Friday, April 29


Powerful and convicting 7:25-min message by David Wilkerson that we all need to hear and reflect upon.

I was greatly saddened to hear of Wilderson's death this past Wednesday. His prophetic messages are needed today more than ever.

Thursday, April 28

Carefully pouring oil on the process

Wolfgang Simson states in "Houses That Change the World" ...

I believe we have moved from a colonial era of mission into what I call 'national mission', where each nation is called to develop its own models of church. Often enough this will have to happen through people in every nation praying for themselves, shedding their own tears, incarnating the living Christ afresh within their own time and culture. If the West could then come and, in the spirit of 'crucified colonialism'--the opposite of imperialism and denominationalism--carefully pour some oil on this process, it would be wonderful.
How, exactly, is one to "carefully pour some oil on this process?"

There is little doubt countries like the USA and other developed nations have indeed been blessed by God. If we are truly One Body in Christ, shouldn't those parts of the Body who have more be willing to share with those who have less?

How might the West carefully pour some oil on missions processes so it results in blessing and genuine Kingdom expansion?

1) Giving to the needs of the saints. In Acts and the Epistles we see this kind of sacrificial, liberal giving for fellow brethren going through hard times. The USA, and particularly the Church, has always been at the top of the list to help during a crisis both at home and around the world. At various times over the years, I have sent out prayer "SOS's" with the intent of illiciting prayer support for some of our fellow believers going through difficult trials. Occasionally we will receive love offerings to help these saints going through difficult moments. While this is not our intent in sharing these needs, the Lord has touched their heart to not only pray but give. We gladly help to channel these gifts for them. Being one-time gifts they do not create dependency; rather they have been the cause of much thanksgiving to the Father.

2) Matching what can be raised locally for various and sundry evangelistic and outreach projects. It is a terrible thing leading to dependency to simply provide the financial assistance to nationals and pay for everything. They will certainly let you do it, but it takes the blessing away from them of having to give from their own resources. An example of this is something we are currently dealing with. There is a particular discipleship course of study that we would like to use with the new believers. The price per book is $6. Few can afford this amount and if we charge $6/book very few will receive the benefit of this wonderful material. $3 is something that most could pay out over several weeks. They would cherish "their" book that they had bought. But someone has to pick up the remaining $3. This to me, is where a "bit of oil" from the outside might quietly be used to subsidize the cost of making disciples.

3) Independent, self-supporting ministries. Just as in the USA there are many charities and ministries that seek donors, overseas ministries likewise are in desperate need of financial support. I personally do not see the difference between a USA-based ministry asking for contributions and an international ministry doing so. Why is it OK to give to Focus on the Family (a great worthy ministry) but not Teleamigo or Camino de Salida, Dorcas, Clemencia, or any one of dozens of other struggling national Gospel ministries making a tremendous impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people and doing so on a shoe-string budget?

Any other ideas as to how oil might be poured upon international missions in such a way that it doesn't cause harm, but results in Kingdom growth and blessing to thousands?

Wednesday, April 27

Diez razones para empezar iglesias en casas

Diez razones para empezar iglesias en casas - adaptado del libro de Rad Zdero, “The Global House Church Movement.”

1. Son Bíblicas - Las iglesias en casa fueron el patrón establecido por Jesús y los apóstoles y el modelo seguido por la iglesia primitiva por los tres primeros siglos, y en los movimientos de reforma a través de la historia de la iglesia.

2. Se reproducen fácilmente - Para alcanzar a un mundo tan perdido necesitamos multiplicarnos, y no solamente añadir almas a las iglesias existentes. Movimientos de plantar iglesias en las casas sobrepasan en gran manera a las formas tradicionales de sembrar iglesias y programas de iglecrecimiento.

3. Logran el objetivo - El método más efectivo para evangelizar y hacer discípulos es comenzar nuevas iglesias. La forma menos efectiva es tratar de crecer a las iglesias existentes por medio de programas, eventos, etc. Una iglesia en casa es el modelo más sencillo de reproducir, y por ende, la forma más obvia para plantar nuevas iglesias.

4. Son más naturales - Una iglesia en casa es una parte natural de la comunidad. Comprende mejor y se adapta al diario vivir de las personas que viven a su alrededor. La casa donde se congrega la iglesia es similar a las demás casas en el barrio. Comparte experiencias en común con sus vecinos ya que andan en medio de ellos en el diario vivir.

5. Enfoca en relacionarse con las personas - Una iglesia en casa enfoca su atención en formar relaciones con las personas y en amarlas y ayudarlas en formas reales y prácticas. No es un serie de reuniones, programas y eventos, sino el convivir y ministrarse los unos a los otros.

6. Flexibles - Una iglesia en casa es más ligero, móvil y flexible. Se adapta con más facilidad a los cambios y necesidades en su entorno. Puede ministrar y ser “sal y luz” en su comunidad porque no está amarrado a un programa y calendario anual de la iglesia.

