Discovering Aslan – Blog Discovering Aslan – PDF Devotional commentary about Jesus
The Lion of Judah from The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis * This is a remarkable work and something quite unique that I’ve not come across before ~ Russ Burg * One of the most interesting devotionals ever! As a huge fan of all things Narnia, I am so grateful for this deeper aspect of the truths in C.S. Lewis’ stories. ~ Belinda S. * Best companion work I know of. … Either for a young person who is interested in exploring more, or as a resource on a pastor’s desk, it is an invaluable companion to the original series. ~ Amazon Customer * This is a great companion when you read, and is a stand-alone teaching on the depths of teaching that C.S. Lewis weaves into Aslan’s character. Definitely worth your time. ~ Steve Loopstra
(7) The Lion of Judah – Blog The Lion of Judah – PDF 6 books in one volume READ SAMPLE * Looking for a great book to help you meditate on the wonder of Jesus in all his richness and grandeur and love? Geoff Waugh has helpfully and thoughtfully brought together wide-ranging biblical passages… Read this book prayerfully and you will not be the same! ~ John Olley.
* This book is full of information, biblical information. I have learned so much from it … If you want to learn more from the Bible, this is the book to read. ~ A. Aldridge
Millingimbi Island, northern Australia: This little boy was found dead at the bottom of a muddy waterhole in warm water when a bunch of children came down to swim. They dragged him out and took him to the clinic where the doctor tried to revive him but considered him to be brain-dead. Then the children asked if they could pray for Jesus to heal him. They prayed and he lept back to life with no effect from the ordeal except today a hunger to hear the Word of Jesus who brought him back to life…and who gives eternal life to all who call on His name.
A pastor dead for thirteen minutes makes a stunning recovery as his grandchildren laid hands on him and declared healing through prayers.
Heart Stopped For 13 Minutes
The faith of Pastor Jim and his wife Pam was tested when Jim suddenly passed out while going for a walk outside. He had no pulse. And when the medical authorities arrived, they immediately transported him to the hospital.
Pam frantically called an elder of their church, and the Spirit impressed to him that Jim will live and not die. Hence, they declared God’s goodness despite the unfavorable circumstance.
Meanwhile, Jim’s heart stopped for 13 minutes. He fell into a drug-induced coma. According to Dr. Michelle Guzowski, the physician who attended to the pastor, it was dangerous. Because for every minute that a heart stops beyond a critical limit, you have decreased blood flow, leading to potential brain injury. Even if he survived, he could lose some normal abilities.
Amid Jim’s critical condition, over 100 church members gathered together to worship and pray. For three hours, they praised God and declared that “no weapon formed against him would prosper.”
Jim wasn’t responsive for days despite the doctor’s simulation. But the church continued to believe in God’s faithfulness and continued praying for him.
One morning, Pam received news that her husband had brain damage. Hence, Justin, their son, and grandchildren prepared to say goodbye to Jim because it could be the last time to see their grandfather. And when they visited Jim, the grandkids laid hands on him and prayed. Suddenly, he opened his eyes.
The whole room witnessed the miracle that even doctors and nurses cried about what happened. Everyone saw with their own eyes the miraculous power of God.
“God Raised Me From The Dead” Christian Pastor Tells UN
Lee Stoneking shares his testimony with the United Nations after he got an invite on April 22, 2015, to speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
Below is an excerpt and video of his testimony at the assembly:
“On Nov. 12, 2003. I suffered a massive heart attack at the airport in Sydney, Australia. Paramedics tried – 10 times – to get my heart beating again using electric shock treatment, but all to no avail. I was declared dead for 45 minutes and was put into the ambulance as a corpse.”
After being clinically dead for 45 minutes, Stoneking’s heart started to beat. The paramedics – and the doctors who treated him afterwards – were amazed at his recovery. One doctor even told him that his DNA had been altered to strip heart disease from his genetic makeup.
“So I am grateful today to be alive,” Stoneking said, adding that even after six minutes without oxygen, irreparable damage can be done to the brain.
“God has totally raised me from the dead, he continued, you have defied all the laws of medical science,” a doctor told me, but I looked at him and said, ‘I didn’t but I know the one who did. His name is Jesus,”.
Stoneking told the UN assembly “my message here to you today is this: In the New Testament, in the book of Acts, Chapter 2 verse 38 it says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Then Stoneking told the U.N. General Assembly that Jesus is the only answer to the violence around the world.
“He is the prince of peace,” Stoneking said. “I give you Jesus.
In Pakistan, a 17-year-old boy led his entire tribe to follow Jesus.
*Rehan worked as a waiter at a roadside restaurant. He often worked 12-hour days, trying to scrape together enough money to feed his family.
One day, a truck driver and FMI [Forgotten Missionaries International] partner began visiting the restaurant. Over time, Rehan noticed how well the man, Safdar, treated him and asked him why. Nehemiah with FMI tells the story. “Rehan said, ‘How is your attitude towards a waiter so gentle? Have you joined some other sect than Islam?’ Safdar gave him an audio Bible. Rehan took it home and began listening. Then Safdar suggested Rehan take off from his work and spend time together to answer his queries and questions at the FMI Discipleship center.”
Rehan realized how much Jesus loves him, and he was baptized a couple of months ago. He didn’t stop there though, he gathered his family together and told them as well. His parents were moved by the message, but still feared backlash from the tribal leaders. Nehemiah says when someone in Pakistan starts following Jesus, they often face persecution from their tribe and family.
