Listen Slowly (by Revd Manik Corea)

How good are you at listening to your Lord?

Writer and pastor Chuck Swindoll tells of a particularly frantic time in his life when he was flustered and hurried by many appointments and commitments. He was gulping down his food at family meal-times, being short-tempted and irritated with his family and getting annoyed by unplanned interruptions. His family members began to get affected by his increased stress.

One evening, his youngest daughter said she wanted to tell him about something that happened at school that day, but said she would tell him ‘really fast.’ Realizing her frustration, he calmed her down and said, ‘Honey, you don’t have to rush. You can say it slowly.’ Swindoll says he’ll never forget her retort: ‘Then listen slowly.”

Are we listening ‘slowly’ to God?

Being a disciple of Jesus involves developing a keen sense of hearing – giving our undivided attention to the voice of God.

The listening ear is a door for faith to enter.

Thus Paul wrote ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). The Gospel must first be told us and heard and understood, to have effect.

But listening to God in Scripture must be a precursor to actual obedience and submission, or we will be condemned as many a Scripture warns (see Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46; John 14:24; James 2:26; etc). Thus hearing and obedience are intimately linked in the Scripture.

I was surprised to learn recently that there is no Hebrew word that translates directly to the English word ‘obey’. The Hebrew word that most often equates to our English ‘obey’ is the word ‘shema’ which literally means to ‘hear’. However, this means more than just audibly receiving communication, but most often carries the meaning of ‘paying attention to’ and especially, ‘responding to what is heard.’[1]

Hebrew words typically stress concrete action, as opposed to Greek works which are more abstract. Thus, we understand ‘hearing’ as understanding or receiving a communication, whereas the Hebrews immediately made the link to obedience and action.

In a similar way, when a mother says to her child ‘You’re not really listening!’ she typically doesn’t mean her child has not heard her, but has not obeyed her.

To Jesus and then Jews, having ears is not simply a matter of being able to hear. It is a matter of being able to also understand and obey what is heard. Hence, Jesus so very often ended his sermons with the Hebraism, ‘to him who has ears, let him hear.’[2] He was looking for a right response.

As James so clearly and pithily instructs in James 1:22, ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.’

And so, a simple definition of discipleship could be as follows: ‘A disciple is one who seeks everyday of his life to hear and obey Jesus’ words.’

To do what Jesus wants, we must truly ‘shema’ His Words.

Often. Carefully. Slowly.

 


[1] See this enlightening Word Study video on the word ‘Shema’ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=190&v=6KQLOuIKaRA

[2] Matthew 11:5; 13:9,43; Mark 4:9,23; 7:16; Luke 8:8; 14:35 cf Deuteronomy 29:4; Ezekiel 12:2).

Advertisements
Listen Slowly (by Revd Manik Corea)

NAMS Cuban Leadership training event

P and T are Cubans who have spent some time in our NAMS Base Community (NBC) in Temuco, Chile. There, they learned how to become disciple-making disciples. Now they are back in Cuba and have started reaching others. So far, they have gathered 17 people in their homes – people of different backgrounds, professions and ages, but all being drawn to the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

TheHabanaCuba
Base community in The Habana, Cuba

Consequently, at the end of June this year, 4 NAMS leaders from Chile will be in Cuba to offer further training to P and T, and to around 40 other local leaders and pastors, on how to effectively make disciples, raise leaders and plant fruitful churches.

The estimated total cost that for the 3-day training event in this impoverished nation totals US$7,800 which includes flights to take our team there, local transportation cost for participants (some will travel from a long way), food and accommodation for 3 days and video/materials to record training sessions and to continue to resource them.

PLEASE will you PRAY for this event AND consider GIVING specifically towards it. You will be partnering with us to invest in God’s mission in a very specific way this June in Cuba. We will be able to send you a follow-up report after the meetings to let you know how it went.

To join us in supporting this exciting event, click on this link

https://tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/313066

and you can indicate your gift. To send a check direct or make a bank transfer to our NAMS account (USA only), please contact us at info@namsnetwork.com for details.

You can also check the progress of this fundraising campaign at

https://tithe.ly/pledge/#/progress/313066

Thank you,
Rev Manik Corea
NAMS Global Executive

NAMS Cuban Leadership training event

On the (Gospel) Road to Mandalay (By Revd Manik Corea)

Mandalay boatsAt the beginning of this month, 3 NAMS Companions and one NAMS Global Apprentice from Jacksonville, Florida, USA and Bangkok, Thailand left for Myanmar. Our destination was the 2nd largest city in Myanmar, the old royal capital of Mandalay with its iconic Mandalay Palace surrounded by a moat and multi-cultural influence.

