The Deliberate Plan of Christ for Deliberate Discipleship

(Part 3 – EM For download all “Discipleship Articles” – David)

The work of Jesus Christ on earth included training disciples to carry on His work. In fact, it can be argued that the training of the twelve was one of His most important tasks while on earth. What would have happened had Jesus died, been buried, and risen from the grave but not had anyone to witness the resurrection and spread the Good News of the salvation He offered? Who would have preached on the Day of Pentecost had Jesus not trained those 12 disciples? Who would have led the new church in Jerusalem had Jesus not trained those men? In fact, would there even have been a church at all had the continuing work of the disciples not been preceded by three long years of training?

Jesus, the night before His crucifixion, prayed: “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). In this prayer, He spent much time praying for His disciples. Based on the context, it may be argued that “the work which Thou gavest Me to do” could apply to the finished work of training His 12 disciples. The last thing for Christ to do now with His disciples before ascending into Heaven was to give them the Great Commission. “Go ye…preach the Gospel…make disciples…of all nations.” Jesus Christ deliberately discipled these 12 men for three years because the future of His message, His church, and His kingdom depended on dedicated and trained men who would spread that message around the world as He, through them, would build His church and establish His kingdom. The 12 disciples knew what Jesus meant when He said to go make disciples because He had just spent three years making disciples of them! They saw Him do it firsthand. They were the products of long-term discipleship. (There are no shortcuts to Biblical Discipleship if Biblical Disciples are to be expected.)

Yes, Jesus Christ deliberately discipled! His work of training these 12 men was done with a purpose, ON PURPOSE. It was no accident that Jesus chose 12 and focused three years of His life and ministry on them. Yes, three years. Discipleship is a long term process, not a 12-week fill-in-the-blank course. Before He went to the cross and to the cave, Jesus spent three years deliberately discipling future leaders for the expansion of His church and His kingdom. It took Jesus three years to train these men for the work ahead. How much time do you spend preparing men for the work ahead of them? “Go ye and make disciples of them!”
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Sign Meanings

I was recently teaching a deaf class here in the Philippines. I signed “mercy”and wanted to be sure everyone understood what it meant. The deaf told me that mercy meant giving money to the poor. The deaf thought mercy meant giving money. (“Mercy” is also the word that people here use when asking for money.) I began to explain that mercy also meant God’s forgiveness for our sins. God’s forgiveness was a new meaning for mercy to the deaf.

It is so important that both deaf and hearing have the same definition of a sign. Many times I have seen confusion on the faces of my students because they had a completely different definition of the sign than I did. Here are some things to remember:

1. Ask the deaf the meaning of the signs. Make sure you and the deaf are using the same meaning for that sign. We recently had another time when the deaf thought humble meant poor and rich meant proud. We must be so careful that everyone is using the same meanings with the signs.

2. Ask the deaf to explain the sign. It has surprised me many times that the deaf could not explain to me the signs they were using. This has not just been with hard words; even some simple words could not be explained. Patient, believe, and lazy are some words they used but could not explain.

3. Make sure you are using the right sign for that area. Here in Manila, the deaf in the south use different signs than the deaf in the north part of the city. When you go outside of the city, you will see even more signs that are different. Try to use signs with the deaf definitions. (It is their language – JB)

Note: Betty Cabbage once said, “I understood every sign, but what did he say?” Make sure the deaf who are in front of you understand. – TC

Sign Meanings

SWMI Evangelistic Team to DNWE

Las Vegas – Thirty-Eight SWMI team members gathered at the PARIS CONVENTION CENTER for the 2016 Deaf Nation World Expo. Team members came from many U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. More than 20,000 people, the majority being Deaf, attended this international expo. SWMI rented 2 booths and distributed several thousand Gospel DVDs and several thousand Gospel tracts to thousands of people. We also spent an evening at the Fremont Experience on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas distributing several thousand more Gospel tracts to people of all kinds, from all around the world.

Sharing the Gospel – We had 2 teams. Each one also split up into smaller teams in order to work the booths more efficiently. We had people to distribute literature and DVDs, as well as individuals responsible for personal witnessing. During the 7 days we were in Las Vegas, 98 precious souls made professions of faith in Jesus Christ! A daughter mission, Romans Road for the Deaf, also manned a booth and saw 45 more professions of faith in Christ!

One deaf couple on our team led another deaf couple to Christ. These two couples had gone to deaf school together 30 years ago. The unsaved couple had been witnessed to before, but without visible results. However, God blessed the team members’ witness and their friends came to know Christ personally on this missions trip.

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support of our SWMI worldwide ministries. Without your support, these reports would not be possible. Another mission trip to the Deaflympics in July, 2017 is planned. Your prayers are appreciated as we make plans for this next mission trip. Continue to pray for our “team ministry” outreaches!