Sharing with the tribe
Nehemiah says he invited three FMI partners to help him share the Gospel with the tribe. “One evening, he gathered all the tribe’s members under one big tent. First, Rehan showed a movie about Jesus. Then an FMI partner shared a 15-minute devotion about new hope in Christ. That day, a 17-year-old-boy led his whole tribe to the Lord Jesus Christ. They quit their regular practice of offering Muslim prayers.”
Praise God for this tribe of about 60 people, and ask Him to strengthen them.
Pray the story of Rehan and his tribe would not be an isolated one. Nehemiah says, “Pray for the partners and shepherds who are serving with FMI. May the Lord bless them and give them more courage and wisdom.”
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
New King James Version
9 In thismanner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Yourname. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earthas it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day ourdaily bread. 12 Andforgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, Butdeliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
New International Version
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:13Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (NIV)
Good News Bible
9 This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; 10 may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need. 12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 13 Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’
Matthew 6:13Some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
The Passion Translation
9 Pray like this:
‘Our Beloved Father,dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. 10 Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is in heaven. 11 We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. 12 Forgive us the wrongs we have doneas we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. 13 Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen.’
6:9Jesus invites us into the same relationship with the Father, as His Abba.
6:9An alternate reading of the Aramaic text. The Aramaic word for “name” is shema (the Hebrew word, shem), a word with multiple meanings. It can also be translated “light,” “sound,” or “atmosphere.” Placing a light, like a lantern, in an enclosed space magnifies that light. This is the meaning here of God’s name being made sacred and magnified as we focus our lives on him. The Greek is “treated as holy.”
6:11Or “Give us bread [or life] today for the coming day.” Bread becomes a metaphor of our needs (physically, spiritually, and emotionally). Jesus is teaching us to acknowledge Father God as our Provider of all we need each day. Both the Greek and Hebrew Matthew can be translated “Give us this day our bread for tomorrow” (or “our continual bread”).
6:12Or “Send away the results of our debts (shortcomings),” used as a metaphor for our sins. The Aramaic can be translated “Give us serenity as we also allow others serenity.”
6:13Or “Do not let us be put into the ordeal of testing.” God never tempts man. See James 1:13–14.
Long-playing worship music is ideal as background music while you work or pray.
You can listen to background worship music as you worship, work and pray – in your chair or even in bed, with CDs and YouTube and Spotify on your phone. YouTube video “Mix” gives you a run of similar recordings – often a surprise.
You could set aside an hour a week – or a day – to worship and pray. I use these YouTube songs as background worship for that, even in bed!
Here are some inspiring recordings you could play while you worship, work and pray. Scroll down to see more.
“Why, God?” Helen Roseveare asked after being brutally beaten and raped by Congo rebels for five months while she served as a missionary doctor in 1964.
Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience even if I never tell you why? was the answer she received.
It was a strange answer.
But also, God gave her a striking revelation about surviving a dungeon of torture.
“It’s external! You’re sinned against. It’s not your sin. It can’t touch your spirit,” she explained on a 100 Huntley Street video. “It’s only your body. But it can’t get into my mind or soul.”
Helen has used her captivity to encourage others who feel powerless to defend themselves against unimaginable acts of evil.
Helen Roseveare became one of the first females to graduate as a medical doctor from Newnham College, Cambridge in 1945. She became a Christian because of the testimony of some of the girls in her school and almost immediately set off to the mission field in the “Heart of Darkness.”
She tended to patients, built hospitals and trained Africans in medical science indefatigably. While serving the population she was taken captive in the Congo during the tumultuous 1960s along with other foreigners. As was always the case, she turned into the leader, even in captivity.
“When the awful moments came in the rebellion you almost felt, no, this has gone too far. I can’t accept it. It seemed that the price was too high to pay,” she says. “And then God seemed to say, Change the question from ‘Is it worth it?’ to ‘Is He worthy?’”
During her captivity, she helped aid medically 80 Greek Cypriots, workers abducted by the rebels. Especially one lady was in pain, seven months pregnant, so Mama Luca — as she was known — was called upon to attend to her.
With rebel guards on either side of her, she stepped among the cowering Cypriots until she found the needy lady. She didn’t speak Greek, so she went through the languages she knew one by one to ask if she was hurt: English, French, Swahili, Lingala.
Finally, she found someone who could translate into Greek and eventually led not only the lady but the whole prison hall of captives in a sinner’s prayer. As the only area doctor, she had attended to the Cypriots for years but had made no headway in evangelizing them.
But suffering brought a new openness to the Gospel.
“When I eventually left the house, they’re all looking up and smiling and they want to shake my hands,” she remembers. “It was wonderful. God, you are marvelous.”
As was their custom, the rebels subjected Mama Luca to a mock trial. The people in the area were orchestrated to participate in the judgement of “colonial, imperial crimes” committed by foreigners. Under the threat to the rebels’ guns, the locals had to join their voice in a chorus of condemnation, calling for the death sentence.
Responding to the beating of the drums, 800 locals came to her trial. You didn’t dare ignore the calls of the rebels because only they had guns. At a certain signal, they all shouted, as was the custom in these roughshod trials: “She’s a liar! She’s a liar!”
Then they would shout “Mateco! Mateco!” which meant “Crucify her! Crucify her!”
“You knew you would die. You didn’t know how,” Mama Luca recalls. “There came the moment in the trial scene when they must have been given the sign. Suddenly these 800 men suddenly, instead of seeing me as the hated white foreigner, they saw me as their doctor and they rushed forward.
