Mending our Nets (by Pastor Prince Thomas)

Recently, the Lord has been teaching me some lessons from Luke Chapter 5:1-11, about ‘net breaking blessings’. In this passage, we read the very interesting story of Peter working hard and fishing all night but catching nothing. Although he would have been very discouraged and upset, we read in verse 2 that he and the other fishermen were nevertheless still washing and mending their nets for another try. What are some lessons?

Firstly He was mending his net. After fishing all night, Peter’s net might have been torn or damaged. Fishermen need to repair their nets before they go to their work again. If there is big hole in the net, the fish may easily escape after being caught. One of the questions I felt the Lord ask me was “If there is a big hole in the net, would Peter have received his big miracle from God?” Even if God should grant, as He did, a big catch, the fish would not be free. God is waiting for us to mend our nets before He performs miracles in our lives.

Peter mended his broken net. This is the basic requirement for a divine breakthrough. Many of us want God to use us or bless us. But do we take the time to examine or check ourselves to see if we need repairs done in areas of our walk and relationship with God, with family, leaders, the church or anyone else?

It is sad in our day to hear preachers interpret the Word according to popular fads and lifestyle.  There is an abundance of people-pleasing sermons where themes like sin, judgment, forgiveness and the righteousness of God are not heard. They are not popular messages compared to topics like blessings and breakthrough. But we must preach the Gospel and the message of salvation inside and outside our churches.

David prayed in Psalms 26:2, ‘Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.’ (KJV)

When prodigal son returned to father in Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:21, he confessed his sins to his father. Forgiveness always brings Transformation.

Second we see Peter obeyed what Jesus asked him to do. Though he knew very well that there were few or no fish to be caught by that sea shore, he did not argue. Instead he simply obeyed what Jesus asked of him. And he found the net was full of fishes. Obedience is better than sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22).

A net breaking blessing is awaiting us if we are able mend our nets (i.e. examine ourselves, repent) and obey the word of Jesus. May the Lord help us to do both and be blessed of Him.

 

— Prince Thomas is a NAMS Companion serving in Haryana, North India.
He has been involved in starting and leading an a vibrant church-planting movement there for the last 20 years. He is originally from Kerala, South India.

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Mending our Nets (by Pastor Prince Thomas)

Making Gospel Bridges (by Pastor Clay Hamrick)

One question always comes up when I hear people talk about sharing their faith, ‘How do I share’? They know what the gospel is, but have difficulty verbalizing it when in live conversation. Fear and nervousness creeps in and their confidence is shaken. Often what I hear after that is, I don’t know enough. I’m not competent to share my faith.

What they haven’t learned is how to make Gospel Bridges and use simple tools to share. I heard a story from a man that used to work as a chaplain at a large hospital in Asia. He would visit many patients hoping to share the gospel with them. He was rejected many times. If he spoke to 20 people, only 2 or 3 would hear him out. At lunch he and his wife would have noodles together across the street from the hospital. The waiter would always ask if he would like an egg with that. He would tell him no.

One day he and his wife were ordering lunch and the waiter asked him if he would like one egg or two? He told the waiter one. His wife asked, why did you order an egg? You see, the waiter didn’t ask a yes or no question. He asked one or two. Aha, the gentleman said, I found my bridge to share the gospel. He realized that he kept asking permission to share. Most patients received prayer but would answer no when asked if he could share the gospel.

He created a bridge by transitioning from prayer to telling his own story and then sharing the gospel. Many more people were receptive to this bridge. We have to create bridges too. In the USA we have a giant store called Wal-Mart. Every time I’m in line to check out, people tell me some complaint about their life, work or family. They didn’t ask if I wanted to hear it. They just told me.

People like to hear your story. Most people want to hear what your life was like before you met Jesus. Most of us are not perfect. That is only the beginning of our story, but it is a bridge to the gospel. Another bridge I use is prayer. I start off by asking people, if God would do a miracle in your life today what would that be? And then I ask if I can pray for that miracle, for them, for their family, and for their community.

After praying, I’ll ask if they are near or far from God? If they say near, then I share my story followed by this question …. do you have a story like that? It helps determine whether they really have a relationship with God. If they respond that they are far then I tell them how I was far and show them (gospel tool) how they can come near.

Making gospel bridges and learning simple tools goes a long way in building competence. Regular practice using the bridges and tools builds confidence in sharing your faith. Fear and nervousness is replaced with joy as others come to faith and receive the good news.

