Chuck Wood drops into Tim Scheuer’s Iron on Iron via Google Hangouts

Australia is a vast continent. So getting practitioners together for encouragement and accountability can be difficult.

Tim Scheuer has been experimenting with holding his “Iron on Iron” gatherings via Google Hangouts.

Eight to ten practitioners report in on what God is doing, what they are learning, and where they are stuck. Then they talk about what they will do next.

Tim has someone who is further down the track provide input for about 30 minutes. In this session it’s Chuck Wood starting at the 35 minute mark. The whole process takes 90-120 minutes.

You can then publish the video record to YouTube.

Curtis Sergeant on Training Workers for Multiplication [podcast]

Curtis sergeant

Twenty-five years ago Curtis Sergeant saw his first church planting movement in China. Then he began training others. He’s seen movements in India, among Muslims and now in North America. Curtis talks about how he trains workers to multiply disciple and churches in the US and around the world.

To get in touch with Curtis and find out about his training visit www.metacamp.org

UPDATE: Bryan Entzminger at EngagingMissions has just released his own interview with Curtis Sergeant.

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The Case for Idolatry: Why Evangelical Christians Can Worship Idols

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Andrew Wilson bravely goes public about his natural attraction to idolatry.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to worship idols. It’s not that my parents raised me that way, because they didn’t; I was brought up in a loving, secure, Christian home. But from childhood until today, my heart has been drawn to idolatry. In fact, if I’m honest, one of the defining features of my identity has been my desire to put something else – popularity, money, influence, sex, success – in place of God.

That’s just who I am.

For many years, I was taught that idolatry was sinful. As a good Christian, I fought the desire to commit idolatry, and repented when I got it wrong. But the desire to worship idols never went away.

I wanted it to, but it didn’t.

So it has been such a blessing to discover that worshipping one God, and him alone, isn’t for everyone. There are thousands of Christians out there who have found faithful, loving ways of expressing worship both to God and to idols, without compromising either their faith or their view of Scripture. In recent years, I have finally summoned the courage to admit that I am one of them. Let me give you a few reasons why I believe that idolatry and Christianity are compatible.

read on

Yes it’s a parody of the argument that progressive Christians make in support of same sex relationships.

Samuel James has a few thoughts to add.

 

The Rob Bell show continues . . . on Oprah

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Ever wondered what happened to Rob Bell?

In 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times wondered aloud whether the Michigan megachurch pastor could be the next Billy Graham.

Now, the man who built a church of an estimated 10,000 people isn’t even attending an organized church. Instead, he surfs the waves near Hollywood and has teamed up with the goddess of pop theology, Oprah Winfrey.

“The Rob Bell Show” will premiere Dec. 21 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, a one-hour show that features Bell and is co-produced by him. He also recently toured the country with Winfrey on a “Life You Want Weekend.”

In many ways, some elements of typical evangelicalism are a good fit for Oprah’s lineup of public confession and personal transformation, said Kathryn Lofton, author of “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.” The difference, however, is that The Church of Oprah incorporates as many religious concepts as possible, while evangelicalism commits to exclusivity.

“I think an interesting way to think about Bell and Oprah here is to observe how easily she incorporates him into her pantheon of spiritual advisers. She remains, as ever, the determining corporate deity,” said Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale.

“One way of looking at this is less a merger of two equal powers than it is the acquisition by one large corporation of another small business.”

“She [Oprah] has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life,” Bell said.

Last year Rob Bell described conservative evangelicalism as a “dying subculture.” 

Quite the contrary, Bell represents a form of religion that defines itself by what it rejects. In a previous generation is was known as theological liberalism. Today it’s known as progressive Christianity or Emergent. The outcome will always be the same. It always leads to the decline and decay of Christian movements. 

TS Eliot’s critique applies equally to this new generation of progressives.

In religion, Liberalism may be characterized by a progressive discarding of elements in historical Christianity which appear superfluous or obsolete, confounded with practices and abuses which are legitimate objects of attack. But as its movement is controlled rather by its origin than by any goal, it loses force after a series of rejections, and with nothing to destroy is left with nothing to uphold and nowhere to go.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Is 40:8).

 

What to do when someone says, “Thanks but no thanks”?

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Johan is married to Annie. We caught up for a couple of hours and talked about where do you start with disciple making movements? 

These days I touch on big picture principles briefly but focus mainly on simple, skills that get people in the game. The principles are useless without faith and action. Johan went home and shared with a colleague. Here’s what happened.

Hi Steve,

I just shared my story with one of my colleagues.

I also asked If God could do a miracle in your life, what do you want?

But he did not have a request and said he is not that interested.

