Here is a quote from the brother in Tanzania that is worth pondering: “The secret to the tremendous impact and of the early church was the "Obedience and relying on spiritual guidance." The Church's mission was entirely dependent on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles had their mission strategies but they didn't allow their strategies (Curriculum) be the master of the Mission of God. The strategies were the servants of the Mission of God. The strategy must be spiritually guided.” But is this really happening?
In a country of 54 million with 158 people groups, why are 30 still unreached with the gospel? It should greatly humble us that with 45.4% professing Christians there, this is still be the number of unreached. Tanzania has been labeled as “an island of peace” among many other troubled nations. It seems that they have caught the same disease we have here in America – complacency!
Should we have the same urgency of Peter? “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.” (2 Peter 1:13–14). Please pray! Our God will hear!
In February of this year, we received an email from “Remember” recommending that we connect with a brother in Southern Sudan. After many emails and planning, God’s Plan for His Church was launched in May to about 20 pastors. They very quickly grasped the principles of the Book of Acts and Paul’s method of planting and establishing churches. We had planned the follow-up training in September, but due to increased conflict, we are prevented from returning.
But God is never stopped, and we believe that the principles of God’s Word when put into practice, make anyone unstoppable in spreading the gospel and establishing the church. God provided a way around the obstacle so that our vision would expand to five other countries. Our priority is to equip these men so they fulfill their passion to launch church planters out into the Muslim world with the light of Jesus and a strategy built on the solid Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
URGENT PRAYER: As this key brother attends the meeting in Nairobi, pray that God will further equip and plant a clear vision in him of how this training can be carried on without us in the war-torn country of Sudan. He carries a big burden for his own people and those who are doing the Lord’s work. He needs you and me to stand with him in prayer so God will remove all obstacles.
It has been amazing how God has opened a door of opportunity with a dear brother in Liberia. His last comment to us about the training was; “I discuss with some of the leaders about “God's Plan for His Church” and it is true to biblical principals in planting churches. Many of those church leaders express their desire to acquire the training in the near time.”
With a population of 4,390,000, 40 people groups and 5 (or 12.5%) of them unreached with the gospel, there is still work to be done. Since the Ebola outbreak is under control and civil conflicts have been for the most part resolved, there is a new resolve with Christian leaders to spreading the gospel. Please pray that our training will equip leaders for this purpose. Especially hold up this brother for a prepared heart and ability to carry the spiritual vision home to others.
Thank you for praying for the opportunity to introduce God’s Plan for His Church on September 19 to 22, 2016 to seven leaders from six countries. It is no mistake that God has arranged our meeting in Nairobi. For a long time, Kenya has been on the mind and heart of God through His missionaries. In 1856, the influence of David Livingston planted seeds of the gospel and gave new impetus not only to the missionary cause, but also to colonization. Christian explorers were more concerned about opening up opportunities for evangelization. By the early 1900’s, many mission organizations launched efforts to spread the gospel in this land.
The influence of this gospel history has resulted in approximately 55% of the current population of about 44.5 million people, who are Christian. This means that Kenya can become a launching pad for evangelism to all the unreached people groups of Africa. As we equip leaders with the biblical tools for evangelizing, church planting and leadership, we ask that you stand with us in prayer. Any movement of God that is sustained is because God’s people give themselves to fervent prayer.
We want to see all the nations (ethnos – people groups) reached with the gospel quickly!
As I write this blog, I feel very lost for words to express how excited we are as God has given us an opportunity on September 19 to 22, 2016. There are too many details to recount here, but just to say that plans we had made to return to Southern Sudan did not work out because of fighting between factions. God has something better and bigger in mind.
We began by inviting one or two to meet us in Nairobi, Kenya for an introduction of God’s Plan for His Church. As the days passed by, it became evident that God wanted us to invite several others from different African countries to attend. With such short notice, we saw miracles take place and arrangements are in their final stages. We have seven coming from six countries who we believe will receive this training and passionately take what they learn back home, finish the lesson study, and become faithful “Timothy’s” in their nations.
PRAYER FOR THIS EVENT – COUNTRIES INVOLVED:
In 1 Samuel 17:38-40, there are observations we need to make that have direct application to our times. In submitting to the authority in Saul as king, David puts on the armor that Saul gave him. Since it was the first time David had worn such an outfit, his mind was in a testing mode. Even though the armor came from his superior, he is not assuming it is the right thing for this battle. David is wise in saying, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them” (17:39). This is a very important principle. Any man of God who is walking in intimacy with the Lord in the power of the Spirit knows that we first prove the armor of truth in ourselves in the presence of God, as David did, not in public display.
