Showing posts from April, 2006

Evangelist in India Beaten

Christian Persecution Blog: Evangelist in India Beaten: "We recently received a report on a brave evangelist in India. This man oversees 12 pastors and has won more than 700 people to Christ. His leadership has infuriated some Hindus. A few months ago, they launched an attack on this brother with a hidden agenda to scare off other evangelists. The attack took place in broad daylight, and a local news station was present. They filmed video footage of the attack, and VOM was given a copy of this footage.

The evangelist was leading 40 students in a six-day college outreach. The team was driving down the road in an old yellow van when they ran into a barricade set up by the evangelist’s enemies. The attackers drug the students out of the van while verbally abusing them. Video footage shows the attackers dumping gospel tracts into a pile on the street, and burning them while chanting praises to their monkey god...."

Gene Edwards taken to task

A concern I had when reading Viola's book regarding who can start a house church is addressed in this long article. Simple is definitely better.
New Reformation Review - House Church Christianity

Are All Their Church Planters Trained by Church Planters? A sine qua non for a radical wing church planter is that he must have been trained by another radical church planter. "Sit at the feet of a beat up old church planter! Watch how he deals with problems, answers questions…” (HCM, p.101). Tom Begier, Tim Richey, Nick Vasiliades, and Frank Viola are being trained by Gene Edwards. But may we politely ask: so who trained Gene Edwards, then?

Is the Church Planter Absolutely Necessary for a Church's Existence?

There are several things as well that are troubling about Gene Edwards' conception of the church planter. The church planter is said to be part of the scriptural pattern, and yet we must question just how closely Edwards and his associates conform to that scriptural pattern.…

House Church Basics : What About Children?

House Church Blog: House Church Basics Pt. 7: What About Children? this just needs to be restated again and's possible to include children in a church meeting. If the church is a family why relegate parts of the family to another room? What if children are allowed to be seen AND heard? and what if they see and hear adults as they fellowship with God and each other?

Wayne Jacobsen says it very well:

But don't our children need church activities? I'd suggest that what they need most is to be integrated into God's life through relational fellowship with other believers. 92% of children who grow up in Sunday schools with all the puppets and high-powered entertainment, leave 'church' when they leave their parents' home. Instead of filling our children with ethics and rules we need to demonstrate how to live in God's life together.

Even sociologists tell us that the #1 factor in determining whether a child will thrive in society is if they have …

House Church Blog

The House Church Blog is very interesting, but i have so many RSS feeds right now i don't think i can add another one, so i'll park the link here for future reference.

Third Day Churches

Third Day Churches: "On several occasions, history has provided the needed critical mass and the synergistic inertia to thrust the church into breaking out of its’ box and becoming the force in culture and society that God intended it to be.

Today, the church, in the 21st Century, has once again reached this “critical mass.” It is something so big and so obvious that the winds of change demand we look hard at our forms and face the reality that a different church must provide a different response to a postmodern age. This Third Millennium (“a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day,” 2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4), or this “Third Day” requires a “Third Way” of doing and being the church.

Christian Schwartz, a German church-growth researcher suggests that we are in the era of a third Reformation. The first Reformation took place in the sixteenth century when Martin Luther rediscovered the core of the gospel: salvation by faith, the centrality of grace and of Scripture. I…

UCLA revival?

jaeson's journal contains more of the same that i linked to earlier from a home church site about the cool stuff he's seeing God do at UCLA. he also provides much more context. there has been 24/7 intercessory prayer going on at campus for awhile now. he seems to be affiliated with campus church networks which looks pretty neat at a glance. i do reserve the right to be critical if i see weird stuff on their website. i've had the weird college Christian experience and i don't wish it upon anyone else.

What Stateside churches can learn from their Ecuadorian brethren

Guy comes through with some good questions and observations...
"Along this same theme, Thom Rainer in an article for the Florida Baptist Witness 'The Dying American Church.' states the following:

The facts of a 2004 research project I led are sobering. It takes 86 church members in America one year to reach a person for Christ...if the research is even close to accurate, the reality is that the church is not reproducing herself. In just one or two generations, Christianity could be so marginalized that it will be deemed irrelevant by most observers...

