New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, June 19 2002 Vol 02 : 105
[NTCP] House Church Networks
Re: [NTCP] Prayer for house church leaders in Canada this weekend
[NTCP] Re: Encouragement!
RE: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?
Re: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?
Re: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?
RE: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?

Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:36:47 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] House
Church Networks

Guy Muse wrote:

>Rankin explained that Yun is challenging members of China's house churches not
>only to take the gospel to all of China but also to send 100,000 Chinese
>believers to take the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ ... back to
>Jerusalem

Kind of reminds me of an interesting true story recorded in one of our
newletters:

SHALOM FROM JERUSALEM

Dear Lovers of God and Followers of the Messiah, This month we attended the
funeral of a man of God. He was a student at Jerusalem University College,
like myself. He came to Israel, with his wife and three young daughters, so he
could briefly study God's Word in the context of the land of Israel. He had
already been accepted for a program of study at a seminary in South Carolina.
He and his family planned to transfer there after his short academic stopover
in Israel. His children used to watch videos together with our kids and play
with Dawn, Ian, and Matt in the garden of JUC. He was a Tiawanese Christian.
His name is the same (no relation though) as the famous Chinese human rights
activist. He was called David Wu.

I first became acquainted with David Wu and his family when they had just
arrived at the college at the beginning of the 1999 Spring semester. After some
problems requiring them to stay on campus until proper accomodations were
found, they finally moved into their own Jerusalem apartment. He had met his
wife Ruth in Hong Kong while on a mission trip to mainland China. They both
had a heart for missions. And he quickly discovered that there is a sizable
Chinese community in and about Jerusalem, so he made arrangments with a local
Messianic Jewish pastor for both of them to begin an outreach to the
construction workers who are often brought here for cheap labor. After less
than four months he had succeeded in winning 83 of those workers to the Lord.
He constantly went back to the barracks where the workers were housed to
encourage the new believers and to challenge more Chinese men to join God's
family. But he wasn't content with simply ministering to his own people. He
had made a commitment with that same Messianic pastor-- and to God!-- to also
witness to at least one Jewish person a day while in Israel. He participated
with me and some other students in one of our many outreaches to rabbinic
students from the Jerusalem branch of Hebrew Union College. He even agreed to
do a short presentation in which he clearly gave his testimony to these Jewish
students, and an opportunity to respond to the gospel.

David met with the Student Services Director at Jerusalem University College
and requested they meet together for prayer on a weekly basis. She testified
to me that the majority of their prayer time was taken up in petitioning God
for the lost in this land.

David Wu had asthma. Since he was a young boy in Tiawan he had suffered from a
condition that constantly robbed him of his wind. Once he had to spend an
entire year and a half in the hospital for his ailment. But when he was 27, a
new Wind entered his life-- the Spirit of the Living God. He at once found
purpose and meaning for his life and wanted to share that with others. Though
David Wu was a dedicated follower of Jesus, he still suffered periodically from
asthma attacks and daily took medication so he could simply breath. This by no
means stifled his zeal for the Lord! And he brought his unfailing courage here
to Jerusalem.

Once, shortly after he got here, he was arrested by Israeli police. It is
illegal for Jews or Christians to display any religious sentiment up on the
Muslim-controlled temple mount area near the golden Dome of the Rock. Straight
down, some 50 feet below, is the Western Wall where all are legally sanctioned
to pray. But the temple mount is open only to Muslims and those tourists who
keep their beliefs to themselves. David Wu was not one of these. After
praying near the Wall with a Jewish prayer shawl (it's a great conversation
starter to see a Chinese with a TALLIT praying in the name of Jesus) he decided
to go up and give the Muslims above him on the mount an opportunity to know
Christ. However, whether on purpose or by accident-- I don't know-- he brought
his TALLIT (prayer shawl) with him. A BIG "no no"! Zealous to avoid a
religious clash with the Muslim worshippers, the Israeli police surrounded
David and took him in. Jerusalem University College had to intervene on his
behalf.

Some may think it's foolish to get arrested like that. I suggest to them,
however, that they read the book of Acts.

