Public Floggings, Stabbings, Baptisims and Saying Goodbye!

19 01 2014

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It is just a day in my life as a missionary. I woke had coffee and a milk yoghurt drink from the shop next door.  All packed up with bibles and some other books I set off to walk to this mornings scheduled baptisms in Kayole. I have recently moved to an African neighborhood that is very centrally located so I can travel cheap.  My rent is less than my transportation cost in the city used to be. On my way I see crowds running towards a fense.

Now when I see them running in East Leigh I run with them.  It means something has happend and you need to get away.  Last month a bus was blown up and another day there was some gun fire.  Folks ran my way, I turned and ran with them till they felt safe.  Just some gunfire.  No one ever new why. The police were there shortly and they could find nothing.  All is well.

In Kayole people were running to look at something.  I walked over and peaked around the long blue fense.  I was just in time to see some mean beating another with a rubber hose.  I saw the crowd smiling and knew what was going on.  I confirmed a theif had been run down and caught and locals were beating him with a rubber hose.  He started crying and they slowed and every now and then whacked him when he stopped crying just to please the crowd. They were also calling the police.  I was glad of that.  In Kenya in the villages a theif can be caught beaten and then burned to death by a mob depending on the value of the property or perhaps his repeated behavior of stealing.  With the police coming I knew he was safe from death.  I moved on.

I arrived and greeted my dear brother Fred and later brother Wilson showed up and we visited and fellowshipped.  My baptismal candidates were a mere  three hours late.  Yes three hours.  That is even late for Africans.  Honestly, I gave up on them and we had turned our waiting into productive time reviewing ministry fruit and challenges.  I learned long ago, rather than just get frustrated to use these times to study swahili, read the word, intercede, teach or even better, learn. We divided up some raw Uji I had just bought in a far away village.  A porridge made with 12 different grains, lengums and nuts it is extremly healthy but most locals consider it peasant food for the poor.  I love it.  Then my baptism people come in.

I am a bit dissappointed to learn that I am only baptising one as one of the two have sick children and the other seems to be vacillating.  She was baptised as a child but thought she was saved, but admitted that she did not really walk with God till she came to us.  That is something the brothers will deal with.  She is a precious sister and we need this resolved right away.  She is a widow with a humble spirit.  I honestly think she is terrified of the water.  But that is just something I sense, though brother Fred agrees.

We get to the baptismal pool.  What a place, a half finished hotel with two big swimming pools. Not something that is a nomal addition at a hotel in Africa for Africans.  To top it off it is owned by Muslims.  The last time I was hear we baptised several and the Muslims and Africans alike gathered to listen.  I preached the Gospel as I baptised and we lay hands of the new believers and pray for them concerning the Holy Spirit. The Muslims charge me 100 bob for this use and that is about a buck twenty.  I get to baptise and inadvertently share with about 50 Muslims sometimes.  What a deal.  The last time I was there the water was crystal clear.  Today bright green.  I had to change and since little girls were wandering in the mens area I had to get in a toilet stall to change.  Nudity here in this society under these situations is not the taboo it is in most of the world.  In the dry season  a quick  rain that yealds a pond or flowing river, even if it is right near town may soon populated with many women right on the road side bathing in full view.  Men might be in another pool just a hundred meters away.  People just politely divert their eyes and move on.  The toilet stall is horrific.  I do my best to stay out of the feces. On to the baptism.   David  has come to Jesus from alcoholism and great issues of anger.  He is a construction worker and a good provider.  We led  him to renounce drinking again and make a public profession of his faith and determination to obey Jesus.  He renounces sin, self, satan and the world and under he goes, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  We all rejoice loudly.

As we leave the building I walk with the new brother David. He takes my hand and we walk quite a ways holding hands.  This is done among close friends here and perfectly normal.  For them.  Not for me.  I do it regularly now but must say it is still something I am never comfortable with. But everyone views my participation in this practice, done only among close friends, as a sign I am with them. It does not mean I am one of them yet.  But it does mean we are together.  It matters. No body thinks you are gay. If they thought that you would be in grave danger in some parts. Let me just day that President Obamas speeches here seeking tolerance for homosexuality were not received.

