Becoming a commercial fisherman (part two)

 Continuing the topic of church planting:

I immediately went through the Gospels looking at every
reference to fishing. There were several. Even though in Mongolia, I did not
have a concordance, it became apparent that several different methods of
fishing were described. Sometimes the disciples threw or cast their nets into
the water (e.g. Matthew 4:18), at other times they let down the nets from the
boat (Mark 5:4). Sometimes they fished from the shore; at other times they were
in deeper water.

Soon after this, we went to India. There we met with a
friend of ours, a church planter who works with fishing communities along the
coast of rural Andhra Pradesh. So we asked him about the fishing practices in
these primitive villages. He immediately told us about different fishing
techniques that these people use. He described a net that looks like a
butterfly net that they use to catch fish along the shore. He described a long
dragnet, or seine, a net several hundred yards long that two boats would let down
in a circle. This net would catch large numbers of fish at a time.

Fishing nets
 

When I returned home and could access the Internet again, I
looked up fishing nets in a concordance. To my surprise, I found that different
words in the Greek were translated as "fishing net" in English. There
was a word that implied a net like a purse. Usually a generic word for fishing
net was used. 

But perhaps the most interesting scripture occurs in Matthew
13:47-48 where it says, "Again, the Kingdom of
Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of
every kind. When the net was full, they dragged
it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw
the bad ones away.” The word used for fishing net here, is dragnet or seine.

Becoming a commercial fisherman

It may have been the salty yak milk tea, but I had a vivid
dream one night when we were in Mongolia. In the dream, I was with a small
group of people. I handed them a book saying, "This is a book on how to be
a commercial fisherman."

Fish
 

The clue that this was a dream with some spiritual
significance as I woke up, was the overwhelming realization that Jesus has to
tell us where to fish.

The effective of this dream on me was extraordinary. For
weeks I could not stop thinking about it. One of the first things to strike me
was that the disciples he was speaking to were commercial fishermen. When Jesus
spoke to them on the beach as they were preparing their nets with their fishing
vessels anchored close by, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of
men," they would have understood this in the context of their working lives.
As commercial fishermen, they were not interested in catching individual fish
with a hook and line, but in pulling in nets teaming with fish. Because of
their profession, they would have instinctively known that they were to
influence many people.

The votes are in!

Votes

 Last week, I sent out a tweet asking people to vote on the next topic I will be covering in this blog. The votes are in! By a 2 to 1 majority, people would like to hear more about the subject of church planting. So over the next few weeks, I will be covering that topic.

I often hear the comment, "Jesus did not tell us to plant churches, he asked us to make disciples." This is indeed true. However, the phrase, "make disciples," only comes once in the Gospels, or indeed in the whole of the New Testament for that matter, and that is in the Great Commission in Matthew 28.  But both disciple making and church planting are very clearly demonstrated throughout the book of Acts. The two are inseparable. When disciples were made, a church was the result. The job of the apostolic teams that were sent out was to preach the good news of the kingdom. The result? New disciples gathered into churches.

On another note, I am excited to see that the new book by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet is in the Amazon top 10! (http://amzn.to/9j6hqd) Congratulations to both!

 

Social media; becoming a trust agent

I've been reading a book recently called "Trust Agents; Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust" by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. I would have downloaded a picture of the book but my technological expertise failed me yet again! 

There is no question that social media is here to stay.  Facebook has over 103 million users in the US (more than 400 million worldwide), and is now the most visited website in the country, and Twitter is gaining influence daily. Social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web. 

I have read several books on social media, but "Trust Agents" stands head and shoulders above the others. The book not only gives practical suggestions on how to get involved without it taking over your life, but also examines the importance of integrity and values in this medium. If you want to have influence,  become a trust agent by saying something of value that is designed to help others; promote others rather than yourself; create relationships rather than mere contacts. Reading this book helps you to understand the practicalities and the potential of social media.

The question is, how will we in the simple/organic/house church movement engage with our culture within this framework?

A response to the discussion on women in leadership

The following comments were made by Carolyn Spence in response to a very active discussion on simplechurch.com on the subject of women speaking in meetings. They illustrate what the last few blog posts have been trying to do.

“This discussion has allowed freedom to develop in me, because it wasn't until I had to answer the claims of the "scholars" that I understood what God had been saying to me all along. It hasn't been the posts that really spoke to my situation. It was answering others’ dialog and discussion that brought out some things the Lord wanted me to see. I began to see what I had avoided because I wanted to "fit in." It has been really fun to ask God, "Well, see what he is saying? How do I reply to that?"  and then to find a new perspective on a scripture that I had not seen before.

In that process, I also saw that I was living and practicing a form of submission and quietness which I didn't really believe was what God had planned. I am not sure why I don't believe it, because there are certainly enough passages that could be interpreted the way I was conforming to them. But, I began to see that something deeper was working in me. 
 
The freedom for which Christ came to set us free began to well up in my heart, and I saw areas of responsibility in which I have allowed others to assume roles that God has placed in my authority. I own a business, and have about 18 associates who work for me. I have often deferred to males within my own company and God has been shining a light on why, in those areas, he was not able to bring me into the fullness of peace and skill and prosperity that he had planned.

It is beginning to really crystallize… the understanding of my place in business, and family, and in the coming together of the body of Christ to worship him and to manifest his presence, his gifts, and his kingdom. My place is never really under another although we really do submit to one another in love. It is under the Lord Jesus Christ. It is directed by the Holy Spirit. It is founded on his word, and it doesn't matter whether it is business or simple church. I am to be what he has called me to be in every place.

I have tried for four years to get something going, but it fizzles every time. At last I see why. When you won't take the role God has given you, and when you won't move in the authority he has placed in your hand (you will know it if your heart is right) then he will not help you go forward to accomplish his plans. I will no longer look for a man to start church planting, but now rather I will be a part of that "army of women" who will announce the good news. 

Timing is everything. Yesterday Peg (Batcheller) arrived from Albuquerque. I had heard some consider her a woman apostle, and after talking with her for hours, I must agree. There is in her the capacity to begin things, and to develop them, and to lead, and to admonish. She is here to help us begin to walk in simplicity of form and in depth of relationship with God and with each other. I believe God has prepared hearts, and that we will see the kingdom of God in a new expression among the body of Christ in our area, and all over our area. It is time. 

 

John White on women in leadership (part one)

 I was talking with a group of women friends the other day and we were discussing how many men we know between us who are actively training and promoting women into leadership. The number is sadly very small. John White is one of those who is doing this.  He is actively seeking for women apostolic leaders and working with them via his http://www.lk10.com site.  I asked him to create a video talking about his views and why they have changed over the years.

2007 National House Church Conference – Its not too late to register

We all rejoice in the good things that are happening in many
traditional church settings. But it is clear, as evidenced in George
Barna’s book, REVOLUTION, that Jesus is pointing many of his people
outside of the buildings that have come to define Christianity as we
have known it. Mass movements of Christians into new forms of gathering
and worship in their homes, their places of work, in University dorms,
and out on the streets, are leading many to experience the reality that
Jesus Has Left The Building! Come and join with hundreds of others from
around the country as we explore this new move of God together.

Click here for more information and to register.