Scoring the Goal of Life!

Tamer football pictureM* is a certified football (soccer) coach. He is also a NAMS Companion, living and working in his native Cairo, Egypt. M runs a football academy for young Egyptian boys and girls. He also coaches teenage/young adult teams of African migrants intent on getting into the professional football leagues of Egypt and onto fields abroad.

But his passion is to make disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. And to this end, he is seeking to share the Gospel contextually and sensitively with the ones he coaches, as well as with people of the majority religion in Egypt. Already, God has brought to him a few contacts, and has invitations to lead sports ministry among refugees in neighboring Arab countries.

nams-egypt-nbc-picture.jpgM is also establishing a NAMS base community with his wife and another young couple they are discipling, pictured above (faces obscured for security). Through this, they will seek to make and multiply disciples, leaders and new communities in the country and, in time, in other parts of the ME. Will you pray for M. in the difficult context he and his family work in? They have many challenges – financial and security being the main. If you would like to pray or give towards their work and the work of NAMS global, please consider making a gift this Christmas. You will be making a huge difference in the work that M and other NAMS Companions around the world are doing.

(*M is not his real name).

To DONATE – CLICK HERE.

 

Scoring the Goal of Life!

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)

Resurrection changes everything (by Manik Corea).

There was once a man who went on holiday to the Holy Land with his wife and her elderly mother. During the holiday, his mother-in-law unexpectedly had a heart-attack and died.

The local undertaker explained that it would cost $1500 to fly her body home, but that they could just as easily bury her in the Holy Land for only $150. The man said, “No, we’ll pay to ship her home.” Surprised, the undertaker asked, “Are you sure? It’s much cheaper and we can do a good job, you know.”

The man said, “Look, 2000 years ago they buried a man here and three days later He rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance!”

Jesting aside, we do well to remember that all humanity will one day likewise rise from the dead wherever we are interred (Revelation 20:12 cf Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). Jesus’ words and physical resurrection guarantees this – see John 11:25 & 26; 14:19b and 1 Corinthians 15:21 & 22.

Christianity, unlike any other faith or world-view, religious or otherwise, is predicated on the on-going, historical and universal effects of an outstanding, miraculous event that is utterly unique to it – an empty tomb. “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5b).

Every other historical figure of note is dead and buried. Gone!

That Jesus was once dead but was raised resplendent to live forever is the epicenter and ground zero of our faith and hope. It underpins and augments every aspect of the Christian experience. It is the hook on which the veracity and authenticity of our Gospel hangs.

And it is the basis for which we are a ‘sent’ people to the ends of the earth, no less. (Matthews 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; John 20:21). We are to be as homeless as He was in this world, restless for the true Home of homes he is preparing for us, a city whose builder is God. He sends us to invite with all persuasion the great and small of all people, calling them to humble repentance of their sins, to believe and receive His blood-stained Gospel offer, so that they can be made to be His disciples. Indeed, He goes with us. Or better, we get to join in with His mission in the world – the Missio Dei (or ‘Mission of God’) which begun with creation, continues in redemption and will be completed in the new creation.

The final command of Jesus is therefore predicated on the Risen Jesus having all authority in heaven and earth and because of that, commissioning us with Him to be his royal priests and ambassadors.

So, whether we go to serve in our community or to the some distant country, we are sent out in His resurrection hope and power.

 

 

 

Resurrection changes everything (by Manik Corea).

4 Things Kingdom Leaders do: Part 4 (by Manik Corea)

In the last 3 blogs, we have considered 3 principle works that Kingdom leaders are tasked with, if they are to be faithful under-shepherds of Christ.

Today, we look at the 4th and final task that Kingdom leaders must undertake: raise successors. It has been said, ‘A leader without a successor is not successful.’ The point of Kingdom leadership is to raise more leaders, not increase our following!

Lieutenant Colonel Harold ‘Hal’ Moore Jr. was a US officer and war hero in the Vietnam War. The book and movie, ‘We were Soldiers Once’ were based on his experiences in war. There is a scene in the movies where Moore’s character is training a squad of soldiers. The squad leader is declared ‘killed’ in the exercise. ‘You are dead,’ said Moore. ‘Now, who do you have ready to take your place?’

In battle, as well as in the Kingdom of God, if we don’t prepare others to take our place, when we do leave (suddenly or planned) the area of our influence, we will put those who have looked to us for leadership at risk, by unwittingly creating a leadership vacuum.

Strong and gifted leaders, in the midst of their success or influence, can easily – and typically gradually – lose sight of the Lord who called them. We see that happen in the Scriptures, with kings like Saul, Solomon and Joash, who all begun well but ended poorly. They ended up compromising their loyalty to God, rejecting God’s word and trying to cling on to power. They cared less about raising up godly leadership after them, then in keeping their name and fame alive.

Through the Scriptures, the lack of godly leadership succession is always a recipe for disaster. This is seen clearest in the aftermath of Joshua, who having led Israel into the conquest of the Promise Land, apparently failed to raise a successor after him, like Moses has done with him.

‘In those days, there was no king in Israel.’ The book of Judges contains this common refrain about this lack of long-term spiritual leadership after Joshua (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). In Judges 17:6 and 21:25 (which is the last line of the book), the added phrase ‘Everyone did what was right in his own eyes’ shows that the absence of godly leadership left the people divided and prone to fall away easily from loyalty to God and the guidance from the covenant He gave them through Moses.

Every time, a judge (a divinely-appointed leader) arose in Israel in the book of Judges, he then failed to raise-up a leader after him. We see in Judges that a lack of godly leadership results in all manner of spiritual dystopia and anarchy.

Jesus on the other hand, put leadership development at the core of his modus operandi for the spreading of his Kingdom rule to all nations. He called 12 disciples and designated them ‘Apostles’ – the new leaders of his Church and Kingdom movement.

Jesus was already modeling for them the need to raise and release leaders for Kingdom purposes throughout the world. Apostolic leadership was never an end in itself – it was always about preparing others for works of service (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Succession of leadership and leadership development are part of our call, paving the way for many other men and women to find their kingdom assignments.

Kingdom leadership therefore will resemble the Sea of Galilee more than the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of life because water from Mount Hermon flows into it and then out of it to become the Jordan River. Fish and people alike thrive in and around it. The Dead Sea on the other hand is aptly named for the precipitous amount of salt in its water content that is toxic to life, partly because there is no outflow of waters from it. It only receives but never gives.

If we are to please Jesus as leaders, we would be committed like him to raise-up new leaders after us who desire to find and fulfill God’s plan and call for their lives. Moses had his Joshua, Paul had his Timothy, Elijah had his Elisha.

Who do you have coming after you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Things Kingdom Leaders do: Part 4 (by Manik Corea)