It took several days to adjust to the LONG flight and huge culture shock. After coming back to Vietnam for the 11th time I realized it is not as difficult to adjust as it had been the first couple of times. We were geared up and ready to get involved. Pastor Cuoc and Pastor Hai asked us to preach that first Sunday and we were so willing and ready to do it. After being gone for almost 6 months it was nice to be back.
As I always do I laid my heart before the Lord concerning the message He would have us share and He said Matthew 11:1. After I read it, I really thought I had had incorrectly heard Him because it was a simple verse that is often overlooked. So, when I asked Him again I was surely expecting a different response, but to my dismay He said, Matthew 11:1 again. Let me share it with you,
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
Jesus had just meet with His disciples whom He had given authority to go and preach the good news, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons. The Bible said after He finished instructing them, He went out with them into their cities to preach and teach. He was with them and gave them what they needed to go and when they went He went also. This is an underlying truth that is found throughout the New Testament. Being with Jesus is the first priority and going with Jesus is the result.
That short verse that is usually skipped holds the keys to Kingdom living. I used Martha and Mary as an example of how being with Jesus should take priority over everything else. The Bible says, “Martha was distracted with all her preparations.” (Luke 10:40) The word distracted means she was pulled away from what was truly important. This happens in our life almost daily. I also referred to Jesus’s own words in Matthew 6 where He said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” I also referenced Acts 13:2 where it says, “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Before they were able to go out with the Lord, they had to first be with Him.
Well, I preached this message with Lien translating and as it drew to a close, I thought for sure it was a bust, but all of a sudden I felt the blanket of the Holy Spirit just cover the place. I can’t explain it but if you have ever preached and given an invitation, you know what I am talking about. It was the anointing of God calling people to repent from what was dragging them away from Him. It is important to understand that in the Vietnamese culture. They are a very private, very humble people, so coming in front of people and making public decisions is not high on their list. So for the most part, they don’t respond to a invitation on a regular basis. With that said, as I opened the invitation, people were coming down to the front to repent to the Lord and to be prayed over. Simply put, “They wanted to be with Jesus, so they could leave that building and go with Jesus.” The question must be asked, “What is dragging you away from being with the Lord, so you can go with the Lord to a world that screams the need for a Savior?”