THE GAMBIA DOOR
From the time that Randy developed a relationship with Evangelical Missions in Nigeria, God has opened one door after another. The training has spread from Nigeria to Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia, Cameroon, Ghana, and soon into other neighboring countries. Randy and Pat were in The Gambia, May 2ndto the 5th, and this is a short report of their visit.
“Earlier this year, the EMS leader was kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria and tortured daily for four months. By God’s grace he fought his way to freedom just before they planned on killing him. Even though he is young in years, he has much wisdom and passion in his leading the work in The Gambia. We trained around 40 leaders who embraced a biblical model for missions and discipleship. God opened the door for us to print books there, and we plan to return for graduations in November. Please pray for this new work of God.”
Please pray for this EMS leader. We are witnessing God work miracles for the sake of Jesus’ name and the gospel that brings salvation to all who believe (Titus 2:11). We are so thankful that you can be part of this vast work that has eternal fruit!
WORK IN MALAYSIA REVIVED
The long months of COVID hindered trips to S. E. Asia, but Randy was able to return April 20th to May 1st. These return visits remind us that God has been working even when we could not be there. HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL! Randy gives the following report:
“Church-planting movements require special leaders, and Malaysia has many with a passion for expansion of the gospel. Acts Generation Church is focused on raising up new leaders with an emphasis on home groups, and Cornerstone Immnauel, the new church plant, is pursuing how to reach out and make disciples in the marketplace. Each day I interacted with these two churches, they were filled with personal leadership development and training. Please keep them in your prayers, and I hope to visit them again later this year.”
What an encouragement! As you can see from the picture above, there is excitement in their hearts and a passion to move forward in making disciples of others who follow Jesus.
YOUNG DISCIPLES ARE MADE
Yesterday was a very special time for David in Nicaragua. He spent time preparing a gathering of persons who would be really interested and committed to teach children and young people God’s Word by using the Spanish God’s Plan for Young Disciples. Here is the report he sent us.
“Today was a great day for Sunday School teacher training. We had representation from five churches, and all the teachers have already completed the Spanish manual, God's Plan for His Disciples. This was a requirement. We had a time of prayer, thanking God for NFI explaining the manuals and providing them to us.”
This dear Brother has proven himself faithful, not only in Nicaragua but also in El Salvador. He has a heart for multiplying disciples and establishing them and churches on the foundation of God’s Word. Please be praying on a regular basis for this work as it expands. At the rate these books are being used in Central and South America, printing more books will be required. If you are interested in helping, go to the “SUPPORT” page and see our contact information.
Any follower of Jesus, and particularly anyone who enjoys times of intimacy with Him, must be very careful to guard this with diligence. It is often the unexpected events or distractions that get us away from the habit and commitment of spending time with the Lord.
J. Oswald Sanders refers to “unguarded moments” in David’s life, even though Psalm 89:20 and 1 Samuel 13:14 are combined in Acts 13:22, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” After one of those “unguarded moments,” David had to ask God for mercy, cleansing, and restoration.
As with David, there may be serious consequences because of sin that we allow to steal our intimacy with God. Thanks to His amazing grace, there is forgiveness and closeness can be restored. Until that happens, a void enters our hearts and needs immediate attention. Run back to God’s presence and ask Him to give genuine repentance so you can receive His forgiveness.
It seems that shocking news bombards our minds daily. Some of the news is to be expected because we live in a fallen world, and we should expect that ungodly people do and say things that are counter to God’s Word. These make us realize that the true gospel has not reached their heart and regenerated the Adamic nature.
Then there is news that hits our ears of those who “claim” to be followers of Jesus and either condone or cover up sin thinking no one will know or hold them accountable. The hypocrisy of this is unconscionable! “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).
There is another problem which I have observed but did not think it was as serious as the article I read today reveals. Joshua Arnold with Family Research Council in Spiritual Shepherds not Flocking to the Word of God, states from current research that only 37% of Christian pastors hold to a biblical worldview, and only 51% of evangelical pastors. What is the root of this problem?
