There is joy in serving Jesus as I journey on my way.
Joy that fills my heart with praises every hour and every day.

There is joy in serving Jesus as I walk alone with God
Tis the joy of Christ my Saviour who the path of suffering trod

Chorus:
There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus, Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment every hour, As I draw upon His pow’r
There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.

20150111_183306_resizedThis song sung (in English and Indonesian) by the youth choir at the First Independent Baptist Church of Indonesia summarized the feeling I had as I pillowed my head Sunday night.  It was quite an exhausting day of service, but my heart was so full of joy I could hardly fall asleep.

The day started early as I got ready and looked over my sermon notes. I tried to think about what illustrations could be used in this culture to relate the truth I believed God wanted me to share.  I was a little unsure so I explained to Nancy Quinlan at breakfast if the Indonesians used a coffee filter to make coffee.  I’m glad I asked because she said most Indonesian homes did not have a coffee maker, but she thought it would be great if I used that illustration in the sermon. She said they like to learn about the way westerners do things, and because her husband Larry loves black coffee. IMG_7225 The coffee most Indonesians drink is an instant brew (no coffee pot is required.)  She found a small single serve coffee maker and packed it away for use in the message.  We headed out the door loaded with food items for the special lunch that the church was having, because they were hosting Emma and I as their special guests.  We arrived at Larry’s work, the Perumnas Independent Baptist Church of Indonesia to find Sunday School already under way.  (This church is a newer work that the Quinlans are working at to help bring  to maturity and sustainability). IMG_7248It was great to hear the kids singing as we walked in the building.  Most of the adults began arriving around 9:00 for the 9:30 service.  After some great singing, testimonies, special musical numbers and offering, Emma and I were introduced to the church.  Emma sang a wonderful song titled “Grace and Peace” and then it was my turn to serve the Lord and preach His Word.  I brought a message titled “The How of Holiness” from Romans 6 and Matt. 5.  I used the coffee pot illustration to show that the Lord wants us to change not just what is in our cup (sinful actions) but what is in the filter (heart desires).  The illustration worked!  It helped keep attention and connect the spiritual point.  I praise the Lord how the Spirit enabled this American pastor to speak to Indonesian hearts the truth that he desired them to hear.  

IMG_7261The church honored us with a meal and with many group and individual photos.  I get emotional when I think about how close the connection with believers from different cultures can become in such a short period of time.  The separation of language is no match for the love of Christ.  I’m not sure when I’ll see these dear people again but, I’m thankful I was able to worship with them and observe their joy in serving Jesus.

In the evening we drove to the First Independent Baptist Church of Indonesia and at the request of Pastor Marcos, Emma and I again had the opportunity to sing and preach like we did in the morning.  

The deacons and pastor waited to take a picture with me and Emma.

The deacons and pastor waited to take a picture with me and Emma.

This church is a solid work, fully autonomous and led by a wonderful servant of the Lord.  Pastor Marcos was saved out of Islam over fifty years ago, gave up a lucrative job in banking to assume the pastorate of the church over thirty years ago, and is one of the solid leaders of the Independent Baptist movement in Indonesia.  The Lord again blessed His Word giving even greater fluidity in the English to Indonesian translation than in the morning.  I’m so thankful for Brother Larry’s ability with the language.  After the service one young man told me that he had committed to take some “radical steps” to gain victory over sin in his life.  It was a joy to serve this church by proclaiming truth from the Word. Again, we were honored with a time of photo taking and a special meal.  The graciousness of Pastor Marcos and his wife was a tremendous blessing (and example) to us.  

Now here is the kicker: at both churches, the new church plant and the well established one, a man in the congregation came up to me and said something like this in broken English, “Pastor Kolb, it was an honor to have you at our church, please accept this as a token of our appreciation for your service to us today,” and then they handed me an envelope.  I was stunned!  I had no expectation of an honorarium; I did not want one, or feel like I deserved one.  But in that moment I realized what I had to do; I had to receive the gift. Why? Because, I did not want to steal from them their joy in serving Jesus.  

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to experience the work of the Lord here in Indonesia.  What I have witnessed this weekend is the answer to prayers I’ve prayed for several years.  God is working here in this country.  I believe exciting opportunities for the gospel to make in roads are not too far away. This country still needs more missionaries with the heart and passion for Indonesia like Tom Crawford and Larry Quinlan.  Would you pray with me that God would lay it on someone’s heart to come here and help advance the work.  If you are praying about missions, I wish you could have heard the young people singing…

There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus, Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment every hour, As I draw upon His pow’r
There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.