Jesus’ Economy


Jesus’ Economy

Articles provided by Jesus' Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. In each community Jesus' Economy serves, they offer church grants, microloans, and meet basic needs. To fund life transformation, Jesus' Economy provides an online fair trade shop.

Where Have the Carefree Days Gone?

It's been almost 30 years, but there was a semester when I was carefree and my choices didn't feel so frantic. I lived with only a thin foam mattress, an orange milk crate holding three t-shirts and two pairs of jeans, and a bike. That baby blue Schwinn got me from my apartment on El Cajon Boulevard and the only other places I needed to go: two classes at San Diego State University and my boyfriend's house. We only had 20 bucks at any given time, so there weren't many options. Of course, who needs money when you have young love and a sandy beach?

That was a long time ago. Today, I have more resources and more stuff which brings with it a boatload of options. I no longer grab one of three t-shirts without a thought. Now, I stand in the closet, wondering what I will possibly wear. Endless decisions shrink us into pin-balling, muddle minded undeciders who no longer know what we want out of life.

I'd like to think that that world is my oyster. We have never had more opportunity and freedom to decide. I just hate to admit that 55 coffee options on a swanky chalkboard confuse rather than empower me. I feel the endless decisions as if I'm suffocating, or at least bleeding. I only know this because I've written about choices for over ten years.

One of my unpaid jobs is to write, so I sit a lot. Drafts become boring and stressful because I don't make any money, so I look for opportunities to procrastinate. I could still choose a baby blue Schwinn, but now I like to walk. I head outside as much as I can without feeling as if I'm wasting time. The exercise clears my mind while I think about the next sentence.

Sometimes I walk just for a word.

I also get outside to wrestle with my thoughts on how I can empower people to become better decision makers. I don't find the right answers staring at social media all day, at least answers that God tries to quietly whisper to my own spirit and hopefully yours. The Bible helps, but so do the walks.

So much of this non-fiction is about a single verse in an old book, but the following pages are also the result of an awareness that happens when our eyes are up walking in the world, instead of gazing down at life on a screen. The text is meant to be a tool to help us step away from the multitude of choices, take a sabbatical from the rat race, and ask ourselves why we do things just because we learn them from our mom.

The walking also makes a space in my mind for powerful metaphors.

On one of my walks, I noticed blood on the sidewalk. It was dark red, dried up, and dribbled all along the pavement. How did the blood get here? Did the sufferer know she was even making a mess?

The thought brought me back to the day I wore white pants to work and a fellow co-worker stopped me to ask what was wrong with my leg. Turned out, I had cut myself shaving in the morning rush to check in by 8:00 A.M., and during my 30 minute commute to Seattle, I bled like a banshee through my linen trouser leg.

I didn't know I was bleeding until someone pointed it out.

Today I want to do for you what my co-worker did for me. The metaphor lies within these questions:

Are you wounded and bleeding from decisions you've made?

Are you choosing from a true place within the unique soul God created when He carefully formed you?

Are your closets and cupboards full, but you have no time?

Are the choices you make today setting you up for freedom or slavery down the road?


This excerpt is from Kim Galgano's redemptive memoir The Chance to Choose. Galgano is the founder of Chicks with Choices ™ and Dudes with Decisions ™, outreach ministries devoted to help people blend faith with everyday decisions and uncover the unique path they were meant to live. You can order The Chance to Choose here.  A portion of the proceeds from The Chance to Choose will be donated to empowering women in Bihar, India via Jesus' Economy.


I Saw Jesus Once

by John Barry

I saw Jesus once.

Bihar, India, 2013. The room was hot and humid. As drops of sweat clouded my eyes, I looked at Kari—she sat at a table on the other side of this large concrete room. Gracefully, Kari moved her hands across the threads wound into newspaper clippings. The clippings were in the shapes of kids clothing; women in the room, one by one, were bringing clippings to her. My friend Biju leaned over and whispered to me: “She is testing them. She was once destitute, but through our empowering women program, she learned to be a seamstress and is now self-sustaining; she teaches these women to be the same.”

Looking into Kari’s eyes as she worked, I realized that this is what Jesus, the carpenter, does. This is Jesus, working through her.

I Know Where Jesus is and Will Be

At the final judgment, when the world as we know it will reach its end, Jesus says he will say:

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:34–40 ESV).

“Lord, when did we see you?” “Here, here, and here,” he essentially says, “among these people, everywhere. That’s where I was and that’s where I am.”

“I am,” God says to Moses, when describing himself (Exod 3:14). Inherent in his self-description is the question, “Then, who am I? Where am I?”

I’m not sure about you, but when Jesus comes again, I want to be found with the impoverished. Because as I understand it, that’s where Jesus is. Kari knows this and lives it: Kari sees Jesus everyday. And when I see Kari, I see Jesus.

The God of Colors and Curry

Kari showed me each of the beautiful creations of these wonderful women, one by one. The colors were as bright as India; the threading as delicate as the balance of a good curry. In the colors, I saw beauty and hope. I saw Jesus turning craft into livelihood, and livelihood into freedom. Here he is, where am I?

