"The 10 Second Rule"

(The below isn't something I wrote--just something that really resonates with my heart.  I wanted to direct you all to this resource because of that. More info can be found by click here.)

(It’s a simple rule for a revolutionary life!)
What does it actually mean to follow Jesus? Simply put, it means to believe Jesus’ message and obey it. So, why is it we don’t obey more often than we do?

Years ago I noticed that during the course of my day I’d have an impression from the Holy Spirit to do something I was reasonably certain Jesus wanted me to do. It would be an impression to either do something good for someone or refrain from doing something wrong. It might be to stop for a car broken down on the highway, speak to a co-worker about Jesus, or simply turn off my computer before I ended up at a site where no Christian should go.

Almost simultaneously I would sense another voice whispering to discourage me. “You don’t have time to do that – helping that person could get messy – you can’t afford to help them right now – stand up for your rights – you deserve it – it’s okay, once more won’t kill you.” If I listened to this other voice and thought about it long enough, the moment for obedience would pass, often to my relief. It finally dawned on me that by procrastinating on being obedient to Jesus, I was unintentionally teaching myself the habit of disobedience. Why is that?

Why did I hesitate? Because I knew that most decisions to obey would cost me something – time, money, embarrassment, inconvenience, or a momentary pleasure denied. By choosing not to obey Jesus, I avoided all of that! So the reason I wasn’t more obedient to God? Without hardly thinking about it, I automatically counted the cost and the price seemed too high for me. Then a decade ago a lay pastor from China taught me a simple rule that could break that cycle:

The 10 Second Rule:
“Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus
wants you to do.”

 

Disciple Making & Church Planting: God's Way to Transform Nations

 I recently wrote an article for Mission Frontiers.  This is an excerpt with a link to the full article.  

Jesus bypassed the cumbersome religious structures and irrelevant worship practices of his day, and started something living and organic. The word “organic” is a good one to describe a spontaneously reproducing simple church movement because it describes something that grows naturally, without artificial additives. It consists of elements that exist together in natural relationships that make growth and multiplication possible. That is how a simple church movement grows: it is not a top down hierarchical organization, but a movement held together by people who share the same vision and values. I have observed that successful churches in the conventional church model can actually be a hindrance to a simple church planting movement.

Notice the way Jesus got the disciples exercising gifts of leadership from the outset, before they were “ready.” Jesus didn’t wait for disciples to be born again, baptized, trained theologically and supervised under a safe religious system with guaranteed controls before He was involving them in leadership. He got them out telling others about Him within a few weeks of being with Him (Matt 10:1–14). He led the movement He began from underneath, very quickly involving the disciples in leadership assignments without mentioning positions or titles. He had a radically different paradigm from that of the religious leaders of His day, and of our day as well. He was training them to lead before they were actually born again, in our evangelical understanding of what that means. After all, the journey of discipleship doesn’t start when a person comes to faith in Christ, but long before.

To keep reading, please go here.

How Do I Protect My Heart With So Many People Coming and Going in My Life?

by Sally McClung

Many years ago I was talking to the Lord about getting close to people.......only to have them leave and go somewhere else.  The Lord spoke so clearly to my heart and told me if I'd be faithful to love people and give myself to them, He would give me more friendships than I could handle.  That has certainly happened!  One of my biggest frustrations in life is that I can't keep up the level of sharing and communication with all my friends in the way I'd like because I have too many!!!  A wonderful problem.  Our grumpy next door neighbor accuses us of running a b 'n b without legal permission because he can't believe we have so many friends that come visit. :)  If he only knew.....the ones who have come are just a drop in the bucket!

Some years later I was at another turning point.  My life was so full (wife, mother, friends, leadership responsibilities, traveling/speaking, writing) that I felt I couldn't keep up with everything.  I wondered what should stay/what should go/how did I decide.  Derek Prince was with us.  He made a statement that answered my questions.  He said that we live in a world that presents so many challenges and opportunities.  One question everyone had was "what do I invest in?"  (with our time, our resources, our money)  He said the answer is easy - always invest in people!  That's what God does.  Everything else fades, but investing in people lasts for eternity.  So simple.

Once these foundations are in place.....then the hard part comes. :)  Working with and relating to people!!  Unfortunately criticism and disappointment will always be there in some way or at some level.  If we want to accomplish something, then we'll be the object of criticism at some point.  If we don't want to be criticized, then we can do nothing.  We probably should expect it and be ready......easier said than done.  Even Jesus himself couldn't please everyone!!  A big key is finding our security in our walk with the Lord - not in whether people are happy with us or not.

I've been taught and have learned to "hear" the criticisms and ask God if there is any conviction from Him in them.  If I'm wrong, I need to make it right (often easier said than done too because the criticisms tend to have a hurtful "barb" in them).  But many times there is an element of truth - that's why we have to take them to the Lord. If it's unjust criticism (often from someone's pain or insecurity), then we need to try and "shake it off."

Of course we have to forgive!!  One more thing that's easier said than done.  But it's an act of will and by doing it, it will bring healing to our hearts.  We need to be careful not to attack back, when those who leave are offended by us.  We need to be on guard that bitterness doesn't enter in.  Again I was taught to think of the needs of the person who is criticizing - why would they say this?  What does it reflect in them?

We can only be hurt to the extent and depth that we love.  If we love deeply, we can be hurt deeply.  It's a risk - but a good one to take. :)

If we've been disappointed and hurt, it's important to respond in the opposite spirit.  Easier said than done, but that is the clear goal to work toward. Forgive the person, pray for the person, look for ways to encourage and bless the person, ask God to see them as he sees them.  This brings healing to our hearts and allows us to move on without carrying the offense with us.

More important than what people say is what God knows about us!  Very few have been more criticized in the Bible than Noah.  God said of him in Gen. 7:1 - "I have found you righteous in this generation."  Quite a commendation.

Well......all this kinda poured out of me in response to a recent email from a friend, and Floyd suggested I post it here in case it would be a blessing to you as well.  I don't know if any of it is helpful, but I decided to go ahead and share it.  It was a good reminder to me as well!!!

Why Are So Many People Going To Hell?

A friend recently asked me, “If there are seven billion people on the planet, and one billion are Christians, why are so many going to hell? That means six out of every seven people are lost. Doesn’t the Bible teach that God wants all men to come to repentance?”  

Good question. And it came from a sincere heart of compassion and concern for people.

My response was to share seven Biblical truths that have helped guide me as I have considered this question:

1. God is righteous and loving, and we can trust him to judge all men fairly. Abraham said, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do what is right?” God knows the hearts of all human beings and he alone can judge them - and he will judge them lovingly and truthfully. We can trust God to judge righteously and this trust in God is the heart of our relationship with God.

2. God judges people based on what they know to be true and what they do with that knowledge of the truth he has revealed to them, not on what they don’t know. To say it another way, God will not judge people based on what they don’t know about Jesus, but what they do know and if they have lived up to the truth they have. The Bible says of Jesus in John 1, “The true light coming into the world enlightens every man”. This does not mean Jesus is in every person, it means he pursues and seeks to reveal himself to every person to the point that they turn to him for forgiveness of their sins. In Romans 2 Paul says the laws of God are written on the hearts of every human being, and it is that knowledge of truth that forms the basis of how God judges people.

