Is it right to obey God or Vladimir Putin?

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 Christianity Today reports that,

This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.
Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday.

The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20.

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Following and Fishing: UK Training

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Training Dates around the UK

23-24 September 2016
Norfolk
Diss Christian Community Church

Norfolk details

21-22 October 2016
Essex
Community Church Chafford Hundred

Essex details

27-28 January 2017
Norwich
Oak Grove Community Church

We’ll also be running a workshop each day at the NewWine United (Week 2), July 31-Aug 6, 2016.

What motivates ISIS supporters — religion or politics?

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The Atlantic examines the assumptions that underpin both sides of the debate.

In his Atlantic article on “What ISIS Really Wants” last March, Graeme Wood insisted that “the Islamic state is Islamic. Very Islamic.”

Wood’s detractors have been similarly emphatic, arguing that ISIS is a perversion of the Islamic faith. For Wood’s critics, secular politics, far more than religion or religious ideology, is the key to understanding the existence and appeal of jihadist violence.

In the immediate aftermath of the Orlando massacre in June, the same arguments resurfaced.

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119-Maintaining depth and breadth in a multiplying movement — Nathan Shank

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Nathan Shank talks about how to maintain depth and breadth in a multiplying movement.

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Why “praying the prayer” is not enough

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I was struck recently by the experience of one of our teams on outreach in Manchester (above) They were out offering prayer and sharing the 3Circles gospel outline.

A young man turned and believed on the street and prayed to receive Christ. When he was asked, “when can we catch up again?”, he made it clear he wanted no more contact.

Do we count that as a “conversion”?

Recently I’ve heard reports 1,200 people praying to receive Christ on the streets of Reading, UK. Christians are heading out to pray for people and read out a gospel presentation. 

Even if some have fallen away, there must be hundreds who we can identify as new disciples. How many have moved from conversion into baptism and discipleship?

Over the last two years around 4,500 people have come to faith through Healing on the Streets in Northern Ireland. Causeway Vineyard estimates less than one in seven are now in a local church. Good on them for keeping track!

The great thing about the folks in Manchester, Reading and Northern Ireland is they are out there connecting, praying, sharing. As DL Moody said, I prefer my imperfect method of sharing the gospel to your method of not sharing the gospel. 

But what can we do to bridge the conversion-discipleship gap?

I think we’ve been measuring the wrong things. Praying a prayer to receive Christ is only one element of conversion. NT conversion is one experience that has five elements: repentance, faith, confession, the gift of the Holy Spirit and immersion.

That’s why I’m beginning to think that instead of counting prayers of commitment we should be counting baptised disciples meeting in groups. 

Meanwhile in Manchester the follow-up of contacts continues. It’s hard work. Some have fallen away. Others have stuck and are learning to follow Jesus and take the gospel into their world. 

Isn’t that what Jesus trained his disciples to do?

118-Reaching every segment of society: Ron Surgeon

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Steve talks to Ron Surgeon of Memphis about reaching every segment of society in a NoPlaceLeft strategy.

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Why study Acts? Eckhardt Schnabel

Eckhardt Schnabel explains why practitioners should study the book of Acts.

Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census

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A scholarly investigation and article that estimates the number of Muslim background believers who are followers of Jesus.

According to the abstract:

Since the 1960s, there has been a substantial increase in the number of known conversions from Islam to Christianity. Most of these conversions have been to forms of evangelical or Pentecostal Christianity, but there have also been conversions to Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, and still other converts claim to remain in some way both Muslims and followers of Jesus. This article explains how we obtained estimates of the number of converts, the complexities involved in this task, and an annotated list of countries by continent with the estimated number of believers in Christ from a Muslim background. The article includes charts with maximal, minimal, and medium estimates of this population from 1960 to the present.

117-What we’re learning about NoPlaceLeft: Jeff Sundell

Jeff Sundell & Troy Cooper 2016

Steve talks to Jeff Sundell (right) on what it takes to get to NoPlaceLeft.

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What Every Christian Should Know About the Qur’an

On sale on Amazon Kindle….

“What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an” (James R. White)