Compare this to the 3:1 baptism ratio as shared in one of my previous posts of the folks in our house churches here in Guayaquil. It takes three of them one year to baptize one new believer. While that is a far cry from our goal of every believer winning/discipling eight per year, it sure beats an 86:1 ratio for churches in the States! Baptisms are a key indicator to overall church health.

Why has the American church become evan…

Banterist - Shanghai Dispatch: Shanghai Surprise

The Banterist is more of the insanely funny ad copy blogger, but he comes through with an insanely funny travelogue. Just a few snips from one post, but there are many more posts to make you laugh out loud at your desk.

I thought China would be filled with grim-faced, machine-gun toting People's Army types with government agents shadowing me every step. That's very much not the case and either I was just misinformed and paranoid, or the government agents are very, very good.
To say that the city is enormous is an understatement. It's filled to the brim with a vibrant and very pleasant population - most of whom live in giant apartment complexes, the likes of which I'd never seen before. No one seems to have a dryer. Laundry is everywhere, even thirty stories up.

I am tempted to purchase 'Baby Urinate' for the box alone.

Beggars are aggressive and don't take bu shi for an answer. They are predominantly situated near tourist areas and usua…

Mclaren Radio Transcript

There are so many things wrong in this interview. It's not even heavy lifting. Here's an easy snippet.

"McLaren: See, this also comes from, I think, a very unhelpful way of reading the Bible where, we’re going to parse every sentence and say, oh, that means God’s doing it. I don’t think that Jesus or any of the other biblical writers—and you’ve got to remember that Jesus was a speaker. He wasn’t a writer. But you know, the speakers and writers of the Bible, I don’t think that they’re working in this technical theological way that we very often push them into. I think they are speaking the way we would speak. The way we are having conversation right now. Some day if you go and parse one of your sentences or parse one of my sentences and you know, 500 years from now be making really bizarre conclusions about it. You know, you said a couple minutes ago something about being a pain in the ass. Well, 500 years from now people don’t know that that is an idiom that is used today.…

Pagitt and Dewaay on PoMo and EC

This has been an interesting listen. Thanks to Andrew Jones for the link.
"Back in January Bob Dewaay invited me to be the “other side” in a debate on the issues of the emerging church and postmodern spirituality. He was gracious enough to host it at his place, Twin Cities Fellowship. There were 300 plus people there.
They recorded the night, which was 2 1/15 hours long"

Muslim Mob Shuts Down House Churches in Indonesia

"In the Indonesian city of Bogor in West Java on April 23rd, a Muslim mob of about 200 and a crowd of supporters from surrounding areas shut down a Sunday morning service at the Gunungputri house complex. With hundreds of pleased onlookers standing by, the church was evacuated and emptied of its contents. The protesting demonstrators insisted that illegal religious activities were taking place in the house because nearby neighbors had never submitted a recommendation allowing Christian gatherings there. The owner of the house finally gave in to the mob’s demand to stop holding Sunday services. A few policemen showed up on the scene as women from the congregation cried while their church was officially closed.

Still not satisfied, the Muslim mob marched to a Christian house being “misused” as a church, which also served as a store. However, when the crowd arrived, the house―which was regularly used as a Sunday service meeting place―had already been locked by its owner. Fearing that…

Invisible Children

I learned of this ministry from a recent Chuck Colson Breakpoint article. He writes,
Carrying a camera they purchased on eBay and their parents’ credit cards, the young men endured Malaria and scabies as they journeyed from Sudan to Kenya, searching to find a story worth telling. They found it, all right, in northern Uganda. There, Russell and his friends stumbled across thousands of Ugandan children who make the nightly trek from their homes in outlying villages to nearby towns, sleeping in parking garages and bus stations in order to escape abduction by the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.The LRA is a rebel group that has terrorized Uganda for twenty years, kidnapping more than 30,000 children and forcing them to fight for the LRA. Those who resist face murder or mutilation.
So this is the vision these guys have for Uganda.

