Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
“Lord, What Do You Want Me to Do?”
This is one question Saul of Tarsus asked when, on the road to Damascus to persecute more Christians, he was confronted with the amazing, powerful Lord Jesus Christ, Who appeared to him as a light from heaven. However, notice Saul’s first question:
“Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’” Acts 9:4-6a (NKJV)
Perhaps you already know that Saul was dramatically converted to Jesus and became Paul the Apostle, who wrote approximately half of our New Testament Scriptures. Even the adamant evolutionist author and historian, H.G. Wells, admitted that Jesus Christ of Nazareth impacted history far more than any other man who has ever lived. In fact, He divides history in half – B.C. and A.D. Truly history is His Story! When you talk with skeptics, ask them, “If Jesus did not rise from the dead, how do you explain this fact?” And since Paul the Apostle is second only to Jesus in his impact upon history, ask them, “How do you explain the conversion and extreme zeal of Paul from persecutor of Christians to persecuted proclaimer of the gospel if Jesus did not rise from the dead?” By his own testimony Paul declared that his encounter with the risen Christ is what changed his course – and the course of history.
Also, please notice the first question Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” (Since he addressed Jesus as “Lord”, he must have already known – but he needed to hear it.) Is Jesus your Lord – your Master? First you need to recognize Who He really is – Immanuel (God with us), Creator, Redeemer, Resurrected Lord. Then you are ready to ask the second question, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
One of the most often asked questions among Christians is, “How do I know the will of God for my life?” Usually this has to do with some specific detail – but if you follow the clearly revealed commands of Scripture, God’s Holy Spirit will guide you in discerning His will in the details, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14
Often in Ukrainian University classes I tell my students that Almighty God has given them the right to choose which worldview to follow. If they choose evolutionism, then they are nothing but evolved animals with no intelligent designer, no plan, no purpose, no meaning and no hope, because evolutionism (by Frank Peretti’s clear definition) is “from the goo to you by way of the zoo”. (Besides, who started life in the goo anyway? Evolutionism believes many miracles and one of them is spontaneous generation – which Louis Pasteur scientifically showed to be false.) On the other hand, I tell my students that I no longer have enough faith to believe evolutionism and choose to believe “that Almighty God has specifically designed and created each one of you uniquely different from every other human being who has ever lived. He has given you a unique blend of talents, interests and abilities so that no one else can fulfill the purpose for which He has designed you. Your greatest joy in life is to discover and fulfill the purpose for which He designed you.
If you are asking, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” here are the basics:
1. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31
2. “…Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 (NKJV)
3. “Then Jesus came 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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
4. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-21 (NIV)
5. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NKJV)
6. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
7. “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV). Since “the joy of the Lord is your strength”, you will continue to gain strength and joy by basking in the presence of Almighty God.
As you abide in His presence and obey Him, you will experience His leading in the answers to your prayers about the details not given in Scripture.
Since we are to be “redeeming the time for the days are evil”, remember that every day God grants us 11,400 seconds, which must be invested or lost. As you ask, “Lord what do You want me to do?” and wait on His answer, how are you now investing those valuable seconds? Since it is much easier to steer a car that is already moving, doesn’t it make sense that it will be much easier for God to guide you if you are already moving on the instructions He has already given you?
Outreach and Mentoring in Kharkov
I love personal evangelism and outreach meetings, whether in small groups, classrooms, churches, etc., but over the past few years I’ve learned to love even more training believers to become bold witnesses for Jesus. Paul wrote to Timothy: “…commit the Word to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2. The week (April 9-15) I spent with Zhenya Molodchy in Kharkov was primarily devoted to training believers.
Twice I taught the kids at the Beginning of Wisdom Christian School concerning the contrasting worldviews of evolutionism versus creationism. They got it! (Zhenya is an outstanding interpreter!) The founder and director of the school is Alexander Vyalov, who was very pleased with the worldview lessons and the creationism books I donated to him for the school. I have a very high regard for him as a pioneer and entrepreneur, because he started and leads the only Christian school for elementary through high school in the entire city of about one and a half million people. I was very pleased to donate to him and to other co-workers the newly translated Russian copies of Search for the Truth by Bruce Malone and Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation, by Dennis Petersen.