I already knew that I wanted to empower women in Bihar, India. I desired to help them take their craft to the next level, so that they could sell products on the western market, generating more income for their families and communities. But it was in this moment that I realized what this really meant.

I had been given the grand vision of Jesus’ Economy. It was my job to be faithful to its ideas, including connecting entrepreneurs in the developing world to global commerce. But I didn’t really know what that vision meant until this moment.

In this moment, I wondered if I really knew Jesus at all. Because looking at the way Kari represented the great carpenter, I wondered if I would ever represent him as well as she did. In the colors and the smell of curry, I saw hope not just for these women, but for my own heart.

Oh, Beating Heart, Learn to Beat Well Again

As I looked at Kari, I thought of Mary the mother of Jesus.

Mary’s response to God was simple:

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV).

In Kari, there is this type of obedience to Jesus. And as a response to Jesus, Kari has chosen not just to rise out of poverty, but to help others do the same. She knows what it means to share the heart of God. She could capitalize on her skills and monopolize, but instead she teaches her skills to others, because that’s what Jesus would do.

Like Kari, Mary didn’t just become Jesus’ disciple; others came along with her.

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25 ESV).

When all of Jesus’ disciples leave, but John, it’s three empowered women at the cross.

Mary’s heart must have been palpitating, as she watched her son suffer and die. As the tears streamed down, she must have felt his pain as only a mother can. And then it happens:

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:26–27 ESV).

In this final moment of Jesus’ life, his concern is for his mother. Is he telling her, “Behold, your son!” (speaking of himself) or is he looking at John the Apostle and saying, “Behold, your son”? Either way, the love of this moment is painful to watch. Jesus knows that Mary will need someone now to care for her. Joseph, Mary’s husband, is likely dead at this point, and as a widow of this period, Mary needs a male to look after her, as she has little hope of survival in her culture otherwise.

Mary, as the first to truly know and understand Jesus, is the one to watch him die. She shows what it means to be a true disciple.

When I examine Mary’s heart against my own, I know that my own heart is lacking. It’s selfish and ugly; there is much growth yet to happen. My heart is not like Mary’s; nor is my heart like Kari’s.

The Beautiful Things Out of Dust

At the foot of the cross, in the dirt, surrounded by enemies, we see what it means to follow Jesus. Coming off the dusty road in Bihar, India, looking into the eyes of Kari, I see beauty. “You make beautiful things out of the dust,” as the band Gungor says, “you [God] make beautiful things out of us.”

God is making beautiful things, in the colors and the curry, and among the impoverished.

I saw Jesus once. Do you see him?


John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


How to Overcome Worry with the Power of the Gospel

by John D. Barry

Gospel work is a process. And there are days when the road ahead feels not just rocky, but downright treacherous. We’ve all been here. It is in these moments that it can feel difficult to go on with Christ’s work. When all feels hopeless, here are some ideas of what you can do.

Consider the Birds of the Air

We often forget just how holistic God’s work is. And God can manage the concerns of his creation, surely he can manage our concerns. Jesus once said:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, and not for your body, what you will wear. Is your life not more than food and your body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky, that they do not sow or reap or gather produce into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? And who among you, by being anxious, is able to add one hour to his life span?” (Matthew 6:25–27 LEB).

Anxiety and worry is easy. Faith is hard. But if we lack faith, we need to look no further than the birds of the air to realize God’s faithfulness. And this isn’t some sort of “easy way out” theology. I am advocating that we actually stop and observe—contemplate, pray, and then act. Notice the order: stop, observe, contemplate, pray, and then act.

Once we visibly observe God’s work, trust in him becomes much easier. In the midst of hopelessness, we must realize that we serve a God who shows us everyday that we can indeed have hope (Hebrews 11:1).

Consider the Flowers of the Field

It can seem a bit cliché at times, but it’s an important reminder: God’s creation is beautifully clothed, so why would he not also care for you? In the same passage we have already looked at, Jesus goes on to say:

“And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they do not toil or spin, but I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. But if God dresses the grass of the field in this way, although it is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not do so much more for you, you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28–30 LEB).

We struggle over our concerns of today, but how often do they merely fade into the background when tomorrow comes. At times, we wonder where God’s provision will come from while we forget what he did yesterday. Think of what God did yesterday—that may change everything about today.

Consider the “Value” Anxiety Brings

Anxiety brings no real value to our lives. Instead, it concerns our mind and occupies our time. It’s meant to distract us from what is real and important—what matters, which is our loving God and the work he wants to do through our hands. Jesus concludes his remarks about worry and anxiety by saying:

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?,’ for the pagans seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, because tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:31–34 LEB).

If we seek first God’s kingdom, everything else fades into the background. As we turn our focus from ourselves to Jesus, we see that our concerns about ourselves were really not that important at all. When we mentally place our fate in God’s hands—which it literally is anyways—our perspective shifts and we realize what’s most important: knowing God and accomplishing his purposes by loving others.