7. Todos son importantes - Cada creyente en una iglesia en casa es “linaje escogido, real sacerdocio, nación santa, pueblo adquirido...” Esto significa que cada creyente-sacerdote tiene un papel y misión importante para cumplir. Este linaje escogido de Cristo ha sido dado dones y talentos para la edificación de los demás y cumplimiento de la misión. No hay distinción entre clero (obreros profesionales) y hermanos laicos de la iglesia. En las reuniones todos pueden participar para la edificación del Cuerpo de Cristo “...a fin de que anunciéis las virtudes de aquel que os llamó de las tinieblas a su luz...”

8. Desencadenados - Una iglesia en casa no tiene las limitaciones de tener que hacer todas sus actividades dentro de las cuatro paredes del templo. El reunirse en casas libera a la iglesia para cumplir con más facilidad la Gran Comisión. No hay nada malo con edificios, pero el mero hecho de no tener que estar atados a ellos facilita el poder salir y así cumplir con nuestra misión de hacer discípulos en nuestra Jerusalén, Judea, Samaria, y hasta los fines de la tierra. No vamos a la iglesia, somos la iglesia.

9. Económico - Una iglesia en casa tiene muy pocos gastos. No tiene que pagar por terrenos, edificios o gastos de mantenimiento, programas, o salarios. Todos sus recursos recaudados pueden ir directamente a la misión de la iglesia. La típica iglesia en casa invierte 10% en si misma, y el 90% en los demás afuera de la casa.

10. Inmediato - Una iglesia en casa puede iniciarse ahora mismo en su casa. No hay que esperar para tener dinero y alquilar un local, o adquirir un terreno. El tener un lugar donde se pueda reunir 5-10-15-20 personas es todo lo que se necesita para iniciar una nueva iglesia. Por lo sencillo del modelo de iglesia en casa, fácilmente se reproduce y dentro de poco tiempo ya hay una familia de iglesias reuniéndose en los lugares donde vive la gente que estamos tratando de alcanzar.

Monday, April 25

Things I share with disciples

Be faithful in the little things. God will accomplish much through my small acts of obedience.

Thoughts are sub-conscience prayers. Be aware of what you are praying.

What is not given is lost. What are we hanging on to that ought to be given away?

One negative comment packs more power in someone's life than a dozen positive or uplifting remarks. We need to be very careful how and what we communicate with others. If unable to build someone up, it is better to remain silent rather than use words to tear people down.

Confront problems, hurts, misunderstandings, and mistakes as soon as possible. Don't allow Satan to carry out his agenda of rejection, suffering, division, fear, and pain.

What does God have to say about it? It is not about us deciding everything and doing things as we deem best. If He is Lord, he is lord of ALL, including the things we think we can handle on our own without his input.

This is the day the Lord has made. Choose to rejoice and be glad in it. This is a choice we make daily.

John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Who is actually increasing/decreasing in my life? Am I moving in the right direction?

Seek first His Kingdom. Does this thing seek to advance my kingdom or His Kingdom?

Charles Swindoll writes that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I react to what happens. Am I focusing more on what has happened, or how I am reacting to what has happened?

Mother Teresa wrote, "Slowly I am learning to accept everything just as He gives it." Am I learning to accept all things without complaining and whining, understanding that it is God who allowed it?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote,
Earth's crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries...

Am I seeing God in every common bush, or am I one of those plucking blackberries?

Excellence is in the details. Attention to details is one of the ways we worship God who is worthy of our best.

People come first. Everything else falls in line behind them.

We are blessed to be a blessing (Psalm 67). Am I using my blessings to bless others?

Saturday, April 23

How to explain simple/organic church in 2 minutes on a napkin

Bruce Dickey shares a video where Roy McClung explains simple/organic church in two minutes on a napkin.

Ecclesiology shifts needed to get us back on track

The following comes from a post by Gary Snowden who quotes Allan Karr, a missions professor at the Denver campus of Golden Gate Seminary.

Allan outlined a series of shifts needed to achieve a viable 21st Century ecclesiology and expressed them in terms of respiration, breathing in and out.

1. Breathe in - From extrabiblical traditions to biblical minimums.

2. Breathe out - From institutional church-based to Kingdom of God based ecclesiology.

3. Breathe in - From a regional focus to a neighborsphere/local community focus.

4. Breathe out - From an organizational maintenance focus to an incarnational community transformation focus.

5. Breathe in - From hierarchical structure to shared leadership.

6. Breathe out - From "going to church" to "being the church."

7. Breathe in - From a focus on a main gathering to "doing life together."

8. Breathe out - From "right belief" to living out sound biblical doctrine holistically.

9. Breathe in - From efficiency-driven strategies to collaborative relational efforts.

10. Breathe out - From strategies of the flesh to a reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, April 20

When the event is not the event

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.(Prov. 16:9)

The events we plan are often not the real event at all. God's work takes place in ways we could never have forseen. After the dust settles, what remains is what God intended, not necessarily what we had set out to do. The event itself ends up as a "side show" for the main attraction God has in mind.