Also, I shared the contrasting worldviews with Zhenya’s SWOW class, made up mostly of former addicts and alcoholics at the rehab center of Kingdom of God, whose lives have been transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Now they have a passion to share the transforming love of Christ with others. They are learning to focus on who we are in Christ – “more than conquerors” rather than saying “I’m an alcoholic”. That’s not who you are – that’s who you were! Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Let’s keep “looking unto Jesus” and the Holy Spirit will keep transforming us into His likeness! “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
I taught a seminar on “The Reality of the Resurrection” and the “Creation/Resurrection Connection” for the international students at New Hope Church on Saturday, April 14. English is the common language for the international students, so I didn’t need an interpreter. There are many universities in Kharkov, and we had brilliant students from several African nations as well as from Ukraine. These students will very likely become leaders in their fields – and become Christian leaders with strong influence in their own countries. Vitaliy Sorokun is the evangelist and pastor at New Hope Church – who has an open invitation to come to Kenya for further training of his former students, for evangelism and church planting. It is an honor to work together with Vitaliy in training these disciples to be bold witnesses for Jesus!
On Sunday morning, April 15, I had opportunity to preach “Many Infallible Proofs” at Christian Life Church (with Zhenya interpreting) and Sunday afternoon at New Hope Church (without interpreter).
Being a Mentor – a Great Privilege and an Awesome Responsibility!
For the past several years I’ve been praying for and watching for a younger American man to train to do what I’m doing, so that Overseas Outreach as a support ministry for very effective ministries in Ukraine (and beyond) will continue if the Lord takes me home before His return (our blessed hope). Several I thought might be interested have not followed through with interest or commitment, but Justin Reynolds may be the man. Where did I find him? Not in a church or Bible college, but at “The Lighthouse” in Nampa – an extension of Boise Rescue Mission. I wasn’t there looking for a recruit, but both of us are convinced that our meeting was a divine appointment. It was shortly before I left on the spring mission trip when I walked into “The Lighthouse” to check the literature table where I donate literature and our books. Next to the literature table sat a clean-cut young man who was looking directly at me with a smile on his face. As I came over to check if they needed more books, he stood, offered his hand and introduced himself. We began talking about the Lord, and I learned that he has had some seminary training, and that he loves Jesus and His Word. I asked if he was there to minister. He replied, “I’m here for the program!” I asked him what happened, and he replied, “I made bad choices.” (He is taking responsibility for those bad choices instead of blaming someone else.) I gave him a copy of our book, Ready to Give an Answer. I say “our” because it wouldn’t exist without Della – even though my name is on the cover.) He sent us a very inspiring letter about the book, which Della put in our April letter while I was in Ukraine.
Since my return from Ukraine I’ve been meeting with Justin as his mentor to supplement the program at “The Lighthouse”. After our initial meeting I asked him to write down what he hopes and expects from our meetings and relationship. Here is what he gave me at our next meeting:
Mentor and Protégé
According to the 1828 version of Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language,” a mentor is someone who provides advice or admonition. The word itself is Greek, and in Homer’s “The Iliad,” Ulysses had a friend and adviser whose name was – interestingly enough – Mentor. Protégé means to be under the patronage, protection, or care of another. By definition, then, a mentor is one who befriends and advises the protégé. The protégé is under the care and protection of his mentor. The relationship is one of leading and following, of giving and receiving. It is one of imitation.
When you gave me this assignment and I began to consider what I expected from our relationship, my mind was drawn to 1 Corinthians 11:1; it says, “be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” I expect to see Christ in you. Specifically, though, I am going to look to you in this relationship for an example that I can follow of humility, self-sacrifice, perseverance, follow through in goals, the fruits of the Spirit, singleness of purpose and an unwavering allegiance to Jesus and His purpose for your life. These are all areas that I am lacking in. And these are all areas that I see in Jesus, and that I trust will be imitated in you. I have had some training in speaking, writing and organizing Bible studies, but I still have much to learn and develop in those areas. What I need more than anything, however, is the Christ-empowered ability to manage my own life as He would have me to; living a life of service to others in obedience to Him.
Paul told Timothy to fan into flames the gift that was given to him by the laying on of hands twice – once for each of the letters written from mentor to protégé. (1 Tim. 4:14 & 2 Tim. 1:6) There is something significant about the relationship between a disciple and his teacher. I recognize a spiritual transmission of power, work and influence between Paul and Timothy, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and the disciples and, hopefully, from our relationship. This transmission is not automatic. God must ultimately facilitate it. And the receiver must “fan into flames” the gift that he has been given. I see that as my basic responsibility here: to embrace and build upon what you impart to me. I believe that God sent you into my life for this reason. I will listen to what you tell me, follow your instructions and I will trust the Lord to bring to fruition the results that our relationship sows.
