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)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

Free PDF books on the Main Page

FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers

Iran: where Christianity is growing fastest

Iran: The country where Christianity is growing fastest

This may come as a surprise to many, but Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country in the world. Tens of thousands of Muslims are abandoning their faith and are beginning to follow Jesus.

Experts say the ongoing political crisis and economic challenges are fueling widespread anger against the regime. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani is promising to resolve the country’s economic, social and political problems after days of protests gripped the Islamic nation last month. At least 21 people died in clashes with police, and over 1,000 were arrested.

Mike Ansari says political turmoil is creating unique opportunities to share the love of Christ. “Many Iranian Christians have turned to us asking what it is they need to do,” Ansari wrote in an email. Ansari is the president of Heart4Iran Ministries, which is bringing 86 different ministries together with the goal of serving and blessing the people of Iran. He says with all the negative news about Iran, it is easy to miss the big and often untold story of what is really happening inside the Islamic nation. “God is at work in Iran. Jesus is building His church, the Spirit is transforming lives and the gospel is on the move.”

Today 4 satellite TV channels are broadcasting continuous Christian broadcasting into Iran.
Mohabat TV is the media arm of Heart4Iran Ministries. In 2006, Mohabat TV became the first 24-hour Farsi Christian satellite TV channel to beam gospel programs into Iran. Today, it is one of 4 satellite TV channels broadcasting continuous Christian programming. “Christian satellite TV broadcasts into Iran have played a vital role in the success of the underground house church movement,” Ansari wrote. “The significance of media strategy is that it by-passes security measures set by the government and reaches the people of Iran through their TV set or on their smart devices. According to World Mission, the house church movement in Iran is one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. It is the lifeline of Christianity inside this country.”

Recently 20 Iranians, many of whom accepted Christ watching Mohabat TV, traveled to an undisclosed location to get baptized. CBN News was granted exclusive access to the celebrations.

Recently 20 Iranians, many of whom accepted Christ watching Mohabat TV, traveled to an undisclosed location to get baptized. CBN News was granted exclusive access to the celebrations.
Ansari, an Iranian by birth, sat down with CBN News correspondent George Thomas for an exclusive look at the church inside Iran.

Why is the house church movement in Iran growing so fast?

“The church is growing because the people of Iran are disillusioned with Islam and they are looking for answers to life. They are not finding answers in the traditional forms of state religion or the faith of their ancestors. They are looking for new answers, they are not happy and satisfied where they are spiritually. It seems that a large number of these people are actually having dreams and visions about a shining man dressed in white far before we are out there telling them about Jesus.”

Is there a specific area of Iranian society that Jesus is touching more than others?

“The demographic that is responding to the gospel the most is the younger generation, who are very tech-savvy. These are people, anywhere from 18 to 30 years of age. They are online, they are following the world’s pop culture, they are very much plugged in and they are looking for answers. They want to belong to a larger purpose and meaning in life, and they are finding that in Jesus.”

The 1979 Islamic Revolution was supposed to usher in this great Islamic revival. Did that ever materialize?

“After almost 40 years of the Islamic regime, the average Iranian is realizing that Islam is bankrupt and Islam is not able to answer to their social, daily lives and the dilemmas they are dealing with. Iran is facing a host of crises, from drug addiction to depression to suicide to sexually transmitted diseases to human trafficking.”

Almost 40 years into the Islamic Revolution the average Iranian is realizing that Islam is bankrupt.
How bad is persecution against those who decide to abandon Islam and embrace Christianity?

“Iran is listed in Open Doors’ top 10 of most persecuted countries. The reality of Iranian Christians is that they cannot go out on the street and share their new faith with people. They cannot celebrate anywhere publicly, and they are constantly in fear of retaliation from the authorities. Becoming a Christian in Iran, especially if you are from an Islamic background, is illegal and is punishable by the legal code in the country. This is why we want people around the world to continue lifting up the persecuted church in Iran.”

You recently commissioned an extensive survey inside the country to find out how many people are watching programs on Mohabat TV. What did the survey results show?