David Wu's last conscious day on earth was spent ministering to the Chinese
workers he loved so much. His prayer partner in Student Services later
confided that he had recently asked her to pray for his ministry because he
felt it was under Satanic attack. He told her that he believed one way Satan
might end the success of his outreach here was through his asthma. He had
already had one accute attack a week or so prior, right when he was sharing the
gospel with some workers. Nevertheless, he pushed through the shortness of
breath and was able, with enormous effort, to complete his invitation to
receive Christ. God rewarded his stamina with a harvest. Even so, this
instance understandably scared his wife. Despite her concern, since she is as
zealous as he for the cause of Christ, Ruth continued to encourage him in his
efforts to win the lost. A week later, David and his Messianic Jewish friend
were visiting a camp of construction workers on the outskirts of Jerusalem. As
he was explaining to some men how they could be saved, David felt the
beginnings of an asthma attack. A doctor was called at once. The doctor
immediately medicated David and insisted he go to the hospital. This time
David did not try to push through. On the way there he suffered a second
attack, just as they entered the city limits. His friend rushed him into the
nearest hospital, but some Israeli administrative redtape caused him to wait a
few more minutes before David Wu was attended to. By the time the staff got to
him, his brain had been deprived of necessary oxygen for about five minutes.
This, combined with the previous attack, was too much for him. He went into a
coma with no brain activity. After three days his wife was told she needed to
decide whether to keep him on life-support. Three days after that, while still
on life support, his heart failed and he was pronounced dead. God in His mercy
spared Ruth the choice. David Wu was forty years old when he died.

David Wu's Jerusalem funeral was attended by close to 300 people, evidence of
the many lives he had touched in the short span of less than four months. Many
in attendance were Chinese workers from the camps where David had ministered.
Others were fellow students, members of his church, Arabs, Jews. Others.
Several people shared their memories with the audience, but most touching to me
was when his wife Ruth extolled the man God had brought into her life. She
then sang a song which glorified the Savior who had given them seven happy
years together. Toward the end of the funeral a Chinese pastor from Texas--
friend of David Wu's-- addressed those rustic construction workers in the
language they knew best. About 20 men stood at what I instinctively knew to be
the pastor's invitation to receive Christ. They were baptised shortly
thereafter. Thus David Wu-- fellow student, brief acquaintance, and fellow
worker for the cause of Christ in Israel-- could smile down from Heaven and
know that still more people came into God's kingdom because of his influence.

May God help us all be more like this man of God. David Wu died June 3, 1999.

In Messiah Yeshua Michael


------- <><><> -------


Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 07:49:06 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Prayer for house church leaders in Canada this weekend

Hi All:

This weekend marks an historic occassion in Canada. It is the first time that
the national association of Evangelicals (the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada,
same as US based NAE) has called a national consultation of house church
leaders who are mature and embrace the wider Body of Christ in our nation. It
is the first time this has happened, ever. On 12 April, 2001, one of our
national TV networks, CTV, broadcast a story on the 11 pm news, and the
conclusion was, "The house church movement is the fastest growing Christian
movement in Canada." Since then, mainstream church structures, ministries and
church growth groups have been paying attention to the whole house church
thing. To me this is good and bad. A part of me rejoices, and another part of
me is skeptical at best, and downright suspicious at the other end. I have
experienced the extreme of pragmatic Christianity, and that is why I left the
institutional church system.

I have been and continue to be open to what the Lord will do in our nation and
through the Body of Christ. I have been openly building bridge with any and
all who will engage in relationship with me. Others who won't reach across the
divide, I have little time for. I have felt the hostility from those who are
threatened by a genuine "priesthood of ALL believers". I pray for a unity
amongst all the believers across the cities of Canada. I pray that walls and
barriers will come down. And this is why, even though I am hesitant to go, I am
going to Vancouver.

I am concerned that all house church will become is another method to plant
churches. house church is more than planting churches. It is about experiencing
the love of God, intimacy with the Son, and the love of the brethren and
reaching out to others with that love. I know that it is often presumed, but
the fact is, even when I was a pastor within the system, it was more than
presumed. It was so presumed nobody spent any time teaching on relationship
and community, and working through things. It was presumed. You cannot presume
it. The whole relational thing is the centre of this thing we call house
church. I cannot hide in a room filled with a dozen people. It can't happen.
I can only be real with the Lord, and myself and the others with whom I am in
relationship with. It forces me to be honest and real and genuine. This I am
afraid will all but be forgotten, if all we do this weekend is talk about the
'rapid multiplication of house churches to fulfill the Great Commission'. That
line makes me just about gag!

