Immune to Fear

Immune to Fear

Slaying Dragons

Day 10: The Anointing!

By Reinhard Bonnke

The Lord’s anointed ones are full of active faith! They won’t back down to the voice of fear or the appearance of impending destruction.

We read in 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. David saw Goliath and heard the blasphemies that came out of his mouth. Eliab listened with a sinking heart. Something different happened to David, though. The anointing of the Lord began to heat up within him. At that same moment, the hearts of Israel’s unanointed professionals became ice-cold with fear. Do you see the contrast? This has always been a notable distinction between the two, and it still is today… The anointing gives great boldness, making people immune to fear! The anointing makes the difference between an academic faith and a burning faith. Let me warn you—the one faith will always irritate the other.

Eliab undoubtedly had reason on his side, which left him weighing up the balance of Israelite and Philistine forces. He saw no other resources. Eliab was able to make professional assessments of battle situations, and he saw that Israel had no chance of winning. This professional officer mentally put himself next to Goliath for comparison and saw him as an awesome giant. David, in contrast, was a man of active faith and mentally put Goliath next to the God of Israel and saw the Philistine as a midget. It is amazing what transpires when faith and fear are contrasted.

David knew that he had the Lord on his side, and he felt a holy stirring and indignation within his soul. That was because of the anointing, which gave him resources unknown to others. His inner eyes of faith were upon the Lord. He did more than just hope and pray. God’s anointing made him hungry for victory, and he was excited with eager anticipation. The anointing was the “guarantee” of things to come.

Oftentimes, people act in response to a voice of fear that comes disguised as a voice of reason. However, for the anointed believer, it is only reasonable to view every unholy circumstance of opposition as insignificant, compared to our great and mighty God! Rather than allowing the challenging circumstances in your life and in the world around you to paralyze and intimidate you, allow them to stoke the fire in your heart. Allow them to embolden you and stir the anointing on your life. Perhaps in this season, as never before, you will discover the great resources God has invested into your life and the anointing He has given you. We will talk more about that tomorrow…

Source: (adapted from Evangelism by Fire pg. 163-164)

Slaying Dragons

Day 11: Pick Up Your Weapons!

By Reinhard Bonnke

Where are our weapons? Paul wrote, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6). He instructed, “Stir up.” This word has to do with fire—the stirring up of a campfire to get the embers blazing. It means, “to kindle,” “to bring up to full flame.” Do not cool off! Stir up that fire! Use the fan on the dying embers. The word of God and the gifts of the Spirit are our weapons against the attack of the enemy.

These gifts are described in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

These gifts of the Spirit are our weapons, and the devil has done his best to stop Christians from using them. As valuable as natural gifts are, they can never take the place of Holy Spirit endued gifts, and more importantly, they must never be confused with them. For example, many churchmen and medical doctors have opposed divine healing. They have magnified the stories of those who are “disappointed” and who are not immediately healed. They have conveniently forgotten that doctors disappoint millions every day. Nearly everyone in the graveyard had been to a doctor first, yet nobody would be so foolish as to demand the closing of all hospitals! Others object to divine healing simply because some are not healed, and so they do not minister to the sick at all. This leaves everybody unhealed! Where is compassion, or obedience to the Scriptures? Some Christians have let their bow and arrows (their gifts, their spiritual weapons) gather dust in a corner because of critics. They lower their God-given weapons and accept defeat because of the fear of man. Others have been hurt, perhaps by remarks from fellow believers, and thus have dropped their gifts. They have “lost” them, though God never reclaims them, for “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29).

The Lord has never sent a saint into battle without a weapon. That is precisely why, before His ascension to heaven, Jesus told the apostles to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit. He knew that they would need to be endued with the power of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. The power of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts must be recovered to each and every believer. Hear the word of the Lord: Go back to the day and to the place where you left those spiritual gifts, and ask the Lord to forgive you. Do not be afraid! Do not despair; the gifts are still there, albeit dormant. Dry your tears of despair and sorrow, and take up your weapons again!

Source: (Evangelism by Fire. pg. 179-181)

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This Bible Study has been taken from Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s book, “Evangelism by Fire”. In this book he lays out the principles necessary for effective evangelism, showing how God operates through anyone who is willing to follow His plan.

Evangelism by Fire

How Great Thou Art – anthology

How Great Thou Art – anthology

The world’s most popular hymn of worship and wonder

Google ‘How Great Thou Art’ for their selection. More are here.

See also:  Wonders of Worship

‘How Great Thou Art’ is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish traditional melody and a poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg (1859–1940) in Mönsterås, Sweden in 1885. It was translated into German and then into Russian and became a hymn.

