Watching Hopefully, Working Faithfully (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

This Sunday past we entered the season of Advent. I hope in the next 4 weeks to provide us with reflections on the theme of waiting and working. 

We live between two comings of Christ. 

The incarnation and the parousia1 of Jesus Christ are the historical book-ends within which God’s eternal and indefatigable purposes for redemption and new creation are accomplished in time. 

Jesus’ first coming as an atoning servant-saviour, and his second as all-conquering king of God’s kingdom, are the magnetic poles by which we, God’s redeemed people, set our course and navigate amidst the tumultuous and treacherous seas of our time. 

At Advent, we have the opportunity to consider afresh the return of Christ not simply as future hope, but a vital fact that bears down on our present faith and work. 

For the Second Coming is the central promise that will consummate God’s great redemption. Without it, His kingdom will not fully come on earth as it is in heaven. “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25). 

The bridegroom must return for his bride; the king come home to claim his rightful inheritance. 

Jesus’ teaching and various parables bear that out2.  He is coming back, so ‘keep watch.’3 That is, be ready and expectant. 

But what is the point of watching if His return is inevitable? 

We watch and wait in hope, so we do not despair. In the midst of all the uncertainty, challenge, suffering and fear in today’s broken world, God’s tomorrow is not in doubt. 

And we long for that day to come. Maranatha is one of the earliest recorded prayers of the first church.4

There is an intimate link between watching and waiting. Watching is the posture of expectant waiting. And biblically, waiting time is not the same as wasting time. It is active, not passive, as we look to sync our daily lives with God’s timetable and plan for our world and his people. 

Secondly, while we watch and wait hopefully, we work faithfully. We focus our minds on action and steward our calling as missionary disciples toward a lost world (1 Peter 1:13; Matthew 28:19-20). 

The Welsh preacher G. Campbell Morgan wrote: 

“Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”5

This ultimately is what the season of Advent reminds us – God was faithful to the patriarchs and the prophets to fulfil his word to send Messiah at just the right time (Galatians 4:4). He will come still a second time, with signs and wonders preceding, to judge the living and the dead and to establish his kingdom rule forever, completing our salvation (Hebrews 9:27, 28).

The return of Christ calls us then both to a hopeful waiting and a faithful working. Even so, come Lord Jesus.


1  ‘Parousia’  in Greek literally means ‘presence’. It is used often in the New Testament, among other words, to denote the second coming of Christ – see 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,8; James 5:7,8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4,12; 1 John 2:28.

2  Matthew 24; Mark 13 and Luke 21:5-36. See also various parables including Luke 19:11-27; Matthew 24:46-51; 25:1-13; 14-30 and Mark 13:28-37. 

3  Matthew 24:42; Mark 13:37; Luke 21:36

4  Aramaic phrase, translated ‘Our Lord, come’. See 1 Corinthians 16:22b; Revelation 22:20 and the first-century early church text – the Didache 10:6. (www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-hoole.html).

5  Article ‘Waiting for God’ by G. Campbell Morgan, accessed at http://articles.ochristian.com/article14291.shtml

Watching Hopefully, Working Faithfully (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

Leadership the Jesus Way.

KingdomLeaders_cover

Announcing ‘Jesus-Shaped Leadership’ a new small group Leadership Development Course by NAMS.

“To learn to be a disciple-making leader means to help people enter deeper into dependence upon the Lord Jesus, not ourselves.”

(NAMS Founder, Revd Canon Dr Jon Shuler)

In NAMS, we have always believed that the holy tasks of spreading the good news of Jesus and planting new churches are intimately related to the making of disciples who make disciples AND the raising up of faithful and fruitful leaders who believe and practice this passionately.

Indeed, we believe it is self-evident that the work of God’s church and kingdom cannot be accomplished without called, prepared and consecrated new leadership – who have learned to be utterly dependent on Jesus

The Jesus-Shaped Leadership course is a 7-week small group course on Jesus’ method for raising disciple-making leaders. It calls attention to the kind of leaders he modeled, incubated, trained and sent into the world.