I would earnestly covet your prayers this weekend. There will be Charismatics,
C&MA, Ind. Baptist, Southern Baptist, Mennonite Brethren, Mennonite,
Navigators, DAWN, Outreach Canada, Vineyard, Partners in Harvest, Holiness, as
well as others. There will be 17 of us holed up at Horshoe Bay. Beginning
Friday morning we will be discussing a variety of subjects.

Here is the Draft Schedule:

========== June 21, Friday
Introductions, overview of desired outcomes (cf. Proposal doc), process, rough
schedule, etc.

Prayer

What is a housechurch? What kinds are healthy, contribute maximally to the
Great Commission, what kinds do we most want to see multiplied? (What problems
do we see with unhealthy forms?)

Overview: What is happening across Canada and the USA? What plans, networks are
we aware of?

house church & denominations; house church & traditional congregations; house
church & cell churches.

Friday evening: Building Relationships

Sharing our stories.

22 June - Saturday morning: A time to Dream

Values exercisewhere do they cluster? (core values best practices)

What could we do together to facilitate the multiplication of housechurch
networks across North America/Western Culture in the next 10 years?

Saturday afternoon: A time to be Practical

What would need to be done to maximize the potential of healthy, bibilical,
reproducing housechurches?

Future of Canadian House Church Resource Network, relationship with other
networks, possibility of Wolfgang Simsonís visit November 2003, etc.

Canada/USA (and larger western culture connections). What kinds of
relationships will be usefulpractical?

Saturday evening:

Blue Skyremaining issues/possibilities/

Representation at Vision Canada:
www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/mnf/vision/index.asp

Consideration of contributions distributed in advance for discussion, e.g.: Rad
Zdero, Reaching our Cities with House Churches and Cell Groupsî

Sunday morning:

Whatever else hasnít happened yet and needs to.
====================================================

I ask that you pray for the will of the Lord to be made manifest as we gather.
I have come to appreciate all of you and at this time in particular your
prayers would be greatly appreciated.

In the eternal GRIP of Jesus, Sam


------- <><><> -------


Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 09:58:56 -0500
From: "Dan Hubbell"
Subject: [NTCP] Re: Encouragement!

Sam, just a brief word of encouragement to you to let you know that I will be
fervently agreeing in a prayer of faith for you and the other believers as you
gather together in Canada this weekend.

Love in Jesus, Dan Hubbell His servant From "a hired house" in Winnsboro, Texas
USA http://www.churchrestoration.org


------- <><><> -------


Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 18:39:35 +0200
From: "Keith Smith"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?

Just a question Michael. Under the old covenant the people were encouraged to
share their feasts and significance with the stranger and foreigners that lived
in their midst. Where does this leave those who say that non baptised folk
should not take part in the breaking of bread? Blessings from that old
sacramentalist in Spain,

Keith


------- <><><> -------


Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 22:37:29 -0400
From: "Linkh(--AT--)bigfoot.com"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?

Ken wrote,

>Just a question Michael. Under the old covenant the people were encouraged to
>share their feasts and significance with the stranger and foreigners
that
>lived in their midst. Where does this leave those who say that non
baptised
>folk should not take part in the breaking of bread?

Do you have any verses about sharing the feasts with strangers? Didn't a
stranger have to be circumcised before he could partake of the Passover, and
hence be a part of the people?

I do have a question about children. I do not believe in infant baptism. Paul
said that the children of believers are sanctified by either parent being a
believer (notice he did not say by baptism.)

During the Passover, the children would partake, and the youngest at the table
was to eben ask a question.

Should children partake of the bread or wine during the Lord's Supper, which
was prefigured by the Passover?

Are there any house churches people on the list know of that let visiting
unbelievers eat the baked beans and the salad, but ask them not to partake of a
particular loaf of bread and bottle wine? How do you handle this?

I went to one house church where they had a big pot luck lunch after the
meeting. Someone in line told me the breat was communion bread and there was a
choice of grape juice or wine for the cup. But there weren't any particular
words to remember the Lord's Supper.

When the Passover was celebrated, the parents and children were to all
participate. Mention was to be made of how God delivered Israel out of Egypt.

Notice what Paul wrote, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 23 For I have received of the
Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night
in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake
it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in
remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had
supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft
as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread,
and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

I can't help but think that Paul would have been pleased if the Corinthians
actually remembered what Paul had delivered unto them when they were having the
Lord's Supper.

