What in the world is God up to?

God is doing incredible things all around the world.

  • There are probably more Christians in China now than members of the Communist Party.
  • In Asia, the T4T training has resulted in more than 1.7 million baptisms over the past 10 years.
  • In India, a Hindu nation, one house church network with which I am familiar, is seeing around one million baptisms per year.
  • Now seems to be God’s time for the Muslim world. In one nation we know, there are thousands of house churches. In another area of the Middle East, there is a movement that has more than12,000 house churches.
  • A Buddhist nation has seen more than 110,000 new believers in the past 10 years.
  • In 1991, when the Communists lost control of Mongolia, there were maybe 4 or 5 known Christians. Estimates are that now, just over 20 years later, there are around 100,000.
  • In Africa, Rolland and Heidi Baker have seen more than 10,000 new churches formed in Mozambique and the surrounding nations.

A few years ago, all of this would have seemed impossible. We may not be seeing huge numbers here in the West, but God is on the move in much of the rest of the world. Most (not all) the examples I’ve given here have occurred with disciple making movements/church planting movements. In these movements, the emphasis is on what is going on outside of the traditional church building. Ordinary believers are making disciples and leading small groups that eventually meet as churches.

I know that numbers are not everything, but they are an indication of what God is up to. Several years ago, Wolfgang Simson did a survey of the largest churches in the world. If you include networks of churches that meet in homes, then numbers one through 19 are networks of house churches and number 20, at the time of his survey, was Paul Yonggi Cho’s church in Seoul, Korea.

Throughout the world, God is using ordinary people—just like you—to start churches. What is there to stop you doing the same?

Dandelion seeds

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A Mongolian Dream

Mongolia is a landlocked country. The dream I had while we were there was therefore all the more surreal.

In the dream I was with a small group of people. As I handed them a book, I told them, “This is a book on how to become a commercial fisherman!”

End of dream.

The dream grabbed my attention in the way that only God can do.

The first thing I realized was that when Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” he was talking to commercial fishermen. They would not have been thinking rod and line to catch a single fish, but large quantities of fish.

As I skimmed through the Gospels the following morning looking for all the accounts of fishing, I noticed that apparently different kinds of fishing were mentioned. Sometimes the disciples were fishing in deep water, other times in shallow. Sometimes they let their nets down, other times they cast them out. There were specific nets that only caught larger fish. It was obviously a skilled profession.

A few days later, we traveled to India where we work with someone who trains church planters in the primitive fishing villages of the state of Andhra Pradesh. So I asked him about how these villagers fished. He informed me that there are several different kinds of fishing there. Sometimes they use something like a butterfly net in shallow water. Other times they’ll have a boat go out and lay a net in a circle which they pull in. Sometimes two boats will have a net several hundred yards long that they will again throw out in a circle and pull it in. This last is known as a seine or drag net.

On arriving home where I had Internet access again, I looked up the Greek word for fishing net as used in the New Testament. To my surprise, I found that different words in the Greek are all translated as fishing net in the English. But in the Greek there is a word for a net like a butterfly net, another for a fishing net in general, and still another for a seine or dragnet.

Hmm… Interesting.

Perhaps the most relevant one comes in the verse Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind

This kind of net is a dragnet—it’s even translated as such in the NASV.

So what is the relevance of this?

I’m planning to write another book in “The Simple Guide” series on how to become a commercial fisherman in the Kingdom. So, while I will continue to write about women in the Kingdom, many of my blog posts over the next month or so will be on this topic.

Mongolian boy

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