Selasa, 30 April 2013


This fact of life—that we can’t find or make time to concern ourselves beyond our own orbit—we justify by pointing to our torrid pace in America today. But, no excuse justifies the incomprehensible blind eye turned from the horror of the abortion industry which the news, finally, brought to our attention this past week.
America’s greatest sin should burst with convicting fire into the concern center of every person made aware of the story. There are reasons, however, that the horrific information needed to prick the consciences of every American will not be forthcoming. The reasons are summed up in two words—mainstream media.
This unbelievably reprehensible lack of accountability for what has been going on can be laid at the feet of the nation’s news organizations. The reason they’ve gotten away with such journalistic malfeasance can be laid at the feet of the American public. Fifty-plus million abortions that have anesthetized U.S. citizens to the reality and horror of this holocaust have been willfully accepted with only moderate resistance since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade on January 22, 1973.
The nameless children who have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs by the multiplied millions are screaming in deafening silence. Now it is learned just how heinous have been the murders of the aborted little ones outside their mother’s wombs as well as inside. Still, mainstream media remain silent for the most part about this infanticide that has taken place under their supposedly superior reportorial investigative noses.
The grisly abortion activities of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in his Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, abortion horror chamber—which, incidentally, has been known since 2011—have finally reached the trial stage, thus is forcing some degree of reporting by reluctant news media organizations. Gosnell is charged with the murder of one woman and seven born infants, in which he allegedly “snipped” with scissors the babies’ spinal cords once they were outside their mothers’ wombs.
The liberal champions of the woman’s right to choose are hard pressed to look upon the things being uncovered in that horrendous murder factory. All the agenda-driven pundits on the left can come up with is that Gosnell’s unsanitary, non-professional clinic shows all the more reason for increased federal funds and regulations to assure clean, “safe” abortions.
The above is almost precisely what I heard Alan Colms, the liberal pundit for Fox News, say in response to Gosnell’s trial. Here’s what one angry journalist against legalized murder of babies had to say in regard to Gosnell and the reporting of the atrocities involved.
Thus far, Gosnell’s wretched clinic, with its filthy speculums, jars filled with severed baby feet, and photos of female genitalia, has had a hard time piquing the interest of major news outlets. After all, racy, sexy murderess Jodi Arias is much more intriguing than some twisted biracial abortionist carrying out Margaret Sanger’s eugenic ministry on vulnerable people of color. Isn’t she? (Jeannie DeAngelis, “Kermit Gosnell: Secret Hero of the Left,” American Thinker)
So, the big-time news men and women are being dragged kicking and screaming into covering this vile representation of the industry of infanticide they so fervently champion.
The little ones who have died since Roe v Wade have no names. They have been treated as inconsequential refuse to be flushed or sent to the garbage dumps of America. But, just as I have the name of my little Stanley forever etched in my memory, and each of you who has lost a loved one have their names stamped indelibly upon your hearts, the God of Heaven has a name for every one of the little ones who are now safely with Him, carved in His omniscient memory.
While the Word of God tells us that tears will one eternal day be wiped from every eye in Heaven, the Heavenly Father must at the present time shed tears of sadness for what continues to be the most severe child abuse possible–abortion. More than that, He must have hot tears of anger as He watches this nation He blessed so mightily shed innocent blood by more than 3,700 babies per day —something those who sacrificed their children to Molech in ancient times came nowhere near matching. Jesus made it inescapably clear what would be the fate of those who dealt so egregiously with little ones:
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Spiritual Digest

Do not ever judge God's love based on your circumstances. Instead, evaluate your circumstances from the perspective of God's love. - Henry Blackaby

************ *******
"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: `Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing" (Job 1:20-22 NIV).

“Some people live their whole lives just around the corner from the
world of truth.”
- Carl Henry

Matahari masih Bersinar

Selama matahari masih bersinar,
maka disana juga pasti ada harapan 
untuk sukses yang berbinar... 

(Krishnamurti Words)

Spiritual Digest for Today

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for. - Epicurus

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it" (1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV).

Spiritual Digest

The Lord is not done with you yet. He will arise in His appointed time and manifest His power in your life. - Bayo Afolaranmi

"When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy" (Psalm 126:1-3 NIV).

Rabu, 24 April 2013

Being Known and Knowing!

Being Known and Knowing!

Hello Friends
Recently I read an excellent article on the five ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11 and began to ask why years of such teaching has produced so little fruit. At times there even seems to be an obsession with finding our ministry gift. The thinking being that if I know what gift I am, I will be that gift. Or worse, if I announce what gift I am, I will be received as such. This leadership by declaration may work in some Christian cultural ghettoes but in the real world nobody cares what title is on your business card.

Certainly knowledge is power to release technological breakthrough after technological break through but it does work that way in the Kingdom of God! You are not an ipod or a computer chip.

There are two principles of knowing mentioned by Jesus. We know by obedience (John 7:17) and we know through revelation based in humility (Matthew 11:25- 30). This is offensive to rationalism and individualism. It is also offensive to most bible schools, seminaries and teaching ministries who want you to buy their books and attend their conferences for more and more teaching! We want to know through the rational exercises of accessing all the information and weighing all the options since that leaves us in control and free of risk. Knowledge through humility/obedience and humility/revelation is knowledge through a living, working relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the Truth that sets free.

How we know is more important than what we know. Do we know through partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Do we know through our intellect and its relationship to information? Or do we know through our love and faith relationship with Jesus, the Tree of Life? Jesus did not start a bible school, hand out study notes and hide behind a podium. He took his disciples to the streets and into the lives of people.

Jesus mentions one principle of being known. We are known by our fruit (Matthew 7:16- 20). Often ministry gifts are defined in such a way that the focus is on performance and stage presence rather than character and transformed lives. It is not the feeling of the moment but the fruit of a lifetime which defines us!

Success is in the grandkids!

If you have fruit it does not matter what people call you or who criticizes you!
If you have no fruit it does not matter what people call you or who praises you!

Every blessing
Steve & Marilyn

North America
35 Colony Trail Blvd
Holland Landing ON L9N 1C6

Hoenderhoeve 23
Houten 3992 XK, NL



Caleb was an old man now. Forty five years earlier he and Joshua were two of the twelve spies sent into Canaan to spy out the land. Both Joshua and Caleb had given a good report and recommended that Israel go up and take the land at once. But the other ten spies gave an evil report that struck fear into the hearts of God's people and as a result they did not have the faith to enter the land God had given them. For forty years Israel wandered
about in the desert under the until that entire generation below the age of 20 died . . . all except Joshua and Caleb.

After Moses left the scene and Joshua had led Israel into Canaan, where for five years they won victory after victory, one day Caleb approached Joshua and said, "You know what the Lord said to Moses concerning me at Kedesh-Barnea after we had spied out the land. And now God has kept me alive these forty-five years, and Moses gave me a word at that time that God would surely give me the land upon which my feet had trod. Therefore give me this mountain. For the Lord will surely strengthen me to drive out the inhabitants thereof." (Joshua 14)

There are seven things about this story that stood out to me and impacted my life:

First, here was a man of God who at the age of 85 was holding on to a word he had received 45 years earlier. Has God spoken a word to you that will require the same tenacity and courage to bring it to pass, even though the years have passed over you and the word you received seems to have died out there on the desert somewhere?

Second, the mountain Caleb had in his heart to possess was something his feet had already walked upon, the word of the Lord had only confirmed what was already in his heart concerning that mountain when Moses said, "Surely the land whereon your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance and your children's forever because you have wholly followed the Lord my God." The faith to possess that mountain came to Caleb by seeing and touching the land and by hearing the word of the Lord concerning what he
had seen and touched. True faith is not arbitrarily choosing a goal and then trying to speak it into being. It is only as we see it in the spirit and know that it is the will of God that we will have the faith to receive it, or to declare it, or to achieve it, or to just wait for it in quietness and in confidence.

Third, this mountain was given to Caleb because of one single act of obedience. He had fully obeyed God in one particular instance and it secured to him a reward that would not be denied to him though it did not come to him for forty-five long years. Many of the blessings that we now enjoy are the rewards of certain acts of obedience that we fulfilled in the past. A very big door will swing on very small hinges. The seemingly insignificant
little acts of obedience we do from day to day may be the hinges that govern the outcome of important and weighty matters in the future. This was the case when Abraham offered Isaac on the altar. Once that was done it never had to be done again. Abraham passed the test and the blessing was pronounced that would never be nullified. You may be right on the verge of entering into blessings that are rewards for some act of obedience
completed years ago, or you may be in a test today that will yield benefits later if you will obey now.

