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Christ Over Covid

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
May 2, 2020 5:00 pm

Christ Over Covid

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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May 2, 2020 5:00 pm

Stu talks to Michael Johnson, the president of the Slavic Gospel Association.

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This is the Truth Network. Is it possible that a terrible disease of virus could bring about the revival of a nation or of our world. How could that be will with us today is the most interesting guest, a man of God who is the president of the Slavic Gospel Association SGA.

This guy is a part of connected to hundreds and thousands of churches across Russia and a lot of you.

Maybe that are more Western America. You been dealing with this virus in the news and the fake news in the stuff going on and maybe family members that are beleaguered. With this in we been praying for the medical community. But what's going on with the church, Michael Johnson, thank you so much for joining us. My friend, the Lord is moving God is alive in Russia.

Brother is at right absolutely go to the life?

Tell us you know you guy, this is the most fascinating. I've known you for some time and I really appreciate your ministry and I've known those who been who have been a part of this ministry. There's is a different world in communist Russia to different world across Eastern Europe and allow the countries reviewed were you served or were you are building into these pastors.

Let's just maybe take so much. McGregor don't leave it. Can you give us a little bit of a wake-up call. Brother also tells what breaks your heart right now. Well, there's a lot in my apartment now particularly in light of what's happening around the world. I just wanted to start by sharing just insight promoted from a study that was recently read from a big data company which analysis of ongoing discussions that are taking place in social media sites throughout the New York City metro area related to the coke with 90 what they found was that roughly 80% of the people in their comments and post expressed a high level of uncertainty about their futures and the underlying loss of purpose. What they also said was that they needed to find meaning in the combined reality.

So, in my view.

If this is happening in New York City.

This is happening all around the case.

Something is not just meaning not just purpose. It's about their our own mortality.

In other words, is going to happen to me if I contract this disease and I die and people are now asking that question asking that question of themselves and their looking for answers and that's why I believe this represents the greatest opportunity for the proclamation of the gospel in modern day history. While there is a worldwide pandemic and these questions are being asked by individuals all around the world. God's open heart attack yet. Yes, you have site here i.e. as you tell us this was going. I mean, you know that we thought that the wind when that the wall came down between communism that that was the thing. But you're telling me that there is another wall coming down in hearts roaming the gospel as you just mentioned in across the Soviet Union and really across the world because were faced with our own mortality. Absolutely, absolutely. And what's interesting about this is that when the wall came down 30 ago when God brought the wall down 30 years ago.

I mean, our ministry started in 1930 and by many Peter Danica. He prayed his entire life, God would bring the walls of communism them, and he passed away in two years later got answered his prayer, unbeknownst we didn't see a company. Nobody saw coming, but God saw it coming and he brought all the coming and those churches and those Christians had been persecuted for years and years and years and I talked to you young people whose fathers and pastors and grandfathers were taken away in the Siberian camps and and killed for their faith into those churches are being built upon a foundation of great fights and persecution in their strong churches because they're built on the blood of the martyr and they have a tremendous passion for the gospel and they recognize what we recognize, which is this truly is the greatest opportunity for the proclamation the gospel and they are going to take advantage of that and then into everything that can't see donations on the Christ. While Michael here and dedicated Christian. These are wonderful people and they have a tremendous passion for the yellow hearing these words that we have like quarantine, stay home, don't go out anywhere, so my sister sent me this.

This is so timely that God brought us together today Michael Johnson Slavic gospel Association amazing group over 6000 churches across Russia across Eastern Europe that are connected by Christ that are reaching their cultures. These these are Christians by the way, who been beaten up.

They been silent pastors imprisoned over the last multi-decades or last century for their faith in Jesus simply because they're preaching the gospel.

