Miracles, Demonic Exorcism, and Reignited Passion

Miracles, Demonic Exorcism, and Reignited Passion

After prayer walking with a local partner, sowing gospel seeds with whoever was receptive, Scott* asked the Lord what he should do with the time before his afternoon appointment. 

Scott felt that he should accompany his friend who was going to a church on the other side of town from his afternoon appointment, so he did. When they arrived, they found Kamnan* and Tida*, a couple Scott had not seen for 20 years.

That morning the Lord had told the couple to find Scott, so they had traveled to the church to inquire after his whereabouts. Their surprisingly immediate reunion with Scott was warm, and they readily accepted his invitation to a disciple-making training he was giving the following week.  

Despite several scheduling conflicts, Kamnan and Tida came. They later said it was a complete revival of their spiritual well-being and reignited a passion they had not felt since becoming new believers.  

Full of faith, they went out to do what they had learned in the training. Through their obedience, God has performed a few miracles, including a demonic exorcism, and several people have become followers of Jesus. 

In reflection, Scott realizes how easily he could have missed out on God’s plan. Had he enacted his own efficient planning that day and not submitted his schedule to the Lord, he would have missed Kamnan and Tida. Their ministry would not have started, and Scott would not have seen what he trusts is an answer to his prayer for new apostolically gifted workers.

*pseudonyms

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Small Disciple-Making Habits Make a Huge Difference

Small Disciple-Making Habits Make a Huge Difference

by C. Anderson

Part One: Goals excite type A personalities. The setting, achieving and working toward them can be very motivating. After reaching an important goal, however, many feel a sense of emptiness and loss.

Long-distance runners often experience this after completing a marathon. They’ve trained for months to compete in a race. Driving toward that goal gave training a clear purpose. When the race is over, there is an emotional downswing. The big challenging goal is completed. So, why am I going to the gym today? Those who train runners warn against low-level depression in the days following a big race.

In a reverse scenario, we can experience intense disillusionment when an important goal seems elusive. Perhaps the goal of catalyzing a rapidly multiplying Disciple Making Movement feels that way. We may need a change in our focus.

Goals vs. Systems
New York Times bestselling author, James Clear, writes about this in his popular book Atomic Habits. On page 23, Clear writes, “Forget about goals, focus on systems instead.” He describes the difference in this way. “Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.”

While this book has a humanistic, self-help slant, as I listened to the Audible version on a long car ride, a series of lightbulbs exploded in my head. “There is so much in this book to apply to disciple- making and the pursuit of movements!” I mused, taking copious notes.

If you haven’t had the chance to read Clear’s book, I recommend it. There are many takeaways for life in general as well as disciple-making. After listening to it, I decided to buy the actual book and re-read it in light of disciple-making habits. This article shares some of the insights gained and what I am experimenting with.

While I’m not ready to let go of the God-sized goal of a DMM, I see the book’s point about systems. It’s not having a DMM goal that will get us to movement. If that were the case, we would have many thousands more movements than we do already.

What will catalyze and sustain a DMM are disciple- making habits we put in place in our lives, in the lives of those we train and in those our disciples train. Normalizing a few key habits and simple  systems in our movement efforts sets the trajectory for multiplication. This leads to something far beyond the superficial goal of reaching 4th generation growth and a certain number of groups or streams.  If you are not familiar with the definition of a DMM, please see https://www.dmmsfrontiermissions.com/ disciple-making-movement-what-defined/. While this definition has merit and is helpful, it is not the end goal. Nor does it come directly from Scripture. The real aim is to see disciples that multiply rapidly and continue to do so as we see in the New Testament. So again, just aiming for 4G and multiplication isn’t enough. We need habits, systems and practices that get us there.

With that established, let me first illustrate some of the Atomic Habits concepts in a personal and practical way. From there, we’ll then turn attention to the applications for disciple-making.

Habit Stacking vs. Despairing Over a Challenging Goal
My husband and I currently live in Thailand. We have been here for about six years. Before this, we lived for many years in Nepal and India. When in those nations, I learned to speak Nepalese and Bengali. It is a personal value to understand the culture and worldview of those around me. I want to find bridges and ways to share the good news of Jesus with my neighbors. This is true even though I now travel a great deal and my ministry is more global than local.