Fourth, Caleb realized that he would have a part in bringing the promise to fulfillment. He had to go out and take the land that had been promised him. He went, he warred and he won! It is a rare thing for God to bring to us a ready-made victory that does not require of us some act of faith. Most of the time we find ourselves in the boat with a word from the Lord like Peter heard that stormy night . . . "Come." Jesus bid him step out of the boat and walk on the water with Him. Peter had to get down out of the boat and walk on the water by his own faith. It was not Jesus' faith, otherwise Peter would not have sunk into the sea.

Has the Lord called on you to leave the comfort zone of your boat and do something that will require miracles to accomplish? If he says, "Come!" it is safe to get out of the boat. Even if you do sink, he is there to rescue you and get you back to safety. The only way you will ever walk on water is to take the risk of getting wet. Peter did get wet, but he also walked on water.

Fifth, Caleb did not allow his age to become a negative factor. "Lo, I am this day 85 years old, but I am as strong this day as I was the day Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now . . . " Many spiritual giants in the Body of Christ down through the years did not get started in their life's calling until they were well past their youth. Smith Wigglesworth started his worldwide miracle healing ministry at age 55. Overholtser was past 50 when he started Child Evangelism Fellowship. Moses was 80 when he received the call to go to Egypt. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac the son of promise, was born.

God will use you without regard to your age. He is calling men and women of all ages to step out of their comfort zone and walk on water with Him to help disciple the nations. Do you hear the call?

Sixth, Caleb's obedience brought blessing upon his children unto many generations. None of us know how many of the good things we now enjoy are the direct result of some act of obedience on the part of our fathers or forefathers. Conversely, many of the hang ups and bondages we struggle with may be because of some act of disobedience on their part?

Seventh, Caleb served with his brothers to secure the land of Canaan for the entire nation before he made mention of his own individual portion. His example speaks for itself. God wants us to concentrate on how we can be a blessing to others and not always to be thinking about our own things. As we do this, God will secure to us our mountain and fulfill our dreams, and in the process will bless our children and their children unto a thousand generations.

When the Spirit Comes

When the Spirit Comes

By Dudley Hall

If you love me you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 (ESV)

Jesus is honing in on the new humanity that will carry on his mission after his resurrection. First, he identifies those who are members of this new company. It is those who love him by following the truth as he defines it. To claim to love him without ordering your life around his teaching, is a fallacy. He is not just a lovable person that can be added to our personal pantheon of gods. He is not just one of the historical characters we would invite to our fantasy dinner. He is the Lord of all truth and worthy to be followed exclusively.

Second, he is describing the process that will enable this new race to fulfill its destiny. The Father is sending the Holy Spirit to help. He will move from "with" to "in" this community and will empower it to get the assignment done. Since Jesus operated on earth as a man filled with the Holy Spirit, the corporate body of Christ will need this power also. He is the Spirit of truth. He operates in ultimate reality. He will illumine the minds of those who believe in Jesus with the truth that is in him. Those who are not believers will not see the same way. Their perspective lacks the illumination the Spirit gives. This means that there will be conflict. It also means that those who know the truth become servants to those who don't. It is our privilege and responsibility to give the higher perspective in any conversation in which we find ourselves.

This is heady stuff Jesus is discussing with his disciples. He is talking about a dynamic that is universally majestic. It is on the dramatic scale equal to the original creation. In the Genesis account, God created a race by his word. Now, he is creating another one by his Word. This new humanity is defined neither by ethnicity nor geography. It is defined by Jesus. Those who believe and obey his order are apart of it, and those who don't believe can't see or know the truth he reveals for that community. Just as Adam and Eve were expected to create a culture of divine order in the first creation, this new creation is to spread the culture of his kingdom through the whole world. It is the ultimate privilege to be a part of this project.

We will need all the grace offered in order to get the job done. We must prize the gift of the Holy Spirit and his many expressions. We can't reveal the divine model without supernatural power. We can't love like Jesus loves without the Spirit that empowered him. We can't suffer without him. We can't forgive on our own. But, with him indwelling us individually and corporately, the church can invade every sphere of influence in creation and bring light in place of darkness. We can speak truth in place of error.

Maybe we should spend some time just rejoicing that we have been chosen to be a part of the new humanity and thinking of how we can live appropriately.