3. Scripture, not our emotions, guide us in how we think about heaven and hell and God’s judgement. Most arguments I have heard against hell have been based on emotion, not Scripture. I have heard many people argue from their feelings, not revealed truth, when they consider this topic. Naturally, it is right to feel deeply about the big questions of life. We should not be cold or indifferent to matters of life and death, of justice and mercy. But arguments and statements that begin with subtle accusations against the character of God will not lead us to the truth. Questions about God’s trustworthiness, or doubts about the rightness of eternal separation from God, though understandable, are not sufficient in themselves to form our beliefs. If God exists, and if he has created us, and we have all sinned against him, he has the right to judge us.

4. Everything outside hell and eternal separation from God is the grace of God to us.  We have all sinned and the just result of our sin is God’s judgement. Everything we receive outside hell is the grace of God. That is not just a handy formula to cover the problem of evil and suffering in the universe. It is true truth. It is true even if we traveled on a spaceship to another planet. Romans 1 says we have all done three things with the truth of God: a) we have suppressed the truth 2) we have exchanged the truth about God for lies c) God has given us what we demand and that is to leave us alone, to withdraw from us and turn us over to our evil devices. To receive anything but judgement from a loving God is his gift to us, not something we deserve.

5. It is the will and intense longing of God for every human being to consciously experience forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. God’s purpose is to reveal his mercy in Christ through the cross, and for each of us to consciously enjoy forgiveness through trusting Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. God uses many “means” (circumstances, people, supernatural interventions, dreams, miracles, hardships) to bring people to salvation, but the Bible makes it clear that God wants us to know who and how we are saved. He will work through the cultures and religions of people to save them, but he also wants people to know what is true and not true about their cultures and religions.

6. God will not override our free will in seeking to lead us to salvation and forgiveness of our sins. God respects us enough to allow us to choose to be with him for eternity, or to reject him. To force us to be in his presence forever could be a greater cruelty that hell itself.

7. If we obey the truth we know, it will lead us to more truth, and eventually to the truth that God offers forgiveness of our sins through Jesus and his death on the cross. One way to see this, is to recognize that there are redemptive analogies in every culture, i.e., pictures of God’s forgiveness in Christ, that when pursued, these redemptive analogies lead to the person of Jesus himself. Jesus casts a “shadow” (a limited revelation of who he is) on all cultures and peoples; if people follow those shadows, they will lead to the historical God-man Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Bible.

World Mandate 2011

 I am excited to have the opportunity to share at the World Mandate Conference in Waco, Texas, September 16-18. World Mandate is a conference for anyone who loves Jesus and wants to know more about his heart for the nations of the world! Located in Waco, Texas at Baylor University's Ferrell Center, we have people of all ages from all over the country who gather together for this weekend to worship Jesus, intercede for the nations, and hear from speakers who have lived out the mission of Jesus all over the world.  The conference will be focused on the passion that Jesus has in his heart to reach the nations. We believe this is a passion Jesus wants to place in every believer’s heart, whether or not you ever live in a foreign country. World Mandate exists to help believers become more aware of what Jesus is doing in the earth! Join us for this powerful weekend!  For me details, see the World Mandate website.

Why Evangelicals Should Stop Evangelizing

There is a must read post by my friend Carl Medearis on CNN about why we should stop evangelizing and start talking about Jesus. I encourage you to read it and give me your feedback. It is provocative, engaging and of critical importance. Carl makes some very important distinctions we should give serious thought to... 

Many evangelicals have turned their faith into a religion that they want others to join, which Carl believes - and I agree - is not why Jesus came to earth nor what he taught while he was on the earth. 
If more people learn to initiate spiritual conversations about Jesus that lead to mentoring people to faith in Jesus and growing in their faith with others in new faith communities, something exciting would happen on this planet. That is what we are about in All Nations. 
Carl believes Jesus transcends all religions and calls people to himself... and when they respond to him, that Jesus allows that person to grow in their relationship with him while they are still in their mother culture and religion. By staying in their religious and cultural context people are able to lead many more people to faith in Jesus; in effect they become bridges to Jesus. 
The opposite approach to staying in your context when you come to faith in Christ is referred to as "extraction" - i.e., it is best to extract people from their culture and religion. The belief behind this practice is that people will fail spiritually if they stay where they are, they are too weak; and they will compromise theologically, they are too ignorant. 
Sally and I have left people in their context when they journey to faith in Christ since we started working in the drug dens of Afghanistan and the streets of Amsterdam. We saw prostitutes and drug addicts stay where they were, grow to be powerful men and women of faith, and lead many others out of their addictions and brokenness. They didn't continue in their sin, but they stay in relationship with those they knew and loved, their family and friends. It was hard for people, true enough, but people developed a more mature faith grounded in the culture where they came to faith. It is sad to see people lose contact with family and friends and adopt a new "Christian" culture that cuts them off from the very people God wants them to influence. 
We wouldn't say to a banker or politician to leave their culture and vocation if they came to faith. Why? Because we believe God is big enough in this person to help them overcome temptations of greed or power and live faithfully as a follower of Jesus where they are. Yet, we immediately assume a Muslim or street person must leave their life situation. 
Church planting movements are exploding on our planet today, and one of the reasons is church planters and disciple makers have learned the power of a changed person remaining where they are to influence others for Jesus. 
In the end, it comes down to a matter of trust. Do we trust the Holy Spirit in people? Do we trust God to work in their life context? The reality is, whether we trust God or not, God is working in the lives of millions and millions of people right where they are - all over the world. 
Perhaps it is time for some of us to catch up with how God is reaching and changing people to follow His son Jesus, without them joining a religion called Christianity. Regardless, please follow this link to go straight to the CNN article by Carl Medearis if you would like to read his article and give this some more thought. 

 

Amusing, Insightful & Honest Church Planting Report from Zambia

 by Dan & Regina Bumstead

5 months ago Mandate Schools sent a team for 6 weeks. One young guy – just a normal church kid back home – did something heroic. He met two families broken with sin, shared a message of hope for a better life, and baptized the men as repentant converts. The women remained skeptical.

Yesterday I sat with these two families (the women are no longer skeptical), sharing a Bible story with them that I will later share with our weekly “Leaders Meeting”. They will assist. They are being trained to lead their own Bible study at their home. Another family is being trained in the next village, and another in the next. Our short term goal is to get one Convert led Bible study in each village that all of our disciples from that village may participate in. Eventually many more such simple churches may hive off from that one. Our method – MAWL: Model, Assist, Watch, Leave.  This is part of our “100 year strategy” – training converts to lead “church” in their homes.

The Leaders meeting that they were to assist in – well, again it became a hilarious, unpredictable event of attempting by all means – and we have exhausted many means – to get the meat of the gospel powerfully ingrained in lives. We tried (a second time) a Storying method where each person makes hand signals for a line of the story, then with much group repetition the story is memorized (in theory). Not that this method does not work – many have usesd it with great success. But again we find that either well intentioned teachers of Methods are exaggerating their own stories for personal glory (yes, there is pride even in missionaries!) or we are somehow not able to do what others have done because of our inadequacies or the difficulty of the people group we are working with. (In fact we heard a report that the International Mission Board (of the Baptist Church) – a cutting edge board that has in recent years reworked it’s strategy after exhaustive research to focus more on simple church planting methods which we have also adopted – has made a statement concerning the Lozi people of Southern and Western Zambia, that they are one of the most difficult groups to work with, and therefore have adjusted their strategy to reach them.)