“We had no idea that so many Iranian youth are following our programs. It appears that roughly about 16 million Iranians within the last 12 months have viewed one or more of our programs on satellite TV and also on their mobile devices. That roughly translates to about 20 percent of Iran’s population and that is an overwhelming number.”

Mohabat TV produced a map showing all the locations Iranians are calling the show from.
How many people call in to your channel and how many have accepted Christ since you launched the network?

“It is a rough estimate that within the last 11 years we’ve been able to connect with over one million Iranians through our call center. These are people who have contacted us wanting to know more about Christianity. These are people who have either become Christians or have had dreams or visions, and wanted to find out more about Jesus. Or people who have become Christians and they want to find out how to grow in their new faith and how to be discipled or how to start a house church in the country. In 2016, our call center processed about 700 contacts per day, which resulted in about 93 decisions for Christ per day. That’s roughly about three people every hour that confessed their faith in Jesus.”

Is satellite TV still the most important evangelism tool to reach Iranians with the gospel or is social media becoming even more important?

“In 2013 and 2014 when the Iranian Green Revolution took place, we realized the importance of Twitter. That was a glimpse into what was coming. In 2017, we realized that social media has fully arrived in the Middle East, especially in a country like Iran where especially the youth are actively using social media on their mobile devices. In addition, the numbers we’ve been getting through our survey is additional validation that this is a sound strategy for ministries to start focusing on.”

Source: George Thomas, CBN

Source: Joel News International – # 1067 | January 26, 2018

 

 

Iran: Fastest-growing church has no buildings

For the last few years, researchers have credited the underground church in Iran as the fastest-growing Christian church in the world. 

It has unique characteristics that defy comparison with churches in America and Europe, and in the opinion of some who know it well, the church in the West could learn by studying it.

The fastest-growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth, according to ‘Sheep Among Wolves’, an outstanding two-hour documentary about the revival that has taken place inside Iran. The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.

‘The movement is predominantly led by women’

The documentary was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI), which supports disciple-making teams targeting the ‘unreached’ and ‘unengaged’ within the 10/40 Window. There is a mass exodus leaving Islam for Christianity within Iran, according to FAI.

“What if I told you Islam is dead?” one unidentified Iranian church leader says in the film. “Many of the ruling class still follow Islam because that’s where the high paying jobs are, but the majority of the ordinary people love God and recognize that Islam is the problem. What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini? The ayatollahs brought the true face of Islam to light and people discovered it was a lie, a deception.”

Efforts by the ayatollahs to destroy Christianity have backfired, but have served to refine and purify the church. “What persecution did was destroy the churches that were only about converts,” the Iranian church leader noted. “Converts run away from persecution, but disciples are willing to die for the Lord in persecution.”

‘What if I told you Islam is dead?’

Often a disciple-making movement begins the first moment someone comes into contact with an unbeliever. “Everything is founded on prayer. We find people of peace through prayer. We even find locations through prayer,” the Iranian church leader noted. “Jesus has gone faster than us. He has come in their dreams or he’s come miraculously in their lives. When we hear this, we know that Jesus has gone ahead of us.”

Their emphasis is not planting churches; it is making disciples. “If you plant churches, you might make disciples. But if you make disciples, you will plant churches,” the Iranian church leader said. “It is obedience-based discipleship based on the authority of Scripture. Every time you read the Scripture, you must obey it. This is how people become conformed to the image of Christ and sanctified. They are not just reading the Bible for information. They are reading the Bible to get transformed.”

About 55% of the disciple-makers are women, according to the film.

CBN newsclip – November 2019 – 7 minutes

Watch the full movie – 2 hours

Source: Frontier Alliance International

Source: Joel News international – # 1149 | November 29, 2019

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:
Iran – fastest growing evangelical population
The Staggering Rise of the Church in Iran
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
Iman hated Christians until Jesus raised him from the dead
Muslim woman returns from the dead to tell about Jesus

If you want to know more about following Jesus, go here

 

Added to BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS

General Blogs Index

FREE PDF Books on the Main Page

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)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

 

LOGOS – Faith on the Frontlines

LOGOS – Faith on the Frontlines

logos

Riverlife [formerly] Kenmore Baptist Church, Brisbane, Australia

Message Outline, October 2, 2016 (Logos Team)

“LOGOS – Faith on the Frontlines”

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Tough questions always come when least expected. They put you on the spot. They can make you sweat over your intellectual, ethical, and emotional responses to pressing problems that you know are important — wars, poverty, humanity’s origin, God’s existence, globalization, climate change, other religions, and eternal destiny. Today’s message came out of the types of experiences where people ask hard questions and you only have an opportunity to respond for perhaps a couple of minutes. What we want to look at are some of the biggest barriers to beliefs.

