Tamer & Adidas (by Jon Shuler)

There was a lovely picture shared among some of us yesterday which showed our dear NAMS brother from Egypt, Tamer, with a group of young Kenyan children he organized to play soccer, while he was attending a NAMS training event in that country. Wonderful picture, wonderful children, wonderful ministry. Tamer uses soccer (football to most of the world) to share his faith in Jesus Christ, as the only hope of the world. That is his ministry in Egypt, and he exercised it while visiting Kenya. He is a fine brother and Companion. May his work flourish and grow, as one by one young men and women give their lives to Christ Jesus.

But something in the picture gave me chills, and raised a serious question in my heart. It was the presence of over a dozen Adidas jerseys.

My question is this: Why is a global seller of shoes “evangelizing” it’s brand so aggressively in the majority world, and the church of Jesus Christ in the West, and Westernized church world, is so unaware of what is happening? Do “they have eyes to see but see not?” The organized church in the West is barely noticing, let alone working with tenacity and courage to spread the glorious truth of the gospel of Jesus to all nations.

The marketing forces of the world are aggressively and effectively conveying to the children of the world that owning the right “stuff” is what makes life really satisfying. Indeed they have very successfully done the same with most of their elders. And that is not something that has happened just in the majority world, it has been very effectively accomplished in my own country (the USA). But this is not the gospel. It is a deception from the enemy of our souls. The good news is not that we can wear the right clothes, it is that we can be clothed for eternity, if we surrender our lives in to the hands of Jesus.

This is the heart of Tamer’s ministry, but is it ours?

Reading recently in I Peter, I have been struck by the clarity of his understanding that the church is a holy nation, made up of those who are truly “born anew” of the Spirit of God. Because this is so, they are lights in the world of untruth, and always living so as to be ‘a living testimony’ of another way. Indeed, they are also to be on alert – ready at all times – to give an account of the hope that is within them. It is not enough to live as a Christian, but they must be ready to speak up as a Christian.

In much of what was once called “the Christian world” the forces of darkness have made it more and more unacceptable to speak up for the truth as it is in Jesus. But we must not let this deter us! We are the called of God to speak of and bring light into the darkness. The forces of global marketing are very strong, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger – for those who are the elect of God.

Pray with me for boldness to speak up where you live. Pray for the boldness to challenge your local church to be bold for the spread of the gospel to all nations. Pray that those who say they belong to Jesus may be as committed as Tamer is to sharing the glorious truth with those who have never heard.

 

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Tamer & Adidas (by Jon Shuler)

Making Disciples the Jesus way (Part 2) — By Revd Manik Corea

Strange as it may sound, I was first discipled as a teenager in a Sunday School class! The young man, Daniel who taught us was preparing with his wife, to be missionaries of our local church to Papua New Guinea. The 2 years he spent teaching our weekly small class had a profound effect on my life.

Daniel the missionary shared and opened up his life to us – testimonies, answered prayers, struggles, lessons learned, etc., such that we saw a model of what a true obedient disciple of Jesus looked like at close hand. But he also actively encouraged, challenged and pushed us out to be and become the same – disciples who would trust and obey Jesus with our lives. In many ways, I realize now that Daniel was doing what His Lord did with the first disciples.

Disciple-making is preparation for the future but it engages and involves us in where we are in the present. Last week, we saw that Jesus 1) invited/selected a few to disciple and 2) modeled a way of life and ministry for them to imitate and follow. Here are 3 more things he did to ready them for their life’s work.

Train — Jesus did not only appoint and give a select group to have a first-hand look at his life and ministry; but He actively prepared and trained them to do the same work. (Mark 3:14-15; Luke 9:1-2 and Matthew 10:1 compare with Matthew 4:23 and John 14:12.)

In fact, most of Jesus’ time spent in the Gospels was not simply on doing ministry, but time actually spent developing his disciples to take on the work once He ascended into heaven. It was a practical development and training, with assignments. This was all part of their original calling – ‘so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.’ (Mark 3:14).