So – back to the Leaders Meeting – after working hard at memorizing that passage we all sat and started with questions – first comprehension of the story itself, but then questions of understanding of the life messages in the story. It was the simple story of Phillip running to the chariot and instructing the Ethiopian about Christ and the resulting baptism. Sparks flew! The New Apostolic Church teaches infant baptism, that a person is saved by baptism (not faith), and that at baptism the person is born again and filled with the Spirit as the apostle imparts it. However, none of them feel assured of going to heaven – perhaps a teaching  to allow them to extort more indulgences from them. The whole group openly discussed the conflicting views. One person in particular seemed to be arguing the NAC positions. But by the next day we heard from that person that he went to work and told all his friends that in fact their understanding of baptism and impartation of the Spirit were totally false! We will see how many want to be baptized in two weeks at our Celebration Service.

 

A Story From The Field

From a church planter in a key area: I am busy working on a newsletter, but I thought I’d tell you this story - as this has made my day last week!

In the clinic we started praying with patients as we are able, often asking God for a Word of knowledge or picture or scripture that He wants us to share with them. Several weeks ago we prayed with a family — especially for the one lady (lets call her Zite) who has been married for 3 years and can’t get pregnant. Her husband often talks of getting a 2nd wife. We have also prayed and shared with their extended family on another occasion. Last week it worked out that the girls who assisted me the 2 months that Lindsey is away, couldn’t come to work. So I decided to ask Zite to assist me. She and her husband were fine with it, even though I can’t pay her for her help. She understood the work quickly, and is quick to see the needs around her in the clinic.

Last week Wednesday before we started to work, I shared with her about what God is showing me the past few days- especially about hope and faith.

We read together from Rom 8: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

I continued by sharing about Abraham’s life, and we spoke about what she learned about God through this story.

Suddenly she asked me - can you pray for me! I said ‘yes - for what?’ She said her back was aching. I thought - wow! This is the 1st time here where someone asked me out of her own for prayer. Immediately she asked if Sarah could also come and pray with us - I guess because the previous time we were 3 people praying for them. Sarah had just left the centre, but I still prayed with her. After I prayed, she asked me: ‘What did you see?’ I said: ‘Nothing’. I asked her - what did you feel? She said: ’ I felt so much peace/ was relaxed’ I asked whether she usually feels this way, and she said: ‘No, I just felt this way when you prayed for me’. Wow!!! Jesus is just so real! Again she asked me -’ what did you see?’ I then realized she thinks I see pictures every time I pray with people!! :) So I explained that I don’t always see pictures - sometimes, but not always - and just as people often communicate in different ways to each other- whether it is eye to eye, or on a phone, or with a text message, God doesn’t communicate with us every time in the same way. Then she said ( which was where I just wanted to laugh - and will for sure be always one of my highlights) ‘So what hour/time do you usually see these pictures?’ Hahahaha! This was so sweet.

I explained further about how God walked with Adam and Eve, how there was relationship, and not religion. I continued sharing a bit about the fall, and then what Jesus came to do, and how He then poured out His Spirit on those who believe. And that God didn’t stop talking- He desires to communicate with us - and we can learn how to hear His voice.

We also read John 6:44-51 - where Jesus says He is the Bread of life, and how God is the one who draws all men unto Him, and teaches them.

I can just sense her hunger and brokenness, and that she has really been touched by God. But so often I have seen where it is like the seeds that fell on the rocks, and just as quick as it grows, so quickly it withers away.

Please pray with me for Zite and her family - that God will be the protector of every seed. And that I will not pressure any conversation, but will just be listening to God’s Spirit. That I will be quiet when I need to be, and be talking to her when I should. I trust God for opportunities that she can get more exposed to His Word - as I obviously don’t want to be the one to whom she will look for answers - that she will not see me as some sort of ‘medium’, but be looking to God as her source, and be spending time in His Word.

I just realized again last night - I am just here, witnessing what God is doing, and seeing how He is using others’ prayers to prepare the ground. So keep on praying, it is not in vain - God is busy! He never disappoints!

Doing as the Apostle Paul Did

 10 Reasons Pastors and Missionaries Don’t Follow Paul’s Principles of Church Planting
 

Because of the orderly fashion in which the book of Acts is written, and because of the missions and leadership principles Luke deals with, we may assume he intended Acts to serve as a training manual for pastors and missionaries who were committed to spreading the Gospel. Unfortunately, most Christian leaders don’t accept the Book of Acts as a guide for how to plant and multiply churches. I am convinced that if spiritual leaders spent just half their time doing what Paul did, the world would already have been evangelized several times over. And the churches they planted would have been born with multiplication in their genetic code. 
Why don’t missionaries and pastors follow the principles and practices of Paul? I asked that same question recently of a group of young missionaries in training with All Nations. Here are some of their answers:
1. Fear of Death. People just don’t want to die like Paul did. Paul’s methods for reaching the unreached and the unchurched are so radical that they guarantee fierce opposition, even persecution and death. 
2. Intimidation. Most of us don’t think we are a “Paul.” Pastors and missionaries excuse themselves by saying Paul was a “special person with a special anointing.”
3. Pride. On the other hand, some leaders think they can improve on the way Paul did things, so they don’t take his methods and principles seriously. One missionary said to me rather flippantly, “If Paul were alive today he would change the way he did things.” When I asked him why he thought that way, he didn’t know. He just assumed Paul would learn from our understanding and make changes accordingly. What arrogance!
4. Unfocused Goals. Many spiritual leaders have unclear goals of what they want to accomplish. Staying busy in ministry can easily take the place of being effective in ministry. 
5. Unbelief. For some, the challenge to trust the Holy Spirit to break Satan’s strongholds over cities and nations requires steps of faith and obedience they are not willing to take.
6. Ignorance. Few leaders have taken time to seriously study the church planting methods of Paul. Some even believe Paul had no concern for the poor. They suggest that by planting churches Paul had not thought through the best way to advance the kingdom of God. 
7. Confused Missiology. Another reason I see for the church not following Paul’s method of church planting is that people have changed, added to and amended how Paul did missions so much that he now gets blamed for all the slip-shod, unfocused, ineffective activity that is being done in the name of “missions.” This is especially true for short-term missions activities, where so much more could be done if the leaders of these outreaches would apply the principles and practices of the great apostle. It should be pointed out that many of the churches Paul started were established on “short term” outreaches.
8. Poor Interpretation of Scripture.  Some movements and churches have neglected the Pauline methodology because of the misunderstanding about what Jesus meant when he instructed his disciples to “...make disciples of all nations.” There is a grave mistake in the thinking of some that cross cultural missionaries are commissioned by Jesus to reform the social, economic, educational and political structures that exists in nations. “Discipling nations” has thus come to connote transforming a nation rather than spreading the gospel. This approach to missions actually devalues the important ministry God has given to ordinary persons in a local church. Christians are to be salt and light in society, but that is not the calling of the cross-cultural missionary. When cross-cultural missionaries attempt to civilize rather than evangelize, they will colonize.
9. Inconsistent Application of Paul’s Principles. According to Roland Allen (Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?), some people have neglected Paul’s methods because they have “...adopted fragments of St. Paul’s method and have tried to incorporate them into alien systems...” The failure that has resulted from these hybrid methodologies has been used as an excuse to reject the apostle’s methods. To quote Allen again: “For example, people have baptized uninstructed converts and the converts have fallen away; but Paul did not baptize uninstructed converts apart from a system of mutual responsibility that insured their instruction.” Obedience based discipleship based on hearing and obeying the Spirit as He instructs new converts is a much surer way to prepare followers of Jesus for baptism. 
10. Disrespect For the Apostolic Calling of the Church. The Pauline approach to missions has lost it’s stature in some circles because some spiritual leaders have borrowed the term “apostle” to reinforce their position of authority or dominance over their followers. Others have wanted recognition or prestige in the Body of Christ. “We are apostles,” they claim, expecting have the same title means they deserve the same respect those early apostles had. Those were men of great courage who opposed the Roman Empire, withstood the fierce persecution of the Jewish leaders, and suffered and sacrificed to spread the gospel all over the world. If so called apostles were truly “sent ones” they would be giving their time and energy to pull down Satan’s strongholds in the 10/40 window, endure stoning and jail sentences, plant scores of churches among the unreached, and spreading the good news of Jesus with courage and passion. 