Invisible Children, Inc. is dedicated to providing financial resources to invisible children by documenting their true, untold stories in a creative and re…

My Crowning Glory

My wife tells an entertaining story of her recent crowning experience...
"Today I got a temporary crown. My permanent crown, which I will receive in about two weeks, will be real gold. But it will be covered in porcelain so that I do not stand out too much... "

The less known Long March in China of Gladys Aylward and 100 orphans

The Japanese invasion of China was absolutely horrible. But this single woman of God rescued 100 children from the invaders. She had seen so many miracles in her life, that these steps of faith were not unusual for her. Madame Chiang Kai-shek had an orphanage to the South, a 6 day journey by adult foot under normal circumstances.
She determined to flee to the government orphanage at Sian, bringing with her the children she had accumulated, about 100 in number. (An additional 100 had gone ahead earlier with a colleague.) With the children in tow, she walked for twelve days. Some nights they found shelter with friendly hosts. Some nights they spent unprotected on the mountain sides. On the twelfth day, they arrived at the Yellow River, with no way to cross it. All boat traffic had stopped, and all civilian boats had been seized to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese. The children wanted to know, 'Why don’t we cross?' She said, 'There are no boats.' They said, '…

Reimagining Youth Ministry

Advancing : Reimagining Youth Ministry: "Un-churched youth must be reached with the gospel. Statistically this is the harvest field demographic. Much time and prayer should be spent considering the best ways to reach them before they make permanent faith based decisions. Hospitality is the church’s untapped evangelistic natural resource. We should be inviting our lost neighbors and friends into our homes on a regular basis. Then we can share the love of Christ with them from a position of strength. It begins with the example of the parents. As we cast the vision of hospitality and reaching our neighbors through our example I believe our kids will follow. They’ll begin inviting their lost friends over to the house. I’m all for youth evangelism. Nearly half (43%) of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (Barna: 2004) With parents leading the way our youth are called and empowered to reach their generation with the gospel much mor…

radical youth groups

here is a novel idea, involve the parents!

Covenant Life Church : Our Life : Youth: "As with all ministries in Covenant Life Church, the youth ministry exists primarily to glorify God. The motto of the youth ministry is, 'So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.' (I Corinthians 10:31). The goal of the ministry is to shape maturing teens into young adults who love and worship Jesus Christ, by providing contexts for them to experience, apply, and proclaim the glorious gospel.

To facilitate the training of the youth, parents are equipped to effectively disciple their teens, with the help of the church community. Rather than parents abdicating their role to the youth pastor, parents are encouraged to be heavily involved in all youth activities and to be the primary means of grace in their children's lives.

The format/structure of the youth ministry consists of monthly meetings, bi-monthly small group meetings, regular recreational activ…

a convicted civil discourse between an LDS and an evanglical

last night i drove up to 1st baptist of Manchester Ct. to listen to Mormon scholar from BYU, Robert Millet and rev. Greg Johnson of Standing Together model a inter-religious conversation guided the concept of "convicted civility."

This was their 41st public dialogue over the past 6 years and one that began 9 years ago. Johnson emphasized many times that this wasn't a debate with a winner and a loser at the end. The typical Mormon and non-Mormon interaction is either one of fight or flight. I've done both to the boys on the bikes who come to my door. I've told them I've had no time. I've pointed out the abundant inconsistencies in their theology. I've wanted to appeal to the benefits of the concept of grace in Biblical Theology but I haven't had visitors in a while. I do think I've lodged pebbles in the gears of their brains, but I don't know if they weren't small enough to ignore.

Millet appealed to Paul's dialogue on Mars Hill in …

The Da Vinci Code Responses

CANA - The Da Vinci Code Responses
good link farm from a good apologist and former astrologer

'You Trying to Say Jesus Christ Can't Hit a Curveball?' - Christianity Today Magazine

'You Trying to Say Jesus Christ Can't Hit a Curveball?' - Christianity Today Magazine: "But money isn't what peeves many fans the most. Few fans say anything bad about Sweeney's religious life when he's picking up RBIs. Yet as the feeble swings and losses mount, critics emerge from the woodwork to belittle him. Some ridicule him by wondering why Jesus doesn't save him from slumps. It's not uncommon to hear fans mockingly respond by reciting a line from the movie Major League: 'You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?'

