Christian prostitute?

Christian prostitute

A usual day in the wildly chaotic, but yet exotic Mumbai. Where the rich and the poor live side by side.  Walking down the streets of Mumbai my spirit was evoked as I felt the evidence of the spirit of God among all the other gods of India.

Like the psalmist said, “Where shall I flee from your presence?” He is in the ocean. He is in the mountains. He is on Fashion Street in Mumbai. He is in the slums of Mumbai. And He is in the brothels of Mumbai!

Day one of visiting the brothels:  Two friends and I walk into one of the darkest places I have ever experienced in my life; dark as dark could get from my vantage point.  With all five senses activated, my being was feeling darkness.

We walked into the brothel as the prostitutes were getting ready for customers to come. They offered chai, which is always a very pleasant gesture in my culture.  The ladies knew why we were there, to pray for them and talk about Jesus.

The conversation began over chai, and I soon realized two of them spoke my mother tongue.  Common heart language between strangers always triggers a heart to heart conversation.  We spent an hour talking life and culture and very little about Jesus.

Day two of visiting the brothels:  We chose to go to the same brothel hoping to see where Holy Spirit would lead.  On this day my wife, my ten year old daughter, and a friend joined me.

As we sat down and began our conversation, I asked a lady, “Why prostitution?” She responded by bringing her Bible out and with gentle yet very piercing words to my soul she said, “I am a Christian just like you, and I believe in Jesus.”

We were not taking Jesus to the brothels, we were looking for Jesus in the brothels.

My sixth sense, my spirit, came alive. I saw light in the darkest place I have been in. I began to see that world through the eyes of Jesus.

No matter how dark the place is, or how we perceive the outer appearance, Jesus is already there. This woman, unexpected to me, knew Christ, but was not complete.

She was in prostitution as this was the only option for her to put her kids through college.  I am not condoning or condemning her choice but elevating the reality in which she lives.

This frame work of thinking may not fit in most of our thinking.  It does not fit in our box of our theology, who God is or how he views us.

However, justice has a drastically different paradigm in the eyes of Jesus. We desperately need our paradigms challenged and forced to a shift!

No matter how dark our world is Jesus is there, you can only see him with your sixth sense evoked to Him, your inner being has to be activated to Jesus.

Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive to Him. – Ravi Zacharias

“Christian prostitute?”

 

 

The Hunger Games

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One of the things I really enjoy about flying internationally is the numerous movies available to watch. It does help this Indian, as Bollywood makes over a thousand movies a year. Loving and enjoying movies is just a part of who Indians are.

On my return flight home from London a year ago, I watched “The Hunger Games”.  It had my attention the whole time as my eyes were glued to the screen.

The first and the last dramatic moments, having the same message, capture the essence of the movie. In both of these scenes, it is someone taking the place of another in death, without any conditions.

The message in the movie was crystal clear: somebody voluntarily needed to pay the price with the ultimate sacrifice of their own life, so that others could live.

There was a sense of authentic justice in “The Hunger Games” which is a perfect picture of what happened on the Cross.  The concept of volunteering one’s own life to be taken away so that others can live is not found in any other deities, it is only found in the life of Jesus.

Why do we need someone to take our place? Is it necessary for someone to die?

Yes it is!

The answer to the predicament of human condition of sin is only found outside of human resources.  We as humans do not have the capacity to deal with the vacuum that is within.

Death brings life!  It is quiet a paradox.  That is what happened on the cross.

The death of Jesus was not an accident or something that happened against his will, but rather he volunteered his life to be taken away.

To bring justice, it is right for someone to volunteer their life to be taken away for others to live. Only Jesus displayed this act of love in the history of mankind!

Looking back in history, you can’t find a human or deity that was born to die. Only Jesus.

 

 

You are a soul, you have a body.

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The night was cold and chaotic, with a lot of rushing and little comprehension of what is happening around you. The helpless, panicked cry that comes from the soul of a human being is not something that is enjoyable. Rather it hits you in the gut, bringing with it the reality of how fragile life really is.

On this frigid, December night,  I was sitting in my living room cherishing a great evening spent with great friends.  All of a sudden, I heard three gun shots that sounded like they were right outside my door.

I rushed out of my house to see what was happening and saw a car peeling off at a high speed.  I heard a blood curdling scream for help from the victim as he was crossing the street down the block. I called Cam, I knew he was a block away from me, and he arrived in less than a minute.

In the middle of the chaos, Cam captured a “Kodak moment” that transcends a finite moment.  “Please tell me I am not leaving this world today,” were the words that came out of the soul of this young man that was shot. While the blood from his gunshot wound steamed in the freezing air, he asked about the condition of his soul.

His soul leaped at us for help as everything he loved and depended on in life – drugs, money, girls and fame – seemed to fade away in light of eternity.

No matter what we choose to believe or how we behave, dire straits somehow have the power to force us to look at our finite lives through infinite values.

In the words of C.S. Lewis ‘“You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body”.

If you don’t believe you are a soul, it is hard to look at life and process it through the lens of infinity.

Life is a gift, a very precious gift, that is lived only once. The things that we think matter really do not once we look at them with an eternal perspective.

The two important facets that allow us this eternal perspective are Jesus and believing the fact that you are a soul.

We all need a reference point for life to make sense and that reference point is not within but outside of ourselves. I have come to realize it is Jesus.

What is the condition of your soul today?  Many of us are like this young man, finding our worth and value in things that will become mist in an instant as eternity stares us in our faces.

Do you see a need for Jesus? Do you believe you are a soul? I would love a conversation.

The word became flesh.

An Indian’s thoughts on experiencing Christmas in the western culture.