I board a bus and head downtown.  A disciple from the Muslim community that has come to Jesus and walked with us the last year was granted asylum in Canada.  This is his last full day in Kenya. It is a happy and a sad day. I am writing this at 12 noon.  He left at 7 AM.  I no longer have to hide his identity nor change his story. It was hard for me and Abraham to say good bye to Kamaal. I was sad to see him go because there was so much I wanted to share.  Poor Abraham has lost his father figure \ friend\ Pastor, Imam, a couple of months ago, and now another friend from his own area in Ethiopia.  He is left with an old Mzungu and a handful of new friends.  Abraham tells me I am all he has left.  We all three hug.  I assure him that is not true, we have the Father and many new friends and brothers.  But I understand.  You see Kamal and me  in the picture at the top. This was a great day. I enrolled the young men in English school.  Kamal never got to start since the UN called soon after.

Here is another picture, not so happy.

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Kamal was beaten and stabbed leaving a house church meeting. The sisters with him escaped with a few blows I was told, but Kamal got a broken nose a very painful bruising on arms and torso from being kicked and of course the stab wounds. This was taken in the hospital. It happened about 7 months ago. I prayed for Kamal standing on a street corner. Gave him some money to buy a cheap bag for his things, some food for the trip and got his email address and gave him my card. I will most likely never see him again.

Later at home, my neighbor Dennis and friend Davy came to the door. Hodi! Karibu! Hodi is the request to enter a place and karibu  means welcome and so much more. Dennis commented it was nice to meet an Mzungu that could speak some proper Swahili. Later in the conversation Dennis pointed out to me that I referred to myself and Africans as us, and Wazungus, white people,  as them.  He smiled. I did too. That is the way I see it here.  I live here. Now this is my home as is my little clay house in Tanzania. I dearly miss my people in America. My family is precious to me. But I am here. I am with the Africans in every way I can figure out to be.  I am not one of them, yet. Don’t know that I will be.  But I was adopted by the Wameru in Tanzania.  But I am with them, and they know it.  It is my prayer and my hope to stand on Judgement day surrounded by Africans and Americans, former Muslims and Animist, all together. As one, we will worship our King. Till then? Karibu, Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done.





Part two kingdom expansion

3 01 2014

So you decided to push on.  Remember, we are not making converts we are making disciples so Jesus did things different than we have done in the past. Lets see what He teaches us as we look at how He taught His own disciples.  You may hear me say this again, but I am truly excited about this next section.  Here we see the Master, Fisher of Men disciplining His own disciples.  He promised to make them fishers of men.  We are going to look at a process that Jesus taught His disciples in great detail on more than one occasion.  I believe it is one of the most detailed “how to” lessons in all of Jesus teachings.  And that is for a reason.  It is important.

On to passage number two: Luke 10:1-11
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’

We find Jesus in this passage giving perhaps the most detailed explanation on a topic that is in the entire Gospel narrative. He sent them to where HE was coming to next. He also sent out the 12 in both Matthew 10 and Mark 6. That is just what is mentioned. Here we have the 70 going out.  Again, are witnessing Jesus own methodology being demonstrated by the ultimate, Fisher of Men. Like the sermons and teachings of Jesus, I suspect He may have sent out the two dozen, the 150 and perhaps the 300.  I believe this is recorded over and over with different numbers because He did it over and over with different people.

First He tells them He is sending them where He is about to go.  Jesus is always going to the lost.  Will you go with Him? We pray for Jesus participation in our mission as well.

Next, He tells them the harvest is plentiful. He tells them the workers are few.  That is because YOU are not out there.  It is not someone else job.  It is ours.  Listen to what I am telling you. The harvest IS plentiful.  This is not the only time Jesus says this.  He says it right after He met the woman at the well.  I suspect like other things we see repeated in different circumstances, this was a common thread of Jesus message. Satan wants you to think the soil is unfruitful and the harvest is hard.  It is a lie.  Jesus says it is.  I say it is.  Based on my own personal experience.   If you will remember my last post, you have to know where to look.  Jesus askewed the religious, upright and successful in the worlds eyes and went to the poor the sick and the disenfranchised.  Let’s follow His example.