“They pushed the rebel soldiers out of the way and they took me in their arms. In that wonderful moment the black-white barrier had gone and they said, “She’s ours.” They used a word in Kibbutu, which really meant, “She’s blood of our blood and bone of our bone.” The rift between dark skin and pale skin was driven away and we were reunited as one.”
“God used so many things that He’s working out his own wonderful purposes,” she says. “Many, many came to the Lord through those days of suffering. The walls of division were broken down, and the kingdom was expanded.”
Helen had refused to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs assigned by her missionary field director. “I said if God ever asks me to be burned at the stake, I’ll say yes, but I won’t be singing,” she remembers. “I just couldn’t take it all.”
But then she and her missionary cohorts were indeed taken out to be executed by firing squad. Contrary to what she had anticipated, she found herself singing.
“We were singing every song and chorus we could think of with the name of Jesus,” she says.
“We were singing in English, French, Swahili, anything, so the last word that these rebel soldiers would hear before they shot us was the name of Jesus.
“We weren’t singing to impress our captors. Something else was very real in that moment when you thought you were about to die, and that was the presence of Jesus. Jesus was there. He was so wonderfully there and it was a privilege. It was just this wonderful certain knowledge. I was going to go to be with Jesus, and really at that minute nothing else counted.”
Ultimately, Helen was spared. She was released by her captors and returned to England to recover for more than a year.
In 1965, she returned to the Congo to help with rebuilding the nation and to continue as a missionary, where she continued to see miracles.
One miracle has gone viral: the story of the rubber hot water bottle.
A baby was born prematurely in the middle of the night. The mother had died in delivery.
They needed a hot water bottle to sustain its life. Dr. Helen knew the grim reality: their last bottles were deteriorated; the chances of this baby’s survival were realistically nil.
But she told her group of orphan girls to pray.
“I told the children of this tiny baby and asked them to pray for the nurses that they would stay awake all night to keep that baby warm,” she remembers. “One little 10-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed in the usual blunt way of our African children, ‘Please, God, send us a hot water bottle. My God, it’ll be no good tomorrow! Send it this afternoon. If it comes tomorrow, the baby would be dead.’”
Dr. Helen didn’t know if she should encourage such futile hopes in the orphan. “I was sort of swallowing hard.”
Ruth continued unabashedly, “While You’re about it, God, would You send a dolly for the little two-year-old sister, so she should know that Jesus really loves her.”
No parcel had ever come to Dr. Helen in that region for four years.
“That afternoon the parcel came,” she said. “t was the first parcel from home. Despite the fact I live on the Equator, somebody packing that parcel had been prompted by God to put in a hot water bottle. And a child from my bible class at home had put in a dolly for the little girl.
“That parcel had been on the way five months to get to us!”
The dramatic search and rescue of Adul Sam-on, 11 members of his soccer team and their coach trapped in a Thai cave in June 2018 thrust them into the international spotlight and changed their lives. Adul, the only English speaker in the group, communicated with the rescuers when they were found nine days later. All photos courtesy of Adul Sam-on unless otherwise stated.
The darkness was overwhelming. The silence deafening. The air was cold.
This was how Adul Sam-on, then 14, described being trapped in the Tham Luang cave underneath a mountain range in Chiang Rai, Thailand, with no way out.
On June 23, 2018, Adul, his eleven teammates from the Wild Boars football team – between the ages of 11 and 17 – and their assistant coach, 25, went to explore the snaking 10.3km-long cave system. But were forced deeper in and stranded by rising waters.
Adul moved to the US last year. He will be moving into his sophomore year in college soon.
As the Thai cave boys – as they came to be known – lost count of days in the dark and hoped to be found, the world prayed, watched and waited as the dramatic search and rescue efforts by Thai and international teams unfolded.
But for Adul, now 17, his story of hope began a long time before the cave incident three years ago.
Across the border
Adul was born in the southern region of the self-governing Wa state of Myanmar. It shares the border with Thailand.
When Adul was three years old, his parents gave his auntie, Yex Kap Htane, their blessings to take Adul across the border to Thailand to give him a shot at a better life.
Ps Go (left) and wife, Yex Kap (right), praying over Adul on his birthday. Photo courtesy of Ps Go Shin Maung.
Yex and her husband, Ps Go Shin Muang, raised Adul as their own, becoming his “second set of parents”.
The couple, now in their 40s, received a calling from God to move from Myanmar to Chiang Rai to start Maesai Grace Church for Wa migrants.
Adul’s story of hope began a long time before the cave incident.
They also started a schooling programme to care for and give a brighter future to the children of Wa natives who have either moved to Mae Sai to work or who are stuck in Wa.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, Wa was notorious for inducting children into its military wing.
“These children don’t even have a chance to grow up and straight away they become child soldiers,” Ps Go told Salt&Light. “That is no future for a child.”
Adul grew up enjoying a childhood and getting a basic education that he would not have had in Wa.
Life, according to Adul, was simple and laid back. He attended classes from morning till afternoon before soccer practice. Afterwards, he would return to the church hostel for dinner and quiet time before turning in for the night.
No way out
That simple life would never be the same after June 23, 2018.
The Wild Boars had just finished a training session and decided to explore a favourite haunt – the Tham Luang cave – with their assistant coach. The boys and their coach had often wandered deep into the snaking 10.3km-long cave system.
Adul (second from right) with his 11 teammates on one of their excursions to the cave. Photo from Facebook page of Nopparat Kantawong, head coach of the Wild Boars. He had not gone into the cave with the boys as he had another appointment that day.
What was supposed to be an hour-long excursion turned into a 17-day ordeal.
