2023 March Newsletter
Greetings from The Keystone Project and All Our Disciples in the Nations!
“JESUS SAID TO HER [MARTHA], ‘I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME WILL LIVE EVEN IF HE DIES, AND EVERYONE WHO LIVES AND BELIEVES IN ME WILL NEVER DIE. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?’” (JOHN 11:25-26)
Jesus had received word that His friend Lazarus was very sick and near death. The expectation of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, was that Jesus would come immediately and heal their brother. Instead, Jesus stayed where He was for two more days, during which time Lazarus died and was buried. When Jesus finally did arrive in Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Beliefs in the afterlife varied in the ancient world of Jesus’ day. Some Jews believed that the spirit of the deceased remained near the body for three days and then departed to their destination (sheol for the Jews and hades for the Greeks) by the fourth day. It may be that Jesus intentionally waited until the fourth day to ensure that all who witnessed and heard of Lazarus’ resurrection would believe it was supernatural evidence of His deity.
There are so many stories within this story and so many questions left unanswered. I would like to look at one factor addressed by this narrative of Jesus raising His friend from the dead – the expectation that Jesus would and should have immediately come to Lazarus’ aid upon hearing of his illness. I have often expected that God would behave in a certain way, only to find Him not working within my timeframe nor my assumptions about what He would or should do. This is, indeed, the great failure of humans, that we would demand God should do our bidding and live up to our expectations.
In some recent research I did, I was continually running into an old argument that atheists have embraced as sort of a mantra. It goes like this: “Your god is not big enough for the universe.” This is one of those statements that is both true and not true at the same time. For many Christians, it is true that their view of God is too small, largely because of their own consumeristic attitudes towards Him. However, the atheistic mantra that our God is not big enough for the universe is also absurd and intellectually juvenile. They (those who promote this thought) neither know God, nor do they know the universe and are, therefore, least qualified to offer their opinions on either. I say this with confidence because if they do not know God, how can they know the universe He created? The problem is that they know only the “god” they think we proclaim, which ought to challenge us to release God from the smallness and limitations of our expectations and desires and proclaim Him as He is – God Almighty.
Jesus changed the narrative and language of Mary and Martha’s expectations of Him from an act of simply healing His friend, which He had already done many times with others, to a powerful revelation of the glory of God and the manifestation of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah through the resurrection of Lazarus. This act was so significant, it became the driving motivation for the enemies of Christ to seek His death. Mary and Martha’s view of Jesus was lifted from that of Him being a faith healer to that of Him being the resurrection and the life. God is always doing more than we can hope and expect!
In the same way, Jesus can change the narrative and language of your faith if you will release Him from the demands of your expectations. Mary responded with deep and grateful worship, washing His feet with very costly perfume and wiping them with her hair (John 12:3). And what became of Lazarus? While the Bible is silent on this, church tradition holds that Lazarus and his sisters left their home and preached the gospel in either Cyprus and/or Gaul, where he became a bishop. One tradition holds that Lazarus died of natural causes in AD 63, and another that he was beheaded by the emperor Domitian. The lesson for us is simple: let us “right-size” God and believe Him for great and mighty things which our expectations can never imagine!
In Jesus’ name!
• Please continue to pray for our disciples around the world, especially those living and working in dangerous areas of persecution or where they are affected by the pandemic.
• Pray for the financial success and growth of The Keystone Project.
• Pray for our staff, who work so hard and have sacrificed so much to serve the Lord through the mission God has given to us.
• Thank you for praying for our five-day Native American vision-casting training event from February 20-24. The Lord challenged many of the students to embrace the life and calling of the mission. They went out on the mission on Thursday, February 23, and led several dozen people to Christ. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
• We are currently in the middle of a three-week training, which began on Monday, March 13. This is an international leaders’ training event with 29 students from 16 countries. Please pray for a powerful move of the Spirit, God’s protection and provision, safe travel home for all the coaches and students, and for much fruit in the lives of those involved.
