Church Planting Movements and People of Peace

Luke 10 is one of the places where we learn from Jesus how to make disciples. For example, this is where we learn about the role of prayer (verse 2) and the need to enter into – or gain access to – specific communities and homes (verses 1 and 5).

This is also where we learn about people of peace: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house” (verses 5-7).

People of peace are as diverse as the Samaritan woman and the royal official from Capernaum (John 4), Lydia and the Philipian jailer (Acts 16), and Cornelius (Acts 10) and Crispus (Acts 18). Nonetheless, these examples show that people of peace share two things in common: they are responsive to God and influential in their homes or communities.

Discovering these people of peace in the communities to which we have been sent is the second major step in the CPM process.

Questions for discussion:

Rather than telling you more of my thoughts, let me offer the following questions to stimulate your thinking (and even some discussions) about discovering people of peace:

1. How did the 72 disciples discover people of peace?
2. How do people in the communities you are entering express their spirituality?
3. How can you express your spirituality in ways that people of peace in the communities you are entering can see and understand it?
4. What lessons are you learning about discovering people of peace?

Thank you for praying for Church Planting Movements throughout Bulgaria!

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praying for the lost

Praying for the salvation of all the people of Bulgaria seem to be both abstract and overwhelming. Because of this, you may want to consider praying for people by name, and/or praying in the following more specific ways (adapted from the Navigators):

Pray …

That God would draw them to himself through Jesus: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” (John 6:44-45).

That they would believe that God exists and earnestly seek Him: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

That they would accept the Bible as the Word of God: “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

That God would restore their spiritual sight: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

For the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives: “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment … But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:8,13).

That God would send spiritual workers to them: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field'” (Matthew 9:36-38).

That they would repent and experience times of refreshing from God: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

That they would freely confess Christ Jesus as Lord: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

That they would no longer live for themselves, but for Christ: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

That they would grow in Christ and overflow with thankfulness: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Thank you for praying with us for the salvation of all the people of Bulgaria!

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access ministry

The first thing we learn in Luke 10 about making disciples is that we need to pray. This is how Jesus began his instructions to the 72 disciples: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (verse 2). (See full post here.)

The next thing we learn is equally obvious – we need to go: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road” (verses 3 and 4).

But what may be less obvious is that we do not go just to leave where we are; rather, we go in order to enter specific towns (verse 1) and specific homes (verse 5). In other words, we go in order to enter into life with the lost and begin to meet their needs (verse 9).

This is the essence of access ministry, which is the first major step in the CPM process.

Questions for discussion

Rather than telling you more of my thoughts, let me offer the following questions to stimulate your thinking (and even some discussions) about entering into life with the lost.

  1. What have you had to leave behind you in order to enter into life with the lost?
  2. What is the significance of entering a town or community and not just a home?
  3. How are you learning more about the community you have entered, including its needs?
  4. What lessons are you learning about access ministry?

Thank you for praying for Church Planting Movements throughout Bulgaria!

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Merry Christmas from Bulgaria!

We invite you to join us on a short journey to explore some of the exciting sights, sounds and smells that accompany a Bulgarian Christmas.

Our journey begins as we enter a Bulgarian home on December 24 and find the family gathered together for the traditional Christmas Eve meal. We notice that the table is set with an odd number of meatless dishes; we count eleven, and learn that the minimum number is seven. Our host explains that, during the 40 days of the Advent season, they have been fasting from animal products, including meat, cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs. Today is the final day of their fast.

As we near the table, we see and smell the fabulous aroma of Bulgarian stuffed cabbage, Banitza (a cheese-filled pastry) and nuts. While we are enjoying our meal the grandfather, being the oldest family member, cuts and passes out bread from the traditional round Christmas loaf. We all wait to see who will find the coin that has been hidden and baked inside the bread. The winner celebrates, for he is believed to have good luck in the upcoming year. For dessert, we are treated to a delectable fruit soup.

Tomorrow, the fast will be broken and the celebration of Christmas will continue. Merry Christmas from Bulgaria!

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praying for the Muslims of Bulgaria

Praying for the salvation of all the people of Bulgaria includes praying for nearly one million Muslims. But how do you and I do that? Here are some helpful insights, adapted from the 30-Days Prayer Network:

  1. Pray for Bulgaria’s Muslims with love and compassion
  2. Pray for Bulgaria’s Muslims to have a full revelation of the true God and His loving character.
  3. Pray for Bulgaria’s Muslims to be freed from fear.
  4. Pray for Bulgaria’s Muslims to understand that God desires everyone to know Him as children and not as slaves.
  5. Pray for Bulgaria’s Muslims to encounter the Holy Spirit in dreams, visions and other supernatural encounters.
  6. Pray for Bulgaria’s Muslims to be convicted of sin and know true repentance, to experience God’s total forgiveness, and to know the assurance of salvation through Jesus.

Learn more about Bulgaria’s Muslims by visiting People of Bulgaria and Muslims of the Rhodopes, which is an interactive map.

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white-painted bride honors Bulgarian Muslim rite | reuters

Weddings are a significant life-stage transition that many people from all cultures participate in. They also provide insights into specific cultures, which can lead to further inquiry and prayer. So read, learn, reflect and pray through this Reuters article about an ethnic Bulgarian Muslim wedding. (You can also click on the tab in the top-left corner of the article to see a large slide show a wedding.)

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people of bulgaria

Ethnic Bulgarians account for almost 85% of the people of Bulgaria. They trace their history to the late 7th century, when the Bulgars, a central Asian Turkic people, and the Slavs, a central European people, merged to form the First Bulgarian Kingdom … find out more about these and other People of Bulgaria here.

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