Two free resources (A Participant course book and a Leaders/Facilitators Guide) have just been published on the resource page of our website:

www.namsnetwork.com/resources.html

(under the heading ‘Jesus-Shaped Leadership’)

Our prayer is that this short course will bring focus on the vision, values and godly methods of kingdom leadership development.

Each week’s lesson will focus on a different facet of leadership as the Scriptures and our Lord Jesus taught or instructed. It is hoped that the teaching from Scripture, personal sharing, mentoring and practical application will catalyze a culture of learning, encouragement and accountability for new and seasoned leaders alike. (The Leaders/Facilitator’s Guide will give additional information on how to run each session).

We have also released a new e-book in conjunction with the Jesus-Shaped Leadership course, also available on our resource page. It is called ‘4 Things Kingdom Leaders Do.’ You can access it directly from this link:

https://www.namsnetwork.com/assets/kingdomleaders.pdf

Please feel free to download, share and use these resources.

If you have questions, requests or feedback, please write to us at info@namsnetwork.com or directly to our Global Executive, Revd Manik Corea at manikcorea@namsnetwork.org

 

 

Leadership the Jesus Way.

Going to the Least of Them — COVID-19 Relief.

These are extraordinary times. Much of the world is still trying to cope with the devastating spread and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In parts of the world where NAMS has work, some of our leaders and Companions are facing unprecedented challenge. In this special post, we would like to appeal for emergency funds to help some of the most needy people in a few of our mission regions.

People who were already poor. People like Sindhu featured below – the poorest of the poor. Will you pray for them? If the Lord moves you, will you give to our COVID-19 Relief Fund? We hope to send as much as we can to our Regional Team Leaders to help with their efforts. Please read and pray.

John Gansalves photo

Sindhu Mallik , aged about 60 is from Angul district of Odisha, India. He has no one looking after him and is homeless. He lives on the streets. Disabled with only one leg, he typically begs to survive. John Gansalves, our NAMS Companion, who runs a ministry to street children and is discipling young people in the area, was with a team taking relief to the poorest of the poor. He is seen here giving him a bag of food for relief. He was so surprised and was so grateful. John also had the opportunity to share the Gospel with him. Please pray and help us to help people like Sindhu.

Here are some of our other needs we have received from our regions…

  1. Haryana State, India. Our NAMS leader there, Pastor Prince Thomas, based in Karnal city, has asked for help with a number of labourers who are migrants in the State with their families, as they are far from their home villages in other States and require financial help to survive. They have an active movement of churches scattered throughout the State and will be able to help a few families through any donations made. There is also an urgent need to buy basic food-stuff to feed very poor families in rural villages who are daily-wage earners and now unable to work.
  2. Orissa State, India. Our NAMS leader in Orissa, Pastor Pranab Kishor Kumar is working to feed at least 20-30 families in two locations – in Balangir area (rural) and near the state capital of Bhubaneswar (with John Gansalves – featured above). A basic food relief packet containing rice, dhal (i.e. lentils), salt, old, potatoes, garlic, sugar and tea powder will be given to the families, to see them through 10-30 days.
  3. Kathmandu, Nepal. Our NAMS leader in Nepal, Pastor Tek Prasad Rijal is based just outside of the city. Because of the lockdown, they have been helping with the food needs and support of at least 25 families in their locality. Additionally, Tek is well connected to relief efforts of various other churches in the city and will be able to help from some of the funds sent.
  4. Nairobi, Kenya. Our NAMS leader in Kenya, Pastor Timothy Mazimpaka reports that they have been working with a group of women from Ngara Market, most of whom are the sole breadwinners in single-parent families. They have been struggling without work at the market, to feed themselves and their families. A gift of US$1,000 will enable to the 15 of so women to have basic foodstuff and support for a month or two.
  5. Havanna and Cienfuegos, Cuba. Our NAMS leader in Latin America is based in Temuco, Chile – Pastor Andres Casanueva. Our NAMS base there has relationship with NAMS partners in Cienfuegos and a base in Havana, Cuba, which they have been regularly supporting. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, many of the poor families have had no recourse for help and support. We would like through our NAMS base in Chile, to send them crisis-relief funds and support for basic needs.