How can we know there is a God?

Perhaps the best short answer you can give to why you believe in God, or why you are a follower of Jesus, is your own personal testimony. You all will have reasons of your own for being Christians.

Two well know reasons for believing in God include that He provides a basis for understanding why there is a universe rather than nothing and how moral values can exist.

(1) God provides an explanation for the existence of the universe.

The first reason for thinking there is a God is that He is the best explanation for why anything exists at all. Perhaps one of the most profound and important questions of life is why is there a world and why are we in it? Why is there something rather than nothing?

The answer really comes down to two possibilities – chance or providence. The universe and humanity are either here by accident or we are here by design. The thought process in this argument can be explained with two premises and a conclusion. 1. The universe began to exist.

1.  The Universe began to exist

Today if you pick up a science text you will read that the universe began to exist in an explosion called the big bang around perhaps 13 billion years ago. In that explosion you have the beginning of all matter and energy in the universe as well as space time.

2.  Everything that has a beginning needs a cause.

From nothing comes nothing. No one has shown something coming out of nothing without any cause.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

So you have here evidence from science and philosophy that the beginning of the universe surely requires a cause. And that cause must be greater than the universe which means the cause is timeless, immaterial and powerful. Which is a round about way of describing God.

To learn more you can watch Dr William Lane Craig and Dr Lawrence Krause discuss the topic “Why is there something rather than nothing” that took place in Sydney in 2013.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/debates

(2) God provides an explanation for the existence of the objective moral values.

The second reason for thinking there is God is that God is the best explanation for the existence of objective moral values. The heart of this issue is whether moral values are objective in nature or subjective. And by objective moral values what is meant is that they exist independent of people’s opinions.

The Earths’ shape as a sphere is an objective fact and is independent of people’s opinions. Whether a person likes chocolate or vanilla ice cream as the ‘best’ flavour is a question of individual subjective preference and is dependent on a person’s opinion.

If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Many famous atheists would agree with this. Richard Dawkins has said that “in a world without God there can be no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

Yet most people accept things like rape really are wrong but often don’t appreciate there is no good basis for believing that if they do not accept God exists.

To learn more on this you can watch or read the debate between Dr William Lane Craig and Dr Sam Harris ‘Are the foundations of moral values natural or supernatural?’

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-the-foundation-of-morality-natural-or-supernatural-the-craig-harris

How can we know Jesus was God’s son?

The central claim of Christianity is that God sent His son Jesus to be punished to death by crucifixion for our wrong doing. Jesus demonstrated He was divine by resurrecting from the dead and offers all people the chance at life after death.

Many people will make claims that ‘Jesus didn’t exist’ or ‘His disciples stole His body from the tomb’ or that He was taken off the cross alive. Scholars today accept though a wide range of facts about Jesus’ life regardless of their backgrounds.

Virtually all scholars regardless of their backgrounds will accept that Jesus died by crucifixion and that His disciples and others had experiences of Jesus after His death and believed He had risen from the dead.

A majority of New Testament scholars would also accept:

* that after Jesus’ burial, His tomb became empty;

* the church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed into the church’s best missionary as he genuinely believed he met a risen Jesus;

* that Jesus’ sceptical half-brother James was suddenly transformed and became a leader of the early church.

To learn more on this you can listen to or podcast a discussion between Dr Gary Habermas and Dr James Crossley from the UK radio show Unbelievable that took place on 1 August 2015.

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Do-the-minimal-facts-support-the-resurrection-Gary-Habermas-James-Crossley

Has science made faith in God pointless?