A flash flood forced the 13 deeper into the cave. The rising water level made it impossible for them to retrace their steps out of the cave. They were not able to find an alternative way out.
“What might be surprising is that none of us really panicked,” Adul told Salt&Light. “We just figured that we’d wait until the tide dropped, even if it’s for a night.”
When night fell, their worried parents started scrambling and asking each other: “Where were the Wild Boars?”
When they realised that the boys might have been stuck in the cave, they rushed to its entrance, where they discovered the boys’ bikes and belongings.
Adul’s simple life would never be the same after June 23, 2018.
Over at Maesai Grace Church, Ps Go’s initial reaction to the news was one of shock. All he could think of was to pray for their safety.
Ps Go mobilised prayer groups across the church to fast and intercede for the boys. He and other church members took turns to wait outside the cave for updates from the authorities.
Ps Go and his wife struggled to explain to Adul’s parents what exactly was happening. Communication was slow as Adul’s parents back in Wa had little access to the internet.
Ps Go and his wife also struggled with assuring them that their son would be safe, and the weight of guilt and responsibility if Adul did not make it out alive. Their nights were sleepless while Adul was trapped.
Someone will come
The group in the cave were marooned on an elevated rock 4km from its entrance. On some days, they felt hopeful. On others, not quite so.
He must have prayed The Lord’s Prayer and sung How Great is Our God “thousands of times” in the cave.
Doubt and panic grew the longer they waited, said Adul.
“It’s been so long. Really? Is nobody coming?” they would say.
They knew that they were stuck. Their way into the cave was probably inaccessible.
What they did not know was that a monumental search and rescue effort was mounting outside the cave. It involved 10,000 people. They included the Thai navy, army, airforce and police, engineers, geologists, rescue specialists – from Thailand and overseas – and cave divers from countries that included Singapore, the UK, Belgium and Australia.
The search was complicated by heavy rainfall flooding the cave, cutting off rescuers from parts of it.
Adul, the only Christian in the group, turned to prayer and worship. He looked for a small space away from the others where he could do this.
“When the panic first set in, I just felt like I had to talk to God,” he said. “He gave me a very strong belief that someone would come for us.
Ps Go mobilised prayer groups across the church to fast and intercede for the boys.
“Even though the doubts and fears were there, this strange belief, something I never felt before the cave, was the strongest thing I felt.”
Adul also relied on The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and one of his favourite songs, How Great is Our God, for strength. He said that he must have prayed and sung them “thousands of times” in the cave.
In one of those quiet moments in the dark, he received a revelation about God’s plan.
“I couldn’t see much in the cave, and I realised that’s quite similar to how I can’t see God in real life. But I have to trust that He’s going to show His power and goodness at the end.”
Trapped without food
The group were trapped without food. They drank water dripping from the cave ceiling.
“I like how Jesus overcame his hunger and thirst just by praying and talking to God.”
As the days passed, the group found their hunger increasingly difficult to bear. Adul was encouraged by the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. (Matthew 4:1-11).
“I like how Jesus overcame his hunger and thirst just by praying and talking to God.”
Looking back, Adul said: “Jesus had no food and drink for 40 days. I was only in there for a few days; I probably could have stayed for a while longer.”
Happy to see someone else
Thankfully, Adul and friends did not have to stay longer than 17 days. On July 2, 2018 – nine days after being trapped – a pair of British divers found the group.
Adul immediately bounced up when he saw the heads of two divers break the surface of the water.
“I was just so happy to see someone else.”
The rescue divers’ camera footage on discovering the Wild Boars. Screengrab of video from Thai Navy Seal Facebook.
Adul was the only English-speaker in the group. Through him, the others told the divers they wanted food, and learnt how long they had been in the cave.
Camera footage of the divers’ exchange with Adul and the group went viral when it was first released, bringing jubilation to millions around the world who were anxiously following the massive search effort. Adul captured hearts with his politeness and ability to speak English. He had picked up conversational English while interacting with missionaries who had visited Maesai Grace. He also speaks Thai, Burmese, Mandarin and Wa.
The divers spent some time with them before leaving their lights behind, along with promises to return with food and help.
When Ps Go heard the news that the boys were alive, he was able to assure Adul’s parents that their son was safe.
“God showed that He’s faithful, He answered our prayers,” said Ps Go.
“Sometimes I forget that I really didn’t do anything to deserve this. All I did was get stuck in a cave!”
Rescuers then strategised how to bring the 13 – who had no experience diving – out of the flooded, rocky and winding labyrinth that would more than challenge even experienced cave divers. It was was deemed mission impossible by many.
The death of a former Thai Navy Seal diver – who lost consciousness after placing oxygen tanks along the rescue route – highlighted the danger and risk of the extraction. Later in the year, a Thai Navy Seal would die from a blood infection he contracted during the operation.
Rescuers had to move quickly with more rain expected to totally flood the cave. In a complex, elaborate operation that involved a chain of nearly 100 divers, the group were extracted from the labyrinth in stages over three days.
Each Wild Boar was given a full-face mask to ensure that they could breathe, was secured to a stretcher and sedated to prevent them from panicking.
The last boy and the coach were released from the cave on July 10, 2018. Their ordeal had lasted 17 days.
A new life, a new continent
Adul’s life now is a far cry from what it was before the cave incident. He attributes it solely to God.
“Sometimes I forget that I really didn’t do anything to deserve this. All I did was get stuck in a cave!” he said half in jest.
“But then I remember that this is God blessing me and I am just so grateful.”
