Praying Kingdom Opposites

From a field worker in Austronesia: “Yanti called, desperate to line up a second DMM training. She described renewed enthusiasm and attested that this is the only method that really works in her region. We had trained other partners from the same region and when I (*Melissa) mentioned them, she described an ugly falling-out. This is a perfect scenario to pray Kingdom opposites over the work that was begun. God’s Kingdom is full of unity and peace (Ephesians 2:14, 4:3). Instead of division, I pray unity and peace over the situation, so that His glory will be showcased through these followers of Christ: “The glory You have given me, I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent me and loved them even as You loved me” John 17:22,23.

As illustrated above, praying Kingdom opposites means asking God to bring His Kingdom-sized future into being. Our prayers of faith are based on God’s promises, specifically those in direct opposition to troubling things presently happening. God has already declared His intentions through His promises. When we align our prayers with His declared intent, He will answer. Our lives will be changed from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). As we wait on Him in prayer, we will see what else He will accomplish. Because, as God speaks, all opposition to His anointed King will fail. King David knew this when he penned Psalm 2 and Psalm 24:7-10. As we become aware of hindrances to the advance of God’s Kingdom, may we ask all the more for His Kingdom to come, and His will to be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10). May we usher in the King of Glory as His Kingdom reigns in and through our lives and our prayers.

A Few More Examples of Kingdom Opposites

• Confusion: Peace. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” 1 Cor 14:33.
• Hard hearts: Receptivity. Pray that Gospel seeds will fall on hearts prepared to receive it. Matt 13:8
• Despair: Hope. “Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him, shall not be disappointed.” I Pet 2:6.
• Weakness: Strength. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” Neh 8:10b.
• Rejection: Acceptance. “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” I Pet 2:10.
• False religion: One Way. “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim 2:3-5.
• Mental fog: Clarity. “Gird your mind for action, sober in spirit, fixed hope on God’s grace” 1 Pet 1:13.
• Frustration in language learning: God’s provision. “The Lord has given me the tongue of disciples and He awakens my ear to listen” Isaiah 50:4,5.
• Darkness: Light. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” John 8:12.
• Destruction: Life. “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” John 6:33.
• Deception and lies: Truth. “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” John 8:31b-32.
• Fear: Love. “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2 Tim 1:7.
• Unbelief and Doubt: Faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Heb 11:1.
• Weariness: Rest. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matt 11:28

*pseudonyms

God Sees You

This story comes from Jenny, a seasoned Church Planting Movement practitioner who has seen thousands of people come to know the Lord and has seen the start of several hundred movements. She shares this story of simply listening to the Holy Spirit and obeying.

“Last week I discovered my elevator card wasn’t working, an uncommon and concerning enigma. I knew I needed to go down to the management office to ask why it wasn’t working and felt the Lord’s prompting to share a story with the office manager, Rita while I was there. I had shared with her a couple times before, just simple verses or whatever Shema statement came to mind in the moment. I hadn’t met with any resistance but also couldn’t tell if there was any real interest there. So, I went down the 10 flights of stairs to ground level and then walked over to the building next door and up two more flights of stairs to the management office.

Rita was there as always, with a big smile on her face and a warm welcome. We took a couple minutes to sort out my elevator card issue and then sat down to chat for a few minutes. I asked about where she lived and she said that she and her son were living with her mom, not too far away. She went on to share about her difficult decision of whether to divorce her controlling husband or to give the separation more time.

I shared with her what had been my prayer verse for the preceding week: “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’”(Psalm 32:8) I told her that I would be praying this for her and she seemed really grateful. She continued to share, especially about how painful it was being cast out by her husband and how she felt that she always had to put up a brave front for her son and others and not let people know her pain and fears about single-parenting.

Immediately it struck me what story I needed to share – just that morning, a friend had suggested I read the story of Hagar, in relation to something totally different that we had been discussing. I had meditated and prayed about that story for over an hour that morning before I decided to go down and deal with my elevator card. As I shared the story of Hagar – a woman with a small child, cast out by her husband, alone and afraid in the desert, but seen by God, taken care of by God, Rita began to cry. I told her, “God sees you, Rita, He sees your pain and your fears for your son, and He will help you.” She thanked me several times for the story and the encouragement. Please pray for me as I go back in the weeks to come to visit with Rita again and share with her about God’s love and His infinite mercy for her.”

When Buildings are Useful

Many people have the misconception that Church Planting Movements are opposed to buildings. What we are opposed to is the unwise use of God’s resources.

In some movements, buildings are used for community centers, community outreach, and training centers. This enables a movement to be a blessing to the community, and to train believers with a focus on Disciple Making Movement principles.