Others resent his devotion to faith and family, and complain that he should commit himself to nothing but baseball. During a poor team start a few years ago, even Sweeney's manager seemed to jab his best player. 'Chewing on cookies and eating milk and praying is not going to get it done,' former Royals manager Tony Muser said. 'I'd like them to go out and pound tequila … ' Muser soon apo…

GFA Urges Prayer as Hindu Extremists Intensify Persecution - GFA Urges Prayer as Hindu Extremists Intensify Persecution: "Earlier this month, the government of Rajasthan became the sixth state in India to enact an anti-conversion law. In other states with such legislation, Christians have been targeted for attacks by Hindu extremists.

Nevertheless, Yohannan notes, Christians in India are standing strong, and the increased persecution has only increased the effectiveness of the church's witness across the country. 'We have more people coming to Christ now,' he says, 'especially in places where the worst persecution is taking place.'

How this is to be explained, GFA's president confesses, is a mystery. 'I don't understand it,' he says, 'but Jesus said He will build his church. We are suffering for it, but God is faithfully doing His work.'

As the persecution against followers of Christ intensifies in India, Yohannan urges prayer. He asks believers in the United States and elsewhere in …

Hopegivers President: still imprisoned in India

According to Hopegivers International, their president, Dr. Samuel Thomas, was arrested March 16, 2006, in New Delhi, by about a dozen men claiming to be police officers from the provincial capital of Kota, Rajasthan. Hopegivers International was formed in the United States by friends wanting to support the many orphanages and schools founded by Dr. Thomas’ father M. A. Thomas as he began ministering to children in India. Local anti-Christian hate groups continue their siege against the 2,500 orphans and abandoned children protected at the Emmanual Hope Home in Kota, Rajasthan, by threatening to disrupt water and electric service to the facilities. Bishop M. A. Thomas is currently in hiding from the Hindu extremist groups that have offered large rewards for the capture and beheading of Dr. Samuel Thomas or his father M.A. Thomas. Pray for the release of Dr. Samuel Thomas and others from the ministry being held and for the safety of the children at the orphanages. India’s Prime Ministe…

what is gluttony anyway?

after i posted on the parallels between obesity and homosexuality i wanted to find out more about the spiritual issues of gluttony which, i've learned, sometimes but not always manifests physically as obesity. It turns out a fellow blogger at the evangelical outpost recently pondered on it also...
Oddly enough, with the exception of those related to sex, American Christians tend to take an antinomian view of “physical sins.” We act as if corrupting our bodies will have no impact on our souls. Such an un-Biblical view, however, must be rejected by anyone who acknowledges that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Lest we start to feel superior to the obese neighbors, we should remember that not all gluttons are overweight. I’m 5’10”, 170 lbs and though I no longer have to endure the rigors of Marine Corps PT, I’m still in relatively decent shape. But while my waistline may not expose my shame, I’m prone to overindulging in food. I eat several snacks between meals. I eat when I’…


House2House - PROPHETIC WORSHIP AND PREACHING @ UCLA: "...My voice was almost gone, but as I preached you could sense the unction and anointing of the Holy Spirit and His power. Students walking by began to stop dead in their tracks! Five here, 12 there, two tour groups stopped at the top of the college above us. An Asian fraternity sitting on the steps stopped talking and began to listen. An entire group of African Americans who just moments before had their boom boxes blasting, stopped and began to listen. Those tabling turned around. Within moments, there was a crowd of students standing in wonder and looking, gripped by the Spirit. All over Bruin Walk, students were listening to me preach the Gospel of repentance and love towards God! There had to be at least 120-150 students standing still listening for almost a half hour as I shared my testimony and proclaimed the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Moments before, Bruin Walk was full of noise, conversation…

Easter violence in India

Compass Direct: "Pastors beaten, churches vandalized as Hindu extremist mobs attack.

April 17 (Compass Direct) – As Christians around the globe intoned, “Christ is risen” with hallelujahs yesterday, Easter in India was marred by violence.

In the southern state of Karnataka, 15 Hindu extremists said to be from the Bajrang Dal (youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council) attacked a Sunday morning church service, assaulting Pastor V.P. Paulouse.

Speaking of the significance of Easter at the Believers’ Church in Bantaguri, in Mangalore district, Palouse received a head injury and fractures in both hands in the attack; his wife also was severely beaten, according to a local Christian who requested anonymity.

