We Are A Mission Field

We are a Mission Field!
By Dave Earley

I have found that many of us fail to realize that even though Las Vegas, or New England, or Utah are in the United States that they still are a legitimate mission field.

A few years ago, I was consulting with a church that proudly gave $4 billion dollars a year to “missions.” That is awesome! At the time, they were raising additional $100,000 for a ministry in the Philippines, which is 12.3 % evangelical Protestant. 2 Yet, at the same time they steadfastly and absolutely resisted the notion of doing anything whatsoever to help reach a city that has recently become less that 4% evangelical even though it was just an hour away.

Why? Because it was in the United States! In their minds, real evangelism and missions only happen outside of the United States.

Compared to other popular missionary fields, many parts of America are legitimate missions fields.1 For example, look at the chart below:

NATION or STATE % of Evangelical Christians
Kenya 49%
Uganda 37%
Nigeria 31%
Nicaragua 30%
Brazil 27%
New Guinea 26%
Guatemala 24%
Costa Rica 14%
The Philippines1 12%
Nevada 5%
Maine, New York 3%
Connecticut , Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont3 2%

 Storrey County in Nevada has 0 Evangelical Christians out of the 3,399 people who live there! 3 There are several such 0% Evangelical counties in Alaska, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah.

While the Las Vegas metro area is pegged at 5% Evangelical Protestant, that number drops significantly inside the city limits. For example in the two zip codes we target at Grace City, the total population is 122,000. However, the total Easter Sunday attendance in an Evangelical Christian (non-Catholic, Mormon, New Age or JW) “church” was less than 2,000. That is 1.6%!

That makes the main areas where Grace City serves an unreached people group!

Beyond that, Las Vegas ranks third in the nation for number of immigrants moving in each year. 33% of the students in our schools speak a language other than English in their homes.

Please understand that I am all for supporting qualified ministries in other countries. The Great Commission calls for every Christian and church to reach out in their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.  I love “cross cultural missions.” I served for several years on the board of an international missions agency focused on the least reached peoples of the world – Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.

We must recognize that the 10/40 window has horrifyingly low rates of Evangelicals. Europe has become post-Christian. There are still nearly 2 billion unreached peoples in the world. Also, many majority world nations have severe financial, and social needs that need our help (Cathy and I gladly support several orphans in Kenya).

But please do not think that just because somewhere is outside of the United States that it is automatically a more legit mission field than some of the places in the US. That is just not true.

As our church is now one and a half years old, some of our partners have begun decreasing or dropping their financial support. Currently we are asking all of our financial partners to consider moving us from church planter status to missionary status.

Yes, we are a “church plant,” but we have also opened Grace City Flamingo Outreach Center. We are serving 5-10 families a day with individualized ministry of food, clothes, prayer, and counseling. And it is working. Plus most of the “staff” of that ministry are primarily ex-addicts!

Beyond that, we run a daily House of Prayer for the city of Las Vegas and we have a strong School of Ministry that is constantly training people for lives as fulltime Christian servants. Also, the worship service we recently started at Grace City Flamingo has been averaging 75 in weekly attendance.

If you aren’t already, please consider supporting Grace City Vegas as a missionary partner.

Notes:

  1. http://www.operationworld.org/hidden/evangelical-population
  2. http://www.operationworld.org/country/phil/owtext.html
  3. Association of Religious Archives.
  4. 2% evangelical or less qualifies as an unreached people group.
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Would You Rather

WOULD YOU RATHER…?
By Dave Earley

Would you rather be handed one hundred dollars every day for a year or be given 1 penny that doubles every day for one month?


I remember being a boy in school when a teacher asked us this question. The answer seemed obvious- adding a hundred dollars every day for a year had to be better than multiplying pennies for only a month.  So I choose the hundred dollars daily for a year, as did almost all of the other kids. $100.00 every day for a year is a good deal. After a year you would have over $36,000. Sounded good to me!

Did I make the right choice? If you doubled pennies every day for a month how many would you have?


Never Underestimate the Power of Multiplication

The teacher also had us to get a piece of paper and begin the doubling process. Day One: 1 penny; Day Two: 2 pennies; Day Three: $.04; Day Five: $.08; Day Ten: $5.12; Day fifteen: $163.84 … No big deal.

