NAMS Blog – Stealing away with Jesus

To be much for God, we must be much with God…Quit playing, start praying. Quit feasting, start fasting. Talk less with men, talk more with God. Listen less to men, listen to the words of God. Skip travel, start travail.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

How often and regularly do you pray alone with God and with others?

Jesus not only taught the necessity of having a private prayer space with our Father God (Matthew 6:6), but he made private prayer times a noticeable practice of his ministry and of his life with his disciples (Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Matthew 14:23; Luke 9:18; Luke 11:1).

Not only that, but Jesus sought also to retreat from ministry and the crowds occasionally to have time to rest and no doubt, pray and be still in company with His Father. There are a few examples in the Gospels of Jesus doing this with His disciples (see for example Matthew 14:13, Mark 3:7 and especially Mark 6:31-32).

In the NAMS Rule of Life (http://www.namsnetwork.com/assets/namsrule.pdf) all Companions commit to taking 3 personal retreats with God and, once a year, to retreat, if possible, with other Companions in their nation or region.

Recently at our annual NAMS Asia Regional Retreat in Delhi, India, we began our time of prayerful retreat by reading about the magnificent start to Jesus’ ministry as recorded in Mark 1:32-39.

On the back of a wonderful day of miraculous healings and deliverances that multitudes saw and experienced – the effect was city-wide (vs 33) – Jesus went ‘MIA’ the very next day!

We read in verse 35 that He stole Himself away to a desolate place to pray.

Note that this was right in the midst of ministry, at the very onset of His life’s work.

This led to a frantic search by the disciples for Him. Miracle workers are always in demand and Peter told Jesus that all the people were looking for Him.

But Jesus already had a different plan and priority, perhaps out of His time of prayer with His Father that morning. Jesus announced, no doubt to some bewilderment and the consternation of his disciples, that He (with the disciples) was heading to other towns to preach, since this was why He came. And so it came to pass (see vs 39).

Popularity with the crowds meant little to Jesus and was never allowed to be the measure of His success. Taking the message of His Gospel all across Israel was.

He was never driven simply by the needs of those around Him, but was always led by the vision and mission His Father gave to Him. His agenda and message were the result of watching and hearing from His Father – John 5:19; 12:49-50. His times of regular prayer and occasional retreat kept Him a-tuned to His Father’s will.

In Delhi, we sought to follow our Master’s example. We deliberately made time and space to be quiet before the Lord, to listen and tune ourselves afresh to our God in silence and solitude. We also had times of communal prayer and worship and biblical reflection. We were reminded how important it was to seek God’s face and to be attentive to His voice.

It was a blessed time as we heard from the Lord about our personal and communal calling as NAMS missionary disciples and leaders.

This season of Lent, will you, like Jesus and us, seek to make regular prayer and occasional retreat with God a vital part of your walk as disciples of Jesus?

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NAMS Blog – Stealing away with Jesus

Raising up a new generation (By Isaac Lasky).

‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.’ So goes an old Chinese proverb.

Indeed, we were all once saplings that were cared for and invested in by godly people who by God’s grace helped us to become trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord (Isaiah 61:3). The NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program is our attempt to do the same for others, to raise up the next generation of pioneering disciple-making leaders for the particular work God has called us to. This calls for the investment of time, prayer and nurturing relationships.

A crucial component of the NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program (GAP) is the 6-monthly gathering of Global Apprentices (GA’s) and selected NAMS leaders on retreat. We do this to make space for prayer, worship, intensive training as well as for fun and fellowship with each other. It is also a time for us to be still[1]. Being on retreat together allows us an opportunity to reflect on what apprentices have been learning through the program.

It was with much joy and expectation that GAs and leaders from Nepal, Thailand and India descended on New Delhi, the capital of India, for a five day retreat from Monday 29 January to Friday 2 February 2018. It turned out to be a wonderful blessed time together. All who attended left challenged, encouraged and prepared for the next six months of the program. Here are a few of the highlights:

Prayer Retreat time

Apprentices were given resources to follow during their personal retreat time. God spoke clearly to the apprentices during this time.

‘I’d never prayed like that before. I will use these resources in my church.’ – One Nepali Global Apprentice

Preaching

English isn’t the mother tongue of any of our apprentices but they are encouraged to develop their English through GAP as a by-product. During the retreat, each of them led a morning devotion time in English. They all did an excellent job faithfully preaching the Scripture. There has been notable growth in their English proficiency.

