Called to Love

(the story of Martin Borgai)

by Maria Erokhina

Martin Borgai has a unique story. From a wonderful encounter with the Lord that led him to quit his prestigious job and reach the lost in the slums of India, to seeing the power of God move in miraculous ways, his life is a testimony of God’s unfailing love.

“Martin, Come For the Work”

Martin grew up in Karnataka, in southern India. He enjoyed a successful career in aircraft engineering, had financial stability and a good family. However, he lived with a feeling that there was more to life.

Martin knew about God, but he had never experienced the depth of His presence. One day, as he was praying and asking God to make Himself known to him, God’s glory filled the room. The radiance was so bright that Martin couldn’t see the Person, only His white garments. Martin fell at His feet.

Jesus put His hand on Martin’s head and said, “Martin, come for the work that I want to establish through you in your country.” Martin replied, “Yes, Lord.” Immediately after that encounter, Martin contacted a pastor and was baptized. When he came out of the water, he saw the glory of God. That was another confirmation of the Lord’s calling. Martin resigned from his job and dedicated his life to pursuing God’s purpose for him.

Members of New Covenant church feed the hungry and share with them the Bread of Life, Jesus.

Martin knew that he needed to receive good biblical training in order to be prepared for ministry. He applied to Christ For The Nations Institute and was granted a CFNI International Scholarship. His two years at CFNI made a big impact on him. “I was trained, taught the Word of God and molded to be the person I am today,” he says.

While at CFNI, Martin seized every opportunity to learn, meet new people and to serve. “Before CFNI, I had a white-collar job; at CFNI I felt honored to clean up the campus. Christ had left His throne and washed the feet of His disciples, and I wanted to serve like He served,” he recalls.

Martin graduated from CFNI in 2004. In March 2005 he started New Covenant Church in his hometown, Karnataka.

A Life of Miracles

Since then, the church has grown considerably. They live like a family, sharing meals, praying and ministering to people in their community. Martin, his wife Prema and their three children serve in the church together. Martin says, “Women leading a church are not common in India. I know that the same Spirit that lives in me is in my wife, as He abides in every child of God. When my wife speaks the Word of God, God speaks through her.”

Pastor Martin praying before a shared meal

New Covenant Church reaches out to villages and slums, prisons and hospitals, bringing food, education and the Gospel to the poor and suffering. The church’s prayer team meets every night to intercede for the needs of the people. During one such prayer meeting, the team received a phone call from a married couple that couldn’t have children. Martin went to their house to pray for them. He realized that there was an obstruction coming from an evil spirit, and when he rebuked it, it left their home. Soon the couple was expecting their firstborn.

One day, a lady asked the prayer team to pray for her healing because she was suffering from severe pain caused by a tumor on her ovary. The prayer team commanded the tumor to leave her body. The next day, the doctor confirmed that she was completely healed. Because of her testimony, many people have come to the Lord.

Miracles like this happen in Karnataka on a regular basis. Broken families get restored, people become healed of various diseases and even hopeless situations turn around. Martin declares, “Wherever we go and preach God’s Word, He shows up. When we stand in faith, God confirms His Word. When we speak the Word, we speak the power of God. And when we speak the power of God, it accomplishes the will of God. But it only happens when we stand on God’s Word 100 percent, without even 1 percent of doubt.”

Preaching Through Love

New Covenant church exists to tell every person about the Savior’s love.

“We preach the Gospel through love,” says Martin. “Sometimes it’s difficult to love people who hate and reject us, but no matter what happens, love remains our choice. Jesus didn’t come to build Christianity. He came to liberate people, bless them and show them the righteous way. We’ve been following His example.

Love, servanthood, the importance of reaching the lost and unity are the foundational pillars of our church family. I learned these principles at CFNI. CFNI equipped me and made me confident that nothing can separate me from God’s love. Everywhere I go, I share what I received there.”

 

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

500 YEARS OF REVIVAL

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church, stating his objections to the corruption in the Catholic Church and how it embraced things like indulgences (buying salvation for loved ones). This one act changed the course of human history and began the Reformation.

At CFNI, we trace our spiritual lineage back to Martin Luther, and we recognize that the Church is where it is because of the courageous actions of this one man. This coming year, 2017, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of one of the most important events in Christian history. Yet, we know that it is important not to just celebrate this anniversary, but to help keep the revival fires burning both personally and as a ministry.

The Reformation that Martin Luther started was just the beginning of 500 years of awakenings and revivals. From the First Great Awakening to the Second Great Awakening, the Azusa Street Revival to the healing revivals, and then the Charismatic Renewal, there have been many moves of God, bringing people closer to Him and His purposes. We are now on the cusp of another Great Awakening, and CFNI is where it has been since it was founded… right in the middle of the revival fires.