 

— Pastor Clay Hamrick
Mosaic International Church
Jacksonville FL

Making Gospel Bridges (by Pastor Clay Hamrick)

Disciple-Fu (by Pastor Clay Hamrick)

For several years as a teenager and as a young adult I studied traditional Kung-Fu. Like the funny panda in the martial arts cartoon movie, I love Kung-Fu! It started on Sunday afternoon when we got home from church. About four o’clock, black belt theater came on. From that point on I was hooked. No one in our city taught Kung-Fu. There was karate and other forms, but no Kung-Fu. It had to be Kung-Fu. Then one day, a new school opened. Could it be? Yes! Boom! I could be living the dream!

In two years I became a black belt in shaolin Kung-Fu. You could come as often as you desired, and I did. We trained hard every day. Over time, I picked up the pedagogy of the Sifu (teacher). He modeled it. I imitated him. He corrected. Then he would show me what each technique meant. Later he would match us up for live boxing. Each practice made us sharper. Each practice moved us from jerky reaction to calm response, even in the heat of battle.

It has been thirty years since that time. I still remember the techniques and training. I still love Kung-Fu! You might be asking, what does this have to do with discipleship? It has reinforced the idea of apprenticeship pedagogy into how I disciple others. In the last few months, I’ve begun to practice with some old buddies. We are also starting discipleship. I’m calling it Disciple-Fu. We train to be followers of Christ and fishers of men, then we train in Kung-Fu.

This training pedagogy was taught by Jesus through a pattern of Model, Assist, Watch and Launch (lead). Jesus used the common life of people to develop them into the people he intended them to be. They learned together. Practiced together. Jesus corrected and explained to them why things didn’t work and the meaning behind the teachings. He made sure that they had the confidence and competence to do the work. It takes practice. It takes seeing it done successfully and in failure.

Training in this manner, we learn to pass on quickly what we have learned. In turn we become better because we are still learning and growing. While I still love kung-fu, I love being a disciple of Jesus more. It is great to see God work in people’s lives and they embrace the disciple making lifestyle.

Go Train – Make Disciples.

 

— Pastor Clay Hamrick
Mosaic International Church,
Jacksonville FL

Disciple-Fu (by Pastor Clay Hamrick)

SEEING THROUGH THE EYE OF “THE GREAT COMMISSION”: A FRESH REVELATION! (by Timothy Mazimpaka)

Are you ready for my discipleship confession: I am a slow learner.

I have known about the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 for 20 years now. The first time I heard of it was in a Bible College. Looking back, it only went in skin-deep – my understanding of what it meant was purely on the level of theory in order to pass an exam.

When I took the step from training into vocation, the Lord led me into student ministry in colleges and universities. I loved the nine years of my time there. But as I look back, I can hardly find any link between what I was doing (fulfilling my ministry) and the need to make disciples (obeying His Great Commission).

Is knowing the difference between the two really that important? Undoubtedly yes! Serving God in whatever ministry He places you is certainly a good thing. But doing ministry from the framework of the Great Commission is simply the best. It is like the difference between adding and multiplying disciples.

The appointed day of revelation came in the month of August 2017, when a team from NAMS led a vision summit in Nairobi. That was my eureka moment! Through the summit, the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my mind and I began to look at events and circumstances differently.

I crossed the bridge from on one side, simply seeking to serve God faithfully but without the mind-set of a disciple-maker at the heart of my ministry, to where making disciples is a lifestyle. I have more than one testimony to share in this regard but allow me to single out the first experience that happened immediately after the summit.

For a long time in the apartment where my family lives with many other families, children from our neighboring families have had a habit of coming to play in our house with our children (including children from other faith backgrounds). Prior to the NAMS summit, the presence of those children in our home was a matter of hospitality. But after the NAMS meetings, we felt that our hospitality was not enough. My eyes were opened to see that these children are good soil ready for Gospel seed. Before long, we began a bible discussion group in our home of which I am now the teacher.

God began to bless this initiative. Firstly, when children started attending the evening Bible study regularly, some of the children’s parents got to know about it and began to accompany them to our home. I saw this development as a blessing. Before long, a bible study fellowship for the grownups was launched in our house. Secondly, the children themselves have become mobilizers of other children. No one needs to remind them now about the Fridays Bible Study or to bring others with them.

We have begun to make disciples of those coming, and it has clearly been the work of the Holy Spirit through us!

What God has begun to do in me, He can do with you too.

 

— Timothy Mazimpaka is based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is leading a group working with NAMS to establish a base community in Kenya.

Pray for us that God will multiply the disciples Timothy and others are seeking to make in his home group and elsewhere. Pray also for us in NAMS as we work to walk with, and equip people like Timothy and other believers in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa, to become disciple-making disciples and leaders who can equip others for the same and help plant disciple-making churches.

SEEING THROUGH THE EYE OF “THE GREAT COMMISSION”: A FRESH REVELATION! (by Timothy Mazimpaka)

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)