 

Massive Fire in Masi - 1500 Shacks Burn Down - 5000 Homeless

It's the largest fire known to us in the history of the Western Cape. 1500 shack homes burned down two nights ago in Masiphumelele, and 5000 people are now homeless. We are sheltering people at Africa House (our church offices and training center). All Nations has been involved from the earliest moments the fire started - one of our leaders suffered smoke inhalation trying to rescue people. 

It is devastating. Most disturbing has been the political chaos and conflicts; elections are coming up in a few days time. 
Would you please help us respond? Please send even a small donation to the All Nations Crisis Relief Fund (see bank info below). We established the fund three years ago to help in disasters, provide crisis relief, and serve the poor we are partnering with in our work. Every cent goes to helping the poor in crisis situations. 

This fire effected 8 "Vulnerable Children" families - child headed households. They lost everything in the fire. There were many more  house church members and friends that have lost their homes. We are focusing on assisting about 40 families that we know personally. Everything was lost for them: clothes, life savings (hidden away in secret places in the shacks - many can't open bank accounts), fridges, beds, blankets - people ran from the inferno with only the clothes on their back, like Joseph and his family of 8. Joseph takes care of maintenance at Africa House. He even lost all of his savings of about R2500 ($350), which is like small fortune for he and his family.

We can send you a specific list of people and their needs if you would like to pray for them or give to specific families. 
Thank you... 
Floyd and Sally McClung

In South Africa send a bank transfer to:

All Nations Crisis Relief Fund (Please mark "Crisis Relief Fund" in the reference line)
Standard Bank - Fish Hoek Branch
Acct. #076721051
Branch Code #03600980
Swift code  - SBZA ZA JJ (for international transfers)

In the United States send your checks to:

All Nations Crisis Relief Fund - Cape Town

c/o Walsh and Washburn

Attn: Terri Yost

5360 College Boulevard, Suite 100

Overland Park Kansas 66211

Please attach a note saying it is for the Crisis Relief Fund in Cape Town 

 

On Recent Events

I believe the death of Osama bin Laden brings a righteous measure of comfort to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 because the mastermind who caused so much loss and pain and the face of global terror can no longer spread his evil. There is a place in God's ways for evil to be opposed with just force. But there is no place for American triumphalism. Our nation's need for humility and repentance remains unchanged. Sacrificing our children's lives on the altar of convenience, greed, injustice, pride, and moral perversion are constant reminders of our deep need of God.

Our greatest enemy is not a singular terrorist or Muslims in general, but our own rebellion and separation from God. Our greatest need is not more might or power, but humble dependence on the forgiveness of God for our sins. Our greatest challenge is not more faith in America's greatness, but fearless courage to share the good news of God's mercy revealed in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

Judgement, Hell & the Character of God

There is currently a growing debate on the part of some writers and teachers regarding the right of God to judge sin and wickedness with eternal punishment in hell. Hell seems unloving and unjust to some. 

There are several closely related but distinct doctrinal issues involved in this discussion:
- judgment
- hell
- universal salvation
- consummation 
 
From a personal perspective, I take no joy from the thought of God judging people’s sin. In fact, I am one of those sinners He has judged. He has judged me and found me guilty, and if it were not for the redeeming, forgiving love of Christ made known to me on the cross, I would have no hope of salvation or forgiveness.
 
Thank goodness that our sins are at the same time judged, and in the same great act of mercy, Jesus takes the punishment He declares all of us deserves. The cross of Christ is both judgment for sin and an offer of forgiveness. I acknowledge the rightness of the judgment and accept the offer of forgiveness. In doing so, I refuse to redefine sin to what suits me or is easy for me. 
I believe we should be very careful about backing away from God’s clear pronouncement of what sin is in the Bible. As selfish, broken people we are in no position to define what is right or wrong. Our track record in the human race does not give us the right to make such judgments.
 
It is the act of humble penitence that separates us as people, then, not the presence of sin. We are all sinners. All God asks of us is that we acknowledge that we have sinned against Him, that what He declares to be sin we indeed acknowledge as wicked and wrong, and we agree that we deserve punishment for our sin and unbelief.
 
At stake in this discussion, is our view of God’s nature and character. Does God have a right to declare what sin is, and to punish that sin in whatever way He deems right or good? It seems to me that amongst many “emergent” evangelicals there is a growing sentimentality about how we define love, and a willingness to back away from how the Bible defines punishment for that sin.
 
I believe God has the right to say what sin is and what punishment it deserves. But far more importantly, it is not about what I believe, but what the Bible teaches. There is no gray area. The Bible is very clear. There is sin, and God judges the sinner, and if the sinner does not come to God in sincere repentance, that person faces stern and horrible judgment. The Bible is emphatic: God is the creator, we are the creatures; He sees all, we see through a glass darkly; He judges us, we cannot judge Him.
 
There is no conflict between the truth of God and the Love of God. To punish sin is a manifestation of the love of God. True love means God will be loyal to His righteous and holy nature. He will not compromise His righteousness by ignoring the sin of the impenitent. 
This topic deserves a much more in depth consideration, but for now I would like to present some of the New Testament passages on 'judgment' in an attempt to lay a foundation for considering other related topics.
 
