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Warning Shot

May 11, 2010

Recently on a Sunday morning we had a terrific speaker in our church from Norway.  She gave a solid teaching on what it means to be a true Christian.  It was exactly what I had recently studied in a book by Watchman Nee called “The Normal Christian Life”.  (Note: I highly recommend reading it.) Such deep and high quality teaching is so rare in most churches in Cambodia because it is a growing church.  I sat there thinking to myself, “Wow, this is great.  I wish this teacher would stay a while and teach more.”  Her teaching style was fantastic and drew in the Cambodians.  Even though it was translated into Khmer, the lesson was very simple and well designed.  The teacher had extensive overseas experience, so knew about how to eliminate cultural references and make the lesson as simple and practical as possible.

After that service, nearly everyone there had a deeper understanding and clarity of what it means to be a true Christian and following after Christ daily.  The teaching, however, is not the point of today’s blog.  I believe that in Cambodia we are on the verge of seeing the whole nation transformed.  It is not there yet, but it is getting close to a critical point.  More quality teaching like this in the churches would certainly help.

I could see a little vision of two warships at battle.  One is the Kingdom of God and one is the Kingdom of Darkness.  When that teaching was going on I could see the canons being fired across the bow of the Kingdom of Darkness: a warning shot.  I could see the demons shuttering with fear.  If Christians understand how Christ has saved them from their sin and live daily seeking him, then this ship of Darkness is going to sink soon.  But then, in the next moment I could see the Kingdom of God pulling away and leaving the battle after only one warning shot. It was a great momentary teaching, but the teacher was leaving and it would be back to routine soon.

I love Cambodia and I have dedicated my life to see it changed.  I know there are tons of great people who love Cambodia and are doing all they can to see change too.  To see change in culture, to see change in community requires one very important element.  It is not church permits, national strategies, education, money, capacity building, infrastructure, good governance, electricity, high-speed internet, systematic training, dedicated locals, training materials, pioneering missionaries, more mission teams, more preachers, more Bible schools, more NGO’s, more Para-church organizations, more churches, more pastors. . . nope.  All those are good and eventually will be developed, but what is needed is far more mundane:

What is needed is: TIME TO EXERT INFLUENCE.

People come and go by the plane loads with great intentions to “save” Cambodia.  Nearly every plane that lands in Cambodia has one or two mission teams on it.  Many missions trips are little more than ‘Christian tourism’ where you only hit a few key sites and bypass thousands of less predominate locations.  Few missionaries now-a-days learn the language or are even willing to commit for years to accomplish true transformation.  Crusades and hit and run evangelism are game today.

To really see Cambodia changed we need people who are called of God and willing to commit their lives here.  To gain the trust of the people requires times.  To build relationships requires time.  To learn a language requires time.  To develop key strategies requires time.  To have influence, first requires time.  All around the world, the gospel is losing ground.  Yet the number of mission trips has exploded exponentially.  The missing ingredient to see transformation is time!

E-book of “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee is available for free download at:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Chuck McCaul permalink
    May 11, 2010 10:26 am

    Good word, Steve…all of it. When I first became a Christian my pastor taught from Watchman Nee’s books. I read The Normal Christian Life dozens of times; you’re right, it’s deep and few understand it let alone walk in it. Please pray for Cynde and me and our family. God’s up to something.

  2. Ananda Tamang permalink
    May 11, 2010 10:54 am

    It was great to go through Pastor Steve Hyde’s blog and it is really inspiring to see how God is working in Cambodia to transform it.
    By the end of the above note, Pastor Steve’s comment is the reality of this world today. The Gospel is loosing its ground. Although there are many evangelistic mission teams exploded in these days, but the real Question is…”Do they really have time to persevere till they are able to reach the goals? Do they have enough time to give and spend for the mission?” What a fantastic notes Pastor Steve…. I am touched and love it.

    • May 11, 2010 11:09 am

      Pastor Ananda,

      Thank you for your comment. Most people probably don’t know you are serving God in the remote Himalaya mountains in Nepal. I think most people don’t realize that what you need are not mission teams to fly in and fly out, but for people called of God to come and stay and invest their lives to help you and the wonderful people of Nepal. Bless you in your amazing work.

  3. May 11, 2010 9:31 pm

    WOW Steve! You nailed it!

  4. Andrew Rankin permalink
    May 14, 2010 10:22 pm

    For what it’s worth, Watchman Nee’s Normal Christian Life was a HUGE influence on my spiritual life in 1985. It was the first time the deeper truth of the Christian life made any sense whatsoever. I can’t tell you how BIG this was at a crucial time in my life. Glad to know that the word of truth continues to be passed on to the next generation.

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