Faith

Who Am I?

By Mutua Mahiaini

Photo courtesy of Mikito Tateisi.

Photo courtesy of Mikito Tateisi.

We’re surrounded by “spiritual heroes,” men and women who in faith have accomplished great things for the Lord. Last week, my wife, Stephanie, and I spent several days with leaders of other Christian missions, and we were blessed by stories of modern-day heroes who are advancing the Gospel, sometimes in very challenging situations.

Some of my heroes include Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigators, and Lorne Sanny, his successor. I also draw great inspiration from my two immediate predecessors, Jerry White and Mike Treneer. I could also mention many co-laborers in the Navigator work around the world today.

Reflecting on the legacy of great men and women of faith should lead us to imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7). But there is a danger: Comparing ourselves to our heroes might lead us to withdraw from serving God because we don’t think we measure up.

Consider Moses’ responses when God came to him in a burning bush. The Lord called him to fulfill a seemingly impossible task: to confront the king of Egypt and to lead thousands of enslaved Israelites to freedom (Exodus 3:7–10).

Put yourself in Moses’ shoes. Wouldn’t it have been extraordinarily arrogant for Moses to accept this role? That appears to have been Moses’ first thought, for he responded to God by saying: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). I’m sure I would have said the same thing had I been standing next to that burning bush.

And yet, Moses was looking at the situation only through the narrow lens of his weaknesses. As a result, he said, “Who am I?” God responded to Moses by expanding his narrow, human perspective. He opened up Moses’ view by saying, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). Those five words changed everything. The God of heaven and the earth would be with him, so the Pharaoh and his army could not prevail.

Moses had to decide: Will I respond on the basis of my human weaknesses or will I respond in faith in God’s power and presence? We all face choices like Moses did.

This story helps me see that living by faith in God’s power and promises is not arrogant. Rather, faith leads me to make room for God to act according to His purposes—despite my weaknesses. Humility leads me to submit to whatever He calls me to do, and to trust Him to help me fulfill that call.

How can we focus on God’s power rather than ourselves? Paul wrote: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7). John Stott explains that glory is the manifestation of God Himself, honor is God’s approval, and immortality is the unfading joy of His presence. God has hardwired these three quests—glory, honor, and immortality—in every human being. The key is to persistently pursue God’s glory, not our own.

Paul also said, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This scripture reveals that the grandiosity or simplicity of what we do is not important. How we measure up in comparison to the spiritual heroes we admire is not important. God wants us to do everything, even small things, for one purpose: to manifest His glory to the world around us.

By living for God’s glory, we avoid two dangers. First, we don’t allow our human weaknesses to determine how we serve God. As God calls us, we can step forward in bold faith, trusting that He will demonstrate His power through our weaknesses.

Second, living for God’s glory keeps us from living for selfish ambitions, which is meaningless. To pursue God’s glory, we must surrender our selfishness to His will. And that is the essence of humility, worship, and meaning.

Mutua is the International President of The Navigators.

A Faith Adventure

By David Lyons

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“What is God saying to us?”
 
That was the question before the Navigator International Executive Team after two days of seeking God in Nepal in early 2016. The answer was clear, yet mysterious: “Lead from and into bold faith.” Our hearts resonated. We knew God was leading. But what would that look like?
 
In the following months, I began asking Navigators all over the world, “What are you praying that God will do in the next six months that only God could do?” I began to hear how our fellow workers were embracing this faith adventure and seeing miraculous answers to their prayers: a transformed prodigal son, astonishing funding, even physical healing.
 
Then I was asked to organize prayer for the International Forum. “Lord, what would it look like to develop this forum with bold faith?” The Lord gave me an idea from Matthew 18:19, which says, "If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.”
 