Science and faith are not in conflict and fit beautifully together, both uncovering truth sometimes in different ways and other times in overlapping ways. As science honestly probes the natural world, it encounters problems and questions which are philosophical in character and cannot be resolved scientifically.

There are many leading contemporary scientists and engineers who believe that their faith provides a framework or undergirds their scientific inquiry. Kepler famously said that science was thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Boyle, Faraday, Pascal and many others were amazing minds that transformed our world – none needed to reject their faith for scientific inquiry.

To learn more try the works of Dr John Lennox such as the book ‘God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God’ or his 2015 lecture ‘Science and the God Question Faith and Science’ on YouTube.

How can God allow so much suffering in the world?

Our answer begins with a belief that God values authentic relationship, and like any good relationship where love exists there is freedom in how we act towards one another. Rather than creating mindless robots so nothing ever goes wrong, God designed life in such a way that we can freely accept or reject His love. This gift of freedom is also something we share with one another. Haven’t we each experienced a moment where we have done the wrong thing in a relationship? Did God stop us with a lightning rod and thunderous voice? No. There was a freedom to choose because at the heart of God’s love we have choice. When asked “what’s wrong with the world today?” G K Chesterton responded, “I am”. To a greater or lesser degree (no pointing to the person next to you), we have each played a part in the suffering we see in the world. God made us to love Him, love each other and lovingly care for this world. Instead, at times we have despised God, abused each other, and vandalized our planet. In a world designed for relationship, our choices affect others. Blaming God for this is to miss our personal responsibility. Maybe a better question is “how can we allow so much suffering in the world”, but the good news is that God has not left us to suffer alone without hope.

Christianity makes sense of why our suffering is not the way it’s supposed to be. We are in a good world gone bad, a world in process of restoration. But to speak of ‘God-and-suffering’ is to miss the heart of our story, for God entered the story to set things right. The problem looks radically different when we speak of ‘God-in-Jesus-and-suffering.’ Did Jesus sit idly by and watch our pain? No. He healed the sick, set captives free and comforted those grieving. He is still doing this today. When we are in pain, smart answers don’t help. We need a wounded healer to stay by our side. So God suffers too. He enters into this mystery. Even more, He defeats death and grounds our hope that one day He will resurrect the whole cosmos and us with it to a world without suffering—no more tears, no more brokenness, just a loving embrace.

To learn more try the Unbelievable podcast ‘Why Does God allow suffering?” between Vince Vitale and Julian Baggini.

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Why-does-God-allow-suffering-Vince-Vitale-Julian-Baggini

Why should I believe in a God who tells me what to do and a religion like Christianity that will restrict my freedom and fun?

True freedom is more than just the absence of constraints.

Freedom always comes with a form. A river must have its banks to flow freely and with purpose. Without them, it is a giant puddle at best, and a destructive flood at worst. Likewise, our form is in God, for whom we were created, and it is only in Him that we truly come alive.

Jesus Himself said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” It’s not that God doesn’t want us to have a good time; it’s that He wants us to have abundant life. He wants us to experience the fullness of His love, to enjoy the majesty of His creation, to prosper in the community that He designed for us to be part of and to reach our greatest potential.

God offers freedom from the slavery that sin traps us into. So it is only in Jesus that we have truly found life and truly found freedom.

Isn’t an ancient near eastern faith now outdated and irrelevant in this modern world?

The most important questions in life are timeless. Where did I come from? Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Where am I going? What happens when I die? Christianity now, as it has done for centuries, offers the most satisfying answers to these age old questions.

Christianity has been making itself relevant in other countless ways now, all over the world and through past history. The Church is the largest single provider of healthcare and education in the world, with an overwhelming presence in places of poverty. In some countries the Christian Church is the largest financial contributor to both non-government and government forms of education, including schools and universities.

The church provides aid all over the world through agencies like Tear Fund, Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Compassion, World Vision, Samaritans Purse – feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for the sick, the abandoned and the destitute. At the centre of society’s values, ideas, laws and institutions is Christianity and its gospel message. Christianity is made relevant wherever Christians go transforming the world for the better.