Pankaj sharing a devotional
Pankaj sharing devotional

Training

We were blessed to have NAMS Companions Pastor Tek and Pastor Prince, from Nepal and India respectively, to be with us and to teach. Pastor Tek spoke on how discipleship and prayerfully engaging with needs in the local community has been a catalyst for God bringing transformation to the lives of many in Nepal. Pastor Prince taught on principles of effective discipleship and church planting, from his extensive experience of planting more than 300 churches in North India. He also shared some practical insights on avoiding and overcoming hindrances in the ministry God has called us to.

Prince teaching
Pastor Prince Teaching
Pastor Tek teaching
Pastor Tek Teaching

Review

Apprentices spoke about their progress in pioneering new mission work during the past six months. They are engaged in work with children, youth and university students in a multitude of ways. This includes running music workshops, doing sports ministry and leading youth conferences and discussion evenings.

There was space for NAMS leaders to pray, input and help the apprentices develop and nurture the new work they have started. Each apprentice also met with their NAMS Regional Team Leader and the global co-ordinator to discuss what they were learning through the program and how God is developing them.

GA_s sharing progress
Apprentices Sharing Progress
Coaching on how to develop ministry
Coaching How To Develop Ministry
six month evaluation with Kiran
6 Month Evaluation With Kiran

 

 

 

The Global Apprentices and Companions would like to give their heartfelt thanks to all who prayed and supported this event. It was a blessed time together. We are confident in the Lord that there will be much fruit in the coming months and years.

NAMS GAP Delhi 2017
NAMS Gap Delhi 2017

Do you know anybody who may be interested in being a Global Apprentice for 1-2 years at one of our base communities in Bangkok, Nepal, Chile or USA? Visit www.NAMSGAP.com to find out more.

[1] Psalm 46:10

 

— Isaac Lasky
NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program Co-ordinator

Raising up a new generation (By Isaac Lasky).

Provision Through Prayer (by Mary Garrison Ruiz)

In late July of 2016, I found myself sleeping on the floor of the airport in Madrid – uncertain of where to go and clearly not knowing what to do. Let me explain…

My husband Ivan and I were on a 6 month missionary journey with NAMS. We had spent a number of weeks in Spain attending meetings and then began moving through the southern part of the country looking for open doors to establish future ministry relationships. But just as we were preparing to move on to our presumably well-planned next destination in Africa, where we would spend 1-2 months, the door was quickly and unexpectedly shut. What were we to do? Go home? That’s certainly what my mind jumped to, but still there remained an unrest in our hearts… The Lord had called us to step out in faith; turning back didn’t seem the right response. We decided to pray and wait upon the Lord to answer, and in a word, he did: Cairo.

“But what will we do there?” I argued. “We haven’t made any plans for where to stay, who to meet with, or places to serve. We won’t have anything to do in Cairo.” Honest to goodness, with tears in his eyes, Ivan simply said: “We will be there, and we’ll pray.” Uff. I was speechless. I confess that while I could articulate the importance and power of prayer, I was so very weak in practice. It seemed somehow not enough to devote our time to prayer; I had another form of service in mind, with prayer a supplement, not the focus. But I couldn’t argue; Scripture is clear on the indisputable centrality of prayer in the Christian life, and in time it was also clear how much I needed to mature in that area.

So to Cairo we went, and we devoted ourselves to prayer in the morning and at night. During the day, we kept our eyes open and watched to see how God would answer. And answer he did. Within just a matter of weeks, God, in his Providence, provided more abundantly than we could have asked for or imagined. Among the beautiful fruit of that time of prayer and ministry in Cairo was the start of a new relationship with a dear brother and friend who soon became NAMS’s first Companion in Egypt.

I mention this story as a personal testimony of the power of prayer and its centrality to the pioneering ministry of NAMS. The leadership at NAMS have even come up with a practice that has been adopted by our Friends and Companions around the world. Everyday at 10:02 AM, no matter the time zone, we remember Jesus’ instructions to his disciples in Luke 10:2 to pray to God, the Lord of the Harvest, to raise up new laborers for ministry. Our Egyptian Companion is an answer to that prayer, but we believe there are more laborers to come.