Romans chapters 1-3 is the most developed passage in the New Testament on the final judgment all human beings will face at the end of time. The “question behind the question” about the existence of hell and the eternal fate of the impenitent has to do with God’s judgment of sinners. Paul clearly teaches there is a judgment that we will all face:
 

-       there will be a day of judgment – Rom. 2:5 – God will judge all men according to their works

-       there are those who are storing up “wrath for themselves” – Romans 2:5 and 2:16; See also Romans 13:2, 3:6, 1 Corinthians 13:2, 11:32, 4:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:12, 2 Timothy 4:1

-       on the day of judgment, the righteous will receive eternal life, and the wicked will receive wrath and fury – Rom. 2:6-10

-       people will be judged by the light they have and what they have done with it – Rom. 2:1ff

-       all people have the light of nature shining in their conscience by which they should recognize the existence of God and worship him alone – Rom. 1:18ff

-       the Jews will be judged by the moral law of God - the 10 commandments - Rom. 2:12 - and those who do not have the law will be judged by the law of God written on their hearts – their conscience – Rom. 2:14-16

-       Those who believe in Christ will assist God in the judgment of the world, even to the point of judging angels – 1 Cor. 6:2-3

-       Paul states that no one can survive the day of judgment based on good works they have done; people will be judged by what they know of God’s revelation in creation and the laws of God He has written on their hearts, not what they don’t know

-       Jews have failed to live up to the law and that is the basis of their judgment – Gal. 3:10-12

-       The final basis of God's judgment will be the gospel, how people respond to it – Romans 2:16, 2 Thess. 1:8

-       Salvation means acquittal from the guilt of sin by the favorable decision of the judge of all humankind, God. This decision to forgive people of their sins has been rendered  for believers through the death of Christ – Romans 3:21-26, 10:9-10

-       Because of God’s merciful justification of those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, they shall be saved from wrath on the day of judgment – Romans 10:9-10

-       In Romans 1, Paul spells out the basis of judgment of the gentiles and lost people, including those who have never heard the gospel:

o     All people have the knowledge of God written on their hearts

o     All people have suppressed the law and knowledge of God He has given to them

o     All people have gone beyond suppressing the knowledge of God, but have exchanged it and perverted it into lies

-       God in His mercy has provided a way of escape for both Jews and Gentiles, and that is salvation through the redeeming love and work of Christ – Romans 3:21-28 

-       Because of justification by faith in Christ’s death on the cross, we who believe will be saved on the day of judgment – Romans 5:9, 2 Corinthians 5:10

-   Because of the reality of the terrible day of judgment and because of the love and mercy of God, we are to appeal to people to turn to Jesus and be saved by faith in His death on the cross - 2 Cor. 5:11-12

 
THE FINAL STATE OF THOSE WHO HAVE NOT COME TO CHRIST 
The Bible teaches the following:
      

-       The impenitent “shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might”. 2 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:3

-       The rebellious and impenitent store up for themselves the judgment of God on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment shall be revealed. Romans 2:5, 8, 5:9, 6:23, 1 Thess. 1:10, 5:9

-       Paul describes the fate of the impenitent and unsaved as “perishing” (apollumiin the Greek). This “perishing” death is both present - 1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, 4:3 - and a future state of eternal doom - Romans 2:2, 2 Thess. 2:10

-       This final state of judgment is also called destruction (apoleia in the Greek) – Phil. 3:19, Romans 9:22

-       Paul also calls this state of judgment, “death”. “Death” is the penalty of sin - Romans 5:12, 6:16, 23 - This term means death to the body - Romans 8:38, 1 Cor. 3:22 - but death includes much more. Death is the opposite of eternal life - Romans 6:23, 7:10, 8:6, 2Cor. 2:16 - This death is a present spiritual fact - Romans 7:16, Ephesians 2:1 - and a future fate - Romans 1:32, 6:16, 21, 23, 7:5-

-       The central idea of this death is exclusion from the presence of God in his consummated, glorious kingdom -2 Thess. 1:9 - and the subsequent loss of the blessings of life that come from the enjoyment of God’s presence by the redeemed

-       Paul says this final doom is a fearful condemnation that is the just desert of sin and unbelief. Though Paul doesn’t describe what this doom involves in any detail, Jesus likens it to eternal fire and darkness - Matt. 18:8, 25:41, 8:12, 22:13, 25:30 - The great and terrible reality of this punishment of death is not the formof this destruction, but it’s eternal significance. Here is the heart of this punishment called death: eternal separation from the presence of God in His Kingdom.

-       God has done all things possible to bring people to Himself. If they reject His will, His love, His son’s death on the cross, they must face His judgment. In the end God can accept no opposition to His rule and reign. No man or woman can defy His will and abide in His presence. There is no Scripture anywhere in the Bible that even hints at the possibility of salvation from the punishment after death.

-       Paul presents the awful reality of eternity not being a quantity of time, but a quality of existence. God’s will is to glorify Himself, that He might be “all in all” or, more descriptively, “everything to every one” (1 Cor. 15:28), for all of time.

 
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS

-       The doctrine of “consummation” means that when Christ returns His kingdom will be fully established and the entire creation will be made subject to his rule. Christ will enjoy preeminence – Col. 1:16-20 Phil 2:1-9, 1 Cor. 15:25, Romans 8:19-23 - those who have turned to Christ in this life will enjoy Christ and His redeemed creation in the next life.

-       In the final consummation by Christ, the physical world will be freed from the presence and decaying effect of sin and the curse of evil. Isaiah 11 and 65 present a picture of the world in the future under the rule of the Christ.

-       Some people have seen the final consummation of all things in Christ as a sort of a universal “homecoming” for the unredeemed, a universal salvation of all created beings, both human and angelic. If the verses in Colossians mentioned above are taken out of context of the totality of Pauline teaching, this interpretation can be made to stand. However, the universal acknowledgment of Christ’s Lordship is not synonymous to universal salvation. To be made to bow before the Lord of the universe is not the same to bow willingly before Him as Lord and Savior. To quote George Eldon Ladd, “There is a stern element in Paul’s eschatology that cannot be avoided. There remain recalcitrant wills that must be subdued and which will bow before Christ’s rule, even though unwillingly” (Page 568, A Theology of the New Testament, Eerdmans, 1974, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA).

* * *

While meditating on these weighty topics and writing these few words, I have experienced no small amount of agony. It is with tears and great burden of heart that I consider the separation of the lost from the joyous presence of Christ for eternity. I realize there is a difference of understanding by others in the Body of Christ to the interpretation of Scripture I have presented here. I do not criticize those who differ from my views, or judge them. But I do appeal to them to realize the terrible consequences if they are wrong. The belief that all people will ultimately be saved and that the punishment of hell is only symbolical or short lived provides a convenient excuse for those who look for reasons not to share the good news. For others, it lightens the load of the burden we carry who believe in a "holy obligation" to make Christ known to the ends of the earth. 

 

Church Planting Models

Ask different organizations and churches for their model of church planting and you will probably get totally different answers. There is no universally agreed upon list or model of church planting. A lot depends on the target audience and the social, religious and political context – and the history and calling of the founder of the church or movement. God works through people!

There is a difference between a “model” and a “strategy”, and how models and strategies relate to “values”.  People often confuse “models” with “strategies.” A careful study of the life of Jesus and the life of Paul the apostle reveals that they followed well prayed through, Spirit-led strategies. In Luke 4:18, Jesus announced His strategy. It was to “preach, heal, liberate and recover…” His strategy included gathering a small group of disciples, and from them gathering leaders among them that would lead a movement that would take His message to all nations. His ultimate goal was to establish a new covenant people that filled the earth with the glory of God. When Jesus sent His disciples He gave them a strategy, and that was to “go, teach, baptize and make disciples…” A strategy is how we do ministry; a strategy can be led by the Spirit or done in the flesh. Paul’s strategy was to go to key cities, starting with the Jews first, preaching and teaching that Jesus was the messiah, with the goal of reaching the gentiles and establishing churches that would reproduce and multiply.

