Monday, March 11, 2019

DMM: Sign! Or Suffer Consequences

Sign! Or Suffer Consequences

For the Beauty of the Lord
Anis could feel the beaded sweat in a steady trickle upon her brow. In concert, her pulse felt unusually strong. Suddenly, in a moment pregnant with emotion, the control of her motorbike nearly failed her. Promptly she pulled to the roadside, threw off her perspiration-soaked helmet and sobbed. 

As Anis and our local Ssk focus team continue to implement DMM, we are seeing major advancement of those who are being discipled into followership of Jesus. This particular day, Anis went alone to coach the Discovery Group facilitators in one area of her Persons of Peace household contacts. 

Seven male Muslim community leaders interrupted her coaching time. They interrogated her as the true purpose of these frequent visits. The Discovery Group facilitators were shocked by this frontal accusatory attack. These disciple makers in the making clung closely by her side. Though they advocated for Anis, the throng of Islamic leaders strong-armed her.

The Islamic leaders escorted to the area police for further interrogation. Anis was forced to sign a document whereupon she agreed that she had been “blaspheming” Islam. (Though this was not the case, in the moment there existed no seeming options). The police cautioned her that if she were to return to that community then they have no control over what the community could do to her. 

Veiled threat? Not so much. Direct intimidation? You bet.

Immediately afterwards, we gathered our local Ssk focus DMM team, and listened to her story. We affirmed how the Lord strengthened her at every point, while highlighting that it is not our strength but the Father’s upon which we rely. For the ten of us gathered in the room that morning, we asked each person to indicate whether they had experienced similar threats. Half of us raised our hands. 

In order to establish that persecution for the sake of the name of Jesus is the norm as followers, we facilitated a Discovery Bible Study in Acts 4. Time was also spent in listening prayer, in asking God “what needs to be done?”

In this time together, the team walked through a trauma debrief, as each one realized they could be next. Sometimes the distance between words of intimidation and physical attack is ever so slight.

God’s heart for each of us, in the privilege of the implementation of the launch of cascading movements to Christ, is to press into His sufficiency, no matter the cost.

Monday, November 12, 2018

DMM: Suffering in the lives of the lost

DMM: Suffering in the lives of the lost

Sri scrambled to lay before us a feast from their newly 
planted garden. Their home? Destroyed. A mass of rubble. 
Their hearts? As Ssk M*sl*ms, they, like all 3.3 million of 
their Unreached People Group have yet to hear the message 
of Christ. Rules of life change in the midst of massive turmoil. 

The recent onslaught of massive successive earthquakes on our 
adopted home island of L*mbk, Ind*nesia presented just those 
longed for broad-based opportunities to display the goodness of 
our God in the midst of heretofore unfathomed suffering.

Loss can produce all sorts of responses in each of us. The level of loss to one might not readily affect 
another in the same way. Sri and her husband and four boys know intense loss: home, employment 
opportunities on hold, most of tourist industry destroyed for immediate future employment prospects, 
instant dependence of an entire community who looks to Sri's husband as their community wise man.

And yet, as we walk through the process of Discovery Bible Study in the OT prophets and the life of Jesus, 
their immediate response to the first DBS question, 
"What are you thankful for?", surprisingly brings a smile. They and their household are not yet followers 
of Isa Al Masih but we are seeing them discipled into what it is to follow Him.

We are in a process of daily follow up of the variety of potential persons of peace. As we left Sri and her husband's village that day, we passed through three months worth of properties filled with rubble. 
The monsoon season has begun. The rains flood each of these villages as the waters escort other 
new levels of suffering: poor sanitation, collapse of tent roofs, dengue fever along with malarial carrying mosquitoes in high breeding season.

Pray for five catalytic DMM Ssk male leaders to be raised up through this whole process of making reproducing households of disciples among the Ssk.

DMM: Suffering, in the Light of the Cross

DMM: Suffering, in the Light of the Cross

The recent earthquakes on our island of Lmbk, were not the first rodeo of suffering for our key DMM 
Catalyst local partner and his wife.

Muharis made a new friend the night of the first intense crisis he faced as a labourer among the Bmnese 
M*slims. The new friend? Suffering in the name of the leading of the Father, to the hard places, for the 
launch of movements to Christ, at all costs. The event of 2017...The doctor held their baby up to Muharis, 
while his wife lay sedated from the emergency C-section. The next few minutes are still a faint blur as 
Muharis recalls the events which followed. 