Then what.  Jesus says an amazing thing.  He says ask the Father to send workers.  I always smile when I read this.  It means pray and it is a trap.  Yes, I said it is a trap. A glorious trap set by God.  I have had it pulled on me before.  My former Pastor Dr. Jeff Brawner talked to me about praying for the nations.  He modeled for our entire church for us to set aside certain days to pray for certain things.  The lost in the nations was one of those request.   Later, after he got me doing home bible studies, I was using the book Radical, by David Platt. He also recommended  buying a book by a group called Operation World and start praying using this specific information about the countries of the world.  I started and I could not stop.  This book put the countries in alphabetical order and gave detailed info on the demographics of the country,  the history of Christianity there and the specific prayer needs and request  I could not keep from reading and praying for multiple countries every day.  And as I did, God got my heart in a new way.  Like I said, it was a trap.  I went from a guy literally challenging Jeff and his passion for the lost in other lands going as far as informing him the word missionary is not even in the bible.  I remember his mouth flying open,  his looking at the ground and shaking his head.  I may have been what you call a problem disciple.  I may have given him some gray hairs.  But you see who convinced who.  I am sitting in a clay house in Tanzania writing to you on sharing with the lost and he is training other people to be better missionaries.

Then He says to GO!  Wait, Glenn, you already told us this in the last post.  Yes, isn’t Jesus consistent.  He never tells us to go and invite people to a crusade or a revival or a church meeting.  Now the method He teaches involved you getting out of your comfort zone and going.  What is awesome is He is going to tell you HOW to go. Read on.

Next,  Jesus  says something we overlook.  Don’t take a bunch of supplies and accoutrements.  Pay attention here. Here we are given instructions on how to go, that contains some specific details. He specifically sends them “unencumbered”. There are no props, minimal provisions, no weapons, and no equipment. They are positioned to move quick and often, unburdened by the normal supplies for traveling on a long trip. This sounds strange to a nation of planning, programming and preparing methodical people. But Jesus is liberating and releasing us to go without all the baggage and methods we so love to carry and apply. We are simply to focus on the task at hand. To major on the only thing that is important and be free of all that can slow us down. To tell of the Kingdom.

We have come to think we need big crusades, awesome sound systems, great worship bands and the Jesus film to go out into all the world. Jesus specifically tells us to go unencumbered. I particularly like this since I serve in Africa and late in life have  worked with the poor. Why does that matter? Because when we go in spending big money and have great technology to spread the Word we are modeling something that the poor cannot participate in. They will NOT be able to hold huge crusades and show the Jesus film and have a high tech worship band. So this model needs is doable for them.  It is reproducible.  NO money to proceed. That is great for you and me. And it is great for our future disciples.  I try not to  invest in something that the locals cannot duplicate without me and my Western technology.  I recommend that if you follow Jesus’ lead in using this in the West as well.   Think of how you can model this WITHOUT using money. If you go to the poor, they don’t have it. So don’t model something they can’t do without you. It is NOT Jesus’ way.
Greet no one on the way. Now, to being unencumbered, we add not being distracted. I live in Africa. Greeting people is a huge part of our culture here. It fosters respect and relationships. But trust me. A Tanzanian and a Kenyan will literally head out on a God given task and then spend 6 hours during the day visiting and talking to everyone in sight about nothing in particular. We in the West will begin a project and stop incessantly to read text, send an email chat on the phone or given more than a 10 minute wait begin surfing the web.  We set a definite time to start and stop, leaving little room for God to intervene.  That is what organized, productive people do.  We have things to do so lets schedule this thing for two hours and get with it so I can get home and see the ball game.  Go unencumbered and do not get distracted. You may think this does not matter but it does. Avoiding distractions and unnecessary activities are a must. They were important enough for Jesus to warn His disciples, so we are wise to heed the same warning.

Now, I skipped something.  Did you notice?  Jesus said when you enter a home you leave a blessing.  Peace to this house.  Now this tells me two things.  One they were going to peoples homes.  Now this is significant.  You see we all remember Paul and the others teaching the Jews in the synagogues, the gentiles in the forums and other public speaking venues.  At Pentecost Peter preaches outside and 3000 are added.  I am not against this.  It is awesome to preach publicly.  I don’t do it often in the market place, but I have done it many times.  Maybe 10 or 20.  I don’t count.  But we read in Acts after this public preaching that The Lord added to them daily. How?  Well we read that they met house to house breaking bread but not much else is said about it other than the other public sermons like Stephan and later Paul.  But we know Jesus had trained them in this method we are studying and we see in the next section they are looking for a certain type of person.