Why Our “Concerns” Truly Matter

It’s so easy to toil from one day to the next without acknowledging what God has done the day before. I make that mistake, and I’m sure you have made that mistake before too. And lest we think this is a small matter, let’s take a moment and contemplate why changing our perspective is so important.

When we change our perspective from our worries and concerns—from food, clothing, materialism, and even our personal goals—and turn our focus towards God’s goals, we have an opportunity to truly change the world. Around our globe there are people who are suffering in poverty, and people who have never had the opportunity to hear the name of Jesus. If our perspective is skewed, we will never find the strength we need to address these issues. We will lack the courage necessary to do God’s work, because we will be paralyzed by fear. But if we have courage, imagine what could happen.

God has incredible things in store for this world. Joining him means partnering with him, and partnering with him means setting our eyes on Jesus.


Join us in providing access to the gospel in Bihar, India, where 101 million people have never heard the name of Jesus. Together, we can renew hope.

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


3 Ways Resurrection Power Can Completely Transform Lives

by John D. Barry

We all have moments of despair, but there are also the days when the sun peeks through the clouds and we stop and say, “You know, God really is here and working among us. I’m not alone at all.” It’s these moments that we have to capitalize on. These feelings of new life, of resurrection, can transform our lives and the lives of others.

1. Resurrection gets us through the rough times.

The last month has been rough for me. I have often felt like everything is going the opposite way it should. But today, I realize that Jesus is here. It’s not that I didn’t believe that before—of course, I did—but today I feel like he is sitting next to me. When I think about Jesus’ presence among us, about his resurrected life, I imagine how Mary Magdalene must have felt upon seeing the resurrected Jesus. John’s Gospel records:

“Mary stood outside at the tomb, weeping. Then, while she was weeping, she bent over to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white, seated one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have put him!’ When she had said these things, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ She thought that it was the gardener, and said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned around and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni’ (which means ‘Teacher’). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene came and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’” (John 20:11–18 LEB).

When you encounter the living Jesus, in the midst of despair, everything changes.

Here’s how my viewpoint recently changed: I just had the wonderful opportunity of announcing that the organization I lead, Jesus’ Economy, will be able to fund two church planters in northern India for another year. For us, reaching this goal was huge and difficult. And honestly, I wasn’t sure if we would make it. But I also couldn’t bear the thought of not living up to our commitment to fund these two church planters for three years.

The prompting of being on mission for Jesus, in proclamation of his resurrection, is what kept me going through this rough patch. And God coming through inspired me.

I believe the resurrected Jesus will keep you going, no matter what you’re going through.

2. Resurrection is self-sacrificial.

I often think of what various holidays are like for those serving Jesus around the world. Our church planters in northern India are living self-sacrificially everyday, spreading the gospel to those who have never heard Jesus’ name. Their lives are living testimonies of who Jesus is. And this puts it all in perspective for me: all of my difficulties do not remotely compare to their hardships. And yet, they get the splendid opportunity of seeing Jesus work everyday—which really makes it all worth it.

Easter resurrection is something real for church planters in northern India: They regularly see lives fully transformed by Jesus. And so, their lives make me wonder how much better and fuller my life would be if I could make the same kind of sacrifice. This makes me think of Jesus’ words just prior to the cross:

“This is my commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12–13 LEB).

Living resurrected life with Jesus means living self-sacrificially. And that changes everything. It makes every difficulty an opportunity to do something good for someone else. It takes the perspective off of us, and puts the perspective on God’s workings in the world.

3. Resurrection is a fresh perspective on the world.

Until this last month, I thought of thankfulness as an attitude, but it’s so much more. Thankfulness is a perspective we look at the world through. As we are grateful for the resurrected life of Christ, and the resurrected life he offers us, our worldview changes.

It’s not about saying, “Oh, I’m so grateful I have all this (whatever this is for you).” Thankfulness is saying, “Oh, I’m so grateful that Jesus came for me (for all of us), and that he is with me now—right here.” The apostle Paul put it this way:

“One person prefers one day over another day, and another person regards every day alike [for the Sabbath and festivals]. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who is intent on the day is intent on it for the Lord, and the one who eats eats for the Lord [in celebration], because he is thankful to God, and the one who does not eat does not eat for the Lord [that is he fasts], and he is thankful to God. For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For Christ died and became alive again for this reason, in order that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living” (Romans 14:5–9 LEB).

Paul is talking about various viewpoints for feasting, celebration, worship services, and fasting among his audience, but this has a direct implication for us. Whatever we do, let us do it for Christ, in thankfulness—in order that he might be Lord over all things in our lives, in every season.

It’s this perspective that perfectly fits with the Easter season, when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection for each of us, for all of us. This season we celebrate Jesus’ resurrected life and his resurrection of our lives.

I’m not saying that this sorts everything out; like all of us, I still get depressed along the way. But today on the other side of this, I feel different—today, I realize that God is much greater than I could ever imagine. Today, I realize that he indeed always comes through—he resurrects our efforts and turns them into something beautiful.