What would it look like for Navigators around the world to agree in intense prayer for something only God could do through the forum? We did not know, but we began with our team, agreeing in prayer for these three God-sized requests:
 

  • We prayed that God would lead our international leadership community to focus together on the greater things that the Father intends to do in and through us (John 5:20; 14:12).
  • We prayed that God would lead us into world changing oneness with Him and with one another (John 17:23).
  • We prayed that God would lead us to believe so boldly that we will see His glory displayed among the nations (John 11:40).

Month by month others joined us, agreeing in prayer around these three requests. Each month, more and more Navigators participated with us from all over the world, sometimes via video conference calls in the middle of the night. By August, 60 intercessors were praying together.
 
Then, two weeks before the event, someone suggested that we invite others to pray with us daily during the forum. We sent out a few invitations, and the response was beyond what we could imagine. Another 250 intercessors, people who could not attend the forum, volunteered! Our anticipation ballooned.
 
Then it happened. Every day at the forum we saw a flurry of answers to our prayers:

  • Greater things: Leader after leader spontaneously exhorted us to believe God to reach beyond our competencies, to believe God for greater things, to have courage in the face of danger, to see breakthroughs in hard places. There was an electric sense of anticipation of what God was about to do, combined with an authentic confession of our desperate need.
  • World changing oneness with the Father: Every day of the forum began with an hour of seeking God together. Plus, there were spur-of-the-moment gatherings of Navigators seeking God for a greater openness to the work of the Holy Spirit among us.
  • World changing oneness with each other: We saw remarkable unity emerge from tremendous international diversity. Humility produced that unity. A region that could have easily boasted about its fruitfulness instead “boasted” about its weakness and need to grow in partnering. Several other countries and regions were deeply challenged to follow that example of humility.
  • Believing boldly: Every day I saw unplanned and planned prayer gatherings springing up. Navigators were praying fierce warrior prayers together as they boldly sought God for solutions to challenging obstacles.

How about you? What are you believing God for in the next six months that only He could do?

David Lyons is an International Vice President of The Navigators. He serves our 5,000 staff in more than 100 countries by coaching leaders and leading change. David is author of Don’t Waste the Pain.

Collision with Mortality

By Eddie Broussard

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On October 13, 2016, I had a head-on collision with my mortality.
 
While on a work trip overseas, I was finishing the last two laps of a swim when a horrendous pain jolted my back. I knew I was in trouble. Twenty minutes later, after attention from a friend, I was in a taxi headed to a hospital. The emergency room nurse gave me two white pills to chew. The next thing I knew, a doctor looked me in the face and said, “You are having a myocardial infarction.”
 
Within minutes I was in an ambulance headed for a different hospital to have a heart catheterization. A brilliant and kind cardiologist reopened the clogged artery in my heart and inserted a stent. Nine days later, my wife Barbie and I boarded a flight for home.
 
After four months of rehabilitation, I had a green light to return to work. That was great news, but I began to ask how I could step back into a demanding international role? And I wondered how I might be able to cope with my concerns about having another heart attack. I felt vulnerable and insecure.
 
During my months of recovery, it became clear that God was using vulnerability and uncertainty to create in me an inner life of:

  • Rest that comes from faith
  • Peace that comes from trust
  • Joy that comes from worship

Rest and Faith
Hebrews 3:19 says of the children of Israel, “So we see that they were not able to enter [his rest], because of their unbelief.” This verse implies that I cannot have God’s rest unless I live by faith. Resting means more than just resting from work. The author of Hebrews is talking about the effect of rest on how I live. When I live by faith, I don’t have to worry about the pressures of work, because God is enough. He will give me what I need to do what he asks of me.
 
This transforms my way of living and working. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). When I am in the yoke with Jesus, I am working; but the burden of the weight is on Him.
 
Trust and Peace
I often lack peace because I’m weighed down by worries. And yet, Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” And Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

One day last month, Barbie and I listed the things that were weighing on us—managing my health, broken appliances, getting income taxes done, finishing our will. Then we brought our needs to God and cast them on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). He will carry the burden so I can walk in peace.
 