“God showed that He’s faithful, He answered our prayers.”
Adul, who was previously considered stateless in Thailand, was granted Thai citizenship, along with two of the Wild Boars and their coach.
He has also been blessed by a family in the United States who were moved to sponsor his college education and boarding. He moved to New York state last year, and will soon be entering his sophomore year.
As part of his gratitude to God, Adul sees it as his duty to share his story.
Already, it has borne fruit. Adul’s English tutor came to accept Christ and was baptised at Maesai Grace, said Ps Go.
Adul (back row on the left) with his neighbours in the US.
Adul hopes that his story will inspire many more.
“We can’t believe in God only after He does something amazing. We have to believe in Him even though we can’t see or know what He’s doing,” he said.
For Adul, that was especially when the darkness was overwhelming, the silence deafening and the air was cold.
Silas is an undergraduate studying business. His internship at Salt&Light is a step towards discovering what purpose in God looks like and what it means. He is secretly hoping that it lies in eating fried chicken for a living.
God’s leading through an unusual dream and a miraculous meeting led to evangelizing a hidden tribe in the Philippines.
By Mark Ellis —
In 2013 Caleb Byerly woke up with a start and began to furiously write in his journal everything he saw in a rather unusual dream. For the previous five years, the small-town North Carolina resident had been engaged in mission outreach to indigenous people and tribal areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.
“In the dream, I was standing on top of this mountain. I was looking out across the mountain, and I saw a tribe of people,” he told The Unseen Story. Caleb and his wife, Gladys, live in Moravian Falls, a town of 1400 in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains.
He had never seen the tribe before, so he asked, “What tribe are you? What people are you?”
“We’re the Tinananon tribe,” they replied. Caleb had never heard of this people group and he began to carefully observe their actions in his dream.
A tribal chief walked forward carrying a musical instrument. Caleb happens to be an instrument maker by profession, so his eyes “zoomed in” to study the distinctive design of an instrument unlike anything he had ever seen before.
It had 30 strings going all the way around the top of a golden bowl, from the outside, crisscrossing in the middle of the instrument. “I suddenly got a full download of everything about this instrument, what dimensions the instrument was, what material it was made out of, even like how it was tuned and how it was played. After that, I kind of zoomed back out.
“This tribal chief, he took the instrument and he put it on the table. He took two small sticks, and he began to play this instrument. As he played the whole tribe started to dance and they started to worship. This kind of sound of worship just filled the place. It was as if heaven and earth just collided. After that I woke up from the dream.”
God has spoken to Caleb through dreams previously, so he meticulously recorded in his journal the name of the Tinananon tribe. He made detailed drawings of the bowl, its dimensions and materials, a wooden ring that goes around the bowl, the strings connected by wooden pegs, and the two sticks used to play the instrument.
“I feel like when God speaks to you, it’s an invitation to partner and walk with God. It’s not just God commanding you to do things or God just saying do this, do that. But it’s the Holy Spirit inviting you into some new journey that he’s calling you into, and it’s connected to you, it’s connected to your DNA and your calling. I really value that a lot. I really thought that this would be a really exciting thing to follow with the Lord.”
Caleb began to search online for any reference to a Tinananon people group but came up short. “I contacted different organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Summer Institute of Linguistics to see if they knew anything about this tribe. But everywhere I searched, I could not find that word. I tried the different spellings, but just couldn’t find anything there. So I kind of gave up on that.”
But as a professional instrument maker, he was intrigued by the idea of recreating the instrument he saw in the dream. “I’m gonna make this thing!” he decided. Even though he had not put metal and wood together in that way, he was up for the challenge.
“I got into my shop, and I just kept breaking this thing. I kept breaking things and snapping things. I could not figure out this one process. I got really frustrated. I was like, I’m just gonna put this thing to the side. I just couldn’t figure it out.
“So, I kind of gave up on the whole dream. I felt like I had done my part. I wasn’t getting anywhere. So I just kind of gave it up.”
Trip to the Philippines
About six months later, he took a mission trip to the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, an area where he had previously been involved in ministry.
“I was on a Jeepney, which is like a public transportation. There was this man that was sitting on the other side of me. I could tell this guy was staring at me. I was like, what’s this guy doing? Every time that I would look at him, he would like look away.”
Caleb knows the national language of the Philippines, Tagalog, so he spoke to the man. “As I was talking to him, it turns out that he’s a believer! So we’re chatting and then right in the middle of our conversation, I heard the Lord speak to me. It wasn’t an audible voice or anything. It was just felt.”
The Lord spoke to Caleb’s heart and said, I want you to ask that man about the Tinananon.
Inside, Caleb resisted. No, I’m not going to ask this man about the Tinananon, he thought. I’ve already tried to do all my research.
A second time the Lord nudged his heart, Ask this man about the Tinananon.
Caleb built up his courage and said meekly, “Sir, do you happen to know Tinananon?
As soon as he said he word Tinananon, the man’s eyes got really big.
He leaned in and said, “Hey, that’s my people — that’s my tribe! How do you know my people?”
Caleb was rendered speechless for a moment. “Tell me everything you know about your tribe.”
Manigos began to explain that his tribe lives in a deep mountainous region of Mindanao. “This area is a really dangerous place,” he said. “No one from outside goes to this place.” Manigos estimated his people group numbers between 70,000 and 100,000 people, scattered throughout the mountainous region in pockets.
Caleb invited Manigos to follow him to the place he was staying and showed him his journal entry with the word Tinananon.
Manigos began shaking his head, and tears streamed down his face.
