Tag Archives: elders

The tired traveler and the taxi man

I heard a cool story today and want to pass it along to you.

A man flew in from a country in Asia. He was a Muslim. He had flown many long hours and was exhausted when he arrived. He was supposed to be picked up at the airport by someone, but when he landed there was no one looking for him. He waited for a long time, wondering what to do in this strange new land.

A member of the Ethiopian church in Seattle was driving taxi that night. He saw the stranded traveler. Approaching him, the Ethiopian asked the immigrant if he could help, even offering to give him a ride and let him stay overnight at home.  The traveler gladly accepted, spending not just one night but two. The next day, the Christian helped the visitor contact his friends, who came for him.

Some while later, that visitor decided to visit a church in Seattle. When he entered, he looked up on the platform and who was preaching that day but the very taxi driver who gave him transport and lodging! He soon declared that whatever that taxi driving preacher believed is what he wanted to believe also. And he placed his trust in Christ.

Let’s keep our eyes open for ways we can welcome the stranger. Our loving actions, even when small, send a clear message!


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“Play” – Jump cultural hurdles for Christ


So, would you care to know how the Antioch church hit the “Play” button?

Acts 11:20 says, “But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.”

Who were these “men from Cyprus and Cyrene”? They were (likely) Jews who had come to believe in the Messiah; they were on the move, scattered. Members of the huge Christian diaspora of those days. And they had courage to speak to people who were different…specifically the Hellenists.

Who were the “Hellenists” (or in the NIV, “Greeks”)? Before the Roman Empire, there was the Greek Empire which, thanks to the exploits of Alexander the Great, spread from Italy to present-day Iran. With the kingdom came a Greek, or Hellenistic culture and language that tied the people together (hence the NT is written in Greek).

There were certain cities that were chosen as colonies, or strongholds of Greek culture and learning. Antioch was one of those cities. To the Jews, Hellenists were those people who were hard to figure out.

Language – Jews spoke an eastern language that flowed from the back of the book to the front, from the right side of the page to the left. Hellenists spoke a western language that flowed from the front of the book to the back, from the left side of the page to the right.

Beliefs – Jews believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Hellenists believed in Zeus, Hermes, and Artemis. Jews believed in one God.  Hellenists had a “coatrack” of gods; always room for one more mythological character with wings.

Worldviews – Jews thought in cyclical, existential terms; they sought after signs, the “Wow factor.” Hellenists thought in linear terms; they sought after wisdom, the “Sensible factor.”

Authority – The Jews were the refugees on the run; everything they owned was portable. The Hellenists were settled, comfortable in their culture. But both were under the rule of the Romans, so they had that in common.

It was only a matter of time before they would get into a tussle of confusion over customs, beliefs, and words. In other words, this was a huge hurdle to cross. This would be like me trying to preach Jesus to a Buddhist King from Cambodia who happened to know some English.

But something impelled a few courageous believers to jump the cultural and class hurdle; something empowered them to keep the story unfolding such that an intercultural church with a mission-vision could sprout up in the heart of that Greek colonial city ruled by Romans.

home groupWhat gave them the initiative to do that? Or to relate it practically, what could motivate and strengthen us to do the same? I mean, we are wired to prefer our own kind of music, food and dress. We like our schedules, our politics, our entertainment. And we prefer being around people who share our likes and dislike our dislikes! What reasons could be strong enough to push “Play” in our lives, and in our church, to keep the story rolling?

 Up next:   Rewind – Transformation of mind and heart

Read the full story here.

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A church that only the Spirit could imagine

Interesting thing about the elder board at Antioch church: it was ethnically and economically diverse.

  • Barnabas; (Acts 4:36) “son of encouragement”; priestly tribe,  Cyprus; landowner
  • Simeon who was called Niger; Jewish name, apparently with nickname (Latin) meaning “black.” Child of mixed marriage? (Jewish father, African mother?)
  • Lucius of Cyrene; Roman name (upbringing) from city in Libya (No.African)
  • Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch; possibly foster-brother; Jewish name; associated with a despised, despotic ruling family; exposed to wealth.
  • Saul; well educated Jewish lawyer. Vicious persecutor of the church; excellent teacher

In other words, the Antioch church became a church that only the Spirit of God could have imagined!  For the whole story and what we can learn from it, click here.

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Mission strategy hidden in plain sight

Jesus-followers in America can engage the Near Frontiers right in our own cities when we share the ministry vision of an immigrant. This is a strategic mission opportunity which is hidden in plain sight.

girma sharesI met Girma Desalegn several years ago in Seattle. We both showed up at a local conference attended by people of different ethnicities. In such settings, I gravitate toward those who are of different background than myself (I am caucasian).

