This week, we return with James Human (pen name) as our guest. He was happily working a career at J.C. Penney. He’d grown up in Church, left, and returned because of his wife. He’d begun to learn who God was and how much God loved him. But he’d never considered missions work.
Until a pastor friend started talking about Haiti.
Now, fast forward a few years and James has been to Brazil, Niger during Ramadan, the last tea house on the way to Mount Everest, India, and Malaysia. Sharing the Gospel along the way.
He’s an expert on Sikhs and as we talked in Part 1 of his story, James shared how he shifted from Oak Ridge, Tennessee to world traveler, how he was able to share the Gospel with Muslims during Ramadan, and much more.
Now we are turning our focus to dig deeper into his ministry and some insights he can offer us. We will be focusing first on his ministry and then on you, the listener.
If you want to download both parts of the interview, you can use the button below.
Focus on James’s ministry
What is a Sikh
Sikhs are Punjabi, from the Northwestern part of India near the Pakistan border. Back in 1947, when the border was drawn, some of the Punjabi ended up in Pakistan and others in India. many of the Punjab who are in India are Sikhs.
With 25-27 million Sikhs in the world, it’s the fifth-largest religion. It was started in 1507 by Guru Nanak in response to both the Brahma caste of the Hindu and the Mongols (Muslims). Both groups were very cruel to the Punjab.
Guru Nanak had a vision and ended up being quite a reformist.
They believe in only one God and many of their God’s characteristics can bridge over to how we see God as Christians. Because of that, there are many bridges from Sikhism to Christianity.
Several of their gurus were martyred, so they value their martyrs. And, speaking of gurus, their tenth guru, Gobind Singh, was also very important. He was responsible for the turbans and many of the physical characteristics we see today.
- Long beard
- Long hair
Many times, because of their physical characteristics, they’ve been mistaken for Muslims. But, in fact, they are one of the only people groups that has ever defeated Islam.
Feeding the hungry
Anyone can go to the Langar kitchen in a Gurdwara and they will be fed. Everyone sits on the floor because everyone is created equal. But they will be fed.
The Khalsa (pure ones)
Guru Gobind Singh invited people to die for the guru. While they were not killed, their willingness to die was an indication of their dedication and purity. Around the same time, he developed the 5 Ks of Sikhism, which are some of the physical characteristics we see.
- Kesh (long hair)
- Kangha (wooden comb)
- Kara (metal bracelet
- Kachera (cotton undergarments)
- Kirpan (curved sword)
Other key points
- Many Sikhs believe in reincarnation.
- A Muslim laid the cornerstone for the Golden Temple.
- The Sikhs don’t believe in any pilgrimages or ordinances.
- No priesthood. The one who can read the scripture is the leader in a Gurdwara.
- Their holy book is called the “Guru Granth Sahib“ and it is sung.
- They often meet on Sundays and only read the same part of their holy book.
- Most Sikhs don’t have a copy of their holy book and don’t really understand what’s in it.
- The word “Sikh” means “disciple.”
The four principles of living for a Sikh
- Honest, working lifestyle
- Sharing, practice charity
- Selfless service
Sikhism is largely works-based, though meditation is a deep requirement. Their view of “grace” is that if you’re lucky enough and good enough, then their god might glance your way and grant you grace that you might be with him.
A Sikh view of salvation
The Sikh view of salvation is that your life is a like drop of water rolling down a mountain. At the end of your life, if god grants you grace, your soul will go back into this large pool, which is god.
All a Sikh wants to do is be “united” with god. It’s impersonal.
A Sikh baptism isn’t like a Christian baptism. It involves drinking a honey-water mixture that is stirred and each person to be baptized drinks it from the hands of the person baptizing until it’s all gone.
What a non-baptized Sikh can’t wear
What fuels your passion?
It’s the lostness.
Focus on YOU, the listener
What would you tell someone who is called to the marketplace and wonders if what they’re doing really matters in the Kingdom?
Many believers don’t think God can use them because of what they’ve done or who they are. They wonder what they will do or say or how they should approach ministering in the situations around them. But James says that they just need to go and do it.
Just go do it! You’ll be amazed that God will take care of you just like He said that He would.
James shared how his first trip out of the country – Brazil – is an example of just this. When visiting a house, the person they were supposed to see wasn’t home. So they went across the street to a house that no pastor had been allowed in.
And God showed up.
She pointed to the Bible and said, “I’ve been waiting for a long time for somebody to come and tell me what this says.”
Gary reminded us that God will help us in what He wants us to do. He has a plan for all of us but the key to it is that we rely on Him and trust Him.
What we should do when ministering in other cultures
We need to throw our Westernism out the door and become listeners.
What would you say to someone who is realizing that their neighbors and coworkers are coming from another culture?
Get back to the old Southern way of doing things. Take them a pie. Go meet them.
In addition to introducing yourself, don’t be afraid to pray for them. People love it when you offer to pray for them.
And when they invite you over, eat what they put on the table.
If you sit in the house and you don’t get out and go, nothing’s going to happen.
Parting piece of advice
Pray for more harvesters for the Sikhs. It’s the 5th largest religion in the world but only about 1% of them have accepted Christ. They are a very unreached people-group.
As he was sharing, he extended an invitation to train people and even take them to India with him on upcoming trips.
What we Talked About
- [00:15] – Introduction to James
- [00:55] – What is a Sikh and what do they believe?
- [05:50] – Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims.
- [06:30] – Sikhs have kitchens to feed the hungry.
- [07:01] – The Khalsa (pure ones)
- [11:51] – Other key points
- [14:36] – The meaning of “Sikh”
- [15:11] – The four principles of living for a Sikh
- [18:40] – A Sikh view of salvation
- [19:43] – Sikh baptism
- [20:44] – What a non-baptized Sikh can’t wear
- [21:46] – What fuels your passion?
- [26:16] – What would you tell someone who is called to the marketplace and wonders if what they’re doing really matters in the Kingdom?
- [30:35] – Our position as ambassadors of the Kingdom.
- [31:33] – What we should do when ministering in other cultures.
- [34:32] – What would you say to someone who is realizing that their neighbors and coworkers are coming from another culture?
- [40:07] – Book Recommendations
- [42:44] – Parting Advice
- The Bible
- The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Case for … Series)
- The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity (Case for … Series)
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