These are there's Christians that have been given just disappeared in Russia because they love Jesus and in you know about you in my class all kinds of stories but he's graciously join us today to talk about how we can have a heart for our world a heart for bringing people to our real home which is heaven, and which last for ever and this this is this text my sister sent to our whole family with his little group texting my sister Kathy was amazing her pet her husband, brother John's awesome Pastor Downing upon a visa, Florida. The area euros Jacksonville by way hello to all of our friends listing down there on 91.7 FM 91.3 FM and 91.9 FM crossing Augustine great folks in this is what Catherine Sim she said I just spoke to our friends in Moscow. They stay in a two-bedroom apartment at all times to bear in mind were all complaining about, you know, quarantine I got a stay at home or Oregon take extra precautions they can leave their little tiny apartment twice a week to go to a store. They have big only if they been been given an electronic pass to go. They can take their trash out once a day. But other than that they have to remain in their little apartment all times. He said to me quote we are fine. They the government command and we obey wow can't even imagine. And then she says this.

Thank the Lord for family sunshine and the freedom to go outside for a walk.

You know here in America. It's truly it's truly account your many blessings and name them one by one moment I mean we have no idea these dear Russian Christians who are confined to tiny apartments and waiting in long lines for food and not able to go out but on top of that, that Dino compound that with the sickness and the dealing with with depression and alcoholism over the areas Michael it's it's it's killer literally go ahead really is an anti-, with the president of the Baptist Union and the Moscow and eat. I asked him what was happening and he said basically all all the outlets have been impacted, but the been okay affected if different levels when you get out into the far eastern Russia because the population isn't dense.

It's not as bad when you get in the Moscow, St. Petersburg, and those cities in central Russia. It is pretty well and the other what compounds the problem is the fact that their economy is primarily based upon the price of fossil fuels with the crash of the oil prices. It's really can deeply impact your economy show are people who can lose their jobs on their average salary is about $500 per month and people be on the streets and is not be a tremendous amount of the other that these people are going to have an question in those countries. About 33 weeks behind the US so they're getting hit pretty hard right now I think it can last longer there than it is here.

I mean we go to store their out of bathroom tissue.

We go the next day to replenish. They don't have the supply chain.

So when they were things it will take weeks for those items to come back so so again people. There's a lot of fear there is a lot of uncertainty you know people are people dying as a result of the disease and it's all good news. So so this is work this is this is the this is where people are looking for help and that the church is there, have an opportunity to do that. So they are adapting the same way that we are there doing their online services and other getting out where they can to meet the people and they're using what whatever resources they do have, but for us, you know we exist to serve those churches and kind to spend a couple minutes talk about our ministry how much you like MSU but I want to do the next segment were coming up against a break and will regret to hear from our awesome podcast partners and from our local stations that need needed to defy themselves or whatnot. Think of so many people care the life FM just came aboard as an affiliate Wilkins radio network of the truth across Florida. Thank you to all of her awesome partners that carry to talk weekend and/or awesome podcast party carries Christ over coated calls for global prayer is court is the coronavirus ravages Russia former Soviet nations this is Michael Johnson, the head of the Slavic gospel Association, Michael, were going into a quick break but first remind our people how important it is that we focus on Christ and lifting him up and we get on our knees and joining your prayer call he got 30 seconds on that and they were to take a quick break go quick okay are our founder Peter Danica book called, much prayer, much power and he was a lifelong prayer warrior. So much so that Billy Graham each invite him to the Crusades so that he could do.

The only clear visuals before his Crusades.

This is a ministry that is based upon prayer and we and we are called to prayer and so for us. When I developed the concept of a silver COBIT. The first priority before anything was a call to prayer because it's only through prayer that our children reached in that through the situation many, many people might come to faith in Christ. Ultimately that's our goal. That's been the passion of our ministry when our ministry is about is sharing the gospel equipping the church in helping the forgotten that only comes through the camp and answer prayer. Okay more coming up on the ministry of SGA, the Slavic gospel Association and how God is using this crazy disease to open hearts like nothing we've seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain, a direct quote from our guest Michael Johnson and if you stay tuned a little longer.

You can hear how this guy is a businessman came to faith in Christ a love his testimony more coming up.

Don't touch that doubt will be right back Christ over coated.

Stay tuned. Always a special thank you to a wonderful partner helping us advance the message of this program of the gospel in the thank you goes out to my Mike Lindell, the inventor and CEO has now open his heart to say thank you as well.

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You can also call this toll-free number 800-944-5396 thank you my pillow for partnering with us to advance the good news the gospel and thinking all you guys that have check amount supported our sponsors. What does this coronavirus have to do with missions. What is not to do with revival. What is it have to do with thousands of people coming to Christ.

Have you connected the dots yet Christian wow have you have you seen what God is doing well as Amanda got an /i/ who's given me a wake-up call, a call to prayer that I love the title of a gun.

Many press releases like this beloved title Christ over coated.

It's a good it's a prayer call for global prayer as this coronavirus ravages Russia the former Soviet nations and what constitute open hearts Michael Johnson Slavic gospel Association.

You guys didn't just pop up when this virus popped up. You guys have been here nearly a century, sharing the good news of Jesus and some of the hardest toughest communistic area. Even some of the most persecuted areas for Christians in the world were talking about the Soviet Union, the former Soviet Union. All this dons return about Russia and Moscow all at area. Tell us a little bit about the passion behind SGA Michael Johnson so good to have you with us.

Thank you very much. Look in the ministry referred for by Peter Danica immigrant from the country of Belarus inherently early or early 20th century in here because his family was dying because of the famine. Back in those days thinking to get a job make money independent banks with his family could survive shortly after he got here in Chicago people from the Moody Church reached out to him thinking to faith in Christ and one thing led to another and he started this ministry 93 or were primarily involved in the covert distribution of books and Bibles throughout the Soviet Union. Also, in a real ministry that was broadcasting Christian radio 20 bars a day seven days a week in around 20 Iron Curtain and right around the time when the communists is said that they were going to eliminate their entire nations are diligence that the last Bible under glass and Museum in St. Petersburg. We cranked up our radio broadcasts of this ministry in many ways, The gospel open to the Christians in those countries who would listen to the broadcast and their addicts are sellers so that the officials couldn't didn't know what they were doing when that when the when the wall came down. Things changed in came to those countries and Dr. Provost Bob Provost friend of my friend and find mentor was was brought to the ministry as the president and went to the church to church as we estimate what was their priority were talking the union of evangelical Christian Baptist Church is the largest group of Protestant evangelical churches in those countries and they said to give him freedom is coming, but our first priority needs to be the training of our pastors and sound Bible study methods and theology. Please help us to do that so so Bob introduced the leaders of those countries to Dr. John MacArthur and that he bought a team of people under the leadership of the individual but able to look up the country code who was one of the theological record time and in John. John is a very gracious person on the team and give a presentation of his ministry, theology, and how we trained as pastors and Dr. declension pose a great story started crying and John said that I do say something to to a thing we should not know these aren't tears of sadness. These are tears of joy because we know freedom is coming know they can be a lot of well-meaning Christians that are coming from the West to help us but were not quite sure who to trust and we have now found somebody that we can trust. So between SGA Dr. Provost and John MacArthur and his ministry. We been able to help them build a theological training infrastructure throughout those countries as seminaries in Russia and in Ukraine and Belarus and because Don and Tajikistan and all over the land. John is probably is by far the leading Bible teacher, and theologian across the entire former Soviet Union, and because of this partnership is we have been able to heavily implement and possibly influence of those turned out so that those churches are built upon a foundation of a strong document wow and let me set that that the context your folks listing this year hear the voice of Michael Johnson is the sky for long time. He loves Jesus he loves God's word is directly involved in getting the word of God to the people across Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, only Slavic nations but guess what else is spreading the covert, 19 is spreading and it it's amazing how God is using that tragedy.

That is it. You know, as as as Joseph said to his brothers. What you intended for evil God using for good is you know the evil one comes to steal, kill and destroy this disease as it gets horrible but now what's happening is is the church is awake. The church is coming to life even more.

The church is working to reach out people. Here's a direct quote from from someone who people in villages are saying quote only your church helps us to be that you know so people that were called the church before announcing. While these these people of God it you know are our loving is that here's the context in America we can protesting in a lot and in the course the communism.

