It’s Happening Right Now—Can You See It?

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The church at Antioch, that we discussed last week, was truly an NSU (natural, spontaneous, unconscious) church that had no vision of changing the world. Their vision was to simply find a life in Antioch where they could live daily by faith, trusting their Heavenly Father for everything, just as they had learned in the church in Jerusalem after Pentecost. But “surprise, surprise,” they changed the world anyway!

In a similar manner, right now, in places where we know litle about Christianity’s growth—China, Iran, Africa, Russia, Brazil.etc—the NSU church is silently, irresistibly growing. Its growth is generally unrecognized, and if it is, it is often unwanted, violently so, as in all Muslim countries. But it is unstoppable. As Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). He WILL NOT be defeated in His mission of ruling over the whole world—through us, His Body! 

And It’s happening today, right now, through us. When we see and experience “walking by faith” (living in transparency and repentance), we carry with us the very rule of Jesus Chrrist in His Kingdom. Wherever we go and with whomever we speak, Jesus is ruling in that place, in His kingdom, just as He did when He was on the earth as a man, because He is living through us!

After seeing this phenomenon happening in the Walmart checkout line and in a Middle School library (as I have shared in previous postings), I began to realize that this was happening with me as well, NSU, of which I was totally unaware.

Looking back, three of the pharmacists I have had over the past 5 years, who regularly checked my blood viscosity, now receive these blog postings, along with a secretary at a school where I subbed. This didn’t occur because I was “witnessing,” or trying to get more readers. No! Jesus was simply living through me and just “doing His thing!” 

I realized that my lack of mobility limits my contacts with new people almost exclusively to medical personnel at my doctor’s appointments. When Jesus is living through me by faith, He engages them in honest, other-centered conversation, relating to their lives, activities,and  interests of which they are eager to share.

In a recent posting in the on-line Christian Post, a  Christian Iranian said this: “In modern times Iranian Christians continue to show resilience. They practice their faith in a Shia Muslim society, despite strict regulations imposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. These rules particularly target those who convert from Islam. The light of Christ cannot be snuffed out as many, even today, gather for worship in underground churches, secretly practicing their faith to avoid persecution.”

I’m sure there are many books that recount this NSU growth of the underground church around the world, but I have discovered three books over the years that have particularly ministered to me, First, is The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, written by Roland Allen, in the early 20th century. Allen was a Church of England missionary. His main thesis in this book is that new converts in foreign countries are integrated into churches that are Church of England churches, run by the Church of England Mission organization’s English missionaries, and the local, new converts have no say. Allen says when the locals are encouraged to function independently, on their own, church growth explodes!

The second book is Jim Rutz’s classic, Mega Shift. After traveling the world over a ten-year period to specifically evaluate the condition of the church world-wide, Rutz’s conclusions were interesting and very encouraging. He concluded that the church is growing exponentially, but not in a public, easily observable fashion. His contention is that this explosive growth of the church is being fueled by NSU, and it is characterized by non-professional, lay leadership which has an openness, even eagerness, to walk in the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit. This included several raisings of the dead, at least one of which Rutz witnessed personally!  

The third book is by a Chinese Christian from the 1930’s and 40’s, whose English name was Watchman Nee. Nee became a Christian in high school and soon became an eager, diligent voracious pursuer of Jesus Christ through the writings of English Christian leaders. 

His own ministry grew into a movement throughout China of the “little flock,” or the “local church,” a movement of non-traditional, NSU home churches that sprang up throughout China. I have read many of his books pertaining to the New Wine of the gospel, as well as the classic that pertains to our topic today,  “The Normal Christian Church Life.” It puts biblical structure to the NSU churches we have been discussing.

So, NSU churches actually being a reality today is not a pipe-dream. The key is for me to resist the drug-induced urge to “make it happen.” My job is to be a little child who walks in transparency, constantly repenting of God-revealed sin in my life, and, most importantly, relaxing and believing “Daddy’s got it!” 

Next week we are going to “Set Sail In The Ship of the Kingdom.”

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2 Comments

  1. Pat Lueken says:

    Love this… As our church has presentations from each of the 50 countires on the World Watch List (most persecuted) when it was my turn, I recently shared about Afghanistan & last Sunday Algeria and both tives I was over whelmed by seeing the had of God … THe fastest growing churches in the world are in IRAN & AFGAHNISTAN!!! I will email you my notes… God is moving and the enemy push back is b/c HE IS extending His Kingdom!!!!

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