The God Who Hung on the Cross: How God Uses Ordinary People to Build His Church

The God Who Hung on the Cross: How God Uses Ordinary People to Build His Church

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Overview

You won't see these stories on CNN or read them in your local newspaper, but Jesus Christ is doing miracles in some of the most unlikely places around the world. And He can do so right where you live as well. Right now.

This book will help you break you out of the box of limited Christianity and tap into God's awesome power--like its author, whose faith has propelled him out of the boardroom and into villages in Mongolia, India, Congo, Cuba, and dozens of other needy nations. Dois Rosser has taken his earthly fortune and strategically invested it in the single most powerful means of changing the world today: building churches and broadcasting the gospel. In so doing, he has seized a big-picture vision that extends far beyond our church-as-usual experience in the United States.

Rosser takes you on a jolting jeep ride to a village in India, where feeble lepers are joyfully building their church, stone by stone. He invites you to a funeral in Cuba, where the gospel's message of hope in the face of death brings a Communist tour guide to new life in Christ. You'll journey to the Ganges River, to the biggest Hindu festival in world history . . . marvel at the miraculous healing that founded a church in
Zimbabwe . . . and visit a Ukrainian church built with government-donated bricks--from a former Soviet missile silo. And with Cambodian villagers staring execution in the face, you'll stand in awe at the power and mercy of the God Who hung on a cross.

But The God Who Hung on the Cross is not just an armchair travelogue for comfortable Christians. Its exotic tales from abroad can change your life here at home. You'll discover that when you let go of "your" time and "your" treasure,you can experience the abundant, liberating power of God at work--not just in far-flung places around the globe, but in your own journey with Christ, wherever you walk with Him.

Christ is building His church, just as he said he would. And as He does, He delights in using any ordinary person to accomplish His great miracles. The God Who Hung on the Cross holds up an exhilarating vision of the body of Christ at work in the world--and equips you for the small but significant opportunities of everyday life.

Author Biography: Dois I. Rosser, Jr. is chairman of the POMOCO Auto Group, and chairman and founder of International Cooperating Ministries. He has served on the boards of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Trans World Radio, the Lausanne Conference for World Evangelism, and Leighton Ford Ministries. He lives in Hampton, Virginia with his wife.
Ellen Vaughn is an award-winning author and speaker. Her works of fiction include The Strand and Gideon's Torch (co-authored with Chuck Colson). She collaborated with Colson on eight other non-fiction books. She speaks frequently at Christian retreats, and has been featured at writers' seminars in the U.S. and Canada. A native of Washington D.C., Vaughn and her husband, Lee, live in Virginia with daughter Emily, twins Walker and Haley, and an enormous dog named after C.S. Lewis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433270628
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 12/01/2008
Edition description: Unabridged, 5 CDs, 5 hrs 30 min
Pages: 5
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

The God Who Hung on the Cross


By Dois I. Rosser Jr. and Ellen Vaughn

Zondervan

Copyright © 2003 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0310248353


Chapter One

The Killing Fields

Ellen

April 1975

The war had churned for years, destroying lives in Southeast Asia, dividing America, shaping generations to come.

But now the end was beginning. Communist forces were closing in from the north, and there was panic in the streets of Saigon. Overloaded American helicopters hovered over the U.S. Embassy, staggering with their cargo of sweating Americans and terrified South Vietnamese. Few would ever forget the sight of those they left behind. Thousands of men and women had stormed the embassy compound, many clinging-briefly-to the choppers' landing gear, desperate in their doomed attempt to escape.

As the American helicopters roared out of Southeast Asia, communist forces took power in neighboring Cambodia.

Led by the brutal revolutionary Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge entered the capital city of Phnom Penh, their signature red scarves tied around their necks and fluttering from the barrels of their rifles. They marched the city's two million citizens into the countryside, and Phnom Penh became a ghost town remade in the barbaric image of Pol Pot's philosophy. His soldiers burned books and destroyed medical equipment, hospitals, communications technology, highways-every vestige of western technology and every element of the country's infrastructure.

Only the radios were left untouched, so that Pol Pot's party-Angka Loeu, or "Organization on High"-might communicate his will to the masses.

But the greatest destruction was reserved for the people them-selves, as all the "undesirable" societal elements on Pol Pot's list were obliterated.

The list was long-doctors, monks, journalists, those who spoke French, those who wore eyeglasses, those too young or too old to work for the party on High. As many as three million human beings-a third of the country's population-were beheaded, shot, bludgeoned, drowned, strangled, buried alive, or slowly tortured to death.

Their bodies rotted in mass graves, but their battered skulls endured to become the chief symbols of Pol Pot's mad regime. Those who lived were sent to the labor and reeducation camps, where anyone aged five and older was expected to work sixteen hours a day. Those who could not meet production quotas were killed on the spot. Schooling and family structures were obliterated. Children were rewarded for allegiance to Pol Pot-or "Uncle"-and educated only in the fine art of informing on their parents.

Millions suffered and died.

In 1979, when Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge were forced to flee into the jungle. He was sentenced to death in absentia on charges of genocide and finally died under detention by his own troops in 1998.