Israel Baptist Church Choir performance of "Libertado"
 Esmeraldas story. Some seventeen years ago we planned a musical choir evangelistic presentation in the northwest province of Esmeraldas in Ecuador. Long hours were spent in rehearsal. Money was raised to cover the ten-hour bus trip, hotel, and food. In short, countless hours of prayer, rehearsal and performance details were invested in the Esmeraldas outreach event. Once we arrived, even more work went into door to door publicity and a few mini-concerts held at local schools and other venues to promote the event.

On Saturday night we arrived at the rented hall--the largest venue available in town for what was supposed to be our big city-wide performance. After getting the electricity turned on, props, and sound check, instead of the hundreds of people that we expected there were less than a dozen present for the start of our musical presentation. I was disappointed to say the least. Did God not hear all the prayer, or honor all the work and effort into pulling this thing off? All that and for what? Less than a dozen people?

We went ahead and performed the program just like we had rehearsed over the past months. The choir outnumbered the audience four to one! At the end of the presentation, an invitation was made for people to make a public decision for Christ. I wasn't surprised when no one came forward. All I wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible and forget the whole disaster. How embarrasing!

As we packed to leave, two women approached and seemed to want to talk. I was in a bad mood and pretty ticked about the whole deal, so I turned them over to Chilean missionary Juan Lara while I went on with the business of packing up and getting everyone back on the bus to the hotel.

It wasn't until later that I again talked to Juan. What those women shared is that for YEARS they had been praying for someone to come to Esmeraldas to share the Gospel. Their "dream" was that God would somehow plant a church in their city. They were overjoyed that God had answered their prayers that evening and were looking forward to working with Juan to start the new church.

To make a long story short, a church was indeed planted, the "Nuevo Amanecer" (New Dawn) Baptist Church. Today it is one of the strongest churches in Esmeraldas impacting not only the city, but the entire province.

This past weekend was the first time we had been back to Esmeraldas since that disastrous evening. When invited to do the church planting conference, I had no idea this would be the church hosting the training. It wasn't until we got there on Friday night that our host grinned as he reminded me, "this is the church that was planted when you guys came for that concert ..." I was overwhelmed with emotion and could hardly believe all that God had done over the ensuing years as we met with the eager group of twenty-five pastors and leaders.

That night in Esmeraldas so long ago had been for us a complete failure humanly speaking. But God wasn't interested whether our performance was a success or failure, as much as he was in answering the prayers of a few women who had long been crying out to the Lord of the Harvest. God had so much more in mind than allowing us to sweep in and "bless Esmeraldas" with a fantastic weekend event. His plan was bigger than anything we could have ever imagined. Today, Nuevo Amanecer is the church most responsbile for training new leaders who are going out and starting new works all over the green province of Esmeraldas.

Since then whenever I plan a program/event/meeting, I try not to get too worked up about the numbers who show up, or the apparent visible outcome. God's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts. We try to be faithful to do our part. After years of these kinds of planned activities, I have learned that God's purposes often lie outside of our understanding. Often they have little to do with the event or activity we think is so important. It is not up to us to judge or measure what God does or doesn't do by our own standards.

Oswald Chambers put it well when he said, "God plants His saints in the most useless places.  We say God intends me to be here because I am so useful...God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and are no judge at all of where that is.”

In your own life and ministry, have you seen instances where the event is not the event?

Friday, April 15

Where is the God of Elisha?

For many years now I have been blessed by the writings of Maurice Smith's Parousia Letters. The following article by J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine was quoted in one of the Parousia mailouts and worthy of reflection...

We've faked the power of Pentecost long enough. Let's set aside the imitations and reclaim the real deal.

Shortly after Elijah was carried to heaven in his fiery chariot, a group of  young prophets asked Elisha to go with them to build new living quarters near  the Jordan River. While one of the young men was cutting down a tree, the  blade of his axe fell in the water and sank into the murky depths of the  riverbed (see 2 Kings 6:1-7).

The construction project came to an abrupt stop. This was before the days of  flashlights and sonar devices. These guys were in trouble.  Knowing that his friends could not replace this expensive iron tool they had  borrowed, the young prophet cried to his mentor Elisha for help. The wise  prophet threw a stick in the water where the axe head had sunk. Immediately  the heavy iron blade floated to the surface—defying the laws of physics and  proving that nothing is impossible with God. Elisha's faith saved the day. We can gain so much comfort from this story. It reminds us that God has power  over the natural world. It also proves that He cares about the seemingly  trivial details of our lives—and that He is even willing to bail us out of the  messes we make.

As I have meditated on this passage in recent days I've also applied it to our  current situation in the American church. It illustrates how desperately we need to recover what we've lost. Perhaps you've noticed that our blade is missing. I don't know exactly when it  fell off the handle, but it seems as if we've been trying to build God's house without the sharp edge of His genuine anointing. We've traded the real for the  phony. We've cheapened Pentecost to the point that it's been reduced to dry  religious programs and circus sideshow antics.