But then the immense power of multiplication began to become evident. Day 21: $10,485.76; Day 22: $20,971.54; Day 23: $41,943.04! Twenty-three days of pennies had surpassed a year’s worth of hundred dollars bills! Wow!

Then it got crazy – $83,886.08!  $167,772.161 $335, 544. 32!
On Day 28 it passed a million. Day 30 the grand total was $5,368,709.12!!!!

Jesus Commanded Us to Multiply

A weeks after Jesus rose from the dead and few days before Jesus ascended into glory, He gave His disciples some final instructions. These words were and still are of utmost significance because they are the last words Jesus ever said to His followers. As His last words, they eloquently express His greatest passion and top priority.

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The command to make disciples is the command to intentionally multiply the life of Christ in you, into others. Teaching them to obey everything He commanded includes teaching them to obey this command as well – the command to make disciples who in turn make disciples. This ensures perpetual and ever expanding multiplication.

Jesus was a Multiplier

Jesus changed the world. How did a poor carpenter from a forsaken, enslaved nation change the history of the world? He used the power of multiplication.

Jesus’ method of reaching the whole world with the gospel of the kingdom was It was through the simple process of multiplication. He called twelve men to be trained to become multipliers (Mark 1:16-20).

The core of Jesus ministry was not Television, radio, or huge gatherings.  No. It consisted of training a handful of Jewish men so He could reach an entire world of Greeks, Romans, Asians, Germans, Indians, Arabs, Latinos, Russians, and Americans.

The training of the twelve was the primary global ministry strategy of Jesus Christ.

He knew He would have to leave. He also knew one of His disciples would fail, but He never wavered from His plan. His plan hinged on eleven trained disciple-makers. His plan to reach the whole world, over and over, generation after generation was that simple.

Jesus left His disciples when He ascended into heaven. Yet, His ministry has grown and multiplied many times over because He left behind multiplying leaders.

Within days after Jesus left, His eleven disciple-makers and the seventy other disciples were ready to handle a harvest of three thousand new converts in a citywide network of house churches (Acts 4:41-47). Later, when the Jerusalem church was persecuted and the church scattered, their disciples went everywhere preaching the gospel (Acts 8:1,4) and churches such as the one in Antioch were born (Acts 11:19f).

You Can Do It!

I started intentionally multiplying when I was 19 years old. I found a couple of guys a step behind me in the journey and invited them to meet with me regularly to read the Bible and pray together. Within a year, all of those guys began to make their own disciples.  I have been meeting with, mentoring, and multiplying small handfuls of guys ever since.

Recently, I counted and over the years I have personally spent intentional, strategic time mentoring over 40 of the young guys who have become multiplying pastors, church planters, or fulltime missionaries. Through them, my ministry has been multiplied forty timesPlus, they have mentored and multiplied their own small groups of guys, making my gospel impact spread into the lives of thousands of people. Wow! 

For example, twenty-nine years ago, I began meeting with Claude Davis on Tuesday mornings when we were both in our mid-twenties. Eventually, Claude became a staff pastor at New Life Church. Today he and his wife Ginny are launching a new church in Whitehall Ohio.

I am currently meeting with three groups of young guys headed to become pastors, church planters, and missionaries. It may be the most important thing I do every week.

MULTIPLY!

Ask God to give you someone to meet with regularly in order to intentionally pour your life into.
Start now!

You can do it!

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THE BOOK OF ACTS IS REAL

THE BOOK OF ACTS IS REAL!
OUTREACH WEEK AT UNLV

By Dave Earley

After our Jericho Week of Prayer on the campus of UNLV we focused on outreach. This past week was the first week of classes at UNLV. As an official university club, Grace City UNLV is given access to share freely with students in the Free Speech Zone.

Positioned beside the Legalize Marijuana tent we set up three stations. One Grace City UNLV tent had a table with the snow cone machine. It was very popular.  Another tent had several Waldo-ish Campus Guides. The third station gave students a chance to sit down and be complimented.




Hundreds of students were served and given info about our on campus Bible Studies. Also several were saved and healed.

