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How do the people most resistant to the transformative power of the gospel come to be its most devoted followers? Miraculous Movement recounts an amazing change taking place within Muslim communities where the truth of Jesus Christ is turning around the lives of many thousands of Muslims from more than twenty people groups. Discover through the sometimes humorous, often sobering, but always enlightening and encouraging true stories how imams, sheikhs, and entire mosques are forsaking Islam and embracing Christ.
This close look at what the Lord is doing to spread the gospel highlights the key scriptural principles that help Christians reach out in love to share the gospel in their own community. The authors outline the principle of service to others that open doors of opportunity to the work of the gospel.
Author Jerry Trousdale works with CityTeam Ministries, an organization dedicated to helping disciples make disciples through CityTeam's own ministry and through training other ministries in more than thirty countries.
- Outlines important principles on how to share the gospel with non-Christians
- Explains how ordinary people can lead neighbors to Christ in love and humility
- Tells many exciting and encouraging stories of Muslims who have accepted Jesus
- Describes CityTeam's unique program focused on God's work through disciple-making movements, a strategy that harnesses the power of disciples making disciples and churches planting churches
Appendix 1, which includes a list of studies for non-Christians, is available in the audiobook companion PDF download.
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Read an Excerpt
MIRACULOUS MOVEMENTSHow Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus
By JERRY TROUSDALE
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 CityTeam
All right reserved.
You must come back to this area! A tidal wave has come! Muslims are coming to Christ in a flood. Come and help us.
—plea from a former regional Muslim leader who had become a church planter
THE SHEIKH'S DREAM
Sheikh Hanif's dream was very curious indeed, both overwhelming and hopeful. It was not at all like the frightening and troubling nightmares that he had sometimes known. No, this was very different, and there was little time to reflect on this dream. It required immediate action because, according to the dream, something important would happen today, something that required him to be in place before first light.
Hanif was a seasoned Muslim leader. Like his father before him, he had studied the Qur'an for years. One of Hanif's superiors had observed Hanif's people skills, which had resulted in his being recruited to organize Muslim communities and launch new mosques. For eight years, he had done this with excellence. For his community, Hanif was the voice and character of Islam, a decent man who represented what it meant to be a good Muslim.
But there was one thing that no one else could ever know. Hanif's commitment to Islam was genuine, but there was a deep void in his soul that Islam had never really satisfied. He longed for certainty regarding his status with God. He struggled to find answers or reasons for the violence inside his Islamic world. He grieved at the lack of compassion for suffering people. And he recognized that his religion did not allow him or the people he led to make choices for themselves, nor did it give them satisfying answers for the huge struggles of life. But this night, Hanif had awakened in the dark hours with a new hope burning inside: perhaps he was about to learn the answers to these questions!
It had been a dream like no other dream. In it, Hanif had encountered a very handsome and graceful man. The man addressed him by name, simply saying that he wanted Hanif to serve Him. But then came a warning: Hanif must learn to listen to Him, the man said. Surprised and shaken, Hanif asked, "Who are you?"
"I am Isa al Masih [the Qur'anic term for Jesus the Messiah]," the man answered, "and if you obey me, you will succeed in what you have longed for in your life."
"What should I do?" Hanif asked.
Jesus showed him a tree standing alone atop a hill, a very busy road running beneath its branches. Hanif recognized the place, for it was well known to him and not too far from his home. Jesus then showed him the face of a man and said, "Go now, and wait under the tree by the road. Look for this man, for he is my servant. You will recognize him when you see him. Find him, for he will show you the true answers to all your questions about God."
Hanif awoke from his dream, pondering his encounter with Jesus, still seeing the face of the man he was commanded to meet. He must not forget that face! In the press of crowds, he might only have a second to make the connection. Within an hour, the first glowing of the East African sky would begin, and the designated road would quickly fill with carts, livestock, and thousands of people with their loads, sometimes overflowing the road space beyond its shoulders and ditches. Finding the man in the midst of this chaos would be a genuine challenge.
Hanif dressed quickly and quietly, not bothering to pack food or water in his haste. He would have to try to outrun the sun to the exact place he was told to be so that he could be there to examine the face of every passing person. Hanif dared not tell his wife about this assignment. She might think that he was under a spell or becoming unstable. Or worse, she might even betray his intentions to the local Islamic council. And even if she was sympathetic, how could he explain that he was looking for a stranger who was being sent to answer all his important questions, deep questions that had tormented his soul?
How many years had he prayed daily, asking God seventeen times a day to show him the right way? But until this dream was given to him, he had feared that he would die without ever experiencing the right way of true peace and certainty. Of course, he had kept all the requirements of Islam—devotion to the Qur'an, leading the daily prayers—yet still he had no assurance of paradise, no enduring "salaam" (peace) inside. How many times over the years had he grieved when trusting Muslims asked him for help with the same issues he struggled with, or came asking how to find unity and love in broken families? How humiliating it was to give them the same answers of "more sharia" that had left him empty for years.