Some movements have decided that, rather than constantly renting facilities, they are better off building something or simply buying a property and saving the rent money to be used on other costs. Beyond’s own global headquarters (given to us by God through a donor) is a good example. By renting out most of the building, much of the mortgage payment is covered while we can also provide affordable office space for other ministries and small businesses. We also try to use the building as a vision-casting tool.

Our brightly colored, vibrant “Vision” wall in our offices illustrates how disciple-making movements reproduce churches that start churches that start churches–and includes many faces of the different cultures, ethnicities and continents of the world. The wall gives a global glimpse of our areas of focus and the movements we have impacted–and the massive ⅓ of the world which still has never heard or seen Jesus’ Good News.

About a year ago, a prospective employee was being interviewed for a position. We showed her the wall to help her understand Beyond’s mission. She prayed that day that she would get the job because of the faces on the wall (she did!). She had been a Christian for years and in ministry for a long time, but had never experienced such a burden for the unreached as she did that morning.

This “Vision” wall has similarly impacted many who visit–both believers and non-believers. When the Unreached are just statistics in a faraway land, it is easy to forget. When you see their pictures and look into their eyes, the enormity of the Great Commission becomes more pressing, and more urgent.

If buildings enable practical ministry and more vision-casting and better funding, they can be effective tools for vision-casting and for making disciples of all Unreached peoples. Pray that God would continue to break the hearts of believers who visit us in this building, that they too would get the urgency of Matthew 28:18-20.

A Bold Witness

Yeng is a Khmer (most Khmers are Buddhist) who comes from a big family. Her husband, Pouch, is blind; her 97 years old mother-in-law and three grandsons all live with her. Yeng works hard to provide for the needs of her family. Every day she sells green leaves at the market to support her family. It is not much, but with the money that she earns from selling these leaves, she is able to provide meals for her family.

Recently, while Yeng was at the market a lady, who is also really poor, came by to visit. Yeng kindly shared some of her vegetables with her visitor. After the visitor left, the seller who sits near Yeng asked her why she would give food away for free like she had. She asked, “Are you a Christian?”

Immediately, Yeng said: “Yes, I believe in Jesus”. To which the seller replied: “you are like Jesus.  You have a good heart; you are loving and kind to people”.

Yeng saw this statement as a great opportunity to share about what Jesus had done on the cross for all mankind. At the end of the conversation, the seller said: “I believe in Jesus too, but I don’t have a heart like yours. I’m so busy with my work, that sometimes I don’t feel close to God.  My family does not believe in Jesus yet, and often they pray to our ancestors, and sometimes I do that too.”

“No, you cannot worship ancestors; they are not God you need to worship the ONE and TRUE God who is our Lord Jesus Christ only”, said Yeng. The chatted a little more and Yeng invited the seller to the house church that meets in her home. The seller promised that she would come when she had time. Pray for Yeng, that she would continue in her bold witness for the Lord and that she would remain an example of His love and kindness. Pray for Yeng’s friend, that she will seek Yeng out for more conversations about God.

Sheep Need A Shepherd

Kuts is a regional team leader. One day while at the local market, Kuts prayed that the Lord would lead him to a person or persons of peace. It was then that he met Mr. Bee. Mr. Bee seemed eager to hear more about the person of Isa (Jesus) and began reading scripture with Kuts. After a while they were joined by Mrs. Bee and their young daughter. Over the course of the year there had been many obstacles to this family believing and coming to faith.  A particular obstacle was that Mr. Bee saw Isa (Jesus) merely as a prophet, the same as the prophet, Mohammad.  His inability to see Isa as more than a prophet meant of course that there would be no further discussion and no baptism.

Several weeks later the team of field workers met to discuss disciple-making principles and the importance of follow-up with some promising contacts. The team could meet for one night only. They were all gathered ready to start their meeting when there was a knock at the door. Kuts was surprised by Mr. Bee’s cheery face when he answered the door but felt that he needed to welcome Mr. Bee in, even though they were getting ready to begin their meeting and had just a few hours to cover many important issues.

Mr. Bee sat down and Kuts asked him if there was something he was thankful for. Bee shared about a passage that he had read in the Inji (New Testament). He said that he was confused by use of the example of sheep.  Bee went on to tell the group that he had had a very vivid dream shortly after he had read the scriptures.  He said that in the dream he was standing in an open field with hundreds of sheep. (Sheep are almost non-existent in this part of the country, there are only goats). He heard a voice telling him that he needed to care for these sheep.

