Amazing accounts of God changing people – personally and communally.
From Miraculous Movements by Jerry Trousdale (2012).
From the INTRODUCTION – overview;
From CHAPTER 1 – a typical story.
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Miraculous Movements https://renewaljournal.com/2021/10/03/miraculous-movements/
An excerpt from Miraculous Movements by Jerry Trousdale
Miraculous movements are sweeping through some parts of the Muslim world today. The Spirit of God is moving in a powerful way — indeed, in a way that we think is unprecedented — as hundreds of thousands of Muslims are turning their lives over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Former sheikhs and imams; men who bombed Christian churches and mercilessly persecuted the followers of Christ; ordinary men and women who have followed the teachings of Islam their entire lives — these and many others are finding the truth of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and the number increases every day.
Many of these Muslim people come to God’s Word by dramatic means, through dreams and visions, or as a result of seeing miracles, for men and women are being healed of physical disabilities and addictions, bands of hardened rebels are voluntarily laying down their arms, and thousands are seeing the power of God’s Spirit in their lives. You will read some of these stories in this book, and you will see that what God is doing among Muslims today is indeed unprecedented.
It is not easy to be a Muslim today. If Christians can begin to engage Muslims beyond the headlines of burkas and bombs, we will discover hundreds of millions of disheartened and discouraged people. Muslims’ lives are too often bounded by desolation and broken walls, but today many of them are desperate to discover people who love them, a God who loves them, and hope for the future.
We know this because we have observed up close thousands of new churches planted among Muslims; we have met these courageous people and heard their stories. You are about to meet some of them as well. Their lives will illustrate for you a marvellous picture of what transformation looks like among new Muslim-background Christ-followers. Reading their stories is a paradigm-altering experience, which is precisely what we Christians need in order to believe that this is possible and to make it happen.
When Jesus looked upon the lost people in first-century Palestine, “He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9: 36). And then He proclaimed something remarkable: these lost souls were a “plentiful harvest” that only lacked harvesters. Therefore, it is tragic when Christians look at Muslims, not with compassion, but with a default to fear, anger, and rejection.
If Christians were to be highly intentional about approaching Islam in a way that is inviting and attractive, without compromise, staying as consistently biblical as possible, here are some of the characteristics that we should expect to see:
* That approach would demonstrate the compassion and love that Jesus has for individual Muslims.
* It would be grounded in much prayer.
* It would depend on Muslims discovering God in the Bible and faithfully obeying His Word.
* It would be grounded in making disciples who make disciples, and churches that plant churches.
* It would be achieved by the efforts of very ordinary people participating in an extraordinary harvest.
* It would expect the miraculous favour of God to reproduce transformed people who are transforming whole societies.
And what would reproduction and transformation look like in Muslim countries? It would look like Muslim-background Christ-followers proving their discipleship by bearing much fruit. And when disciples multiply and obey, things change!
CityTeam and our partner organizations are seeing changes as increasing numbers of churches are being planted among Muslims in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, but our longest and deepest involvement with Islamic regions has been in Africa. Therefore, over the last seven years, for us and for a few hundred African ministries with whom we partner, the changes among African Muslim peoples has resulted in the following:
* more than six thousand new churches have been planted among Muslims in eighteen different countries;
* hundreds of former sheikhs and imams, now Christ-followers, are boldly leading great movements of Muslims out of Islam;
* forty-five different “unreached” Muslim-majority people groups, who a few years ago had no access to God’s Word, now have more than three thousand new churches among them;
* thousands of former Muslims are experiencing the loss of possessions, homes, and loved ones, but they are continuing to serve Jesus; * multiple Muslim communities, seeing the dramatic changes in nearby communities, are insisting that someone must bring these changes to their community also; and
* more than 350 different ministries are working together to achieve these outcomes.