A model of ministry is the style of doing things, a certain approach or pattern that is followed and taught to others to follow. We can follow a model and understand the values or follow the model and not understand the Biblical values it is based on.

 

A few church models popular today:

- Sunday celebration model

- Seeker sensitive model

- Sunday school model

- Recovery group model

- Emerging church model

- Cell church model

- The teaching pastor model

- The church planting movement model

- The revival and prayer model

- The dynamic worship model

 

To be led by the Holy Spirit does not mean we don’t have a strategy or a well thought through model for how we do things. God leads different people to follow different strategies and models. God uses our minds as the Holy Spirit inspires us to think through the best “way” of doing things for us The way He leads us is what we commonly call a “strategy”, or more often, “God’s leading”. A Spirit led strategy is carefully devised plan of action to achieve a goal. Nehemiah had a strategy for rebuilding the walls, Gideon had a strategy for defeating his enemies, and David had a strategy for fighting Goliath. Jesus had a strategy for reaching the world. Paul had a strategy for reaching the gentiles.

God’s ultimate goal for humanity is revealed in the Bible: He longs for all people to come to the knowledge of the truth and to be saved, and as a result to give glory to God. God’s ultimate goal is the worship of His son Jesus by every tribe and tongue and people. God has different ways of reaching this one great goal; those ways are His strategies, and they are passed on to us in the Bible and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God is the God of all knowledge and wisdom. God guides His servants with insight into how to approach various people groups and nations and religious groups bound in darkness. Preaching the good news, advancing the kingdom of God, healing the sick, revealing the secrets of people’s hearts through words of knowledge, making disciples, starting churches – are all strategies God has given the church to reach the ultimate goal of Jesus being worshipped by every tribe and nation. Jesus is the ultimate goal, and strategies are ways He leads us to glorify God by raising up worshippers to Jesus. Different ones of us in the body of Christ are creative in finding new strategies, but we cannot deviate from the “required” strategy God has commanded all of us to obey: to go, to teach, baptize and make disciples, and to  love our neighbor as yourself. We are all commanded to obey the great commandment and the great commission.

God gives new strategies for those who will listen to Him, who are open to learn new ways of doing church. Creative, God-given strategies and models for church planting give us the joy of creating new wineskins and the flexibility needed in responding to the needs of people. We are allowed and encouraged by God to be part of creating of new “wineskins”, new models of church, for the sake of advancing the kingdom and bringing glory to Jesus. New wineskins are new forms of church to reach the lost, they are “new strategies” so to speak. When we listen to the spirit, then create a new wineskin by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we who do so receive great joy, lost people receive great mercy, and God receives great glory!

 

For your interest as a church leader and church planter, below is one of the strategies Jesus followed in finding and equipping disciples and leaders in His movement, simply called the “crowd, curious, committed” strategy.

 

The crowds:  Jesus preached, healed, announced the arrival of the long awaited kingdom of God, and did and said things that gave hope to the people that God was in their midst. Jesus spent enough time with large numbers of people to plant the seed of the gospel in great abundance. He saturated whole regions of Palestine with the gospel. Sowing the gospel abundantly to large numbers of people was a strategy.  He did this my ministering to crowds physical needs, by feeding them, healing them, and teaching them. And He invited them to receive more from Him… He invited them to a better way…He intentionally stirred up lots of spiritual curiosity and hunger in the crowds.

The curious:  Jesus spoke to the crowds in order to stir up spiritual hunger in people that were open to change. These were the ones who left the crowds, usually to “get something” from Jesus, or to find out more about Him. They wanted to know more. Like Nicodemus. And the lady who wanted to be healed. And the rich young ruler. And the Samaritan woman. And of course, Peter and John, and Matthias, and Simon the Zealot, and Thomas and others of His disciples. They were amazed and intrigued by Jesus. To those who were spiritually hungry, He always gave invitations to take a further step, usually a step of obedience that would cost them something in order to become part of His disciples. He invited the “curious” to belong before they understood how or what to believe. He gave them opportunities to pursue their spiritual hunger. “Follow me…” Jesus would say. From the thousands in the crowds, Jesus looked for hundreds of curious, hungry people. He was searching for the “person of peace”. To find them, he asked those who were “curious” to take steps of obedience, to do something to show they were sincere, to pay a price to find more. That price involved selling everything they owned, or getting in a boat right then and joining him, or abandoning a funeral for a close family member, or leaving a tax table, or joining Jesus in a meal -  in their own house! Jesus sought to activate the faith of the curious and turn them into committed disciples by asking them to small steps of obedience. The discipleship that Jesus taught and modeled was obedience oriented discovery based discipleship: obey Jesus and you discover more!  

The committed:  The curious were invited to become disciples. The ones who did follow and obey Him join Jesus - these were the disciples we read about in the Bible. They were the ones who obeyed Jesus. They heard Him teach and then they did what He taught.  They were with him constantly. They stayed with Him and He rubbed off on them. They were still often confused and missed the point, but they kept coming back to Jesus.  They were the 12.  And they were also the 72 and probably several hundred more disciples whose names we don’t know.

Note that all three categories of people: the crowds, the curious, and the committed, were referred to as “followers of Jesus” if they showed interest in Jesus. Jesus honored each person where they were on their spiritual journey, while always calling them to more.  When we use the term “follower of Jesus” we mean any person who is sincerely interested in Jesus. Jesus practiced this inclusive approach, while not compromising His standards for being a committed disciple. The threshold was low for following Jesus, but the bar was set high for being a committed disciple of Jesus.

Today as well, we recognize these same three groups of people in every culture and context of life; all three groups are on a journey. We need to both accept people where they are on that journey, and inspire and encourage them to keep moving forward on the journey. We have the privilege of inviting them to take the next steps toward becoming a fully obedient disciple of Jesus who accepts God’s mission for their life.

 

With the above in mind, let’s consider at a few “models” of church planting:

1.      The Parachute Model – A planter and their family move into a new location to start a church from scratch, on their own.  They are dropped into the area alone, without support systems close at hand. The planter has very little connection with or existing support within the new area.   The planter and their family are “pioneering” new territory.   Where there is great risk, there is great reward, but this approach is not for the faint of heart. 

 

2.      The Mother Church Model – An existing church or church planting organization provides the initial leadership and resources (dollars and/or people) to get a new church started including the selection of the church planter.  Often the church planter is selected from within the existing local church and “planted out” with a group of people to go with them. The mother church has already bought into the vision, values and beliefs of those going out.  The existing relationship allows for a close working relationship between the “mother” and “daughter” churches.   Although the new church is autonomous, the sponsoring church/organization often has significant influence in the new church (including decision making during the pre-launch phase).  Advantages often include increased financial resources and the ability to draw core team/launch team members from the sponsoring church/network.

 

3.      Collaborative Network / Partnership Model – This is a rapidly growing trend where an organization (or many organizations) committed to church planting work together to plant churches.   These informal alliances are referred to as collaborative or partnership networks.   The participating organizations often share common beliefs and a passion for starting new churches.   Planters often get many of the benefits of the “sponsoring church” model but with increased autonomy in decision making.