While the team listened, Bee asked Kuts what this could mean for him and what the Inji (New Testament) was describing.  They opened God’s word and read several passages that described how Jesus used sheep in illustrations and stories and also how he was the Good shepherd.  After a bit of reading, Kuts asked Bee again what he made of the dreams he had, had.

Bee replied, that to him it seemed clear that Isa was telling him that he needed to tell more people about the salvation that He (Isa) offers and that he (Bee) should care for these new sheep as their leader.   This was his interpretation after reading the Bible.

Before Bee took his leave, the team prayed for him and told him that they would visit him at his house in a couple of days.

The Lord had not just convinced Mr. Bee of His deity and sovereignty but had also given him a mandate to spread the good news of the Gospel with others. And what the team had witnessed with Mr. Bee was a tremendous encouragement. They found renewed passion and zeal to disciple and find others that God had “gone before” and prepared.

Pray for God’s continued grace in Mr. Bee’s life and that the team will be spurred on to follow-up and actively pursue contacts until a movement is established among this unreached people group.

God Changes Even the Hardest Hearts

Recently, Wilson, one of our field workers got to meet with Mr. Suni, a local worker. Mr. Suni was born and raised a Muslim with very strong convictions about his faith. Upon graduating high school, he joined a hardcore religious group that trained him to be sent out as a “Muslim missionary.” In his first two-year assignment, he was tasked with converting people to Islam on one of the islands.

One day he heard a radio broadcast story about Jesus. He called into the radio station seeking to know if the things he was hearing about Jesus, so different from what he’d been taught, were true. After months of Mr. Suni pursuing truth and the lady at the radio station faithfully answering his questions, he renounced Islam and put his faith in Jesus!

The lady that answered those calls is now his wife and they now live and serve P-city, aiming to bring the Good News there.

It is amazing that God can change even the hardest of hearts and is now using Mr. Suni to draw others to Himself! Pray that our local partner, Danny, and his team will be able to work together with Mr. Suni in the future to engage this extremely devout Muslim area.

We hope these stories are as encouraging for you as they are us in showing God’s faithfulness to answer prayer.

A Tiny Spark Can Set A Great Forest Fire

The apostle John tells us that after following Jesus for a short while, Philip went to find his brother Nathanael to tell him that he and Andrew had found The One the prophets had written about. He said, His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth. Nathanael, like brothers everywhere, questioned his brother’s announcement with, Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth? Instead of arguing with him, Philip wisely invited Nathanael to come and see (John 1:43-49). How we wish we could extend to you the same invite. Great things are happening in India! Here is one example.

There was a Hindu family in K Village in North India. After eight or nine failed attempts at making a marriage match for their eldest son, they despaired of ever seeing him married. The disgrace of so many rejections clung to the mother like ivy on a tree. Like good, Hindu mothers everywhere, the mother in this family believed that marriages occurred at the pleasure of the gods. Why did her god not care for her? Why could he not see their plight?

Disheartened, the mother stopped worshiping at the local temple. She watched her eldest son become depressed, and then start to drink. Meanwhile, her second son, Mohit, was despairing for his own future. How would he ever marry with this shame hanging over not just his brother, but the whole family?

One day, a friend of Mohit’s invited him to come with him to visit another village where a house church was meeting. Mohit had never taken part in a Bible study discussion before. At first, he was shy, but soon he grew bold to not only answer questions posed to the group, but also ask his own questions. He loved it. Mohit’s friend finally said, “You can speak boldly and you know many things and speak well. Why not join this group?”

Why not, indeed? Mohit returned the next week. He loved the give-and-take of the Discovery Study process. When he arrived home that night, he told his mother about that night’s discussion. She asked, him, “What are you doing? Where is this meeting? What do you do there?” Mohit told her all about it, confessed to really enjoying the discussions, and ended with, “You should go because many good things are there. Our whole family should go.”

And so they did. Mohit’s whole family attended the house church worship service with him. However, on their way home after the meeting, his mother seemed unfazed. No reaction. Had she enjoyed it? Was she offended? Mohit said, “Ma, we should call the leader to come pray for us. My friend says these are good people. I believe all our problems will go away [if they pray for us].”

Little did Mohit know, his mother was quiet during their walk home because she was thinking about an unmarried girl she’d seen at the meeting. After some time, Mohit’s mother and father admitted that they didn’t want to join the group, but they did want to meet with the leader. He visited them in their home, and then, yes, he helped them with the match. Seven months later, Mohit’s older brother married the girl from the meeting. Mohit’s mother exclaimed, “This is a good miracle!” Soon after the wedding, Mohit’s entire family were baptized!