Joy and Worship
Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” It is God’s presence that brings joy. But how do we experience God’s presence? Worship! In worship, we focus on God and declare His infinite beauty and worth.
 
While in the hospital overseas, I received a painful shot of blood thinner twice a day to prevent my blood from clotting. When I heard the nurse tearing open the syringe wrapper, I knew it meant pain. God reminded me that the sound of the wrapper meant that my Good Shepherd was caring for me. It was in the pain that I experienced my Shepherd’s love! I was full of joy!
 
Every day I am learning to depend on God and not on my own strength. Daily I am seeking God to shape within me a heart of rest that comes from faith, a heart of peace that comes from trust, and a heart of joy that comes from worship.
 
Eddie Broussard joined the International Executive Team in May 2015. He became Navigator staff in 1980. In 1992, he joined the CoMission movement, working in the post-Soviet countries. From 1998 to 2014, he served on the U.S. National Leadership Team. Eddie and his wife, Barbie, were married in 1996.

Cultivating a Culture of Faith

By Mutua Mahiaini

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The International Executive Team (IET) recently held meetings in the Asia-Pacific region, enabling us to come alongside Navigator leaders who are advancing the Gospel in that vast and diverse part of the world. The IET also spent two full days in prayer. God spoke to all of our hearts, encouraging us to constantly develop a culture of faith in our 108-nation Worldwide Partnership.

What do I mean by “culture of faith” and why is it so important?

A culture of faith only grows from one source: Jesus. It emerges and is sustained as people remain focused on Him, in constant worship, looking to His glory. I see this in Psalm 34:1-3, which says, "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together." A faith culture is not about the pursuit of mere human adventures, or even measurable ministry “success”; rather, it is about pursuing the glory of God as He leads us and as we live steadfastly according to His promises.

Faith inevitably leads to the meaningful adventure God has for us, and it produces eternal results. Faith injects freshness and creativity into our lives and work. Because the world is changing, and because each generation presents new challenges, faith spurs us to serve people in ways that might be quite different than what has been done in the past. Faith challenges us to be innovative, to take risks, to try new things—even if we happen to “fail.”

People of faith are so motived by the glory of God, His very nature, that they discover new pathways to make His glory known in a lost world. When we have passion for God and His glory, we will find a way forward, we will persevere, and we will work tenaciously with God to fulfill our callings. This is true for all Navigators, including missionary pioneers who open new ministries and local laborers who seek to reach their relatives and neighbors.

A culture of faith is also characterized by a spirit of hope. Hope can seem like an ethereal concept. But when God’s people live in faith, hope becomes something that other people can see and experience. Peter wrote, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Hope is so visible that people will come and ask us why we are so hopeful! As we revere Christ as Lord, hope is the natural byproduct.

Finally, a culture of faith brings people together in unity. In faith, believers in Christ are all focused on the same God. We are all submitting our lives to Jesus. Our collective humility before God reduces prideful tendencies that lead to conflict and division. Our Worldwide Partnership is incredibly diverse, but as we worship together in faith we experience increasing unity—even across cultures and languages.

A culture of faith—characterized by a passion for God’s glory in the world, powerful hope, and beautiful unity—is crucial for us as Navigators. Why is it so important? For one, faith is what God wants from us! Hebrews 11:6 says, without faith it is impossible to please God. And in Luke 18, Jesus asked a compelling question: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

The second reason why we must sustain a vibrant culture of faith is to prevent us from becoming an “empty shell,” an organization (or an individual) that just maintains traditions and lives on memories. A faith culture will keep us pressing onward toward the fulfilment of His purposes and glory in the world. We will be energized stewards of our Navigator vision for reaching the lost and advancing the Gospel through spiritual generations.   

Mutua Mahiaini is the International President of The Navigators. Mutua and his wife, Stephanie, led our work in Kenya, then in Côte d’Ivoire, and then as Regional Director for Africa for 13 years. Mutua and Stephanie now live in Colorado Springs. They have four adult children.