The challenge for Christians is to continue to show Christianity relevant in the world today

kbc-team

Riverlife [formerly] Kenmore Baptist Church Senior Leadership Team

Riverlife Baptist Church Websitehttps://riverlifechurch.org.au/

Links to other Renewal Journal resources:

This page link is on the Devotional Index page.

Free PDF books on the Main Page 

Logo Square - PNG Click here to be notified of new Blogs

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)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers

Free PDF Books on the Main Page

Share any Blog to inform and bless others – see links below

Save

How to Minister Like Jesus  by Bart Doornweerd

How to Minister like Jesus

Bart Dornweerd wrote as a Dutch missionary with Youth With A Mission, working in Holland.

—————————————————

openness to the promptings of the Spirit

led to some powerful times of ministry

—————————————————-

Article in Renewal Journal 5: Signs & Wonders – with more links
Renewal Journal 5: Signs and Wonders PDF

Also in Renewal Journals bound volume 1 (Issues 1-5)
Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5)
PDF

A Jesus the Model GlobeThis article is also a chapter in the book

Jesus the Model for Short Term Supernatural Mission:
Biblical Ministry and Mission

Follow these links to Amazon and Kindle

*

In the summer of 1985 I was leading a four week Youth With A Mission (YWAM) training school for some fifty students in Holland. I had quit my job as a civil engineer and joined YWAM in 1977. A friend, and former YWAMer, Paul Piller from the Philippines, contacted me and offered to speak for a few days when he visited Holland.

I consented, although I wasn’t thrilled about his subject: healing. I knew one had to watch out for people who only wanted to talk about healing, faith, miracles, and demons.

I trusted Paul, but you never know what can happen to someone who has spent five years in the U.S. Paul had brought some others along: young fellows in T-shirts, blue jeans, and sneakers. I wondered why they had come. Were they going to sing or perform a drama?

As Paul began speaking, I relaxed. No screaming, no emotionalism. After the lecture, he and the young fellows moved around the group praying without saying much. One word stood out: ‘more’.

‘More of you Lord!’ They seemed unperturbed as certain things I was unfamiliar with started happening. Someone started weeping, others collapsed on their chairs, someone else stood shaking. After three days the place was turned upside down. People were filled with joy, received healing, delivered from demons, released from grief. I had hundreds of questions! I had tasted the new wine and I wanted more.

Paul suggested I go to a conference in Sheffield, England, led by a man named John Wimber. Off we went, with a number of YWAMers. I was ready for anything. My ‘holy frustration’ had reached a point where I was willing to let God do whatever he wanted.

I had been warned to get ready for change. God had spoken to me through the story in the second chapter of John’s Gospel – the wedding in Cana – where Jesus performed his first miracle of changing water into wine. Interestingly, the servants at the wedding were allowed to participate, because they filled the jars and took the newly transformed wine to the leader of the feast. Somewhere between the jar and the lips of that man, the water changed into wine.

The application for me of that story is that God is looking for people who want to co-operate with him in bringing this about. I had run out of wine, and now I wanted to see the Lord bring out his best vintage. I wanted God to restore my joy, and fill me with the Holy Spirit.

The conference was life-changing, even though I didn’t have any spine-tingling personal experiences or visions of ecstasy. Nevertheless God gave me a deep inner peace and an affirmation that the teaching I heard, and the ministry I was observing was from his hand.

Giving the Holy Spirit room

My wife and I and others returned home with a clear sense of purpose. Like the servants at the wedding in Cana, our part was to obediently draw out the water and faithfully carry it to others. God would change it into wine.

During the following months, I discovered how exciting life becomes when we give more room to the Holy Spirit! I tried to cultivate a greater sensitivity to God’s voice. My goal was to listen better to what he was saying, and act upon that in faith.

As John Wimber likes to point out, another way to spell faith is R-I-S-K. This new openness to the promptings of the Spirit led to some powerful times of ministry. My emphasis during individual counselling changed to less talk and more prayer. We also learned that demons are for real, but we have been given authority to drive them out (Matthew 10:8).