He involved them in ministry (Luke 9:12-17; 22:8-13) and allowed them to grow in faith by experience (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 14:28-29). He sent them out on short-term training assignments (see Matthew 10:5-15, Mark 6:7-11). He invested time and energy to instruct and explain to them his teaching and ways (Mark 4:34).

Making disciples is not simply teaching theory or about completing a short course of instruction or class. It is apprenticing alongside, life-on-life, with another disciple so that we/they start to do what God wants us in our lives.

Authorize — When Jesus sent the twelve out on mission in Matthew 10:5-15 and Mark 6:7-11, as well as with the larger group of disciples – the 72 of Luke 10:1-11, they were expected to announce the coming of the kingdom, heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. He gave specific instructions and authority to do the same thing He did. And this is exactly what happened, which they were joyfully were able to report on their return (Luke 9:6; 10:17 and Mark 6:13.)

Finally, in Matthew 28:18-20, in his final command to the disciples, the risen Jesus authorizes them, on the basis of being Lord of Heaven and Earth to ‘make disciples’ of all peoples.

The making of disciples is the high calling and work that Jesus has authorized us to do in His name and by His power. This is not the job of a few ‘professional’ Christian pastors and missionary, but the work of every disciple. So, we must teach and show disciples that they are likewise authorized by Heaven’s King for service and mission in the world.

Release/Send — Finally, Jesus commissioned them in what we in NAMS call the ‘final command’ of Matthew 28:18-20 to reach all peoples of every ethnic group. Before he left them, Jesus promised that they will receive the Holy Spirit to empower them for this witness, and that through Him, Jesus himself will be with us till the ends of the earth and the end of time.

There will come a moment, as with Jesus and Paul (see Acts 14:23; 20:17-38) when we must release disciples that we have made to become disciple-makers in their own right with others. This is a principle Paul establishes for Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2.

As we have been discipled, so we must now pass on to others what we received, by making other disciples. We are taken captive by Christ in other to be released to mission in the world. We commend them in prayer to God and move on ourselves to make more disciples.

This is how Jesus begun a world-movement from simply focusing on a few. The ball is now firmly in our court!

Making Disciples the Jesus way (Part 2) — By Revd Manik Corea

Making Disciples the Jesus way (Part 1) — by Manik Corea

No one made disciples like Jesus!

Incredibly, Jesus, who never traveled more than 200 miles from where He was born, launched a global movement from scratch that has no equal in history. And He did it without writing a book, founding a school or university or conquering with an army.

How? He chose twelve men and concentrated most of His time and focus on them.[1] Rather than leveraging the crowds that flocked to Him or taking political advantage of His popularity and the ferment of national aspirations, He refused to bring God’s rule in by force or pander to anything but a heavenly perspective (see Matthew 16:23).

Jesus was instead looking to make disciples and subjects of His one-of-a-kind Kingdom, not raise up a rebel army to fight those of the earth. He was the Suffering Servant come to save us from our sins, not an all-conquering ruler coming to re-assert God’s rightful reign on the earth – that is reserved for His return.

Consider the men He picked – they were not from the high echelons of their society – the ‘Who’s Who?’ of their day. He chose in effect, nobodies – the ‘who?’ of common stock.

Among the twelve were wet, clueless fishermen, a few political zealots and the odd tax collector. They ‘smelled of fish and revolution’ as one writer put it.

Yes, Jesus chose them and gave them front-row seats and back-stage passes for the 3 or so years of His ministry.

In doing so, he gave us principles and a pattern for continuing the same task he now calls us to – of making of disciples after Him.

As I considered the Gospel accounts of Jesus and his method of preparing and raising disciples, 5 things that Jesus did consistently stand out. If we are to make disciples with the same goals, means and mettle as Jesus, then let us consider and imitate how he did it, so that we can do the same.

1) Invitation – at the heart of God’s Gospel to us is an invitation and a call to ‘come to Him’ for salvation: forgiveness, hope and healing. But discipleship is also a call to follow. When Jesus begun His earthy ministry, after a night of prayer, He chose the twelve from among an already a larger group of disciples. In fact, He appointed them to be with Him (see Mark 3:13-19, Matthew 10:1 and Luke 6:12-16).