Ani gave birth. The doctor pronounces all is good. Ani is whisked away to recovery in the city hospital of Bma. 
A few minutes pass in what was to a period of brief elation. Then, emergency calls go out to Muharis. 
The doctor and staff run to move Ani back to surgery. Muharis had seen a constant flow of blood oozing 
out of his wife's suture. He called the doctor, who in turn ordered her back into surgery. Enroute to prep, 
the doctor stated, "If I can save your wife, it is a 50-50 shot." He turned to see his newborn next to him, 
as he fell to the floor in shock. Immediately, he cried out to the Father then called my husband. Our entire 
network interceded.

Ani survived. The doctor removed her womb. Unnecessary, most likely. Skilled doctors in the hard places, 
not likely. The cost? A new acquaintance named suffering for the privilege of bearing the name of Jesus 
among the Unreached Peoples.

July 29-August 12th, 2018-L*mbok, Ind*nesia

In a short span of time, our island experienced four large magnitude earthquakes: 6.4, 7.0, 6.2, 7.0. 
The damage? A sea of rubble. The opportunity? A vast ocean of privilege to express and demonstrate 
the power of the Risen One. Muharis and his wife found themselves driven out of Bma by M*slim radicals 
as of November 2017. As we had them come to L*mbok, we spent hours of time to debrief their experienced threats, as well as time spent in listening prayer. 

Through great leading of the Father, Muharis and his wife relocated to our neighbourhood in L*mbok. 
We began to trust God for the formation of a new team to focus upon the Ssk, ones who would be purely committed to DMM approach as well as daily mutually accountable, along with us.

Eight months had passed in the formation of the new Indonesian partners team, the implementation of 
DMM together, the beginnings of several new Discovery Groups among the Ssk. Then, the next level of 
suffering. The earthquakes. 

After the first of the most intense earthquakes, we all gathered to sleep under tarps and tents in our yard. 
We worshiped. We debriefed to see the Lord touch and heal our team. We listened to the Father in prayer. 
He gave a strategy which was to not "move the goalposts" of the End Vision of trusting God for the launch of a Disciple Making Movement among the Ssk. 

Suffering, in multiple facets, really does the opportunity to excise out that which is not essential in order to 
re-align with that which is eternal perspective imperative. 

Muharis and his wife, along with 6 other national partners, meet with us each morning to drill down on 
Discovery Bible Study which pours into them as individuals. We have spent time evaluating the 3,000+ 
contacts which we connected with during the initial response phase of medical help, trauma debrief, 
overcoming trauma DBS set, offering healing prayer in the name of Isa Al Masih. As the next phase of 
disaster response, we have been engaged in everything which answers the question, "Lord, what needs 
to be done?"

Temporary houses, toilets, physical needs relief, were part of our response, but that is never the End Vision. Then, from the initial 3,000+ contacts in multiple villages, we narrowed down to 90+ potential households of peace. Through daily follow up, we have already seen 34 Discovery Groups begun. There are a few of these 
DGs which have already begun 2nd generation Discovery Groups, as our team equips the local lost leader to facilitate with the simple 8 DBS questions. 

To put our hands to the plow and to not look back, really is a process for each of us. For those whom we have known of and have coached, it is the ones who choose to press into the Father, no matter the cost, who truly 
do become transformed through the suffering.

Pray for Muharis and his wife, as we continue to coach them, that they would be fashioned into those whom 
the Father is pleased to use for His glory among the Ssk. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

DMM: Increase the Decrease

DMM: Increase the Decrease

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”-Phil. 2:5-8 

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”-James 1:22

"Feed me!"

Suri rose to prepare her daily meal. Only in this instance, the constant variable for her is that she spoon feeds her children. That is a cultural norm in our Muslim UPGs. What is not a cultural norm is the following.

“I must spoon feed my husband or else he shall not eat!”, she emphasized.
Did I hear right?, I wondered. I asked her to clarify, to which she relayed the same information. As I considered the robustly healthy man whom she spoon feeds each morning, I thought how stunning.

The term in our SEAsian area for this is menyuap. Yes, it means to physically spoon feed the intended person.

Suap is the root word. Feed.

I asked Suri if this was a cultural norm. Honestly, it could be that though I have not seen this in the 27+ years we have served here, it does not mean it is not a here-to-fore undetected DNA-ed cultural norm. I can pretty clearly say this is NOT an intended DNA-ed cultural norm. She indicated that it was not a cultural norm but that she feared that her husband would not take good care of himself and that he would die resultantly. Hmm. 

Spoon fed followers will not become love and obedience-based disciple-makers. To be spoon-fed, non-reproducing disciples, is NOT an intended DNA-ed biblical norm.

CPM Global Leader, David Watson, recently commented, “There is a huge difference between a cross-cultural Christian follower versus cross-cultural Kingdom reproducer.”