Please click on the ‘Donate Now’ button here or go to our website directly ( http://www.namsnetwork.com/ be-involved.html ) to donate there. Contact us at info@namsnetwork.com for other ways to transfer any gifts. (Please indicate ‘NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF FUND’ on the remarks column).

 

Click here to DONATE.

Going to the Least of Them — COVID-19 Relief.

Join us for an Easter service led by Rev. Jon C Shuler

Dear NAMS Network and Friends,

The Anglican Bishop of South Carolina has asked me to step in, temporarily, to lead a parish here in my hometown called Christ the King/Grace Anglican Church. We will upload our Easter service to Youtube at 7:00am Sunday morning, US Eastern Standard Time. We would love to have you and your family join us. May the Spirit of God bless you and yours throughout this extraordinary Easter Season.

Jon Shuler
Servant General (NAMS)

The service can be accessed via this Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/gracechurchwaccamaw/

 

 

Join us for an Easter service led by Rev. Jon C Shuler

​ Can A Church Be Reborn? (by Jon Shuler​​)

The time for New Year’s Resolutions has come, but the mature among us know that they will rarely last the year. Does that make them vain? I think not. Better a good intention tried than never begun. Better to set a high goal and reach some of it, than never to set a goal at all. A good man once taught me: “If you have no dreams do not set goals. But if you dream dreams and do not set goals, I promise you despair.” I dream dreams, and I hope all who read this do as well. If they are dreams that have been placed in our hearts by the living God, we must resolve to reach for them.

One of my dreams is to live to see revival again.

I came to a living and true faith in just such a time. A small Anglo Catholic parish, in an out of the way University town in England, entered into a remarkable season of years when the Spirit of God was being poured out upon us. Dozens and dozens of men and women came alive in Christ Jesus. The parish was changed, the town was changed, the whole of North East England was changed, for a season.

Of course the fires of revival always die down, and they did in Durham. But not before countless lives were made new, and not before many were scattered to the wider world to take the Good News of God’s love to others. Some day I pray to be allowed to know, in heaven, the extent of the impact of that time for the spread of the kingdom of God. The thought of it gives me joy.

What might I do beyond think and pray? Revival, if it is truly from the Lord, is not the product of man made manipulation or planning. We cannot set a goal for God. But we can know his heart for the world he created. “He sent his only begotten Son into the world that all who believe might not perish, but have everlasting life.” He has spoken through the prophets and a day will come when “the earth will be covered with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the seas.” And the reason this will happen is his great love wills it. And so too does his true church.

What then of a slumbering church? Can she have a part in that great day if she is asleep? Or worse, can she have a part in that day if she is filled with cultural Christians who are not themselves reborn? Dare we speak of a church that is not reborn?

No student of the Holy Scriptures can be ignorant of the answer. The church that is the church is only made up of the reborn. There is no such thing as a “fleshly, unborn, church.” There are such men, but not such churches. No other than those called and chosen of God will see his face, when the great church triumphant is gathered around the throne of the Lamb. That is the church.

But still, with the liberty of the modern English language may we dare say it? I think so. We need the organized, visible, historic church to be reborn. God wills it.

 

Used with permission, http://www.jonshuler.com, https://joncshuler.wordpress.com/

​ Can A Church Be Reborn? (by Jon Shuler​​)

KATHMANDU CHRISTMAS REQUEST

During this Christmas season, we are all familiar with the nativity story of Mary and Joseph finding no room in the inn, having to make do with  keeping the baby in a manger (Luke 2:7).