DISCIPLE MAKING MOVEMENTS
Throughout this book, we will use the term “Disciple Making Movements” to describe what we see God doing to spread His gospel worldwide. In recent years, we have concluded that “disciple making” is a more accurate term than “church planting” to describe the core biblical principles at work in these rapidly multiplying movements. …
In a nutshell, Disciple Making Movements spread the gospel by making disciples who learn to obey the Word of God and quickly make other disciples, who then repeat the process. This results in many new churches being planted, frequently in regions that were previously very hostile to Christianity. All the principles that we are seeing at work are clearly outlined — indeed, commanded — in the pages of Scripture.
As we examine each of these principles, we will use terms that might not be familiar to the average reader, such as “Discovery Bible Study” or “person of peace.” … It is not our desire to create a new set of buzzwords and jargon to be bandied about in discussions of missiology, but merely to find easy ways to express important biblical concepts that are at the heart of what God is doing among Muslims today.
This is God’s story, a testimony to the blessings that are “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3: 20), the movements of God’s Spirit that have made these first years of the twenty-first century “miraculous.” It is also the story of many brave men and women who, even this day, are taking God’s story to one more Muslim community, often at significant personal risk. And for those who have endured great suffering for the gospel, and especially for those who have given their lives in recent years for the sake of the gospel, this is also their story. It is our great privilege to share it with you.
CHAPTER 1: UNPRECEDENTED!
You must come back to this area! A tidal wave has come! Muslims are coming to Christ in a flood. Come and help us. — plea from a former regional Muslim leader who had become a church planter
THE SHEIKH’S DREAM
Sheikh Hanif’s dream was very curious indeed, both over-whelming and hopeful. It was not at all like the frightening and troubling nightmares that he had sometimes known. No, this was very different, and there was little time to reflect on this dream. It required immediate action because, according to the dream, something important would happen today, something that required him to be in place before first light.
Hanif was a seasoned Muslim leader. Like his father before him, he had studied the Qur’an for years. One of Hanif’s superiors had observed Hanif’s people skills, which had resulted in his being recruited to organize Muslim communities and launch new mosques. For eight years, he had done this with excellence. For his community, Hanif was the voice and character of Islam, a decent man who represented what it meant to be a good Muslim.
But there was one thing that no one else could ever know. Hanif’s commitment to Islam was genuine, but there was a deep void in his soul that Islam had never really satisfied. He longed for certainty regarding his status with God. He struggled to find answers or reasons for the violence inside his Islamic world. He grieved at the lack of compassion for suffering people. And he recognized that his religion did not allow him or the people he led to make choices for themselves, nor did it give them satisfying answers for the huge struggles of life. But this night, Hanif had awakened in the dark hours with a new hope burning inside: perhaps he was about to learn the answers to these questions!
It had been a dream like no other dream. In it, Hanif had encountered a very handsome and graceful man. The man addressed him by name, simply saying that he wanted Hanif to serve Him. But then came a warning: Hanif must learn to listen to Him, the man said. Surprised and shaken, Hanif asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Isa al Masih [the Qur’anic term for Jesus the Messiah],” the man answered, “and if you obey me, you will succeed in what you have longed for in your life.”
“What should I do?” Hanif asked.
Jesus showed him a tree standing alone atop a hill, a very busy road running beneath its branches. Hanif recognized the place, for it was well known to him and not too far from his home. Jesus then showed him the face of a man and said, “Go now, and wait under the tree by the road. Look for this man, for he is my servant. You will recognize him when you see him. Find him, for he will show you the true answers to all your questions about God.”
Hanif awoke from his dream, pondering his encounter with Jesus, still seeing the face of the man he was commanded to meet. He must not forget that face! In the press of crowds, he might only have a second to make the connection. Within an hour, the first glowing of the East African sky would begin, and the designated road would quickly fill with carts, livestock, and thousands of people with their loads, sometimes overflowing the road space beyond its shoulders and ditches. Finding the man in the midst of this chaos would be a genuine challenge.
Hanif dressed quickly and quietly, not bothering to pack food or water in his haste. He would have to try to outrun the sun to the exact place he was told to be so that he could be there to examine the face of every passing person. Hanif dared not tell his wife about this assignment. She might think that he was under a spell or becoming unstable. Or worse, she might even betray his intentions to the local Islamic council. And even if she was sympathetic, how could he explain that he was looking for a stranger who was being sent to answer all his important questions, deep questions that had tormented his soul?