My Deaf World

Last April I went to Warren Baptist Temple in Warren, Ohio, for a Deaf Revival. Rev. Jim Dittmar the pastor wanted me to preach to both the deaf and hearing people, so he invited Rev. Todd Martineau from New York to be my voice interpreter. For three nights he voiced my signs to the hearing people as I signed to the Deaf people.

Praise the Lord, it worked! All understood my preaching. It was exciting that 8 deaf people were saved. One was a 91-year-old deaf lady. But Bro. Todd, my voice interpreter, had to return to his church to preach on Sunday. So on Sunday morning, I taught the Deaf Sunday School class and preached only to the Deaf people during church.

Then Pastor Dittmar surprised me and wanted me to preach to both deaf and hearing people without a voice interpreter on Sunday night. He wanted the hearing people to watch my preaching in sign language and better understand the world of the Deaf. I preached very slow and used actions to help the hearing understand. I sign preached to them for 45 minutes. After that, Pastor Dittmar asked the hearing members, “Did you understand what Allen preached?” They answered, “No.” He told them that is how deaf people feel when they are in church without Sign Language. I thank God that we all learned more about both the Deaf and Hearing worlds.

PTL that 8 deaf got saved – AMEN!!!

Deaf need spiritual help… Contact Allen by clicking here.

Glory in the Lord

“He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” – I Corinthians 1:31

“For every one that exalteth (boast – proud) himself shall be abased (brought down); and he that humbleth (modest – meek – gentle) himself shall be exalted (honored).” – Luke 18:4

There is a song, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done!” When Jesus was on this earth, He did many great things for others, but He never did things for Himself. Jesus was humble and served others. He did not brag or boast. I notice some Deaf people brag and boast things they do. They proudly say, “I did…” They have pride and ego problem. Some love to make “selfie” pictures and send to others. We need to follow the example of the Lord in serving and helping others without praise and honor. I am thankful for the many people who have helped me in my times of needs. They wanted to be a blessing and encourage me. Many years ago, I remember Missionary Ronald Henson read my prayer letter that I was in the hospital with a serious injury to my left knee. Ronald Henson visited and volunteered to help me in my time of need. He came because he cared and wanted to be there to help me. He was a servant of the Lord. The Lord honored and blessed him. All glory and honor belongs unto the Lord!

You can also seek to serve others. Do not think of yourself but think of others who need the Lord – others who are sick, or others who have problems. God has done great things for us, and we should give Him all the glory for the great things He has done! When we serve others, we are also serving the Lord. We need to be more thankful and humble as the Lord. The Deaf can be humble and glorify God!

Many Ways to Sign Correctly

Recently, I have found myself telling one particular joke over and over again. “How many interpreters does it take to change a light bulb?” The answer is 100. Only one to change the bulb, but 99 to express other ways it could have been done properly. Signers tend to be very proud of the way they use signs. It seems that every one thinks they sign and interpret the “right” way. All others must be “wrong.”

It is important to form signs accurately (handshape, location, movement, orientation, facial expression) and to use ASL grammar or a signing system that is appropriate to the situation and audience. Signs must be clear and accurate. However, signers must realize that other signers may be able to structure their message differently and still communicate effectively.

An example: Recently I met a Deaf lady who could not open her hands. She signed using her closed hands. All of her signs were formed incorrectly, but I was surprised how clearly she communicated.

Naturally, interpreters should seek to improve their signing skills. We should constantly attend classes and workshops. We should ask other, more skilled interpreters for feedback and mentoring, when appropriate. Experienced and skilled interpreters should ask before providing feedback. It is impossible to teach someone who is unteachable. Seek to help others by developing a safe and friendly situation where feedback, encouragement, support, goodwill and teamwork will make your team work!

Things I Want To Learn From The Deaf

Please keep an open mind and remember that these are my personal opinions about the Deaf in general, not all Deaf.

I want to learn how to think outside the normal ways of reaching Deaf into the ways that will work best in the future. Dr. David Snyder (BIMI) said, “It’s OK to get outside the box, but not outside the book.” It is hard for me to admit it, but I think the computer might be here to stay (smile)! Seriously, the Internet has opened many doors for SWM to reach the Deaf world. I have found that many Deaf I know are far more technologically advanced than I am. They were texting before it was popular with teenagers! Texting is their way of talking to one another. They also have Video Phone, the Tango app on their phone, Purple 3, OOVOO, YouTube, and Skype. If we are going to reach the Deaf in this generation, we will need to think outside the normal methods of doing things. We need to do much more in visual communications and producing written materials. Deaf are visual and love anything that appeals to their world. Paul learned how to reach both Jews and Gentiles. We also need to learn how to reach the Deaf for Christ.

