There are times when we wonder whether anything is happening in this ministry, and there are times when God gives us a glimpse into what He is doing. What you will read below is the beginning of a movement of God. I trust your heart will be thrilled by the following email:
“I give God the glory for His divine plan by uniting us as the Great Commission Partners. Many thanks to brothers Tim and Randy for the wonderful teaching, words of encouragement and directing us to the Biblical principles and the power of the Holy Spirit in carrying out God's Word. I believe that this training will make a positive change in my life as well as the ministry.
My prayer is with Missionaries Tim and Randy as they are on their way back home tonight as well as we the pastors from various African countries leave for their places; for God's traveling mercy.
I appealed to Brother Tim for the translation of the training manual "God's Plan for His Church", into one of the major and largest language/dialects, Krahn, found in both Southern Liberia and Western Ivory Coast (Cōte dˊlvoire). The majority of these people are unreached and are unable to read and write. There are some pastors and church members with me who can do the translation.
Population in Ivory Coast-------116,000
Population in Liberia--------------98,000
It is my prayer that the Lord will open doors for these unreached people to hear the gospel in their own mother tongue through this Manual. May the Lord bless you in your world-wide ministry.”
Please pray with us that this movement of God will gain spiritual momentum and quickly be accomplished for the glory of God.
As you have been praying for this special event in Nairobi, I know you want to hear a first-hand report from one of the attendees.
“Many thanks and appreciation for selecting me and help to enable me be part of this all important soul saving, Biblical training. Thank God for Tim and Randy who has been teaching us for the past two days and tomorrow will be the last day of our training. We have been very blessed by what we are acquiring from the training in "God's Plan for His Church". It is not just ordinary Church planting training, but true Biblical principles that will be fuel by the Holy Spirit to reach the unreached people and renew the old lukewarm and not Spirit leading churches.
Thanks for your prayers! A night before my departure from Liberia, a criminal entered my house and stole many things including our church generator, my children phones, laptop and moreover, took away my hand bag where I was keeping my plane ticket and my passport, but just took them and put them on the table. The Lord blest and protected my documents so that I can be part of this training. To Him be the Glory!”
What a blessing it is to our heart to know that God is working in such powerful ways to accomplish His purpose and plan. KEEP PRAYING!
Tomorrow begins three days in Nairobi, Kenya where leaders from six African nations gather to take a careful look at God’s Plan for His Church in Africa. These three days will be covered by intense prayer by many. The thought keeps going through my mind; ‘what will God do in these leaders that will significantly advance His work in their countries and the whole continent’?
There has never been a time in this ministry when I have felt so expectant! Just days before Tim and Randy boarded flights to Nairobi, Tim and I met at a local coffee shop to discuss the Lord’s work and pray together. It was evident that the Lord was there with us, giving fresh vision for His work and confidence and assurance that He was going to work if we would deliver His message in an uncompromised manner! I can hardly wait to see what He is going to do.
Paul states our feelings so well in his second letter to Corinth; “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:4–6).
Are you faithful to God’s Word (without compromise) and confident in its sufficiency, such that you can leave a place and watch the Spirit give life in those that heard the Word? There cannot be a hint of coercion by material things so that what is left is the power of God through the Spirit’s work. We can point to proof of this work in Vietnam and it is beginning in other places.
We all must admit that intimacy with God slips and intensifies. If you are like me, often circumstances cloud our vision and weaken our desires for intimacy with the Lord. Sin in various forms robs us of both the desire and the experience of nearness to divine persons.
The Apostle John makes it clear that he is writing his letter “so that you may not sin” (1 John 2:1). This is the benefit of “walking in the light as He (Jesus) is in the light” (1:7). The result of this kind of walk is “fellowship” with the Lord and with other believers (1:6-7) and in that walk we find ourselves preserved from sin.
To enjoy this unbroken intimacy with God, it requires unceasing cleansing. God has provided “the blood of Jesus His Son [to] cleanse us from all sin.” The word “cleanses” is a perfect tense verb which indicates that it continually cleanses.
How comforting to know we have such an “advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (2:1). He is our personal attorney who takes up our case with God and points to His own shed blood that covers all our sins. He wants continual fellowship with us. So walk in His light!
Occasionally we try to bring short reports of what God is doing in parts of the world where God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC) is used as a tool to redirect believers back to the timeless principles of Scripture. The story below came to us from a devoted “Timothy” in Vietnam (VN) who is devoting his own time and resources to spread the gospel.
Although there are numerous GPHC trainings taking place all over VN, I want to share a recent picture of training in Hoi An, located south of Da Nang. This training represents a third generation training in just two years. The amazing thing is, this is happening without us being there or providing funds; a truly indigenous and self-sustaining movement of the Holy Spirit! When God is at work, it is like surfing. Almost anyone can surf, but when God is not making waves, then it is very difficult or impossible to surf.
God is making big waves in VN. This is only the beginning of what He is doing and what He has planned to do in reaching the unreached people groups. The vision is to expand this work westward into Cambodia and Laos, and then east into Korea. We thank the Lord for the awesome privilege of joining Him at work around the world in these last days. To God be the Glory!