Our founder, Gordon Lindsay, founded Christ For The Nations Institute to provide training for those being saved in the Jesus Movement. This revival had seen amazing numbers of unsaved people come to the saving knowledge of Christ, but discipleship and training was still an unmet need. From the beginning, CFNI provided a foundation of truth, Bible training and practical ministry experience, while stoking the fire of love and intimacy with the Holy Spirit through worship, prayer, and times of soaking and refreshing.

This legacy of revival fire continues to burn in the hearts and minds of staff, faculty and students, but while we all share a desire for revival, refreshing and an Awakening, we must move past desire and into action. Every year, we create a calendar to bless our partners, friends and supporters. This year, we created it as a call to action and encouragement for all of us to participate in what God is doing in this season. Each month we included different quote from a father in the faith to inspire you to do your part to bring the revival we all want to see blaze across this Earth.

January’s quote is naturally from Martin Luther. “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Our foundation must remain our faith in God. Without that, the supernatural, miracles, healings or even people raised from the dead will point to man, not God.

Once we have our eyes turned to God, Gordon Lindsay gives us his prescription for bringing revival. “Prayer, fasting and humiliation not only saved the wicked city of Nineveh, but it can send us the revival for which we have hoped and prayed.” What is our role? Prayer, fasting and self-denial. Another spiritual father, Charles Finney, declares perseverance in prayer is the key. “Prevailing prayer is that which secures an answer.” Dwight L. Moody agrees, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”

As we pray for revival (and for strength!) we must push past our own weaknesses. Billy Graham shares his secret for overcoming our own inability. “Don’t worry about what you can’t do; focus instead on what you can do . . . and then do it.” Reinhard Bonnke agrees, “Those who forever seek the will of God are overrun by those who do it.” So pray, yes. But don’t forget to do the things God has already said. CFNI Co-founder Freda Lindsay declares that revival depends on following one pattern of ministry. “You can turn your country upside down for God, if you follow the ministry of the Lord Jesus.” As we read the scriptures and find out what our Savior did, we will be able to move forward and do what He calls us to do.

This season requires a response. It is not enough to wish for change, we must be a part of the change we want. We, the Body of Christ, must fight against a lukewarm attitude, complacency and apathy. John Wesley speaks a very relevant word to us in this season. “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” What are we tolerating in our personal lives, our families, our churches and our communities?

At CFNI, we are committed to seeing revival break out in this season. We refuse to wait for someone else; we are the agents God will use to bring revival. Join us, and celebrate 500 years of revival by pushing in faith and prayer for the next Great Awakening, as we walk out the ministry of Jesus in our communities.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It’s About His Plan

CFNI Fall 2016 Graduation

By Maria Erokhina

Graduation is always a bittersweet event at Christ For The Nations Institute. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see world-changers-in-training step out of the “Bible school bubble” – fully equipped to make a difference in the real world. On the other hand, it’s not easy to say goodbye as each one of them has become part of the CFNI family.

On Dec. 9, 2016, family and friends of 109 graduates gathered at the Institute Building in celebration of the Fall 2016 commencement. The ceremony started with an academic procession, followed by 27 international graduates carrying the flags of their homelands. The audience froze in awe as CFNI student Faith Schneider sang the national anthem. After that, Gabriel Allred and the CFNI student band led everyone in praise and worship, declaring the power of the name of Jesus.

Next, Dr. Dennis Lindsay, the Institute’s President, and Mrs. Ginger Lindsay, Vice Chair/Alumni Relations Director, greeted the graduating class and guests. Dr. Lindsay made special mention of the two elders that CFNI lost this semester. Dr. Carroll Thompson and Dr. Jack Hatcher, who were spiritual fathers to many, will be greatly missed. He encouraged the students and staff to keep supporting and praying for their families.

Dr. Lindsay also charged the graduates to protect what God has engraved on their hearts at CFNI: “When the Word of God gets into your heart, it takes a long time to grow. The devil purposes to steal it and set you in the opposite direction.”

Then, Dr. Lindsay introduced the commencement speaker, Dr. June Hunt, Founder and CSO of Hope For The Heart, a Christian counseling ministry offering biblical hope and practical help to people in more than 60 countries. A world-renowned author, singer and speaker, Hunt has made a great contribution in the field of Christian counseling.

“You’re on Earth by God’s divine plan,” Hunt started her message. She admitted that she hadn’t planned to accomplish any of the things she’s known for, but rather, she allowed God’s plan to come to pass in her life. She encouraged the graduates not to despair if they don’t know what step to take next. “Because you don’t know the future and God does, never doubt in the dark what He’s already shown you in the light,” she said.