 

4.      Cell Church Model– Small (5-20 people) groups / cells form and multiply via a network of people meeting in homes.  In most cases, the individual cells are connected in a larger congregation that meets together for Sunday celebrations.   This model focuses on personal growth in the cell groups, care and teaching through one-on-one and small group discipleship, and weekly celebration as all the cell groups gather together.   Cell groups are birthed through multiplication, and, sometimes die, only to resurface months or even years later.  This model requires very little funding.

 

5.      Satellite / Campus / Multi-site Model – An existing church opens new locations.   The idea is for one church to have many meeting locations.   Motives range from reaching more lost people to making more room at an existing location.  The evolving multi-site model is proving important in creating an entrepreneurial spirit of multiplication / replication within existing churches.   It is still to be determined whether this model will spark an increased rate of new salvations and new autonomous churches planted.

 

6.      Restart / Re-launch Model – An existing struggling church decides to bury the old and plant a fresh new church.   The restart for the old church may or may not be at a new location and may or may not be with the same leadership.   Using the resources of many older stagnant churches are a good way to bring new life to the community being served if there is a willingness on the part of the congregation for major change – which is rare.

 

7.      Church Split Model – Unfortunately, this model of church planting results from disunity.  As a result, it is the most dangerous form of church planting.   A split typically occurs when competing groups conclude there is less energy required to “split or divorce” than to resolve differences and reconcile.   The underlying factors causing the split often develop over years, only to “explode” in what seems like a spontaneous act.   In many cases, the dysfunctional character traits of the old church carry forward to the new churches, and what is done in reaction to the old is birthed in the new.

 

8. Man of Peace/Discovery Bible Study Model – We advocate this model in All Nations training courses, not because it is better than other models, but because we have found it is the best model to learn and pass on the values we are called to, and because we believe it best prepares workers with All Nations for a personal discipleship approach to reaching unchurched and unreached people, the neglected peoples we are called to as a church movement in All Nations (you can learn more about this model by writing to us at info@all-nations.co.za or going to Floyd McClung on FaceBook or visiting my personal website/blog at www.floydandsally.com).

 

We encourage our members in All Nations to know the difference between the model we advocate, and the values behind the model. It is far more important to lean the values that simply imitate the model. Some models work better than others in making disciples, and as people go out from us we want them to be fully equipped to be values based and Spirit led. We want them to be able to discover the model that will work best for making disciples and raising up a movement where God calls them.

 

9. The Market Place Model – Increasingly, market place and government leaders are recognizing that church is not a place to go to, but a people to belong to. Many such leaders are being liberated from the old wineskin of Sunday attendance, and are creating new, fully-church wineskins that are designed for the busy working person. Church for active market place ministers often works best if it is integrated into the place of work and with the people one associates with through the work experience. 

926 Unreached People Groups in Africa!!

We are asking for an inheritance in Africa among the unengaged, unreached people groups of this vast continent of over 1 billion people. Most of the people groups still unreached are Muslim, or tribal groups living in hostile environments. There are reasons they are unreached.

But....
Jesus died for them and longs to receive their worship. If for no other reason than the worthiness of the Lamb, will you consider going?
Start with a small step, an expedition, and see where it leads....

All Nations Zimbabwe Update

The grace of God at work in devastated Zimbabwe! The language is flowery but from a trusted friend who trained in CPx.

FLOYD

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus,

On Monday the 7th of February during my quite time I heard a knock on the door. Swiftly, I sauntered towards the door. I opened it with such curiosity to know who had blessed me with an early visit without making an appointment or just buzzing to apprise me about such an unexpected visit. Standing outside were 2 ladies in their thirties Prudence and Stella not their true names. I invited them in and made some breakfast for the visitors. They were extremely ravenous that they guzzled mugs of tea and gobbled a loaf of bread in less than 3 minutes. Before I asked them to share what made them to come to my house, Prudence dived into the crux of the matter. Bla Munya I got a situation that is bothering me, I am a professional prostitute in this town. I have seen some of my clientele succumbing to the deadly pandemic HIV/AIDS. We buried one two days ago whom I was cohabiting with. I don't want to go back to the pubs and nightclubs any more. I need Jesus to deliver me bla Munya. I have seen you doing bible studies around and many people have found Christ for themselves. I'm enthralled in this diabolic act and I have no joy. I asked my friend to accompany me to your house. Stella too echoed the same sentiments. I was flabbergasted when Stella said she slept with an average of seven men during the day after which she would roam the streets at night. No wonder why one elder from a renowned church came to my place crying. His entire congregation volunteered to go for HIV tests and guess what, 95 % are HIV positive. The pastor and his flock are now pointing fingers at each other. I spent some time with the two night ladies sharing testimonies about how the Lord has transformed their former workmates in the same community. No one is too far gone. The one who brought you here is gracious and compassionate. His arms are wide open to embrace you and change your lives completely. They said yes to Jesus.

Not long after their visit, I went to their so called house to have a bible study with them. On arrival to their house I saw a scantly dressed woman relaxed on a makeshift bed in a single room demarcated by pieces of cloth into various compartments. Men frequent the house day and night, take some time inside and leave. One can be pardoned for thinking that the place houses a barbershop, given the number of men taking turns to go in and out of the dwelling. When Prudence heard that I was standing outside, she uttered on top of her voice “bla Munya give us 2 minutes, we are dressing up” It was around 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Hey ladies we are having a bible study outside, bla Munya is here, she invited them. I was surprised to see a couple ladies and men coming out of the house. What is the time one fellow guy asked. I took a glance at my watch and it was already 20 minutes after the hour 2. 20 minutes past 2 I answered. Oh I must report for duty at 3 o'clock but its now late, he phoned his employers telling them that he was not going to make it. Good. So I had a bible study with all of them and Prudence played a major role. When I told these ladies to desist from evil doings because they are so special in the eyes of God and that they can dignified ladies and gentlemen who live for Christ and make a huge impact in our community . They wear a generous smile, a smile that exposes one or two front teeth. They were shell shocked to hear such a remark, not even their parents had ever said that. The Lord's move in Chinotimba is inevitable and His word is becoming the epitome of our community. Prudunce and Stella are leading bible studies. Those who made a commitment to follow Jesus will be immersed soon.

On the other end, we saw a shebeen turned into a house church. Divas and others who got baptised a few weeks ago, invited their friends for our Sunday morning house church. Last Sunday was our sixth meeting and the number has been escalating. 22 men showed up for the house church . Most of them were intoxicated though and it took a brave man to endure such pungent and malodorous smells. His presence prodded 9 people to Jesus. I'm excited beyond words to see how these guy are committed, each one of them wants to lead. When I shared the vision to these guys they grasped it. I take a lot of joy in discipling them, walking with them, dreaming with them, visioning with them, praying with them going forward. The Lord remembered the folks who had no dreams at all, theirs was just imbibing beer and smoking. Three gentlemen gave us some powerful testimonies on how the Lord has infused peace into their families since the day they made a commitment to follow Jesus. They now see their wives as their partners and not objects. On the other side of a coin a lady who is in her forties gave a testimony that her home is now flooded with joy, Jesus has turned things upside down inside out. Her husband used to beat and scold her every day but the Lord brought that which was missing in their home. You got to see some of the amazing things happening in this our beloved community. The Spirit is moving.