One student named David is Jewish. On his first day in the compliment chair, Graham discussed the differences between Christianity and Judaism with him. They read Isiah 53 together. The next day he came back limping after having hurt his ankle the night before. He said that he wanted to see if the book of Acts was real. Find out what happened at https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10203379111092532)

It Happened Before

2,000 years ago, Peter and John were going to the temple to pray and encountered a lame man on the way. The guy was begging for money,

Acts 3:6-8  But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.

Everyone knew this guy because he had sat in the center of town for years begging and now he is healed.
Acts 3:12 When Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Or why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness? …16 By faith in His [Jesus] name, His name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Him has given him this perfect health in front of all of you.

Then Peter went on and preached the gospel to the large crowd.

Acts 4:4 But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.

God Has Not Changed
The same God who healed and saved this man 2,000 years ago, can save and heal people today.

He is.

May God’s work grow and multiply here until Las Vegas is as saturated with Jesus as Jerusalem was 2,000 years ago when thousands became Christ followers!

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Prayer Key To Awakening

Prayer: Key to Awakening
By Dave Earley

The first major revival in America occurred in the 1730’s – 1740’s. It is now called the Great Awakening as godly repentance and true conversion swept through the colonies transforming society and revitalizing Christianity. In the early years of the divine outpouring, an estimated 50,000 people were converted out of a New England population of 250,000 (20%) As God’s work continued the number of Baptist churches grew from 9 to 400. Other denominations also experienced growth and multiplication.
America in Need of Revival

America in the 1730’s was in dire need of God. Gambling, drunkenness and sexual immorality were spreading especially among young adults. Churches were floundering were many unconverted members. Spiritual impotence was such that one pastor remarked that “religion lay as it were dying, and ready to expire its last breathe of life.”

Revival Begins
In 1729, a twenty-six year old pastor named Jonathan Edwards took over from his grandfather the role as sole pastor of the North Hampton Church. It was one of the largest and wealthiest churches in colonies. Because of a lack of land in the area, many of young adults could not marry and start a family. They were wasting their time late at night drinking and in sexually immoral behavior.

A few in the church were fervently praying for a spiritual break-through and an out-pouring. Edwards began to preach against the sin and the nature of divine judgment in the face of resistance by his flock.

In 1734, Edwards began to preach the gospel clearly in a series of sermons on “justification by faith alone.” After two young adults died unexpectedly, his words finally were received and six young adults were converted including a young lady known as the worst sexual offender. Her changed life became the talk of the town. Within six months, 300 of the 1,100 people in town were converted (25% of the population).

When Edwards wrote of the events in his book, “A Faithful Narrative of Surprising Conversion (1737).”  He said, “The town seemed to be full of the presence of God.” He also said, “Our public assemblies were beautiful, the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on public worship.”

The revival spread through-out New England. As the revival began to cool, George Whitefield, one of the leaders of the Great Awakening in England, came to America to preach in 1739. He and Edwards joined together and revival renewed, grew and spread through all the colonies as thousands more were converted.

Prayer: The Key to Revival

Later, Edwards began to tell others of the great importance prayer plays in revival.  In 1743 he published Thoughts on the Revival in New England. In it he said,

“It is God’s will through His wonderful grace, that the prayers of His saints should be one of the great principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s kingdom in the world.

When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people; as is manifest by Ezekiel 36:37.

And it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for His church, He will begin by remarkably pouring out the spirit of grace and supplication (see Zechariah 12:10).”  – Jonathan Edwards

In 1746, Edwards began to sense that the extraordinary power and momentum of the First Great Awakening was beginning to wane. He knew that Christians needed to urgently pray. So he took it on himself to write a call to united prayer. The title of the booklet says it all, A Humble Attempt to Promote the Agreement and Union of God’s People throughout the World in Extraordinary Prayer For a Revival Of Religion And The Advancement Of God’s Kingdom On Earth, According To Scriptural Promises And Prophecies Of The Last Time (Jonathan Edwards 1746). The title says it all!

In it he stated, “That which God abundantly makes the subject of his promises, God’s people should abundantly make the subject of their prayers.”  He also said, “There is no way that Christians, in a private capacity, can do so much to promote the work of God and advance the kingdom of Christ as by prayer.”