Though this new realm of ministry was exhilarating, we needed people from outside to help, advise, and direct us further. We invited people like Barry Kissel from the Anglican church in Chorleywood, England. He imparted to us much in the way of ministry skills.

At a certain stage in this new development I sensed the Lord said: ‘It’s time for you to begin modelling the ministry, like I did.’ After much hesitation, I announced we were going to start a training class with worship, teaching, and practical application. For the first lecture I had John Wimber on video. I led the practicum. The Holy Spirit ministered in a lovely way to a great many of the sixty who showed up. Some received comfort; others were healed. We decided to have a whole Saturday every month with those ingredients: worship, teaching, and ministry.

By word of mouth alone the group grew to about 350 after eight months. The team working with me had grown to about 30 persons. After each training day we evaluated, prayed, and discussed. I had learned the importance of multiplication. Your team can’t be big enough!

Passage to India

For the first two years of our marriage, my wife Marianne and I had worked with YWAM in Nepal, a country located between China and India, astride the Himalaya Mountains. For some time we had felt God was leading us back to that part of the world. In early 1989 we left for India with our three children. We ended up living in Bombay for almost four years. From the start I knew I was to invest myself in people. I constantly asked myself, ‘How can I give away what God has given me?’

I itinerated as a teacher in the discipleship training schools (DTS) which YWAM runs in different parts of the country. The theme that developed in my teaching was: ‘How to minister like Jesus.’ The teaching was simple, with lots of examples of how we should pray. After the lecture phase of the DTS, the students would go out for three months of outreach, usually involving evangelism and church planting. They came back with some amazing stories. For example:

The students were sent … to five different villages. At the end of two months they had established three fellowships in three different villages. Half the village where they stayed is ready to follow Jesus as Lord. Within the next three weeks 68 believers will be baptised. Despite all religious strongholds, barriers, Hindu militants and oppositions, God showed his mighty power through healings, and signs and wonders. Some people saw visions of Jesus hanging on the cross and showing them how much he loves them.

In that area the crops suffered from a disease. The farmers came and asked the team to pray to Jesus. The very next morning the people went to the field and discovered the disease had been totally wiped out. They came with great joy to confess their belief in Jesus since he had heard their prayers.

Once, while I was leading a small seminar, a local pastor named Garry walked in while I was praying for someone in front of the class. He left thinking, ‘I can do that.’

The first person he prayed for when he got home was his Hindu brother-in-law. For many years severe back pain had cost him many sleepless nights. The next day the brother-in-law returned, declaring the Lord Jesus had healed his back. He had slept through the night without waking up once.

Garry, who later became a good friend, had been having discussions with a strong Muslim about the Bible and the Koran. The argument always stopped where one would say ‘The Bible is the word of God’ and the other ‘The Koran is the word of God’. This time Garry took a different approach.

‘Can I pray for you?’ he asked, when he met the man again. Because Indians are among the most religious people on earth, this man, like almost everyone in India, was glad to receive prayer. As Garry put his hand on the man’s head and started praying the Muslim fell down and stayed on the floor for quite a while. Garry was puzzled! What next?

When the man got back on his feet, he shared what happened. While he was lying on the floor, he clearly heard a voice saying, ‘The Bible is the word of God!’ He went home with a Bible in his pocket.

Garry was on a roll. Wherever he went he prayed for people: in church, in the home groups, and especially in the streets while evangelising. In the time we worked together, several churches took root in the slums. People came mainly because they saw Jesus was more powerful than their own gods. Now Garry is going around equipping others to ‘minister like Jesus’.

‘Will this work?’

More and more I began to see the power of multiplication: invest yourself in a few people next to you and then let them go and do the same thing to others. You may never know the result until heaven, but it could be more powerful than the biggest healing crusade!

After a three week course, 25 YWAMers went back to their bases in different parts of the country. God had meet with us in special ways during those weeks, as we met together or as we went out to visit people and pray for them.

As two brothers went back to Varanasi, the holy city of the Hindus, they wondered, ‘Will this work back home?’ The first time they went into a Hindu village after their return, they started to worship Jesus. They intended to start a church there. Immediately the Holy Spirit started to come on people; demons manifested and were driven out. People saw the power of God and wanted to know more, providing an excellent opening to preach the Word of God.

