09.23.05 thequest UPdate

thequest family,

I read a story this week and wanted to pass it on to you. This is the story of Hank…a guy I know and have prayed for. A guy that is connected with our family of churches in California. I knew the story, but when you get to read it…it is just powerful.

“A couple of us guys get together at Starbucks every week. We read some chapters out of the Bible during the week. Then on Fridays we get together to hold each other accountable for what is going on in our lives and to pray for our friends. We call it a Life Transformation Group. Would you like to join us?” Doug asked Hank.So began the transformation in Hank’s life. Each week, the three of them would devour whole books of the Bible. Over coffee they would confess areas of their lives in which they struggled, and pray for their non-Christian friends. And things started happening.The first was devastating. Hank’s wife of more than 20 years left and then divorced him. It was a tough time. At this point, Hank chose to throw himself even more vigorously into what the Lord was doing in his life, and he began growing spiritually like wildfire…. ” Read the rest here *

Press on,
Mike

*From An Army of Ordinary People by Felicity Dale.

09.14.-05 thequest UPdate

Last week, I wrote an article introducing a viral infection to thequest community that I pray is spreading! The Luke 10:2b Virus— have you caught it?

This week I’d like to share a couple Luke 10:2b stories—answers to this prayer. Upon my return from the House2House National House Church Conference, I received an e-mail from some friends I made in the Houston, Texas area. These folks were so infected by this virus they caught in Denver that immediately upon returning to Houston, God told them they were to “exballo” a host of believers in their current 2 house churches to start 10 new houses churches immediately! Luke 10:2b—have you caught it?

From our start, thequest began to pray for house churches to be established in the Ohio State Campus area. For a time, God led Adam & Cara to the harvest field to plant a campus house church. Upon graduation, they headed to Dallas for further education and all the students they reached moved on as well. God led Christina to thequest as a freshman. As her passion to reach her friends for Christ grew, God lead led her to begin a house church on campus. But he didn’t just lead Christina, he led Zach too! At the time Zach was a brand new believer whose heart was impassioned and burdened to reach his friends for Christ, too. So in January, they were “exballo-ed” to start a house church. Luke 10:2b—have you caught it?

For the past five years Mike and I have prayed for God to move in the hearts to burden two of our friends to join with thequest to reach lost souls in the Short North. Five years later (including a marriage, a 13 month missionary stint in London and much prayer), God saw fit to answer our prayer. John & Kate are now serving with thequest to see more souls reached for Christ and are now in the process of planting a house church! Luke 10:2b—have you caught it?

So what is the common thread in all of these stories? None of the new house churches being planted are being led by trained clergy, seminary students/grads, “older/wiser” men/women, etc… They are all ordinary people who have a passion to see more ordinary people fall in love with Jesus.

Today, I read “Josh’s Story” from An Army of Ordinary People by Felicity Dale. This story is all about a kid who brought heartache and turmoil to his parents. Wherever he went, trouble followed. His closest friends were all gang members. As this young man grew, his heart softened to the Lord. Eventually he became a follower of Jesus. After one of Josh’s friends visited their house church meeting, this friend asked if they could invite all their friends (gang members) to Josh’s house for a gathering to start there! His parents agreed.

One of the local gang leaders, “Shaker,” while in a Christian rehabilitation facility, came to know the Lord. His girlfriend had also come to know the Lord—through Josh’s house church. When Shaker was released from this facility he attended the Josh’s house church and asked to be the leader!

Josh actually died by accidentally shooting himself while goofing around with a gun. At his funeral, Tony Dale (the author’s husband) stated that Josh’s desire would be for all his friends to receive the message that Jesus saves. Though Josh’s earthly life does not have a happy ending, he did touch the lives of many gang members. As a result of Josh’s life and death, over 100 gang members have come to know the Lord! God is in the business of using ordinary people!

On Monday night Mike and I celebrated my birthday. At the end of the evening we found a quiet place to sit and talk in front of a water fountain. Mike posed this question to me, “Mindi, what do you envision for the coming year?” Without sounding like I had my head in the clouds, I said something like, “Lose weight, prioritize my time better, and spend more time with the kids.” But what I was really thinking was that I’d like to see countless house churches started this year! My heart’s desire is to see countless people come to know my Lord and Savior this year, who in turn share their passion for Christ and see countless people come to know the Lord, and perpetuate the cycle. Honestly, that is my dream for the coming year.

So how can this be accomplished? How do you see a movement like that get rolling? You must first start with prayer! God has commanded us to “Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and ‘deomai’ him to ‘exballo’ more workers for his fields.”

It IS in God’s heart to answer that prayer!

Luke 10:2b Virus—CATCH IT!

Mindi

thequest UPdate 09.07.05

Begging… my kids seem to have the corner on the market in this category. I am reminded of the many times that I go to the grocery store with just one of my kids (because taking all four of them is sure suicide!). I read them their rights before even getting out of the car. It goes something like this: “We are going to get only what I have on the list. You are to take joy in the fact that you are getting nothing that you want. You are not to pester, not to cry, not to whine. Nothing! Do you hear me?”