Likewise, we need to be actively and prayerfully seeking people that we can reach out to and disciple (as well as those who may disciple us). To be a disciple who makes other disciples, you have to be actively looking for someone else to walk with. Invite them to meet and journey with you – once a week at the least, but regularly and as consistently as possible- to pray, read the Word and help each other be and make disciples of others.

I have found in my own life that if I’m not active in finding and meeting with others to disciple, I begin, by default and sinful bent, to stall in my walk with the Lord and to begin to pander to my own needs and desires.

Model – Jesus spent countless days and nights with this group of 12 throughout their apprenticeship. They got to see, hear and experience close up what many of us can only dream of or imagine. Jesus taught by repetition, remark and revelation, through the situations they encountered and amidst challenges that arose. He told unforgettable stories; he demanded their obedience and trust, and he left an indelible pattern on their minds and hearts.

But most of all, he showed them how He wanted them to live, by his life and example. And most people need to be shown, not just to be told. That’s why true discipleship is always a ‘show and tell’ endeavor in the Scriptures.

We are all likewise called to live like Jesus, to model a way of life to those we lead and are discipling. ‘Follow me, as I follow Christ’ was how Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 11:1.

As I have learnt, you can teach all you know, but you will reproduce who you are, whether in your child/ren or in those you disciple. More is caught than taught. So, like Jesus, we make disciples best by modelling and living out what we teach and proclaim.

As John Maxwell said, a true leader knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.

Next week, we will explore the next 3 disciple-making principles Jesus consistently followed.

 


[1] While the Gospels are mostly selective accounts excepted out of the life and ministry of Jesus during his adult life, more than 60% of the Gospel of Mark is the record of Jesus being alone with his disciples.

Making Disciples the Jesus way (Part 1) — by Manik Corea

Family or Business? (By Isaac Lasky)

All of humanity is on a search for identity and meaning in their lives. Christians find their identity fundamentally in their relationship to God as Father. However our sinful nature does not allow to live that out unchallenged. Additionally, even among faithful Christians, there is a real temptation to find our identity, value and meaning in what we do for God rather than who we are in Him.

We may look like we are passionate, on-fire disciples, but we lack integrity and have misplaced our loyalty when, in effect, we have traded a ‘family’ relationship with God for a ‘business’ relationship with Him.

Tim Keller in his sermon ‘Basis of prayer: Our Father’ (1995)[i] shares very powerful truth about the difference between a family relationship and a business relationship and how we can know which one we have with God.

He says that there are, broadly speaking, two categories of relationship in our world today – business and family.

Business relationships are relationships that are built on an exchange of services. For example, a landlord rents out a house to a tenant, in exchange for a financial return. Your barber cuts your hair in exchange for money. The relationship exists because it is mutually beneficial for both parties. If one party does not keep up their side of the deal, the relationship is terminated and another similar relationship sought. There is also limited access in such a relationship. You can only request or expect communication about things that pertain to the business transaction.

In contrast, family relationships are built on an exchange of love. The relationship is not dependent on what the people do but rather who the people are. In a family relationship you have access to each other’s lives and seek to help and support each other in whatever way possible.

If you barber gives you a bad haircut it’s the end of the relationship and you get a new barber. But if your son breaks the window you get a new window, not seek a new son!

You can ask your mechanic to fix your car but you can’t ask him to help pay for your wedding. But you can ask your Dad to help fix your car and can ask him to help pay for your wedding.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God as ‘Our Father’, it shows us that we are to relate to God as within a family relationship, and not a business relationship. In this, we have unprecedented access to the Father. Thus, we can ask for daily bread, deliverance from temptation, forgiveness of sins and whatever else we need. How incredible it is that we can call the awesome, sovereign and Holy Lord of Heaven ‘our Father’!

So, how do we know with which type of relationship – business or family – do we primarily relate to God with? Think about the last time you didn’t get a prayer answered in the way you wanted. How did you react and feel?

