Sunday, January 29, 2012

How do we respond to the mobile phone revolution?

Mobile phone media resources are a strategic complement to our work in sharing Jesus with unreached peoples.  Just yesterday I bluetoothed a 6 minute summary video of the Jesus Film that was recently completed in our dialect.  My friend was glued to his phone as he watched a video in his heart language, something he never gets to see. 

Here is an informative 5 minute video from that explains how the Church can respond to the mobile revolution:

Visit their website to learn more.

Related Post: Mobile Phone-Empowered Ministry

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Explaining the Trinity to Muslims

Explaining the Trinity to Muslims: A Personal Reflection on the Biblical Teaching in Light of the Theological Criteria of Islam 

From Mission Catalyst: “by Carlos Madrigal, a Spaniard serving in Turkey, is a useful presentation for both Muslim and Christian readers.”

From William Carey Library:

This book is a culturally relevant presentation of the truth of the Trinity to the Muslim mindset. Originally it was issued through a Turkish secular publishing house and had a countrywide repercussion, even in Islamic circles. It is a useful presentation for both Muslim and Christian readers, providing fundamental keys for understanding and explaining the Trinity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christology in Contextualization, by Kyle Meeker

A paper presented to the Evangelical Theological Society, 2010 Southwestern Regional Meeting, titled:

Christology in Contextualization:
Another Look at Paul’s Motivation, Methods, and Message
at Mars Hill (Acts 17) in light of the Missiological Debate
surrounding Muslim - Christian Dialogue

Introduction and Abstract:

Acts 17 is often referenced as a key text in the Christian Scriptures for emphasizing the common ground in Muslim-Christian dialogue. While this text certainly tills the ground for fruitful discourse, the context emphasizes Paul’s telos - Jesus as the Person of Completion for issues in the Athenians’ world-views. Paul’s motivation, methods, and message also entails points of contention between ideologies. Without being unduly contentious, Paul’s ultimate objective is clarity in communicating his concept of Jesus. His goal of clarity drives his interactions, especially in regard to making the ‘Unknown’ known.

While stressing the distinctions, this appears to be a hindrance in Christian-Muslim Dialogue. But, if properly engaged, distinctions will provide a more robust dialogue and deeper understanding, especially for those from the respective communities listening in on the conversation.

Read the whole thing (14 pages).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prayer: the Work of Missions

From the famous sermon by John Piper in 1988, Prayer: the Work of Missions:

Not only has God made the accomplishment of his global purposes of salvation hang on the preaching of the Word; he has also made the success of the preaching of the Word hang on prayer. God's goal to be glorified in a world full of white-hot worshippers from every people and tongue and tribe and nation will not succeed without the powerful proclamation of the gospel by people like you and me. And that gospel will not be proclaimed in power to all the nations without the persevering, earnest, global, faith-filled prayers of God's people. This is the awesome place of prayer in the purposes of God for the world. They won't happen without prayer.

Listen to the whole thing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Have A Dream!

This adaptation of MLK's famous "I Have A Dream" speech was written by my friend Tim in 2006.  I hope your reaction is similar to mine when I first read it; I was impressed, I wept over it, I prayed about it, then I went out and tried to do something about it. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

4,000 Churches Planted in 3 Years in Ethiopia

I’ve blogged on this before, but the below post is a great summary worth sharing again.

From Roger Thoman at Simple Church Journal aka House Church Blog: 4,000 Churches Planted in 3 Years in Ethiopia:

My thanks to David Watson for passing along Dave Hunt’s dissertation (Download 2009huntcpmdissertation) on church planting movements in East Africa.  There is so much of Hunt’s experiences that I relate to, albeit on a smaller scale and budget, that I am excited to see this compilation of what he has been involved in.  There are so many wonderful principles here that can be applied in any context!

Here are some of the concepts that Dave Hunt’s dissertation highlights:

1. True church planting is not the planning and implementing of programs but the natural, organic process that emerges spontaneously when the Gospel in its core essence is proclaimed and lived in word and deed.

Church planting becomes the natural and essential expression of the missional church as the gospel is proclaimed in word and deed, and believers are gathered together for fellowship, worship, and mission. What the Church needs to do according to Christian Schwarz is to “concentrate on the removal of obstacles to church growth and multiplication within churches. Then church growth can happen all by itself…

Believing that church planting is the work of God and that churches emerge spontaneously and naturally, perhaps the term catalyst best describes the human part in this process of church multiplication.

2. In many cases, the church has been hindered by the institutional model that has come from the West.

What we found in East Africa was a church of highly committed mostly “uneducated and untrained”1 workers, passionately in love with Jesus, but who were often bound within an institutional church structure that restricted rather than released and empowered their zealous witness of the gospel.