It was translated into English from the Russian by English missionary Stuart K. Hine, who added two original verses of his own. The composition was set to a Russian melody. It was popularised by George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows during the Billy Graham crusades.
Source: Wikipedia


The Story of How Great Thou Art with choir and scenes

Choirs & Congregations


How Great Thou Art – Songs of Praise (2 million views)


How Great Thou Art – Chris Rice (29 million views)


How Great Thou Art – updated (14 million views)


How Great Thou Art – Billy Graham Choir with George Beverly Shae


How Great Thou Art – last time with Bev Shae


How Great Thou Art – Combined Choirs Arrangement


How Great Thou Art – Kim Walker-Smith – Bethel (5 million views)


How Great Thou Art – Hillsong Worship


How Great Thou Art – Tommy Walker – from Generation Hymns 2 

Groups


Home Free – How Great Thou Art (19 million views)


How Great Thou Art | Anthem Lights (8 million views)


Jennifer Nettles & John Glosson – How Great Thou Art (5 million views)


How Great Thou Art – Loyiso Bala ft. Don Moen (4 million views)


The Statler Brothers – How Great Thou Art (3 million views)


How Great Thou Art | BYU Noteworthy (3 million views)


Bill & Gloria Gaither – How Great Thou Art (3 million views)


Josh Turner – How Great Thou Art (Live From Gaither Studios)


How Great Thou Art / Joy Frost and Vince Gill duet (1 million views)


“How Great Thou Art” (Acoustic)


How Great Thou Art – Ace Jules


Hillsong – Velocity – HOW GREAT THOU ART


How Great Thou Art – Bryn Terfel and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir


How Great Thou Art – Spring Harvest Live

Solo


Elvis Presley – How great thou art 1972 (5 million views)


Carrie Underwood How Great Thou Art (4 million views)


Whitney Houston RIP. How Great Thou Art (3 million views)


Susan Boyle – How Great Thou Art (2 million views)


CeCe Winans: How Great Thou Art (1 million views)


Yolanda Adams – How Great Thou Art (1 million views)


How Great Thou Art – Martina McBride

 


How Great Is Our God/How Great Thou Art – Chris Tomlin (4 million views)

Hymns including How Great Thou Art


Amazing Grace – 5 Hymns that Changed the World
The story of How Great Thou Art is at 30 minutes


How Great Thou Art – 25 All Time Hymns

 

Instrumental

How Great Thou Art – Orchestra (with lyrics)

How Great Thou Art – orchestra

How Great Thou Art – Roy and Rosemary – orchestra & choir at end

How Great Thou Art – Roy and Rosemary – piano & violin at the Vatican

How Great Thou Art – Taryn Harbridge – violin with piano

How Great Thou Art – Ivy String Quartet

How Great Thou Art – Piano and Orchestra – Dan Forrest

How Great Thou Art – piano arrangement, Mark Hayes – Carson Atlas

How Great Thou Art – Kim Collingsworth – piano solo

How Great Thou Art with Moonlight Sonata (piano and strings)

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BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

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Bible – the most popular book worldwide

Bible – the most popular book worldwide

Photo: The oldest complete Bible, c350.
Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the Old Testament translated into Greek and the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek.

The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of HebrewAramaic and Greek. As of October 2019 the full Bible has been translated into 698 languages, the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,548 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,138 other languages. Thus at least some portions of the Bible have been translated into 3,384 languages.[1]

The Latin Vulgate was dominant in Western Christianity through the Middle Ages. Since then, the Bible has been translated into many more languagesEnglish Bible translations also have a rich and varied history of more than a millennium.


Authorized Version 1611, first edition title page

The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB) or simply the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, was commissioned in 1603 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI and I.[a][b] The books of the King James Version include the 39 books of the Old Testament, an intertestamental section containing 14 books of the Apocrypha, and the 27 books of the New Testament. Noted for its “majesty of style”, the King James Version has been described as one of the most important books in English culture and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world. (Wikipedia)

You can find 50 English translations on Bible Gateway.  If you type in a single verse reference you can then see 50 versions of that verse, eg. John 3:16 –
John 3:16 in all English translations

See: The Bible is the most read book in the Philippines

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Grassroots movements with no church buildings explode

 

Grassroots movements with no church buildings explode in 20 years

Did you know that the fastest growing church globally is currently in Iran? And this church has no buildings.  See links:
Iran: where Christianity is growing fastest
Iran – fastest growing evangelical population

There is an ongoing underground revival in the Muslim world. Over the past 20 years more Muslims have found Isa (Jesus) then in all the previous centuries together. See links:
Many Muslims are turning to Christ
Jesus and Muslims: Life in the desert
18,000 Muslim leaders led to Christ in West Africa
Jesus appears to Middle Eastern Muslim for a month

India: The largest churches in the world are grassroots movements

Korean Pastor Yonggi Cho was long known as the pastor of the largest church in the world. But things have changed. Grassroots church planting movements are growing with a speed and vigor that most would find hard to believe.