Ransacking the church hall, the attackers threatened to harm the Christians if they continued their prayer meetings, and they later damaged the pastor’s house and car.

The injured pastor was recovering from his injuries in a hospital at press time. The nearby Bantw…

book report: More Straw Bale Building

I took a break from my US political history book and read this weekend More Straw Bale Building : A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw by Chris Magwood,Peter Mack, which i thought was excellent and intimidating. i'm not a handyman but i can stack blocks. haybales can support a roof without additional wood. it's even possible to build a straw yurt. i can't get much more unconventional. this book offers hope that it can be done and has been done. More inspiration can be found at massive link farms such as Surfin' Strawbale. the authors run a Canadian construction company called Camel's Back Construction, get the pun on straw? Their FAQ addresses all the silly worries about pests and fire. I like this from their FAQ,
"Why build with bales?There are many different reasons people choose to build with bales. From an environmental perspective, bales are an anually renewable building material, which happens to be essentially a waste product …

Madhya Pradesh state, Hindu extremists brutally beat Christians

Compass Direct: "In Madhya Pradesh state, Hindu extremists brutally beat Christians; police take no action.

April 13 (Compass Direct) – Extremists attacked two Christian schools and a private Christian gathering last week in Madhya Pradesh state and accused several Christians of carrying out “illegal conversions.” Christians responded with a protest march in Jabalpur city on Monday (April 10), demanding justice. The Christian community called for the arrest of several Dharam Jagran Sena (DJS or Army for Religious Revival) members who launched three attacks in Jabalpur city on April 5, 6 and 7. After the final attack on April 7 against seven Christians, who were then charged with illegal conversion, the Rev. Kishan Singh led two dozen church members to the police station to object. There a mob of about 80 people beat them as police looked on. "

India: Rajasthan state anti-conversion bill

Compass Direct writes,

Christian leaders urge governor to dismiss new legislation as unconstitutional.April 13 (Compass Direct) – An anti-conversion bill passed by the Rajasthan state assembly last Friday (April 7) is unconstitutional and could lead to an “explosive situation” in the state, Christians say. Religious tensions in the state are already high following the arrest of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Thomas, president of Emmanuel Mission International (EMI), on March 16. Thomas is charged with hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. The Supreme Court today stayed the arrest of EMI founder M.A. Thomas, who had been declared an “absconding criminal,” until April 21. The registration of EMI schools and hospitals remained cancelled and EMI bank accounts were still frozen at press time. “In the context of the ongoing harassment of Christians in Kota district, Rajasthan, the anti-conversion law will lead to an explosive situation,” Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All …

Easter Eloquence

John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople; sermon, ca. 400

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

lots of great stuff on this page for Resurrection Day.

maggi dawn: when God vanishes

a postmodern devotion on Good Friday
But Good Friday and Holy Saturday are the most sombre days in the whole Church calendar, recalling the death and disappearance of God. Not much there to celebrate or feel happy about.... It's a relief to be honest, to acknowledge the disappearance of God and the uncertainty of the outcome. That's not to say that there is no hope of the resurrection. But that hope doesn't forestall the depth of blackness that can descend even upon people of faith. And the recollection that the Easter faith was born in the darkness is, perhaps, a reason to hold on and not to give up.

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

A great article by Mark Dever in Christianity Today, I don't doubt that we have more to learn from Christ's death than simply the fact that he died as a substitute for us, bearing our grief and carrying our sorrows (Isa. 53:4). Peter, for instance, teaches that we should follow Christ's example of suffering for that which is good ( 1 Pet. 3). Any biblical understanding of the Atonement must take into account our having been united to Christ by faith, adopted and regenerated in him. As those who belong to him, as his temple and his body, we expect the fruit of his Spirit to be evident in us. Because of the Atonement, we expect a new quality to our lives (Rom. 6; 2 Cor. 5; Gal. 5; 2 Pet. 1). The Atonement is not merely moral influence, but it surely results in moral improvement. Rather than pitting these theories against one another, couldn't they be evaluated together? A Christ who wins victory over the powers of ev…

Casualty Call:: A Marine's Reflections on Good Friday

I consider Good Friday my anniversary date for this blog. Many things to think on today. Found this one
God is good

"Then I remember it’s Good Friday and I begin to wonder who told Jesus’ family and friends that he had been killed. Since many of his disciples had fled the night before, they were likely still in hiding until it was too late. Who told them they had lost their teacher? Or what about James, who was probably just returning home from work when he heard the news. Did he see the tortured expression on Mary’s face and realize he had lost his brother? And how long until the report reached Jericho, where a reformed tax collecter named Zacchae'us would grieve over the loss of the man who had changed his life?