Hunt also gave the graduates an invaluable piece of advice: “Don’t waste your wrong decisions; they can be powerful lessons. Learn from your pain and let it be a catalyst that will shape your heart.” She emphasized that life is a series of choices and outlined seven tests (Seven S’s) that every decision has to undergo.

The first criterion of successful decision-making is the Scriptural Test. Whenever we come to a fork in the road, we must ask ourselves, “Has God already spoken about it in His Word?” Hunt said that if we want to be part of God’s master plan, we need to allow Him to take full ownership of our lives. She pointed out that one of the biggest problems of humanity is that they act out the lyrics of a popular song by Frank Sinatra, “I Did It My Way.”

Secondly, our decisions have to pass the Secrecy Test. “Would it bother me if everyone knew it was my choice?” This question helps us walk in integrity, which is “being the same in the dark as we are in the light.”

The Serving Test implies a question, “What if everybody followed my example?” The Spirit Test allows us to see if we are “being people-pressured or Spirit-led.”

The fifth “S” was the Stumbling Test. Hunt emphasized that according to Romans 14:21, “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.” The Serenity Test means trusting the Holy Spirit to give us peace when we chose rightly.

Finally, the Supreme Test is asking ourselves, “Does this decision glorify God?” Talking about glorifying God in all that we do in 1 Cor. 10:31, Paul uses the word “doxa” that means to estimate or to reflect value. “You are to reflect the value of Who God is. It’s an extraordinary assignment,” said Hunt.

After that powerful exhortation, the graduates received their diplomas, shaking the hands of their program directors as they walked up on stage. A wave of excitement spread across the auditorium when Lawik Joundi, the Academic Dean, asked the graduates to turn their tassels to the left. From then on, they had officially joined the ranks of CFNI alumni.

“Glory to God,” said Dr. Hollar as he gave His closing benediction. He asked the Lord to use the new CFNI alumni in their homes, jobs, businesses, churches, foreign fields and the uttermost parts of the world.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

For Freedom He Was Set Free

By Mike and Lori Westlund

pic-2
At 8 years old, Raj’s mother was forced into temple prostitution by her own mother.

Raj Mugalkhod was born on the streets of the red light district in Kamathipura, Mumbai, India. His mother, only a teenager when he was born, was a seventh-generation temple prostitute. She had been given to the goddess Yellamma, so she would never be allowed to marry a mortal. Even though she maintained a relationship with her four sons’ father for short periods of time, Raj’s mother had to continue her life as a temple prostitute and struggled to care for her four boys, as well as her four orphaned nieces.

While his mother was doing the best she could, like many children born into severe poverty, Raj had to fend for himself from a very young age. He often had to resort to begging when he could find no work. Hunger was a fact of life, as were serious illnesses including hepatitis, malaria and typhoid fever. Just to survive, he joined a gang, engaging in criminal behavior. This bothered his sensitive conscience, which then led him to alcohol addiction, and the cycle of misery continued.

Raj grew up in a brothel, and in this unsafe environment he was sexually abused many times from the age of eight. He also saw others abused and trafficked, and this caused him to despair. At the age of 16, he had seen enough and attempted to escape his miserable existence by taking poison. For seven days, he lay in a coma with the doctors giving his mother little hope of his survival. She was not one to give up easily, and she contacted a Christian pastor, who fasted and prayed for Raj’s life.

pic-3
Raj’s mother holding him as a baby.

While lying in a coma, Raj remembers being pulled down toward Hell by demons, only to have Jesus appear. Jesus reached out His hand and pulled Raj out of Hell. After that near death experience, Raj was never the same. For the next 20 years, he invested his life in full-time Christian service, rescuing the victims of human trafficking in the district where he grew up. He rescued over 100 women and girls, often using his own money to purchase their freedom.

In April 2009, Raj married a beautiful Christian woman named Mansi, and shortly after they became pregnant. At the time, Raj was involved with the production of a groundbreaking documentary on human trafficking, The Cage. As was customary in India, Mansi returned to her parent’s home for the delivery. Unfortunately, Raj only got to see Mansi and their new son Mark for one day, and then he had to return to work on the project. He was soon notified that Mansi had complications and caught a train to be with her. Tragically, Mansi passed away early the next morning, only 15 days after bringing Mark into the world.

pic-4
As a child, Raj lived in brothels, sleeping under the beds of young girls while they were forced to have sex.