Someone has said, “The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.” In the heart of those who do not hold to a biblical view of anything is because the Bible, the inerrant Word of God, holds no authority over the heart and mind. This is at the core of our ministry; to call the Church back to the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Without these, we have no anchor for our faith and our ministry is powerless.
TEARS OF GRIEF
Most of us are still trying to grasp the awful loss of life at the Uvalde, Tx, Elementary School. How do we comfort parents and families who lose children and loved one?
In a very difficult time, David wrote, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Many feel crushed. God sent His Son to bring salvation for all. It is the greatest comfort to know that through faith in Jesus, we can receive comfort that is greater than our loss. He “bore our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4).
When Jesus visited a family that lost a precious brother, He pointed the sisters to what they could find in Himself. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:25–26).
A day is coming when Jesus “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Let us offer this gospel to those who are hurting.
TEARS OF JOY!
A few days ago, I received a short video from a brother who has worked with us for many years in Ecuador. He had been sharing the gospel with a couple that had followed a false religion for some time. At last, the light broke through the darkness, they received salvation in Jesus, and wanted to be baptized in open commitment to the Lord Jesus as Savior.
Through tears of joy, they confessed Jesus was their Lord!
This news reminded me of Jesus’ words, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).
I can just imagine the celebration in heaven at the moment this couple accepted the Lord Jesus and identified with him in baptism. It’s not just them, but every person on earth who passes from death to life in Christ receives the same response in the courts of glory.
If we are too bowed down with events on earth, we will miss the extraordinary celebrations in heaven. These moments help keep our perspective clear and our hearts in the right direction.
THIS SATURDAY IN NICARAGUA
As so often happens, we receive news that we cannot keep to ourselves. Yesterday we heard from our “Timothy” in Nicaragua that 25 people from 5 different churches signed up for a workshop on how to use God’s Plan for Young Disciples. They are persons who have already completed God’s Plan for His Disciples. This workshop will be held on Saturday, May 28th.
This is part of our goal and philosophy of ministry. We do not tell those we train exactly how to take what they learn and pass it on to others. As we noted in the last three days, we trust the Holy Spirit to work out the details that make discipling effective in their particular culture. This has been true with our Brother in Nicaragua. He has gone “out and preached the gospel everywhere, while the Lord worked with” him (Mark 16:20).
Will you join us in praying for this special event Saturday (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Ask that our Brother and those he teaches be filled with the Holy Spirit, so this training begins a movement of God among the younger generation. When we hear the results, we will pass them on to you.
FINAL STEPS - A LASTING WORK
I will wrap up the blogs on Paul’s method of discipling and establishing churches. His success speaks for itself, but he was right when he wrote to Corinth and said, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it” (1 Corinthians 3:10). Let’s look at the last four steps in his method in Acts 14:21-23.
What you do not see in these verses is that this disciple-making and church planting took place over about three to four months, NOT YEARS! “Let each one take care how he builds upon it (the foundation)” (1 Corinthians 3:10).
ESSENTIAL STEPS IN PAUL'S METHOD
Yesterday I introduced Paul’s method of making disciples. Now we need to look at each step.
1. They preached the gospel in the power of the Spirit. Without this, we have not even started to fulfill Jesus’ command to the Church.
2. Those who received the gospel were immediately made disciples - obedient followers of Jesus. Notice the link with Mt. 28:20, “teaching them to observe (obey) ALL that I commanded you.” That is NOT SELECTIVE TEACHING OR OBEDIENCE! To make a disciple is to make an obedient follower of Jesus.
3.Then they left that place and went to the next city. New believers were entrusted to the Spirit who gave them new birth. Do you think the Holy Spirit is able to follow-up on His own work? I believe we preachers and teachers often hinder the Spirit because we think we must force God to do His work our way. Not Paul! The same Spirit that worked in him, he trusted to work in new converts. So must we! This is part of “making many disciples.”
4.The next major step in this process was that Paul and Barnabas returned to the places where they had made disciples for a specific purpose. Follow-up was crucial to establishing strong disciples. We face a major problem here in the western world. We are too busy for discipling, either making disciples or being discipled! That comes from wrong priorities.
Not that I want to end this blog on a negative note, but we need to ask God to get us back to a biblical model. More tomorrow.
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