We've mastered the art of hype. We know how to fake the anointing. We push  people to the floor during our altar times. We know how to manipulate music  and crowds so that we can create the atmosphere of the anointing. But in so  many cases the real anointing isn't there. In its place is a hollow imitation. Some charismatic leaders today are even selling specially handcrafted oils  that promise the Holy Spirit's power. Others sell scented candles that claim  to bring God's presence. And last year one brother was traveling the country  with feathers in a jar— claiming that these belonged to an angel with healing  powers.

Lord, forgive us for our charlatanism. We need the blade back! We must cry out  to the God Who has the power to raise iron from the bottom of a river.  We are not going to advance Christ's kingdom, or build His victorious church,  using scented oils, fake charms, ear-tickling prophecies and goofy charismatic  gimmicks. This is all wood, hay and stubble destined for the furnace. What we  need today is the sharp blade of the Word that is empowered by the Holy Ghost  and fire.

In my world travels during the past few years I have met humble Christians who  carry the genuine anointing of the Spirit. I've spent time with Chinese  believers who see miracles inside their prison cells. I've met an Indian  evangelist who has seen six people raised from the dead. I've met a Pakistani  apostle who regularly sees Muslims healed during outdoor gospel meetings. Last week I interviewed an Iranian church leader whose ministry is leading 5,000 Iranians to faith in Christ every month. In the midst of persecution and  political upheaval, a New Testament— style revival is erupting in that Shiite  Muslim stronghold - all because the church in Iran is weilding the axe head of  genuine Holy Spirit anointing.

Where is the God of Elisha? There is a cry in the American church today that  resembles the cry of the desperate young prophet in 2 Kings 6. We have not been good stewards of the Holy Spirit's gifts, and now  the precious power of God has eluded us. We dropped it. Yet we are beginning  to acknowledge our blunder.

Let's fully humble ourselves. Let's repent of fakery and fraud. Let's ditch our counterfeits and our cheap substitutes, and ask the Lord to restore the  axe blade. Let's cry to Him for a pure, unadulterated, genuine, life-changing, planet-shaking revival.

Wednesday, April 13

The changing role of the American missionary

While the mission has not changed, missions has. The task is still to go, make disciples of the nations, baptize, and teach. But what is the role of the American missionary in all of this?

It used to be missionaries went to foreign countries and did exactly what the Great Commission says. Preaching, teaching, caring for the needy, and planting churches was what missionaries did. Today we are find ourselves in more catalytic roles trying to mobilize the Church in Ecuador to take on these responsibilities in their own Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and nations of the world.

About the time my wife and I came on the missionary scene in 1987, Ecuador mission work was heavily involved in developing the churches and ministries started by pioneer missionaries like my mom and dad. They plowed the fields and were part of planting the first Gospel seeds in many parts of this land.

After thirty years of pioneer-type work, the need arose for developing the work started by these first generation missionaries. Upon our arrival there were already missionary specialists in music, education, agriculture, seminary profs, student workers, bookstore managers, as well as what were known as "general field evangelists" serving in the work. Church development was at its height in the late 80's.

Over the past 25 years we have seen dramatic changes in the roles we have served under the umbrella of "missionary." When we first arrived in Ecuador our role was to serve as a...

-Mass Media Consultant. I was the Executive Director of the Media Department of the Ecuador Baptist Convention. We used radio, TV, and print media to generate evangelistic contacts for the churches. Over a period of years we worked closely with local churches to follow-up contacts and try to get them into existing churches.

-While continuing the media efforts, I was asked to serve as Music Minister for the largest Baptist church in the country. Choir rehearsals, worship services, staff meetings, and Christmas/Easter pageants became a big part of our week, as well as staying on top of the media production and follow-up.

-When the Ecuador Baptist Convention decided for economical reasons to down-size and focus only on a few key ministries, media was cut out of the organizational structure. The media role evolved into a telephone counseling ministry. At its pinnacle, we were in contact with 60,000+ seekers every month through the various levels of ministry.

-In 1997 the IMB's "New Directions" changed everything. We were asked to exit ASAP everything we had been doing to date. Almost overnight we found ourselves trying to figure out how to make Church Planting Movements happen in Ecuador. I was now wearing the hat of a "Church Planting Catalyst."

-Though many of us didn't know a thing about church planting, and had never spent a day of our lives in a house church, we soon found ourselves training others how to plant reproducing house churches.

-From 1997-2010 we went through several job titles and descriptions:
  • Ecuador Mega-City Team Leader,
  • Team Leader for Guayaquil Mestizos,
  • Team Leader for Guayas Mestizos,
  • Strategy Coordinator for Guayas, and finally
  • Team Leader for the Coast and Lowlands of Ecuador.
In all of these roles, training nationals to plant simple/organic house churches has been at the heart of everything we have done the past dozen years.

-Now we are trying to figure out what it means to be an Affinity Mobilizer for Ecuador. Attached to this are other newly created responsibilities of being a Global Mobilizer. For those needing a glossary for what all these terms refer to, I completely understand! Basically, the task of an AM is to finish the job of reaching Ecuador for Christ. To do this we must partner, empower, mobilize, and use every resource available. The Global aspects involve mobilizing Ecuadorian missionaries to the nations along with all that this implies.

