I Have Decided

Full disclosure – this is a sad story…

Last week I was invited to teach at a conference for pastors and Bible college students in South Asia.

Right before my session, the worship leader stood up and told this story…

About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales. As a result of this, many missionaries came to north-east India to spread the Gospel. The region known as Assam was comprised of hundreds of tribes who were primitive and aggressive head-hunters

Into these hostile and aggressive communities, came a group of missionaries from the American Baptist Missions spreading the message of love, peace and hope in Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity. 

Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:

“I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.”

Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”

But the man sang these words in reply:

“Though no one joins me, still I will follow.

Though no one joins me, still I will follow.

Though no one joins me, still I will follow.

No turning back, no turning back.”

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”In the face of death the man sang the final memorable lines:

“The cross before me, the world behind me.

The cross before me, the world behind me.

The cross before me, the world behind me.

No turning back, no turning back.”

He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man. He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago? There must be some remarkable power behind the family’s faith, and I too want to taste that faith.”

In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

The song is based on the last words of Nokseng, a man from Garo tribe of Assam (now Meghalaya and some in Assam), India. It is today the song of the Garo people.

Source: Dr. P.P. Job in ‘Why God Why’


There was a stunned silence in the room.

Everybody knew this song, but very few people know the story to it.

The worship team then led us all in this song, and it was hauntingly beautiful. For us to be in the region where this took place, and having all made that same confession, was so powerful. There was barely a dry eye in the house.

Today there is no need for a challenging personal question, or a point to ponder, or a prayer of confession. Just read that story again, and listen to this song…

Romans 1.26-28 – The natural relationship

In an example of how far society has ‘progressed’ since the latter half of the nineteenth century, Charles Spurgeon would not read aloud this passage at church. In the house of God, the house of prayer, where His name is lifted, glorified, and His people are being sanctified, this passage was not to be read. It (and the following paragraph) contains practices that are not glorifying to God, neither are they truly edifying to His people. 

Sometimes the Word of God we read in our Bibles can be a little hard to really grasp, where knowing the context can make all the difference, or perhaps understanding the original languages. Romans 1.26-28 is not one of those passages. It details a sinful lifestyle as a punishment for sin. It details a way of life that, sadly, many gladly pursue in spite of what God says.

Paul wrote to a culture where homosexuality was celebrated. When we consider the emperor at the time was Nero, and when we consider the abhorrent sexual lifestyle he lived, as the ruler, we can see how little society has progressed. Paul writes to challenge this,

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

If we have exchanged the truth about God for a lie as we read yesterday, then one punishment for this is to be given up to dishonourable passions


The freedom to do as we please is, actually, a judgement in itself. 


We are actively working ourselves away from God when we choose to live in these kinds of ways, when we exchange natural relations as Paul puts it. Being given over to our debased minds and when we do what ought not to be done, we exchange the truth about God, the way He wants us to live, for a lie.

The lie that you can choose what will make you happy – God knows what will make you happy.

The lie that if nobody is being hurt its ok – God is being hurt by our choices, and ultimately so are we.

The lie that we know better than the all knowing, all powerful, all wise Creator of heaven and earth. We don’t. 

The natural relationship we are to pursue, bigger picture, is with God. When we pursue this relationship, He sends His Spirit to live in us, and all of our earthly relationships are reevaluated, reassessed, sometimes reinvigorated, and sometimes replaced. 


Point to ponder – Am I pursuing, first and foremost, the natural relationship of child to Father?

If yes, then how does this influence my thoughts about my earthly relationships?


Prayer today – Lord, help me to live today first as a believer in You. Help me focus first on the natural relationship of child to Father. Give me your perspective, your love for others, your heart for those around me. Help me to be the salt and the light in the community you have called me to. Help me to live for You today.

09.05.19 – Rescuer – Thursday Music

A different kind of worship song today, different in style to hymns, different in style to most songs sung collectively as congregations, but great nonetheless, Rescuer by Rend Collective.

There is good news for the captive

Good news for the shamed

There is good news for the one who walked away

There is good news for the doubter

The one religion failed

For the good lord has come to seek and save

The rescuer we have in Jesus sets the captive free (Luke 4.18), and He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19.10)

He’s our rescuer (hey)

He’s our rescuer (hey)

We are free from sin forever more 

Oh how sweet the sound (hey)

Oh how grace abounds (hey)

We will praise the lord, our rescuer

We are free from the consequences of sin, but we will never be perfect this side of eternity (Revelation 2.11, 20.6 cf. Romans 6.23).

What a natural thing to do when we see the truth of Jesus, we will praise the lord, our rescuer. Praise and worship to our Lord and Saviour is such a natural response (Revelation 5.9-13, Psalm 86.12, 89.1, 115.18).

He is beauty for the blind man

Riches for the poor

He is friendship for the one the world ignores

He is pasture for the weary

Rest for those who strive

For the good lord is the way, the truth, the life

Rather than pursuing earthly riches, which some erroneously teach is our inheritance in Christ, we are rich beyond measure in inheritance – the inheritance of eternal life (John 10.10). It doesn’t matter if everyone around you thinks you are a bit mad, the One who made heaven and earth calls you friend (John 15.13-15), and He is, as we find ourselves singing, the way, the truth, and the life (John 14.6). 

We can all relate to the narrative of someone being rescued, being in trouble and needing help, because, at the core, that is all of us. 

We know that we will never pull ourselves out of the mire that we find ourselves in, which is why we try so hard to put our hope and trust in something else, something bigger than ourselves.

What should that be, who should that be? As we hear at the beginning of the video for this song,

“There is so much bad news in the world right now. But, no matter what, we have good news, and that good news has a name, and that name is Jesus Christ.”