This was the second NAMS team to visit Mandalay at the invitation of Anglican Bishop David Nyi Nyi Naing, who is also a NAMS Guardian Bishop, following our first trip in August 2016. This time, we shared and taught most of the clergy from the Archdeaconry of Mandalay, along with a few ordinands and the heads of the various Diocesan departments.

Our aim on this visit was to lay the foundation for a new NAMS Base Community (NBC) out of which to partner with the Diocese to make disciple-making disciples, raise disciple-making leaders and help them ultimately plant more disciple-making congregations in the unreached people groups and regions of their Diocese.

P1020755

We taught on topics like ‘the kind of disciples Jesus wants’ (after John 8:31; 13:34,35 and 15:8); ‘obeying the final command of Jesus’ (Matthew 28:18-20) and how to mobilize the local church to join in the Mission of God, to reach a lost world. We did practical sharing and training on how to disciple and reach young people through community outreach like sports ministry, the arts and education.

There was also some very practical teaching by NAMS Trainer Clay Hamrick on how to tell your story of faith or testimony in under 3 minutes and how to share the Gospel using the 3 circle diagram method.[1] Additionally, we had participants go out on the streets of Mandalay to prayer-walk one evening, something most of the clergy and lay-leaders had never done. This led to some encouraging feedback the next morning.

An outcome of this visit was that we have identified and will be working with a number of key clergy and lay-leaders to lay the foundation for a new NAMS base in Mandalay in partnership with the Diocese of Mandalay. We thank God for the welcome and partnership in the Gospel that we are building with these brothers and sisters.

This envisioning trip to Mandalay is an example of the kind of pioneering mission work that all NAMS Companions are called to. Years ago, God gave us a charge through the retired Anglican Archbishop of South-East Asia Moses Tay that has guided our work ever since. He called us to attend to 4 things primarily. NAMS Companions are always to:

‘Preach and teach ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified’;
‘Plant churches wherever God opens the door’;
‘Obey the Holy Spirit’ and
‘Never break the Word of God.’

Our primary strategy then is to send or raise up NAMS Companions in a given location to establish a NAMS Base Community where God opens the door. From there, we model, grow, train and send disciple-makers and church-planters in partnership with other churches.

To do this, we need your help and partnership to pray with us to be faithful and for more laborers, for work God has called us to in Mandalay and in many parts of the world. If you would like to be a NAMS Global Intercessor and receive once-a-month prayer updates, please write to Mary Garrison at mary.garrison@namsnetwork.com

If you would like to give a dedicated and exclusive gift towards our the establishing of a new NAMS Base Community in Mandalay, please use this link:

https://tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/311251

Thank you

 

 


[1] You can watch Clay teach the 3 circles method here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOtaVvCZBGE

On the (Gospel) Road to Mandalay (By Revd Manik Corea)

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)

WHY NOT? (by Jon Shuler)

There were 40 people in the classroom for the fifth and final session. There had been 40 in the room for the first one. It had never happened in my years as a leader before, the numbers never declined, and I took it as a good sign. But I was wrong.

 I was trying, again, to impart to a group of adult church goers that the number one responsibility of a Christian, who has grown up, is to be a disciple-maker. I had taught only the words of Jesus. Nothing else. No other books than the Holy Scriptures. No videos. No other program than the clear words of Jesus.

Three months later I returned to the parish, and found that 5 of the 40 had actually done “something” with the teaching. One was reading daily only from one of the four gospels – for the first time. A chapter a day. He was trying to learn to “abide in my word,” as Jesus said a true disciple would. Another was meditating on a small portion of the gospel each day. Two others had begun to disciple another person since the class. One had reoriented the emphasis of his weekly bible study group to being more focused on discipling than study. Five out of forty beginning to make a change. Five out of forty. Only 12 &1/2 %.

For those five my heart was glad.

The amazing thing was, all 40 said: “It was a great class.” Many of them said: “I really learned something.”

But what I found was 35 Christians who are – apparently – used to learning things, but doing nothing with the learning. Changing nothing. Hearing Jesus words, but NOT taking them as from the Lord to be obeyed. And I ask myself: “Why not?”