Raj struggled with survivor’s guilt; he was devastated and temporarily lost the use of his legs, probably due to severe shock and grief. He had to take a break from work to recover both physically and emotionally while his mother, who had become a Christian after seeing Raj’s deliverance, graciously stepped up to care for his new son. At this point Raj had no interest in remarrying, but he threw himself into the work of rescuing victims of trafficking. Since he had very little formal education, God gave him a desire to study and prepare for the high school equivalency test. Even though he had to teach himself, he miraculously passed. He attended South Asia Bible School for a year, which also couldn’t have happened without Divine assistance.

After faithfully serving with Teen Challenge for many years, God put a vision in Raj’s heart to further his education at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. CFNI gave Raj a Full-work Scholarship, enabling him to pursue this vision. The April before Raj embarked on this epic venture, he was advised by spiritual mentors, Samuel and Shalini Daniel, that he needed a wife for himself and a mother for Mark. Raj contacted Anita, his deceased wife’s sister, with a proposal of marriage. Anita had kept her faith secret because her parents were devout Hindus and blamed both Raj and his God for the death of their daughter. At the time, she had already been proposed to by a Google engineer who could offer her all the material things Raj could not. There was one very important thing he lacked: faith in Jesus Christ. After three days of praying and fasting, Anita accepted Raj’s proposal, and they were married one week later. Anita’s parents told her that she was no longer their daughter. She had to leave home with nothing but her faith in God and her new husband and son. (Anita is continuing to believe for her parents’ salvation and loves them dearly.)

pic-10
On the street of the red light district.

Seeing the call of God on his life, Raj’s friends rallied around his dream and gave him the money to travel to America to attend CFNI. The miracles of provision continued as soon as Raj and Anita arrived in America. When they arrived at the airport, they only had one dollar, and no one would let them use their cell phone or give them change for a dollar to call someone for a ride to CFNI. In desperation, Anita bowed her head and prayed to God for help. When she looked up, she saw a dark-skinned man walking up to her, and before she could ask him for change, he emptied out his wallet into her hands — $235! She looked down in amazement at all the money, and when she looked up, he was gone. To this day, the couple cannot explain this miracle, other than to say it was an angelic visitation. Anita and Raj kept the dollar bill they arrived with as a memorial of God’s faithfulness.

Raj and Anita have both paid a huge price to follow the path that God has set for their lives. Still, their heart burns to see the captives set free. They continue to see miracles as Raj finishes his second year of preparation at CFNI (after receiving another one year scholarship), gaining the training he needs to return and bring freedom to their home country of India.

 

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Don’t Stop Living

By Susan Bozarth

My husband, Randy, was the Vice President of Christ for the Nations. He travelled the world, and he loved what he did. So when things began to change and he became irritable or argumentative, I thought he just needed a break or a vacation. It wasn’t until he started to not recognize our close friends that I knew we had a problem. Today, and for quite awhile now, he’s been totally dependent on me, having been diagnosed with a form of dementia/Alzheimer’s.

I didn’t want to accept it; I still pray and believe for his healing. But as God has ministered to me, I have found a certain amount of contentment in my reality. As I walked through this, I began to blog. The word that kept coming to me was “I can’t stop living.” These blogs have been compiled into my book, Don’t Stop Living. Here is an excerpt from it.

FROM A MESS TO A MOVEMENT

It does not take too long, when you’re in conversation with anyone these days, before the “woe is me” and “life is tough right now” topic comes to the forefront of the conversation. I was driving the other day, pondering those various issues that we, as a society, are dealing with — terrorism, financial challenges, dysfunctional families, lukewarm Christians, dishonest politicians, on and on, until I finally just sighed and said to myself, “What a mess!” It was at that moment that I “heard” this statement, “Out of messes, movements are born!”

My mind raced, and suddenly, I was flooded with images from the 60s — the Vietnam War, unbridled drug use, burning the American flag, sit-ins and love-ins, rebellion, chaos in the streets and hopelessness… what a mess! But in the midst of that mess, the Jesus movement was born. I then reflected on other times and seasons of unrest, and yet again, movements were formed that impacted the world. I thought of the beginnings of the Church itself — the chaos of that time from pagan worship to religious leaders, who were more like white-washed sepulchers (tombs) than men of God. Yet, the Savior was born, the Church was birthed and a movement was released that would change the world.

I have to tell you, I was encouraged by the imagery. We can even take it to a more personal level… out of our personal “mess” God will birth something new… a movement, if you will. God’s like that, you know. He takes dead things and makes them alive. He takes broken things and mends them, and He takes our mess, and if we allow Him, He will turn it into a personal revival or movement.

Psalm 30:5 says, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” During these times of change, we need to stay focused and strong in His promises to us. Pray, “Oh, God, I give you the ‘mess’ of my life, and I trust You to birth a movement that will impact many.” In the end, God “is” going to get some glory out of the messes in our lives.

