99. Behold I Will Do Something New – Dave Lawton

We hear Dave’s latest sermon at Crossway Baptist Church in Melbourne. He draws from familiar themes and stories from those like Wilson and Roy Moran that we have heard recently in this podcast. Get ready to reproduce and multiply as a disciple maker.

God doing a new thing – do we perceive it?

Be inspired as you hear how God is doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19; Mark 1:15). Dave describes how God’s kingdom is advancing today among the poor, prisoner, blind and oppressed (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19). It’s happening in some of the darkest and hardest of places around the world. 

Movements – a turning point in modern missions

Dave reflects on a turning point in modern missions when he first heard of a few movements in some of the most unreached of places in the 90s. This ripple in the pond of global mission has now turned into a wave representing 1,965 movements, 114 million new disciples and 8 million new churches. And it will become what Dave sees as a tsunami in our day.

“But it can’t happen here”

Where movement is now happening, the term “it can’t happen here” was repeated again and again. But in places like North India that were once termed ‘the graveyards of mission’, movements have emerged and are exploding. We can also be tempted to think God can’t move in our context today. 

Stories from Africa 

Workers in North Africa once echoed the same phrase in the 2000s – “It can happen in India but it can’t happen here”. After capturing some key movement principles* from India, these same people persevered and finally discovered one Somalian person of peace in their sixteenth year of work. 40 people were baptised that year and as a result the first church was born. Today, fifteen years later, we now see over 20,000 churches emerging in Somalia. Over 30 generations deep.

Dave shares Wilson’s movement story again. One that saw 11 disciples from the dark and broken places of Kampala, Uganda multiply to 5680 churches. 

*Some of the principles these African workers learned from movements in places like India include:

  • Prayer
  • Disciple making
  • Involving everyone from day one in the movement of God
  • People of peace
  • Discovery bible studies
  • Multiplication (God’s idea from the very beginning – Genesis 1:26-28; also see Habakkuk 2:14)

Why not Australia? 

Wilson says to us in Australia, 

“Its easy. Simply obey Jesus. Anyone can do that.” 

We can either join the “it can’t happen here” brigade or activate our faith and become disciples that multiply and make other disciples.

Fulfilling the Great Commission by having spiritual grandchildren 

Dave shares one last moving story of one of his own disciples from India showing him photos of his ‘spiritual grandchildren’. This included a picture of a Nepalese ex-prostitute who encountered Jesus and is now the leader of a church in the slums of Mumbai helping those around her disciple others who disciple others. Dave says to us,

“If she can do that, you and I can do that”.

Movements are filled with ordinary people who have learnt Jesus’ secret of making disciples. They have at their core the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Dave highlights how this is a universal call to all of us as the church since the command finishes with Jesus saying, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. So this includes us today. Dave urges us saying,

We can’t just sit in the pews, or 4 million people would go to hell.

Just as we are made to have families in the natural, so are we called to have spiritual children and grandchildren. Dave asks us, 

“Have we wrestled in the same way with scriptural bareness as we do with natural bareness?”

God’s song for the church in the West

Dave finishes by encouraging us with a prophetic word – God’s song for the church in the west: 

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;

break forth into singing and cry aloud,

you who have not been in labor!

For the children of the desolate one will be more

than the children of her who is married.

Enlarge the place of your tent,

and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;

do not hold back; lengthen your cords

and strengthen your stakes. 

For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,

and your offspring will possess the nations

and will people the desolate cities.”

(Isaiah 54:1-3)