Sean Steckbeck is a good friend who sees God working in power in the lives of unbelievers on an everyday basis. It’s easy for us to think, “God does it over there.” It’s time for us to expect him to do it here too. John Wimber used to say, “You spell faith, R-I-S-K.” Sean’s post is a challenge for us all to get out of out comfort zones.
Driving in the back roads of southern Judea, we come to a small Palestinian village. We climb a rough mountain with our car and have arrived. As we get out, we are immediately invited for tea and coffee and are welcomed with a great smile typical of Arab hospitality. My partner and I are Israelis. He is a Jewish Israeli who immigrated to Israel from South Africa and I am married to a native born Jewish Israeli. My wife’s brother was killed by a Palestinian PLO operative in Lebanon in the early 1980’s and politically we typically are right-wing. My partner is also well known for his garnering support for Israel and the Jewish people in South Africa.
Returning to the story, our hearts were pounding as our Muslim Palestinian hosts asked us , “Why would you come here? Don’t you know it is dangerous for you to be here?”
We smiled and answered, “There are many people who are willing to die for hate, we are willing to die for love.”
We saw that it clearly touched their hearts as they opened up and expressed to us that we had their trust. We began to tell stories from the New Testament and ask questions, and then were called to eat dinner with them. As we ate dinner, my partner and I started getting words of knowledge about certain sicknesses that were in the room. This led to an outbreak of healings which the whole village gathered to see. We spoke of Jesus’ healing power, and then went back home with a promise to follow up the next week.
When we arrived the next week, one young man fell asleep on the coach. As we tried to waken him, he fell on the ground and started manifesting demons. My partner and I started casting out demons, and again the whole village came to watch this display of supernatural–they had never seen anything like it before.
This led to the opening up of a seeker group, which eventually led to several other small house meetings throughout the area discussing both the power of God and stories from the Bible. Here and in other places we have now seen over six generations of simple church multiplication and 36 home groups and seeker groups both among Jews and Muslims. This has also led to Jews reaching out to Muslims and Muslims reaching out to Jews!
Why would two Israelis be willing to risk their lives for their seemingly Palestinian enemy in a Hamas infested area?
I believe there are many reasons, but I would like to briefly discuss two:
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” – 1 Corinthians 2:4
In chapter of 1 Corinthians 2, just like today’s simple church movement, Paul desired to do things simply. His message didn’t contain many words, but rather demonstrations. He even boasted in his weak communication skills as an advantage! The one thing that Paul said that was working for him was demonstrations of power.
When I look at the ministry of Yeshua, as an example for us, we see his main apostolic methods were building a family and team in which to work through, telling stories, asking questions, eating at people’s homes, and demonstrating the power of God through healings and miracles. Of course, Yeshua did this not in grandiose church buildings, but in the homes and marketplaces of everyday life.
I would like to challenge those in simple church and organic church who have mastered storytelling, eating in homes, asking interactive questions, and building family; where are the demonstrations of power? Do you have this missing element for starting a disciple-making movement?
Do you come with great methods, or do you also rely on demonstrations of power?
Do you consider healing the sick as optional, or a command to be obeyed?
Practice: Make a list of potential unbelieving neighbors who need a miracle in their life. Invite yourself over for dinner, ask if they need prayer, and watch the power of God work!
This painting, entitled, “Grace,” hangs in the main foyer of our company.