2023 October Newsletter
“… FOR AS HIS SHARE IS WHO GOES DOWN TO THE BATTLE, SO SHALL HIS SHARE BE WHO STAYS BY THE BAGGAGE; THEY SHALL SHARE ALIKE. SO IT HAS BEEN FROM THAT DAY FORWARD, THAT HE [DAVID] MADE IT A STATUTE AND AN ORDINANCE FOR ISRAEL TO THIS DAY” (1 SAM 30:24-25).
Every kingdom has laws.
The laws allow the citizens to live in harmony and mutual benefit with one another. When the laws are broken, the result is conflict and injury. The kingdom of God has laws that affect everyone. These laws are rooted in the way God designed creation and are, therefore, consistent with His purposes in creation. Keeping the laws promotes God’s purposes. Breaking the laws opposes God’s purposes in creation.
The laws of the kingdom are not “rules” or “ordinances” such as we see in the Law of Moses. They are more like physical laws such as the laws of gravity, motion, and aerodynamics. They are always in effect. If we walk in the Spirit and in obedience to God’s word, we will be in harmony with the laws of the kingdom, reaping the benefits and blessings inherent in those laws. Having an awareness of the laws will help us understand how things work in the world and in the kingdom. We have seen that God is well organized and has established a “divine order” in the universe. While sin has disrupted that order, it cannot change the laws which dictate how the universe functions. These laws are laws of life and are irrevocable.
One of the lesser-known laws of the kingdom is the Law of the Spoil instituted by King David.
As King David fled from King Saul, he took refuge among the Philistines, leaving his family and the families of his men unguarded in the city of Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:1). The Amalekites, who were descendants of Esau, took the city captive, burned it to the ground, took all the spoil and kidnapped the women and children (1 Samuel 30:1-2). When David and his men returned, they discovered what had happened and pursued the Amalekites. Some of David’s men were too exhausted to continue the pursuit, so David left them to protect the baggage of the warriors. Those who continued on with David caught up with the Amalekites and slaughtered all but 400 of them, recovering all of their families and the spoil. Nothing was lost. When they returned to those left behind with the baggage, David distributed the spoil among all the men, including those who had been left behind. Those who fought the Amalekites were angry, demanding that those who didn’t fight should receive nothing. David rebuked them and gave equal shares to all. He then made it a law in Israel that all will share alike in the spoil. This is the law of the spoil.
How does the law of the spoil work?
Jesus had been teaching His disciples about the cost of discipleship. Peter responded and said to Him “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” (Matthew 19:27). Jesus told a parable to answer Peter’s question. It is known as the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. In the parable, a landowner went early in the morning to hire some day laborers to work in his vineyard. He found some waiting to be hired and they agreed on wages of one denarius for the day. A denarius was a typical day’s wage paid in a silver Roman coin. The landowner in the parable appears to be anxious for his vineyard, for he went back to hire more laborers at the third, sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours, promising to pay them “whatever is right” (Mt 20:4). So, some workers began at 6:00 AM, others at 9:00 AM, still others at 12:00 PM, some at 3:00 PM and finally some joined as late as 5:00 PM. When it came time to pay the laborers, the landowner instructed his foreman to pay them in order from the last group to the first. He gave the last group, which had begun work at 5:00 PM, a denarius. It does not say that each group was paid the same, but it appears that might have been the case, for the first group, who had started at 6:00 AM, expected to be paid more and began to grumble when they were paid the same as the others who had worked fewer hours. The landowner reminded them that they had been paid what they agreed to when they were hired. He had not cheated them, but he wished to give to the last men the same he had given to the first men (Matthew 20:15). Jesus finished with, “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).
The law of the spoil shows us that no matter what our part is in the work of the kingdom, God will reward us as He chooses. Jesus’ disciples asked about their reward for leaving everything to follow Him. He assured them that they would have a special reward in the kingdom (Matthew 19:28), but that everyone who has left all to follow Him will be also rewarded (Matthew 19:29). This is the law of how God’s grace works. God’s grace is not measured by our efforts but by His love. Under the Law of Moses, you always got what you deserved. Under grace, we get what we do not deserve. The men hired last did not deserve to be paid the same as the men who were hired first. But grace is not a system of merit and cannot be earned. We do not work for reward, but to bring in the fruit of the vineyard before the rains spoil it. Our reward is by God’s grace, but so also is our work! As the landowner was anxious to reap the harvest of his vineyard, so the Lord is eager to reap the harvest of lost souls from all the nations. This is why He is continually “hiring more laborers” for his fields.
