Friday, August 10, 2012

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Pranitha Timothy--Courage to Act

Waiting for another leadership message at Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit to help me in my Operation Christmas Child journey--

Segue--St. Patrick kidnapped at age 16 and sold into slavery in Ireland.  Escaped at age 22 and found Christ and then rather than stay in safety he returned to Ireland but brought with him the gospel--the story of a God of love, justice and grace.   God does His miracles of transformation through miraculously transformed people.
--Pranitha has been leading teams to rescue slaves in India that rescued 4,000 men, women, and children from slavery.  She has stood up in court to confront criminals and by word of her testimony justice comes.

What does it take to be a leader with that kind of courage and strength on the inside?

Pranitha Timothy--My team works every day to rescue people from slavery.  I know that the restoration of people is not easy.  At the end of my master's studies I was asking God for direction and the Scripture was read from  Isaiah 42:1-4.  I heard God's call to be a light to the nations.

Weeks later I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had lost 60% o muscle strength in shoulder and face;  lost hearing and could no longer speak.  She went back to the promise of Isaiah 42 and began working to set captives free.  After two years God gave me this voice--feeble and yet powerful in His hands.

That was 15 years ago and the physical pain has never left me.  This pain reminds me that I need God and that His strength is sufficient for me.  But this is not the greatest miracle I've seen.  The greatest miracle is that God transformed my heart.

My parents are missionaries and I swore I would never become a Christian.  I hated Christ for separating me from my parents.  I was self-destructive through my addictions.  I was cold-hearted and was eventually expelled from college for my behavior.  In my coldness I came to realize my only hope was in Jesus.  I needed His power to overcomes the darkness that had overcome my life.  God took this heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh.  This is a miracle.  I can empathize with the children and families I serve that builds instant trust.

God has transformed my heart through 3 radical truths--

--We are called to serve--God is already at work and we are called to come along beside Him.  God hears the cry of the hearts of slaves and He goes before us and makes the paths straight.  I know I cannot do anything without God.

--This life belongs to God--I have discovered the source of strength is to willfully decide that my life is God and my strength is His.  (tells story of trying to rescue a group of slaves and being led into a trap.  They stayed with the families and prayed.  In these moments we must believe that our lives are not our own.  God confused the mob so they could no longer work in unison.  After 4 hours the mob cleared the path and allowed us to leave.)  Many times my life has been in jeopardy and I've been reminded that my life is not my own.  My family is safer in God's hands than they are in mine.

--I have learned the radical truth that God is good---I could tell you only the stories that ended the way I hoped they would and there are many of these.  Slaves set free--God is good.  Children set free to go to school--God is good.  But God is still good even when what we see in the world is broken and painful. When we see the pain that humans inflict on one another we believe in a God who is good to the core.  When we grieve death and all that could have been we believe that God is good and it gives us hope--hope that allows us to rescue people even when they resist freedom.  We know your God is powerful to do anything.

Whatever the cry of your heart is today--He hears you too.  We are called to serve because our lives belong to God.  And He is a God who is good.

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