Check out Jeff Sundell’s new website

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Revival in Cuba

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The Guardian reports:

Raúl Castro was a Jesuit schoolboy before turning to communism, and after a lengthy meeting with Pope Francis last month, he told Vatican reporters he was so impressed he was considering a return to the church. They laughed. “I’m serious,” said Castro, 84. If so, he would not be the first Cuban in recent years to find his way back to Jesus.

The island has experienced a religious revival of sorts in the past 25 years, as the demise of Soviet totalitarianism has made room for a tropical Marxism that is less than total but still highly controlling.

Today, Christmas and Good Friday are national holidays once more. Churchgoers no longer face official discrimination. For the first time in five decades, the government has given the Catholic church permission to build a cathedral.

Cuban authorities and the Catholic church both look warily on the rapid spread of evangelical denominations across the island, as hundreds if not thousands of tiny churches have popped up in Cubans’ living rooms. There is often no hierarchical structure for the Cuban government to relate to, and many smaller Christian groups have resisted the government’s attempt to organise them.


A case study:

“Cuba’s Great Awakening: Church Planting Movement in Cuba” (Dr. Kurt Urbanek)

How to track the health of a multiplying movement

Tracking Church Health  Shank

Nathan Shank sees a lot of new churches started. Here’s what his team uses to track the health of those churches. Use it combination with his article on mapping the generational growth of churches in a movement and his new guide on church formation.

Paul and the Mission of the Seventy

Argyle shows how Paul knew and applied Jesus’ instructions to the Seventy on mission. He shows the links between Jesus’ instructions in Luke 10 and Paul’s writings and Acts.

When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.

Luke 10:8a
If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.

1 Corinthians 10:27
Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

Luke 10:7
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

I Corinthians 9:14
Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 10:16
Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

I Thessalonians 4:8
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Luke 10:3
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

Acts 20:29
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

22 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Luke 10:21-22
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21

St Paul and the Mission of the Seventy – WA Argyle

There are also parallels between Jesus’ instructions to the Seventy (Luke 10) and how he entered the house of Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Parallels between the instructions (Luke 10) and how Peter entered the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).


Understanding Social Networks – $2.99 on US Kindle

Technical but worth the effort if you’re the bookish type.

“Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts, and Findings” (Charles Kadushin)

Two fathers, two sons

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A dream came true last week when I watched Australia play England at the The Oval in London.

We went for the first day of the Fifth Test. Each day begins at 11am and finishes around 6pm. It’s a long day. A Test Match runs five days and there’s a chance it will end in a draw. In a series there are five Test Matches. That’s up to 25 days of cricket and a series could end in a draw. If you’re an American don’t even try and understand.

Down the row from us was a father and his young son. When I saw how young the son was, I thought he’s not going to last the day. I was right. No doubt dad had convinced himself that this was a great idea for some father-son bonding. But no child wants to sit still for hours watching adults play.

The dad could have saved his money and popped down to a local club game with his son. He could have shown him how adults play and then pull out a cricket bat and tennis ball and have some fun.

The next day I went for a walk in our local park. There are some asphalt tennis courts open to the public. One of the courts was occupied by a dad and his young son. They were playing tennis with a soccer ball. Instead of hitting the ball over with a racket they were using their feet. Dad was shouting encoureagment and instructions to his son as the boy bobbed and weaved around the court returning each shot with skill. That boy was learning to play the game. He wasn’t bored. He was having fun with dad. He was leaning to love the game by playing it. All this cost his dad nothing, except some time.

What a contrast between two dads and their sons. Sit and watch vs come and play.

I wonder if there are any parallels between those two sets of fathers and sons and how we make disciples?

Southern Baptists: More churches, fewer people

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The number of churches within the Southern Baptist Convention rose for the 15th consecutive year, but the churches lost more than 200,000 members, the biggest one-year decline since 1881. Average attendance, giving and baptisms also declined.


Matt Chandler on Philippians: free on US and UK Kindle

“To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain” (Matt Chandler, Jared C. Wilson)

The Middle East in Crisis

Middle East in Crisis Mission Frontiers

The latest edition of Mission Frontiers focuses on the Middle East.

In addition Steve Smith has some good material on a Biblical foundation for movements.

While you’re there check out my article on How the West was Won.

097-From church to movement: Jimmy Scroggins [podcast]


Jimmy Scroggins, a local church pastor, leads by example and casts vision for church planting movements.

Jimmy developed the 3Circles tool for sharing the gospel.

This podcast is the latest in the Church to Movement series