You know it, thanks to our good buddies in China who sent us this crazy thing you know in in all the communism related that in you know now there is a Akai communism infiltrated America with the government, you know, we think whether to controlled it out there make a stay home and all that but Americans can't protest peacefully. A lot of them have been Americans can go out and do a lot more, but let's okay so that's the way that's not what we're here to debate today. Again, Michael's lag, as you know and not put him on the hot seat there when I can get into the politics of in America we organization Russia they are actually will throw you in jail.

There is potential imprisonment if you violate the quarantine stuff there. They got tanker spraying disinfectant on Moscow streets there. There's a lot of stairs potential Marshall loss of these Soviet countries.

These these comments. Countries are far more strict and in their a lot more dire straits, and so people are hurting and they're not able to leave and they're really stalking you talking about out for 4170 mile landmass that is just massive so that it is there is a bleak picture, but Michael, in the darkness.

The light of Jesus is shining and guys using SGA is using your ministry and in in that amazing give us some hope here is we get, the end of this last segment.

Okay, my favorite first John four 3738 as for in this thing of ordering site for you to repent for which you have not labored. Others have labored and you have entered into their labor. God is open up an opportunity for us to enter into the labor of these wonderful Christian who are doing everything they can to reach out to the people in their communities in their time of need their time of distress. Give hundreds of workers that working in orphanages in those countries through local evangelical churches. Some of the orphanages are closing down.

Now the children are being sent back into their homes.

Homes where there was abuse and violence and there and they want to go back to the orphanages with a very difficult situation, but these questions whether they be in the cities, towns or villages are doing everything they can.

They're very resourceful to reach out to the people who are in need so that they can minister to them both in word and deed filed and wonderful Christians that they have boldness in the sharing the gospel and as a result of this is in the horizontal working both on the Russian and Ukrainian side. As a result of the children that are still suffering from the effects of Chernobyl others tremendous people with tremendous need, but in the midst of these loving, compassionate Christians are out there, whether they whether it whether whether COBIT is is they are not out there ministry to Because COBIT 19 has no power over God. God has told power over Cobia 19. Not only that the power of the entire until we can leak it. We can rest in that back knowing that God is in control and we know how this is going and that's a complete cut is going to be triumphant and we have access to the blood of his son.

A man in like many of you out like I would say early in my my earlier years. Fred had a clue about what God is doing the world and I still am learning. Thanks to brothers like Michael Johnson is our guest right now for the Slavic Gospel Association SGA.

Let me try something so you might be things. So what new cares not rush. I got my own problems, let me tell you about Russia they don't have the Bibles the resources they will have the Christian rate of all the amazing wealth we have. They don't have the luxuries we have many of you live have a couple cars in the city that you have a job this and that, or at least have have a job be laid off from these folks are poor. There are there on the brink of literally disaster and there's orphans, widows, families in Russia that the SGA Slavic Association are ministering to. We have so much so so when you say so what like what was do what he what would we care about Russia focus on my own problems. This is this is the problem. The problem in the world is sin. The only solution. The only cure to the disease. The virus of sin, which will take you to hell is the Lord Jesus Christ and the good news of the gospel that he came into this mass and he took our disease of sin, the curse of sin on the death and Hugh had no sin became sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. My friend Michael Johnson is just summoning all you guys wake up.

Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ you have family. If you're Christian in Russia spiritual family brothers in Christ. Pastors pray for them. Send him some money if you can, you know, as God leads in in pray for the loss that many souls would come to Christ and are in this revival continue. Michael Johnson runtime of the segment I want to thank you for coming is right SGA.or OIG/COBIT and you can you can sign up to receive our daily prayer a lot. It will be blessed by with providing up-to-the-minute and input information story and specific per request or you can call one 800 Bible 50 fantastic. We had about 50 there's friends of yours that may want to hear in their own native Russian Tonka Russian friends and Christ over COBIT.