By the turn of the millennium, the kingdom of Cambodia, ruled by Prime Minister Hun Sen, was still a place of disorder, political corruption, and random violence. Its countryside was still studded with thousands of unexploded landmines; its cities filled with children orphaned by AIDS. The average citizen's life expectancy was forty-seven years of age.

While neighboring countries gained new prosperity, Cambodia's per capita income remained at about $180 a year. The sole business that flourished was its brothel system, particularly its traffic in child prostitution.

It seemed to be a land without hope.

Chapter Two

Fields of Harvest

Ellen

September 2000

I peered from the open porthole as the big helicopter flew over the flooded rice paddies of Cambodia. The heaviest rains in twenty years had immersed the countryside in a tide of muddy water. The rainy season was past, but the dirt roads below us, bumpy at the best of times, were now impassable bogs of rutted mud.

But Dois Rosser is not a person to get stuck in the mud. Ever entrepreneurial, he had somehow managed to rent this mammoth, Soviet-era helicopter-and now, here we were, skimming above the treetops, the old engine roaring in our ears. We were on our way to see the churches and orphanages that Dois and his friends had built in this ruined land.

It had already been a long journey. I had left Washington on a Monday to connect with Dois and seventeen other travelers. We logged the miles from the East Coast to Dallas to Seoul to Hong Kong to Phnom Penh, crossing the international date line somewhere along the way and losing Tuesday forever. I wondered if I would be a day younger when I died. As the trip went on, I wondered if it would happen soon.

By the time we arrived in Cambodia, I had heard the life stories of many of my fellow travelers, several of whom I already knew, like Dois, from their service on Prison Fellowship's board of directors. Dave Cauwels, a smooth, soft-spoken developer from Albuquerque, is one of Chuck Colson's closest friends, and helps Patty Colson keep Chuck in line. Pat Macmillan heads a large consulting firm; he's a witty and insightful person with a self-deprecating sense of humor. Our fellow travelers included some of Dois's staff, supporters, several pastors, and a few other friends.

When we arrived in Phnom Penh late Wednesday, we were sweaty and exhausted. Our host, Ted Olbrich, met us at the airport. He handed out water bottles, cautioned us to keep up our fluid intake in the extreme heat, and took us straight to the site of Cambodia's Tuol Sleng museum, a grisly monument to that country's killing fields. The murderous things we saw there were overwhelming.

A few hours later we arrived at our hotel. The corners of the building were peaked and pronged; that traditional Asian architecture, we were told, was designed to keep evil spirits from entering the building.

I wasn't sure it worked. The corridors were dark. Frayed, live electrical cords ran up the walls; small green lizards ran down. Monkeys shrieked in the trees outside. It seemed ever so slightly haunted.

I shared the one bed in our room with my new best friend, Rosemary Trible. As I was to find out, Rosemary is one of those people who, if she did not exist, it would be necessary to invent.

About twenty years before, Rosemary had had the distinction of going into labor with her first child on the floor of the United States Capitol, just as her husband Paul was being sworn into Congress. Now she helps Dois's ministry.

Rosemary had all the trappings of a person who had lived in the public eye. As America's Junior Miss in her early twenties, she had toured the nation in a white Camaro, waving and making speeches. But I was to find that in addition to her manicured outward appearance, Rosemary had a core of steel, Energizer Bunny vitality, and a heart of compassion for people in need.

Exhausted, we slept for a few hours. The lizards skittered up and down the walls. The travel alarm went off at 4:45 A.M. At 5:30 our weary group left for the military airport, ready to take our journey into the jungle.

At the air base our van drove directly onto the cracked tarmac. An ancient Soviet helicoptor sat about twenty-five yards away. Its rotors were bent like the antennae of a damaged insect. Its fuselage was worn. Its three tires were flat.

Oh, I thought. I guess part of the airport is set aside as a museum for antique aircraft. How nice.

Then our guide motioned us toward the monstrosity. I began to realize this was to be our transportation for the next two days. We climbed up a rickety pull-down ladder. Inside the rusted shell the seams didn't quite meet. Looking toward the aft wall I could see blue sky through the cracks in the fuselage.

Sixteen red plastic lawn chairs provided seating for most of our group; evidently when this helicopter was constructed, seat belts hadn't quite yet been invented. A big, bright yellow gas tank was screwed to the long wall next to the open oval door-way. "No smoking" signs and other dire warnings in Russian hung on the pitted walls above it. Frankly, smoking was just not something that had occurred to me.

I have never been a great flyer. Even in state-of-the-art air-craft, it is all too easy for me to vividly envision my own death. Once I panicked just a teeny little bit and tore the armrest off a plane seat during some turbulence on a flight to New York.

But now, in this helicopter in Cambodia, it was not a case of irrational panic. This was pure, cold logic at work. As I looked at this contraption and its pilots-one of whom was sitting on an upended box-I knew we were going to die. And so did most of my fellow travelers.

"Let's pray," someone said. We did. Then, as one of the crew members heaved the rusty hatch shut, we took our places on the plastic lawn chairs.