• Please pray also for the following ministry events:
o April 17-28 – US / Native American Leaders’ Training
o August 22 – September 12 – Trip to India
o October 2-27 – International Leaders’ Training
If you would like to attend any of our training events, you can find the details on our website (www.keystoneproject.org). As always, this training is offered to all at no cost, including hotel and food. I hope to see you here!
We appreciate your prayers and support for these events, thanking the Lord for all of you and praying for His blessings in all that you do for His glory!
For God’s Glory,
President, The Keystone Project, Inc.
God Is Impacting Leaders!
Family, it has been encouraging to see what God is doing across the nations. More specifically, we have seen God touching the hearts of leaders from 16 nations at our latest International Leaders Training! It is a tremendous honor for all of us on staff to meet our brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world. It is even more remarkable to see how God is impacting them during the training. The revelation that God is pouring out on His leaders is amazing to behold!
Aside from the powerful teaching Richard has been bringing by the fresh outpouring of the Spirit, we have witnessed God moving on the mission as we have taken the leaders out twice so far during this training. Many of the students have been leading in the church for many years, which makes their testimonies from the missional activities remarkable. Many of them have confessed to a deep work God is doing in their lives as He is revealing the critical importance of the Great Commission! We have participated in the work of the Holy Spirit in this area, resulting in salvations, divine appointments, timely prayers, and the light of Jesus shining in dark places. It is remarkable to discover God’s heart for the lost and His authority to dismantle works of darkness wherever His people go in His power!
Whether you have attended a training in the past or have been thinking about coming in the future, do not delay! You may have participated in different trainings throughout your ministries or service to the Lord and think you don’t need any more instruction. I felt the same way two years ago when I attended my first Keystone Project training. My expectations were not high, and I could not imagine what more I would need to know that would make any difference. Well, that training changed my life. At the time, I was praying about leaving business to start a ministry of my own. I realize now that had I done that before coming to The Keystone Project, the direction and focus of my ministry would have been way off.
Due to this training and the revelation God has gifted Richard with that he is FREELY sharing, my life and the lives of my children have been rightly focused on the mission of God! It has changed my relationship with God, increased my awe of the Glory of the Lord, given me a love for His mission that I never had, and (most importantly) stopped me from thinking about MY mission, my life, and my purpose. I am now committed to HIS mission, HIS life, and HIS purpose. Take it from me, if you attend a training here you will NEVER be the same…to the Glory of God!!!!
Director of Operations
Mobilizing the Church to the Mission through the Online Academy
Blessings, everyone! I greet you from Houston, TX. God is moving powerfully in the nations and calling many people to Himself through the work of faithful disciples worldwide.
We are blessed to let you know we’ve launched a new format for the Online Academy, and it is already yielding fruit, bringing transformation to our students and leading them to the mission. Five weeks ago, 30 Spanish-speaking students from 5 different nations began a 10-week program designed to cover the essentials of our training. Last week, they were challenged to go on the mission in pairs, as described in Luke 10. Our group from Colombia brought an amazing report. One of our students testified that he never dared to witness about the Lord Jesus. He told us how the equipping and the assignment led him to step out of his comfort zone. He was able to introduce someone to the Lord, leaving him with a sense of purpose and power, and he is now hungry to continue to engage in the mission. Another student said she fasted and prayed, seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit with her co-disciple. The Holy Spirit led them to a lady struggling with making a decision on her faith, and the two disciples prayed for her and led her to a commitment to follow Jesus. There were many other testimonies. We believe this will continue to bring a spiritual breakthrough for the churches to focus on preaching the Gospel and engaging on the mission.
We are preparing to launch another cohort of African English-speaking leaders from Liberia and Kenya with this same format. Please pray that the Lord will connect us with the right leaders to glorify His name in the nations! In Jesus’s name. Amen
ABOUT THE KEYSTONE PROJECT
The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.