Shall I just let it here, or should I challenge him more?

Johan

My response…

Hi Johan

Well done for sharing.

Welcome to the first lesson: not everyone is ready, but you won’t know until you ask. Jesus had the same experience that’s why he told the parable of the four soils.

If your friend says he’s not interested there are some options:

  1. Ask him what would need to happen for you to become interested? If God really was out there, would you want to know him? Some people still say no.
  2. Don’t push the issue. He may not be ready. No need to challenge him. The offer of prayer was a challenge and he said no.
  3. Check in every now and again and see if things have changed. Offer again to pray if he mentions a special need in his life.
  4. Move on and keep looking for a responsive person.
  5. Maybe you have to pray for 100 people to find one person who is ready for a Discovery Bible Study. But the good news is if you talk to 100 you’ll find one who is ready!

Let me know how you get on.

Steve

Will Johan give in now that he’s had one knock back? I don’t think so. If he’s prayerful and obedient to share God will show up. Once he’s shared with 100 people, led some people to Jesus, begun a small Discovery Bible study group, trained some others, he’s ready for some more input. Most people give up before that happens and tell me, “It doesn’t work in our context.”

I did it!

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Some email traffic from last week.

I chatted to Annie and her husband over coffee and gave them a brief overview of how they could connect and share the gospel. They’re leaders with experience in planting churches. Annie listened and then she went home and took a risk.

Hi Steve,

Just wanted to let you know that i did it!  :-)

After our meeting in London, I was washing my windows outside and a woman who lives some houses from me, stopped and started to talk with me. She told me that she was in hospital and almost died. I made an appointment with her to talk some more the other day.

So the day after, I went to her home, we had coffee and I asked her; If God could do a miracle in her life what would it be, and could I pray for her?

Of course she wanted to be healed. So I prayed for her that moment. She started crying because no one ever did this for her. I told her my story and asked is she was willing to do dbs together. It shocked her a bit because she had bad experience with Jehovah’s witnesses. She wanted to think about it.

But it touched me so much because this is such a natural way to talk with people! You listen to them, ask questions and let God do the work. I loved it!

Just wanted to let you know!

Thanks for sharing with us in London!

Blessings

Annie

 Here’s another one. Russell is a church planter who came to a Friday night and Saturday morning training. Then he took a risk and shared.

Steve

Wanted to say a big thank you for sending these materials through and for chatting about it on Friday.

I met with the couple last night and we had a great conversation. We ended with them both saying a prayer to invite Jesus into their hearts and they (esp. the mum) are interested in exploring further after the baptism. I feel like they have gone from a position of a fairly vague sense of faith to a simple understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for them and that turning to him is about ongoing discipleship.

Your help really changed how I approached the evening for the better. I used Jesus’ baptism story and then did something like you did in the second link below – worked really well.

So now thinking about the right discipleship strategy. The following and fishing stuff looks great…wondering if I can gather a little group to do this…might be worth a little chat on this at some point…

Blessings to you!!

Russell

Here’s what I’m learning:

  1. There are a lot of people out there who ready to say yes to following Jesus today. These stories came from “post Christian” Britain and Europe.
  2. You need some simple training in connecting and sharing.
  3. Add to the training a step of obedience on your part.
  4. God will show up and you’ll never be the same.
  5. Make sure you know what to do next to help a new believer reach their family and friends.

What if the reason people aren’t coming to faith is because we’re not sharing?

Disciple making movements in 90 seconds

Not bad for 90 seconds. Is that a kiwi or ozzie accent?

No place left Memphis [podcast]

Ron Surgeon, Jeff Sundell, Zach Medlock

Ron Surgeon (left) shares his story, and what it’s going to take to see “no place left” in Memphis.

UPDATE: I’ve improved the volume of the podcast and reloaded the file. Thanks for some helpful tips on improving audio quality from Bryan Entzminger at EngagingMissions.

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Emergent Mission

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Brian McLaren is right. The “emergent church” movement is growing. Not as a collective group, but as a savvy, scattered chain ever-present in the fiber of the Church.

Chelsen Vicari

Chelsen Vicari has written a perceptive article on the effectiveness of the Emergent Movement. I’ve long pointed out how ineffective the emerging/emergent movement has been in making new disciples.

But that, is not their mission. They have a social agenda which is high on symbolism and low on action. I don’t think that’s their real mission either. Their real mission is to change the church and they are very good at it.

1 Corinthians by Mark Taylor $30 off

I can’t resist. Mark Taylor’s 1 Corinthians commentary is down from $32.99 to $2.99 on Kindle (US store).

“1 Corinthians: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture: 28 (New American Commentary)” (Mark Taylor)