If you felt God was treating you unfairly (‘I did my part but you didn’t do yours’) or felt guilty (‘I’ve failed to please you so how can I expect you to hear my prayers’) then you are equating an unanswered (or differently-answered) prayer to a breakdown in an exchange of services.

We are then treating God like He owes, rather than owns us. We have reduced our prayer life to a formulae to get what we want from Him.

Evidence of a family relationship on the other hand would be when we approach God with love, humility and submission. We say like our Lord Jesus, ‘Lord, not my will but your will be done.’ ‘I know you are a good Father whose ways are higher than my ways.’ ‘Give me what I would pray for if I had your infinite power and infinite wisdom.’

What kind of relationship do you have with your Lord? Business or Family?

 


[i] You can listen to it at: https://player.fm/series/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life-83408/basis-of-prayer-our-father

Family or Business? (By Isaac Lasky)

Lasting fruitfulness (By Revd Manik Corea)

How fruitful you are for Christ depends on how faithfully and strongly connected you are connected to Christ.

There is an anecdotal story told of George Whitfield, the great English evangelist who preached to hundreds of thousands on both sides of the Atlantic. He was asked how many were converted after one particular evangelistic campaign. ‘We’ll know in five years,’ he replied

No fruit is instant. It must grow over time. Genuine, God-cultivated fruit will be shown in the way we live out our lives, in all of its dimensions

We typically name a tree according to its fruit. Indeed, Jesus said the fruits of our lives will identify us as genuine followers – or not (Matthew 7:15-20).

It is a sign of us being His true disciples. In John 15:8, Jesus proclaims: ‘By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to by my disciples.’

The context of Jesus’ statement here is the famous analogy of the vine and branches (John 15). His point is clear: branches (i.e. us) must stay connected and receive life giving sap from the vine (i.e. Him) in order to produce fruit of the vine. The Gardener will sometimes prune the branches, as painful a process as that might be, in order in time to make the vine even more fruitful. However, fruitless branches are removed and burned.

God is looking for fruit in our lives. The fruit is not for the tree, but for the gardener.

What then is this fruit that we are to show forth? Is it the inner spiritual growth into Christ-likeness within the life of the disciple (Galatians 5:22-23)? Or is Jesus speaking of more visible and outward growth and the works of faith in our lives? What about making other disciples?

It could well be argued from the context that Jesus in mind outward manifestations of that inward reality of our lives connected with him – that is, the words and works we say and do in His name, which are the result of abiding in His love, and obeying His word. Theologian Don Carson suggests ‘(t)he fruit is everything done in conformity to the will of Jesus Christ.’[1]

Chief of these works are that we be witnesses and disciple-makers in the world.

Pastor John Piper argues that the broad definition of ‘fruit’ here must include the making of new disciples – arguing from John 4:25,26 for the analogous use of ‘fruit’ to refer to the harvest of people for eternal life.[2]

In Scripture, a ‘fruitful vine’ is sometimes used as a picture of great productivity and blessing.[3]In Psalm 128:3, the word ‘fruitful vine’ is spoken of the wife of the man who fears God and is blessed with many children. It is not hard to see then that Jesus has in mind the growth and multiplication of disciples (our ‘spiritual children’) as the fruit we are to produce in his kingdom (see Matthew 21:43).

In NAMS, we have long contended that we’ll know we’ve ‘made’ a disciple, when he/she seeks to make another. The disciple is starting to bear fruit.

So, if we are to be fruitful disciple-makers that ‘bear much fruit’ and prove to be his disciples, then we must persevere in staying connected to the vine that is Jesus and seeking to be fruitful in our disciple-making for Him.

How are you bearing fruit for Jesus today?

 

If you would like to learn and be helped to be a faithful Christian in your local context, who is learning to make other disciples and become fruitful, you may like to be a NAMS Centurion with us. Go to www.namscenturion.com or write to us at info@namsnetwork.com to find out more.

