A good commentary on James for under $5

Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell’s commentary on James down $4.27 on the US Kindle store.

“James (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)” (Craig L. Blomberg, Mariam J. Kamell)

UPDATE: Holmes on 1&2 Thessalonians for the same price on US Kindle. Also recommended.

“1 and 2 Thessalonians (The NIV Application Commentary Book 13)” (Michael W. Holmes)

A message signed with blood to the nation of the Cross

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Mark Durie makes his response to the slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians by the Islamic State on a beach in Libya.

The Islamic State video, a polished production, depicts 21 Christian men, hands bound behind them, being led one-by-one along a beach in Libya to a point where they are forced to bow down with their heads in the sand, and there they are beheaded, crying out Ya Rabbi Yasou ‘Lord Jesus!’, some reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Severed heads were then placed on top of each corpse, their Muslim slayer standing over them. The final film shots show the Mediterranean washing red with their blood.

The whole event was meticulously choreographed and rehearsed. The video’s obvious purpose is to humiliate and terrorise Christians, whom it derisively calls, “The Nation of the Cross”. I admire the courage of the martyrs, who did not disown the name of Christ and the cross to follow Islam, even as they were being mocked and killed by their tormentors

read on

The Islamic State produced a film of the killings with commentary. Durie provides an analytical explanation of the film.

It is indisputable that the whole script of this video is intensely religious. It is packed with references to the Qur’an and the Hadiths of Muhammad.  As Graeme Wood comments in an important recent Atlantic Monthly article, the Islamic State adherents are constantly referencing Islam’s sacred texts. In their everyday speech, “Koranic quotations are ubiquitous”.  This film is no exception.  For anyone who knows anything about Islam it is impossible to view this film without being aware of the heavy constraining influence of the Qur’an and the Hadiths on the script.  These references are essential for understanding the true context, meaning and intent of the film.?

read on

UPDATE From Christianity Today: Murders spark largest outreach ever amid new freedoms and new threats.

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Undaunted by the slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya, the director of the Bible Society of Egypt saw a golden gospel opportunity.

“We must have a Scripture tract ready to distribute to the nation as soon as possible,” Ramez Atallah told his staff the evening an ISIS-linked group released its gruesome propaganda video. Less than 36 hours later, Two Rows by the Sea was sent to the printer.

One week later, 1.65 million copies have been distributed in the Bible Society’s largest campaign ever.

The Bible Society distributed the tract through Egypt’s churches, but one congregation went a step further.

Isaaf Evangelical Church, located on one of downtown Cairo’s busiest streets, hung a poster on its wall at eye-level with pedestrians. “We learn from what the Messiah has said,” it read over the background of an Egyptian flag. “‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you….’”

full story here…

One handshake and a Skype call away from reaching the Muslim world

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One of the women Michelle trained is now training Muslim background believers (MBBs) in Australia to share the gospel and made disciples.

The MBBs are sharing their stories and stories about Jesus via Skype with friends and family back home in Iran and Turkey.

Who would have thought that you are just a handshake and a Skype call away from making disciples and planting churches in Muslim majority nations.

You may remember Joy, a Chinese-Australian who has led her family to Christ, baptised some of them and is now helping them plant a church in their village. Joy is in Melbourne, her family are in a remote town in China. All this was achieved over a mobile phone. Including the baptisms.

Now for a few questions:

  • Are you methods of sharing the gospel, making disciples and planting churches so simple, yet profound, that they are spreading around the globe?
  • How many ordinary people are sitting idle when all they need is some training and encouragement to get started making disciples?
  • How do you measure success? By what you are doing? Or by what the people you have trained are doing?
  • How big is your vision? Have you ever thought the gospel could jump from the house across the road to the ends of the earth?

Steve Addison talks to Engaging Missions [podcast]

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Bryan Entzminger at Engaging Missions has just published an interview with a guy called Steve Addison.

Miraculous Movements down to $2.99 on Kindle

Miraculous Movements tells the story of disciple making movements among Muslims. A good companion to Contagious Disciplemaking.

Only available on the US Amazon store.

“Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus” (Jerry Trousdale)

Understanding the Islamic State

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The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.

Graeme Wood

The Atlantic has published some serious analysis of the Islamic State as a religious movement.

Research reveals the religious transformation of Latin America

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An outstanding report on Religion in Latin America:

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population – and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic. Today, the Pew Research survey shows, 69% of adults across the region identify as Catholic. In nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, as many Latin Americans have joined evangelical Protestant churches or rejected organized religion altogether.

 Read the full report. The report provides good examples of the characteristics of dynamic movements.

Contagious Disciple Making down to $2.99 on Kindle

“Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery” (David Watson, Paul Watson)

UPDATE: You need to have an Amazon US shipping address to get the discount.

No place left Australia

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Ying Kai and Steve Smith are training in Sydney Australia, 29-31 May, 2015.

Multiplying disciples in Manchester: April 10-11, 2015

Following and Fishing Manchester

Michelle and I will be back in Manchester to train in multiplying disciples.