John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


4 Critical Reasons Christians Must Care about Justice

At times, justice becomes a bit of a catchphrase, sadly even a cliché. Yet it’s one of the most important concepts we can understand and live out. I have seen injustice with my own eyes, and each day the news tells each of us of acts of injustice. But rather than feel defeat, let’s stand up, take action, and do something about it. Here are four ways justice should be the cry of today’s Christian.

1. Jesus experienced injustice, so we would not experience judgment.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus taking on our pain and anguish—and on the cross, we see him taking on our sin. Think about these four things Jesus says and prays in the Garden:

“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

“My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will must be done” (Matthew 26:36–46 LEB).

It is here that we see the man—Jesus. It is here that we find one who walks alongside the downtrodden, the hurting, the poor, the outsider, the refugee, the sinner—all the way to the cross. Here we find the one who walks alongside all of us, all the way to the cross. Here we see God enfolding, through Jesus, all people into his kingdom. Jesus does God’s will, so that we can have life.

In the garden, Jesus asks if the cup can be removed from him; but not his will, but God the Father’s be done. Jesus realizes the burden he is about to carry. This burden is described in Isaiah (over 500 years before Jesus) as:

“By a restraint of justice, [the servant] was taken away and with his generation.

Who could have mused that [the servant] would be cut off from the land of the living? Marked for the transgression of my people.

And [Yahweh] set his grave with the wicked, and [the servant] was with the rich in his death, although [the servant] had done no wrong, and there was no deceit in his mouth

Yet Yahweh was pleased to crush [the servant]; he afflicted him (with sickness). If [Zion] places [the servant’s] life a guilt offering, [the servant] will see offspring, [the servant] will prolong days. And the will of Yahweh is in [the servant’s] hand, it will succeed. Out of trouble of his life [the servant] will see; [the servant] will be satisfied by his knowledge.

[Yahweh says,] ‘My righteous servant will bring justice to many and he will bear their iniquities’ ” (Isaiah 53:8–11, my translation).

As painful as it is, it pleased Yahweh that Jesus should go to the cross, for it is in this that God found not just ultimate obedience, but also the bridging of humanity with himself. The judgment of God for our wrongdoings was satisfied. Once again, we were put into right relationship with God.

It is in Jesus that we find the refugee on the cross. Here we find the guilt offering for all of our wrongs. Here we find one who carries our sin, bears our iniquities, and intercedes for transgressors. Here we find a restraint of justice bringing justice to those who do not deserve it.

But what will we do with this justice, with this freedom?

2. Injustice is a threat to justice everywhere.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., in his work from Birmingham Jail. And it is injustice that we see today—all over our planet.

Near the end of his life, Martin Luther King, Jr., was working to bring equality by creating jobs. And yet, so much of the world still lacks jobs, because we haven’t completed the task. This is injustice.

We look around the world and we also see those who are oppressed—who lack spiritual and religious freedom, who lack knowledge of Jesus. This too is an injustice.

We must stand up, lift up, and rise up—to fight these injustices, boldly proclaiming that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

3. A lack of access to jobs and the basics of life is injustice.

We can read Jesus’ call to care for the “least of these” in Matthew 25:37–40 as a direct preface and parallel to what he will do on the cross. Jesus went to the cross to make us who do not deserve to be right before God, made right. And just before doing so, he calls us to live this message—noting for us that whether or not we did will be a primary question when he one day returns to earth.

So when we look around our world, and see a lack of access to basic healthcare, clean water, and jobs—like I have seen in the impoverished region of Bihar, India—we know that we must take action.

Jesus cries out for this. This is the Christian cry. And it is my personal cry, as I am personally broken for the hurting that I know in Bihar—for those who have placed their hands in my hands and cried out to God with me for justice.

4. A lack of access to the gospel is injustice.

We can also read the final words of Matthew’s Gospel, spoken by Jesus, as a commission based on his ministry in life, on the cross, and in his resurrection. And it’s a commission of action. Jesus says:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20 LEB).

Yet, there are still millions of people who have not heard Jesus’ name—again, this is the case in Bihar, India. In Bihar, there are 101 Million people who have never heard the name of Jesus. This, again, is an injustice. All people deserve the chance to have access to the gospel.

The question becomes for each of us: What will we do about it? Why are we content with the knowledge of God, but not the actions of God? When will justice become part of the gospel? Because in actuality—we’re just not living it.

Do not walk away with guilt; walk away inspired to take action. Let’s continue the work of Jesus, the apostles, the early church fathers, and people like Martin Luther King, Jr. Let’s mark this season as the one everything changed, and we began to renew our world again with Christ, by his power and grace.


John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


5 Exciting Ways Jesus is with You Always

by John D. Barry, CEO of Jesus’ Economy

If Jesus seems distant to you, you are not alone. For many, Jesus is abstract. He is like that piece of modern art you just don’t get and have trouble relating to. But this is not the Jesus in the gospels nor of early church tradition. Jesus is right here, right now—and that idea will renew your life.