 

 


[1] The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17; D A Carson; Baker Books: 1980, pg 111

[2] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-chose-you-to-bear-fruit

[3] For example, as used of Joseph in Genesis 49:22 or of Israel in Ezekiel 19:10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17; D A Carson; Baker Books: 1980, pg 111

 

[2] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-chose-you-to-bear-fruit

[3] For example, as used of Joseph in Genesis 49:22 or of Israel in Ezekiel 19:10.

Lasting fruitfulness (By Revd Manik Corea)

Help us bring a new NAMS Global Apprentice from India to Bangkok, Thailand

Help us bring a new NAMS Global Apprentice from India to Bangkok, Thailand

The NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program (GAP) exists to raise up the next generation of disciple-making leaders. Global apprentices live on site, train and grow in faith, experience and knowledge within the stimulating environments of one of our NAMS base communities.

John Gansalves is a young leader in India that we have identified would greatly benefit from being part of this program. God is calling him to serve at our base community in Bangkok, Thailand for a one year period. During his time with us, John will gain experience in cross cultural mission and ministry, be trained and equipped to be a disciple-making leader and serve the base community here through his many gifts and talents and the experience he brings of children and youth ministry in India.

During his exploratory trip to Bangkok in August 2017 it became very clear how the Lord could use John in the unique context we have to evangelise and disciple students, migrants and refugees.

Please pray for John and NAMS GAP as we seek to raise the $12,000 required for him to be a Global Apprentice in Bangkok, Thailand for the next twelve months.

If you would like to give towards his support, please go to the link below.

DONATE NOW!

Help us bring a new NAMS Global Apprentice from India to Bangkok, Thailand

The Next Companion? ( by Jon Shuler)

One of the central commitments of a NAMS Companion is to pray and labor in the Lord so that other men and women become Companions. We believe that Companions are called to change the world. How are we doing?

My years with NAMS have taught me that finding new Companions takes intentionality. We must look for signs that someone is being called to join us. But “seeing” them is not enough, we must ask them to join us. But first we need to recognize that God leads most of us through stages to a life calling, and we must be sensitive to where people are in their journey. It can take years to find God’s unique call for a lifetime.

These stages always begin when we meet someone who desires to be a disciple-making disciple of Christ Jesus, and we begin to disciple them. Many will go on to fruitful and faithful lives according to other specific ministries and callings, as the Lord directs, but some may be called to NAMS. What else do we look for?

Most of all we look to see if their heart for the Lord includes a growing awareness of the centrality of the Final Command (Mt 28:19)? Do they believe that they are obeying it where they now live, worship, and serve, or has the Holy Spirit lifted their “eyes up to the harvest” beyond them? For these ones, we have a special calling to pursue.

I have learned that the best next step is usually to explain the NAMS Centurion Project www.namscenturion.com and invite them to pray about joining us. This project is building an extended network of NAMS coworkers, who specifically undertake to be part of the wider community of Companions by beginning to live a simple “rule of life” derived from the NAMS Rule for Companions. There are divisions for men, women, and couples, but all start to walk a simple path of giving, praying and serving alongside NAMS Companions right where they live. These NAMS Centurions are becoming the very backbone of our global mission and ministry.

Another path, for younger and generally single disciples, is to join the NAMS Global Apprentice Program (GAP), and agree to serve for a year, or even two, in some part of the global NAMS mission field. This is an intense commitment, of course, but is sometimes the clearest sign God will give that we have found a future NAMS Companion, who will serve with us for life. Is GAP for you?

Perhaps the next most critical step, however, is that which leads someone to help us to found a base community somewhere in the world. A NAMS Base Community (NBC) is an intentional Christian community dedicated to modeling, incubating, training, and sending church planting missionaries into the harvest fields of the Lord Jesus. Led always by a small band of Companions,we pray daily to first have one of these NBCs in the fifteen mission mega regions of the world, and someday, in every nation on earth. We believe our NBCs are helping fulfill God’s plan to bring in the kingdom.

Are you called to be one of us? Will you help us change the world?

The Next Companion? ( by Jon Shuler)