Susan Bozarth is an adjunct instructor at CFNI. Her years of ministry experience and life of faith in the face of difficult circumstances make her classes one of the highlights of CFNI. For more about the programs and majors available at CFNI, go to cfni.org.

To purchase Susan Bozarth’s encouraging book Don’t Stop Living, click here.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

CFN Foundational Pillars: Worship

By Dennis Lindsay

WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE NOISE?

People like noise because of “presence.” Have you ever wondered why restaurants have their PA system so loud? Why is it that when people walk into their homes they turn on the television, especially if they are alone? Why is it that during the holidays many people suffer from loneliness? What is it that loneliness cries out for? Loneliness wants presence, but whose presence? Sight and sound represent presence. The Bible tells us the only way to really fill the emptiness we are experiencing during times of loneliness is our relationship with Jesus Christ. God says to the believer experiencing times of loneliness, to spend time in His presence.

God has designed mankind in such a way that only His presence will fully provide lasting peace and satisfaction. When we seek God in worship, He reveals His presence to us so we can have a loving, intimate relationship with a Friend Who never leaves us.

MARTY’S “AS THE DEER” LEADS ONE INTO GOD’S PRESENCE

It is worship that brings us into the presence of God. In Psalm 42, we read about David who expresses his hunger and thirst for the presence of God. He writes, “As the deer pants for water so my soul longs for you, oh God.” One of CFNI’s alumni, Marty Nystrom, wrote the famous praise chorus, “As the Deer,” while he was here. The chorus has been sung all over the world. Marty shares that it was the Holy Spirit Who gave him the chords when he was struggling with depression and loneliness. Afterwards, Marty learned the blessings of entering into the presence of God.

GOD REPEATS HIMSELF, “I WANT TO GIVE YOU MY PRESENCE!”

It is interesting how God worked in the people in the Bible. God created Adam and Eve to have fellowship with Him and to be in His presence. Later, God visited Abraham, had dinner with him, and made a life covenant with him. In Exodus 3:12, God reveals himself to Moses in the burning bush. In Joshua 1:5, God tells Joshua, “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” In Hebrews 13:5, God says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” All through the Scriptures, God reveals His presence because He wants to be with mankind.

I was returning home after completing my final master’s class at Oral Roberts University when I received the most devastating phone call. All I could do was turn to God in worship. Five minutes after the call, I saw a billboard sign on the highway depicting the twin towers on fire in New York City. The billboard read, “Yea, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” Suddenly, all fear left me; I had a rush of God’s presence saying, “Trust Me.” Over the next several months, my worst nightmare turned into the greatest testimony of God’s deliverance. It was God’s presence that carried me through.

GOD’S PRESENCE EMPOWERS

Sometimes I’ve wondered how believers could sit for hours just worshiping God. Now I know it’s His presence. Experiencing His presence is far more than just an intellectual understanding that God is everywhere — that He is omnipresent. Experiencing the presence of God means to be empowered. True worship empowers us with strength when we are tired, weary, exhausted and worn out physically, mentally and emotionally. True worship empowers us with an unspeakable, supernatural peace which we cannot understand. True worship empowers us with supernatural courage which brings contentment. Fear vanishes when we are in the presence of the Almighty. Our needs are met no matter what they may be, and we become confident that God will see us through.

HEARING GOD’S VOICE IN HIS PRESENCE

It is one thing to have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, but it’s another to be aware of His presence. God not only wants us to be aware, but to be sensitive to His presence. When God speaks to us, it will always be consistent with His Word and the life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes during the night, I may wake up and be aware of God’s presence. I begin to worship Him, and ask Him to speak to me which He does. I now know to get up, turn the light on, and write down what the Holy Spirit says. If I didn’t, I would not remember those encouraging words the next day.

Earlier in my life, I received a wonderful dream about future events for my family and me. I did not get up and write them down. The following morning I recalled having this incredible dream, but I couldn’t remember one detail.

HARDWIRED FOR GOD’S PRESENCE

There are individuals who know nothing about the presence of God; yet, if or when something happens, they quickly blurt out, “Thank God.” Individuals often make such spontaneous responses even though they haven’t thought about God or thanked Him in years. The reason for this is that every individual has been hardwired to experience the presence of God. They realize there had to be “Somebody” Who protected them. God is actually using this situation to reveal Himself to them.

God wants us to become conscious of His presence. This has to be the greatest experience we can ever know. Life is not easy as it presents us with many distractions. For many believers the last thing we have time for is to be alone with God. We all have distractions such as family, children, education, television, the Internet, not to mention church activities. If we are truly going to experience the presence of God, we must adjust our priorities. God wants our fellowship, and He’s done everything possible to make it a reality.