Much of this church planting strategy has to do with removing the barriers so that the church can more easily emerge. These barriers are largely those systems, structures, and demands which are added to the biblical requirements for doing church. When these are removed, people are introduced to and fall in love with Jesus. As they are discipled to obey all that He has commanded them, they will naturally want to gather together in fellowship to worship, learn, support and encourage one another and work together to spread the good news. As such, they become the continuing presence of Jesus in the dark places of the world.

3. The dynamic multiplication of churches is not dependent on education-level nor are long periods for disciples to mature needed before they can become involved in discipling others and starting new churches.

In this East Africa project the movements have been characterized by young believers still in a discipleship and maturing process themselves, passionately in love with Jesus who go from their newly established community of believers to make new disciples in a new region from which a new community of believers quickly emerges.

4. Church planting movements are fueled when believers discover Jesus as the head of the church rather than maintaining an unhealthy dependency on human leadership.

The believers are taught not to obey the church planter but rather to discover for themselves what the Word of God says and to obey the Word. The image of the church as the body helps to bring understanding to this critical element. The believer is not a member of an organization led by a pastor, but part of a body with Christ as the head. In Christ lies all the authority for the church.

5. Teaching simple obedience produces mature disciples rather than knowledgeable converts.  This is the key to replication.

Much of modern day discipleship is based on the acquisition of knowledge… Books, tapes, videos, and materials of all sorts have been produced to support the discipleship process.  Much of this leads to knowledgeable converts but does not make mature disciples.  Converts may be religious, but they may not be obedient.  What is a mature disciple?  It is one who is obeying all the commands of Jesus… and teaching others to do the same.  A mature disciple is a disciplemaker… Disciples replicate by making other disciples.

I will share more in future posts or you can download the entire dissertation for yourself here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's the Message of the Bible in One Sentence?

Very interesting post: click here to read the various answers.  It’s very similar to ask what is the gospel or what is mission.  As you read, notice three issues:

  1. Is the main message of the Bible to see Jesus/God ruling/reigning as King and Lord, or is Jesus mainly a Savior to save people from their sins?  We should not bifurcate the two (yes I just said bifurcate), but is one aspect a function of the other?
  2. Is restoring/redeeming creation (not just people) included, or are people the extent of Christ’s work?  Also, are “all the nations” in view?
  3. Is there an element of doxology, or is the storyline about human flourishing? (Again about the bifurcating.)

How would you answer the question? Sound off in the comments below.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Point/Counterpoint: Jonathan McNeil and Kevin Higgins:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the “C1 to C6 Spectrum” was first introduced in EMQ’s pages in October 1998, we have published articles advocating a variety of perspectives about contextualized practices in Muslim settings. Most are written by missionaries, so when we received Jonathan McNeil’s interview of Dr. Ali, a Muslim-Background Believer (MBB), we knew that it brought to the table one of the voices that has been noticeably absent from the print discussion available outside of Muslim settings. At the same time, we knew that Dr. Ali’s is only one of the many MBB voices. Thus, we invited Kevin Higgins to respond in a way that represented a different voice. It is our expectation that you will read these two articles together, seeing in them a point/counterpoint approach that will give you a broader perspective on the many issues involved. Together, they illustrate where the sides agree—and where ongoing clarification and discussion are needed.

Contextualization of Essential Christianity: Three Points, Charles H. Kraft:

Essential Christianity needs to be seen as a faith instead of a religion if we are to talk sensibly about contextualization. For only a faith can be expressed in any set of cultural forms. Ours is not intended to be a religion that gets transplanted and, although adapted a bit, is really the same set of forms from culture to culture.

Essential Christianity needs to be seen as personal instead of structural. We seek to communicate a Person, not a system. To do that, we need to be personal and relational, since we are the major part of the message we seek to communicate.

And essential Christianity needs to be seen as a process in which people engage under the direction of the Holy Spirit instead of a product produced in one society and transported to another. We are to seek to plant seeds, not to transplant whole trees. It is this faith, this Person, this process that contextualization is all about.

Western Christianized Identity, Greg Parsons:

How will new believers understand and live out their faith in a situation where there is little or no biblical background?

Translation of Familial Language in the Bible, Andrea and Leith Gray and Rick Brown:

In order to accurately convey divine fatherhood and sonship, translators need to use expressions that are as equivalent in meaning as possible to the Greek and Hebrew terms for social son (huios and ben) and social father (patêr and âb) and to avoid biological expressions of the form God’s Offspring or the Procreator of our Lord Jesus Christ, because these are understood to signify biological relations generated through a sexual act of procreation.