Many 'institutional churches do read or recite verses concerning the Lord's
Supper when they partake of the Lord's Supper with very small portions. Could
it be that some house churches _don't_ do this, just out of reacting to
institutional churches?

Shouldn't we be careful to explain the meaning of what we are doing while
partaking of the Lord's Supper while we eat? Jesus did say, 'This do in
rememberance of me.'

Also, considering what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11, does anyone warn the
congrgation not to be gluttonous or to eat up all the food during the Lord's
Supper?

I remember I gave a teaching on the Lord's Supper my last night at an
Indonesian house church before I came back here. I probably would naturally
have mentioned the issue of gluttony during the Lord's Supper anyway. Earlier,
we had eaten some food, not in a way to remember the Lord. One of the teens
bisiting gulped down about half the food on the table, including most of the
delicious chocolate martabak we had brought for the guests. If he ate like
that all the time, he could easily finish off the food so that late-comers
didn't get any. Isn't that what was happening in I Corinthians 11, the rich
came first, gobbled up the food they brought for the Lord's Supper, and didn't
leave any for the poor who came later?

Link Hudson


------- <><><> -------


Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 23:28:54 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How
does a NT "sacrament" function?

Linkh(--AT--)bigfoot.com wrote:

>I remember I gave a teaching on the Lord's Supper my last night at an
>Indonesian house church before I came back here. I probably would naturally
>have mentioned the issue of gluttony during the Lord's Supper anyway. Earlier,
>we had eaten some food, not in a way to remember the Lord. One of the teens
>visiting gulped down about half the food on the table, including most of the
>delicious chocolate martabak we had brought for the guests. If he ate like
>that all the time, he could easily finish off the food so that late-comers
>didn't get any. Isn't that what was happening in I Corinthians 11, the rich
>came first, gobbled up the food they brought for the Lord's Supper, and didn't
>leave any for the poor who came later?

Dear Link,

I was reminded of Paul's teaching once again this past weekend at the
conference. Here is what I understand the spirit of Paul's teaching, and the
Lord's command to be: The key indicator that the Corinthians were eating their
own supper rather than The Lord's supper, was there carelessness in
relationship to one another. When some got drunk while others went hungry, it
was a clear indication of a lack of caring, a lack of honoring and preferring
one another. That was the key indication to Paul that they didn't know what
they were doing, were not discerning the body of Christ.

When our children were growing up, I taught them, when you sit down to eat, see
how many there are at the table, and don't take more than your share. Later, in
the context of the gathering of the saints, I taught my spiritual children the
same principle. There is only so much time to share; when you come to the
meeting, see how many are there, and don't take more than your share. Generally
when one person dominates a conversation or a meeting it is an indication that
they have little or any interest in the content of the other's heart. That's
too bad, because I don't know anyone whose heart is big enough to contain all
of who Jesus is. When we are able share the revelation of Christ that each one
has, we all go away from the sharing with a bigger revelation of Christ than we
had when we came. When we go away from a one man dominated meeting we just go
away with the image of a man. According to Revelation or even Mark 13:14, for
that matter, that is a very sorry substitute for the revelation of Christ.

In the Lord's supper, there is supposed to be a revelation of His death, and a
revelation of His death is, in fact, a revelation of His love, because this is
how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.

A few weeks ago, I raised a question about the difference between a loaf, and a
plate full of wafers. The result was I found myself ministering the Lord's
Supper to a group of leaders. Having set aside the container of wafers, and
allowing each to have their share in the breaking of only the big wafer, the
closest thing to a loaf within reach, I found myself praying that there would
be enough to make it around the whole circle. I became more and more anxious
about this as it worked its way back to me, when I suddenly understood what
Paul was talking about. We need to care enough about each other to notice how
many there are and not take more than our share, whether it be a wafer, a loaf,
a meal or a 1 Corinthians 14 style meeting. At the very least one would expect
the house church movement to be sensitive in this connection, or at the very
least its leadership/servantship.

There is a lot that we could talk about in this connection, if we are really
ready to take the Body of Christ seriously.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


------- <><><> -------


Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 08:29:10 -0400
From: "George Howell"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How does a NT "sacrament" function?

Jay

WOW!!! Great Word. Thank you Brother for the insight.

George Howell


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #105 < Previous Digest Next Digest >



house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions