I believe we are at a critical juncture in history. Just as the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001 became a defining moment in the lives of a generation, so will the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people are referring to this as a "satanic attack." Others are calling it "God's judgement." A complete understanding of this global crisis will likely only be granted to us in heaven someday. What I do know for certain is that my prayers, and the prayers of millions of other Christians, are being answered—people are beginning to turn to Jesus in great numbers worldwide. This is a blessing from heaven! Revelation 7:9 (NASB) is becoming clearer in my mind every day:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count,
from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb,
clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
Each time I see the phrase "palm branches" in the Bible my thoughts go immediately to Palm Sunday, which we will celebrate on April 5th. In a biblical account of that historic day, Luke tells us that as Jesus reached the top of the hill and looked out on Jerusalem, He wept over the city’s spiritual blindness, even as people lay their garments and palm branches on the ground for Him to ride upon. Then Jesus uttered these impassioned words, explaining why calamity was at the gates:
“If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:42-44 (NASB)
Jesus here foretells of an impending storm of destruction approaching Israel. The cause of this calamity: Israel’s rejection of Yeshua, the Messiah, and His message of salvation. They never recognized that God, in human flesh, was visiting them. Instead of receiving Him, they killed Him and missed their opportunity to be saved—spiritually and physically.
There is another storm that has crashed upon the world today. We are still unsure of its total impact in regards to lost lives or world economies. But this one thing is true: this storm is intended to provide an opportunity for the lost, the spiritually hungry, the prodigal and the lukewarm–not to reject Him but to embrace Him.
God, in His infinite mercy, is opening the eyes of the people of the world to the "things that make for peace!" And what is it that makes for peace? Only Jesus living in you and in me. The world is looking for a way out of this storm and the chaos it has created. It was especially for times such as this that Jesus stated in John 14:6 (NASB):
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
This brings me to the second part of my letter to you today. The calling upon Empower Ministries is to assist as many people as possible, from every tribe, tongue and nation, to open their eyes to the Gospel before it is too late. This is the burden of your heart and of mine. It is also the reason why you have chosen to be part of this ministry, either through prayer or financial support as you are able. On behalf of those who are presently coming to Christ in so many countries—and will one day be clothed in white and holding palm branches in their hands—Thank you!
In light of current world conditions, many of you in the Empower Family have asked about the status of the ministry. Allow me to update you now and also outline some future alterations to our operations:
Empower Ministries is running smoothly, with no plans of curtailing our ministry around the world. We may be heading into a period of financial uncertainty, but Empower will continue to invest whatever funds become available into solid Kingdom investments. We remain focused, effective and efficient.
According to government health directives, all our core staff are working from home. Phones, however, are still being answered and donations received, tax receipts are being issued, mail outs and email updates are being sent, and printing and international transfers of funds are all being carried on without exception.
We are in close contact with all of our international partners, talking with them or communicating by email on a regular basis. They are conveying to us the changes, challenges and victories in their local situations.
In light of discussions with national leadership, we are making a strategic shift in the priorities of Empower Ministries at this time. Traditionally, Empower has had a wide range of projects with which to equip national believers for ministry. Due to the current surge of interest in the Gospel and the many people turning to Christ worldwide, we have been asked to place some of these on hold for the next few months and concentrate on what the national church deems to be their priority needs. Therefore, Empower will likewise set as our priority projects, the following:
The Word of God (Bibles, New Testaments and Gospels) - Like never before, new believers, returning prodigals, and those seriously searching for Truth are crying out for Scriptures.
Evangelism (evangelist and church planter support as well as all outreach efforts and programs) - People around the world are open and receptive to the Gospel message and ready to accept Christ.
Compassionate assistance (food, housing and clothing) -
Primarily, national pastors, workers and church planters who disciple new believers in the essentials of the faith and who provide the Body of Christ with courageous leadership.
The suffering and destitute connected to national church planting movement outreaches.
Projects such as computers, bicycles, motorcycles, training centre construction or renovations, pastoral training, and other materials or equipment will be temporarily put on hold.
Many people are deeply concerned about their financial futures, and understandably so. For some, difficult times lie ahead. Empower does not wish to put any further burden on you or your family. In the coming days, only as you are able to help, please remember that we, the Empower Family, have an incredible opportunity before us to introduce lost people to the Messiah who weeps over them in the same way He did on the first Palm Sunday. If you can help Empower financially to do this, it would be greatly appreciated.