Okay, so how does a kick the door down solid businessman go from climbing the corporate ladder to running one of the top Christian mission agencies in the world and God's using him in his ministry to bring thousands of Christ to the Slavic gospel Association reach millions with Christian radio and Russia, the former Iron Curtain is come down with are still tons of communism because of oppression and also this coronavirus is deeply impacted them, but open many doors and many hearts to the gospel Michael Johnson tell us your testimony brother in will will go back when you were this young businessman in California and then will fast-forward here in these few minutes to how God is using you today with SGA in this this this Christ over Corona initiative that I love okay so I grew up in Connecticut and when I was night and I grew up in the same church.

Actually, that the noted theologian Jonathan Edwards grew up in South Windsor, Connecticut, noted and and I was confirmed in the church in them, but I was when I was 19 years old. I finished college world.

So I went to California with some friends of mine ended up spending let you well. I was there the first year was there. The only job I could find was in a gas station, California, and I was sick and it was a wonderful person's name is Danny Murphy and Annie was a X biker load with a group called the heathen, had long hair and chopped out Harley-Davidson talk Monday and he and the PFCs.

What are you doing tonight he'll probably come from spirits. What you doing with my wife and I we wire practice will really civilize it while you go to church every Sunday and so really and and slice over question and I thought to myself, you know, I was confirmed the church and so I simple thought mine. He looks at me with a smile on her not so he set up by a breakfast tomorrow morning to meet get this pancake house and so I went there met him and it was a meeting of CMC Christian businessmen's committee, which is now called Christian connection and there was a Bible teacher. There was name is Tom Brewer going through the book of first Corinthians, and I've never heard Bible teaching like that and noticed this 19-year-old kid in California and I went back I went back within two months I was and I spent a couple years on Bible school and then finish my undergraduate work that my wife who was a successful advertising produce agency producer and one thing led to another and we moved back to New York City I got a job working for large advertising agency called Saatchi & Saatchi Compton at the time and that will allow Procter & Gamble brand Johnson & Johnson 11 new product launches with international consumer brands like type detergent Tylenol pain medication and so I lived in Manhattan for three years.

Then we moved up to Brooklyn and one day I was asked to accommodate our mission speaker was coming in a couple of months and I picked up the phone and it was by Provost Bob Provost was working with a ministry called send international and he came and let live literally lit our church on fire for international mission and not too long after that Rob Provost graduate the Masters college went will be in him and we are one of the first short-term missions teams to go to Albania and support Robin his ministry and a few years later I was in transition Bob Provost succumb to the Slavic gospel Association.

He contacted the one day niece Alyssa Michael I we have a great story to tell the American churches in the American Christian about what God is doing 1/2 a world away and leave the professional like you to help tell that story. And so we prayed through that and on the same day I got the offer for the Slavic gospel Association, dream job, job offer New York City and the Lord moved us in this direction so 20 years ago or so we moved here I was vice president of advancement for the street for number years God moves in another direction. And I've been consulting with ministries but 13 years until when Bob retired, the board called me back and they offered me the position as president on been here for three years and this just a wonderful opportunity and Bob is still president emeritus. He still applies and then went to ministries growing were extending out work and I literally cannot believe it is like page me when my doing, and this is like a wild Michael how our paths have crossed in over the years, but we recently was the reason we made the connection because Rob Provost, Dr. Provost was the Provost of the Masters University under John MacArthur when I was there and I used to hear him he come back from Russia on fire for no reason is Justin. These pastors you know, thousands in a room praying all night just excited about the Lord in know them today. They don't take words like repentance lightly. They really know they don't pay, they are serious in their and they've been so just oppressed for the gospel yet have such a deep joy so Dr. Provost maturities testimonies in chapel and so I cut on early that Slavic gospel Association and this is the real deal and now to have you at the helm is so exciting with your heart for Christ evangelism. This really this Christ over COBIT initiative initiative as we wrap up.

Thanks for sharing your testimony. What a cool thing never take for granted to someone knows the Lord friends you work with them. Maybe they go to church all the time going to church does not make you a Christian. They need to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus not a religion.

Only Jesus saves. And that's the message of Michael Johnson in the Slavic goes a gospel Association. This message of all.