The Spontaneous Church
John White
John White is a graduate of Fuller Seminary who served as a Presbyterian pastor for 20 years in Denver, CO. He is currently the US Coordinator for Dawn Ministries. The Dawn Vision is for a church (a vibrant family of Jesus) within easy access of every person in North America and beyond. ( )
Spontaneous: From sponte meaning voluntarily. Occurring without apparent external cause, unconstrained and unstudied in behavior.1
Introduction. In general, conventional church in America could be called “the programmed church”. By programs, I mean man’s best efforts (plans, strategies, goals, meetings, etc.) to accomplish God’s purposes. This intentional approach is usually characterized by “the gospel of knowledge and duty.” That is, the assumption that Christians will become more godly and the Great Commission will be fulfilled if only those believers are given more information and are exhorted more forcefully to obey God (i.e., external motivation). While usually well intentioned, this approach is deeply flawed and is a departure from both the life of Jesus and the life of the early church. The alternative to the “program mentality” is an intimate, conversational relationship with the Holy Spirit (i.e., internal motivation) resulting organically and spontaneously in the life and mission of the church.
This discussion is central to our thinking about the house church movement. The current danger is that this “program mentality” will be brought along with the many people moving out of the conventional church and into house church. Already, some house churches have become simply conventional churches held in a home. (Some have humorously called this “Honey, I shrunk the church!”.) Our belief is that house church, properly understood, is much more than a mere change in venue. It is, in fact, a “whole different animal”.
With the help of Roland Allen (the great English missiologist from the early part of the 20th Century) and other authors, we will briefly explore three aspects of “the spontaneous church”. First, we will see that this concept is rooted in Scripture. It is foundational to the life and ministry of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And, it is modeled by the early church. Second, we will explore in greater depth the differences between “the programmed church” and “the spontaneous church”. Third, we will touch briefly on some ways to move towards this New Testament way of life and ministry.
I. The Spontaneous Church in Scripture. The life and ministry of the church grows out of the life and ministry of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
A. The Life and Ministry of Jesus: Nothing on His own initiative. John 5:19-20 is a foundational passage for understanding the life and ministry of Jesus. Consider the two following versions of that passage:
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. 2
So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.3
Even though Jesus was the Son of God, He did not initiate or implement His own plans (no preaching, no healing, no raising the dead). Everything flowed from an intimate conversational relationship with His Father. The Father initiated. Jesus responded.4
B. The Life and Ministry of the Holy Spirit: Nothing on His own initiative.
Perhaps one of Jesus’ most surprising statements (at least to those who heard it) was when He told His disciples that it was a good thing that He was going away.5 This began to make sense when He explained that He would send the Paraklete (Counselor, Coach) in His place. One of the primary purposes of the Paraklete is to enable us to live and minister the same way Jesus did.6
Here’s what Jesus tells us about the way communication occurs within the Trinity. The Father tells Jesus everything that He is doing7. Jesus tells all that He has heard from the Father to the Spirit8. The Spirit hears from Jesus and passes that on to us. We hear from the Spirit and pass that on to others. We can see from John 16:12 that the Spirit functions the same way Jesus did. That is, He does not initiate on His own. He only makes known what He hears from Jesus. Jesus initiates and the Spirit responds.
Gordon Fee helps us understand the critical importance of the Spirit in our lives. “The Spirit is God’s way of being present, powerfully present, in our lives and communities as we await the consummation of the kingdom of God. Precisely because he understood the Spirit as God’s personal presence, Paul also understood the Spirit always in terms of an empowering presence; whatever else, for Paul the Spirit was an experienced reality.”9
C. The Life and Ministry of the church: Nothing on her own initiative.
1. Jesus as the Builder of the Church. Jesus is the Head of the church. He makes it clear that it is His church and He is the one who will build it.10 He calls us to join Him in the process. It is also true that He cares more about the fulfillment of the Great Commission than we ever could. Further, He is the expert on incarnation. We learn all of these things from Him. Therefore, prayer (especially the listening part) is the starting place and the foundation for all ministry.
2. Prevenience – He is always initiating. By saying that it is Jesus who is building His church, we are reminding ourselves that He is always the one who initiates. (His initiation is always a response to the prior initiation of the Father.) A helpful term for this is “prevenience” which means that which goes before or precedes. In a region or people group, Jesus is always working preveniently. This changes everything. It means that it is no longer our job to “make something happen”. Rather, we are to see what He is already doing and ask how (if) we are to join Him. (What we do flows out of intimacy with Him.) An understanding of and commitment to the prevenience principle is key to the organic nature of church.
The structure of the Jewish day illustrates this concept. The day begins with sundown. The first thing we do is sleep. This is a picture of “prevenience”. We awake to find a world where God has already been at work. Our job is to find out what He has been doing and see how we are to join Him in that day.
Eugene Peterson gives a great explanation of this concept. (We are called to) “…a cultivated awareness that God has already seized the initiative. The traditional doctrine defining this truth is prevenience: God everywhere and always seizing the initiative. He gets things going. He had and continues to have the first word. Prevenience is the conviction that God has been working diligently, redemptively, and strategically before I appeared on the scene, before I was aware there was something here for me to do.…there is a disciplined, determined conviction that everything (and I mean, precisely everything) we do is a response to God's first work, his initiating act.”11
3. The Spirit provokes spontaneous worship. Biblical worship does not begin with our own initiative. It is not motivated by a sense of duty or obligation. Rather, it flows from the prevenient work of the Holy Spirit. John Piper helps us understand worship from this perspective.
The role of the Spirit. “The fuel of worship is a true vision of the greatness of God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white-hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is powerful worship, pushing its way out in confessions, longings, acclamations, tears, songs, shouts, bowed heads, lifted hands and obedient lives.”12
The nature of spontaneous emotion. “It (genuine emotion) is there spontaneously. It is not performed as a means to anything else. It is not consciously willed. It is not decided upon. It comes from deep within, from a place beneath the conscious will…The feeling is there, bursting out of my heart. And it is an end in itself.”13
The insufficiency of duty in marriage. “Consider the analogy of a wedding anniversary. Mine (Piper writes) is on December 21. Suppose on this day I bring home a dozen long-stemmed red roses for Noel. When she meets me at the door I hold out the roses, and she says, “O Johnny, they’re beautiful, thank you,” and gives me a big hug. Then suppose I hold up my hand and say mater-of-factly, “Don’t mention it; it’s my duty.”
What happens? Is not the exercise of duty a noble thing? Do not we honor those we dutifully serve? Not much. Not if there’s no heart in it. Dutiful roses are a contradiction in terms. If I am not moved by a spontaneous affection for (my wife) as a person, the roses do not honor her. In fact they belittle her. They are a very thin covering for the fact that she does not have the worth or beauty in my eyes to kindle affection. All I can muster is a calculated expression of marital duty.”14
The insufficiency of duty in worship. “Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of his worth. This cannot be done by mere acts of duty. It can be done only when spontaneous affections arise in the heart.”15
4. The Spirit provokes spontaneous mission. As with worship, Biblical mission does not begin with our own initiative. It is not motivated by a sense of duty or obligation. No one understood this foundational concept better than Roland Allen who was one of the greatest missiologists of the 20th Century. In the biography written by Allen’s grandson, Leslie Newbigin writes the following in the Foreword:
“At the center of Allen’s message was the conviction that the Holy Spirit is the active agent in the Christian mission. For him Pentecost was the key for the understanding of mission. He could write about “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church” because he saw it, not as a human enterprise, but as a divine activity. To understand that is to be delivered from the anxieties, the burdens and the sense of guilt which so often form the atmosphere of discussion about mission. Missionary thinking is still pervaded by Pelagianism. Mission is conceived as a task, rather than as a gift, an over-spill, and an explosion of joy.”16
(Note: Pelagius was a fourth century British monk who believed that salvation could be achieved entirely through human effort.)
Gordon Fee supports this same idea regarding the role of the Spirit in the early church:
“Thus the Spirit is absolutely presuppositional to their entire experience and understanding of their present life in Christ;”17
5. The Spirit leads the church meeting. Watchman Nee, the Chinese church leader, explains the kind of church meeting that is described in 1 Cor. 14:26. “In this kind of meeting any gifted member of the church may be preacher and any may be audience. Nothing is determined by man, and each takes part as the Spirit leads. It is not an ‘all-man’ ministry, but a Holy Spirit ministry.”18
(For practical help on this kind of church meeting, see the video/DVD produced by House2House Ministries, “When You Come Together”19 )
6. The Spirit produces missionaries. More from Roland Allen: "The same is true of St. Peter and St. John, and of all the apostolic writers. They do not seem to feel any necessity to repeat the great Commission, and to urge that it is the duty of their converts to make disciples of all the nations. What we read in the New Testament is no anxious appeal to Christians to spread the Gospel, but a note here and there which suggests how the Gospel was being spread abroad…for centuries the Christian Church continued to expand by its own inherent grace, and threw up an unceasing supply of missionaries without any direct exhortation.20
7. The result of the Spirit’s work – the expansion of the church is spontaneous. Roland Allen: “As I have said spontaneous expansion is spontaneous. It is not created by exhortation. It springs up unbidden. Where men see it they covet it…”21
II. Implications for us: the Spontaneous Church vs the Programmed Church. Understanding some of the differences between the churches that many of us grew up in and the churches in the New Testament.
A. Functional vs relational. Which is the starting place – task or relationship?
1. Intimacy is central. Generally speaking, the church in the West has focused more on function (task) than on relationship (intimacy). Discipleship especially is seen as a task rather than as a relationship. We have developed programs and tools to accomplish the task but have often missed a profound connection with the heart of God and others. Motivation doesn’t come from within. Rather, we have to continually exhort people to do the right things. Over time they give up on the task because their hearts are not engaged.
2. The toll of the gospel of duty and obligation. Our gospel of duty and obligation (“make it happen ministry”) has taken a great toll on believers – especially those in leadership. One of the most difficult places to live as a Christian is in leadership of a church or parachurch ministry. In that environment there is huge pressure to “get the job done”. This pressure frequently destroys relationships with other leaders and even with God. (“Sixty percent of U.S. pastors don’t feel they have anyone they can talk to honestly about their job.”22) There is lots of activity but little genuine transformation23. In the end, there is often a high degree of burnout with disastrous consequences for the marriages and families of those in leadership.
3. Mission as a natural fruit. The house church model is a new (old) wineskin. It is very precious to Jesus and, therefore, it is important to not put the cart before the horse. (Horse = intimacy with God, living from the heart, listening to the Spirit. Cart = mission). The concern is that house church not be used simply as a tool to get other things done (like evangelism). We must not put the old wine (exhorting people to mission) in the new wineskin. Mission is meant be a natural fruit and not an obligation.
4. Mission like marriage. Consider the analogy of marriage. People get married out of love, not in order to have children. Children are the fruit of relationship. They happen naturally. This is the way God wants to birth things. Again, a movement will only be sustained if mission (children) is the fruit of a marriage, not its purpose. We would do well to ponder the primary reason for our existence. Is it functional or relational?