Man of Peace. We find and stay with a “man of peace”, or someone who promotes peace, depending on your translation. We may be introduced to this person as a leader when we arrive at a village. This is a person receptive to the gospel and with a heart for hospitality. In America, or the West,  you may experience this person as you go out door to door. They will take the time to talk. They will be hospitable. God has prepared them for you.  They are waiting on you.  Remember, you are praying before you are going, for workers.  This person of peace, is in fact a potential, worker, disciple.  You have been praying FOR HIM, when you prayed for a worker.

We may preach the Gospel in public and one of the new believers offer us a place to stay. They may just come up and ask a lot of questions and accept your invitation to come to their home and continue. The provision for this person is not specifically identified for us in this text. We just see that when we enter their house we leave a blessing.  I find this vague statement exciting. We just know and expect God to provide this person from these instructions. So we go out in prayer, expecting to identify this person, knowing that this is in God’s hands. We go looking for the “man of peace”. Not just people that we can “win” to Jesus. This is a person of influence and a person who could later become a gifted disciple.  Now influence might just mean, a lot of people respect him within a certain group of people.  He could be a down right terrible drunk, and God will open doors with him to other drinkers due to his amazing transformation.  He may be a local leader and open other kinds of doors. We just don’t know.  Again, I find this exciting.  This is a point of great importance and we must rely on the Lords leading and provision. We will always keep this person in mind for the next village, the next town and the next house church and yes the next house you walk up to.

Listen, this is important.  We don’t get worried if someone says they are not interested and slams the door.  Or is someone does not want to become a disciple.  That just means they are not a person of peace. But don’t worry about them. The person of peace will have many contacts, family members, co workers and friends that will accept his invitation to learn about his life changing decision for the Kingdom. The person that slams the door in your face, has a person in their life that they will welcome in. You just keep searching.

We carry a Blessing. This is an interesting aspect of Jesus commands for us in going out. We are carrying a blessing for the “man of peace” his village and his house. In this verse. He says we will have this blessing if the person of peace welcomes us or if he is unresponsive we can withdraw it. I speak this blessing when I enter. This seems inconsequential to those that do not understand the power of Jesus teachings. I claim no revelation in this area. But I strongly suspect that as we bless those who receive us and withdraw that blessing from those that don’t, there we be a real and apparent consequence. I believe that the Gospel will be furthered through this blessing and withholding, in ways we cannot foresee at this time. But I imagine the villages witnessing God’s favor on the blessed will be influenced for the Kingdom. Regardless we will obey.

Stay, We don’t move around from this person’s house, in a given area, as we serve and work. Now I don’t want to confuse you but now I want to tell you that after going out in Luke 10 evangelism going to house to house, that when you find this person of peace, STOP. Many get excited and quickly run to the next house eager to brag on all the conversions that day. But we are making disciples remember. Jesus spent three and a half years with 12 men. You will need to take time here. I won’t spend a ton of time on it as I will write on it later. But when you lead a person to repentance of their sins and acceptance of the Kingdom of God and Jesus the King, you are not done you are now beginning. Ask this person where their husband, wife, sister, mother and father live. Ask who their best friend is or their closest neighbor. Then invite them to come over. Confirm the new disciples commitment and spend time disciplining them that very day. Give them a bible if they don’t have one, but very soon, even the same day or the next hour have them get others to come and listen to you share. Right then! Use this new person, the person of peace you were looking for to connect to others in their circle of influence and extend the Kingdom through their contacts. That way they get the experience of spreading the Kingdom in their spiritual DNA right from the start. They watch you share and lead others in repentance over and over. And perhaps they begin to actually share or pray with you. Oh and by the way. They will sometimes offer to feed you and if you are traveling you might even stay there. This is very likely in Africa where I serve. If they are that person of peace and others come to surrender to Jesus also, you have just planted a house church.  I won’t spend a lot of time on it here, but I highly recommend you don’t take them to church. I recommend you start a church there.  A house church.  It is what I do here and we have about 37 in the two countries.  And our house churches are going out doing Luke 10 evangelism, planting more house churches.  I have believers, not me, believers that have planted a third of our house churches.  The multiplication has begun.

Heal the Sick. For some of you, this is going to be a stretch. The ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom of God, the Good News, is always accompanied by God’s provision and power. God will be God as we go. He is the God of miracles. Marc Carrier, my mentor, has experienced closed doors from Muslims until they ask him to pray for a very sick father or mother. Someone is healed and then people begin to surrender to Christ. The funny thing is, sometimes other Muslims are very understanding of Muslim neighbors that leave Islam when their father is healed miraculously. What can they say. Frankly, Muslims frequently ask Christians to pray for their sick as Christians have a reputation here of having God answer their prayers. Neither of us are faith healers. But God heals in answer to prayer all the time. Especially in the third world. Or as I call it the Majority World. Sorry, that is another topic all together.

But let’s look at this a minute. We are told we carry a blessing, elsewhere in the bible if a person gives a prophet a glass of water they receive a prophets reward. Then we are also told that we can withhold a blessing and now we are commanded to heal the sick. So let me now say something bold. There was and, I believe, still is, an anointing that goes with us as we obey Jesus commands to extend the Kingdom following this mandate. I say that because I see it happen in Marc Carrier and my ministries. I’m not in the deliverance ministry.  But I went to pray for a sick lady and a demon manifested.  It was cast out while Muslims neighbors watched.  Two hours later they repented and turned to Jesus.
Tell them of the Kingdom of God. Again the Kingdom. Everywhere Jesus and His Apostles went they preached the Kingdom. That is the King (Jesus), His realm (His Kingdom, on earth as it is in Heaven) , His citizenship (How to enter and abide in His Kingdom) and His commands ( following His teachings) . Jesus mentioned the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven 87 times. The New Testament mentions Jesus as ransom twice, begin born again a couple of times, dying for our sins a handful of times, Church a couple of times and pastors once or twice. In Luke 4:43 He says He must preach the Kingdom because that is why He came. In the Lords prayer the first request is that we pray His Kingdom come. He taught it all through the Gospels. After He rose again, guess what He taught. For forty days He taught them about the Kingdom of God, Acts 1:3. The Apostles went out preaching it, Acts 8:12, including Paul, Acts 28:23 and Acts 28:30-31.  Revelations tells us in the end the whole world would be His Kingdom Rev. 11:15, but not before Matt. 24:14 is fulfilled. The Gospel of the Kingdom is preached in all the earth.

At this point I want you to note that there is a link down at the bottom of the page for my mentors website, Marc Carrier, at Kingdom Driven Ministries. You can check out his site and then download two things. One is the Kingdom Essentials series. It goes into sharing the Kingdom of God, making disciples, house church and teaching Jesus commands. The second document is a tract we use that Marc wrote called Two Kingdoms. In it we share the Gospel of the Kingdom of God modeled after the way Jesus did it. After you read the Kingdom essentials you will understand how to use it.

Using this method I move about and make disciples for only a few hundred dollars a month. My expenses are miniscule compared to traditional mission methods. I avoid the pitfalls of Americans being viewed as the rich elite and possible sources of money and gain, as I live poor, among the poor, with the poor, serving the poor, with the Gospel of the Kingdom. I travel with little and rely on God’s provision and mercy. We will carry enough funds for some food and to help the needy when the timing and opportunity is correct. I have bibles and literature, in Kiswahili . You should materials in the native language of your working culture. Don’t be critical of any and all that do things differently from a methodology standpoint. Just do what Jesus did. The fruit speaks for itself.
Well, I have written this in response to questions and interest of others. It is both too short and too long. I will be happy to visit with you and discuss this biblical model. I only ask that you download and read the Kingdom Essentials booklet by Marc first.  Check out his other books and writings.  Leave a donation for him for the free books.  Click the donate tab on his site and you can give to this ministry or one of the other awesome missionaries doing similar work.   I hope this answers some questions and raises some as well. I look forward to hearing from you.

http://kingdomdriven.org/purchase-resources