Girma and I talked for a couple of years about different ways we could partner together. Early in the process he began sharing his vision to bring practical Biblical training to church leaders in his homeland. His concept was  a “mobile Bible school” that would take the training to leaders who could not afford one of the in-country Bible schools. He would bring mature believers from the States once a year to cities in different regions, closer to where the pastors, elders, and women’s leaders lived. There would be no charge for the training, but high demands for faithfulness were required for graduation from the two year program which Girma designed. The vision captured me.

But it wasn’t just the vision. I had been able to get to know Girma as a man of integrity and passion for Ethiopia. And he had a network of friends and leaders in Ethiopia ready to partner with him.  In God’s planning, the diaspora which exists today makes possible this convergence of invaluable factors: Vision, Integrity, Passion.

Tweet This The diaspora which exists today makes possible the convergence of Vision, Integrity, Passion.#nearfrontiersTREK

ethiopian gatheringRecently we had a fund-raising dinner to bring together friends of Ethiopia to celebrate what God has done over the last five years of training. Hundreds have graduated from the program. We made the financial need known, and many people shared of their resources.

One of the most important aspects of what Girma has called the Vision Leadership Institute is that every Saturday local, trusted Ethiopian leaders with more training meet with all the trainees and take the subjects deeper. They require assignments, score results, and keep attendance.

Ethiopia 2014 150 At the end of the two years there is a graduation that is a high point in their ministries.

This is yet another way in which God is making mission available to more believers today. God gives vision and brings resource to fulfill it. May I encourage you to pray that God would bring such visionaries into your sphere of influence that you might partner with them!

Tweet This  Share strategic mission by coming alongside a visionary immigrant leader. #NearFrontiersTREK #Ethiopia

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5 Daily Disciplines for the Devotee of Jesus, Nepali version

I unashamedly swiped this post from the Trinity International blog found here. I believe learning from others in this way reminds us that God is at work around the world, that the Spirit is giving wisdom, that God speaks every language, and that we all need a learners heart.

पञ्चमहयजन(Maha Yagna): Five Daily Disciplines for the Devotee of Jesus

By mikaku

What follows is the Nepali version of the “Five Daily Disciplines for Devotees of Jesus”(पाचवटा प्रतिदिन् अनुशासन). For the one who has given their life to the Lord Sri Jesus, these yagnas are acts that can be done daily as an expression of devotion (bhakti) and faith (biswas).  I will include below the Nepali and English translation.

[Five Great Sacrifices / Disciplines]

१. इश्वर यजन [Discipline of God-worship] 

तपाईंको प्रेम जीवनभन्दा श्रेष्ट छ, यसकारण मेरा ओठले तपाईंको महिमा गर्नेछन. (भजन ६३:३) [Your love is better than life, so my lips with glorify you. (Bhajan 63:3)]

२. शास्त्र यजन [Discipline of Scripture Study]

तपाईंका वचन मेरा गोड़ाका निम्ति बत्ती, र मेरो बाटोको निम्ति उज्यालो हो. (भजन ११९:१०५) [Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path (Bhajan 119:105)]

३. पितृ यजन

[Discipline of Honoring Parents and Elders]

आफ्ना बाबु र आमालाई आदर गर, कि जुन देश तिमीहरुलाई परमप्रभु आफ्ना परमेश्वरले दिनुहुन्छ, त्यहाँ तिमीहरुको आयु लामो होस्. (प्रस्थान २०:१२) [Honor your father and mother, so that you will live long in the country that the Lord your God gives you. (Prasthaan 20:12)]

४. मानुष्य यजन [Discipline of Service to other People]

समस्त व्यवस्था एउटी वचनमा पूरा भएको छ, “तैंले आफ्नो छिमेकीलाई आफूलाई झैँ प्रेम गर्.” (गलाती ५:१४) [In one word the entire law is completed, “Love your neighbor just as yourself.” (Galaatee 5:14)]

५. सृष्टि यजन [Discipline of Creation Care & Stewardship]

आफ्नो निम्ति पृथ्वीमा धन-सम्पत्ति नथुपर, जहाँ कीरा र खियाले ती नष्ट पार्छन् र जहाँ चोरहरुले गर फोरेर ती चोर्छन्. तर आफ्नो निम्ति स्वर्गमा धन-सम्पत्ति थुपार, जहाँ कीराले वा खियाले नष्ट पार्दैन, र चोरले पनि चोर्दैन. किनकि जहाँ तिम्रो धन हुन्छ, त्यहीँ तिम्रो मन पनि हुन्छ. (मत्ती ६:१९-२१) [Don’t keep treasures for yourself on earth where insects and rust can destroy and where thieves can break into your house and steal.  But keep for yourselves treasure in heaven where insects and rust cannot destroy and where thieves do not steal.  For where you treasure is, there your heart will also be. (Mattee 6:19-21)]

Tweet This What would you say are 5 daily disciplines for the Jesus follower? Look what the Nepali version says.
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