As sure as I say all this, I know for certain that no matter how many times I read them their rights, they will still make every effort to drive me insane. The fact of the matter remains, that by the time we leave the store, I break down in complete exhaustion from the incessant pestering and let them buy that gumball I bribed them with to make them stop. How can I resist? We pass right by the big red tower with a great big clear bubble on top filled with colorful balls of sugary sweet gummy candy every single time we enter or exit the store. It’s like it’s got some sort of magnetic pull on the heart strings of my kids. Really it’s just a mean nasty way to undermine my parenting!

There is a Greek word used to describe this very kind of pestering or begging that my kids use. It’s the word deomai and it means to beseech or beg from the gut! This same word is used in Luke 9:38 where the man is begging for his little boy, his only son, to be released from the demons that were demonizing him with seizures and screaming. The disciples had already tried and failed. So he deomai’s Jesus to cast these evil spirits out of his precious boy.
This same word is used just a few verses later in Luke 10:2:

“The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and deomai him to send out more workers for his fields.”

Do you sense the passion that Jesus commands us to use to pray this prayer? Take note of the word “command.” In the Great Commission Christ says, “… teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:20) If it is commanded by Jesus that we should beg him for more workers in His harvest fields, then it must be in the heart of God to answer it! This gets me fired up!

I heard that the term “white unto harvest,” used in other versions of the Bible in reference to this passage, is a farming term that literally means the harvest will have a white head on it indicating that if it is not harvested that very day it will spoil and be of no good the following day. So when Jesus says, “look at the fields white unto harvest,” he is painting a picture that shows the urgency of harvesting lost souls immediately. Don’t wait for they surely will spoil by morning.

Luke 10:2 also states: “…but the workers are so few”. As I look around our great city, I see so many lost souls who are hopeless without Jesus. They are ready (white) for his saving grace in their lives, but there are not enough workers to harvest them. There are now approximately 65 believers in the flow of thequest that live here in the Columbus area. There are approximately 775,000 people who live within the Columbus City limits. How many of them don’t yet know Jesus? How can we possibly harvest so much?

What we need are more workers. Maybe we could recruit folks from other churches who could help us in this endeavor. Is that a good solution? I think not. The answer is not for us to recruit more believers to harvest the fields. So where do we get more workers?

The workers are found in the harvest. Just as one person is reached with the message of saving grace, they too will have a sphere of influence they will reach with this same message. The answer is not harvesting by addition, but harvesting through multiplication!

Here’s an example to consider—a Tomato: When a tomato seed is planted it grows one plant. As the plant matures, it grows many vines, as the vines bloom, they produce fruit (many tomatoes). From a tiny little tomato seed comes many tomatoes. My 6 tomato plants this year yielded over 100 tomatoes. Just six little seeds multiplied themselves and 100+ tomatoes resulted! But is that the end product? Certainly not! If each tomato dies to itself and its seeds get planted in fertile soil, an even greater harvest is produced. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of tomatoes will be reproduced! From one tiny seeds comes a bazillion tomatoes!

Other than planting the seed, did anything I do cause these tomatoes to be produced? Not really. My hearts desire was to see my tomato plants yield more fruit than I knew what to do with. And God answered that prayer. If he cares that much about tomato seeds, don’t you think it is in the heart of God to see the Kingdom of Heaven multiplied in such a fashion?
Here’s another Greek word for you: “exballo.” This word means to thrust forth, launch, used in “casting out” demons, implies a high degree of motivation. This word is the very word that is used in Luke 10:2 where Christ says, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest, and deomai Him to exballo (cast out with a high degree of motivation) more workers for his fields.” What an awesome picture!

Here it is, the point of this entire article: I am begging God to throw every single one of our tiny little tomato seeds (65 questers) out into the harvest field to bring in the harvest! Look! The fields are white and ready for harvesting. Go now, before it is too late!

How do we go from here?

Pray>> Find a prayer partner and set your cell phone alarm clocks to go off at 10:02am or pm. Stop whatever it is you are doing (for just a moment) and beg God to raise up workers within the harvest. Be specific and then watch and see what God does! We call this the “Ten2b Virus” (from Luke 10:2b).

Here’s a prayer you could pray: Jesus we believe you want to see a local expression of the church within walking distance of every 500 people within the City of Columbus. That’s approximately 1550 churches, we beg you to raise workers to reap the harvest here.

Sow>>To use a phrase that I have grown to love coined by my friend, mentor and fellow evangelist Ed Waken (Phoenix, Arizona): “Get out there, and cast some seed!” In your everyday life look for chances to cast some seed about the Good News of Jesus and then throw it on the soil of people’s hearts.

Written by Mindi Jentes 09.07.05

Let’s Pray and Sow!!!!

Press on,
Mike

P.S. More on Ten2b
Have you caught it? an article from John White in House2House Magazine

Also check the April 20, 2005 thequest email UPdate 04.20.2005

Gospel for the Metro Nation…the schism between red and blue

Here’s a question for us about the times we live in….

Gospel for the Metro Nation

August 31 thequest: keeping our eyes on Jesus

thequest: keeping our eyes on Jesus

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