Do you know Eliud Kipchoge? He was a Kenyan marathoner, who during the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Vienna, Austria, became the first man in history to run a marathon in under two hours – specifically 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds. But Eliud did not run or win the race on his own.
He was surrounded at alternative times during the race by different groups of 36 men in all, dressed in uniform black gear, who acted as his pacesetters (or pacemakers). Asked to comment about the role of his pacesetters in his historic achievement, Eliud said: “They are the best athletes in the world. I thank them. It’s not me alone who made history. We made history together.” It is debatable whether Eliud could have broken the record without those pacesetters running with him.
In December 2019, a NAMS global team from drawn from the USA, Chile, Egypt, Zambia and Kenya played a similar role of being pacesetters to a group of Christians called to run in Gospel ministry in Mbeere Diocese, one of the upcountry Dioceses in the Anglican Church of Kenya. During the week of teaching and celebration, our team shared with and inspired about 400 youths, 20 young professionals and 30 clergy to become agents of godly transformation in their community by sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God and making disciples of others who could do the same. We thank God for the new partnership we have with Mbeere Diocese and pray for another 100 years of faithful and fruitful Gospel work and harvest will grow from our time there. Will you pray with us for this?
Feedback from two participants:
“I didn’t know that through ‘multiplication’ I am the potential to bring millions of people to Christ”— Miss Justina.
“In my work as a clergyman, I have tried with my all to serve my church, but to no avail. This training has taught me the smarter way to serve: To equip my congregation to do the work I used to do alone.” Rev. Thomas.
Will you consider partnering with us in our work in Sub-Saharan Africa, as we seek to help to make disciples who make disciples, raise disciple-making leaders and plant disciple-making churches?
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.
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.
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.
NAMS Himalayan-Tibetan Peoples Region,
M* 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.
M 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).
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:
where, at the bottom of the page, you can donate online or find out how to send us a check.
“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!