There has been a push in the last sixty years to introduce new methods into the church to do the work of God and, for the most part, they have only produced weak, man-made results. God is looking for persons to abide by the proven Word of God to accomplish God’s work.
The very first battle Paul faced in the church was those who introduced a “different gospel…not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-7, also Acts 15:1-35). As David stood by the armor and skills God gave him with a sling and stone, so Paul stood by the gospel he had always preached from the day of his conversion. It was the pure gospel because it came to Paul “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:12). It did not come from man, i.e., prominent leaders, his education or organizations.
Success and victory in our personal lives and ministry is not dependent on the latest trend or program, but on a deep, personal walk with the Lord. David and Paul thrived on their relationship with the Lord and the armor He provided (Ephesians 6:10-20). So can we!
“When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles”” (Acts 18:5–6).
This is an important consideration in mission work. Let me quickly add that rejection may not just result from proclaiming the gospel, as much rejection comes from “Christians” when they are presented a biblical model of ministry. In either case, rejection is real, hard to bear, and may cause doubts. In this respect, I quote from Rolland Allen, Missionary Methods – St. Paul’s or Ours?
“The possibility of rejection was ever present. Paul did not establish himself in a place and go on preaching for years to men who refused to act on his teaching. When once he had brought them to a point where decision was clear, he demanded that they should make their choice. If they rejected him, he rejected them. The ‘shaking of the lap’ (Acts 18:6), the ‘shaking of the dust from the feet’ (Mathew 10:14), the refusal to teach those who refuse to act on the teaching, was a vital part of the Pauline presentation of the Gospel. He did not simply ‘go away’, he openly rejected those who showed themselves unworthy of his teaching.” (Eerdmans Publishing, page 75).
This is a serious question in any avenue of ministry. We have often said that we want to work where God is already at work because He has prepared the heart to receive teaching from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The difference is between wanting to be effective in the Spirit’s power or just going through the motions of missions and ministry. One glorifies God, the other exalts man.
Modern technology has provided “night vision goggles” with a longer range, clearer, and brighter picture than just a few years ago. God provided this ability spiritually so we can see Him clearly in a world that “loves darkness rather than the light because their works are evil” (John 3:19).
“Blessed are the pure [clean] in heart, for they shell see God” (Matthew 5:8). David asked the question; “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3–4).
This subject is very important if we are going to enjoy deeper intimacy with God. James points out that in drawing near to God, we must “purify our hearts” and not be double minded. “For that person [double minded] must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:7-8; 4:8). Purity of mind and heart gives us clear vision in our dark world, so that as we draw near to God, we will see Him, His glory, and hear Him speak to us through His Word. From this kind of intimacy with God, we will have clear spiritual vision that sees truth in a world of dark and subtle lies.
How is your relationship with God? Has intimacy with Him increased your love, devotion, and faithfulness to Him?
What extravagant measures would you take if you knew that Jesus was coming back to earth?
John the Baptist knew his purpose was to fulfill Isaiah 40:3-5. “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” (Luke 3:4–6).
This is a royal highway construction! The only way that a path can be made straight is by bringing in earth movers. The most powerful earth mover for John was the water of REPENTANCE! (Matthew 3:8, 11; Mark 1:4, 15; Luke 3:3, 8). The valleys of low understanding of God’s purpose for us must be raised up so we live His plan and purpose in the power of the Holy Spirit. That also means mountains of pride and self-sufficiency are brought down in humility. The crooked unbiblical habits must be straightened by applying God’s Word and Truth. Where the rough places of corrupt talk, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander must “be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:29-32) so a level way for the gospel of grace can be lived through us.
“All flesh shall see the salvation of God” as we become determined to make a royal highway, a straight path in our lives. Jesus wants to be proclaimed to those who are waiting for a visible expression of the Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords. What measures will you take?
If God is going to do a work in His people, particularly among those who consider themselves Christians, there must be preparation in us for His work to be effective. When God wanted to work with Israel He speaks through Jeremiah, “For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds”” (Jeremiah 4:3–4). Notice that preparation was a heart issue. We must be very careful that repentance, revival, or any other form of preparation is not just outward show.
Jesus faced a very difficult crowd – the Pharisees. Time and again, they complained to the Lord that His disciples were “not walking according to the tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:5). Jesus’ answer is heart-exposing; “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (7:6; Isaiah 29:13).
Have you allowed habits or tradition to harden your heart? It is a process that results from years of following what other people tell you, rather than RETURNING TO SCRIPTURE to see what God says and to follow Him. If you allow Him, our gracious God will do heart surgery; remove the old hard heart and transplant a new one, Spirit filled, tender and moldable.
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