This law applies not only to the rewards we expect to receive for our service in the kingdom, but also as to how we treat others. To say the last shall be first and the first last is not to demean or lessen the first, it is to exalt those who are weakest among us. It is to lift up the lowly and undeserving. It is to share equally in the blessings of God’s grace. It is to remove distinctions between those who are highly gifted, and able to work more effectively and bear more fruit, and those who are not. This what Jesus meant when He said to the people concerning John the Baptist, “I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). The law of the spoil teaches us that greatness in the kingdom of God is not measured by what we have done for Him, but by what He has done for us. May we treat everyone with this kind of grace. Let us not love others according to what they have done or can do for us, but let us love them unconditionally, being perfect in our love, as our heavenly Father is perfect in His love (Matthew 5:48).
• Please continue to pray for our disciples around the world, especially those living and working in dangerous areas of persecution.
• Pray for students who are applying to attend our training events, asking the Lord to send those whom He has chosen and prepared to attend.
• Pray also for favor as they apply for US visas.
• Pray for the financial success and growth of The Keystone Project and our hotel, The Rushmore Express Inn & Family suites. Please know that the hotel generates only 30% of the total revenue we need to do the work of the ministry, so we need your financial support.
• Pray for our new fundraising effort calling upon our supporters to sponsor an international student to attend our training programs. The cost to train one student is $1200 per year ($100 per month). Your gift will enable us to continue to provide our training at no cost to the students. You can find the details about this on our website (www.keystoneproject.org). Any amount given towards the training will help us continue the work of the Lord.
• 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.
• Pray for our mission trip to Peru and Ecuador from November 1-15.
• Pray also for our mission trip to Ghana in January. As always, we deeply 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!
In Jesus’ name!
For God’s Glory,
President of The Keystone Project
I received an email from a J1 student near the end of August asking me for a job. I wrote back, asking her what availability she had to work, and when she would be leaving. She answered and said:
“My schedules are from 9 am to 5:30 pm. And I only have next week left to work.
I may sound unreasonable to you, but the reason I want to work with your hotel is that my friends have told me that you have an amazing environment at work. You were all like family to each other and I just wanted to belong to your family before I go back home. I’ve met some of your employees like Hannah, Pen and Addy and I’ve immediately felt the warmth from the first time I met and spent time with them.
I understand that you have many applicants as of right now. Please let me know if there are any vacant position that I can work with and I promise to do my very best to fulfill that position and do hard work.”
I did not know who she was prior to hiring her, and I don’t know to what extent the women on our staff knew her, but she knew us. We had no internship this year, and that was a point of concern from a housekeeping management perspective. How would we run the hotel without interns? And yet, at the end of the summer, it occurred to me that I had received more applications than any other year. It seemed almost all of the staff that worked up at Mt. Rushmore had applied to work at the Rushmore Express. I received so many emails from people begging me to let them work even just a few days with us. Some even tried to work for free. That is the power of treating people with simple kindness. Our reputation spread far beyond even our reach.
I have never worked with an international staff that loved and cared for our hotel like this year. We employed many Thai and Taiwanese students, as well as Chinese, Columbian, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Filipino, Jamaican, and Turkish. These students came from all sorts of religious backgrounds including atheists, Buddhist, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants.
I know our staff shared the gospel to all of the students, and spoke at a great length to several of them. While I cannot state whether any came to the saving grace of Christ, I know those who were of the faith were encouraged and strengthened, and those not of the faith were challenged to consider what they believed after all they had seen and heard. At the end of the summer a student coming from a Buddhist family left me a note that read in part:
“Thank you so much for everything you have done for all of the J1’s and represent how’s God taking care and loves us.”
May that always be our testimony to the nations.
New International Missions Trips and Initiatives
Dear KP Family and Friends!
We are very excited to present you with our global ministry updates that shows how God is moving in the nations and underline our commitment to expanding the gospel of the Kingdom in all people groups.
We continue to witness a constant growth in our international online cohorts, reflecting an emerging missionary force of Spirit-filled disciples and regional leaders. This increased participation reassures us that we are heading in the right direction, and we have a plan to open a new cohort of Indian leaders in the weeks to come.
Next month a team will be going to Peru and Ecuador during the first two weeks of November! We expect to have a powerful and fruitful time as our network in Peru and Ecuador are leading the church to the mission and making disciples who make disciples. We ask that you join us in prayer, seeking the Lord for much and lasting fruit during our time there. Specially pray for an anointing as we convey the vision of making disciples and present our new initiatives.
Recent graduates of our online academy 2023.
Our mission doesn’t stop at in-person or online trainings! We’re rolling out our new initiative designed to help ministries in identifying, training, and deploying missionary teams to the unreached people groups within their nations. We believe this will help our global partners to make the vision and mission of reaching the nations operational and help this become a reality for their ministries.
Lastly, we are excited to announce an unprecedented training event in Accra, Ghana. We plan to be there in January and February, 2024 and we’re expecting to reach over 2000 leaders. Prayers are highly appreciated, as we believe this training will result in a harvest in the years to come that could be in the millions.
As we move forward, we seek your continued financial support and prayers to infuse these initiatives with the power of God, always seeking for His glory to be revealed in each nation.
Thank you for being part of this mission!
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.