Suri is a near neighbor cross-cultural Christian follower who has walked away from being a cross-cultural Kingdom reproducer.

To choose unflinching-grace-filled evaluation for local partners, as well as for oneself, is an act of daily transformation. When one begins the walk of relocation away from God’s purposes, one can begin to take on this suap mindset in regard to God’s Word and God’s purposes.

We see this as a common ailment in our home country of service, as a suap-me mindset tends to run amok.

End Vision Informs All

If one feels a need to settle for “God, just feed me,” or, “I cannot make disciples of others, I am not educated enough!”, then, our god whom we have fashioned is too small.

To be a fattened sheep is not a pretty sight.

Characteristics of fattened sheep:

1)    Dependent on others for their food, not on the Word &HS
2)    Vulnerable to enemy attacks, easy to en-snare
3)    Cannot effectively jump into cross-cultural pastures
4)    Highly self focused
5)    Easy to be given to fear
6)    Too fat to reproduce 
7)    Demands loads of attention from the Shepherd

To evaluate those with whom one partners, it is imperative that we listen closely, encourage clearly, model-assist-watch-coach effectively, and call forth expectantly.

Again, to move with the movers, while loving the lingerers is a much needed Holy Spirit-led skillset one needs to develop in order to stay fixed on God’s heart for His glory, in all ways. The posturing of one’s heart for the launch of cascading movements to Christ is anchored in these grace-filled choices.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

DMM: That’s not a knife!

Dialogue from film Crocodile Dundee:

Image result for that's not a knife meme
Crocodile Dundee

Sue Charlton: Mick, give him your wallet.
Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: What for?
Sue Charlton: He's got a knife.
Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee[chuckling] That's not a knife. [draws a large Bowie knife] That's a knife.
[Dundee slashes the teen mugger's jacket. He and his friends run away]
Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: Just kids having fun. You alright?
Sue Charlton: I'm always all right when I'm with you Dundee.

Extraordinary Prayer

When it comes to Disciple Making Movements (DMM), it goes without saying, but I shall it anyways, one must be vitally connected to the Father. The need to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit to do the Father’s bidding in and through us, is the opportunity to increase in our view of God’s faithfulness to bring the desired “much fruit”. Casting our nets, while trusting in His power to draw men to Himself is the “big knife” which divides rightly between that which is effective and that which is not.

Listening Prayer is one piece of the process of what it is to cultivate extraordinary prayer as lifestyled norm. The following is one sample of listening prayer in dialogue form with the Father.

2 Chronicles 14:11

11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”

Me: This story strikes me deeply this morning, ABBA.
God: Yes, I caught your attention didn’t I, dear daughter of mine.
Me: It strikes me that the ONE BIG THING (OBT, as some dear friends call this) came into play in my tiredness. And then, I read this passage. Humm…
What do you want me to catch from this amazing story?
God: Look at my servant Asa. Peace and ten years calm he enjoyed in his period of reign. He loved Me and did what I bid. He was faithful to tear down the altars. He tore down that which attempted to set itself up against the knowledge and glory of My name. He took out the high places. Then, as He walked in uprightness I gave the kingdom of Judah great years of peace. During this time they built fortified cities. They were not idle in their peace. They were faithful in their prep.
Me: Yes, then the next battle seemed somewhat insurmountable, didn’t it? Asa had half the army size of the attacking Ethiopians army.
God: What is it then that I am asking you to trust Me to be and do as you and Sp walk out My plans?
Me: The biggest enemy for me in recent months is doubt. Will we really see You bring a cascading movement to Christ in our UPGs?
God: Yes, I have seen that seed growing. Now, acknowledge that at the root of this you are doubting My goodness. Repent, dear daughter of mine. For I am bringing that which I have purposed for My fame and renown. You have everything you need in Me. Trust Me for other local catalysts who will be faithful to making reproducing disciples, as I have commanded you. Remember, align the sails of your masts, I Am the One who brings the winds of movement. Oh, yes, and you all are going to need bigger nets. Prepare bigger nets.
Me: Yes, I confess this to You and ask Your forgiveness for my doubt of Your goodness. Cleanse me and fill me with your Holy Spirit. 

I hear You, Father. Prepare the bigger nets.

LORD, I see how Asa interceded:

LORD                      there is none like You to help between the mighty and the weak
Help us,                      O LORD, our God, for we rely on You and
                                            in Your name we have come against this multitude
O LORD,                            You are our God: Let not man prevail against You

Thank You, ABBA, for the sweet reminders today. 

Extraordinary Prayer reminder to self:
When I become more consumed with the greatness of who God is, no enemy can prevail.