He said, “Remember earlier on the bus, I kept looking at you.”
“Yes, what was that all about?”
“I kept looking at you, and the reason why is because I’ve seen you before…I just realized where I saw you, I also saw you in a dream.”
Manigos explained that was born in the Tinananon tribe. He left as a young man and went to Davao City, the largest city on the island of Mindanao, with 1.8 million people. He came to know Jesus while he lived in the city, then God called him back to his tribe through a dream.
In the dream, Manigos had gone back to evangelize his people – with Caleb! “He saw me in his dream,” Caleb said, “and I came and joined him. He and I began to minister and bring the good news of Jesus to his people.”
They were filled with wonder and awe at the way God brought them together. The two men stayed together for several days. “We all worshipped together and prayed together for a few days. Manigos invited Caleb to visit his tribe.
“Yeah, I would love to go to your tribe,” Caleb replied, “but I need to ask my wife first.” His wife, Gladys, was eight months pregnant at the time. Going on a potentially dangerous journey, immediately before the birth of their first child was a big decision they had to make.
After Caleb flew home to North Carolina, he and Gladys sought the Lord’s direction. “We felt like the Lord’s hand was on it,” he said. “And if the Lord showed this, up to this point, then He would continue to be with us. So I decided I was going to go, but I wanted to get back in the shop and try to make this instrument again.”
Caleb got very focused and asked the Holy Spirit to help him. “The Lord gave me wisdom, gave me insight on the process of what to do…with the help of the Holy Spirit and my wife, we were able to get it. I finally made this instrument!
He put the strings on it for the first time. “I tuned it up the way I heard it in the dream. I got the two little sticks. And I started to play it. It was that same sound, the same sound that I heard in the dream. And I was like, this is it. I was just really excited about it.”
Caleb bought a plane ticket and left the next day for the Philippines, taking the instrument with him.
He met a tribal friend named Ansulao and his new friend, Manigos, at the border of the mountain range closest to the tribe. “All three of us, we got on this one little motorbike. It was like 120 cc, a little motorbike.”
A large storm had passed through the steep, undeveloped mountainous area the day before. “It was really muddy, very hard to get through there. And then while we were on this motorbike, another storm came. I was trying to hold this instrument, and I couldn’t hold it to my left or my right, so I had to put it above my head.
“Imagine three people on a little motorcycle. I was holding this musical instrument above my head trying to balance.”
They came to a hanging bridge, which consisted of two ropes and primitive wood planks. They managed to get across the bridge and were going up a steep hill, when the motorbike popped its gear and went into neutral.
Suddenly they were flying backward, toward the cliff. The motorbike wheel hit a rock and all three men went flying. “Thank the Lord, we landed in this smooth, green patch of grass, just feet away from the cliff, the drop-off cliff!”
As they entered the area of the Tinananon tribal group, Caleb heard the still small voice of the Lord once more: Caleb, I want you to take the instrument to the chief.
They started asking about how to find the chief’s house, which they learned was another three and a half hours away, on the other side of the mountain.
By the time they reached the chief’s house it was almost evening. Mud covered their clothing as they approached a small wooden house and knocked on the door.
When the chief opened the door he had a shocked expression on his face – especially to see an American in this remote area.
“We are, I am coming to your tribe for the first time,” Caleb said. “I just wanted to give this as a gift to you,” he said, holding the instrument in his outstretched arms, covered by a blanket.
The chief placed the instrument on a table and took the blanket off of it. “He saw this instrument and he started staring at it. He kept looking at this instrument over and over again. He kept asking me, ‘Where did you get this instrument from?”
“Well, I just kind of made it,” Caleb replied.
“No, no, I’m serious. Where did you get this instrument from?”
“Well, if you really want to know. Last year, I had this dream. In the dream I heard the name of your tribe, the Tinananon, for the first time. I’d never heard that word before. I also saw this musical instrument in the dream. I felt like my God has given this dream to me.
“After that I met this man, Manigos, who is from your tribe, and he helped me lead me to your house today. I was able to make this instrument. I just felt like I wanted to give this instrument to you today.”
The chief continued shaking his head in disbelief, examining the instrument carefully, asking questions about it. He summoned other leaders from the Tinananon tribe and they walked around it incredulously, pointing at it, saying “Salimbaa.”
“They have their own native tongue,” Caleb notes. “And I don’t totally understand their language. So I was pretty lost about what they were talking about.”
Finally, the chief motioned to them and said, “I need to show you something.” They left his house and went down a small pathway over to another structure.
“They call the house Paluvaran, which means House of Prayer in their language. This is the place where they worship. But it’s also sort of a storehouse of all their kind of ancient articles of their tribes. They have pottery work, metalwork, weaving, all these different things that are tangible evidence that their tribe has been living and existing for hundreds of years.
“I was amazed by this place. They had all these musical instruments on the side of the wall.” As a professional instrument maker, Caleb found it fascinating, incredible.
The chief informed him there were different musical instruments for each of their gods. “They have the god of the tree, the god of the stone, god of the river. And they’re not necessarily gods, but they believe that the one true God or the Creator has sent down angels to guard these different things like the angel of the river, the angel of the stone.
“Instead of praying and worshiping directly to God, they pray and worship to these different angels; the angels would be the ones to connect them to God. And so it’s a little bit different, but it’s not completely like they believe in many different gods, they believe in the one true God.”
Caleb noticed there was one spot that was empty on the wall between the other instruments. “They said that somewhere between 100 and 150 years ago, there was a tribal war. During this war, their most valuable musical instrument that worshiped the God of all gods was taken away from them.”