1. Jesus is indeed fully human and fully God—that changes everything.

In the moment when God becomes flesh, God is with us in a more profound way than ever before. Jesus took on the form of a person in order to forever bond the spiritual and physical—to bridge the gap sin had created.

“ ‘Behold, the virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ ” (Matthew 1:23 LEB)

And this changes everything, right here, right now. If God is with us, then what can stand in opposition (Romans 8:37–39)? God is dwelling among us:

“And the Word became flesh and took up residence among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 LEB)

The word used here for “took up residence” (often translated as “dwelt among us”) has the connotation of “setting up his tent.” Jesus becomes a refugee; right here on earth. Like all the refuges around our planet, Jesus built a tent; his tent was flesh.

So often we profess Jesus as Lord, as God, but we forget his humanness in the process. It was his humanity that allowed for Jesus to be our suffering servant (Isaiah 53:10–12). And it is his humanity that allows for him to directly relate to us (Hebrews 2:10–18).

This is why the early church fathers so adamantly opposed a belief known as Docetism—the idea that Jesus was not a real person but instead only spirit (or God). Yet, today, we often act like Jesus is somehow far away—that he is only spirit. Let’s reclaim him as suffering servant too—as God and human among us.

2. Jesus is seen in the faces of the hurting and oppressed.

Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he proclaims his purposes by quoting the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to send out in freedom those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18–19 LEB)

I see the face of Jesus crying out to me in the faces of my hurting friends—like those I know living in poverty in Bihar, India. He cries out the same cry that he did then: “freedom—physical and spiritual freedom. Work alongside me to bring renewal.” This is profoundly seen when Jesus explains to his disciples that at the end of all things the following will happen:

“Then the righteous will answer [the King, Jesus], saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you as a guest, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ And the king [Jesus] will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.’ ” (Matthew 25:37–40 LEB)

Jesus tells us, when we serve the hurting, we serve him: We see him. I have held the hands of the hurting Jesus mentions and heard them cry out prayers to God for redemption. I have felt their pain. I have seen Jesus stand alongside them in their anguish, but I have also felt the burden of the great needs of our generation in the process. Jesus is among the hurting and the oppressed. The question is will we also be?

3. Jesus is sitting beside you—and can be in you—through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus sitting beside you, in conversation—it’s a wonderful picture and one that a dear friend tells of often. I long to feel that close to Jesus. To picture him there, talking with me. And this is precisely what Jesus wants. This is the type of relationship he envisions through the Holy Spirit in us. Near the end of his time on earth, Jesus tells his disciples:

“But when he—the Spirit of truth—comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak from himself, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will proclaim to you the things to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and will proclaim it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he takes from what is mine and will proclaim it to you.” (John 16:13–15 LEB)

There is a direct connection here between the Holy Spirit’s relationship within the Trinity, and our relationship with Jesus and God the Father. May we embrace the idea of Jesus as friend, sitting beside us through the work of the Holy Spirit among us and in us. It is through the Holy Spirit that renewal is brought to our lives. And it is the Holy Spirit that guides the process of bringing renewal to the world.

4. Jesus is there when we break bread together in his name.

After his resurrection, Jesus shows up on a road, walking with two disciples. At first, they don’t recognize him (Luke 24:20). The disciples tell Jesus of all the events that have occurred with the crucifixion and the subsequent account of his resurrection. But despite Jesus’ words about the necessity of his death, according to “the Prophets,” they still don’t recognize him (Luke 24:25–26). They hear, but do not yet believe. But then this happens:

“When [Jesus] reclined at the table with them, he took the bread and gave thanks, and after breaking it, he gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he became invisible to them. And they said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?’ ” (Luke 24:30–32 LEB)

It is in the meal, and likely in the act of remembering Jesus through the Eucharist, that the disciples see him, as he is. Their hearts may have burned, but this is when their eyes are opened. Hospitality, blessing, a focus on Jesus’ sacrificial act—this is how we see him.

5. Jesus is in the movement to bring the gospel to the unreached.

Jesus, as a person and as our God, is not merely an idea. We must take action. Jesus wants to offer physical healing to our generation—to our earth—and we have the blessing of being able to be part of it. But the poverty of our world runs beyond what can be seen; it is also spiritual.

I have seen with my own eyes the desperate need for the good news of Jesus in unreached places, like Bihar, India. I also know the facts—that only 0.3% of the Church’s resources are allocated to areas where the Church is not. The idea of Jesus among us, in us—right here, right now—is also an urgent cry to stand up, lift up, and take action. To bring the gospel where it is not accessible.

Matthew’s Gospel records that after Jesus’ resurrection, he met his eleven remaining apostles and said to them:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20 LEB)

Let us be the generation that brings God with us to every nation, to the end of the earth. Let us live as if Jesus is sitting beside us, right here in it all—because he is. He is right here. What will you do with that?