What I sense is most needed is not more American missionaries being assigned to Ecuador, but rather a needed shift in the roles existing missionaries play.

We need to see ourselves more in apostolic roles of encouragers, enablers, equippers, trainers, motivators, connectors, and coordinators. All these roles are mobilization roles--seeking to mobilize God's people to finish the task.

There will always be room for the first generation apostolic church planter. These are the ones who goes into unreached/under-reached territory to proclaim the Gospel, make disciples, and leave multiplying NT ekklesias. I am constantly looking for those who would be willing to partner with us. There is plenty of work remaining with literally hundreds of unreached communities, towns, and cities scattered all over this country.

However, in the later stages of a ripe harvest field (like Ecuador) I believe missionaries best serve by helping the church by assisting them to bring in the harvest. This entails helping the church:
  • understanding what remains to be done,
  • identifying where the Gospel needs to be preached (pockets of lostness),
  • how to accomplish the task (strategy),
  • making available the needed tools and training,
  • coordinating the hundreds of mobilized laborers to bring in the harvest.

Another way of understanding this role change is to explain it this way: I can feel great about spending 30-40 hours a week directly engaged in proclaiming the Gospel, making disciples, baptizing 15-20 and hopefully planting 1-2 churches in a year's time...


I can spend that same time modeling, training, mobilizing several hundred others to do the same things, and at the end of the year see the Kingdom grow by dozens of churches and hundreds of baptisms and scores of new disciples who are also equipped to going out and making even more disciples.

In the first role we are the primary actors on stage. Everyone sees us, needs us, and looks to us for direction. In the second we are behind the scenes and the ones "seen" are those we are coaching. The difference in the way we understand our apostolic/missionary role is between planting a church, and being an instrument in the Spirit's hands for dozens of churches to be planted all over the region.

What do you think? As usual, your thoughts and observations are welcome.

Tuesday, April 12

20 razones por què no hemos visto la cosecha

Felicity Dale comparte 15 razones por qué aun no hemos visto la cosecha. He modificado un poco del inglés su lista original.


1. Estamos tan involucrados con otros creyentes que no tenemos tiempo para invertir con los que aun no conocen de Cristo.

2. Tenemos miedo de ser contaminados al tener demasiado contacto con
el mundo.

3. Entender al evangelismo como un serie de eventos que se hacen en vez de un estilo de vida de cada creyente.

4. Oramos por muchas cosas, pero poco por las almas perdidas.

5. Falta de rogar al Señor de la miés por obreros.

6. Poco énfasis en preparar a los obreros para trabajar en la cosecha.

7. Líderes que creen que la Gran Comisión significa crecer más la iglesia donde ellos pastorean.

8. El creer que "hacer discípulos" significa predicar el evangelio y esperar que Dios haga su obra.

9. Pescar en aguas donde no muerden los peces, o cambiando la
metáfora...buscar cosechar en terreno que aun no está listo, o donde poca semilla ha sido sembrada.

10. Invitar a las personas venir a nuestra iglesia, en vez de comenzar nuevas iglesias con ellos y sus amigos en los lugares donde viven.

11. Cuando alguién se convierta al evangelio, lo extraemos de su propia comunidad para formar parte de la nuestra.

12. Evangelizamos sí, pero lo hacemos al azar en vez de buscar hacerlo con "personas de paz" como mandó Jesús. (Lucas 10:1-9)

13. El amar más nuestros reinos que Su Reino.

14. Falta de evidencia del poder del Espirítu Santo en nuestra obra.

15. El insistir en trabajar en secuencia (orar, planificar, proclamar, ganar, enseñar, bautizar, discipular, capacitar, ministrar, etc.)

16. Todo centralizado dentro de las cuatro paredes de la iglesia.

17. Iglesias que gastan el 95% (o más) de sus ingresos en si mismas en vez de invertir en "hacer discípulos a las naciones."

18. Líderes que creen que llenar el templo es la meta, en vez de mobilizar a la iglesia a los campos de la mies.

19. Esperar que otro lo haga. Y cuando nadie lo hace criticar a los demás por su falta de compromiso con el Señor.

20. Usar la excusa que no he sido llamado para eso, o de no haber recibido de parte del Espíritu Santo los dones necesarios para obrar en los campos de la cosecha.

Sunday, April 10

20 reasons why we don't see harvest

Felicity Dale shares 15 reasons why we don't see harvest. I have taken the liberty of modifying her original list to reflect our Ecuadorian context, and added a few reasons of our own to the list...


1. We spend so much time with other believers we don't have time to invest in the lives of those who do not know Jesus.

2. We are afraid of being contaminated by having too much contact with the world.

3. We understand evangelism as a series of events that is carried out on as part of the church calendar rather than the life style of every believer.

4. We pray for many things, but little for lost souls.

5. We don't importune the Lord of the Harvest for laborers.

6. There is little emphasis on training workers to engage in the harvest.

7. Leaders who believe the Great Commission means growing their own church.

8. The belief that "making disciples" means preaching the Gospel and waitng for God to do the work he assigned to us.

9. Fishing in waters where the fish aren't biting, or to change the metaphor...looking to harvest in ground that hasn't been prepared, or where little seed has been planted.