Would you join our team of global intercessors in praying at 10:02 each day for the ministry of NAMS? If you would, we’d love to send you updates about NAMS ministries around the world and testimonies of answered prayers. To do so, just write to me, Mary Garrison Ruiz, at mary.garrison@namsnetwork.com, and I’ll add you to the prayer team email list. Once a month, I send out a prayer calendar to help you know how you can pray for specific regions around the world, and I also occasionally send out information in the case of urgent prayer needs. Come join us at 10:02. You are truly welcome and needed.

Provision Through Prayer (by Mary Garrison Ruiz)

When ‘Being With’ Leads to ‘Becoming Like’. (by Peter Matthews)

While in college I was discipled by Pat, a director in our campus ministry. Typically we would meet weekly in the student center for coffee and talk. But for at least half of time, we would do other things together: shopping or I would help him paint his house or I would go on ministry trips with him. In one instance he took me with him while he did street evangelism. He put on me the spot by asking me to share my testimony with a group he was talking to!

In the early days of our discipling relationship, I wondered what was really going on. Why wasn’t Pat taking more time to teach me things? I wanted to go deep and learn, not just hang out!

Then Pat showed me a story from the life of Jesus, from Mark 3:13-19 (ESV):
“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”

He honed in on verse 14a, “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him.” Pat made clear that Jesus wanted the disciples to do and share in Kingdom ministry, but first and foremost, he called them just to be with him. The reason Jesus did this was that he wanted the 12 to watch his life closely and have front row seats as he did Kingdom ministry, so that they too could do the same.

Last week I wrote about the disciple-making principle that ‘more is caught than taught’. Before that principle can be effected however, one has to learn the importance of simply ‘being with’ another who disciples him/her. This has been called the ‘life on life’ principle.

This is where one person intentionally watches and learns from another through the investment and sharing of time and space. The time spent with those we disciple or are being discipled by, creates the space for more to be caught than taught.

While it can be helpful to use disciple making tools and studies (I use them and so did Pat), disciple-makers must remember that the heart of disciple-making is life on life transfer of biblical truths by teaching, practice, modelling and enabling. It requires that I live as a disciple of Jesus and that I both model and multiply that life into the man or woman I am discipling.

To be an effective and fruitful disciple-maker, I have to make space to let people into my life: my home, my errands, my driving, my family, etc. That’s what Jesus did with the 12. That’s what he calls us to do with those we are discipling.

 

Revd Canon Peter Matthews is a NAMS Companion, and Rector of St Patrick’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

When ‘Being With’ Leads to ‘Becoming Like’. (by Peter Matthews)

Urgent call for support

S & N Bangkok

Dear NAMS supporters and friends,

A couple of days ago, we received news about an urgent situation facing a brother who was discipled at our NAMS Base Community in Bangkok called All Nations. S* is a Muslim-background believer from a South-Asia country who was a refugee first in Bangkok. He was subsequently accepted into the US where he is today as a refugee.

This brother has already suffered much for his faith in Christ, not least as he waits for his family to join him. His wife and 3 year old daughter remain in their country of origin awaiting relocation to the States and are in process. In the meantime, they have been facing threats and have been trying to lay low.

However, things came to a head three days ago when a group of gunmen fired upon the house where N was staying. Their daughter who was sleeping at the time, was unhurt, but N was hit by two bullets in the stomach.

We thank God that, though she lost a lot of blood, the wounds did not impact her vital organs and doctors manage to remove the bullets. She is recovering but expected to be in the hospital for some time.

Please will you pray for her recovery, their on-going protection and speedy expediting to the States and safety?

S needs help to fund her treatment and bills from the hospital as well as on-going protection (they will have to move house again) while they await for news from the US embassy.

We are therefore going to establish for the short-term, a ‘N Support Fund’ at NAMS. We estimate we will need $3,000-4,000 to cover medical bills and to support them through these difficult times.

If you would like to contribute to this, you can send a check (USA only) to NAMS at our address on our NAMS web-page (http://www.namsnetwork.com/be-involved.html) or by clicking the link below which will take you to our web-site where you can make payments by card via the internet (from anywhere in the world). Please indicate in both instances (in the comments field, if using the online donation form) that this is for the ‘N Support Fund.’  Even a little will help.

DONATE NOW

 

Thank you.
Manik Corea
NAMS Global Executive

 

*S and N are pseudonyms.