FINDING THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Probably the most difficult issue in discovering the presence of God is the need to surrender.

Surrendering is at the heart of worship, and it is a prerequisite for entering into the presence of God. Surrender is not a popular word. It implies losing, and no one likes to yield to a stronger opponent. In today’s competitive culture, we’ve learned to never give up or give in. However, surrendering to God should be an automatic response once we have felt His amazing love and mercy. We surrender ourselves to Him, not out of fear or duty, but in love, “because He first loved us.” Entering into the presence of God during times of worship brings God pleasure, and this happens when we give ourselves completely to God.

ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Anyone who is familiar with CFNI worship knows that there is something unusual and special about this expression. My sister, Shira, and other visiting speakers who have traveled all over the world visiting schools, churches and ministries have observed that the worship here is unique. It is something the Holy Spirit Himself implements — not mankind regardless of our abilities and giftings. Students will tell you that what they enjoyed the most while attending CFNI is the worship they experienced. The presence brings renewing, refreshing and healing. It is not possible to be in His atmosphere — His presence — and not leave changed!

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Impact the World in Our Generation

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

“You are unique in all the world. Just as you are the only one with your unique fingerprint, you have a unique purpose you were born to do.”

Dr. Wilson, President of Oral Roberts University, spoke to the students at Christ For The Nations Institute, telling them that they were created to make a difference and impact the world. “You are unique in all the world. Just as you are the only one with your unique fingerprint, you have a unique purpose you were born to do.” This purpose is what we were created for, a dream bigger than ourselves.

Even if we recognize this unique mission, calling and purpose, we often don’t know how to take our destiny from possibility to reality. Acts 13:36 says, “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation he fell asleep.” How do we get from where are to fulfilling our purpose and truly impacting the world?

UNLIKELY CANDIDATES

Wilson has good news for those who feel they cannot possibly be the best choice for accomplishing God’s purpose. God is fond of using unlikely candidates, such as Dr. Wilson himself. He shares his background of coming from a broken home and small town with few prospects for greatness. From that humble beginning, God brought Wilson to a place of prominence as president of a Christian university and head of a global ministry.

This is a pattern seen throughout the Bible. Listing the various unlikely instruments for God’s purpose, Wilson describes Moses, the great deliverer who couldn’t talk, and Gideon the fearful, whom God called a mighty man of valor. “Daniel was an exiled slave who would see visions that would change the world. Esther was an orphaned girl who would step forward at just the right moment to save her people. Mary from Nazareth was a backward girl, a nobody from nowhere, going nowhere it seems, until God visits her with an angel and she changes the world,” shared Wilson.

One of the most unlikely people used by God, Saul of Tarsus, was an active persecutor and murderer of Christians. The journey Saul of Tarsus made from chief persecutor of Christians to the world-changer Apostle Paul contains four truths that will help you make a lasting impact on your world.

PURPOSE

The first thing that is necessary in order to truly have impact is to determine your purpose. Apostle Paul’s purpose is found in Acts 9:15. “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go, this man is my chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings, and to the people of Israel.’” It wasn’t until Saul surrendered to Christ on the road to Damascus that he discovered his purpose. So the first step is complete surrender to Christ.

Wilson explained, “Your purpose is found in Christ. You may not discern it, you may not understand it, but when you surrender to Him, you are carried away in the purpose of God. And then He is given the liberty to make you into what He intended for you to be.”

PERSISTENCE

The second requirement to fulfilling your purpose is persistence. You must be determined and get tough in order to do what God is calling you to do. Apostle Paul had an extremely high level of persistence. Second Corinthians 11 describes the tortures, beatings, imprisonments and near-death experiences he had. Yet he remains able to say, in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Wilson shared, “This is what I like to call spiritual savvy – when things get tough, the spiritually savvy don’t quit but rather they find a way to get the job done. Now the truth is, on the way to my purpose I have felt like quitting 1,000 times.” The difference between persistence and quitting is often simply not letting go of what God has said. Wilson continued, “Don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t back off, don’t run from the fight. Stand firm, keep going, move through it, and God will help you do what He’s called you to do.”

PREPARATION

The third requirement for accomplishing all God has for you is preparation. Many people skip this step or shortchange it, thinking that their calling means that they don’t need to take time to learn, grow and prepare for their purpose. But Apostle Paul knew the importance of preparation. Acts 22:3 states, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city (Jerusalem). I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.”