John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


3 Spiritual Lessons from Our Annual Report

by John D. Barry

It's always surreal to review your past year. There is part of you that feels good about your accomplishments and part of you that wishes more goodness would have occurred. I recently experienced these emotions when launching the 2014 Annual Report for Jesus' Economy. Here are some spiritual lessons I learned through my reflections.

Hindsight is Always Hindsight

Hindsight offers so much clarity that the process does not. When I look at some of the bigger decisions Jesus' Economy made in 2014, I only wish we had made those shifts earlier. I have to remind myself that I can only have that emotion in hindsight. In realtime, ideas come together slowly: We need input and discussion to draw wise conclusions, and much prayer. Rather than wishing for changes sooner, we should be glad that we were open to changes when we were.

This makes me think of James' words: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him ... let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:5, 19).

We Must Be Truly Grateful for What God Did

I always want to do more and be more, and in the process, I easily forget to thank God for what he has done. Near the end of assembling our annual report, I began going back through it and emphasizing the work of God. What happened through Jesus' Economy in 2014 is nothing short of a miracle, and I need to give God credit for it. It was God who came through for us, to make his work happen. We are merely stewards of this effort. When you see all the work put together in one picture, like an annual report, this becomes obvious. Thus, I wonder if this is a process we should apply to our lives in general. If we were to review regularly, would we more easily see God at work and be grateful for it?

Simply put: There is no value in wishing for more in retrospect. There is only value in being grateful for our "portion" and what God has done with it. This is the lesson of the book of Ecclesiastes. We should be grateful for growth, but also grateful for sustainability. Another way to put it: Growth too fast makes the heart grow weary. We should be grateful for sustainability, not longing after growth that is overly ambitious. For that type of growth will not last.

Reflecting on the Past Should Make You Dream

Reflecting on this past year has made me dream about all the great things that could be, and all the incredible work that I want to see God do. Our dreams must fold into God's dreams (the lesson of Ecclesiastes 5:1–7), but once we're certain of God's dreams, we should pray and work to make those dreams real (Matt 7:7–11).

Once again, simply put: We should celebrate the victories of God and then act on what we believe he wants to do next. And along the way, we should pray, pray, and then pray again.

I am thankful for these lessons. They profoundly remind me that all of us merely steward God's work in the world. We are all instruments that God is using to play his beautiful song. Let's dream with him and sing with him.


John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


The Tragedy of Abuse and Jesus' Response

By Kriselle Dawson

“Lena died!” The words sent a chill down my spine. Lena was Norris’ sister. This was a workday in Lae, Papua New Guinea, but Norris, my haus meri (maid), had just come to explain she wouldn't be working. As conversation flowed in Tok Pisin (the common trade language of Papua New Guinea) between Norris and my guard, I was relieved to learn that Lena hadn’t died as I understand the term, but rather had been rendered unconscious and transported to a hospital. As the days and years passed by, I wondered if Lena would have preferred to have died than to continue in her life of abuse.

On this particular occasion, her husband’s abuse left her hospitalized for quite a few days, and it was not an isolated incident. On another occasion he threw a table at her while screaming, “I wish you would just die.” Finally, she mustered up the courage to go to the authorities and report her husband’s abuse. I typed her statutory declaration for her and shed more than a few tears when, after listing her husbands abuses, she wrote, “I just want to die.” She now had the courage to escape the situation, and had made the right move, but desperately needed hope.

Lena's story reminds me of another, albeit very different, encounter between a man and a woman: a story in John 8:1–11. In this story, we see how Jesus treats a woman who an entire mob of men wanted to stone. Jesus doesn't immediately answer the woman’s accusers, but rather stoops to write with his finger in the sand. I can just imagine the seething, angry, self-righteous men straining to see what on earth Jesus was doing. Then Jesus stands up and speaks: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the mob slinks away until only Jesus is left with the trembling, cowering woman.

Jesus speaks to the woman, still terrified and perhaps crouched on the ground awaiting the impact of the first stone. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Slowly, hesitantly, she looks up and rises to her feet. “No one, Lord,” comes her reply—relief, hope, and joy returning to her. Tenderly Jesus allays her final fear, “Neither do I condemn you,” and then he admonishes her, “Go, and from now on sin no more.”

When Jesus addresses the woman in the story there is no sarcasm in his voice, nothing demeaning about the way he spoke to her, and, best of all, no abuse. Jesus’ gentleness and kindness stands out as being completely different from the attitude and behavior of every other man in the story. This is the kind of behavior toward women that we need to emulate and that we need to foster in other men. This story gives Lena, and others like her, hope.


Note: The earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of John do not include John 8:1–11, nonetheless, it is beneficial for teaching and discipleship, as this article demonstrates.

Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.


The Great Challenge of the Gospel

By John D. Barry

In Bihar, India church planters are facing a great challenge. There are millions of people who have never even heard the name of Jesus. I met over a dozen church planters when in Bihar—they changed my life. They were like meeting Saint Paul, over and over again.

One church planter said: “I lead six churches in five villages and three small groups. I also oversee five Bible studies.” He then went on to list half a dozen community development programs he leads, all of which empower people in rural villages. I was flabbergasted.