10. Inviting people to come to our church instead of starting new gatherings in the places where they live.

11. Extracting new believers from their communities and spheres of influence and grafting them into our own circles.

12. When we evangelize, we do so haphazardly with whomever, rather than seeking out key "people of peace" as Jesus commanded in Luke 10.

13. We love our own kingdoms more than His Kingdom.

14. Lack of evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and ministry.

15. Insisting we work sequentially (pray, plan, procliam, win, teach, baptize, disciple, train, minister...)

16. Connecting everything to the four walls of the church building.

17. Churches keeping 95% or more of their resources for their own local use instead of investing in making disciples of the nations.

18. Leaders who believe filling church pews is the goal, rather than mobilzing believers to the harvest fields.

19. Waiting for someone else to do it. And when nobody else does anything criticize others for their lack of committment with the Lord.

20. Using the excuse that I haven't been called to do that, or the Holy Spirit hasn't given me the kinds of gifts needed to work in the harvest fields.

Wednesday, April 6


“Si me amáis, guardaréis mis mandamientos.”

“El que tiene mis mandamientos y los guarda,él es quien me ama.”

"¿Por qué me llamáis, Señor, Señor, y no hacéis lo que yo digo?" 

Hay muchos mandamientos y enseñanzas de Jesús en el Nuevo Testamento. Los diez que siguen representan diez de los principales de las cuales los demás son derivados. Para mayor bendición estudie los evangelios y haga su propia lista de todos los mandatos de Jesús.

I.  Mateo 22:36-40 (El Gran Mandamiento)

Maestro, ¿cuál es el gran mandamiento de la ley? (37) Y El le dijo: AMARAS AL SEÑOR TU DIOS CON TODO TU CORAZON, Y CON TODA TU ALMA, Y CON TODA TU MENTE. (38) Este es el grande y el primer mandamiento. (39) Y el segundo es semejante a éste: AMARAS A TU PROJIMO COMO A TI MISMO. (40) De estos dos mandamientos dependen toda la ley y los profetas.

II.  Mateo 28:18-20 (La Gran Comisión)

Y acercándose Jesús, les habló, diciendo: Toda autoridad me ha sido dada en el cielo y en la tierra. (19) Id, pues, y haced discípulos de todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, (20) enseñándoles a guardar todo lo que os he mandado; y he aquí, yo estoy con vosotros todos los días, hasta el fin del mundo.

III. Juan 13:34, 15:12 (El mandamiento del amor)

Este es mi mandamiento: que os améis los unos a los otros, así como yo os he amado.

Un mandamiento nuevo os doy: Que os améis unos a otros; como yo os he amado, que también os améis unos a otros.

IV.  Mateo 6:33 (Lo primordial en la vida del creyente)

Mas buscad primeramente el reino de Dios y su justicia, y todas estas cosas os serán añadidas.

V.  Lucas 22:17-20 (No olvidar nunca lo que él hizo por nosotros)

Y habiendo tomado una copa, después de haber dado gracias, dijo: Tomad esto y repartidlo entre vosotros; (18) porque os digo que de ahora en adelante no beberé del fruto de la vid, hasta que venga el reino de Dios. (19) Y habiendo tomado pan, después de haber dado gracias, lo partió, y les dio, diciendo: Esto es mi cuerpo que por vosotros es dado; haced esto en memoria de mí. (20) De la misma manera tomó la copa después de haber cenado, diciendo: Esta copa es el nuevo pacto en mi sangre, que es derramada por vosotros.

VI.  Juan 13:14-15 (El Gran Ejemplo)

Pues si Yo, el Señor y el Maestro, les lavé los pies, ustedes también deben lavarse los pies unos a otros. (15) Porque les he dado ejemplo, para que como Yo les he hecho, también ustedes lo hagan.

VII.  Juan 15:4-5 (El secreto de una vida fructífera)

Permaneced en mí, y yo en vosotros. Como el pámpano no puede llevar fruto por sí mismo, si no permanece en la vid, así tampoco vosotros, si no permanecéis en mí. (5) Yo soy la vid, vosotros los pámpanos; el que permanece en mí, y yo en él, éste lleva mucho fruto; porque separados de mí nada podéis hacer.

VIII.  Lucas 10:2 (Lo que Jesús específicamente nos mandó a orar)

Y les decía: La mies a la verdad es mucha, mas los obreros pocos; por tanto, rogad al Señor de la mies que envíe obreros a su mies.

IX.  Lucas 6:27-37 (Mandamientos para amar al enemigo)

Pero a vosotros los que oís, os digo: Amad a vuestros enemigos, haced bien a los que os aborrecen; (28) bendecid a los que os maldicen, y orad por los que os calumnian. (29) Al que te hiera en una mejilla, preséntale también la otra; y al que te quite la capa, ni aun la túnica le niegues. (30) A cualquiera que te pida, dale; y al que tome lo que es tuyo, no pidas que te lo devuelva. (31) Y como queréis que hagan los hombres con vosotros, así también haced vosotros con ellos… (36) Sed, pues, misericordiosos, como también vuestro Padre es misericordioso. (37) No juzguéis, y no seréis juzgados; no condenéis, y no seréis condenados; perdonad, y seréis perdonados.