In response, they lamented for a time and created a song that goes something like this:
The Salimbaa was taken away from us,
God is going to redeem it back to us one day.
“It was a prophecy. This instrument is the instrument that worships the God of all gods. They said, ‘Today, you brought the Salimbaa to us!’”
Caleb was blown away. “Oh my goodness!” he exclaimed.
After that there was a small gathering of tribal leaders. “This is it! This is the Salimbaa!” they cried. Everyone knew what it was when they saw it and heard it played.
Caleb learned the Salimbaa’s golden bowl, with strings stretching from side to side around the bowl, that the convergence in the middle is the place where the Tinananon believe the Salimbaa connects heaven and earth.
“They said that, in the last time, in the last days, God is going to be coming down from heaven, and he’s going to call all the righteous people to him. When God comes down from heaven, God is going to be riding on the inside of the Salimbaa, as if the Salimbaa was an aircraft that connects heaven and earth.”
Their name for the God above all gods is Manama. “They started praying to Manama…and they dedicated this instrument back to God.”
As a sign of special honor, the chief placed a tribal leader’s headpiece on Caleb’s shoulder. “We now consider you a chief of the Tinananon tribe,” he said. “Whatever you believe God is calling us or leading us into, we’re going to follow you.”
Reeling from the whole experience, Caleb was humbled by the gesture. They stayed with the chief, Datu Lipatuan Suhat, for three days.
“There wasn’t a lot that manifested with him giving his life to Jesus,” Caleb told God Reports. “I did pray with him a lot and prophesied over him. But after we left, we didn’t return for a few months, but during that time, within a month or two, the chief had an encounter with Jesus, and the Lord spoke to him and he wrote everything out. That is when he gave his heart to Jesus.”
On the second visit, Caleb asked Chief Suhat how he could help the tribe.
“Well, if you can help us with one thing, I want you to help us translate the Bible into our language.”
In January 2015, Caleb arranged for Translators Association of the Philippines to meet with all 50 chiefs of the Tinananon tribe.
“Some of the chiefs didn’t want the Bible to be translated and others did,” Caleb told God Reports. “There was tension in the room. None of us as foreigners felt led to speak up. The chief came up to the front and opened up the Cebuano Bible, from Genesis.”
Caleb learned the Tinananon believe that God came down and took the soil of Mindanao and put it in his hands and blew on it and that is when the first man came alive.
“We believe God made man from his breath,” Chief Suhat said, “by taking the dust of the earth and breathing on it.”
Chief Suhat proceeded to read the biblical account of the creation of man:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
Then the chief paused, set the Bible down, and said: “It’s only the first few pages, imagine what it would be to have the whole Bible translated.”
The other chiefs nodded their heads in agreement. “That’s true,” they said, and all 50 agreed to let the translators begin their project.
Chief Suhat passed away in 2015, shortly after the translation process began.
Since then, there have been four churches planted among the Tinananon. “It’s just amazing, the open doors that the chiefs have given us for this tribe,” Caleb says.
“It was mostly through Manigos,” he adds. “He could speak the language and knew the culture. He has such a heart for his people. He has a God-given call to his people.
“Last year (2019) we went and visited the tribe and he had taken this small group of people on fire for the Lord and it’s grown to hundreds of believers there now.”
Could God connect an instrument maker living in Moravian Falls, North Carolina with an unreached tribe in the Philippines through a dream?
In 1727 the Moravian Church established a continuous prayer movement that ran uninterrupted, 24 hours a day, for 100 years. Moravian missionaries were part of launching the first large-scale Protestant missionary movement, beginning in 1732.
Did God touch Caleb and Manigos in response to the Moravians’ prayers?
“I felt like the Lord had arranged everything,” Caleb says, “in such a perfect way of organizing everything, just perfect timing. It was such an amazing series of events that took place that I couldn’t take any kind of claim for it.
“The best way I could explain is I was right there in the middle of the journey with God. I felt like He was there in the moment. I was like, yeah, this is Him. This is Him, this is what He did.
Caleb and Gladys Byerly are the founders of Evergreen Missions. Their focus is to partner with God in bringing His kingdom to the Earth. Caleb and Gladys focus mostly on mentoring and discipling indigenous leaders, who will go to their own people and bring them life from Christ Jesus. To learn more, go here
Adam Fish and his wife Brooke started The Unseen Story, which features firsthand accounts that reveal the reality of God’s love. Their interview/podcast with Caleb Byerly, along with many other great stories may be found here
The Chinese Communist Party has long tried to eliminate or control the Church, but without success. Take Sister Hu’s amazing story, a mother who started a house church movement after Jesus healed her son.
When Sister Hu’s son fell seriously ill with kidney disease, she visited numerous temples to seek help from the gods, but he got worse. Then a Christian at the hospital told her that if she believed in Jesus her son could be healed. Her son fully recovered and Sister Hu committed to always serve God and share the gospel with as many people as she could.
Soon, a small group of believers emerged, and the fellowship quickly outgrew the building where it met. “Over time, the Holy Spirit revealed that we should focus on two things: evangelizing the lost and training leaders,” Sister Hu said. “We formed teams with five people in each, and we targeted 18 towns with the gospel. As we approached each town we prayed, and then we would look for the poorest household to share the good news of Jesus with.”
‘Many people believed and more churches were formed’
Each team was supported by an intercession and fasting chain, which operated around the clock, with believers rotating in two-hour shifts. “We fasted for seven days before a campaign, and to this day we still gather every morning at 4:30 a.m. for prayer, even in winter when it’s minus 30 degrees outside.”