While walking along the bank of the Ganges River, one of the brothers began talking to a Hindu priest. After a while, the Brahman complained about his headaches. Again, being highly religious, he was willing to receive prayer, even if it was offered in the name of Jesus. Under the power of God he fell down and after he got back up, his headache was completely gone. He sure wanted to know more about this powerful God!

Respect for God

India is more a continent than a country, with almost 900 million people who speak 1,600 different languages. Patrick Johnstone, in Operation World, estimates evangelical Christians comprise one per cent of the population, but the number is growing. Two thousand people groups have not been reached with the gospel yet. India must be reached by the spiritually equipped Indian church, but for a while non-Indian partners can help train and support Indian workers.

In YWAM, we have mixed teams of Indians and foreigners who plant churches, evangelise, and minister to the poor in various ways. Hindus and Muslims have great respect for God. The Hindus have millions of gods. Most Indians, especially the poor, are open to spiritual reality, and exercise great faith, upon hearing about a loving God who sent his Son to this world. In evangelism, miracles happen quickly and open many doors to preach the gospel.

I first experienced this in Bhopal, a city where some eight years ago a gas leak at the chemical plant killed at least 2,000 people. Today many still suffer the effects: eye problems, mouth sores and breathing difficulties. With a small team we visited the site where the calamity took place.

As some people gathered, one of us shared briefly who we were and our purpose for coming. One person was prayed for and got healed. More people came who wanted prayer. Some invited us to enter their huts to see those too sick to come out. We were busy for the next two hours to bless, comfort, and encourage. Many people received physical healing, saw visions of Jesus, were blessed with peace. We left many friends in this mainly Muslim community.

Of course, the nature of kingdom warfare is ‘attack – counter-attack’. The gospel does meet with opposition. Militant Hinduism is experiencing a revival. The north of India is hostile toward the gospel and to Western influence. To make one convert there is like making a hundred in the south.

An Indian friend of mine desired to work in Bihar, a state in the north, also known as ‘the graveyard of missionaries’. He had worked with me for sometime and learned more about how to minister in power evangelism. In Bihar, near the border of Nepal, he rented a home where he invited people. He shared with them, prayed for them and taught them how to pray for others. Many were blessed, healed, delivered, and came to salvation. A small church was established.

Across the border in Nepal, the spiritual atmosphere was different. Tremendous openings existed. Within a year almost a hundred people attended the newly started church! Approximately 50 churches have been planted in India by YWAM-trained workers through power evangelism.

More than eight years have passed since the visit of Paul Piller and since the conference with John Wimber in Sheffield. I have seen thousands of people who ran out of wine partake of ‘the best wine’ as I willingly brought them what I have: just plain water.

________________________________________________________________

(c) Equipping the Saints, First Quarter 1994, pages 11-14. Used with permission.

© Renewal Journal #5: Signs and Wonders, 1995, 2nd edition 2011
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)

Renewal Journal 5: Signs and Wonders – with more links
Renewal Journal 5: Signs & Wonders

Renewal Journal 5: Signs and Wonders – PDF

Renewal Journal 5: Signs & Wonders – Editorial

Words, Signs and Deeds, by Brian Hathaway

Uproar in the Church, by Derek Prince

A Season of New Beginnings, by John Wimber

Preparing for Revival Fire, by Jerry Steingard

How to Minister Like Jesus, by Bart Doornweerd

Renewal Blessings, Reflections from England 

Renewal Blessings, Reflections from Australia

The Legacy of Hau Lian Kham, by Chin Khua Khai

Renewal Journal 5: Signs and Wonders – PDF

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Amazon – Renewal Journal 5: Signs and Wonders

Amazon – all journals and books

See Renewal Journal 5: Signs & Wonders as on Amazon and Kindle and The Book Depository.

Also in Renewal Journals bound volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5)PDF

Paperback books and eBooks for PC, tablet, phone
Add to your free Cloud Library then download anytime
 

Amazon and Kindle and The Book Depository

Contents of all Renewal Journals

 

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)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

Free PDF books on the Main Page

 FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers