My wife and I have a monthly skype meeting with some dear friends who are preparing to go on the mission field in the near future – and hopefully join us in Indonesia in a few years. They recommended this book for us all to read and then discuss at our monthly skype-o-rama. I am glad they did.
I was not familiar with Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Door Ministries , although I should be. He has been faithfully and boldly crossing into “closed” countries with the Gospel of Life since before my parents where born, and continues to do so even today. To get an idea of what he is all about mix David Platt, George Verwer, James Bond and Brother Yun into one and you would have something close to Brother Andrew. And take that the James Bond part seriously…I mean this guy smuggled 1 MILLION bibles into China IN ONE NIGHT…UNDERWATER!
This book, the follow up to his classic God’s Smuggler – which focused on God’s work in communist Russia- tells of God’s power at work through Brother Andrew’s adventures in bringing the Gospel to those countries still in the grip of atheistic communism after the fall of the USSR. From the house churches of Cuba, to the violently Catholic villages of southern Mexico, to the suffering churches of Africa, to the closely guarded shores of China, this man who never finished High School has been used greatly by God to encourage the Body of Christ and empower them with the Word of God in their language.
Although told anecdotally, there is deep theology in this book. Brother Andrew is driven by a simple but unshakable conviction that the Word of God is exactly what it says it is – Life giving Revelation of the only True God – and therefore needs to be in the hands and ears and hearts of everyone on the planet, regardless of what country they live in. This is the reason believers exist – to get the Good News of Christ into every corner of the earth. That is clear to Brother Andrew and therefore he has leveraged all that he is and has towards that end.
But this book is more than just a recounting of Brother Andrew’s adventures. It is a clarion call to everyone who would consider themselves a disciple of Christ. Brother Andrew is very clear that the things that God has done through him are great not because he is great but because God is great. And that same great God is able to do great things through any of his followers who will indeed follow Him. To this end, Brother Andrew offers some helpful benchmarks towards following God’s commanded call to mission:
- Listen to God’s Prophetic Word for Today
- Plan to Do Today What Scripture Says
- Become Persistent in Prayer
- Prepare to Live as a Christian Full Time
- Penetrate Every Devil-Inspired Boundary or Barrier
- Maximize Your Opportunities by Being Present
- Establish Your Profile as a Christian
- Become Part of a Permanent Presence Wherever You Are
- Use Your Platform to Proclaim God’s Message
- Allow God’s Power to Flow Through You into a Needy World
This book is a testimony to the amazing things God can do with someone who is whole heartedly surrendered to Christ. Brother Andrew definitely has lived the truth that the Cambridge Seven discovered a century before – “God does not deal with you until you are wholly given up to Him, and then He will tell you what He would have you do.”
I will be returning to this book often, especially if the Lord takes us onto the foreign mission field. If I can look back at the end of my life and see that I was half as faithful and effective for the Lord as Brother Andrew has been, I will be overjoyed.
“The real calling of God is not to a certain place or career, but to everyday obedience.”
“If we do not go to the heathen with the gospel…they will come to us as revolutionaries and occupation armies”
“When people ask me whether they should go into full-time ministry in the traditional sense, I almost always discourage them. I tell them to follow Jesus with their whole lives and pursue full-time ministry only as a last resort.”
“I have come to believe that Islam poses the biggest challenge to the church today. Not to political or economic systems, but to the church. Why? Quite simply, because we in the Western church don’t come close to matching the level of commitment, determination, and strength of many Muslim groups. Christ and the Bible certainly call us to a radical commitment, but we don’t show it in the way we live. Until we do, Islam will continue to be the world’s fastest-growing religion — not because of its strength, but because of our weakness.”