This month, we are making a special appeal on behalf of our NAMS base community and their church community in Kathmandu, Nepal who are likewise building-less at the moment. As renting buildings or rooms are not only challenging (in a Hindu-majority nation), but also typically expensive, they are seeking to build their own building on a piece of land they have leased for 5 years (with an option to renew for another 5).

Currently, they need US$10,000 to finish the building that they have started, which still lacks compound materials to build the walls and interior as in the picture below.

Kathmandu unfinished NBC building copy

Their prayer is they will be able to use this building, and others in time not only for their weekend services and weekday discipleship and outreach activities, but as a base from which to build and grown the NAMS Himalayan/Tibetan Base Community. Their vision is that it will be a centre from which to raise, train and send many peoples out into the Himalayan-Tibetan region. They hope that this building in addition will allow for multi-purpose usage and income-generation opportunities.

This Christmas, will you consider a small gift in aid of this project? If so, please click on the Donate link below (- Indicate where applicable, ‘For NAMS Kathmandu Project 2019’.)

Finally, please keep us and our work globally also in your prayers.

Thank you

NAMS Himalayan-Tibetan Peoples Region,

 

DONATE NOW!

KATHMANDU CHRISTMAS REQUEST

NAMS Announcement

Dear NAMS subscriber.

We thank you for subscribing to our weekly blogs that many of our NAMS leaders have contributed to over the years. Because of the declining numbers of people who actually read the blog and the challenge of many other competing social media and channels, we have decided to discontinue our weekly teaching blog.

However, we will replace it with more occasional stories and testimonies relevant to the work God has called NAMS to do around the world, which we will continue to send to you (no action required if you wish to stay on our list of subscribers).

Our prayer is that you will continue not only to be inspired to be missionary disciple-making disciple of Jesus wherever he sends you and have placed you in, but that you may also continue to pray, give and support us in the call God has given NAMS. We need more and more partners because the work of reaching all peoples is urgent. Please keep praying for and supporting us.

May I in closing commend to you two blogs that we hope will inspire you. The first is the personal blog of our NAMS leader and Servant General, Canon Revd Dr Jon Shuler. You can find it here:

https://joncshuler.wordpress.com

You might also like to check out the regular writing from on of our NAMS Companion, Bishop Josep Rossello, currently leading a church in Exmouth, England. You can find his blog here:

https://joseprossello.blogspot.com

Stay tuned next week for a story from our NAMS work in Cairo, Egypt!

NAMS Announcement

We are a new creation. (By Manik Corea)

Christianity is not a religion of human reformation but of divine transformation. God is seeking a new breed of men and women who are wholly changed by Him. Jesus startled the Pharisee Nicodemus with the statement – ‘you must be born again of the Spirit’ (John 3:3-8). A new start is required.

God does not just want to mend the old ‘you’. In fact, as part of our salvation, he crucified (read ‘killed’) the old you, that is the one that was a slave to sin, and begun the work of making a new person altogether, one whose focus and locus are situated firmly in person and power of the resurrected Christ.

In Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Greek word ‘metamorphoō ‘ is used, commonly translated ‘transformed’. In Romans 12, the emphasis is on allowing our minds to be renewed and transformed through offering ourselves to God. On the other hand, the 2 Corinthians passage speaks of transformation that is done through God’s Spirit as we behold His glory. We look to Him and He changes us.

Transformation requires our co-operation and response to what God has wrought through His power and glory. We cannot generate our own transformation any more than a child can will himself to grow a few inches overnight. But when we choose to let God change and redeem us, our natures are transformed (2 Corinthians 5:17).

It is a change that is real and lasting. We see this in creation. A butterfly is not merely a caterpillar with wings – it is an entirely different creature. Within the tomb of its chrysalis, a transformation – metamorphosis – occurs, and what emerges is radically different. It is startling fact of science that a caterpillar eats only leaves and never drinks, whereas a butterfly never eats but survives by drinking nectar.  Similarly, our whole outlook on life, what sustains us and feeds us, will be wholly different (Romans 8:5,6 cf John 4:13). We have hope, faith and love enough to last through an eternal tomorrow. But it must infect our ‘todays’ as well!