Urgent call for support

More is caught than taught (by Peter Matthews)

Little things can make for big lessons. When I was a teenager, I went riding one day with Troy in his 1968 Barracuda. I noticed a strange looking miniature wallet of sorts by his gear shift. Curious, I held it up and asked Troy, “What is this?” He told me it was his verse pack, which he explained helped him memorize and review Bible verses.

“Are you serious man?” I said. “You actually memorize Bible verses?”  “Yep,” he said. Then he explained to me why a disciple ought to memorize scripture. The next day I went to our local Christian bookstore, bought a verse pack and started memorizing Psalm 15.

That story is a picture of one of the central truths of fruitful disciple making: More is caught than is taught.

That day I learned about memorizing scripture and I started doing it. Why? Not because I went to a class, nor read a book. Not was it because it was the next session of my 12 week discipleship program. I did it because the man who was discipling me did it.

I was with him. I observed him. I imitated him. The result? A practice I started at 18 that still serves me at 53.
The heart of disciple-making is a relationship between a discipler and a disciple. Why? The main way a disciple is trained is through imitation. I often tell people that the Apostle Paul’s disciple-making program is summarized in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” That’s the heart of disciple making.

When I was a boy in the late 1960s, there was a popular T.V. commercial that involved a dad and his toddler son. Everything dad did, the son immediately imitated. If dad was painting, son painted. If dad was driving, son pretended to drive. After each instance the narrator repeated the phrase, “Like father, like son.” Finally the dad and son sit down at a tree and dad pulls out a pack of cigarettes, lights one, starts smoking and then sets the pack on the ground between he and the boy. The boy sees the cigarettes and picks them up. As he is doing so the narrator says, “Like father like son, think about it.”

The principle applies to good actions and to bad actions. But no matter what the setting, more is caught than is taught.

 

Revd Canon Peter Matthews is a NAMS Companion, and Rector of St Patrick’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

More is caught than taught (by Peter Matthews)

God’s Results in 2018?

I am persuaded that all those who are used by God to accomplish His will pay attention to the outcome of their effort. They are focused on results. What did God ask me to do?What has come to pass because of my efforts? What is different because of last year’s ministry? Is anything improved because of my contribution? Did the outcome I worked for get achieved or not? Is the community I serve built up by my contribution? Are there any results evident because of my stewardship? Am I focused on the right things?

For those, like me, raised up in the old faithful church, a measure of our faithfulness to Jesus Christ is to be found in the results of our effort to spread the kingdom of God. Indeed the catechism of my youth taught me that I was to “work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.” To not do so was to fail in my Christian duty. But what if I worked, prayed, and gave last year, but there was no tangible evidence that the kingdom was spread? What if there were no real results?

You might say to me: “How can we know?” I would have to admit that many of the advances of the kingdom are hidden from our eyes. Only God sees them all. But God uses human beings to accomplish His will. In general, there is no human effort we ever engage in that cannot be measured. If we decide to lose weight this year, we will weigh ourselves regularly, and at the end of the year we will know if our resolve produced results. Results will mean we lost weight. If we set out to learn a new language, the year end will reveal our progress. We have learned to speak it, at least a little. What then are we to look for when we are thinking about the results that advance the kingdom? What are the results God is looking for?

For many years I was complicit in a great deal of organized church activity that did not even ask this question, but no longer. The Lord of the Church interrupted the path of my ministry career, in 1988, by challenging me to the primacy of making disciples. He showed me that there was one absolutely clear evidence of kingdom advance: you will see men and women you have poured your life into, those you have helped become faithful followers of Jesus, pouring their lives into others. You will see them reproducing new faithful followers of Jesus. This is the result that you are praying to see. These are the results that alone give you joy. This is what you are working for. This is the will of God for you.

In the Final Command of the Risen Lord the outcome is declared to be “disciples of all nations.” This is measurable. No vast amount of money in a church budget, no striking new buildings, no attractive new program, no fine preaching, no wonderful youth program, no great worship, no big conference, no wonderful music team, nothing can substitute for what God wants. The only result that matters is another disciple. Are you getting this result from your efforts? Is this not the result God wants?

As we begin this New Year, can we all pray to make this our desire. To want the results that God wants?

— Jon Shuler
NAMS Servant General

God’s Results in 2018?