What would you say if you learn that with 800,000 members the ‘pastor’ of one of the largest churches in the world lives in North India? Beginning with just 12 people in 1994, Randeep Mathews’ house-church based movement started even before he was a Christian.

Randeep started in one of the most hostile environments you can imagine, the city of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesdh (India) in the Himalayas. It soon grew to 3,000, then 30,000 followers of Christ in what was once called ‘the graveyard of missions’ because of its historic resistance to the imported gospel from the West. They have now (Aug 2019) reached already 800,000 members in North India (300,000 of that in Himachal) and are poised to grow to 3 million in Himachal Pradesh alone.

This is by far not the only story, there are many more. A close friend of Randeep is Rodrick Gilbert in Delhi who demonstrates that this also works in a megacity. Rodrick reports about 700,000 members in 58,000 house churches. When only 18 years of age, another man started such a movement in Gujarat and Rajastan, North India, just ten years ago. It now has seen 150,000 new members in 11,200 house churches.

Source: Wolfgang Simson

Indonesia: How a mother found her lost son through a prophetic word

These Jesus followers could plant one house church each month in their kitchen.

On a visit to Indonesia German missiologist Wolfgang Simson taught a group of Jesus followers an important insight: “In the Kingdom of God people share a revolutionary lifestyle with each other.”

He elaborated: “Number one: eating as the central element of meeting. Number two: truly sharing, koinonia, so that by the end of the day there is neither rich or poor.” Simson illustrated this with Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler, and the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19. “A rich person is someone who has a surplus and fails to share. As a result his money turns against him. No longer does he have the money, but the money has him, and that is a trap. In this respect the New Testament is different from the Old Testament; Jesus really brought in a revolutionary new perspective. In his view you can be a rich person or a Kingdom citizen, but not both. It’s part of the Kingdom lifestyle that no-one is needy.”

“The third thing,” he explained, “is that they exposed themselves to apostolic teaching, which is equipping people to go out and become a virus of God into this world to plant churches, plant the presence of Christ, start cell groups of the Kingdom into enemy territory that will implode the enemy’s movements. And that’s already happening. Even terrorists are coming to Christ, and become the most ardent church planters in the Kingdom of God.”

“The fourth and last thing is to pray,” Simson said. “We send messages to God and God sends messages to us. It’s called prophecy. So when you have people over to your premises, the question is not if you should prophesy over them, but what you should prophesy. After all, we are called to share a word of the Lord with them.”

Wolfgang Simson
How that teaching worked out, he discovered one year later when he revisited Indonesia. He was invited by a Chinese family in Jakarta for lunch. They had taken four months to digest his teaching, as it was so different from church as they had known it. But then they decided to simply apply the lessons and see what would happen. They opened up their house, prepared a buffet, and invited strangers to come under the pretense: ‘We had a wedding planned, but the bridegroom is late. [pun intended] So we have food over and invite you to help us finish it.’

The first person to arrive was a lady. The prophets in the group immediately received a word for her: ‘This is the word from the Lord: you have lost your son.’ The lady started to cry, broke down and said: ‘This is true! Eight years ago I lost my son Dave in the market in Jakarta, never to find him again. He was four years old and since that time I’m like a mad mother searching for her son.’ The prophets assured her: ‘Today God answered your prayer. If you go to the National Monument in Jakarta, you will find your son under a big tree.’

She didn’t know what to think of this, but hopped on a bus straight to the National Monument. When looking around for a boy who had to be 12 years old by now, she found a boy who looked that age and asked: ‘Dave?’ ‘Mum?!’ They found each other!


Merdeka Square in Jakarta with the National Monument

When she came back to the house church and shared her story, this good news spread like a virus. Since that day these Chinese Jesus followers could plant one house church each month in their kitchen. Their kitchen became a church planting center. “How did that happen?” Simson asked rhetorically. “In the Kingdom – open up your house, open up your kitchen, open up your fridge.”

Source: Wolfgang Simson

Source: Joel News International, #1141, September 24, 201

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGE (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Coronavirus and Churches

Coronavirus and Churches.

The pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) now affects gatherings of people worldwide. Churches are adapting to this challenge.

Standing in Faith against Coronavirus

PROPHECY
PRAYER
DECLARATIONS
HEALING PRAYER
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Practical Ideas and Resources for Churches during COVID 19

PASTORAL AND CONNECTION CARE
COMMUNITY HELP
DISCIPLESHIP
EVANGELISM
PRAYER

Riverlife Baptist Church

Here is relevant information from Riverlife Baptist Church, one of the larger churches in Brisbane, Australia. You may be able to use or adapt this for your church congregation.

You have probably been following along with the developing news and growing concerns of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a church family, we do not want to partner with any fear but simply practice good hygiene and safety to minimize the risk to our community. Please read the following carefully.

Your Role:
As in any cold or flu season, I want to encourage you to stay home from Sunday gatherings or other church-related events throughout the week if you, your family members or roommates are experiencing any cold or flu symptoms (fever, persistent cough, headache, chills or unexplained rash). Please seek medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms.

If you have recently travelled to any high-risk countries (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong or Japan as currently identified by the World Health Organisation and Australian Government Department of Health), please follow the recommended guidelines here and stay home for a couple of Sundays (14 days).

If you are planning on attending regular activities, please ensure you wash your hands with soap, make use of hand sanitizer stations, cough into your sleeve, sneeze into a tissue and put any tissues or waste in the bins provided. Simple, but very helpful!

We post the sermon to our weekly messages podcast here and the video feed on our website here and encourage you to access the teaching from home if you are unable to join us in person. You might also like to take advantage of our Spotify playlists here for some worship playlists we have collated.

Our Role:
We are also taking extra precautions to keep our building sanitary for everyone who will worship with us in person this weekend and in the coming weeks and have also reviewed some of our ministry guidelines to include the following:

  • We are stocked up on hand soap and hand sanitizer (located at several stations).
  • We are sanitizing surfaces between gatherings (including Kids Check-in Kiosks).
  • Volunteers, as always, please follow cleanliness and safety procedures in our Children’s Ministry and be even more diligent during this time.
  • Our friendly Host Teams and Greeters will be welcoming you with a smile and a wave this week rather than a handshake.
  • Our Ministry Teams (both in service and at special events including Encounter) will adjust prayer ministry protocols to be mindful of personal space and close contact.

In faith, we continue to uphold those directly affected by this virus in prayer and ask that God would release wisdom to our leaders, strategies to our health professionals and healing to those experiencing symptoms.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at church@riverlifechurch.org.au.

Blessings,
John Robertson
Senior Pastor 

 

Advice from Queensland Baptists

Dear Pastors and Churches,

With the surge in the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID – 19) around the world, experts say that the likelihood of it spreading to Australia and within our communities is inevitable.

The World Health Organisation has now declared the outbreak of COVID – 19 to be a pandemic, and the Australia Government has been taking necessary steps to prepare for this, with the Department of Health providing regular updates in relation to planning for and responding to COVID – 19.

We need to be thinking about prevention and preparation strategies now that a pandemic has been announced.   So, what can we do as the QB Movement to be prepared to respond and keep our church community safe?

Firstly, and until further notice, churches and congregation members should continue to go about normal daily life, church, work or study as normal.  Church and congregation members should however already be promoting and following best personal hygiene practices.

Personal Hygiene

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. This includes:
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet. Wash for at least 20 seconds and dry with paper towel or a hand dryer.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze – if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow. Dispose of tissues and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • If unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact).
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

Prevention Ideas for Churches

  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol and have these available throughout the church.
  • Encourage people to wash their hands and post reminder signs throughout the church and amenity areas.  Useful posters can be found at
    www.health.gov.au – COVID – 19 Posters
  • Useful fact sheets can be downloaded from  www.health.gov.au – COVID – 19 – Find the Facts and translated versions are available from
    www.health.gov.au COVID – 19 – Translated Resources
  • Shaking hands is optional! Give permission for fist bumps or a hand wave to replace hugs and hand shaking.
  • Place boxes of tissues in easily accessible areas e.g. church reception/information tables.
  • Wipe down surfaces touched by churchgoers such as door handles and railings after each service.
  • Limit potluck meals and other nonessential large gatherings.
  • Consider hosting conference calls or video chats as alternatives for face-to-face meetings
  • Request that people displaying flu like symptoms stay at home and seek medical attention.
  • Review Communion practices/procedures to take precautions to limit the spread of infection via potential cross contamination

Preparation Ideas for Churches

  • Preview your church’s emergency response plans and communication plans in the context of a pandemic.
  • Church leaders should consider appointing a second in charge (2IC) who can run the church efficiently in his/her absence.
  • Remind your congregation that accurate information is essential, and that it is important to use trusted sources such as State and National Health Departments.
  • Churches should also prepare to support vulnerable people in their community especially the elderly and people with a disability.
  • Promote that all people should seek medical care if they require it.
  • Encourage church staff and congregation members to review their family emergency plans and take time to prepare now. For more information go to www.qld.gov.au – Emergency Plan
  • Create plans to enable church staff to work remotely/from home if that becomes a necessity. More information on this is available from www.fairwork.gov.au -COVOD – 19
  • Many affected countries have suspended their church services, and some bigger churches are streaming their Sunday services live. Facebook Live or using pre-recorded videos for sermons are effective options.

Other adaptions could include following the Jewish tradition of a treasury or offering box at the entrance, and communion available on designated tables.

 

How the Early Church handled epidemics

This free mini-eBook is available from Joel News:
https://www.joelnews.org/

A quote from that eBook:

Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, wrote about the plague in the Roman Empire:
How suitable, how necessary it is that this pestilence, which seems horrible and deadly, searches out the justice of each and everyone and examines the minds of the human race;
whether the well care for the sick,
whether relatives dutifully love their kinsmen as they should,
whether masters show compassion for their ailing slaves,
whether physicians do not desert the afflicted.

Plagues in the Roman Empire, and currently in many countries, also became times of evangelism and revival.

See link – China: How Christians respond to the coronavirus outbreak

See more information about revival such as the Moravian Revival among refugees which sparked the Evangelical Awakening in Europe and America.

    
Berthelsdorf Church, near Herrnhut in Germany, the home of the Moravian revival.
Link: Power from on High – the Moravian Revival

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BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Asia: 3,000 churches from one man’s obedience

Asia: 3,000 churches from one man’s obedience


There is an old saying: “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but God alone can count the apples in a seed.”

How true this is in the story you are about to read. To anyone looking on, Vatsa was just an ordinary ‘apple’. No one would have guessed that the Lord had placed the seeds within this ‘apple’ to eventually produce over 3,000 new churches!

Stop and think of that for a minute. When they cross the threshold of heaven, how many people in history will have disciples from 3,000 churches run up to them and say, “I am here because of you!” Now think of how the crowd swells when all the disciples those 3,000 churches brought with them join the throng. It becomes overwhelming! For those who choose to obey the command, “to make disciples” (Mt. 28:18-19), God doesn’t see apples, he sees orchards!

New Generations is a ministry whose passion is to mobilize disciples that make disciples, resulting in churches that plant churches. Vatsa is one of their workers in Asia.

‘Sir, are you a Christian? Will you please talk to my father?’

When one day two young women came to Vatsa’s door, he expected them to ask about one of the rooms he and wife rent out to students. But these girls didn’t ask about rooms. One of them asked: “Sir, are you a Christian?” Because his town had some very anti-Christian elements, Vatsa was surprised and alarmed. “Yes, we are Christian,” he replied. She quickly got to the point. “Sir, for years my parents have been wanting to know about Jesus. Will you please talk to my father?”

She called her father who eagerly invited Vatsa to visit their village. A week later, Vatsa and his wife took the 120 kilometer (75 mile) drive and found a group of the family gathered, ready to learn about Jesus. Neighbors soon joined in, for a total of sixteen people.

It was a remarkable open door for sharing the gospel. How would they handle this? Where would it lead? In this very first encounter, Vatsa demonstrated to the family how they could make discoveries about God for themselves, right from the Bible. He read Psalm 25:8-9 – ‘Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in His ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.’

Vatsa asked: “What do you learn in this scripture about God, and what do you learn about man?” “I learn,” said the father, “that God is good, and he teaches sinners. And that man has to humble himself to learn from God.” “And what does it say to you personally?” Vatsa asked. Very quietly, the father replied: “I am a man, and I am a sinner. I need to learn from God, to become humble and to follow God’s way.”

‘We will start a Bible study right here in your home. God will teach you and lead you.’

The father was responsive, and eager to learn more, but he had questions about the next steps. “Where will we go to church?” he asked. “Who will be our pastor?” Vatsa’s answer was a surprise. “We will start a Bible study right here in your home. God will teach you and lead you to start a church with your family members and relatives.” Since that day, not only have six of the family members turned to Jesus, but two more Bible studies have started in other homes.

For those who choose to obey the command ‘to make disciples’, God doesn’t see apples – he sees orchards!

What did Vatsa do that was different?

First of all, he made the effort to visit the family in their own home. This meant taking a full day to do so. He realized the encounter was not about reaching one man or even one family, but about how this man, with such obvious fervor to know Jesus, could be an instrument of God to reach a community.

Secondly, he showed the family how they could learn about God right from the Bible and encouraged them to do that regularly. He then coached the father, through phone calls and further visits, to facilitate the family time together in the Word. Vatsa also taught him to release others to do the same thing in new groups.

“In the past,” Vatsa says, “I would not have bothered to visit this man but would have simply invited him to my church. And I never would have allowed him to become a facilitator and leader.” Since he started implementing this new way of doing ministry, Vatsa has seen 3,304 small churches started, and he’s never going back. “I have seen a great change in our achievements,” he says, “and me and my team have moved to a higher level of personal obedience to the risen Lord Jesus Christ.”

‘I’ve learned that making disciples is not about bringing people to church.’

“I’ve learned,” he adds, “that making disciples is not about bringing people to church. It’s about starting church at anybody’s home or any place. It’s about finding a man of peace and releasing him for making disciples. It’s about a lifestyle of following Jesus’ model and having Jesus’ attitude toward the lost.”

As of the end of September 2019, New Generations teams along with their partners have seen God raise up 70,921 new churches, 1,695,692 New Christ-followers, of whom, 471,813 (28%) are Muslim background. New Generations has now seen God launch 126 Disciple Making Movements (DMM) – 113 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 13 in South Asia. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a people group of eastern Congo reached the DMM threshold with 108 churches to the 9th generation!

Source: New Generations

Joel News International, # 1158, February 10, 2020

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China: How Christians respond to the coronavirus outbreak

China: How Christians respond to the coronavirus outbreak

Christians seem to be less panicked because their faith gives them strength. They also support others as a community with care and hospitality.

How do Christians in Wuhan handle the coronavirus outbreak and quarantine?

China is in a state of emergency because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a causative agent of lung diseases. The city of Wuhan, which has a population of 11 million and is believed to be the source of the virus, is particularly affected. The city has been in quarantine since January 23. Entry and exit are only possible with a special permit. The Chinese authorities have since isolated other cities. As a result hospitals are overloaded. Buses, trains and taxis stopped their services, and food prices have risen enormously.

The health crisis also has consequences for the Christian communities. Based on sources in China, German Evangelical news agency IDEA reports that because the residents of Wuhan are required to stay in their apartments and houses, there are temporarily no church services in many congregations. Instead, pastors posted sermons and songs on the internet. There are also calls to use the ‘free time’ to pray for the sick, medical staff and those responsible in politics and society. The crisis encourages fasting and increased Bible reading.

Christians seem to be less panicked because their faith gives them strength. They also support others as a community with care and hospitality.

According to the IDEA source the crisis opens people up for the Gospel, and Christians freely share God’s love as they see fit, be it in an open conversation on the street, on the internet or by watching evangelistic videos together with non-Christian family members.

Source: IDEA

Joel News International, # 1157,  February 3, 2020

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A Door opened in Wuhan, China

A Christian in China reported:

A few months ago a pastor I know, along with church members, was preaching the gospel on the streets of Wuhan. He kept on street preaching even when Christians were not encouraged to share the gospel. But nothing stopped them from proclaiming the gospel, not even the virus.

Now it is the 10th day since the city was separated by quarantine, and protective masks are the most valuable thing in Wuhan. You can’t find a store that sells masks. People are desperate.

In response, our brothers and sisters preach the gospel and give out tracts and free masks. They are sharing the word of hope and comfort from God. They have become more and more favoured in the city, even in the authorities’ eyes.

These churches in Wuhan keep themselves away from all the rumours and political issues. They do what a true Christian should do: preaching the gospel and being witnesses of the true peace and true hope that come from Jesus Christ among non-believers who are in panic and hopelessness.

A police officer came to one sister, listened to the gospel, and left with the tract and mask happily. After a while, another police officer arrived, heard, and left with the tract and a mask also. Shortly, the first one came back saying another officer would like one too. Soon four more officers came! They are the ones who used to be concerned about the message. But now they came to Christians for help, and they bow down to our God.

The yellow (Christians wear yellow suits for protection) has become the most beautiful colour in the city. Christians gained the respect that they never had before because of their willingness to risk their health to serve.

I thank God for their witness and being full of joy in our Lord’s amazing work. Please put them into your prayers. Lots of them are overloaded.  They know that this is an opportunity God gave them to gain people for Christ.

Your brother, P.Z.

Source:  Heart Cry Missionary Society, February 7, 2020 (edited).

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Video & Article: Christians distributing masks and gospel tracts to show love of God

As previously reported, one pastor in China recently penned a letter encouraging and exhorting the Body of Christ in the midst of disease and death.

“Christ has already given us His peace, but His peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster and death, because Christ has already overcome these things (John 14:2716:33),” he wrote. “Otherwise we have not believed in the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and, with the world, would be terrified of pestilence, and lose hope in the face of death.”

He said that even if a believer dies in the midst of tribulation, it is still not a defeat.

“Spoken for today, Wuhan’s pestilence cannot separate us from the love of Christ; this love is in our Lord Jesus Christ. These words are so comforting for us, we have already become one body with Christ,” he wrote. “… Therefore, Christ is with us as we face the pestilence in this city; the pestilence cannot harm us. If we die in the pestilence, it is an opportunity to witness to Christ, and even more to enter into his glory.”

The pastor said that the current challenge with the coronavirus reminds him of Abraham facing Sodom and Jonah facing Ninevah, as they Abraham interceded and Jonah preached repentance to the saving of men’s souls.

“[M]ay we like Lot be grieved over all those in this city (1 Peter 2:7), and like Abraham who earnestly prayed for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33),” he urged. “You see, Jonah with difficulty proclaimed the gospel to Nineveh, and Nineveh repented and was saved. We are this city’s Abraham and Jonah. We must pray for God’s mercy upon this city, and bring peace upon this city through our prayers and testimony.”

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Christians at the centre of China’s virus outbreak still preaching on streets

Evangelism thrives on the streets of China’s Coronavirus hot zone

As if rallying around the apostles’ declaration that “We must serve God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), Christians have continued to boldly share the Gospel in the streets of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Witnesses who share their faith openly not only face possible infection from the dangerous respiratory disease caused by the virus, but also could be subject to potential persecution by authorities, as well.

Despite the potential dangers, CBN News Asia correspondent Lucille Talusan reports that Christians in Wuhan are meeting needs created by the crisis and by doing so are creating opportunities to share the Gospel.

The believers, often operating underground to avoid persecution and prosecution by Communist authorities, are taking advantage of the need for surgical masks. In addition to helping prevent contracting the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, the masks also help shield the identity of the witness.

Talusan reported that a “very courageous” group of Christians in Wuhan have hit the streets to distribute the protective facemasks. As they hand out the masks, Talusan said, “They say that they are Christians and they share the love of Christ and point to Jesus to bring hope to them and their families and the whole of China. … This is really a breakthrough.”

Talusan said that the uncertainty of the crisis has helped heighten the receptiveness to the message of Christ.

video shared by Father Francis Liu from Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness shows that encouraging sermons are being broadcasted to their communities through speakers placed on balconies.

A Christian rode his bike to a pharmacy where people gathered and played a sermon through a portable speaker, according to International Christian Concern.

Another video shared shows that Christians were distributing face masks and Gospel pamphlets to passersby on the streets. Playing in the background was a message broadcasted to address the fear and uncertainties of the ongoing crisis.

Pastor Huang Lei from Wuhan’s Root and Fruit Church published an article on January 24, saying, “While the real situation is possibly more severe and complicated than what is known, regardless of what circumstances we are in, we should not worry and fear all the disasters, pandemic, and death, ‘because He is the Lord of our lives. If He does not allow [it to happen], we will not even have a single hair fall out from our heads.’”

Pastor Tan Songhua from Wuhan Cornerstone Church also told his congregation that although they face trials of faith and personal safety, Jesus only has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11).” He then called on Christians to pray for this city, and bring the peace of Christ to everyone.

The U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) reports that membership in non-sanctioned churches is growing. The CFR website says that “research by Fenggang Yang, of Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society, estimates that there are between 93 million and 115 million Protestants in China, with fewer than 30 million attending officially registered churches.”

Source: International Christian Concern, and christianheadlines.com

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Reports of Supernatural Healing, Revivals in Midst of Coronavirus Outbreak

“We’re being told that people are coming in swarms to churches, house churches, that there’s gospel and evangelism going out in the streets, person to person, that there’s supernatural healing.”

Source: CharismaNews, February 18, 2020

Standing in Faith against Coronavirus

See also: Coronavirus and Churches

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Israel: Reconciliation & Jews coming to faith

RECONCILIATION AND JEWS COMING TO FAITH

Within the last decade, we have seen a dramatic change in the spiritual landscape of Israel.  The numbers of new believers are shooting up and almost every congregation is growing.

What is going on?

Most of the testimonies of new believers show that at least part of their journey to Jesus involved a search on the internet.  About 10 years ago, websites and videos explaining the gospel in Hebrew were created by Israelis. Just over 5 years ago they started really gaining serious traction.  Even though there are only 9 million people living in Israel (20% Arab, most of the rest Jewish), these evangelistic videos have been viewed over 25 million times!

Moreover, there have been major breakthroughs in Jewish-Arab relations among the believers, in significant part because Jewish and Arab pastors came to study together at Israel College of the Bible.  There is now media outreach in Arabic as well as Hebrew being sent out from Israel College of the Bible, and we are seeing people from all over the Middle East responding, particularly in Gaza.  We even have an ex-Al Qaeda member enrolled at Israel College of the Bible in our distance learning programme!  The numbers of Israelis coming to faith and the unity between Jews and Arabs in Jesus are extraordinary to see.

For a long time, there has been a real chasm of misunderstanding between the church and Israel, with few Christians understanding much of Jewish history or God’s plans for Israel in the future, and few Jewish people understanding the true message of the Gospel.  You can find out more about all these topics at www.oneforisrael.org the website for the Bible College and media outreach centre in Israel.  Please join us in prayer as God is moving so powerfully in these days! Please pray for:

  • Reconciliation between more Jewish people and their Messiah
  • Reconciliation between more Jewish and Arab believers
  • Reconciliation between Israel and the church

Source: One for Israel

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Radicals can’t stop the Jesus Film – Central Asia

Central Asia: Radicals can’t stop the Jesus Film

Jesus Film Project team members had arranged for a film showing outside a Central Asian village. Upon arrival near the community, an area they knew to be dangerous because of religious radicals, they sensed something was not right.

With no moon, all the team members could see were faint silhouettes of buildings and trees. They felt an unsettling and eerie foreboding but began playing music through the speakers to attract people from the nearby community to the film showing.

Nobody came, which almost never happens. Suddenly, they heard the sound of rustling bushes and the cracking of branches breaking under the feet of 12 radicals rushing toward them. Waving machetes, they screamed, “We are going to kill you and every infidel with you!” The three team members fled for their lives, running as fast as they could to their Jeep. With hearts pounding and fumbling to get the Jeep started, they sped away.

A year later, through prayer, they recognised that those people still needed to hear the Gospel, so they asked the Lord what they should do. In agreement, they felt God urging them to go back, although the risk was great. The members loaded the ‘JESUS’ film and equipment back into their Jeep, along with three boxes of Bibles, and headed for the village, several hours away.

‘Can you give me a ride?’ the police officer asked

On the road, they came to a police checkpoint – a potentially dangerous stop in the road considering the load of Bibles. The officer asked where they were going. Trying to be noncommittal, they said, “We are headed south.” To their surprise, he said “Well so am I. Can you give me a ride?” There was no way they could refuse the officer’s request. Insisting on climbing into the back of the Jeep, the officer sat on a box full of Bibles. They feared if the officer looked into the box, they could be arrested or possibly killed.

So they prayed and drove on. Soon, the team approached another police checkpoint. Popping his head out from the back of the Jeep, the first police officer told the other officers, “I’m with them. You don’t need to search the vehicle.” The police waved them through. This happened at three more police checkpoints, and all three times he got them through. At his request, they drove the officer to his home, where he invited them in for tea. Once there, he asked what they were planning. “We’ve come to show a film about the Great Prophet Isa (Jesus).”

In gratitude for their kindness, the officer asked, “What do you need?” This was the same village where radicals chased them out a year earlier, nearly killing them with machetes. “We need permission,” they answered. “Oh, that’s no problem. My brother is the mayor. Where do you want to show this film?” They asked, “Could we use the town square?” (This is where they had tried unsuccessfully before.) The policeman replied: “Sure, but you know we have some radical elements here. So I’m going to have my police guard you as you show the film.”

That night 167 people came to Christ

The team prayed and set up their equipment. Once again, as they had a year earlier, they played music as darkness fell to draw the people. This time a crowd gathered, sat down and watched ‘JESUS’, hearing the Word of God in their heart language. For the first time in their lives, they learned who Jesus really was. The Holy Spirit ministered to their hearts. Jesus was not just a great prophet, but the Son of God who demonstrated power and authority over sickness and death, was raised from the dead, and offered all who believed in Him eternal life. That night 167 people came to Christ!

These new believers need the support of trained church leaders, but training programs are lacking. And due to the threat of extreme violence, any evangelism must be carried out with sensitivity and wisdom. Please pray for the safety, growth and spiritual maturity of those in underground house churches. Ask God for a miraculous explosion of religious freedom and that believers would be bold in sharing their faith with family and friends.

Source: Jesus Film Project

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