Peter Kuzmic, a Croatian theologian, said, ‘Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future. Faith is having the courage to dance to it today.’

Hope and faith go hand in hand. Because our hope is in God to deliver us in the future, we can trust him today for all the things that threaten us – even terrors of the night, the trials of life or the worst persecution. Our hope in God will lead us to turn and trust him more, and we will find that not only will he be with us through the storms, he will turn what may seem like terrible things into something good.

‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ (Hebrews 6:19). It mitigates against the suffering and the injustice we sometimes or often face, and reminds us that despite the vicissitudes of quotidian life, our God still reigns and he is quite capable of working all things for good to them that believe.

Indeed, our hope is in the King who is reigning now as Lord and will return to bring all things under His feet. And that same Christ calls us now to an indefatigable work by His power and direction, to rescue and ready a people for Himself when He comes.

We are called to make a difference in the world, to be and become, as God’s people, an alternative community of hope; a veritable city of refuge for the lost and the losers, those huddled masses of the lonely and oppressed. It is this hope and trust in God then that will prove, now and at the last, the great and lasting antidote against the poison of hopelessness that darkens so many a life today.

A disciple who makes disciples knows how the story ends, because they would abide in the transforming story of His Word. And by his Spirit and new creation, would they live and are instruments of his power and love in our world for good.

Are you one of them? What difference will you make in a neighbor or strangers life today?

AS WE REACH ANOTHER’S YEAR END, WILL YOU PRAY ABOUT SUPPORTING THE WORK AND MINISTRY OF NAMS GLOBALLY, OCCASIONALLY OR REGULARLY?

US$25 or $50 monthly will help support our Regional Team Leaders and Companions in places where they are ministering with very little support or income. If you would like to help, please go to this link: 

https://www.namsnetwork.com/be-involved.html

where, at the bottom of the page, you can donate online or find out how to send us a check.
Thank you.

 

We are a new creation. (By Manik Corea)

It is Finished. (By Manik Corea)

“Christianity is a strange thing” contended Watchman Nee (Nee To-sheng), that great Chinese church theologian of the last century. “If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing… For Christianity begins not with a big DO but with a big DONE.”

Redemption cannot be purchased by us but is freely offered by God. Salvation in Christ is not achieved, but simply received by faith. Since we came into sin through our birth relationship to Adam, we must be delivered from sin by a blood sacrifice – that of Christ, the second Adam. (Romans 5;18-21, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

And so ‘Tetelestai’ was the Greek translation of Jesus’ final word, as John recorded in John 19:30. It simply means ‘It is finished!’ The implications would have been widely understood in their day. It was an accounting term signifying full payment. The debt of our sin had been completely written off. He paid and we are freed – from the awful hold of sin and its wages of death, if we would trust Him with our lives.

But as we receive Him and all He did for us, a life-changing alteration ensues. Once we were separated and estranged from God, but through the passion of Christ, we are brought near and made one with God.

Through and in Christ alone, we come to God and now stand in Him (John 14:6, Hebrews 10:19-22; Romans 5:1,2). God justifies us of our past and sanctifies us in the present by placing us in Christ.

This affects and transforms every aspect of our new life with God from here on. Our identity, purpose, characters, circumstances, words, works and worth, in fact, all we are becoming, is viewed now from a vantage point far different and superior than our past. We who are seated with Christ in heavenly places, are called to think and be different (Ephesians 2:4-7;  Philippians 2:14-16; Colossians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:16; 1 Peter 1:13-16 etc.) Christ in us becomes our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Therefore, our faith lives or dies on the basis of whether we remain in Christ and He in us (John 15:4,5). In fact, being ‘in Christ’ is a central theme in the New Testament. The expression occurs 216 times in Paul’s epistles and 26 times in John’s writings – Who we are ‘in Christ’ makes all the difference to God and us, today and for eternity.