Over 2000 years ago, the greatest “casualty call” in history spread throughout a small Roman province in the Middle East. The news that the truest friend, the most beloved son, the gentlest teacher anyone had ever known had been crucified must have spread like wildf…

Hinduism :: Horror of India's child sacrifice

Hinduism :: Horror of India's child sacrifice: "The woman who abducted Akash lived just a few doors away. She claimed to be suffering from terrible nightmares and visions.

It was then she turned for guidance to a tantric, or holy man. It was under his instruction that she brutally sacrificed the boy - offering his blood and remains to the Hindu goddess of destruction.

There are temples across India that are devoted to the goddess. Childless couples, the impoverished and sick visit to pray that she can cure them....

S Raju is a journalist for the Hindustan Times and has been reporting on child sacrifice cases since 1997 in western Uttar Pradesh. He has reported on 38 similar cases...

We visited the jail where those accused of murdering Akash were being held.

The prison warden told us of over 200 cases of child sacrifice in these parts over the last seven years.

He admitted many of the cases go unreported because the police are reluctant to tarnish the image of their state. He told u…

List of Christian denominations in India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This list of Christian denominations in India is pretty long, but what do you expect from a country with 1 billion people in it? At another Wiki entry, "The 2001 census recorded over 24 million Indian Christians, comprising 2.3% of the country's population. There are two main regional concentrations of Christian population, namely in South India and among tribal people in East and Northeast India....About 70% of Indian Christians in 1991 were Roman Catholics, including 300,000 members of the Syro-Malankara Church as of 1991."

Religious map of India


Smart Mom Blog: Family Lent Field Report

My wife gives a nice report on our Lenten experiment for this year.

Gospel For Asia

I support a missionary and a school child in India through this organization. Every dime i send goes to India. Stateside work has to have its own support.

"Gospel for Asia trains and sends native missionaries because they have proven extremely effective. They are already familiar with the language and culture, and they live at the level of the people they serve, thus removing many social barriers...

Now over 25 years old, Gospel for Asia supports more than 14,500 missionaries working in some of the neediest Asian countries--primarily in the 10/40 Window. Although we have been working among the unreached since the ministry began, it has only been in the last 15 years that we have honed our strategy to reach the most unreached...

How can I help sponsor a native missionary?
...You can also call our office at 1-800-WIN-ASIA or click here for more information. You will receive an envelope and first-gift card with the picture and testimony of the native missionary you are helping. Each mon…

Easter Life and the Facts of History

Doug Groothius asks,

Easter commemorates and celebrates a historical event unlike any other: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But what is the significance of the resurrection? Can we know that it really happened?

Mapping religion in America

i like maps. i like religion. i like this collection of religious maps of USA

Joe's Jottings: Pilate and Herod





Wishing he was somewhere else.

Wishing the 'Jewish Problem' to go away.

Jesus stands before him.

Black eyed.

Clothes torn.

Spit in his beard.

Looking like a street beggar."

worth going to Joe's site to read the rest...

Eugene Peterson's Philosophy of Bible Translation

i think i'm done commenting at Challie's on this topic. i enjoy reading The Message. I think Peterson did a good job. But others, but not Challies, think otherwise. and i won't be changing their minds nor attempting to.

as i read the Bible to the kids according to M'Cheyne reading plan, i love how simple and dynamic and smooth it is to read from The Message.

Pastor Survives Suspected Murder Attempt in Kerala, India

I think I've decided on a theme for April for this blog, the church in India.
Here's a sad but not untypical news story.

