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

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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)

Surprised By An Old Story (By Revd Martin Gornick)

Sometimes I get surprised by an old story in the Scriptures. The story of Naaman the leper is one such story. 27 verses in the 5th chapter of 2 Kings dramatically recount his story. As the verses begin to add up, we read of God’s step by step mercies of moving this leper to an encounter with Israel’s prophet and his incredible healing from the scourge of leprosy. God sovereignly moves people into each other’s lives, sparks key conversations, and strategically shapes circumstances that will culminate in the miracle. The clear unfolding of God’s plan throughout the story inspires as much as Naaman’s miracles where his “flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

I love this story of faith and whenever I recall it I always think “Naaman the leper.” Even though the story ends with “Naaman the healed” I still think “Naaman the leper” as if it is his name.

So I was surprised when God led me through the familiar story and showed me that other things were said about Naaman… “commander of the king of the army of Syria,” “was a great man,” and “by him the LORD had given victory to Syria,” and “He was a mighty man of valor.” (2 Kings 5:1).

The leper was a successful warrior leader even used by God in a military campaign to accomplish His will. He was respected and cared for by the slave girl in his household – the very one who would bring the message of hope about the prophet in Israel. When Naaman approached his own king for permission to travel to Israel to seek the help of the prophet, the king’s generous response indicates again that Naaman is a man worthy of consideration and respect. Everyone around him in the story speaks well and wants to help this man.

Even though I was well acquainted with how the story ends I still thought of him as “the leper.” And then I saw in verse 1: “He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.” In my spirit I saw that Naaman’s primary identity was not leprosy.

Hidden in Naaman’s story is an important principle: he never let his problem define him. His disease did not stop him from raising family or serving as commander. I tend to think that he thought of himself as Naaman the commander, not Naaman the leper.

In NAMS we’ve learned to hold dear those gospel verses where Jesus speaks of “my disciples.”[1] We’ve come to understand that our primary identity is disciple, follower of Jesus. Being with Jesus in intimate fellowship and doing what Jesus did in making disciples defines our discipleship. Yet, our identity is simply: follower of Jesus, child of God. We are not our problems, our weaknesses, our failures or even our successes. Our ministry or the fruit of our ministry is not to defines us. All disciple-making ministry is to flow out of our identity as those who are loved and discipled by Jesus Himself.

 

[1] Luke 14:26, 27 and 33; John 8:31; John 13:34,35, John 15:8

 

— Revd. Martin Gornick
NAMS Prior General
Rector; Apostle Anglican Church, Lexington KY

Surprised By An Old Story (By Revd Martin Gornick)

NAMS Blog – Stealing away with Jesus

To be much for God, we must be much with God…Quit playing, start praying. Quit feasting, start fasting. Talk less with men, talk more with God. Listen less to men, listen to the words of God. Skip travel, start travail.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

How often and regularly do you pray alone with God and with others?

Jesus not only taught the necessity of having a private prayer space with our Father God (Matthew 6:6), but he made private prayer times a noticeable practice of his ministry and of his life with his disciples (Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Matthew 14:23; Luke 9:18; Luke 11:1).

Not only that, but Jesus sought also to retreat from ministry and the crowds occasionally to have time to rest and no doubt, pray and be still in company with His Father. There are a few examples in the Gospels of Jesus doing this with His disciples (see for example Matthew 14:13, Mark 3:7 and especially Mark 6:31-32).

In the NAMS Rule of Life (http://www.namsnetwork.com/assets/namsrule.pdf) all Companions commit to taking 3 personal retreats with God and, once a year, to retreat, if possible, with other Companions in their nation or region.

Recently at our annual NAMS Asia Regional Retreat in Delhi, India, we began our time of prayerful retreat by reading about the magnificent start to Jesus’ ministry as recorded in Mark 1:32-39.

On the back of a wonderful day of miraculous healings and deliverances that multitudes saw and experienced – the effect was city-wide (vs 33) – Jesus went ‘MIA’ the very next day!

We read in verse 35 that He stole Himself away to a desolate place to pray.

Note that this was right in the midst of ministry, at the very onset of His life’s work.

This led to a frantic search by the disciples for Him. Miracle workers are always in demand and Peter told Jesus that all the people were looking for Him.

But Jesus already had a different plan and priority, perhaps out of His time of prayer with His Father that morning. Jesus announced, no doubt to some bewilderment and the consternation of his disciples, that He (with the disciples) was heading to other towns to preach, since this was why He came. And so it came to pass (see vs 39).

Popularity with the crowds meant little to Jesus and was never allowed to be the measure of His success. Taking the message of His Gospel all across Israel was.

He was never driven simply by the needs of those around Him, but was always led by the vision and mission His Father gave to Him. His agenda and message were the result of watching and hearing from His Father – John 5:19; 12:49-50. His times of regular prayer and occasional retreat kept Him a-tuned to His Father’s will.

In Delhi, we sought to follow our Master’s example. We deliberately made time and space to be quiet before the Lord, to listen and tune ourselves afresh to our God in silence and solitude. We also had times of communal prayer and worship and biblical reflection. We were reminded how important it was to seek God’s face and to be attentive to His voice.

It was a blessed time as we heard from the Lord about our personal and communal calling as NAMS missionary disciples and leaders.

This season of Lent, will you, like Jesus and us, seek to make regular prayer and occasional retreat with God a vital part of your walk as disciples of Jesus?

NAMS Blog – Stealing away with Jesus

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)