Visionary Faith in Spite of Fear

Imagine Mary hearing the angel’s stunning message! How would you respond? Mary, probably still  a teenager, responded with initial fear, deep humility, amazing faith, and joyful obedience. 

In Luke chapter 1, we see she was afraid when Gabriel told her of God’s plan (vv. 29-30), and she probably feared what her community would think. She knew she was not important (vv. 48, 52). Yet, she had visionary faith that God’s plan would impact generation after generation (vv. 50, 55)! She rejoiced in the privilege to serve and obey (vv. 38, 46-47), as Elizabeth also noted (v.45): “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Around the world, teenage women and men by the millions are obeying with similar amazing faith.  In India, many commit to Jesus because, like Mary, they are stunned and overjoyed to learn that God invites poor people to work with Him! 

In the middle of the pandemic, they are feeding people, praying for healing in Jesus’ name, helping other poor people – and multiplying new disciples and churches. 

This Christmas, we say with Mary (vv. 46-47): “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! 

Sharing the Christmas Story: The Only Woman Named in the Qu’ran

“Do you know the name of the only woman mentioned in the Qu’ran?” Nicole asked the four young women. They had been meeting as an English Club and had gathered for a Christmas celebration.

One woman knew the answer: Miryam (Mary). Yes, the mother of Jesus even has a chapter in the Qu’ran named for her.

Nicole asked if they would like to hear Mary’s story. Everyone was eager, so they began reading the story found in Luke. The women then discussed it by answering searching questions.

Finally, Nicole asked if anyone had heard the story before. The Buddhist woman, *Neha, shook her head. No, she never had. This was the first time she had ever heard the Christmas story. The Muslim women nodded their heads, but only because they’d heard the character’s names. This was their first time to hear the actual story.

There are over 2 billion others like these women: they have never heard the story of Emmanuel, God with us. They don’t know that he came – as one of us – to redeem us from sin and restore us to God the Father.

Join our exciting efforts to reach Every People in Every Place with the gospel of Jesus. Sign up for prayer updates

*pseudonym

Do You Go Beyond the Four Walls?

Learning the basics of Disciple Making Movements requires a paradigm shift for pastors of well-established denominational churches. The idea of reaching lost people more effectively by going outside the four walls of the church is daunting. Choosing to go to the lost instead of to invite them into church buildings can be a challenge! 

But in the Philippines, Alex* continues to coach twelve traditional church pastors in disciple-making principles via Zoom calls. Says Alex, “It’s as if the Lord has blown down the four walls of many of their churches.”

There are now over 70 house churches among this group of pastors! During this time of pandemic restrictions, they have answered the Lord’s call to go. They report that more people are hearing the gospel and being discipled via house churches than when they invited people to church and followed their normal routines. Two of the pastors have 35 and 15 house churches respectively! Another was called before the community “captain” because one of his groups exceeded the community’s present pandemic restrictions. They have since multiplied to become two house churches!

Praise God for moving His Church into the world — and growing it — during this present crisis.

*pseudonym