"Pastor Survives Suspected Murder Attempt in Kerala, IndiaWhile convert from Islam is hospitalized, two armed men attempt break-in at his home. (Compass Direct) – Pastor Paul Ciniraj Mohammed, a Christian convert from Islam, is still recovering from what he believes was a murder attempt in Kottayam district, in the southern state of Kerala, on March 16. Ciniraj is the head of Salem Voice Ministries, which runs orphanages, village schools and adult literacy centers in Kerala state. He also runs a church in another district, Thiruvananthapuram, popularly known as Trivandrum.On March 16, Ciniraj was riding his motorbike past the office of the district collector in Kottayam when a motorized rickshaw rammed into him, fracturing his knee. When Ciniraj filed a complaint at the Kottayam police station, police said they suspected the accident was an attempt to mu…

1st barefoot run of 2006

It's 52F outside. There is too much sand on the sidewalks and road. But it's 52F outside. I declared my post-flu symptoms no longer severe enough for postponing the run any further and I went out. Last year I started out on the beach and grass, but those surfaces don't provide the feedback for correct form, so I began this year on the sidewalk and the road and avoided the soft surfaces. I have 2 blisters each on my forefeet under the big toes, but none on my heel which tells me I avoided heel striking. Barefoot running is forefoot running. I'll give my feet the day off and try again on Thursday. I hope to get my bike back from its tuneup tomorrow. Biking is so different from running that I never feel ready when I'm in the beginning of my running season. In that post last year, I promised I'd announce when I've achieved a 50 mile week. I have yet to still do that. I spent all last year learning to run barefoot. Hopefully this year I'll get some distance …

Of Bach and Church Planting

i love extended metaphors. especially when someone appeals to jazz improvisation.


"Friends I do believe that the institutional church is a brake to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Inban Caldwell once said to me, ‘the Devil never worries when we go to church, but he really worries when we become the church’. Let us truly become the church without walls, and be obedient to Christ and GO."

being the both/and person that i am i take issue with cheap shots against either church concept. he sees no value in the "institutional church" and its social, evangelistic, and discipleship programs. he left a staff position at a church and feels the need to keep justifying it and bringing others along. but if God can bring him out, he can bring anyone else out to. he complains of the the church ghetto. it can happen in house churches too. its about priorities. whatever your priority is, you'll make time for. if its discipleship, you'll spend alot of time with believers. if its evangelism, you'll spend alot of time with unbelievers. i'm not…

Things Jesus said to NEVER do

I've become a real fan of Diane's blog where she quotes,
"Here are some things that Jesus NEVER said to do:

*Go into all the world and build big buildings.
*Go into all the world and entertain the Christians.
*Go divide up into factions and constantly argue with each other.
*Go find people you can pay to go into all the world so you don't have to tell anyone yourself.
*Go into all the world that's easy to get to and will let you in without too much hassle.
*Go and elevate certain men above all the others and listen to them more than you listen to Me.
*Go into all the world and see what you can learn from them about how to influence people.
*Go get an education so you'll be thoroughly prepared by the theories and programs of Man before you go do what Jesus commanded.
*Go into all the world and learn to be just like them.
*Go into all the world and ignore all the poor people, recruit all the rich people, and then spend 95% of all the revenue on yourself and your own comfor…

YWAM Church Planting Coaches

YWAM Church Planting Coaches
- a very interesting website

Housechurches can be gender-role-controversy-free

This SBC missionary plants house churches. His point is that house churches need not be role or title based but gift based.

"Very few of the house churches have leaders who are called 'pastors'. Leadership is usually shared amongst several individuals according to their spiritual gifts and talents...being the 'church planter' does not make them the 'pastor'..."

I continued, "In the New Testament we find several roles/functions mentioned: apostles, evangelists, prophets, teachers, shepherds (pastors), servants, etc. At least some of these roles/functions were filled by women like Junia (apostle), Phoebe (servant/deaconess), the four daughters of Philip (prophetesses), Priscilla (missionary/church planter/church worker), Lydia (church leader?), etc."

The volunteer continued to press the issue, "call it what you want, but the office of pastor is limited to men..."

I, of course understood where he was coming from and what his point was, bu…

Religion and International Development: A Conversation with Andrew Natsios

Religion and International Development: A Conversation with Andrew Natsios
This is a massive interview, but so interesting. How does the US partner with religious NGOs? How do NGOs partner with the US govt to provide relief to distressed people? How does govt and religion coexist peacefully? It is described here.

