2023 September Newsletter
Greetings from The Keystone Project and All Our Disciples in the Nations!
“‘AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, EVEN SO MUST THE SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP; SO THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES WILL IN HIM HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE…NOW JUDGMENT IS UPON THIS WORLD; NOW THE RULER OF THIS WORLD WILL BE CAST OUT. AND I, IF I AM LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, WILL DRAW ALL MEN TO MYSELF.’ BUT HE WAS SAYING THIS TO INDICATE THE KIND OF DEATH BY WHICH HE WAS TO DIE.” (JOHN 314-16; 12:31-33)
Jesus spoke of the mystery of His death on the cross by using the metaphor of Moses lifting the bronze serpent in the wilderness to save the Israelites from judgment. This story is found in Numbers 21. After a miraculous victory over the king of Arad and the destruction of his cities, the children of Israel continued their journey through the wilderness. They traveled around the land of Edom rather than through it and the journey was long. The people became impatient and complained against Moses and the Lord. He then sent fiery serpents among them. If someone was bitten, he would die. The people quickly repented and asked Moses to intercede for them. The Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent and place it on a raised pole. When someone was bitten, he needed only to look at the serpent and he would be healed. This bronze serpent on a pole has become the international symbol for all medical care. It was called Nehushtan, meaning “a thing of brass.”
There are three key lessons for us in the story of the bronze serpent.
First, all who were bitten by the serpents could only be healed by looking at the serpent lifted on the pole. There was no other cure for the poisonous bite – no medical treatment, no human intervention, no act of worship, not even a word of prayer. They had to believe that looking at the serpent was their only hope to avoid death. This required faith on their part. Faith is the great equalizer because salvation is a free gift of God for everyone who believes in Jesus. Salvation is not given on any other basis than God’s grace and is through our faith , not by any works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The second lesson is the danger that we will worship the things of Christianity rather than Jesus Himself. In 2 Kings 18:4, hundreds of years after Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, we read that King Hezekiah destroyed it because the people were burning incense to it. The things of our faith, our churches, worship, leaders, buildings, programs, and even our Bibles, are all good and used by the Lord, even as Nehushtan was good and was used to save the people. But they must never be the objects of our worship. We must worship the Lord and Him only.
The third lesson is the meaning of the bronze serpent. Many wonder how Jesus could compare Himself to a serpent which is almost always symbolic of Satan and evil. Indeed, the serpent represents the evil one, “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). One of the meanings of bronze in the Bible is “something that has been judged.” In Exodus 27:1 we see that the altar upon which the sin offering was to be sacrificed was made of bronze. The serpent in our story was made of bronze (Numbers 21:9). God likened Israel’s obstinacy to having a bronze forehead (Isaiah 48:4). Thus, the meaning of the bronze serpent is not that Jesus is the serpent but that through His death on the altar of the Cross, Satan, the ruler of this world, would be judged. All who look to Christ’s finished work, seeing Him lifted up from the earth, will be saved. I urge you to look unto Jesus and Him only. Let us not trust in the things of Christianity, but in Christ alone. We are not saved by our worship or prayers or church attendance, but by faith in Christ alone.
In Jesus’ name!
- 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.
- Please pray also for the following ministry events:
- October 2-27 – International Leaders’ Training.
- November 1-15 –Trip to Peru and Ecuador
As of today, we have 83 students confirmed for the October training. Please pray for God’s provision as we will be feeding between 100-150 people every day. Pray for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit and the transformation of those attending. Pray also for safe travels for every student, volunteer, and coach.
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!
President of The Keystone Project
God is at Work in Southeast Asia!
Note: This article contains sensitive information; therefore, identities and names of specific areas are concealed due to security concerns.
A Keystone Project team recently made an incredible missions trip to Southeast Asia. While there, they found themselves immersed in diverse activities and encountered Kairos moments orchestrated by God. This eye-opening trip emphasized the crucial importance of our training in regions where the persecution of disciples is on the rise.
One of the team’s primary goals was to identify and equip missionary leaders who would boldly carry the gospel of the Kingdom to the farthest corners of the world, unbound by the limitations of physical structures or attractional church-planting models. Through a series of Vision-Casting Trainings, our team trained over 300 leaders belonging to 12 different people groups. Witnessing the gospel’s transformational power in action was awesome, as these leaders embraced the Great Commission with a renewed conviction. The team left these trainings with renewed purpose and a desire to inspire others to join this mission.
During the trip, our team also took the opportunity to promote our comprehensive in- person and online training programs. They encouraged the leaders to establish their own online cohorts for further training and coaching, extending the impact of the training to a broader network. A new Southeast Asia Cohort is set to launch in November, with the vision of establishing new cohorts every six months. Through our 10-week intensive online training, we can now equip leaders remotely, enabling them to make disciples among the unreached effectively. Our long-term vision is to train 1,000 leaders in Asia who will dedicate themselves to spreading the gospel among the unreached people groups in their regions.
One unforgettable moment for our team was when they encountered a remarkable group of disciples who were fearlessly working at the forefront of unreached people groups in the region. These inspiring individuals had been trained by one of our teams on the ground, and they shared an incredible report with us. They tirelessly spread the gospel, traveling from one village to another, and their efforts resulted in the emergence of new churches in these remote areas. Leading this exceptional group is JM, a young leader whose personal story reflects the kingdom living as a disciple of Jesus. Before knowing Christ, JM was immersed in idol worship and even persecuted Christians. However, a Kairos moment led him to repent and embrace a new life in Christ. As an evangelist, he ventured into villages and remote tribal communities, encountering people who had never heard of Jesus. As he shared the gospel with these communities, he saw God at work and was able to establish multiple churches, and JM is now committed to launching disciple-making movements in these remote regions.
Our team’s journey to Southeast Asia unveiled this region’s unique challenges and the opportunities we have as a ministry to train and raise leaders to fulfill the Great Commission. Our commitment to equipping leaders has become even more crucial, given the current circumstances and the escalating persecution. As we press forward, we ask for your prayers, not only for our team but also for the persecuted Church. Please pray that we will connect with the right missionary leaders and ministries, all so we can continue to multiply God’s glory in the nations. In Jesus’ Name, amen!
“Through God we will do valiantly, And it is He who will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 60:12, NASB).
Comic designed by Andrew Greene
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.