In the 18th century, America experienced a great spiritual awakening that brought in a huge harvest of souls as a result of united prayer for revival and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

We can’t we see the same? Why don’t we put revival atop our prayer lists?

It happened before, it can happen again!

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JERICHO

JERICHO!!!
By Dave Earley

Twenty-five years ago, I was flying into Israel on Israel’s premiere airline (EL AL – to the Skies”). As we approached Israel, I was very pleased that the airline’s radio played an exciting historical event for tourists – the account of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.

You remember the story, God gave Joshua a big challenge – cross the Jordan river at flood stage and capture the Promised Land beginning at the impregnable city of Jericho.

God also gave Joshua an unusual battle plan,
1. Being led by the Ark of the Covenant, they were to march around the city once a day for six days.

2. March around the city seven times on the seventh day.

 

3. After the marches are complete, the priests were to blast their trumpets and all the people were to shout together.
As you know, after all of the marching, trumpeting and shouting, the walls fell down and the Israelis stormed the city and won a great victory! Yeah God!

I don’t think the marching or the yelling was what knocked the walls down. God simply did a miracle in response to the faith of the people.

Jericho Week at Grace City

            UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) is our Jericho.  The large urban university (29,000 students) is one of the least reached campuses in the US. Built around a Mormon (LDS) “church” and Institute of Religion Student Center, the campus has historically been very resistant to Christian groups. Campus Crusade has recently given up, the Southern Baptist group did not number more than a handful last year, and the largest Christian group (Inter-Varsity) has about 30 students.

            As a predominantly commuter school, the hub of campus life at UNLV is the Student Union. For us, the Student Union and the free-speech green space north of it will serve as our base of ministry. We plan to re-launch several of our student Bible studies there in two weeks.

We believe that no Christian ministry will succeed at UNLV without first winning the battle in the spiritual before attempting to do ministry. Therefore, we have planned what we call JERICHO WEEK with prayer centered in and around the Student Union of UNLV.

                                     

This year we will enact a three-part strategy.

  1. Faith Walking: Joshua 1:1-3 The Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses…  I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses.

God promised to give them every place where they stepped. We are going to walk around the Student Union the Library and the main courtyard believing God will advance his kingdom and give us revival and a harvest souls in this place.

  1. Faith Stepping: Joshua 3:15-17 As soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge 16 and the water flowing downstream stood still… The priests carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

Joshua 4:24 This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.”

Joshua 5:1 When all the Amorite kings across the Jordan to the west and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, they lost heart and their courage failed because of the Israelites.

When they stepped into the flood waters by faith, God did a great miracle that grew their faith, silenced their enemies and testified to the world. We are going to believe that God will do such a miracle on campus this year that it will build our faith, discourage our enemies and tell the world God is alive!

  1. Faith Proclaiming Joshua 6:5 When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.”

When they blew the horns and shouted, the walls came down. During Jericho Week, we will hold our house of prayer on campus in the student union from 9 AM-12 noon Monday through Thursday and also in the evenings. We will worship pray and intercede in the student union. We also intend to spend some time in the heart of the campus proclaiming the greatness of God. We are going to read some of the greatest hymns of praise recorded in the book of Revelation.

OUTREACH WEEK
Jericho Week leads us into a week of outreach on the campus of UNLV. We will have various outreach events including a large block party going on campus.

Please pray with us and for us for a great break-though this year at UNLV and in Las Vegas.

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PRAYER SUMMITS

PRAYER SUMMITS
By Dave Earley

James Edwin Orr, considered the foremost authority on revival, has stated, “When God is about to do something new with His people, He always sets them to praying.”  Dr. A. T. Pierson stated, “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.”

Tired of the status quo. Hungry for more. Pastors’ and church leaders are showing a new zeal to seek God in united prayer. Last week, along with Kevin White, the Executive Director of the Nevada Baptist Convention, I led Pastors Prayer Summits across the state of Nevada.


On three separate days we saw God powerfully move on the hearts of pastors in Las Vegas, Reno, and Central Nevada.

I felt the sessions in Central Nevada were especially powerful and necessary. The spiritual hunger was evident as the pastors travelled at least an hour and almost all of them drove over two hours to be there.

I am also encouraged because the session in Nevada were not the only such meetings I have been asked to lead this year. In January, I also led a Day of Prayer for 50-60 pastors of the various congregations of Transformation Ministries. Based in the western part of the United States, Transformation is a partnership of likeminded Baptist churches who work together to see growing pastors, healthy churches and communities reached through church planting.

Besides that, I got to spend parts of two days challenging the top leaders of the global mission agency ABWE in the areas of prayer and spiritual leadership.  ABWE (American Baptists for World Evangelism) is a strong global force with 1,000 fulltime missionaries. It is now under the leadership of our longtime friend Jim O’Neill.

I am further encouraged because Pastors Prayer summits are springing up around the nation. I have already been invited to speak at a large one in Virginia this winter.

Recent happenings in the Middle East and the steep moral decline of our nation, demands a response. So let’s begin to cry out to God together for revival. We have tried everything else to no last avail. Now is the time to turn to God like never before.

  • Psalms 85:6  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
  • Psalms 80:18-19 . . . revive us, and we will call on your name.  Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
  • Habakkuk 3:2  LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

 

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PRAYER KEY TO REVIVAL

PRAYER: KEY TO REVIVAL
By Dave Earley

“Every time in the history of the church revival has come, it has followed extensive prayer and seeking of God’s face by some of His children.” – Wesley Duewel.

Grace City strives to be more than just a church plant and even more than a church planting movement. We hope to do our part to help catalyze a revival that awakens churches and results in mass evangelism across the United States.
It has a happened before and it can happen again.

During an 18 month period from September 1857 to early 1859 it was estimated that 1/15 of the population or 2 million people were saved. That’s 10,000 new converts joining the church in America each week. The Washington National Intelligencer reported that in many New England towns not a single unconverted person could be found.  (Today the US population is 310 million and 1/15 converted would be 20 million!)

This revival had no special organization, no human promoter, and no set structure.
It has been written that, “A canopy of holy and awesome revival influence – in reality the presence of the Holy Spirit – seemed to hang like an invisible cloud over many parts of the United States, especially over the eastern seaboard. Those approaching the East Coast [of America] felt a solemn, holy influence, even one hundred miles away, without knowing what was happening in America.
Revival began on board one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and a sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them and they began to pray. As they neared the harbor the captain sent this message, “Send a minister.”

Another boat arrived in port with every member of the crew having given their heart to Christ as they neared the coast. Ship after ship told the same story, both passengers and crew came under conviction and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast.”
The same powerful work of God was felt in shops, fields and factories. Charles Finney wrote, “A divine influence seemed to pervade the whole land.”

It was not a revival of preaching but a revival of prayer.
Finney wrote, “I recollect in one of our meetings in Boston that winter a gentleman arose and said, I am from Omaha, Nebraska. On my journey east I have found a continuous prayer meeting about two thousand miles in extent.

This great, unprecedented move of God can be traced back to a businessman and lay preacher named Jeremiah Lamphier. As financial panic gripped Wall Street, he simply began a weekly prayer meeting at the Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street in New York City. Anyone could attend and stay for a few minutes or the whole hour.

The first day he prayed alone for the first half of an hour before being joined by six men. The second week there were twenty. The third week nearly forty came and they decided to meet daily. Soon they numbered over a hundred. Within a month there were prayer meetings at other churches.
In March of 1858, six months after the start by Lamphier, over 6,000 people were meeting in 150 churches throughout New York City. Soon every city on the East Coast had noon prayer meetings. Businesses closed at noon for prayer.

Those attending the prayer meetings felt the awesome presence of God, prayed for specific people, expected answers and got answers. For example, a father asked for prayer for the salvation of his three sons who were living in different parts of the country. The sons knew nothing of this. Within weeks the father received three letters, one from each son telling how they had gotten saved.

Lost people would show up at the prayer meetings and ask to be prayed for. By May, 50,000 were reported to have been converted in this prayer revival. By June, it was nearly 100,000. Eventually, the number was about 2 million.

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