In writing about the Trinity, Darrell Johnson says, “And here is the Gospel: The God who is love draws near to me, a sinful, mere mortal, to draw me near to Himself, in order to draw me within the circle of Lover, Beloved and Love itself. I become a co-lover with God! It is the very reason for my existence.”24
B. External vs internal motivation. Does motivation for ministry come from the inside or outside?
1. Symptom vs cause. We all agree that the Great Commission is important. The key question is how it is to be accomplished? When we consider the issue of people not being involved in mission we need to make sure we are making the right diagnosis. What is the symptom and what is the cause? Diminished mission may be the symptom and not the cause. We are all committed to the concept of “mission”, the expansion of the Kingdom. The question is: how does this come about? Is it internally motivated by the Holy Spirit working in the heart of the believer? Or is it externally motivated by teachings, exhortations and structures from men?
Spontaneous: From sponte meaning voluntarily. Occurring without apparent external cause, unconstrained and unstudied in behavior.25
2. Those who have “life” don’t need to be exhorted. The reason that Christians don’t engage in evangelism and missions more than they do is not because they haven’t been exhorted. It is not because they don’t have enough training. Rather, it’s that they have so little “life”. Consider the story of Jesus. People ripped roofs off in order to get to Him. Why? Because they saw LIFE in Him.26 When people have that kind of life in them they will flow naturally into mission. It will flow spontaneously from the inside out. This is a much better model than trying to motivate people from the outside. (The reason that people don’t reach out is not that they don’t care. It’s that they have so little life.)
From Roland Allen: “This then is what I mean by spontaneous expansion. I mean the expansion which follows the unexhorted and unorganized activity of individual members of the Church explaining to others the Gospel which they have found for themselves; I mean the expansion which follows the irresistible attraction of the Christian Church for men who see its order life, and are drawn to it by desire to discover the secret of a life which they instinctively desire to share…”27
3. Our mission: the manifestation of the Spirit from within. Roland Allen: “The work of the missionary is education in this sense: it is the use of means to reveal to his coverts a spiritual power which they actually possess and of which they are dimly conscious. As the converts exercise that power, as they yield themselves to the indwelling Spirit, they discover the greatness of the power and the grace of the Spirit, and in so doing they reveal it to their teacher. But we are like a teacher who cannot resist telling their pupils the answer the moment a difficulty arises…The work of the missionary cannot be done by imposing things from without. The one result which he desires is the growth and manifestation of the Spirit from within.”28
Were Roland Allen alive today, I believe he would enthusiastically embrace the discipline of coaching. In the Christian context, the role of a coach is to help others listen to the Spirit in their own lives. The following comment by Tony Stoltzfus illustrates this foundational principle: “God initiates the changes He wants, and the Holy Spirit brings those things to the surface through teachable moments. The transformation of the client happens through experience and relationship, not the information you bring to the table. So let go of the need to fix the client, and allow room for the client to deal with God.”29
C. Prevenience vs Programs. Is ministry initiated by us or by God?
1. Functional deism. We have to learn to “do nothing on our own initiative” like Jesus. We have learned well how to do “something”. That is, to “make it happen”. This is the definition of a program – our best efforts to accomplish God’s purposes. This is functional deism. (God got everything started, gave us instructions and then left – ie, no Holy Spirit.) We would deny this as our theology. But the way we have “done church” exposes our true beliefs. As Evangelicals, in practice our Trinity has often been the Father, Son and “Holy Scriptures”.
Gordon Fee:
“I do not mean that the Holy Spirit is not present; he is indeed, or we are not of Christ at all. Nonetheless, despite the affirmations in our creeds and hymns and the lip service paid to the Spirit in our occasional conversations, the Spirit is largely marginalized in our actual life together as a community of faith.”30
“If we do not have the Spirit, Paul says, we do not belong to God at all; my concern is that in our having his Spirit, we not settle for a watered down understanding that gives more glory to Western rationalism and spiritual anemia than to the living God.”31
“In contrast to the common understanding of contemporary believers, first-century believers understood – and assumed – the Spirit to be manifested in power. So much is this so that the terms “Spirit” and “power” at times are used interchangeably.”32
Roland Allen:
“…Paul’s method is not in harmony with the modern Western spirit. We modern teachers from the West are by nature and training persons of restless activity and boundless self-confidence…We are accustomed to do things ourselves for ourselves, to find our own way, to rely upon our own exertions, …We are accustomed by long usage to an elaborate system of church organization…We cannot imagine any Christianity worthy of the name existing without the elaborate machinery which we have invented…With that spirit, St Paul’s methods do not agree, because they were the natural outcome of quite another spirit, the spirit which preferred persuasion to authority.
St Paul distrusted elaborate systems of religious ceremonial, and grasped fundamental principles with an unhesitating faith in the power of the Holy Ghost to apply them to his hearers and to work out their appropriate external expressions in them. It was inevitable that methods which were the natural outcome of the mind of St Paul should appear as dangerous to us as they appeared to the Jewish Christians of his own day.”33
2. Program evangelism vs power evangelism. This principle is described by John Wimber: “In programmatic evangelism, Christians witness to everyone they meet, in obedience to the general command of Scripture to ‘go and make disciples.’ In power evangelism the same command is obeyed, only differently. Each evangelism experience is initiated by the Holy Spirit for a specific place, time, person, or group…In programmatic evangelism, the Christian says, “In obedience I go. Holy Spirit bless me.” In power evangelism, the Christian says, ‘As the Holy Spirit tells me to go, I go.”34
D. Not both/and. Roland Allen believed that “the programmed church” and “the spontaneous church” could not coexist. “Nothing could be clearer than that Allen saw “mission” as the “unexhorted and unorganized activity of individual members of the Church” who were impelled by the Spirit. The fact that Allen was not willing to accept a “both/and” perspective was one of the things that got him in so much trouble with the church leaders of his day.”35
III. How to become the Spontaneous Church. Some beginning steps towards a way of doing/being church that flows spontaneously from conversational intimacy with the Spirit.
A. Learning to do nothing on our own initiative. We have become addicted to taking the initiative, to doing “something”, to developing programs to accomplish God’s purposes. Giving up this addiction is difficult and requires that we go through a period of “detox”.
Don’t serve God. John Piper: “… (Ps. 50:15) forces on us the startling fact that we must beware of serving God, and must take special care to let him serve us, lest we rob Him of his glory. This sounds very strange. Most of us think serving God is a totally positive thing; we have not considered that serving God may be an insult to him. But meditation on the meaning of prayer demands this consideration…
If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is mine... Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. (Ps. 50:12,15)
Evidently there is a way to serve God that would belittle him as needy of our service. “The Son of Man came not to be served” (Mark 10:45). He aims to be the servant. He aims to get the glory as Giver.”36
B. Learning to listen to the Spirit to find out what the Father is doing.
“We learn to be attentive to the divine action already in process so that the previously unheard word of God is heard, the previously unattended act of God is noticed… (The Prevenient questions are):
What has God been doing here?
What traces of grace can I discern in this life?
What history of love can I read in this group?
What has God set in motion that I can get in on?”37
C. Learning to live from our heart.
Passion comes from one’s calling not from exhortation or from someone else’s passion. We shouldn’t project our calling/passion on others. Better to help them find God’s calling for them and let their passion emerge. Don’t promote one passion (such as evangelism or missions). Rather, get people hooked up to God’s heart and let each one find what they are called to do.
“Understand that you are God’s idea. You will be held accountable for using what he gave you to work with, not for pursuing someone else’s agenda…
The main way we enjoy God is by enjoying the use we make of the giftedness with which he endowed each of us – in service to others and in love, praise, and adoration of God. The things of life we personally and uniquely enjoy are there because of our God-designed giftedness.”38
“Jesus provokes desire; he awakens it; he heightens it. The religious watchdogs accuse him of heresy. He says, ‘Not at all. This is the invitation God has been sending all along.’”39
D. Learning to tell stories.
Our job? Discover and tell stories of spontaneous church and missions.
"Ivan Illich was once asked, "What is the most revolutionary way to change society? Is it violent revolution or is it gradual reform?" He gave a careful answer. Neither. If you want to change society, then you must tell an alternative story."40
E. The Key to completing the Great Commission: Faithfulness
While the world has many strategies (such as marketing) to reach a large number of people, Jesus has a different plan. He emphasizes the quality of faithful obedience. In Lk. 19:17, the Master says,”‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’” 41 In Mt. 25:21, the Master says something quite similar, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. 42
We may think that the goal of making disciples of all nations is a huge and almost impossible task. We may think that this task will require an immense amount of work by brilliant and highly gifted people.
The Master, however, sees this differently. He is prepared to give us not one city but ten! He is not necessarily looking for highly gifted people but rather highly faithful (trustworthy, obedient) people. Our job is to be clear about the few, small assignments the Master will give us. If we demonstrate that He can trust us with the few and the small, He will give us the many and the large.
What is your assignment?
1 Webster’s II, New Riverside University Dictionary, The Riverside Publishing Company, 1994.
2The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids
3Peterson, E. H., & Peterson, E. H. 1997, c1995. The Message : New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (Electronic ed.) . NavPress: Colorado Springs
4 Also see Jn. 8:28-29, 12:49-50, 14:10-14, 15:14-15
5 Jn. 16:7
6 Jn. 16:12-15
7 Jn. 5:19-20, 16:15
8 Jn. 16:12-15
9 Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, Hendrickson Publishers, 1994, p. xxi.
10 Mt. 16:18
11 Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor, Word Publishing, 1989, p. 69.
12 John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, Multnomah Press, 1986, p. 66.
13 Piper, p. 71.
14 Piper, p. 73.
15 Piper, p. 72.
16 Hubert Allen, Roland Allen: Pioneer, Priest and Prophet , Forward Movement, 1998, p. xiii.
17 Fee, p. 2-3.
18 Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, International Students Press, 1969, p. 119.
20 Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962, p. 7.
21 Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962, p. 155.
22 Tony Stoltzfus, Leadership Coaching, BookSurge, 2005, p. 86.
23 See Revolution and other books by George Barna.
24 Darrell Johnson, Experiencing the Trinity, Regent College Publishing, 2002, p. 63.
25 Webster’s II, New Riverside University Dictionary, The Riverside Publishing Company, 1994.
26 Jn 1:4
27 Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962, p. 7.
28 Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: Paul’s or Ours?, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962, p. 146.
29 Tony Stoltzfus, Leadership Coaching, BookSurge, 2005, p. 158.
30 Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, Hendrickson Publishers, 1994, p. 1.
31 Fee, p. 9.
32 Fee, p. 35
33 Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St Paul’s or Ours? , Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962, p. 6-7.
34 John Wimber, Power Evangelism, Harper, 1986, p. 46.
35 Hubert Allen, Roland Allen: Pioneer, Priest and Prophet , Forward Movement, 1998, p. xiii.
36 John Piper, Desiring God, Multnomah Press, 1986, p. 138.
37 Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor, Word Publishing, 1989, p. 70.
38 Arthur Miller, The Power of Uniqueness: How to Become Who You Really Are, Zondervan, 1999, p. 111-112.
39 John Eldredge, Waking the Dead, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003, p. 233.
40 Tim Costello, Tips from a Traveling Soul Searcher, p. 33.
41The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids
42The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids


"The second command Jesus gives in Mark 8:34 is not so easy to define. In Jesus' time, no one ever took up a cross unless they were going to die on it. How do we "take up our cross?" The idea has such a mystical, super-spiritual sound to it. Some have even gone so far as to allow themselves to be crucified in a modified way to show identification with Christ. But your "cross" is not literal; it is instead an attitude of radical obedience to God in which you willingly accept any consequence for Jesus' sake. If denying yourself is all about saying no, then taking up the cross is all about saying yes. "Yes, God, I will do whatever you ask of me -- whatever, whenever."
~Kay Warren, Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God


In Acts chapter nineteen we witness an amazing thing in the life of the apostle Paul. In the opening verses Paul is traveling and comes to the city of Ephesus. He finds twelve disciples and in talking to them he discovers that they have not yet been baptized in the name of Jesus. So he baptizes them then lays hands on them and ministers to them the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Then, for about three months, he and this little group of disciples reason with the Jews in the synagogue persuading them about the things that pertain to the Kingdom of God. But some were hardened and would not receive their teaching, so Paul takes the disciples and moves to the school of Tyrannus. For two years, he had daily discussions with both Jews and Greeks about the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The amazing thing is what resulted from Paul’s little "Bible School" in the city of Ephesus. The NIV version puts it like this: "He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them." (Acts 19:9-10)
The province of Asia in Paul’s day was about the size of the state of California. Can you imagine the influence of one school reaching the entire state of California? Even his adversaries acknowledged the effectiveness of Paul’s school! They said, "And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia." (Acts 19:26)
It must not be overlooked that it was more than just teaching the word of the Lord that gave Paul’s school such a dynamic impact on the people of Asia. It was miracles of healing and deliverance added to the teaching of the word.
The ministry of healing and deliverance was the drawing power in the ministry of Jesus also. They not only came to hear his words but to be healed of their diseases and delivered from demonic oppression.
The Ministry Training Schools not only teach the word in the same way as Paul, through discussion Bible study, but we minister healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus, following Paul's example and the example of Jesus.
It is our prayer that the teaching, healing and deliverance ministry of the MTS will be so powerful in every city that it will be said of us what was said of the early disciples in the city of Jerusalem: "You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." May these Ministry Training Schools impact every city and town in every state in the USA and in every nation of the world.
1. Goal- The Ministry Training School (MTS) is a response to Jesus’ command to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. It is training the saints to begin doing the works of Jesus right where we live and work.
2. Plan -Our plan is to plant churches, healing rooms, and houses of prayer in every city and town in every state in the USA.
3. Structure - Small groups meeting in homes. Better to have a hundred groups of 12 than 12 groups of 100, or one group of 1,200. Larger groups have their place, but the ABC is a small group of disciples.
4. Leaders -Qualifications for leaders are listed in I Timothy 3 and in Titus 1.
5. Schedule - The MTS is an ongoing school. Students are released into ministry as it beomes evident that they are ready and are called of God to be commissioned into the work God ordains for them.
6. Method - Discussion Bible Study is our method for teaching through the New Testament.
7. Classes - In every meeting we spend time in the following activities under the acronym PRAISE: P - Praise and worship
R - Read and discuss
A - Assignments and reports
I - Intercessory Prayer
S - Signs and wonders
E - Eat and fellowship

8. Assignments - Read Acts through Revelation as homework.
Write out your own testimony.
Pray the Great Commission prayer daily (see Evangelism below)
9. Expectation - We expect to make disciples in every nation teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded. We expect Jesus to work with us as He did the early church, confirming the word with signs following.