Soon a new manual (God's Plan for His Church) in the Hmong language will be released in the Hmong people group. This language is very significant because many of the Hmong people, although shallow doctrinally, have a hunger and willingness to learn the way of Christ and the apostles. Another strategic aspect of the Hmong people is that they are located not only in Vietnam but in China, Laos, and Thailand. They are a subgroup of the Miao in China making up a total population of 12 million, 53 people groups of which 49 are unreached but many in Vietnam are Christian. I have attached a picture of Hmong ethnic group, and a picture of the new Hmong manual.
Soon we will have the Khmer (Cambodia) and the Mandarin (China) published. God is at work and when His people return to the Scripture alone, and a dependence on the Holy Spirit and to the Lordship/Headship of Christ, it is like pouring gas on a fire. What a GREAT time in history to be alive and see the GREATEST movement of God EVER in all of church history! Thanks for being a part of what God is doing around the world, particularly in Asia through your prayers and support! We deeply value your prayers for our team and all the other indigenous leaders around the world who are pressing on for the Prize!
I am deeply impressed with Paul’s integrity. There are so many areas of his ministry that were attacked by others, but he was unflinching in maintaining a God-honoring standard in personal life, relationships and ministry. He insisted that “truth” govern everything he did so that “by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
“Truth” proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit, by nature brings conviction, repentance, transformation and life. It does not need the ways of man to validate itself. Why? Because God is the Author! (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; See also Isaiah 40:14).
This means for Paul and all who are called to proclaim the gospel, plant, establish and equip churches, we “as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17). We must adhere to Christ’s authority over us and never lower the standard to accomplish a goal! Human means to an end will never rise to the divine plan or purpose. If any tradition, method or program cannot stand the test of biblical truth, it must be quickly abandoned lest it leads people into a false sense of spirituality, but neglects a personal relationship with God guided by the Spirit. God’s end result will always justify the means He has taken to achieve it.
What standard are you using in life and ministry? If you are sincere as Paul was, the truth you proclaim and live by will appeal to every conscience that has been sovereignly prepared by God.
“We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word” (2 Corinthians 4:2). The words in this verse are worth some careful examination in light of our present culture.
“Cunning” means “craftiness, treachery, duplicity, trickery or cleverness” that suggests a false and presumptuous self-evaluation”. This comes with a readiness to do anything to accomplish selfish ends. Paul was setting himself apart from this kind of behavior in ministry because there were those who stooped to these ungodly means to become popular and gain a following. This misrepresents Christ and the gospel by making themselves the center, not the Lord Jesus.
This was not all Paul fought against. There were some who “tamper with God’s word” or “adulterate, handle deceitfully, and cause to falsify” the Word of God. He did not take lightly how God’s Word (Scripture) is handled. Earlier Paul said, “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word” (2 Corinthians 2:17). He was referring to those who made a profit by trickery as you would a trade, from their preaching and teaching. One of the worst ways this type of false teaching takes place by some, is by taking verses out of their context to make the verse say what their corrupt minds want them to say. This sort of teaching has divided churches, and in some cases, caused them to become cults.
It is no wonder Paul told Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In this statement, Paul is speaking to you and me. You do not need to be a preacher, pastor, or elder for this exhortation to fit. It applies to all of us. If you are in a church where Paul’s standard is not being followed, humbly confront the falsehood through repentance so the church will become the pure Bride of Christ.
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways” (2 Corinthians 4:1–2).
These verses come right after Paul is presenting the tremendous link between gazing on the glory of the Lord and transformation that takes place in us resulting from this glory. I would venture to say that Paul was so moved by this connection that he wanted to make the clear distinction between how this motivated his ministry and those who were using “disgraceful, underhanded ways… cunning or…tampering with God’s word” to advance their own ambitions.
At NFI, we refuse to advance any method we have created, but insist that persons RETURN TO SCRIPTURE and compare all that is done in the church with the Word of God. Using any method other than Scripture and the Holy Spirit must be renounced if it in any way exalts man! The conscience must be governed by God in either giving or receiving what is said by others. If any statement, word, or teaching does not align with Scripture, it must be rejected.
This requires a Berean spirit. They “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Paul says they “were more noble” because of this attitude. This will not put you in any ‘popularity’ article, but the Spirit will confirm truth to you through a fruitful ministry.
One of the saddest comments that is heard, even today, is by people who do not trust the church because its ‘leaders live by a double standard’, or ‘all they want is my money’, or ‘they are just as immoral as the rest of the world’.
In the next few blogs, I want to review Paul’s standard and position on each of these issues that often ‘put off’ persons from being attracted to Christ. Remember, we must not be trying to attract people to a building, but Christ. Shame on us if we are using gimmicks to get people to listen to some famous speaker, or dare I say, a performance that exalts the talents of people.
Our sole purpose for all we do as Christians and the church is that we attract people to Jesus and His saving power! Anything we do that does not exalt and glorify Christ as Savor and Head of the Church should never be done! That means, all we do, all we say, has Christ at the center, NOT OURSELVES!
In preparation for this mini-series, please read 2 Corinthians 10 and 11.
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