The results were remarkable. “In the first 15 towns many people believed our message, and we formed new churches in each place. The final three towns were further away, so we had to cycle over long distances to reach them. Miraculously, in one town the officials let us use the municipal loudspeaker, to ensure that everyone could hear the message. Many people believed and more churches were formed.”
‘We have seen God perform many remarkable things’
“Our meetings were always crowded. Some people who came were demon possessed, but when we prayed they were completely delivered. Others were healed from deafness and other ailments. At first, we had many sisters but only one brother on our teams. We asked God to add 100 new brothers, and after the first evangelistic campaigns, we found that was exactly the number of men who had been converted. Later, we added mercy ministries to help the sick, elderly, and orphans.”
Over the years Sister Hu’s church has grown to 40,000 believers, and they have 1,000 evangelists and pastors. “We have seen God perform many remarkable things, which have helped spread his salvation message more widely,” she said. Some towns have been so thoroughly saturated with the gospel that now over 80 percent of the people are Christians.
“Jesus has been so good to us,” Sister Hu said. “He has been our best friend and He sticks closer than a brother. In recent years we have faced fresh challenges, as the government’s strict new religious policies have taken effect. We are under pressure to compromise, but we are determined to fully obey Jesus, regardless of the cost.”
India: The largest churches in the world are grassroots movements
Korean Pastor Yonggi Cho was long known as the pastor of the largest church in the world. But things have changed. Grassroots church planting movements are growing with a speed and vigor that most would find hard to believe.
What would you say if you learn that with 800,000 members the ‘pastor’ of one of the largest churches in the world lives in North India? Beginning with just 12 people in 1994, Randeep Mathews’ house-church based movement started even before he was a Christian.
Randeep started in one of the most hostile environments you can imagine, the city of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesdh (India) in the Himalayas. It soon grew to 3,000, then 30,000 followers of Christ in what was once called ‘the graveyard of missions’ because of its historic resistance to the imported gospel from the West. They have now (Aug 2019) reached already 800,000 members in North India (300,000 of that in Himachal) and are poised to grow to 3 million in Himachal Pradesh alone.
This is by far not the only story, there are many more. A close friend of Randeep is Rodrick Gilbert in Delhi who demonstrates that this also works in a megacity. Rodrick reports about 700,000 members in 58,000 house churches. When only 18 years of age, another man started such a movement in Gujarat and Rajastan, North India, just ten years ago. It now has seen 150,000 new members in 11,200 house churches.
Source: Wolfgang Simson
Indonesia: How a mother found her lost son through a prophetic word
These Jesus followers could plant one house church each month in their kitchen.
On a visit to Indonesia German missiologist Wolfgang Simson taught a group of Jesus followers an important insight: “In the Kingdom of God people share a revolutionary lifestyle with each other.”
He elaborated: “Number one: eating as the central element of meeting. Number two: truly sharing, koinonia, so that by the end of the day there is neither rich or poor.” Simson illustrated this with Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler, and the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19. “A rich person is someone who has a surplus and fails to share. As a result his money turns against him. No longer does he have the money, but the money has him, and that is a trap. In this respect the New Testament is different from the Old Testament; Jesus really brought in a revolutionary new perspective. In his view you can be a rich person or a Kingdom citizen, but not both. It’s part of the Kingdom lifestyle that no-one is needy.”
“The third thing,” he explained, “is that they exposed themselves to apostolic teaching, which is equipping people to go out and become a virus of God into this world to plant churches, plant the presence of Christ, start cell groups of the Kingdom into enemy territory that will implode the enemy’s movements. And that’s already happening. Even terrorists are coming to Christ, and become the most ardent church planters in the Kingdom of God.”
“The fourth and last thing is to pray,” Simson said. “We send messages to God and God sends messages to us. It’s called prophecy. So when you have people over to your premises, the question is not if you should prophesy over them, but what you should prophesy. After all, we are called to share a word of the Lord with them.”
How that teaching worked out, he discovered one year later when he revisited Indonesia. He was invited by a Chinese family in Jakarta for lunch. They had taken four months to digest his teaching, as it was so different from church as they had known it. But then they decided to simply apply the lessons and see what would happen. They opened up their house, prepared a buffet, and invited strangers to come under the pretense: ‘We had a wedding planned, but the bridegroom is late. [pun intended] So we have food over and invite you to help us finish it.’
The first person to arrive was a lady. The prophets in the group immediately received a word for her: ‘This is the word from the Lord: you have lost your son.’ The lady started to cry, broke down and said: ‘This is true! Eight years ago I lost my son Dave in the market in Jakarta, never to find him again. He was four years old and since that time I’m like a mad mother searching for her son.’ The prophets assured her: ‘Today God answered your prayer. If you go to the National Monument in Jakarta, you will find your son under a big tree.’
She didn’t know what to think of this, but hopped on a bus straight to the National Monument. When looking around for a boy who had to be 12 years old by now, she found a boy who looked that age and asked: ‘Dave?’ ‘Mum?!’ They found each other!
Merdeka Square in Jakarta with the National Monument
When she came back to the house church and shared her story, this good news spread like a virus. Since that day these Chinese Jesus followers could plant one house church each month in their kitchen. Their kitchen became a church planting center. “How did that happen?” Simson asked rhetorically. “In the Kingdom – open up your house, open up your kitchen, open up your fridge.”
Source: Wolfgang Simson
Source: Joel News International, #1141, September 24, 201