Munashe and the other students are being used in splendiferous ways. They started 5 Discovery Bible Studies at their school . He is now a shining star in the community. God is raising an army. Godfrey, Caleb, Kelly, Charity, Elseworth, Doreen, Perseverance, Masiziba, Mkandla, Bridget, Raphael, Clive, Future and many more are on fire. Keep us in your prayers

Let me at this juncture, say thank you for your unwavering support and your unending supplications for us. We are making it Green again,

Yours,

Munya

All Nations Zimbabwe

 

A Tribute to the "real Floyd McClung"

Sally and I received a phone call this morning, February 18, from my brother in the United States informing us that my dad passed away. We fly to the States in two days time for the funeral. I informed you last night in a previous email that he was near the end of his life, and now we have news that he died at 5 AM (U.S. time) this morning, with my brother at his side.

My dad was my hero. He was a man of prayer, a church planting pioneer many times over, and a pastor's pastor. He planted and pastored local churches for more than 45 years. When he retired the first time (three times he tried to retire!), he and mom joined Sally and me in Amsterdam to serve as pastors to our community of more than 300 staff and volunteers. Pastors all over Holland and the world considered him to be their pastor.

Many men of God sought his counsel and friendship through the years. Many young men turned to him as a mentor and spiritual coach. I cannot remember a morning growing up that I did not wake to the sound of my dad praying in his bedroom or study. He was a man of great humility and wisdom – he often cried openly as he preached the good news of God’s grace.

Dad loved to travel – he ministered many times in Africa. He always had time to listen to the stories of the “little guy”, local pastors and missionaries who sought his counsel.

As I grew older and began to travel and speak and then later, to author books, he loved to tease me that he was “the real Floyd McClung”. I am honored to carry his name and be Floyd McClung Jr.

He was faithful to my mother all his life, and raised me and my brother and sister to love and fear God. All three of us have served as missionaries and ministers of the good news all of our adult lives. We attribute our faith to his faith and perseverance, his tender spirit, and his fear of the Lord.

Dad was 89 years old. He grew up in a poor migrant workers family earning a living by picking cotton, apples, and potatoes during the Great Depression. Their family of nine children didn't know from day to day where the next meal would come from. Dad was saved at the age of 17 in a revival tent meeting in Tulare, California. He was invited to pastor his first church at the age of 23, a "store front" church in Long Beach, California, where I was born.

We will miss him greatly. He told me many times throughout my life that he prayed for me every day of my life. What greater gift could a man have than that? I will miss him dearly, but with God's help, I will carry on his legacy of discipleship and church planting.

Thank you for your prayers for Sally and me as we return to the States to celebrate his life and ministry. Dad fought the good fight, finished his race on this earth, and there is now a crown waiting for him in heaven.

Ten Principles of Highly Effective Leaders

1. Commitment To Being a Life-long Learner

 

2. Exercise Servant Authority 3. Deliberately Develop and Disciple Other Leaders 4. Hold Clearly Defined Biblical Leadership Values and A Dynamic Ministry Philosophy 5. Have a God Given Sense off Destiny 6. Possess Healthy Self-Awareness 7. Love and Respect People 8. Proactive not Reactive 9. Gather and Inspire Others to Share a Common Vision and Values 10. Empower Others Not to Need You – More Committed to Starting a Movement Than Building a Monument

 

How Do We See The Situation in Egypt?

My friend, Carl Medearis, has addressed the situation in Egypt in this insightful letter. Lots to think about and pray for. Above all things. 

Dear Friend,

Ben Ali of Tunisia steps down. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt steps down. But wait.... Hezbollah take over Lebanon. Hamas gain control of Gaza (old news). The Muslim Brotherhood grows in strength. What do we make of the recent political events in the Middle East – and the ones that will come soon?

I did a radio interview yesterday with NPR and here’s what I said: A helpful, even though simplistic, paradigm to view the Middle Eastern political situation is this – there are pro-Western and pro-Eastern forces in each of these countries. Mubarak was pro-western, but totally corrupt. Fatah (Arafat’s old party) was pro-Western, but totally corrupt. Harriri in Lebanon was pro-Western, but totally corrupt. The Royal family of Saudi is pro-Western, but....you get the idea. So when the people have a say, they will overthrow the governments that are stealing their money and elect a more Islamic and pro-Eastern government. (Pro-Eastern could mean pro Syria or Iran or pro Brotherhood or Hamas).

So you might be wondering why has US foreign policy backed these corrupt governments in the Middle East? One reason with two points: they tend to provide stability! Which does two things – it allows us to extract the black gold we need to live on and the stability decreases the threats to Israel.

The next question would be - What drives US foreign policy in the Middle East? Stability. For our oil and for our friend – Israel. Is that good or bad? I don’t know – it just is. But when the people in these Arab countries have their say, they will likely ignore these US concerns. Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood will, in fact, have more say in these countries. And then we will need to think about how to deal with that.

Like me, you are probably NOT a politician. We are simple citizens seeking to follow the way of Jesus in humility and grace. We are citizens of his Kingdom… the Cross, the power of yeast, a pearl hidden in an oyster, buried treasure… The way of the Kingdom is seldom reflected in political overthrows and such. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t rejoice for Egyptians – we should. But we can’t be distracted by what’s happening there thinking that it necessarily reflects the Kingdom of God in that land.

Please join with me in praying for the church – the hands and feet of Jesus – in these countries. That they would have power and grace and truth. That the visible we are seeing on our TV’s would translate to the spread of God’s invisible Kingdom.

Thanks for your partnership,

carl

PS I will share two stories with you from the National Prayer Breakfast on my blog:www.carlmedearis.com/blog. Feel free to share them with others.

 

Reading the Bible for all its Worth

 

I was recently asked by a friend about reading the Bible for all it's worth.  Here is what helps me: I read the Bible according to my learning style and personality: goal oriented, extrovert, tactile... and I love to teach, so I read with that in mind.
I have to have a goal - e.g., I read a Bible book to find out everything I can about it, it's fun to me to see it as a challenge, not too bogged down in details, but enough to really get a handle on it, like reading the gospel of luke, etc.
I need a more specific goal however, so when I read a Bible book, I pose learning questions that apply to my life or the life of those I am leading and discipling...
I need to touch and feel it, so I interact with the bible by note taking, journaling, printing it up and looking at it, etc.
I talk about it right away with those I am discipling so I can pass it on, I remember what I am learning that way - if it has immediate value like that kind of application, I get motivated.
I then apply what I am learning devotionally as I go, which is also very helpful for me....
What is not helpful: just read "devotionally" in a vacuum. I find that boring and going no where. The above approaches turns into devotional reading but I have to have my whole person involved...
Lastly, I read to obey - I constantly am asking myself, what is it that God is saying now to me to obey?
And my final thought, I ask questions of the Lord about life situations, marriage, family, ministry, church, concerns, etc, and I ask god to give me passages to speak into the situation I am presently faced with, and that becomes the word from the Lord I am to obey or to pray for others to obey. I journal this process and it is rich.