How many years had he prayed daily, asking God seventeen times a day to show him the right way? But until this dream was given to him, he had feared that he would die without ever experiencing the right way of true peace and certainty. Of course, he had kept all the requirements of Islam — devotion to the Qur’an, leading the daily prayers — yet still he had no assurance of paradise, no enduring “salaam” (peace) inside. How many times over the years had he grieved when trusting Muslims asked him for help with the same issues he struggled with, or came asking how to find unity and love in broken families? How humiliating it was to give them the same answers of “more sharia” that had left him empty for years.
Hanif made his way to the appointed tree, sat down at its base, and waited. He waited and he watched; he sat and he scanned, searching every passing face. From time to time, a thrill would shoot up his spine: “That’s him! It’s . . . no . . . not him.” Time passed and people passed, and still Hanif waited.
In the late afternoon, several miles away, a man named Wafi was wondering if he would finally have a chance to get some sleep when he returned home the next morning. It had already been a full day, and there was still another hour of walking to get to the secluded place selected for this week’s all-night prayer meeting. Thankfully, the sunset winds so common in this part of Africa refreshed him and his companions. Today had been a good day, traveling on foot with the two promising young leaders whom he was currently mentoring, visiting new Christ followers in their homes. There was no better way of making disciples than this.
Wafi had developed an ability to find the people whom God had prepared and positioned to become bridges for bringing the good news of Jesus into a new town. For those who had the privilege of spending time with him, Wafi could always be counted on to model and mentor the disciplines of prayer, the processes for finding those “bridges” into a community, or the patience of overcoming trials. For Wafi, sharing, teaching, walking, praying, and enduring together were how Jesus discipled the Twelve, and it was the only way he knew to do the same.
Curiously, Wafi had recently had a strange dream, in which God had said to him, “I will give you a sheikh!” Wafi understood the dream to mean that God might have a plan to use him to disciple a shiekh who would perhaps become a bridge for taking the gospel to other Muslim leaders. But Wafi would have to wait to find out. That dream, however, was not in his mind as he and his two friends walked along the darkening road.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Hanif, still at his appointed place, was beginning to despair. He had not imagined that his dream-imparted task would take more than twelve hours of scanning innumerable faces, until the last light was growing dim in the western sky, matching his own fading hope. Then, in near darkness, there came a few more people on the now almost-empty road. He could barely discern three figures as the distance closed between them. And then, the one in the middle . . . yes! It was the face for which he waited!
It took a few minutes for the excited sheikh to convince Wafi that he meant him no harm, in spite of the intensity of his greeting. “My friend, understand! It is Isa al Masih himself that requires you to answer my questions tonight.” This seemed to Wafi like a heavy burden, to be met unexpectedly by a stranger and told, “You must answer all my questions . . . tonight!” But the man was unwilling to meet at a later date; he had waited all day — actually, many years — for answers to life-and-death questions, and he was not inclined to wait any longer. And Wafi could not pass up the chance to share the good news of Christ with this man who was so hungry to hear. (Strangely, it was not until much later that he made the connection between Hanif and his dream of God sending him an influential sheikh.)
Finally, Wafi suggested that they go quietly to Hanif’s house where they could have privacy to talk more in depth. There they found a stunned wife who understandably had more than a few concerns about what was happening in her family. But within days, she and her husband had both experienced what true freedom in Jesus Christ means, especially for those who had lived for so long with dark uncertainty and discouragement.
Since that time, Hanif has been well discipled in God’s Word, and in turn he has discipled two new leaders who are now planting churches in another area of his country. He has also felt the Lord calling him to an even more challenging Muslim area, where he has planted seven churches. And he loves to tell this story with much joy. The very good news is that every day, hundreds of stories like Hanif’s are happening throughout the Muslim world. Trousdale, Jerry. Miraculous Movements (pp. 13-23). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition Kindle edition
Added to BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)
BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)
BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)
BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)
BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)
BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)
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