Jesus meets an Ethiopian

Here is an amazing three minute story of Jesus meeting a Ethiopian during our time of evangelism in downtown Charlotte.

Jesus meets the Ethiopian from Christopher Vengala on Vimeo.

Having a great time at YWAM Orlando.

A one minute video form YWAM Orlando.

 

Orlando from Christopher Vengala on Vimeo.

Appetite for justice

“So, what we’re talking about here is human rights. The right to live like a human. The right to live, period. And what we’re facing in Africa is an unprecedented threat to human dignity and equality.” – Bono

From the common man to the celebrities, this generation we live in is, for some unknown reason, driven to fight against injustices. I believe that it is God who is steering our hearts and giving us an appetite for justice. But why?

There isn’t a reason why anyone should not be involved in fighting for a fellow human. Statistics do not determine the seriousness of the issue. Even if the stats are in the single digits, we should have the same appetite, because we are talking not only about a human but an image of God himself.

In 1997, I had the privilege of taking a tour of the largest church in the world, located in Korea and pastored by Paul Yonggi Cho.  One of the  things I remember learning from the tour is that they don’t share the gospel until they do three acts of kindness.  We see the power of the application of this value through the grand church growth they have had.

Likewise, Jesus never ignored the social needs of a person, he always met their immediate need and, in the process, he cared about the perishing soul of the individual.  He knew his mission: To make the dead alive to him.

The greatest compassion is going through the physical need to the inner person that is lost.

The heroes of our faith, Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, Franklin Graham and others, were marked with Jesus style justice. They cared about the individual’s physical needs and spiritual needs.  It is not “either/or” but rather “both/and”.  These heroes had an eternal perspective.

The danger we face today is to pick the easy way out, which is to meet the physical need and do social justice, but ignore the greater need of a relationship with Jesus.

The life giving power comes from the message of the cross.

Stanley Jones, a missionary to India, once said, “An individual gospel without a social gospel is a soul without a body. A social gospel without an individual gospel is a body without a soul. The one is a ghost. The other is a corpse.”

Jesus did not give the people he met a ghost or a corpse but rather life.  We can’t offer life by just offering a social gospel.

The greatest injustice is when a person does not have an opportunity to hear, understand, and apply the gospel.

Do you have an appetite for justice?

Do all roads really lead to Rome?

I love coffee and hate to start my day without a good cup or two.  So every morning when I was in Kenya, I went down to the coffee bar with my kids and enjoyed a great cup of Kenyan coffee.  Most mornings, there was a European lady with her infant at the coffee bar as well.

The initial conversations with the European were just African culture appreciation conversations, like any good tourist. She asked me why I was here with all these young Americans and if we home schooled our kids.

One of the perks of my profession is when someone asks a question about what I do. It gives me an immediate platform to talk about my faith and potentially have a life changing conversation. As part of explaining my profession, I talked to her about Jesus and she was very kind to listen to what I had to say.  She responded to me saying, “My mother is a believer, and I am not because there are many options and all roads lead to Rome at some point, don’t they?”

 Her response is an accurate reflection of the globalized world where we “COEXIST”.

It is a fair argument that there are many options or roads, and I respect that.  However, it is rather a weak argument that all roads end up at the same place. When I want to go to Orlando, FL, I don’t take the road that leads to New York City.  I find the road that takes me where I want to go.

Religions are the same way.  When you do a comparative religious study, you will soon arrive at the conclusion that every religion is quite exclusive and leaves no room to “COEXIST”.

We process life with the natural assumption that there are absolutes as part of the equation, we know it does not matter if we believe in them or not. They are in motion in every decision and there is no way to trump absolutes. Just like the law of gravity.  You can say, “I am Superman”, and jump off a cliff, but gravity will do what gravity will do.  There are no exceptions.

Why do we undermine the power of “absolutes” when it comes to life’s most meaningful decision? There is something in the human soul that longs for an answer to the meaning of life outside of oneself.  The answer is not found in a system that tolerates all systems but in a system that has convictions.

It is quite the gamble to assume that all roads lead to Rome.

Do you think it is worth the gamble?

2 minutes, 52 seconds

“Do you have 2 minutes, 52 seconds to watch a video while I shop for something in your store?” I asked the girl in the surf store. She replied, “Hope it is not something bad.”  I told her it was a good video and has the potential to change her life.  The deal was made and she started watching the video on my iPhone as I browsed the store.  Every now and then I peeked to see how it was going and to my pleasure, her eyes were glued to the iPhone.  She walked towards me with a smile, complimented the video, and asked how she could watch it again.  I saw this great wide open door to take a normal situation and expect God to turn it into a transcendent moment.  I asked her if I could talk more about the video, and she was quite open to it, so I walked right through the open door and explained how Jesus can change her life.  She did not make any decisions to abandon her life to Jesus.  However, she knows Jesus more than she ever did before, which is a positive contribution to the quest for the meaning of life.

Most of us have a desire for God to use us to intervene into someone’s life so they can encounter a transcendent experience with Jesus, but have a hard time putting it in gear.  It is quite true that it is very hard to steer a parked car.  The opposite is true as well, it is easy to steer the car once it is in motion.

Here is a video that will put your faith in motion to share with people the life changing story of God. We live in the world of pixels and smart phones, which I believe have to ultimately contribute to the advancement of the message of the Cross.  Here is a free download of the video “For God was so ticked off”.  You can download it on your iPhone or iPad and ask someone, “Do you have 2 minutes 52 seconds to watch a video?” This has the potential for someone to meet Jesus in a profound way.  The video itself does not share the complete message of the Cross but opens a door for you to share your faith.

This small act of faith will Echo in Eternity!

A great contradiction from Christopher Vengala on Vimeo.