The ancient engines roared to life. The propellers spun. The yellow fuel tank jiggled. Committed, my companions and I just looked at each other and grinned wildly. The helicopter shuddered, shook, and then pitched forward like a nauseated person running for the rest room.

Then, against every known principle of physics, it lifted vertically into the air, sputtered a few times, and there we were, skimming above the treetops.

The jungle air rushed past the portholes. Realizing I was still alive, I was filled with an absolute wave of exhilaration. I laughed out loud like a crazy person and put my face as near the open porthole as I could without my contacts blowing out of my eyes.

Below, narrow boats, like peapods, navigated the pools that had been rice paddies before the floods. Farmers poled through the shallow waters, inspecting the ruined plants that had once been their crops. I could see Buddhist temples in the distance; miles of green; swift flocks of trim white birds, their shadows following them across the surface of the muddy water.

Suddenly Ted Olbrich shouted over the roar of the engines. "There it is!"

I looked into the distance, and there was the slender steeple of a church rising above the green treetops, its wooden cross silhouetted against the sky.

The helicopter circled. Now I could see a man waving a long stick with scarlet fabric tied to one end. The arcs of the bright flag marked our landing place, a muddy patch of ground between two flooded gulches.

"That's Pastor Heng Gkum Hi!" Ted shouted.

We all looked at him, not quite sure if he had said something or sneezed. "Bless you!" someone shouted back.

The helicopter settled slowly, the wind from its propellers flattening the jungle trees and banana plants. We touched down. The rotors slowly stopped.

In the sudden silence I could hear the giggling of dozens of children, and then, the sound of singing.

"Welcome! Welcome!" called the pastor. He and two elders bowed, their palms pressed together in the traditional Cambodian greeting. They grasped our hands. "Come!"

We followed them down a muddy path. Then we saw the church, its white walls shimmering in the tropical heat, and standing in front of it in a long line were dozens and dozens of small children, singing, smiling, and laughing as they saw our sweaty group stumble from the jungle.

"This is the day!" they sang in English, carefully following their pastor's wife, who served as choirmaster. "This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

We looked at the fresh faces, so eager and full of hope. A small girl with dark eyes and deep dimples smiled and bowed to me. Then she came forward and grabbed my hand, and we walked together to the church that is also her home.

That little girl is still in my mind. I don't even know her name. But God does; her joyful face is a perfect picture of the awesome yet personal power of God at work. In the places of need, despair, and desolation, He brings comfort, hope, and power.

How did Christ's hope come to those children in rural Cambodia? How were their lives rescued from starvation, cruelty, AIDS, prostitution, and other perils?

The short answer is that Dois's ministry, in partnership with Children of Promise International, built that orphanage (and many others like it). It's not just an orphanage, but a church as well. The congregation meets on the first floor, and the children live in dorms on the second. These simple facilities cost about $21,500 in American dollars to build.

Each church-orphanage houses twenty-five to fifty children who would otherwise live as prey on the streets. Instead, they now receive food, education, some medical care, and the Gospel. They believe in God because they have seen His love in a smile, a hug, a bowl of rice, and a safe place to sleep.

As they grow up, these children may well become the steady young people of faith who can lead their unstable nation toward a new era of hope.

Dois and his International Cooperating Ministries team are committed to building 114 church-orphanages in Cambodia. These will provide sanctuary for more than 5,000 children, and sanctuaries for about 20,000 Cambodian adults.

But new hope in Cambodia-or anywhere else-begins not with one particular ministry, but with God, and the odd truth that He chooses to do miracles through ordinary people as they are willing to be used by Him.

That's why this book is not just about Dois Rosser. It's about how God can use each of us, right where we are-as long as we are willing to break out of the boxes that bind us.

Most of us gravitate toward boxes. It's human nature. We seek what is comfortable and familiar. Sometimes we are loathe to leave the litter in our boxes even to make positive changes because we don't want to move beyond the parameters of what we've always done.

But Jesus is not one for boxes. He broke out of the tomb that held Him. He freed His friend Lazarus too. He threw the money lenders' boxes right out of the Temple. In His earthly ministry, He constantly pierced people's puffy conventions and challenged their earthly comforts, luring them toward the risky business of eternal comfort. He challenged the rich young ruler to give up the wealth that defined and confined him. He wooed the woman at the well to be free of the sin that bound her.

And, in one of the passages I love most, He called His disciples to "put out into deep water." In Luke 5, we're told that Christ's friends had been in the shallows, and that's where they wanted to stay.

Come, Jesus said.

Grumbling, they rowed to where the water was deep, and the lake was wide. They were in over their heads. Jesus rocked their boats.

And then the shimmering fish leapt into the nets, the men strained to haul the catch, and Peter fell at Jesus' feet, overwhelmed by the power of the living God.

In our own journeys with Jesus, is not the dynamic the same? He calls us further than we would choose to go on our own.

I thought of that after I survived that crazy helicopter trip in Cambodia. Think of it as metaphor: that old Russian helicopter just did not fit my paradigm of safe air travel.

Continues...


Excerpted from The God Who Hung on the Cross by Dois I. Rosser Jr. and Ellen Vaughn Copyright © 2003 by Zondervan
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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