Another said: “We’re reaching out to villages who have never heard the name of Jesus” and “The message is empowering people—they’re being healed and finding a new life.”

“There are women who are finding hope again for themselves and their children in the gospel of Jesus,” said yet another church planter. “They’re seeing that Jesus can change their lives for the better and embracing the gospel.”

The Renewal Jesus Offers

The good news of Jesus is renewing lives in Bihar, India. Stories like these are just a few of hundreds. But these questions don’t just motivate me; they convict me.

When you meet a church planter who has given up everything to provide others access to the gospel, you suddenly realize that you can spend your entire life studying the Bible and not understand Jesus. Am I willing to give what these church planters give? Am I willing to live as Saint Paul lived, like they are?

What does the process of making a complete commitment to providing access to the gospel look like? For Paul, it was his direct experience with Jesus (Acts 9), but it was also more. Acts tells this story:

"Now there were prophets and teachers in Antioch in the church that was there: Barnabas, and Simeon (who was called Niger), and Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen (a close friend of Herod the tetrarch), and Saul. And while they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart now for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, after they had fasted and prayed and placed their hands on them, they sent them away" (Acts 13:1–3).

For Paul, his decision to provide others with access to the gospel began with a personal experience, but then moved to a group decision. It also, most importantly, involved the direct words of the Holy Spirit. Paul knew he was called, but he waits for this moment to commit all of his time to it. God was working in Paul's life the entire time, but this moment marked his full-time commitment.

Admitting to Yourself the Truth

Being around church planters in Bihar made me admit to myself that I am not as hardworking for Jesus as I thought I was, and furthermore that I actually know very little about what it means to follow Jesus. I don’t say this to be self-depreciating—in some kind of false humility; I actually mean it. Meeting church planters in Bihar, India, is like meeting people who lived like Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy. And meeting those kinds of people will change you.

My time in Bihar made me realize, as we all should—that no matter what our calling is—that we have a long ways to go. And that Jesus wants to work on our hearts to get us where we need to be. No matter what our specific calling, he will use it for his glory, but we must first be willing to admit our weaknesses and be used by him (Phil 4:12–14). We must also wait on God's precise timing, as Paul and Barnabas did.

What Are You Willing to Give?

When Paul decided to pursue a global ministry, he was giving up other parts of life for Jesus. Nonetheless, Paul—and likewise the church planters in Bihar—made the decision to share about Jesus and the incredible life he offers. They committed their lives to providing access to the gospel and alleviating poverty.

No matter what your precise calling is, Christ wants to renew your life, for the better. And along the way, during the discernment process, he will be with you.


We are actively working to renew Bihar, India through church planting: Please join us. For just $226, you can support a church planter for a month. You can help people hear the name of Jesus for the first time.

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.


Loving Like Jesus and Laying down Our Lives

By Kriselle Dawson

It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Papua New Guinea. The sun was shining, the birds sweetly singing, the dew was glistening on the long, green grass. My neighbors and two visiting men from Australia were driving to a church school about forty-five minutes out of Lae, Papua New Guinea. Along the way they stopped to take photos and to chat with the locals at a bridge, and then again at a market.

Suddenly, as they were getting back into the car, three men wielding guns appeared. They tried to force the driver from the car. One of the visiting men, an aged pastor, decided he would take his chances outside of the car and did not get in. Meanwhile, the driver managed to deftly maneuver the car and escape the clutches of the gunman. Then, realizing that one of his passengers had failed to get in and that the bandits (known locally as ‘raskols’) were becoming interested in this man, he began to aggressively drive his car at the gunmen, trying to scare them off. Shots were fired at his car, damaging the bonnet and grazing the windshield.

In the midst of all this chaos, one brave local woman took hold of the vulnerable, elderly pastor, and ushered him hastily to her humble home. Hiding him in her bedroom she went outside with intentions to guard his life with hers.

Fortunately, it never came to that. The gunmen were chased away by my neighbor's car, their elderly friend was found, and they were all able to continue their journey, shaken by the experience, but praising God that their lives had been spared.

Sacrificing Everything for a Stranger

Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” This woman risked her very life to protect someone she did not even know.

How much love do you and I show in our day-to-day lives? Granting an economical smile to the one serving you in a store? Holding a door open for an elderly lady? Sending flowers to your mother on Mother's Day? Giving a hug to a grieving friend?

Jesus gave us a far more revolutionary concept of love. He says, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). He also says, “but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

God's perfect way of love goes completely against everything that feels natural as a human. Jesus loved the condemned. Jesus loved the tax collectors. Jesus loved the Samaritans. Jesus loved the thief on the cross. Jesus loved the Roman soldiers who crucified hm. Jesus loved Judas.

Jesus Loved Us First

Strangely enough, writing the words, “Jesus loved Judas,” seem to prompt one more phrase.

“Jesus loves me.” 