Wilson explained the importance of this statement by describing Gamaliel. He was the most influential Jewish man of his time and led a school that believed in studying not only the Hebrew scriptures but also the Greek and Roman culture of that time, enabling them to defend the scriptures in their current cultural context. “When God was looking for someone that would defend the Gospel before Caesar for the first time, and when He was looking for someone who would stand on Mars’ Hill across from the Parthenon, and defend the Gospel at the highest places of learning and Greek culture, He did not choose Peter the fisherman. When God was looking for someone to impact society at the highest levels, He found someone who was prepared and who knew what he was talking about.”

According to Wilson, the level of influence you have is dependent on your preparation. Moving from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree and then a doctorate didn’t increase his anointing, but it did increase the number of people who listened to him. “My degrees opened doors to me that could not open any other way. In the same way, Paul, who was to stand before kings and power-brokers, needed to be fully prepared.”

POWER

Finally, Wilson declared the most important thing you need in order to see God’s purposes fulfilled in your life is power. “Paul, with all of his learning and all that he had been equipped to do, with all of the brilliance that we see reflected in the New Testament, did not depend on that alone but on the Holy Spirit.”

In order to access this power, you have to spend time in the presence of God, allowing His sanctification process to knock off all your rough edges. That time in the presence, on the altar of God, is what will sustain you and ensure you accomplish God’s plan for your life. “If you’re going to make a difference, get all the education and all the knowledge you can get, for whatever God has called you into, whatever field of study He’s called you to pursue. But when you are fully prepared, make sure to be fully full of the Spirit of God!”

The road to truly radical impact requires all of the above: a knowledge of purpose found in surrender to Christ, persistence so that you will never give up, preparation so that you have the knowledge needed to fulfill your purpose, and finally the power of the Holy Spirit. Wilson had one final thing to share. “No one in the world can do what God has in mind for you to do. The real question is, at the end of the day, will you have done what God designed you to do?”

Dr. Billy Wilson is the fourth president of Oral Roberts University. He has also fostered unique global partnerships as co-chair of the Global Council of Empowered21 — an initiative launched at ORU that brings together ministry leaders, scholars and next-generation voices from the Spirit-empowered movement.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

CFNI Graduates Class of Spring 2015

by Michelle Ofori-Ansah

May 15, 2015 –About 2000 people gathered at Christ For The Nations Institute May 15 to celebrate commencement. Nearly 300 students walked in the ceremony, receiving degrees in practical theology, or one of the schools’s specialized ministerial programs. These students represented a cross-section of the world, coming from 42 different countries that included China, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Zambia. For these graduates, it was their time to leave CFNI, return home and make a difference for the Kingdom of God.

0C3A4937As friends and family waited in anticipation for their graduate to walk across the stage, the CFNI worship team gave them a small taste of the powerful worship that starts each day at CFNI. The worship set the stage for the welcome given by Dr. Dennis Lindsay and Ginger Lindsay, President and Chief Operating Officer of CFN respectively. Ginger exhorted the graduates, “God deserves all the glory for what you have done in the past two years and for what you are going to do as you go out from here.” Dr. Lindsay shared that the season they are entering into is similar to Matt 16:13-18, in which Jesus asked Peter who he said Jesus was. It is important for the students to understand who Jesus is to them personally so that they will be confident as they move forward into their futures. “You are moving out of the classroom into the ‘lab’ so that you can put into practice what you learned here in the real world. And just like when Jesus left the disciples, as you leave from here you will be empowered to do miracles and go into all the world!”

CC7A5830Next, Chelsea Green, the Student Body President, encouraged the graduates that, “You are a child of the King. Never forget who you are in Christ and that you were born for such a time as this.” She described the divine purpose of each graduate as unique and stated that there are people and places that only he or she can reach. She finished by declaring, “You are fully qualified, you have been fully equipped and you are fully worthy through Christ Jesus!”

After this rousing encouragement, Dr. Jeff Wickwire, senior pastor of Turning Point Church in Fort Worth, Texas, gave the charge to the spring Class of 2015. He explained, “Jesus defined everyone He called; He gave us our identity and purpose and that is important because we act according to how we see ourselves and what we understand our purpose to be.” Referencing Matthew 5:13-14, he shared that Jesus sees us as salt and light. “In the same way that salt inhibits decay and creates thirst, we are called as salt, to hinder moral and spiritual decay in society and to create a thirst for God. As light, we are to shine right into a dark and lost world.”

Dr. Wickwire continued to admonish the graduates to be careful who defines them. “The world we live in is working overtime to define us and whoever defines you defines your future.” He continued to encourage the graduates to hold fast to the vision God gave them and to move into their future with confidence in who God says they are. “Refuse to bend or back down in the face of the world – you are not called to be popular, you are called to be faithful.”