It has been a dream of mine for a number of years to be in love with Jesus, to be a husband, a father, a bi-vocational minister of God’s word, a missionary and a teacher. I thank and praise the Lord Jesus Christ! For, I believe that He has given me the blessed opportunity to learn from a man who is what I so long to be.”
~ Justin Reynolds June 1, 2012
I wasn’t looking for a “Timothy” when I walked into “The Lighthouse” in March. Like C.S. Lewis, I’m often “surprised by joy” at what God does and is doing. Justin still has a long road ahead of him with developing positive habit patterns to replace bad and dangerous ones, completing the intensive program at “The Lighthouse” (twelve to eighteen months), and taking courses at Boise Bible College – our Lord willing. A recent letter from Ravi Zacharias contains these pertinent observations:
“Humility is an indispensable component in the life of any effective evangelist, and my fervent prayer is for men and women who will adequately reflect his ministry’s set of values. Mentoring and training young apologists is a crucial ongoing need of our work. We ask that you stand with us in this mission.
I feel strongly that your first responsibility is always to your church. But if God has blessed you beyond your expectations, and if you recognize a deep-seated need in this world for young men and women with a passion for proclaiming the transforming power of Christ’s gospel, please consider standing with us – either by a one-time gift or by committing to a monthly contribution to RZIM. Your support will help us in a continued way as we prepare a younger generation to engage a confused and hurting world. These young men and women will carry on the legacy of evangelism undergirded by apologetics, and we ask you to be a part of that.
May the Lord lead you as you consider this.
Ravi is one of the most effective Christian apologists in the world and if you want to contribute to his ministry we can send you his mailing address. If you want to share with Overseas Outreach, we will be most grateful. Either way, we will thank God for you.
Yours & His,
From our Mailbox
“Dear Rick and Della,
I see God working through you and I thank you for your dedication. I pray God will find enough Christian hearts in this country to save it. ‘Miracles Happen.’
“Dear Rick & Della,
“The other day I read your article on ‘Courage, Concentration & Confidence’ to our Berean group (old people). I only hope it inspired them as much as it did me. I do enjoy your articles. Keep up the good work and a great big Thank you.
Your Sister in Christ, Kay Springer”
“THANK YOU, RICK /DELLA-for your ENCOURAGING report of eastern European activity- VERY ENCOURAGING INDEED-provokes more Prayer & Thanksgiving- God has rewards for such dedication & service- jim/helen brown ”
“Upon my return from Austria we were glad to have our special friend Rick Deighton here with us to help in ministry and minister in different areas.
We have being doing outreach projects and ministry with Rick for more than 10 years in Kharkiv and other cities of Ukraine. Rick has been a real blessing to our family since we met him for the first time. As we worked together for the Kingdom we were mutually encouraged, better equipped and more effective. There were souls touched who had not been touched otherwise. During this time we were able to visit some of these families, among which are Sergey and Yulia Smolenski. It was our third or fourth meeting with them this time. We pray and anticipate their conviction and joining the body of believers. Sergey and Yulia are involved with education in University and represent the elite strata of society.
Rick also fit very well into the schedule of School without Walls and taught on Creation evidences. The class was very well received and encouraged students a great deal.”
~ Zhenya Molodchy
Let’s continue to keep each other in prayer. I do believe you are operating in your gifts and bringing glory to God, Who gave them to you. 🙂 I enjoy your ministry and value your friendship.
1. Please pray for Justin, and for his mother Sharon, who is a cancer survivor and recovering surgery patient.
2. Please pray for the funds to reprint Ready to Give an Answer in Russian with testimonies from my students included in this new edition.
3. Please pray for God to heal Viktoria Havva’s serious back problems (she was my interpreter at TCI).
4. Please pray for boldness for Fayik, one of my students at TCI who is from a middle Asian nation, and for his brother Edik, who is still in a coma from a terrible car crash. The other two in the car were killed.
5. Pray for a healthy baby boy and good delivery for Natasha Molodchy as Zhenya and Natasha await the arrival of their third child in August. She had to have the other two by cesarean, and was in danger of having a miscarriage this time. With much bed rest, she is doing better.
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus comes again.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NLT).