The MTS could be called an Ephesians Four School. Paul says in verses 11-13 that apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor teachers are given to the church for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. This is the purpose of the MTS. Each student will go through the Life of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in interactive Bible study in class using the book JESUS CHRIST THE GREATEST LIFE BY Johnston Cheney, and read through the rest of the New Testament in his/her private devotions. MTS has a vision to train believers worldwide to start healing rooms, houses of prayer and house churches by appointing individuals and couples in every country to help spread this vision for Simple Church.
Church Planting: MTS teaches simple methods of church planting that are effective and adaptable anywhere in the world.
Evangelism: MTS teaches evangelism in everyday life situations. At each session, time will be given to share experiences in ministry and personal evangelism as the Lord opens hearts and sets up "divine appointments" in answer to the Great Commission Prayer: "Father, give me a divine appointment today with someone who is hungry for God or in need. Give me sensitivity to know when that happens and grace to minister the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit."
World Mission: Our goal is to train and appoint national coordinators for every country who in turn will appoint state or provincial coordinators who will appoint county coordinators who will appoint city coordinators. The purpose is to start house churches, healing Rooms, and houses of prayer in every city and town in every nation
Discussion Bible Study is simple and spontaneous. Another name for it is Interactive Bible Study. You do not need a teacher or any Bible study material. All you need is a Bible, a group leader, and a few people who want to know what the Bible is all about. If one is present with a gift of teaching, let him/her participate as a learner first. All may teach as God reveals truth during the reading. DBS is group participation and not a lecture-type presentation.
The scriptural basis for this type of Bible study is Colossians 4:16, "After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea." Paul could have said, "After you have studied this letter" but he just told them to read it. Reading is studying! It is studying on the most basic level. Paul was confident that with the guidance of the Spirit they could understand his letter.
In discussion Bible study we simply take turns reading the scripture. While it is being read, everyone is invited to interrupt at any time and make a comment or ask a question. That is discussion Bible study.
You may be surprised at how much conversation is generated and how much you learn as you read the Word of God together. Sometimes one may read a long passage without any discussion at all. Don’t be alarmed. Just let the Word minister. Don't try to force conversation. Once the conversation gets going the problem will be how to get back into reading. The work of the leader is to keep reading and conversation going, not just one or the other.
You won't need to dissect and scrutinize each word. Just read it. It is amazing how much you can learn about the Bible by reading it! It reminds me of a conference we held years ago in Child Evangelism Fellowship. We had invited a prominent Bible teacher to be our speaker. At lunch I asked him to give us some helpful hints on how to study the Bible. He smiled and said, "Sure, I'd be glad to."
After lunch when it came his time to speak again, he stood and said, "Brother Fitts has asked me to give you some pointers on how to study the Bible. Here they are: Got your pens and paper? There are three of them." There was a flurry of paper and pens being readied for the speakers points on how to study the Bible.
"Point number one is, READ THE BIBLE! Point number two is, READ THE BIBLE!! And point number three is, READ THE BIBLE! That's it."
Everyone laughed. He didn't laugh. He was serious. He wasn't joking. We stopped laughing. We got the point. He went on to explain the importance of just reading the Bible without any thought of "studying" the Bible. I have never forgotten that powerful lesson. Most believers have never read the Bible once. Want to know the best way to study the Bible? READ IT! You can do more than read it AFTER you have read it, but you can’t do anything more basic or more important than reading it UNTIL you have read it! I am convinced that more than 80% of all believers in the USA have never read through the Bible once.
Paul admonished Timothy, "Devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to preaching and to teaching." (I Timothy 4:13) Discussion Bible study is the public reading of the scripture. Preaching and teaching have their place, but DBS is for group interaction.
Recently the question came to my mind, "Did the writers of the New Testament letters direct them to the pastors and leaders or were they addressed to the common people?" I immediately read the introduction to each letter that Paul wrote to find the answer to that question. I was amazed! I thought some of them would be directed to church leaders, but what I discovered was a shocker!
We had just received an urgent letter from Russia for Bible study literature for the hundreds of house churches that were forming there. "Why literature?" I thought, "They already have the simplest, most powerful, life transforming literature in the whole world, the Bible, and there are Bibles all over the USSR."
The New Testament was written to the common people. Look what I found as I read Paul's introductory remarks in all his letters:
"Paul, a servant of Christ all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints." Romans
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy..." I Corinthians
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia." II Corinthians
"Paul, an the churches in Galatia:" Galatians
"Paul, an the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:" Ephesians
"Paul and all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi together with the bishops and deacons." Philippians (Note: This is the only letter that mentions the leaders of the church, but even this one is still addressed to all the saints, which, of course includes the elders and deacons.)
I found that each letter was written to the people and not to an elite group of "clergy" who were to explain the meaning of the letters to the people. The letters were to be read to the people and that implied that they could understand the content of the letters. Of course there is nothing wrong with explaining difficult passages, but the Holy Spirit can and will reveal the meaning of his word to his people through his people. Group Bible study, especially discussion Bible study, is an excellent way to allow the Body of Christ to minister to itself.
The Priesthood of the Believer
We are a "Royal Priesthood" and are not dependent upon a "special" priesthood to understand the Bible. The following words of the apostle, Paul, show that the New Testament was written for the common, ordinary Christian. "I have become the servant (of the church) by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness, the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery..."
Paul was able to give the word of God directly to the people, even the deepest mysteries, because these mysteries are now disclosed (revealed) to the saints. Paul knew his writings could be understood by ordinary Christians though Peter said that some things Paul wrote were hard to understand. (See II Peter 3:16)
These and other passages make it plain that it is not only safe but very practical to have a group of common, ordinary believers come together for Bible study with nothing more than the Bible. When Paul left Ephesus, he spoke these words to the leaders and to the saints there: "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32)
Advantages of Discussion Bible Study
DBS Keeps the meeting informal. Let the gift of leadership arise, but let none assume the role of the "expert" in Bible knowledge.
DBS gives an opportunity to let God's word speak for itself without the aid of commentaries! There is a place for good Bible commentaries and gifted Bible teachers, but DBS is another approach that calls for a small group of believers to listen to the Holy Spirit and to share their insights.
Using the simple DBS method will make it easier to start churches. The simpler the format of the meeting, the easier to start and lead new churches.
DBS makes us dependent on the Holy Spirit to comprehend what we are reading. The team approach gives balance and strength. What one will not see, someone else will. If the group gets off track, it is the leader’s job to get things back on track.
DBS will put the emphasis back on the Bible itself. This will open up the Bible to each participant. Most Christians do not know what is in the Bible. They have heard and read much about the Bible, but seldom get into the Bible itself.
DBS is safe; and it is in line with the vision for bringing the body of Christ into the work of edifying itself.
1. Pray and ask the Lord to direct the study and that everyone will be edified.
2. The leader will direct the discussion, but all may share their questions and insights as the scripture is being read.
3. Make a determined effort to concentrate on what is being read so that you can ask questions and share your understanding and insights.
4. Feel free to interrupt the reader to make comments or ask questions.
5. On controversial issues, everyone should have perfect liberty to say it like you see it without taking each other to task or trying to prove your viewpoint.
6. Do not remain too long on the same point of discussion. Move along in the reading of the Word. The Word of God itself, without commentary, has power to transform our lives.
7. Read without trying to provoke discussion, but welcome it when it comes.
8. Keep on track; discuss the passage being read without going off on a tangent.
9. Encourage the accomplished talkers to practice holding back and encourage the non-talkers to practice jumping into the conversation.
10. Those who don't want to read aloud for any reason should feel free to pass it on to the next person.
11. All questions are directed to the group and not to the leader.
12. The reader also has liberty to stop reading to make comments or ask questions.
13. Read as many verses as you feel comfortable reading then pass it on to the next person to read, taking care that you don’t read an excessive amount. Everyone should have the opportunity to read.
14. If you need to leave the group for any reason before the session is over, please feel free to do so.
15. Please do not make any derogatory remarks about individuals or groups. We do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit and quench the anointing for revelation in the study of the Word of God.
16. As you read there will be times when you will come across names of ancient people, places, and things that will be difficult to pronounce. This is to inform you that nobody really knows how these words were once pronounced so however you pronounce them is correct!
17. End with a time of praise for what the Lord did in your own heart through the Discussion Bible Study.
18. If you do not cover the assigned portion of the N T for that session, spend more time the following session to catch up.
There will be no written tests and no grades given in the MTS. The test is whether or not you are able to finish the course set out before you, discover your ministry gifts and calling and complete three simple assignments: READ through the New Testament from Acts through Revelation as homework. WRITE and make copies of the story of how you became a Christian. These will be used as gospel tracts. (example page 25)
PRAY the divine appointment prayer daily. "Father, give me a divine appointment today with someone who is hungry for God or in need. Give me sensitivity to know when that happens and give me grace to minister the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit."
1. For the first few weeks, read the Guidelines for Discussion Bible Study just before you begin that part of the class.
2. Appoint an assistant leader. You will be training a new MTS leader as well as preparing a helper to take over for you in case of an emergency.
3. Be early for the meetings. You will set the example for the rest.
4. In most cases it is wise to let someone else host the weekly meeting. If you host it and also lead it, you may find it too much to carry in the long run.
5. Leave the enrollment open for about four weeks after the school starts. They will need to catch up on the reading of Acts through Revelation. Consider starting another ABC as soon as several new people want to join in.
6. Ask God to put new people on your heart to contact about the MTS before the enrollment closes.
7. Allow people to "audit" the school without being required to do the assignments. They will be edified and trained to move into the work of the ministry at their own level of anointing and commitment.
8. Rely on the Holy Spirit to pour out revelation, truth, understanding, and light on every student as you read through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John together.
9. Make it your goal to do all six things in every session, using P,R,A,I,S,E as a guide: Praise and worship, Read and discuss, Assignments and reports, Intercessory prayer, Signs and wonders, and Eat and fellowship.
10. Be faithful to have the meeting each week. The MTS will begin to die when you begin to cancel meetings. Let the assistant lead when you can’t.
11. In the personal ministry time lay hands on the sick and pray the prayer of faith.
12. As each student feels he/she is ready to be sent out to start a new house church, healing rooms there will be the laying on of hands to send out those who finish the course.
13. Help the slower students to succeed.
14. Be careful not to dominate the meeting by talking too much. This is difficult as the leader, but do-able.
15. Become familiar with the contents of the ABC Leader’s Manual. Each student should also get a copy and be aware of its contents.
16. Pray often for each student by name.
17. Pray the "Divine Appointment" prayer together at each meeting.
18. Try to restore anyone who drops out.
The ministry of the healing rooms that is springing up in cities across the USA today is one of the brightest and most encouraging developments in the worldwide move of the Spirit!
Most of us want to go back to John G. Lake to find the beginnings of this wonderful ministry, but in reading the life of Lake, I find that there was another John who preceded John G. Lake who more than likely planted the seed for the Healing Rooms ministry in the heart of John Lake. His name was John Alexander Dowie.
Dowie was a famous pastor in Chicago late in the 19th century who, in his later life, founded Zion City, IL as a Christian community. He had a marvelous healing ministry with thousands of remarkable healings that attracted multitudes from all over America and the world. A part of this healing ministry was Healing Homes. People with terminal illnesses would move into these homes, almost like our modern Convalescent Hospitals, and stay till they received total healing. They would receive ministry over and over again till the healing was complete.
John Lake was born into a family of twelve children, a family who, over the years, bore the pain of almost constant sickness and death among the children. When John grew up he took two of his sisters who had terminal diseases, to Dowie’s Healing Homes in Zion City and, after a period of time, they were both healed.
Lake was a highly successful businessman and amassed a fortune early in life. His heart for God and his call to minister the gospel, however, became so overpowering that in the midst of business deals he would be diverted into evangelizing his client. This began to cause a problem.
Eventually he heard the call of God to quit his business and go to the foreign mission field by faith. He sold everything and gave away his fortune; went to South Africa and spent five amazing years of miracle ministry. God gave him a remarkable anointing to heal the sick and more than five hundred churches were started as a result of those five years of signs and wonders.
After that he moved back to the USA to the city of Spokane, WA where he started a church and a Divine Healing Institute. The school was actually a workshop for divine healing where the students learned to minister divine healing by hands-on experience. Lake rented office spaces for the institute in downtown Spokane and called them "Healing Rooms." Over the next five years thousands of people came to those healing rooms and were healed. Some reports say there were more than one hundred thousand healings in that five year period.
His vision was to start healing rooms in every city in the USA, but he died at the age of 66 and his vision died with him.
About eighty years later, God spoke to Cal Pierce of Redding, CA to move to Spokane and "re-dig the wells of healing" as Isaac had done in the book of Genesis after the Philistines had stopped up the well his father Abraham had dug years before.
Pierce was not disobedient to the heavenly vision and in the space of three or four years, the Healing Rooms Ministry was once again flourishing in the very same rooms in the very same building that John G. Lake had used eighty years before. Now this ministry is popping up in city after city all over America. No doubt the healing rooms vision will be planted in every other country in the days and years ahead.
