What you focus on counts

Over the many years I’ve been a follower of Jesus, I’ve noticed a trend. What I focus on makes a difference.

Every few years, it seems the Lord leads me to study a certain area/doctrine. Often it’s a matter of necessity. For example, when we lived in a very poor inner city area for many years, there were so many people with major problems, I longed to find a way to help them.

Usually my study comes in the form of questions. I’ll think of all the things I want to know about the topic and then read the Bible noting every verse I can find that provides an answer. As I study, I’ll make copious notes, and read different books on the topic. Finally, I’ll usually write a summary of what I’ve found. Sometimes the subject will occupy me for  a few weeks; other times two to three years.

At the same time, I find myself involved in that area in a practical way too. It’s as though God is giving me not just the theoretical background but a useful skill set too. And then I find God uses me in whatever area it is I’ve spent time on to train others.

Some examples:

I spent two years looking at inner healing and deliverance–and have not only spent time with many people to see them set free, I’ve trained others to do the same.

When we moved here to the States, I spent much time looking at church from a different perspective–now I write books on the topic and we’re involved in training simple/organic church planters.

For years, but especially the last two to three years, I’ve been looking at the topic of women–and I’ve just finished compiling a book on this subject. Who knows where this will go.

God wires us all in different ways. I’ve been trained to think and study, and so some of this comes naturally to me. But I’ve also learned to take notice when I find myself with an interest in a certain topic or a focus on a certain need. Who knows what God wants to accomplish through that if I’ll follow it through.

Have any of you found the same?

Photo Credit: the bbp via Compfight cc

How big is your vision?

We often hear stories of the extraodinary things God is doing in other nations.

"Why doesn't this happen here in the West?" we ask ourselves. Part of the reason is that we don't yet have the vision and passion that many in other nations do. We get distracted by so many things that we think are important (our own houses–see the last post) rather than God's Kingdom.

The following vision for harvest was just sent to me by an Asian church planter who is seeing incredible numbers of people swept into the Kingdom of God. He has asked that I not use his name for security reasons. I''ve had the privilege of interacting with this apostle over the past few years, and if the past is anything to go by, by faith he will make his goals.

Catch his heart for the harvest.

VISION 2012-15

Shoot for connecting 10 million new followers of Christ.

Possible or not possible. Humanly speaking: impossible. But we believe in a God who is God of the impossible.

The mandate- Multiply: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.  (Genesis 1:28) 

Command to become a thousand: IA little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in My time. (Isaiah 60:22)

Victory Assured: And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. (Leviticus 26:8)

Chain Discipling: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)

All Nations:  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28: 19) 

Go Global: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

God’s End Vision: And behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, saying, Salvation belongs to our God that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. (Rev. 7:9,10) 

Leavenize your Generation: “It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.” (Luke 13:21) 

People across the nations have adopted a Judeo-Christian culture, dress code, language, food habits, education-medical systems,  and business practices. They use tools, technology, transportation and governance developed in Christian countries. But they are still in darkness and heading for a Christless eternity. All that is needed is for Christians to be salt and light to their colleagues and neighbours and connect them to Christ. 

500,000 babies are born every day. 78 million people are added to the world every year. 250,000 die into a Christless eternity every day–all because we Christians are not doing anything significant for the lost. Yeshua came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) 

It is not enough to be saved. It is not enough to be follower of Christ. It is important to graduate into being fishers of men otherwise you will be an incomplete and an unfulfilled disobedient Christian. Yeshua said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 

The concept of each one catching one for the Lord every month and teaching and training them to catch one new person for the Lord every month – evidence that we are truly ‘Followers of the Lord Jesus’.  The amazing thing is that if you catch one person each month and train them to catch one person each month and train them to catch one and train one each month, by the end of twelve months there will be 4,096 new believers!! 

  Fishing nets

How illiterate women in India can teach advanced topics

Indian woman

A few posts ago, I alluded to the fact that some good friends of ours in India, who see many tens of thousands of new believers in their network each year, have illiterate women who are able to teach others, including Bible references. Several people have asked me to expand on this.

The fact that someone is an oral learner doens't make them ignorant or incapable of understanding. They just have a different way of learning. Much as today, in our culture, many young people learn by watching rather than by reading.

Each of the 50 or so topics that our friends expect their leaders to be able to teach on to others is divided down into 9 or 10 main points. Training is given several times per year. There are different levels at which a person is able to understand and impart any given topic. So a house church leader will have a very basic understanding. He/she may know several strategic points about any given topic. A local area trainer will have more understanding, probably with some references. By the time you have a master trainer who is responsible for training on a regional or national basis, they will know the topic fully, including all relevent references.

This happens because of the way a topic is taught. The trainer may speak on the topic, but by using questions and answers and making others repeat what is taught, people remember the subject matter. They are also expected to apply it or put it into practice. When they in turn pass it on to others, it becomes even more firmly fixed in their minds.

Here are a few of the topics that are taught:

The Great Commission

What is church?

God's will and purposes

Persecution

Tenfold functions of the church

Baptism

The role of women

Prayer walking: ten steps

Spiritual warfare

If people in our churches had the same grasp of these subjects at a practical as well as a theoretical level as some of these illiterate village women, we would be far more effective within the Kingdom. Now obviously, we are able to read the Bible–there is no shortage of Bibles in the West.  But there is a difference between learning with the purpose of extending the Kingdom and studying for personal blessing. Maybe we should reconsider strategic training.