That's why we do this this crazy root radio show in Milan asked Butch a challenge out there with this Christ over COBIT and really you could substitute the word COBIT you could perception the word job sums you word career Christ over family Christ over ambitions Christ over home mean, how we how we idolize our comforts Michael Johnson take us out here and challenges of this high ultimate priority of worshiping Jesus and him alone and then spreading the message of Christ we have in our arsenal, the eternal, not just vaccine but cure to the greatest disease of sin that will take you to hell forever.

Jesus Asa don't fear those who can kill the body, he said. Fear him who can kill both the body and soul into hell, and the last thing we want is someone you know many believers who die of the coronavirus yet it's all horrible death is horrible die. Any death there's bit by would have been a lot more people killed from heart disease is not Mobile died from cancer and from the regular flu than this particular new virus just for your information and those are all signs rolled statistical facts dying. His bad but a believer that dies whether it's of a Russian pastor who disappears and ends up in a in a pit with a bullet in his head from the KGB.

You years ago, or even a modern martyr for Christ in the Middle East, which happens daily. While you been doing this broadcast. Christians have been slaughtered silly because he loved Jesus those things from disease from from the in of the elements from old age from martyrdom for a believer that is a that is an entrance into heaven. That is a glorious thing that is it to transition into into the presence of Almighty God. Now for a nonbeliever that doesn't have Christ they got a deeper disease.

A deeper problem and unless they have the Lord Jesus Christ, unless they repent of their sins and are converted like Peter said it beautifully in acts chapter 3 verse 19. They'll never know true salvation, though never know the true peace in the cure that God sent Jesus to provide Michael Johnson take a soma challenge. Everyone to be a missionary in Russia and everywhere they are right now.

Christ over COBIT what your final words everybody my final word is as I thought about this the this initiative. I initially thought about in terms of printed and COBIT and I think that that's a valid prayer, but I had to step back and to try to really consider the mind of God in the mind of God and this is predicated on the fact that he is in control of all things, and ultimately he wants to reconcile himself to his people and and for some reason he has chosen his people to bring the message of hope and salvation to to the world and I just want to tell you just I just want to exhort everybody. I share with you about the concerns that people are having with the question their own mortality. These are your brothers easier sisters. These your neighbors. These are the people that you work with music.

These are the thoughts and these of the fears that people are having the entire situation we need to take ourselves out of the political debates we need some of the some of the political debate we need to really focus on the opportunities that God is opening up for us to share the love of Christ to share the truth of his gospel with those people around us because it is at this point that they are the most vulnerable and most open to the word of God because they indeed are questioning their own mortality.

What's gonna happen to me if I catch this virus in pathway. I know people that died in the people in it that contracted the virus and it is it is a it, it isn't ugly very very painful thing to go through and many people don't survive. So please, I plead with you to share share the gospel of Jesus Christ with these people so that they might be reconciled to Christ the Internet whether they pass away in short-term or or eventually work because we all know that we all know that that that were not to live forever, so that is my expectation of recognition that people are open and a man that's that's so cool. What a blessing. What a challenge and that's why were still here on this planet. If you're listening to my voice in your believer, you have a message to tell Jesus identified you he gave you a title you are his witnesses. But he's not sending you alone, he said, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, where you live. Judea, the next state over Samaria across the border and the uttermost parts of the earth, so everyone listing your called Russia. Let me just take US to pray for Russia tonight with your family.

It's that easy, right Michael absolutely mentally and again I'm not website and you can get the up to the date activities in the ministry and the specific prayer requests as well because we want to get as many people praying as possible. Love it. Thank you so much God bless you what a great visit. And what a great testimony and pray for SGA insured by the way, should I website, with all your Russian friends. The love to hear some things their own language and you guys have ready over there to write. How do people hear your radio over there in Russia. Will the radio. The radio board artist is involved in radio now because the prayer ship, but certainly you have groups like at BBC radio that involved in that so so there's opportunities there as well on a great resource is awesome. Thank you so much or thank you

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