Since 1988 I have been trying to learn how to be a disciple-making disciple, and a disciple-making leader. I have grown much through these 30 years. I am grateful to God for all that he has shown me. But I find very few other ordained leaders who are engaged in the same quest. And I ask myself: Why not?”

I wonder if you who are reading this have ever asked this question? How is it that the church of Jesus Christ could be filled with people and leaders who have steadfastly ignored the Final Command, yet continue to think of themselves as good Christian people?

Today some you who are reading could make a decision to change how you use your time in obedience to the Lord, and do so. You could resolve to find someone to help you become a disciple-making disciple. But if you read this and do not, I ask you: “Why not?”

— Revd. Jon Shuler
NAMS Servant General

WHY NOT? (by Jon Shuler)

NAMS Blog – Sold out for Jesus (by Manik Corea)

Recently, when teaching in our NAMS Latin America meetings, I shared a cogent definition of discipleship by the late Dallas Willard:

“A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do.” [1]

The late, great Christian singer Keith Green likewise gave a simple and memorable description of a genuine Christian: ‘One who is bananas for Jesus’.

Both definitions were true to Jesus’ words (Luke 6:46, 14:25-33, Matthew 28:20).

The highest place in our lives must belong to Jesus. This means He gets the first and final call over what we do with our money, time, possession and energies and over every life critical issue, opportunity, relationship and circumstance that is ours.

He demands that all our dreams and ambitions be laid at His feet in total surrender. The call to discipleship is not, and has never been, a popular message. Sinners after all prefer their way to God’s, and sin is essentially civil war against the rule and reign of God over us.

What is truly heart-breaking, though, is how very few of us who call ourselves Christians are likewise willing to accede full control to Jesus in the same way. We want Him to save us from hell in the next world, but to pander and be subservient to our wants and desires in this. If you’re like me, we easily hold back the more precious parts of our lives from Him.

But we cannot have it both ways. Jesus didn’t come so the ‘faithful’ could simply be comfortable and fed.

There are so very many people – some live across your street, others across the oceans – that remain ignorant, apathetic or simply have no access to the message of God’s love and salvation in Christ Jesus.[ii]

John Wesley famously said, ‘the world is my parish.’ Today, for most faithful Christians, the parish has become their world.

Despite ostentatious talk about missions, many evangelical churches spend more money, time and effort on their own buildings, staff, programs and services to meet the needs of their members or attendees than they do on reaching the unreached, making disciples or helping to plant new mission-centered churches. Global mission is hardly a concern for the average Christian in most parts of the globe.

This is borne out by damning statistics like the following:

A meager 0.1% of the estimated US$53 trillion that Christians the world over will earn this year will be given towards Christian mission.[iii]

Christians make up 33% of the world’s population, receive 53% of the world’s annual income but spend 98% of it on themselves.[iv]

It is patently clear to us in NAMS that God has called us to play our part in awakening His sleeping Church to obedience to Jesus’ final command to make disciples of all nations.

To do that, we must ourselves be sold out to Jesus. There can be no compromise.

My prayer and passionate hope as Global Executive of NAMS is that every NAMS Companion will be a bona-fide all-out, disciple-making, Spirit-filled, Jesus-pleasing Word-abiding, rabid seeker of the lost, like our Master. And that we would find and raise others to be the same.

It is enough, as Jesus said, for the disciple to become like his master. (Matthew 10:25).

Will you pray, support and join us in this glorious, all-or-nothing endeavor?

 


[1] Dallas Willard, ‘Rethinking Evangelism’, Cutting Edge Magazine, Vol 5, No. 1 (Winter 2001)

[ii] Globally, it is estimated that a staggering 80% of all non-Christians (i.e. majority of which are Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims) in our world do not personally know another Christian. http://www.gordonconwell.edu/resources/documents/1IBMR2015.pdf – see section on ‘Personal Contact’ for how this figure was derived.

[iii] https://factsandtrends.net/2016/12/12/10-key-trends-in-global-christianity-for-2017/ based on http://www.gordonconwell.edu/ockenga/research/documents/StatusofGlobalChristianity2017.pdf

[iv] David Barret and Todd Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30- AD 2200, (William Carey Library:Pasadena, 2001), 656.

 

 

 

 

NAMS Blog – Sold out for Jesus (by Manik Corea)