X.  Lucas 6:38 (Mandamiento para dar)

Dad, y se os dará; medida buena, apretada, remecida y rebosando darán en vuestro regazo; porque con la misma medida con que medís, os volverán a medir.

NOTA: El Cristiano no debería medir su madurez espiritual en cuanto a su conocimiento del evangelio, sino a su obediencia a lo que sabe del evangelio. No confunda el conocer los mandatos de Jesús con el obedecerlos en tu vida personal. En la vida Cristiana no es tan importante cuanto sabemos, sino cuanto obedecemos de lo que sabemos.

Monday, April 4

Teaching old dogs new tricks

Most of us operate out of the factory default mode. We seem to be wired this way regardless of all the books we have read, or conferences and trainings we might have attended. We act marginally, at best, on the ideas generated from all the information shared with us. All this information, as interesting or helpful as it may be, usually has little bearing on what is actually put into practice and applied. It is indeed quite a task to teach old dogs new tricks. And yet a huge chunk of my time seems to be spent attempting to do just that!

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." The key is training early on; not when people are set in their ways. This certainly applies to the way we do missions, make disciples, and be church.

It amazes me how much effort and money is spent on meetings and sending people like myself to conferences. I certainly enjoy these opportunities, but do all the talks, speeches and handouts ever really impact much of what actually gets implemented once we get back home?

I literally have shelves and filing cabinets full of papers, studies, manuals, documents, and reports that do little than take up precious space. I don't have the heart to toss any of it--most of it really is great material. But what percentage of those thousands of saved pages has any bearing on what we are actually doing? Probably less than 1%!

If teaching old dogs new tricks doesn't work, why do we continue to try and do so anyway? As someone said, it is easier to give birth to a child, than try to raise the dead.

So what am I getting at?

What I try to practice in my own life is anytime I attend a meeting, event, conference, training, or read a book, I try to grab hold of 1 or 2 ideas. I carry with me a notebook and jot these ideas down. As soon as feasible, I begin testing the ideas by sharing them with fellow co-laborers. When others begin interacting with me, the idea often evolves or morphs into something that we can definitely use.

What has changed in our way of teaching and training church planters is to try and get them to do the same. Grab hold of a few key ideas and run with them, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide in the fleshing out and implementation within the given context.

It is unrealistic to think that people are actually absorbing and learning all the stuff we share with them. Just because something is said doesn't mean it has been learned. Instead of trying to assimulate large quantities of information, I believe it is more profitable to grasp a couple of ideas and implement them, even if it means leaving out a lot of important information we think they are needing to know.

For example, last year I read Neil Cole's "Church 3.0" a great book packed with tons of helpful, practical stuff for anybody involved in church planting. Out of all the interesting information and advise for starting churches, three ideas got starred. It has taken a year of trial and error and revamping for our context, but these are now being implemented along with the corresponding fruit.

1) "Groups of three" (he calls them LTG) as an evangelistic tool for not-yet-believers, and a discipleship tool for believers.
2) "Seven Signs of John" as an evangelistic tool.
3) The natural order of social groupings (in particular, consensual decision making is best done by 3-5 people.)

I don't even remember what it was Neil wrote, but we latched on to these three. A year later they have been integrated into our own church planting ministry. (Read the book if interested in learning more!)

Latching on to a few key ideas and working them out in one's context bears a lot more fruit than a steady stream of new information pouring in daily. Write down ideas as the Spirit brings them to mind. Like cream rising to the top, eventually a few ideas begin to urge us, "do me."

How do you go about teaching old dogs new tricks? What have you learned from your own experiences?

Friday, April 1

Como iniciar una iglesia en casa

Hay dos pasos.

1) Reúne a las personas.

2) Haga discípulos.

Suena sencillo, pero no es fácil. Ambos puntos tienen que ser bañados día y noche en oración continuo.

Reúne a las personas. Es más fácil reunir a personas y ganarlas para Cristo, que ganar a personas y tratar de reunirlas. La mejor forma que sabemos para reunir a gente es con la comida (sí, con comida real que a todos nos gusta!)

Invite a sus amigos, familia, y vecinos a comer. La idea de las comidas es llegar a conocernos. Al conocernos mejor, se crea confianza. Comiendo juntos es una forma natural de empezar a relacionarnos con quienes eventualmente queremos ser iglesia.

No hay un devocional planeado para después de la comida. No tenemos una Biblia escondida debajo de la mesa que sacamos mientras todas terminan su postre! Si un tema espiritual surge en forma natural de alguien en el grupo, siga el liderazgo del Espíritu Santo. Comparta abiertamente como Cristiano que eres, pero no domine el diálogo. No trate de corregir o tener la última palabra en cuanto a los temas que salen.