The difference this makes (or ought to) in our daily lives in this world should be monumental. A disciple of Jesus has simply recognized that his life is not his own anymore – it belongs to Jesus. It is hid in him – and every aspect of his past, present and future with it.

NT Wright, in his book ‘Following Jesus’ said: “The longer you look at Jesus, the more you will want to serve him in this world. That is, of course, if it’s the real Jesus you’re looking at.”

Will you take a good look at the real Jesus today, then forsaking all, take up your cross and follow him today?

And, for the sake of the Gospel of God’s kingdom, bring someone else with you!

 

It is Finished. (By Manik Corea)

A Resurrection People (By Manik Corea)

Just under 3 weeks ago, a tragedy occurred in our NAMS church community here in Bangkok. Kazia, a young 21 year old Pakistani girl (who with her parents were asylum seekers in Bangkok) died suddenly from complications from a blood infection. She had been close friends with Sara, one of our church members, also Pakistani. On Christmas Day in 2017, Kazia and Sara had been guests for the day with my family and 2 other NAMS Companion missionaries at our home. We enjoyed a wonderful day of holy celebration, feasting and fun together. We saw her occasionally after that, and I visited her at the hospital the night she died. We are still grieving the sudden lost of such a young life.

But in the midst of our profound sadness, the hope of the resurrection is the greatest comfort we can have. On the morning after Kazia’s death, as I was on my way to Myanmar, I was reading from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, which speaks of the return of Christ when all the dead and living in Christ shall rise to meet him. Paul writes, ‘…and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.’ In our sadness, we take comfort that her death (and ours) is not a full stop, but simply a parenthesis. We shall meet again at the return of our King.

Jesus’ resurrection changes everything. It is the oxygen of hope in the smog and fog of our confusion and grief.

For not only was His resurrection historical, it is also transformational for all who believe in His name and saving work.

Jesus’ victory through his death and resurrection remains the only true panacea for the ills of all humanity. It forgives our past sins, transforms our present sinfulness and will one day resurrect us in glorious perfection. Past, present and future simultaneously effected!

As has been said, this Gospel or good news is not merely the ‘ABC’ of our faith but the ‘A to Z’ of it.

And the resurrection is a central part of that good news. Apostolic preaching centered on it – every recorded evangelistic sermon in the book of Acts mentions the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus himself predicted his resurrection would be a sign to unbelievers (Matthew 12:38-40). It witnesses to the unique saving work of Jesus to those who are receptive (Acts 10:40-43). It is at the heart of our confession of faith until salvation (Romans 10:9) and fuels our on-going life of faith and hope (Romans 8:9-11, Philippians 3:10-11).

We are freed from the fear of death because of Jesus’ rising (Hebrews 2:14-15). And the same power with which God raised Jesus, works in us today and will likewise raise us up to the same resurrected life (1 Corinthians 6:14 and Ephesians 1:19-20)

In the halcyon days of our childhood, many a story ended in those blissful terms: ‘and they lived happily ever after.’ Growing up in the school of life, such a myth is easily dispelled.  We live in a sad, mad and bad world.

History is a litany of ills and wrongs repeated over and over again. ‘All news is old news happening to new people.’ (Malcolm Muggedridge). And the news is almost always bad.

Against such hopelessness and helplessness, the Gospel and the resurrection of Jesus mitigate. They sing us a new song of hope and usher all who would turn in repentant faith to Jesus into a new dawn of hope. In God’s new kingdom, we will indeed live the happy-ever after He always intended. He has left us the witness of an empty tomb to guarantee it.

Against the tragedy and loss of death that tends to shake us, especially when the loss is personal or tragic, His resurrection offers hope not only for that inevitable last day of our mortality to come, but it calls us to sing a different song today – one that lifts Him up for all to see.

We are a resurrection people, called to go and share with a world that knows no such hope. Who will you share this hope with today?

 

A Resurrection People (By Manik Corea)