The ministry of divine healing belongs to the entire Body of Christ. Cal Pierce has freely shared with the Church how he has gone about to re-establish the healing rooms ministry. For more on Cal Pierce's healing rooms ministry, go to .
You can take the training offered by the ministry in Spokane, or you can do as Sam Buick and his leadership did in Kitchener, Canada. They took the simple idea of Healing Rooms with very little explanation, set aside a day and an hour and a place and began to lay hands on the sick. The results? People started getting healed! Not only physical healing, but also inner healing and deliverance. They meet at 3 PM in a home every Sunday afternoon and sometimes the healing session goes on till 9 PM.
I encourage you to avail yourself of all the help you can get in launching into this exciting ministry of divine healing. Be aware that every situation is somewhat different and we must not try to do this by following a formula, trying to follow what others have done in other places. I was in four churches where we tried to copy the methods of Dr. Cho of Korea for church growth and all four failed. Then one day I overheard someone interviewing Dr. Cho on the radio. When asked what was the "bottom line" formula for building the largest church in the world he said, "I just pray and I obey." Six simple words! That approach will work anywhere, among any people. Take the healing rooms concept, then pray and fill in the blanks
As I listened to Dr. Cho's simple explanation of how he did his ministry suddenly I saw how simple it is to enter into any ministry the Lord calls us to do. There may be more and varied principles and methods attached later, but behind every step forward it is, "I just pray and I obey." We can learn from those who have gone before us into the Healing Rooms Ministry, but there is still a uniqueness about every local situation.
You may consider proceeding along the following lines:
1. Plan to do the Healing Rooms in a home one day a week. Most homes have 3 or 4 rooms that are adequate to meet the need. Each one can become a "healing room." The purpose for more than one room is so that you can have two or more healing teams ministering to more than one person at a time.
2. Ask others to pray with you for the success of the healing rooms.
3. Feed your faith for supernatural healing on good books and tapes. (see list below)
4. Set a day of the week and the hours when the healing rooms will be
open and tell others. Miracles of healing will be your strongest advertisement.
5. Train others to be a part of the healing teams. God will show you how.
6. Make teaching tapes, books, and videos available to the healing teams.
7. Depend on word of mouth and testimonies of healings to get the word out and cause the ministry to grow. Be not weary in well doing for in due season you will reap if you faint not. Don’t doubt in the dark what God gave you in the light.
8. Open the healing rooms from 10 AM to 3 PM (or the hours that best suit your situation) one day a week. You may want to start with only one or two hours to begin with.
9. Add another day only when the first day has been filled. Let another family host it in their home.
10. Keep a file on each person who comes for ministry. Encourage them to return again and again till the healing is complete. Even Jesus had to minister more than once before the healing was complete. (see Mark 8:24)
11. Be open to the need for inner healing and deliverance in some cases.
12. Use the believers in the city wide Body of Christ as well as those who attend house churches to be on the healing teams.
13. Provide as many as possible of the following books:
CHRIST THE HEALER by F. F. Bosworth,
DIVINE HEALING by Andrew Murray,
THE HEALING LIGHT by Agnes Sanford,
THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF JOHN G. LAKE by Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
GOD’S GENERALS by Roberts Lairdon Ministries,
14. There are many other good books and tapes that you can use to train the healing teams. It is also good to have them attend teachings on divine healing whenever possible.
15. Some may ask, "But why can't we just do this ministry as a part of the church service?" The fact is that in most cases there is not nearly enough time. Most churches never give a call to the sick to come forward for healing prayer and even those who do cannot give more than a few minutes to each person who comes. The healing rooms give a place where quality time can be given to each one who is in need of healing.
God bless you as you move into this important work. Remember the words of Jesus: "In my name they shall . . . lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."
To be used in Personal Evangelism
Three times in the book of Acts Luke records the story of how Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. I believe that is not just repetition without purpose, but rather shows us the importance of our personal testimony. The story of how we came out of darkness into light is a very effective tool for evangelism!
One of the assignments is to write your story in three parts: life before Christ, how I received Christ and the changes Christ has made in my life. This will be formed into a very brief gospel tract with your picture on the front cover. It has to be brief enough to fit on the front and back of a one sheet of paper. Those who receive it will be more inclined to read it because it is a personal sharing of your own story rather than a "generic" booklet. You can make copies of it at an office supply store, fold it appropriately and use it as an evangelistic tool.
I am sharing MY STORY below to give you an example of about how long to make your story and the three things to include. The story should include the simple message that Christ died for our sins.
A Word of Explanation
For several years I have wanted to make up a little booklet with a photo of myself on the front cover and call it MY STORY and use it as a personalized gospel booklet to give to the person with whom I have been witnessing. Nothing is more powerful in personal evangelism than your own story of how you came to Jesus.
My Story
Psychologists tell us that the four most dramatic and life-changing events in anyone's life are the following: (listed in the order of their importance and the depth of their effect upon our lives)
The first is the experience of knowing God or spiritual conversion. The second is marriage. The third is the birth of a baby into the family, and the fourth is the death of a family member. I have lived long enough to experience all four of these life-changing events.
My earliest awakening toward God and spiritual things was when I was about two years old. My mother was holding me in her arms and our family was attending a revival meeting in Roscoe, Texas. The preacher was shouting and stomping as he preached and it scared me half to death. I remember that it scared me so much I started crying.
I learned very early in life that God is good and the devil is bad. Good people go to heaven when they die and bad people go to hell. I didn’t know much about heaven or hell but I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to go to hell and I did want to go to heaven. I thought that if my good deeds weighed more than my bad deeds when I died, God would let me into heaven. At the time I did not know why Jesus died on the cross.
So, as a very small boy I started trying to be good. It wasn’t long before I stopped trying. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not be good. So I gave it up, thinking it would be easier later on in life.
It may seem unusual for someone so young to have such thoughts as these. But after years of working with small children, as a father of seven, as a public school teacher and in children's evangelism, I have no doubt that very small children can believe on Christ and receive him as Savior.
When I was eleven years of age I attended a tent revival in Chester, Arkansas along with my big brother and some of our gang. Night after night when the invitation was given to receive Christ I wanted to respond, but I didn’t want to be laughed at by my "tough" friends.
One night the preacher said that if we were ashamed of Jesus before men he would be ashamed of us before his Father. The fear of the Lord struck my heart when I heard that. As I stood there with this battle between the fear of God and the fear of man going on inside me, suddenly Bud, my big brother stepped out and walked down the isle to receive Jesus. I was right behind him. Years later Bud was one of the first American airmen killed in the Vietnam War. I believe I'll see him again in heaven.
When we walked home that night, I felt so good! I had peace with God for the very first time, knowing that my sins were forgiven and that when I died I would go to heaven. For the next few weeks I prayed all the time and sang the songs I had learned at the tent meetings, but little by little the spiritual fires within me began to die down and cool off.
I was raised in a home where we seldom ever went to church. The effect of the revival in Roscoe on my family did not last long and my Dad had a serious drinking problem. Drunkenness, foul language, partying, fighting, quarreling, and immorality surrounded me much of the time in those days.
Over the years I had developed habits of lying, cheating, stealing, smoking, cursing, fighting and several other character traits of a typical budding criminal. Now that I had received Jesus into my life, things were different. But satan does not give up easily and . . .
One day I was alone in the kitchen when I saw a woman’s purse laying on the cabinet. As I stood there alone, looking longingly at that purse, I thought, "There must be money in that purse, but I can't steal it now 'cause I'm a Christian."
Then I remembered what I had heard someone say about "the age of accountability." They said we are not responsible for our sins till we are twelve years old, and I was still eleven years old. It would be several months before I would turn twelve. So I prayed a short little prayer, "Lord, I will come back to you when I am twelve, but I am going to take that purse."
So I grabbed the purse, ran out the back door, ran down into the woods, scrambled behind a huge bolder and opened up the purse. My heart sank! It was EMPTY! I had sold out for NOTHING!
I was numb with guilt and regret and if I had only known about confession and forgiveness I would not have wandered in sin for the next several years. I did not know that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin and that confession and repentance would have put me back on track again.
But that was the beginning of six wasted years, living the life of a prodigal son. I did not return to God on my 12th birthday, or my 13th, or 14th, or 15th, or 16th, or 17th. I went all the way down to the pigpen following my selfish ways.
Then tragedy struck. My mother was killed in an auto accident on Mothers Day, May 10, 1952 in San Angelo, Texas. At the time I was working in the oil fields in Mineral Well, Texas. I was almost 18 years old. I can still hear the tremble in Bud's voice on the phone that night when he called to tell me that Mother had been in a car wreck. When I asked him how bad she was hurt he said, "Bob, she's dead." I can still hear those words and I still feel the pain in my heart at the memory of that awful night nearly fifty years ago.
After Mother died, I knew I had to turn my back on the life of sin that I was living. I left Mineral Wells, moved back to San Angelo and started to attend a little Baptist church one block from my house. I made a public confession of my faith in Jesus and was baptized in the Concho River near Christoval, Texas in July of 1952.
Jesus became my Lord, my life, my joy, and my strength. One day I found a little Gideon New Testament and as I read, I began to grow in the knowledge of God.
My girlfriend, Joni Montgomery, had secretly been praying for me that I would be saved. She had received the Lord when she was twelve. When I came back to God, she renewed her walk with the Lord and became my strongest support. We were eventually married and she has become my lifelong partner in this walk of faith.
Our pastor, T. H. Harding, asked me one day, "Bob, what are you planning to do with your life?" I said, "Well, I don’t really know. I like to play the guitar and sing and write songs." My driving ambition at the time was to be a country and western recording artist.
A few days later Pastor Harding took me to Howard Payne College in Brownwood, TX, about a hundred miles away, and helped me get enrolled. I had dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, but they allowed me to take an entrance exam and suddenly I was a college student!
When I was age 19 and Joni was 17 we got married and moved from Texas to California and over the next 25 years God blessed us with seven children, five daughters and two sons.
While still a teenager I committed my life to be a missionary and for the past 49 years I have been telling people about Jesus, and teaching others to do the same, all over the USA and in several foreign countries.
Jesus has made all the difference in my life. He provides all my needs. He picks me up when I fall down. He comforts me in times of sorrow. He awakens in me a desire to live a pure and holy life. He helps me to resolve my problems. He heals me when I get sick. He keeps me from the snares of the devil. He helps me forgive those who hurt me. He gives me wisdom and direction in the decisions of life. He reveals truth to me when I read the Bible. He enables me to teach, to share the good news of God's love with others. He gives me strength to reach out and help those in need.
I am so thankful I heard the simple message of God’s love and forgiveness at an early age and gave my heart to Jesus!
If you have read my story this far, you are more than mildly interested in the things of God. I want to share with you how very simple it is to receive Jesus into your life.
If you know that you have sinned, and if you believe that God loves you and sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sins, you can pray this simple prayer and Jesus will come into your life:
Dear God, I know I have sinned, but I believe you love me and sent your son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die in my place to pay for all my sins. I invite you, Lord Jesus, to come into my heart right now and cleanse me from all my sins. Make me the kind of person you created me to be. Thank you for hearing my prayer and for coming into my life.
If this prayer is the desire of your heart, pray it right now. Jesus will come into your life and take away all your sins; he will transform your life and you will have peace with God that passes all understanding!
If you would like to have a copy of THE LIFE OF JESUS written by John, one of Jesus' disciples, send me your address and I will send you one free of charge.
Several years ago I was physically tired and worn out most of the time. A friend noticed my droopy appearance and gave me a bottle of some kind of tea or tonic that he said would give me some energy. It was a mixture of herbs, vitamins, and minerals. I took some of it and a couple of days later I started feeling a great boost in my energy level. Apparently that particular mixture had infused ENERGY into my system.
One morning I was lying in bed right after I awoke and the word "synergism" came into my mind. I didn’t know what it meant, but I felt the Lord wanted to show me something, I got up and looked up that word in the dictionary and found that it has to do with certain mixtures. When two elements are combined and the total effect is greater than the sum of the two effects taken independently, it is called a synergism.
For example, if I have three stones and each one weighs one pound, when I put them on the scales together they will weigh three pounds. But if that mixture of three stones is synergistic, they may weigh thirty pounds! A synergism has an explosive element that multiplies the effect simple because certain elements come together.
I believe there is such a thing a SPIRITUAL SYNERGISM! When certain people get together, there is an explosion of spiritual energy. When certain elements of ministry come together there is a dynamic surge forward!
For ten years I have labored in this ministry to plant house churches. There were some victories and we did succeed in planting a few churches here and there from time to time, but, on the whole, it was a very discouraging program. Then about two years ago, God added the Home Bible Colleges. We have seen remarkable strength added to the house church vision through the addition of the home Bible colleges.
Then about a year ago, the Lord added the Healing Rooms, John G. Lake style. That gave us a spiritual synergism that has caused exciting things to start happening wherever we start the healing rooms alongside of house churches and home Bible colleges. More recently the Lord has spoken to us to add one final H to the mix . . . houses of prayer. Now we have a 4H Vision . . . House church, Home Bible colleges, Healing rooms, and Houses of prayer.
Wherever we start a house church it will be our goal to start the other three ministries. Wherever we start the ABC (Alpha-Omega Bible College), in God's time, we will start the other three. Wherever we start the Healing Rooms, our goal will be to start house churches, home Bible colleges, and houses of prayer.