Today Mohit’s mother is excited. She shares with anyone who will listen about Jesus and the changes He made in her family. She tells them, “You don’t have to put your faith in Jesus or believe, but you do have to hear these stories!” To date, Mohit’s mother has shared about Jesus in five other villages, seen 20 Discovery groups started, and has seen whole families baptized together.

In the grand scheme of things, the story of Mohit’s family is pretty small. What is one family compared to a population of 1.3 billion? I read recently that if 1 second is 1 second, 1 billion seconds is 30 years. That’s a huge difference! So, what is one family’s story worth?

Jesus’ brother, James, wrote about small things. He said, a tiny spark can set a great forest fire (James 3:5). Please join us in praying that families like Mohit’s will cause a “forest fire” of love and joy to sweep over the peoples of South Asia.

Always There, at the End of Ourselves

It had been almost a year that Nate and his family arrived in their host country. After learning the language, acclimating to the culture in the capital city of this remote East Asian country, they started moving into the countryside.  It was around midnight when Nate and his team had finished loading three vehicles in preparation for their big move early the next morning.

Everyone had already gone to bed when Nate discovered that the used brake line which he had installed after replacing a wheel bolt earlier that evening was leaking. He struggled alone for hours to fix it. Feeling frustrated and at the end of himself, Nate prayed quietly, crying out for God to help him. Seconds later, he heard gentle footsteps approaching. There in front of his vehicle stood a smiling, young man, a native from those parts, who offered to help.  He helped Nate repair the brake line and the next morning Nate and his family drove the three-day journey to what felt like the end of the earth, which has now become their home.

Nate praised God for sending the young man to help and felt comforted that the God who led them to that remote part of the world would continue to help him and his family build His kingdom among the least reached peoples at the ends of the Earth.

Please pray for Nate and his family, that they would experience many more moments of God’s provision and intervention as they help spread the good news of the Gospel in this village that has become their home.

I Can’t Ever Go Back to a Smaller Vision!

This is a testimony from one of the couples who attended a Phase 1 Training:

“My wife and I were talking to some friends about the Sunday School class we were all a part of. We agreed that there were times of great teaching, some good responses to questions posed, and everyone seemed to enjoy the group. However, I took the opportunity to share about how my wife and I had just finished Phase 1 training through BEYOND. 

During this training, we met regularly with a group of disciples, all focused on the same thing: to make reproducing disciples that would result in amazing movements of God’s Spirit throughout our communities and the world. Wow! What a mission! After we were no longer meeting together for the training, I began to miss being a part of a group with a God-sized mission. We attended several traditional Sunday School classes and small groups, but had not found a group driven by the kind of exciting vision to which we had grown accustomed during Phase 1.

In those Sunday school classes, we were acquiring more knowledge, but I yearned for a group to keep me accountable to obedience. My failure to obey what I was learning was no one’s fault but my own, but it helped when others on the same journey were asking me questions about how God was speaking to me, how I intended to obey His word, and then following up with me the next week! I understood more and more that my real fruit-bearing potential was directly tied to my obedience. Our friends showed some interest as we talked about our participation in Phase 1 and some of the perspective shifts we had experienced with regard to being a true disciple of Christ and making other disciples. We are now talking about starting a new Phase 1 group together, with the vision of not only growing as disciples, but making more disciples, who make more disciples, who make more disciples. I can’t ever go back to a smaller vision!”

Here’s a short video to explain what you can expect at a Phase 1 Training.

Good Things, . . . for Greater Things

A BEYOND team member reports: “Less than a week ago, I returned from a training in a large East Asian country. The 16 trainees were leaders of various discovery bible groups started over the past year.

Previously, they belonged to a growing church in the city. They had recently come to a startling revelation: the more their church grew numerically, the fewer disciples they had been making. Their focus on excellent preaching had failed to produce real lifestyle changes in their members. Additionally, they found as the church grew, they had fewer new believers attending. Their desire to grow numerically was actually making them less effective as a church.

In a bold move, the church leaders decided to once again meet in small groups. They trained their leaders in the discovery bible group process and ensured that all their members attended a small group. Shortly after they made this decision, government officials demanded they shut down their large Sunday meeting. A few months previous, this decision could have been disastrous, but these leaders saw God’s hand in the timing of these events. They decided that it was God’s will. They would not seek another meeting place for their large meeting.  Instead, they would continue with the new discovery study groups, as house churches.”

Pray that God will continue to equip leaders like these as they regroup to examine the real purpose of the church. Is it to grow the church in numbers or to develop disciples who develop other disciples?