Si las cosas les va bien, anima a todos traer uno o dos amigos más para la próxima vez. Pregunte quién podría traer una bebida, empanadas, fruta, humitas, torta, sanduches, etc. al próximo encuentro. Desde el principio vaya enseñando que el Cristianismo es compartir el uno con el otro de lo que tenemos.

Haga discípulos. Continúe con las reuniones de comida por tres o cuatro semanas hasta que haya suficiente confianza y amistad entre los integrantes del grupo. Durante estos primeros encuentros utilice actividades de grupo que puedan animar que la gente dialogue de temas espirituales. Recuerde, Ud. está orando día y noche por todas estas personas y lo que Dios va a hacer en sus vidas!

En el contexto Ecuatoriano donde hay una apertura hacia el evangelio, uno puede introducir estos elementos tempranamente, aun en la primera reunión. Especialmente si la “persona de paz” es bien conocida y respetada por las demás personas en el grupo.

Usamos una variedad de herramientas. Cuales elementos usamos depende del grupo con quien estamos trabajando, su receptividad a asuntos espirituales, etc. Algunas de las herramientas que sabemos usar para romper el hielo y abarcar temas esprituales son:

• Videos cortos bajados de YouTube. En el VCD hay 6 juegos de videos con tres temas que rotan entre 1) un rompehielos chistoso, 2) un valor humano, y 3) un drama, relato o historia Cristiana

• Escuchando las historias de vida de cada uno en el grupo (ej. ¿dónde nacieron, un poco de su niñez y juventud, su familia, sus sueños, trabajo, etc.)

• Cantando juntos con un cancionero acompañado por CDs

• Rompehielos (tenemos una lista larga de que escoger según el grupo)

• Lista de preguntas preparadas de antemano para llegar a conocernos mejor (también están en una hoja)

• En grupos que están abiertas y deseando estudiar directamente la Palabra de Dios podemos usar la herramienta “Siete Señales de Juan” (un estudio evangelístico de la vida de Jesús.)

Escogemos de nuestra “cajita de herramientas” la más apropiada para el grupo. Después de tres o cuatro semanas tendremos una mejor idea de quienes de los asistentes tienen más seriedad en cuanto a las cosas de Dios. Recuerde, nuestra meta es hacer discípulos, no convertidos. Un discípulo sigue a Cristo. Un convertido sigue a una religión. Estos discípulos-en-formación van a estar en diferentes niveles de entendimiento y compromiso con el Señor. Algunos bien podrían haber confesado su fe en Cristo, otros no. Seguimos reuniendo semana tras semana animando siempre a todos seguir invitando a sus amigos.

Al llegar la tercera o cuarta semana, hacemos al grupo una pregunta clave,

¿CUANTOS DE NOSOTROS DIRÍAMOS QUE AMAMOS A DIOS? Después de darles la oportunidad de alzar la mano, compartimos las palabras de Jesús,

Si me amáis, guardaréis mis mandamientos...El que tiene mis mandamientos y los guarda, ése es el que me ama; y el que me ama será amado por mi Padre; y yo lo amaré y me manifestaré a él. --Juan 14:15,21

Un discípulo de Cristo es alguien quién obedece las cosas que mandó Jesús. Nadie puede ser un seguidor de Cristo sin guardar sus mandamientos.

¿Cuáles son algunos de los mandamientos de Cristo que deberíamos guardar?

A partir de allí empezamos con el Primer Mandamiento de Jesús: Mateo 22:36-40.

Pedimos a tres personas leer el pasaje en voz alta.

Después hacemos TRES PREGUNTAS del pasaje...

¿Qué nos manda hacer Jesús en este pasaje? Diganos en sus propias palabras lo que Ud. entendió.

¿Qué significan estas palabras de Jesús?

¿Cómo vamos a poner en práctica este mandamiento? ¿Qué acción específica vamos a hacer para cumplir con lo que Jesús nos está mandando hacer?

Estas tres preguntas forman el modelo para seguir usando con el resto de los “Diez Mandamientos de Jesús” que se estudiarán semana por semana. Una vez que este patrón de auto-alimentarse se aprende, puede ser usado con cualquier pasaje de la Biblia y fácilmente es reproducible aun con nuevos creyentes quienes también pueden empezar nuevos grupos con sus propios amigos y familia.

También a partir de este primer mandamiento de Jesús en Mateo 22, enseñamos el uso de una herramienta que consta de un marcador para ayudar a todos obedecer lo que Jesús nos mandó. Un GRUPO DE TRES consta en tres personas quienes se ponen de acuerdo reunirse durante la semana para cumplir con TRES propósitos: 1) un plan para empezar a leer la Biblia, 2) preguntas para rendir cuentas entre los tres, 3) orar el uno por el otro y por amigos/familia que necesitan del amor de Dios.

Hay otros detalles más, pero esto básicamente es como capacitamos a obreros para abrir iglesias en las casas. Le invitamos a probarlo para ver como le va. El paso más importante es HACERLO. En el camino habrán muchas preguntas, dudas, etc. pero todas estas tienen solución en hacer camino al andar.