Stepping Out

cross“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” ~Mark 1:35

This last week, I received a call from Ray Hartman asking if Fight Club would like the opportunity to meet with a friend of his visiting from India.  The call was one of those out of the blue things that we couldn’t pass up.  We invited anyone who might be interested to join us, and having some women in Fight Club gussied up the place a bit!

Pastor Moses Koripalli joined us and delivered a powerful testimony and message.  This gentle man shared not only his story of miraculous healing from leprosy and how God led him to a ministry in India and worldwide, but showed us a side of Christianity that we sometimes overlook.  As Americans, we sometime get myopic in our view of Christianity.  We take for granted the freedom we have here and although I am aware of the battle lines being drawn in society and government right now, but let’s be honest, we are blessed to be able to freely practice our religion without fear of being jailed or undergoing physical retribution.  This is not the case everywhere.

India is a country with a population of around one and a quarter billion people with a rigid caste system, thousands of languages and the preponderance of accepted religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.  Christians have been and are still being attacked in may ways there, and to be a Christian Pastor there can be challenging at best.  Think of the trials of Paul and you can see that in this calling, faith is not just a word, but an indispensable strength that requires true courage.

Pastor Moses was born into a middle caste there and was although not wealthy, comfortable.  At age thirteen he was diagnosed with leprosy, not only a terrible medical diagnosis, but it would mean that he would probably be demoted to a lower caste and have to live as a beggar for the rest of his life.  He attempted to end his life without success, prayed to all of idols to all of the gods worshipped there, again without success, and remembering a family member speaking of Jesus, prayed for intervention.

As Pastor Moses described it, the outcome was immediate and life changing.  I won’t try to explain what they experienced, I couldn’t do it justice, but within days, he was cured.  Cured of leprosy after praying to Jesus at thirteen changed him profoundly.  He started attending a church and learning about the very Jesus who healed him, by seventeen Moses was called to preach.

Now in his forties, his ministry has started churches in many countries, mostly to the Indian populations living and working in them.  He makes trips to America several times a year and continues a ministry here.  His story of living by faith, against all odds and serving the Lord was a huge blessing for all of us.

Speaking very frankly about enduring hunger, poverty and even being cut out of his fathers estate, Moses stayed true and strong, leaning on his faith in God.

The book we are reading in Fight Club right now is ‘Wild at Heart’ by John Eldridge.  This book is aimed at men on many different levels.  One is accepting the adventure that God has for us all, that this world is both dangerous and beautiful, frightening and comforting.  Being the real man that God intended, and yes He has a plan for us, means being strong enough to step out by faith into what may seem scary and wrong, but doing it anyway.  Think of a long tough hike to a secluded waterfall, the harder the hike, the more likely that the destination makes it worthwhile.

Pastor Moses is that man, stepping out in faith to be the disciple that God intended.

The verse from Mark above was a central part of Pastor Moses’s message to us.  Simply put, the first thing Jesus did upon rising was go and speak to His Father, not second, but first.  As Pastor Moses contrasted, imagine putting on a shirt and missing the first top button, all the other buttons are wrong after that, but if we can get that first button, the rest fall where they should.  Simple but powerful.  Beginning each day in praise even when suffering, God will come through.

Thanks to Ray for lining this up, to Pastor Moses for sharing, mostly to The Father for allowing us to see and share in this disciple of Jesus and his love for the ministry he is called to.

~Scott

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