I want to learn how to use facial expressions more to enhance my communication level. I have always been aware of different facial expressions. When I speak or interpret, I look into the eyes of my audience to gauge if they are understanding and agreeing with me. I have noticed that the Deaf use a great deal of facial expressions during a message. Sometimes it is positive, and sometimes it is negative. One thing is for sure … you don’t need to wonder what they are thinking very long. They will let you know! I have also noticed that the more I use facial expressions, the better the Deaf seem to stay engaged in the message. I want to be constantly improving when it comes to my own facial expressions. I want to learn their language so I can reach them for Christ

NEHEMIAH

swnp-126-4-1When you think of the book Nehemiah, think about the prophet Nehemiah and his work rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall.

Whereas Ezra went back to rebuild Jerusalem’s worship, Nehemiah went back to rebuild the city wall. God wanted the Jews to have a place of worship in the Temple, but he also wanted them to have a place of protection inside the wall. Nehemiah had been a servant to the Persian king Artaxerxes, in Shushan. When Nehemiah heard about the condition of Jerusalem, he wept. He was sad that the city wall was still torn down and that the gates were burned. His heart became heavy and his face became sad. King Artaxerxes noticed that Nehemiah was sad and asked what was wrong. Nehemiah told the king that he could not be happy while Jerusalem was destroyed. The king gave Nehemiah permission and money for going back to Jerusalem. Nehemiah went back and rebuilt the wall and security for God’s people.

Think About: “Security”

Security (noun) – the state of being free from fear; protection – “Security” in Nehemiah – Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem as did Ezra the scribe. Ezra focused on rebuilding worship in Jerusalem, and Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall. The Temple signified national worship, while the wall symbolized national security.

Application: The most secure place for God’s child is the center of God’s will. Walk with God and walk securely!

“Be still and know that I am God…”– Psalm 46:10

Summer time is a good time for people to go on vacation and enjoy family time. School is out and the children are home. It is also a wonderful time for families to make memories. I recall many of the times we went on vacation as a family when I was growing up. Some memories are good and funny, but others are not as enjoyable.

We are still trying to make memories with our family today, even though they are married and living in different areas. By God’s grace and His working, we were able to go to a friend’s house in Utah for one week. All nine grandchildren and their parents were under one roof! Wow! What a blessed week! What a busy week! But, Oh so wonderful!

The only time the house was quiet from laughter, cries, screams, cooing, or the pattering of tiny feet was late at night or early in the morning. I daily woke up to the sun shining on the mountains outside our window and sneaked downstairs to read my Bible. It was a daily time that I needed to rejoice in the Lord and His goodness to me… to us. A few times I would have one or two little girls following me. What precious times we had together, in the quietness of the morning.

Another time I remember reflecting on our God was one afternoon on a ski-lift ride. We had all gone together to ride over a mountain and then go for a hike. We were all still in our seats and saw the beauty of the handiwork of God. We were all still and knew and saw that God is God! Even in the busyness of our lives, God is God! Never forget that He is very near! He is working daily. We need to take time to stand still and see His hand everywhere.

Evidence of His working is all around us if we look for it! Amen!

Doorknobs and Pleasing God

Have you ever thought about the many uses of doorknobs? Today I glanced at a doorknob and began to wonder what uses I could find for it. I checked out Pinterest and other websites and found all kinds of uses. They showed how to take old doorknobs, especially glass ones, of various sizes and use them to make small flower vases, tie-backs for curtains, curtain rods, drawer knobs, garden stakes for decoration or as a garden hose guide, and decorative jar lids. Other suggestions included towel hooks or coat racks, finials for your lamp, candlestick holders, feet or handles for serving dishes, a ceiling fan pull, and a message holder. And of course, they can be used for hanging just about anything – especially purses, ties, pictures, jewelry, and clothing. Ted Camp says, “Who needs hangers when you have doorknobs and bedposts?” Doorknobs can come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be made of different materials and be used for a multitude of purposes. But it is clear that doorknobs have one main purpose – to open or close a door.

People are like that, too. We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We all have different jobs and responsibilities at home and in the workplace. We speak different languages, wear different clothes, eat different foods, have different colors of hair, come from different backgrounds and cultures, and have different likes and dislikes. We function differently, yet we all have one main purpose. Revelation 4:11 says, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” He is pleased when we live by faith (Hebrews 11:6), when we serve in church using the spiritual gifts He has given us (Romans 12:18), when we sing praise to Him (Psalm 147:1), when we preach Christ (I Corinthians 1:21), when we live with an upright (doing right) heart (I Chronicles 29:17), when we fear (reverence) Him and hope (patiently wait) for His mercy (Psalm 147:11), when we pray (Proverbs 15:8), and so much more. God created you to bring Him pleasure. Decide daily to live to please the Lord.

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