Hanif made his way to the appointed tree, sat down at its base, and waited. He waited and he watched; he sat and he scanned, searching every passing face. From time to time, a thrill would shoot up his spine: "That's him! It's ... no ... not him." Time passed and people passed, and still Hanif waited.
In the late afternoon, several miles away, a man named Wafi was wondering if he would finally have a chance to get some sleep when he returned home the next morning. It had already been a full day, and there was still another hour of walking to get to the secluded place selected for this week's all-night prayer meeting. Thankfully, the sunset winds so common in this part of Africa refreshed him and his companions. Today had been a good day, traveling on foot with the two promising young leaders whom he was currently mentoring, visiting new Christ followers in their homes. There was no better way of making disciples than this.
Wafi had developed an ability to find the people whom God had prepared and positioned to become bridges for bringing the good news of Jesus into a new town. For those who had the privilege of spending time with him, Wafi could always be counted on to model and mentor the disciplines of prayer, the processes for finding those "bridges" into a community, or the patience of overcoming trials. For Wafi, sharing, teaching, walking, praying, and enduring together were how Jesus discipled the Twelve, and it was the only way he knew to do the same.
Curiously, Wafi had recently had a strange dream, in which God had said to him, "I will give you a sheikh!" Wafi understood the dream to mean that God might have a plan to use him to disciple a shiekh who would perhaps become a bridge for taking the gospel to other Muslim leaders. But Wafi would have to wait to find out. That dream, however, was not in his mind as he and his two friends walked along the darkening road.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Hanif, still at his appointed place, was beginning to despair. He had not imagined that his dream-imparted task would take more than twelve hours of scanning innumerable faces, until the last light was growing dim in the western sky, matching his own fading hope. Then, in near darkness, there came a few more people on the now almost-empty road. He could barely discern three figures as the distance closed between them. And then, the one in the middle ... yes! It was the face for which he waited!
It took a few minutes for the excited sheikh to convince Wafi that he meant him no harm, in spite of the intensity of his greeting. "My friend, understand! It is Isa al Masih himself that requires you to answer my questions tonight." This seemed to Wafi like a heavy burden, to be met unexpectedly by a stranger and told, "You must answer all my questions ... tonight!" But the man was unwilling to meet at a later date; he had waited all day—actually, many years—for answers to life-and-death questions, and he was not inclined to wait any longer. And Wafi could not pass up the chance to share the good news of Christ with this man who was so hungry to hear. (Strangely, it was not until much later that he made the connection between Hanif and his dream of God sending him an influential sheikh.)
Finally, Wafi suggested that they go quietly to Hanif's house where they could have privacy to talk more in depth. There they found a stunned wife who understandably had more than a few concerns about what was happening in her family. But within days, she and her husband had both experienced what true freedom in Jesus Christ means, especially for those who had lived for so long with dark uncertainty and discouragement.
* * *
Since that time, Hanif has been well discipled in God's Word, and in turn he has discipled two new leaders who are now planting churches in another area of his country. He has also felt the Lord calling him to an even more challenging Muslim area, where he has planted seven churches. And he loves to tell this story with much joy.
The very good news is that every day, hundreds of stories like Hanif's are happening throughout the Muslim world. In the coming chapters, you will meet many remarkable men and women whom God is using to begin to change the Muslim world. Meeting these men and women of faith helps to move us beyond the narratives of Islam that have been shaped by yesterday's history and today's headlines, to discover that the God of love and grace is writing a new story of Islam in our lifetimes. Welcome to the heroes and heroines of God's Story, the ordinary men and women living in challenging places, praying much, and often with limited physical resources, but in God's power achieving the extraordinary.
MIRACULOUS MOVEMENTS SPREADING ACROSS THE MUSLIM WORLD
For hundreds of ministries serving Muslim populations worldwide, the story of Sheik Hanif is not all that unusual. Gathered reports from different organizations serving the Muslim world suggest that there may be a million or more people turning from Islam to Jesus every year. Whatever the global numbers, there is no doubt that God is creating a remarkable and unprecedented momentum of ministry in some of the least expected places in the Islamic world, a ministry that looks a lot like a continuation of the book of Acts.
In our own ministry context, "unprecedented" is used to describe the following:
* multiple cases of entire mosques coming to faith;
* thousands of ordinary men and women being used by God to achieve seemingly impossible outcomes;
* tens of thousands of Muslim background Christians becoming dedicated intercessors who fast and pray for the gospel to penetrate the next community;
* Muslim people groups that never had even one church among them now have more than fifty churches planted, and in some cases more than one hundred churches—within two years of engagement; and
* former sheikhs, imams, and militant Islamists making up 20 percent or more of the new Christian leaders in Muslim regions.