CC7A6713With that, the graduates were called to the stage to receive their diplomas. As each one walked across the stage, they received a confirmation that they are set apart, ready to be sent forth into the world and accomplish the plans and purposes of God. After diplomas were conferred and tassels moved to the left, signifying graduation, Dr. Hollar gave the benediction. He spoke a blessing over the graduates in every area of their lives and sent them forth, “Armed and Dangerous!”

 

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Freda Lindsay Award 2015

Dr. Marilyn Hickey Honored as 2015 Freda Lindsay Award Recipient

Dallas, TX April 17, 2015 – Christ For The Nations is honored to announce Dr. Marilyn Hickey as the 2015 recipient of the Freda Lindsay Award. This award is presented to an outstanding woman in ministry each year.

Dr. Marilyn Hickey“Dr. Marilyn Hickey was chosen for the Freda Lindsay Award because she has the same character, integrity, courage and tenacity seen in Mom Lindsay’s life,” said Ginger Lindsay, Chief Operating Officer of Christ For The Nations and founder of the award. This award recognizes the legacy and path blazed by Freda Lindsay, who took over the ministry and Bible school, Christ For The Nations, after her husband passed away. She went on to expand both ministry and institute, becoming a leader in her own right. In an era where women in ministry were still considered controversial, Mom Lindsay proved by her example that women could be successful in ministry.

The award recipient is chosen each year by a committee of five women and one of them, Anna Kendall, Vice President of Life Languages International, introduced Dr. Hickey. “You never get bored listening to Freda Lindsay or Marilyn Hickey. They showed me that there was a place for women in ministry,” she said. Dr. Hickey has embraced her calling, traveling all over the world and meeting with high-ranking Muslim and Hindu leaders. “Even though I have been to almost 130 countries, I am just getting started,” she shared.

Her passion for the nations, specifically for the Muslim world, was sparked when she met Freda Lindsay when Dr. Hickey was 26 years old. Freda explained that she prayed for every nation of the world every day. “I asked her how she remembered them. She said that she memorized them by continent, so that’s what I did. And that’s when God dropped in my heart a love for Muslims,” said Dr. Hickey.

Dr. Hickey has been in ministry since she was called at the age of 42. Her crusades teaching the Bible and sharing God’s healing power broke records for the largest public meeting ever held in countries including Egypt and Pakistan. At an outreach in Pakistan, they had approximately 230,000 people.

Dr. Hickey’s daughter Sarah ministers with her on their television program Today with Marilyn and Sarah. Sarah’s heart to help children all over the world led her and her mother to start Saving Moses, a nonprofit that helps children under 5 years old with basic food, shelter and water while helping them develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. Dr. Hickey and Sarah regularly travel to Muslim and Communist countries, bringing Bibles and Christian books at great personal risk.

Dr. Hickey is a woman of faith, courage and prayer, bringing God’s healing power and a love for teaching the Bible to the nations, making it relevant to people of different cultures. Her simple goal is to “Live the Bible and experience the miracles.”

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

ORU and CFNI: A Partnership Renewed and Strengthened

Feb. 3, 2015 – Oral Roberts University (ORU) president Dr. Billy Wilson and other ORU faculty and staff traveled from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas to celebrate a new, updated articulation agreement with Christ For The Nations Institute.

While sitting at a table onstage in front of the current CFNI student body, Dr. Dennis Lindsay, President of CFN, and Dr. Wilson signed the renewed and strengthened agreement, which, among other things, gives additional ORU tuition discounts to students who complete a full three years at CFNI. A student transferring from CFNI to ORU now receives up to 85 credit hours of ORU credit and, if they finish a full three years at CFNI, they will receive $1500 off their ORU tuition every semester.

Remarking on the intertwining histories of ORU and CFNI and their shared spiritual DNA, Dr. Lindsay introduced Dr. Wilson with a strong recommendation for CFNI students to continue their education at ORU. Dr. Wilson continued the theme of similar spiritual DNA and shared the ORU vision of educating the whole person. Their goal is to help students become spiritually alive, intellectually alert, physically active and socially adept. “You are unique in all the world and you have a unique purpose. We are built for a plan, a dream bigger than us,” shared Dr. Wilson.

But this plan and dream requires preparation. “No one else can do what God has in mind for you to do,” said Dr. Wilson. And he admonished the students to gain all the preparation they need to accomplish God’s purpose for their life, starting with their time at CFNI and continuing, possibly at ORU. CFNI and ORU’s partnership is natural considering their shared goal to change the world and impact it for the Gospel of Christ. And this ORU-CFNI day gave CFNI students an opportunity to discover for themselves an open door to further preparation for their calling and vision. The question now is where is God calling you to go?

 

 

 

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.