WHAT’S IN YOUR LUMP?

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Church Planting, Displays, Encouragement, SHARE

Some lumps—like a lump of coal—are consumed until they are used up.

Some lumps—like cancer—destroy the body.

Some lumps—like leaven—are good for baking bread.

There are many instructions and parables in the Bible that revolve around a lump of leaven.  In the Old Testament leaven was not a bad thing, but there were certain occasions that required unleavened bread to explain a spiritual truth.  In the New Testament Jesus referred to leaven in some of His parables.  Sometimes leaven was used to explain sin (Matt 16:6-12, Luke 12:1-3); but at other times leaven stood for something good (Luke 13:20-21, 1Cor 5:6-8).

In my experience, I have found that many people are not familiar with leaven, so for them this analogy in the parables is not easily understood.  What is leaven, anyway?  If you go to the market or a grocery store looking for leaven or leavening, you probably won’t find it.  Let me give you a brief history of a mere 6,000 years.

From the beginning, it was usually the women who made the bread in conjunction with preparing meals for the family.  She knew that she needed a little leavening in each batch of bread dough, to make it rise.  If her bread failed to rise, the bread would be flat and impossible to chew.  The leavening came from setting aside a lump of dough from each day’s batch, to be used the next day.  She would add more flour, a little sugar, and water to the lump, then cover it and put it in a dark place.  Overnight, the lump would grow to double its original size and be ready to be incorporated into the large batch of dough for the day’s meals.  Lumps of leavening were passed down for generations.

In recent times we still use leavening, but today we call it yeast.  It stores more easily and it is readily available anytime we feel the urge to bake bread.  That urge to bake bread is becoming less common these days, because bread is easily available in the market and grocery stores.  Although many people no longer use or have ovens—and others are not interested in baking breads—we need to see how yeast (leaven) works so we can understand the meanings in the Bible.

When I see the power of yeast, my thoughts go to a modern-day parable.  When you add yeast to warm water, it just gets wet.  But when you add a little sugar, it feeds the yeast and the mixture grows.  In only a few minutes, the mixture will overflow its container.  There can be good and bad correlations, but I prefer to see the good implications.   I compare the container of warm water to my life.  It starts out plain and empty.  When I add Jesus to make a wet mixture, that is a good decision; but it needs to grow.  Finally, when I add the sweetness of prayer and Bible study (the sugar) to my life, it changes me and the righteousness grows within.  Ultimately I can rejoice with King David when he says, “My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:5b-6 (NASV)

Jesus had to explain so many of his parables for the disciples and us to understand.  In typical fashion, he had to explain what he meant when he talked about leavening.  He must have wondered how they could miss the meanings in something as simple as leavening.  In Matthew 16:6-12 the disciples had to ask Jesus again to explain one of his references.  Jesus cautioned the disciples to beware of the “leaven” (yeast) in the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Their false teachings can grow and infect the hearts and minds of their followers (the “lump”).  Jesus further stated that there is nothing wrong with yeast in bread.  Yeast was only the analogy, or parable, He used to make His point.

In Luke 12:1-3 Jesus expands on his explanation of the power of yeast when He states, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”  Yeast that is left too long to rise, will overflow its container and make a mess.  If you forget about it, it will eventually be revealed as a bad outcome.

On the other hand, yeast is a very good thing.  In Luke 13:20-21, Jesus was responding to the disciples’ request for details about the Kingdom of God.  Jesus indicated that it was like leaven (yeast) which was incorporated into a large amount of meal.  After it was hidden for a while, the entire batch was leavened (made to rise or grow).  We may not see the growth of the Kingdom, but eventually we will see God’s wondrous hand at work.

In Galatians 5:6-8 Paul admonishes the boasters and reminds them that their sins of malice and wickedness will infect their whole lives, and impact others to a life of sinfulness, just like leaven (yeast) will cause the whole batch of bread dough to rise.  Paul instructs them to clean out the “old leaven” of their lives so they become unleavened.  Now they are like “unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  This was a reference to the unleavened bread used in Passover celebrations.  The implication here is that we can now fill our lives with a new leavening that will produce righteousness.

Now that we understand leavening (yeast) for what it can do, let’s go out and be that lump of leavening that infects the world, and brings people to Christ for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

YOUR HAIR IS NOT LIKE MINE

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Humor, Stories, Uncategorized

When my husband, Rick went to Kisii, Kenya, the children were intrigued by his hair and they all wanted to touch it.  Even though he doesn’t have much, his silky hair was not like anything they had ever seen or felt.  Rick loves kids and they understood they could get permission to touch.  Every time they saw him, they would hold up a hand in greeting, indicating they wanted him to bend down so they could touch again.  Something as simple as hair can break through any language barrier.