And God's unprecedented work in the Muslim world has been bringing to light some thrilling and truly unprecedented stories, such as:
* two disciple makers refused to give up on a town that had martyred five Christians, and within a few years there were seven churches in that community;
* in one country, upon observing the dramatic, positive transformations happening in the newly Christian families and clans of their neighboring towns, Muslim leaders in more than twenty different Muslim communities began seeking for someone to come and share the same stories that had changed their neighbors' lives (biblical accounts told in story form, beginning with creation and working through Scripture to Christ); and
* a former Muslim who bombed churches now spends his life praying for Muslim neighbors, engaging them with genuine compassion, making disciples, and planting churches.
A WIDOW, A BLIND MAN, AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
A year after Sheikh Hanif and Wafi met—and a few thousand kilometers away—a man named Zamil stumbled into a taxi and rode away. He stumbled because he had tripped on the curb, and he had tripped on the curb because he was blind. More specifically, he had recently become blind and was still struggling to compensate for his loss of vision as he navigated his way with his stick, learning the art of traversing unseen terrain by feel rather than sight.
Within a few hours, a woman named Nadirah was mobilizing her community to search for the missing blind man. She was called "Mama Nadirah" by those who knew her well, a term both of endearment and deep respect, and she felt personally responsible for Zamil's well-being. But now he had disappeared.
By any measure, Mama Nadirah was an extraordinary woman. She had grown up in a Muslim home where she was grounded in the Qur'an and the rituals of devotion that were common training in the Muslim families of her city. Unfortunately, that background did not include a chance for girls to have any formal education, and Nadirah never had the opportunity to learn to read or write. But that challenge did not diminish Nadirah's clear conviction that her life was blessed by God. She knew that God's hand had been upon her from an early age. God's hand had brought her together with a Christian man named Charles, leading her to a happy marriage and family and to exposure to Jesus the Messiah. Sadly, after many years of marriage and raising a family, when their children were grown and beginning to leave home, Charles died. Yet Nadirah quickly discovered that, even in her sorrow, she was not alone; she found that she had the Holy Spirit of God to guide and strengthen her, and she also discovered the power of prayer.
Never one to sit and feel sorry for herself, she decided that, since she could not read God's Word, she would have someone else read it to her and she would memorize it, word for word. And this she did with comprehensive skill, memorizing the Bible so thoroughly that people were frequently amazed to learn that she had never read the Bible for herself. But perhaps most important was the ministry that God developed through her willing heart, a ministry of prayer and loving-kindness to those in need. Eventually, her son Joseph introduced her to the biblical principles of Disciple Making Movements, and she realized that God could use ordinary people like herself to make disciples and even to plant churches. This was revolutionary news!
Over time, Nadirah began to pray with a new level of faith, and then with fervent prayer, prayer with fasting, and even all-night prayers. She lived to pray and to introduce her friends to a life in the presence of God, coaching and mentoring them in the process. Despite the disadvantage of not being lettered, Nadirah took all the training she could get in prayer, disciple making, and church planting, and she excelled. She opened her home and her heart to anyone who came in need of prayer, healing, counsel, friendship, or simply a hot meal.
Before long, the Lord had given her a whole new family of people, young and old, who came to stay in her home. They included those seeking a safe place for a season, others who had suffered tragedy, still others who were desperate to find the truth about the God of creation. These and many more would come to visit her and would end up staying, some for a day, some for a month, but all remaining until they received what God had provided for them there.
This was how Nadirah had met Zamil. He had been a very successful businessman in his city, employing many people and becoming influential in civic affairs, noted in his city for the enthusiasm and zeal that he brought to every business deal. He also was a respected leader at his mosque—not a sheikh, but an important lay leader whose opinions influenced many Muslims. One night, Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah) appeared to Zamil in a dream and told him that He (Jesus) was the Light of the World. Ironically, Zamil awoke to the horrible realization that he could no longer see.
Over the course of time, Zamil came in contact with some Christians who took him to a prayer camp, a gathering of Christ followers who had dedicated five evenings to learning how to pray, and whose approach was to learn it by doing it. The believers prayed for Zamil, but his sight did not return. Instead, two things happened that Zamil later came to value more than his eyesight: he gave his life to Jesus Christ, and he met Mama Nadirah, who was the organizer of the prayer camp.
When Zamil's family learned that he had become a Christian, the response was immediate. He was cast out of the family. His wife abandoned him. His home was lost. His personal possessions were thrown out. But he did not waver in his decision to follow Jesus, the Light of the World.
Excerpted from MIRACULOUS MOVEMENTS by JERRY TROUSDALE Copyright © 2012 by CityTeam. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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