Learning Thai has been hard. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m now over 50, or maybe because it’s a tonal language, or it could be because I travel in and out and have a full ministry schedule. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve found it exceedingly difficult to gain even market fluency in Thai.

At times I feel determined to learn. At other times, I’m deeply frustrated and want to give up. In all honesty, I’m ashamed to have lived here so long and to speak so poorly. My heart aches to be at a place of fluency where I can share the message of my wonderful Savior freely. Many, many Thais around me don’t speak English and have never heard the gospel in a way they could understand.

As I read Atomic Habits, I realized I should change  my focus. Instead of the goal of being fluent in Thai,  it may be more helpful to concentrate on developing   a consistent daily study habit. Now, each day after my quiet time and writing hour, I study Thai for 30 minutes. That consistent habit is already making a difference! It has set me on a trajectory where I definitely will reach my goal of speaking Thai one day. I’m no longer feeling discouraged but can trust the system to get me there. I’ve habit stacked Thai study (a concept he talks about in the book) on top of two other habits I already have in place in my life and enjoy.

Another helpful concept from this book is what James Clear calls the Law of Least Effort. It’s followed by the Two-Minute rule (Chapters 12 and 13). They come under the habit law he describes as, “Make it easy.” The basic premise is that a new habit should be so simple you can’t talk yourself out of doing it. If you can do it in two minutes, you don’t need much willpower to put that habit into place. Thus, it is far more likely to become a sustained practice. After a simple habit is established, it is far easier to increase it.

Again, allow me to demonstrate how I’m applying this personally. I find motivation for strength-building difficult, though I know it’s important at my age. I’ve recently started doing just five pushups and five sit-ups every day. This takes two minutes and is so easy that I can’t talk myself out of it. From there, I can increase to seven, then 10, and in six months I’ll be doing 50 a day.

This article was first published in Mission Frontiers and used here with permission. 

About the Author: C. Anderson is an experienced field practitioner and leader. The past 27 years, she served in Asia with YWAM Frontier Missions. Anderson trains and coaches both international and indigenous church planters toward the launching of Disciple Making Movements. She blogs weekly about DMM related issues at dmmsfrontiermissions.com

Once From Prison, Once from Hunger, Once From Sin

Once From Prison, Once from Hunger, Once From Sin

Part Two:
Not long after his miraculous escape from slavery, Bahar moved his family to a new town. But catastrophic flooding across the country soon placed Bahar and his family in a new life-threatening challenge: they had no way to get food. 

Bahar’s new town is one in which Samir and Nuh have been sharing the Good News and making disciples. Samir and Nuh, you may remember*, are disciple-makers who were befriended and trained by Frank and Helen. 

When Bahar heard that Samir and Nuh’s church was helping the flood victims by providing food, his family visited the church, hoping to receive help. They joyfully received one month’s food supply on the day of distribution. Jesus, through his disciples, had rescued Bahar’s family again.

While at the church, Bahar, his wife, and their 12-year-old son heard more about this Jesus who had released Bahar and his uncle from prison and of His Good News of salvation. Together, the family decided to follow Jesus.

Bahar and his family are telling their family, friends, and neighbors about how Jesus rescued them three times: once from prison, once from hunger, and once from their sin. Bahar’s friends are now asking him, Samir, and Nuh to come share the Good News of Jesus. 

Related Stories:
Thrown into Slavery (Part One)
Trading Tradition for Multiplication 
Empowered Disciples
Bearing Fruit in a Radically Different Culture

“I’m Baptized!”

“I’m Baptized!”

After months of doing Discovery Bible Studies with Sue, Havva decided she wanted to be a Jesus follower. 

Knowing that it’s generally better to baptize someone together with their closest community, the women pondered whether to wait for Havva’s husband to come to faith too. And where could they hold the baptism? Bathtubs are rare in their part of West Asia. They brought these matters before God. 

When Havva remembered a public pool she once visited, she called immediately. “Okay, I’m just going to tell you straight,” she said to the owner. “I’m going to be baptized, so I want to come when no one else is around.”

“Oh really?! I’m so happy for you!” the man said. “Yes, please come early. We open at 10, but you can come at nine before anyone else arrives. We’ll be waiting for you.”

Havva and Sue were not expecting that response! On the contrary, a more expected reaction in a 99%-Muslim country would have been anger and a lecture on why she shouldn’t do it. They were amazed! God had made a way.

Later that day, Sue saw a man with a Matthew 28:19 T-shirt walk past … in the middle of Islamic West Asia. “All I could do was gawk as he walked by,” Sue says. “When I finally collected myself, I breathlessly read the verse to Havva, and in [Havva’s language] the verb “baptize” is written in the command form. It hit me like a ton of bricks: the Father is confirming His will to us: ‘Do it.’ I had been worrying, but God had given us a place and a command.”

The following morning when they were in the warm pool waters, Sue got momentarily caught up in the mechanics of how to baptize someone in a pool with no shallow end. “But Havva was focused and got it done,” Sue recalls. “She said, ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I’m baptized!’ And then she dipped under the water and popped back up. 

“I love that Havva was so determined that she didn’t need me to say or do anything; I just put my hand on her back as she went underwater. It was such a joyful morning! Our Father showered us with His kindness and care because we’re His beloved daughters.”

Sue asks that we pray for Havva to have the opportunity to baptize her husband and daughter when they, too, become followers of Jesus. Her husband is close, but something is still blocking him. Ask the Father for another miracle of faith. 

Related Stories:
Baptism in Risky and Hostile Places
Balking at Baptism
Would You Like to Hear the Story
No More Searching, They Seek Us Out

Sharing the Light of the World with Hindus

Sharing the Light of the World with Hindus

October 24th will mark the multi-day Hindu celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Light. All over the world Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Newar Buddhists lit oil lamps and placed them in their homes and businesses to invite the Goddess of Prosperity, Lakshmi, to bring good fortune to them. She doesn’t come willingly, though; she needs to be enticed. Devotees clean their homes and light lamps, hoping the bright lights will attract her. Families gather to feast and give gifts. They gamble, believing that winners will be lucky in the year to come. They offer sweets and prayers to Lakshmi.

Gifts. Blessings. Light ruling over darkness
As followers of Jesus, we also long for such things. What a precious truth it is that, unlike Lakshmi, Jesus did not need to be enticed to come near to us. He came willingly. We don’t merely hope that next year will bring good fortune. Followers of Jesus can leave tomorrow’s cares at His feet, knowing His plans for us are better than we could ever think or imagine. Our Hindu neighbors, surrounded by dozens of burning lamps, are still sitting in darkness. Jesus, the true Light of the World, came to “give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace” (Luke 1:79). How can we share this Good News with our Hindu neighbors?

Presenting the Creation Story
Presenting the creation story is a great place to start. This establishes God as the creator of a perfect world. As Creator, the True God is so big that no idol can contain Him. When sin entered the beautiful, perfect world through Adam, it proliferated until God had to wipe out all he had made with a massive flood. He had to do this because his holiness could not tolerate the sin of the world. That Creator God is wholly holy is an important distinction because Hindu gods have both a good and evil nature. So, God started over again with Noah. But still sin and shame flourished. Eventually, God himself came in human form of Jesus Christ to deal with sin once and for all. By starting with creation we can explain why Jesus is the Only True Light of the world.

Follow Jesus’ Strategy
Another way to reach out to Hindus is to follow Jesus’ strategy for outreach found in Luke 10. We pray for Him to do a miracle. A Hindu background believer shared the story of how her family came to believe in Jesus. At 16 years of age her sister, Judy, was diagnosed with lupus. At the time, not much was known about the disease so her family sought healing through Hindu rituals, visits to temples, witch doctors and shamans. When a Christ-following classmate asked if she could pray for Judy’s healing in Jesus’ name, the family, willing to try anything, agreed. The classmate and her brothers shared Bible stories of how Jesus healed the sick, and then they prayed, not just for Judy but for the whole family. In a few days, Judy started to feel better. The family rejoiced. A miracle! Soon after, her whole family, including extended family members, became followers of Christ. Similarly, there are thousands of former Hindus in India today who have given their full allegiance to Christ, because God provided a miracle when one of His children prayed. A worker on the field tells us that often when they pray for a miracle they wonder if God will actually do the thing they are asking Him to do. They doubt. But they pray anyway. And God displays His power, proving He is the ONLY WAY!

Please pray for more opportunities to share the true Light of the World with Hindus.