SHARE EVANGELISM USING TIN CAN OVEN

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Church Planting, Encouragement, Funding Church Planting, Methods, Project Ideas, SHARE

Our co-worker, Mercy Magbanua (in pink, wearing an apron), traveled from her home in the Philippines to Kisii, Kenya, to teach the practical applications of SHARE Evangelism.  She taught the delegates to the conference new food preparation skills using a tin can oven. Mercy’s husband, Melchor, made the tin can oven for her to bring to Kisii. Mercy taught by example how to use baking skills for evangelism. In the process, she taught them how to bake biscuits, banana bread, and the ever-popular chocolate brownies.  As you can see from the pictures, everyone got involved in the process.  As a bonus, she also taught them how to make donuts.  Learning these skills will help people expand their food choices as well as give them opportunities for witness.

            

PREACHING SEMINAR, KISII, KENYA

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Church Planting, Encouragement, Methods, missions, SHARE

My husband, Rick, traveled to Kisii, Kenya, to lead a SHARE Evangelism conference at the Nyakeyo Baptist Church, pastored by Michael Patrick Nyamongo. As a part of the conference, Rick taught a preaching seminar for the delegates who would go out as church planters. He instructed them in the process of preparing sermons, and then taught them by example as he preached to them from the Book of John. If you would like to know more about conferences in your area, please contact me.

  

 

HAIR CLIPS AND SHARE EVANGELISM

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Church Planting, Encouragement, Funding Church Planting, funding church planting, Methods, missions, Uncategorized

Our co-worker, Mercy Magbanua, traveled from her home in the Philippines to Kisii, Kenya, to teach SHARE Evangelism.  You may have “met” Mercy in other blogs on this site.  Mercy taught the conference delegates how to use livelihood skills training for evangelism.  In this case she taught them how to make hair clips–including a special trick using a candle.  Even the men got involved in this project.  Men won’t wear the hair clips, but they could make them for sale, thereby increasing their family income.  If you want more information, please contact me.

 

 

BEGIN AT THE END

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Church Planting, Encouragement, Fun(ding) Solutions, Funding Church Planting, Methods, Publications, SHARE

Is it possible for something to begin at the end? Is it true that something small, is really huge? Can good times be bad? Can bad times be good? Can poverty be riches? Can an uneducated person become an entrepreneur? The answer to all these questions is, yes.

For me, the ending of a long journey is probably only just the beginning. It has been a journey of inspiration and frustration, vision and blank stares, physical weakness and supernatural strength; scary episodes followed by sweet relief, spiritual mountain tops and deep valleys, and through it all, God’s guidance and assurance.

What is all this “crazy talk” about? It describes my three-year writing project which is finally being published. My book, Church Planters Have All the Fun(ding)! has finally gone to production. For many years since the beginning of my husband’s and my life on the mission field, there were two questions that jumped out at us over and over. They were: “How do I plant (start) a New Testament church?” and “How do I find the best way to finance church planting?”

Before I go any further, let me explain. Although I have finished writing the book, I am finding an almost overwhelming need to respond in writing to so many church planters who have the same two questions. My writing continues in blogs and on social media, but in a different, more personal and individual focus. My book is relatively small in size (a little over 200 pages); but it contains a unique, practical way to finance church planting, that is already having an impact, physically and spiritually. Although unique, it is absolutely compatible with scripture. If you find it useful, then a small thing has become huge.

Can bad times be good, or the reverse? We can easily find examples of seemingly good times being truly bad or sinful; but what happens in the bad times? In my experience, every time I start a project or ministry that has the potential for great outreach, I suffer frightening medical events that seem to be demonic efforts to stop and discourage me. I don’t want to go into a long list of complaints, so let me briefly share that I have lived with constant severe pain for more than 25 years. In the last three years, I have been writing without being able to see clearly. Now, after six surgeries on my eyes (I know, I only have two eyes!), and a unique kind of contact lens, I can see much better. Then, as I was putting the finishing touches on the book, I was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Praise God, that heart condition “disappeared” a few weeks later.

I am not asking for sympathy—a little compassion is good, though—but I share all this so you will know that God can give a person a vision, and then the devil responds by slinging his poison arrows. With God’s help and the Christian’s determination and commitment to follow Him, anything is possible. Since childhood, whenever I faced a problem that demanded a solution, I was known to say, “There’s always a way.” In a way, it became my life’s motto. It was some time later that I realized I was just restating the biblical concept of Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

God has put me in unusual circumstances throughout my life to prepare me for a unique approach to sharing the Gospel. My husband and I live simply, on a limited budget, but we count our riches in the people we have helped, and in our service to God. It is not for fame or riches that I write. I wrote Church Planters Have All the Fun(ding)! because I saw a need. The book will be accessible to anyone in soft cover or eBook format.

Church Planters Have All the Fun(ding)! is divided into two parts. Part One of this book seeks to address two aspects of church planting: the fun(damentals) of establishing a new church from the beginning based on New Testament principles, and the fun(ding) the church will experience as it finds ways to combine evangelism with possibilities for personal income. The fun(ding) for the church planter, as well as the church plant, comes from an outreach method called SHARE Evangelism.