John's Turistfart

Turku Finland July 2000

book report: 2 house church books

today's link goes to a wiki entry on house church with abundant links. First i read Getting Started: A Practical Guide to House Church Planting, by Felicity Dale from House2House. Then my friend Anton who hosts the Bethlehem House Church in Amsterdam, recommended The Church Comes Home: Building Community and Mission through Home Churches by Robert and Julia Banks.

Mrs. Dale keeps it simple and offer a lot of encouragement. The Banks offer a much denser book with many caveats and options. One concern with the Dale book is their emphasis on the "fivefold" ministry, which is a negotiable doctrine. The Banks operate from the concept of a "Pastoral Core," which is analagous to elders, a term that they feel is pretty meaningless in our curent culture. Dale is more comfortable with the inclusion of children in the meeting. Both feel that the best analogy to house church is a large family gathering. Both books reference an author under whom i've personally experien…

Marriage: A Social Justice Issue

"“Social justice” is often a moniker for government-sponsored redistribution of wealth. And race is often the hidden or not-so-hidden rationale for social justice. Blacks are poorer than whites. Justice demands income equality, especially across the races. Therefore, government must transfer income and benefits from whites to blacks. End of story. The moral charge on racial income inequality is so great that anyone can apply this formula to just about any policy, even proposals that don’t ultimately help blacks.Oddly enough, the one great cultural issue that has tremendous impact on black America’s wealth is hardly ever approached in this way. This one policy area has the potential to increase black wealth, education and power. This major cultural course correction could reduce drug use, delinquency and violence, especially black on black crime. I am speaking of course, of marriage as a social justice issue. Yet, liberal elite opinion is strangely silent on the potentially revol…

Promoting a free and virtuous society

interesting thoughts from The Acton Institute. "The Mission of the Acton Institute is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

"Ignoring unintended consequences (and inevitable trade-offs) of actions is one of the most common ways in which a well meaning program can actually do harm. Some other common fallacies are:

The nirvana fallacy, in which a system like capitalism is contrasted with an unrealizable ideal rather than with its historical or actual alternatives.

False extrapolations, such as the claim that human population will increase exponentially and without end, thereby exhausting the earth’s resources.

Assuming that “rich” and “poor” are static categories rather than categories through which many individuals pass during their lifetimes.

The zero-sum game fallacy, in which a dollar gained in one place means a dollar must be lost someplace else.

The many-hea…

Does the Emerging church have a problem with evangelism?

Steve Addison writes "Does the Emerging church have a problem with evangelism? Not if you redefine what evangelism is.

Now here’s the rub. With an understanding of evangelism like this, there is just no way you are going to reach people. But maybe that’s not the point anymore."

Andrew Jones pointed to this blog. For all the grief given to mega churches, they are the ones who seem to be reaping the harvest, but do see the comments. perhaps, emregers sow but megas reap and God gets the glory.

another blog entry worth reading is at the A-Team, "Another point I believe we should draw from this is that there’s nothing chronologically profound about being “emerging.” It’s a category churches have ministered in throughout church history, not some sort of amazing new phenomenon. So while critics need to get their categories straight, many emerging Christians need to get over their tendency of thinking God is doing something in emerging churches He’s never done before. Dr. Andrew …

JN Darby links

A Life More Ordinary?

Darby has birthed so many. Mclaren comes from Darby. I come from Darby and johnston does too. for such a small church association the impact of Darby and the brethren on Western Christendom is astounding. It could be he was on to something. I think it's time for me to research and read Darby.

Anyway, this post is about defining your Christian vocation by who you are not by your job. Pastors pastor, evangelists evangelize, even if they change tires for a paycheck and not because they took classes for a couple years. This isn't earth shattering in itself, but the blogger considers the benefit of tentmaking to the church.

"That aside, pre-determined categories of leadership bestowed upon individuals may be part of the historical tradition of church, but are they worth perpetuating simply to uphold a tradition and to anchor us within an historical framework? If my friend Pete Rollins is correct in his thoughts that through time science evolves and religion degenerates, then the…