Rethinking the Nature and Function of Church
By Robert Fitts
1. From the sanctuaries to the streets. (Doing the works of Jesus wherever we find a need)
2. From Christianity to Christ. (Not a philosophy or a system, but Christ in you!)
3. From church houses to house churches. (Simplify to multiply)
4. From upward to outward growth. (Plan to have a church split! You’ll be blessed!)
5. From paid pastors to common, ordinary tentmakers. (Rejecting the clergy/laity system)
6. From a special priesthood to a priesthood of all believers (All are ministers & preachers)
7. From hierarchy to servant leaders. (The great ones are those who wash feet)
8. From weekly worship to constant worship. (Worship is more than singing. Rom. 12:1-2)
9. From bringing people to church to bringing church to people. (A life changing prayer) *
10. From symbolism to substance in the Lord's Supper (Take it often. Take it with a meal)
11. From denominations to Spirit-led networks (Identify with the whole Body of Christ)
12. From social respectability to salt and light. (Turn the world upside down. It needs it!)
13. From performance by professionals to I Cor. 14:26 meetings. (Everyone has something to share)
14. From program based to home based church. (Liturgical, Evangelical, Informal, which is largest?)
15. From the seminary system to the apprentice system.. (Two Timothy Two Two)
16. From tenth to total in our giving. (When generosity is encouraged, reward is promised. Ck. it out!)
17. From selective submission to total submission. (To every authority, everywhere, all the time)
18. From titles to function. Call no man teacher, father, Rabbi. (What about "Paul, an apostle"?)
19. From independence to inter-dependence (Embrace the city-wide church)
20. From paper membership to Body membership (We ARE members one of another, already!)
21. From the wheel to the vine (Releasing teams to plant simple churches in homes all over town)**
22. From organizational unity to spiritual unity. (There is only one step to unity - Rom. 14:1, 15:7)
23. From Safeway or Circle K to Safeway and Circle K. (Receive everything that God receives.)**
24. From "Us and them" to just "Us" (Refuse to allow an "us and them" spirit in your midst)
25. From planned church to spontaneous church. (Recognize ekklesia when 2 or 3 gather in his name)
26. From bondage to freedom for women. (Acts 2:17-18, Gal. 3:26-28. Freeing God’s ministers )
27. From presbytery without the people to presbytery with the people involved. (Acts 15:22)
28. From arbitrary guidelines to biblical guidelines for appointing elders (I Tim. 3, Titus 1)
29. From "my pastor" to "my pastors." (MR. PASTOR, TEAR DOWN THESE WALLS!)
30. From raising up leaders to appointing servants. (The ground is flat in God’s kingdom)
31. From local vision to world vision. (Jesus last command: (All the world, every person, every nation)
32. From building my kingdom to building His kingdom. ("Come and let us help you fulfill your vision")
33. From wall-wide church to city-wide church. (They filled Jerusalem with their teaching)
34. From fear of stealing sheep to fear of possessing sheep. (Acts 20:28-31. One city-One flock)
35. From building-centered pastors, to people-centered pastors. (Acts 20:28-31. One city-One Body)
36. From using the word "church" to using the phrase "the Body of Christ." (Acts 19:32-41)
37. From restricted to unhindered fellowship. (I’m a member of every church in town.)
38. From overwhelming oversight to restful oversight. (Tomato plant, Fire, Starter motor)**
39. From lecture Bible study to interactive Bible study. (The Body of Christ ministering to itself)
40. From dependence on programs to dependence on prayer. (the Acts 4:29-30 kind)
* Father, give me a divine appointment with someone today who is hungry for God or in need. Give me sensitivity to know when that happens and grace to minister the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
** These allegories are found in the body of my book Forty Trends.
An Invitation
Will you help us start one of these ministries in your Town? Your City? Your University? Your Church? Your Home? Pray about it and if God leads you to co-labor with us, contact us at:
Outreach Fellowship International - INDONESIA


MOBILE PHONE: 081330135643