching from Bro. Ed will exponentially go a long way, in strengthening the churches here. As a local pastor, I have already committed to teach a ‘2-month series’ on the Armor of God in our home church. So that these truths, which I have learned, can be multiplied to impact many lives.

 Over the past three weeks, since the conference, I have interacted with many pastors from our ministry, to further discover the impact of the conference on their knowledge of God, their individual lives and their ministries. They could not hide their joy and excitement, as they shared the truths that they learned in the conference. Even more important, they have all exhibited a zeal and passion to teach other faithful people the things that they learned. I wish to deeply convey my appreciation to the ‘Ed Lacy Ministry friends and partners’, for supporting this ministry to impact churches in Kenya and Uganda. Your intercessory prayers and your financial gifts, to the ministry of Ed Lacy, are absolutely vital to the advancement of the truth and the obliteration of the error in the evangelical churches of East Africa! Let us continue fighting the good and glorious fight, under the victorious banner of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bro. Ed, may our Lord richly reward you for your endurance to teach 8 hours daily for 4 days! This was amazing grace indeed. We love you Bro. Ed! May your passion be fueled by this testimony of God’s work through your life and ministry.“ Your servant, John Machuka