I, too, have screwed up, I have tried to force the hand of the Lord (as did Judas), I have denied the Lord—sometimes by my poor choices, and sometimes by missing opportunities to share Him with another. Yet somehow, with all these failings, Jesus still loves me and asks me to show that same kind of love to others. 

“ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8a)

I pray that you and I will be transformed into Jesus-like loving Christians who love others as Jesus first loved us, and who are prepared to put our lives on the line for another—even for a complete stranger.


Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.


What Having "Faith Like a Child" Really Means

By Kriselle Dawson

As I mentioned in a previous article, my guard in Papua New Guinea once gave a delightful little pigeon to my daughter as a gift of gratitude. Unfortunately, things didn't always go smoothly for poor little Nutmeat (so named by my three year old). 

After we had had Nutmeat for a few months, we noticed her dancing about on one foot and refusing to stand on the other foot at all. A closer inspection revealed a broken leg. To this day we don't know how Nutmeat's leg got broken. Fortunately, a few days later we had visitors who knew a bit about pigeons. Using matchsticks and tape they splinted his tiny little leg, and things were looking up for her. 

Then one morning before getting breakfast, I looked out the window and saw that Nutmeat's cage (more of an aviary by now) was empty and there was a little grey bundle lying on the grass. My heart in my throat I ran outside to see what had happened. There lay Nutmeat, chewed up, spat out, and more dead than alive. During the night a cat must have bent the wire of his cage and attacked him. With the broken leg, Nutmeat would have been sleeping on the floor of the cage, instead of on her usual perch.

Bringing Our Burdens To Jesus 

While I was rushing around trying to figure out the best way to fix the bird (one way or another), I saw my young daughter and visiting friend (three and four years old) kneel down in the lounge room to pray to their friend Jesus—that he would heal poor, helpless Nutmeat. I can imagine that there might have been tears in Jesus’ eyes when he heard their prayer—tears of sorrow for the pain in their hearts, and tears of joy that these precious little children had immediately brought their burden to him.

Jesus says in Luke 18:17, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 

Oh, to have the faith of a child! If only I too would fall on my knees before Jesus instead of trying to tackle all of life's challenges on my own. After all, he knows the end from the beginning, his wisdoms exceeds all others, his power is infinite, and his desire is for our ultimate good. Philippians 4:6–7 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

I am sure you are keen to learn how God answered the prayers of his two precious children. Well, Nutmeat made a full recovery within just a few short weeks, going on to live with us for about another eighteen months. Just like he was in the biblical days, God is still in the prayer answering business.

As we live for God’s kingdom, let us all have faith like children. Let us bring our prayers and petitions to him in faith.


Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.


A Little Pigeon and the Love of God

By Kriselle Dawson

My family was once given a very unusual gift. When my family was in Papua New Guinea, our guard and his family had been struggling financially and had been renting a place underneath a friend's house. Unfortunately, someone upstairs left the kerosene lantern burning, and by some accident the house had caught ablaze. 

Although no one was injured, my guard's family lost all their possessions in the fire. We wondered how we could help. In the end we decided to give him kitchenware, bedding, and food. He was very appreciative and happily took the goods home with him to his new abode.

A couple days later on a cool, wet morning there was a knock at the door. Standing there was our guard, and in his hand was a small makeshift wire cage holding the most forlorn looking young pigeon I have ever seen. It was wet, bedraggled, and frightened. Our guard had caught it when it flew (or fell) into his yard. He had decided to give the bird to give us as a pet for our three-year-old daughter, as a gesture of gratitude for the gift we had given his family.

To say I was dumbfounded would be to put it mildly. I had had no intention of owning more pets (we already had two dogs). I had no idea what diseases this strange bird might be carrying. But what could I say? My guard was standing there smiling, arm extended to hand me his gift of appreciation. I thanked him profusely and our family grew by one bird.

Nutmeat (so named by my three year old) became a fabulous pet. It was very tame. It would follow my daughter around the yard when she played. It would climb the ladder to sit on the trampoline mat while my daughter jumped (why, I do not know). It would sit on the top of the swing set while my daughter played on the swings. It would chew on the chalk while my daughter decorated our driveway with artwork. It even surprised us one Easter by laying us two little eggs! Little did I know how invaluable a gift my guard was giving me when he first handed me that poor, wretched little pigeon.

Showing Compassion to Those in Need

Have you ever wondered how best to offer charity while respecting the dignity and culture of the recipients of your compassion? I certainly have. I think the two most important lessons I learned from this experience are 1) learn and experience a culture before indiscriminately handing out gifts, and 2) most people don't simply want a handout, but would prefer to either contribute or reciprocate in some way. 

For example, instead of donating a toilet block and having it constructed by a fly-and-build team, why not donate the materials and have the community provide the labor? Rather than handing out money to the impoverished, why not buy their handcrafts? It was so tempting to say, “No, thank you, you keep the bird,” but in accepting and loving my guard's gift, he didn't have to see himself as a helpless charity case, but rather as a valuable contributor to the mutually beneficial relationship between his family and mine.

However you decide to assist the impoverished, remember the counsel of 1 John 3:17, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”


Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.