The Movements Podcast needs your prayer

I've been amazed at the impact of the Movements Podcast around the world. Every episode get's over 1,000 downloads.

But since we launched the new site we've had problems with the iTunes feed so people can't subscribe or get updates. So far, no on can find a solution.

We've had high-level support from our SquareSpace host and from the iTunes people. But you know you're in trouble when both sides tell you they can't work it out, so talk to the other side.

So I'm asking people to pray for a breakthrough and for God's blessing on the podcast. Pray for Darren Ngui who is working on the problem.

The interviews with practitioners, the stories, the lessons, need to get out to workers around the world.

Meanwhile you can still listen to and download the podcasts on this site.

David Watson, Contagious Disciple Making: Auckland & Perth. UPDATED

David Watson, movement catalyst and author of Contagious Disciple Making will be training in Auckland, New Zealand on May 2-3, 2017. In association with Dave Lawton and our good friends at Praxeis.

UPDATE: Contagious Discipleship: Perth. May 8, 2017.

Related: My interview with David Watson on Contagious Disciple Making.

 

Catholicism — failing or thriving? It depends where you look.

St Peter's Rome

St Peter's Rome

In this world we have seen the Roman Catholic power dying … for many centuries. Many a time we have gotten all ready for the funeral and found it postponed again, on account of the weather or something … Apparently one of the most uncertain things in the world is the funeral of a religion.
— Mark Twain, 1890

Catholicism may be out of favour in parts of the Western world, but it's thriving where it counts among the exploding populations of the global south.

The Catholic church is by far, the largest religious institution on the planet – and it's growing at an unprecedenteded rate. In 1950, the world’s Catholic population was 437 million, a figure that grew to 650 million by 1970, and to around 1.2 billion today. Catholic numbers have doubled since 1970. By 2050, there should be at least 1.6 billion Catholics.

Back in 1900, Africa had perhaps 10 million Christians of all denominations. About 10% of the population. Today, there are half a billion African Christians, — half of all Africans. By 2040, the number will reach one billion.

This phenomenal growth – which is, incidentally, by far the largest quantitative change that has ever occurred in any religion, anywhere – is in part the result of the continent’s overall population growth.

In 1900, there were three Europeans for every African. By 2050, there will be three Africans for every European. But this expansion is also the result of mass conversions. During the 20th century, some 40 per cent of Africa’s people shifted their allegiance from older primal faiths to Christianity.

In 1900, the whole of Africa had just a couple of million Catholics. Today it approaches 200 million. By the 2040s there will be around 460 million African Catholics. Greater than the total world population of Catholics in 1950.

Around 2030 the number of Catholics in Africa will exceed the number for Europe. A few years after that, Africa will overtake Latin America as the most Catholic continent. 

Meanwhile in Europe, immigrants from around the world are revitalising declining Catholic churches. Visit a Catholic church in Ireland or France and you may find the priest is from Nigeria or Vietnam.

more >>

 

The God who Speaks (3)

Since Jesus is both perfect God and perfect man, he is both the most authoritative speaker and the most faithful hearer of the word of God.
— John Frame
Jesus in the Temple, Heinrich Hofmann (1881)

Jesus in the Temple, Heinrich Hofmann (1881)

Lately I’ve been thinking (with  a lot of help from John Frame) about the living word of God as the foundation for movements that multiply disciples and churches everywhere.

The God of the Bible is a God who speaks, and when he speaks things happen. He speaks to us personally in ways we can understand. He speaks with authority as our Creator and King. 

Faith is hearing the word of God and doing it.

Jesus was both perfect God and perfect man. He was the Word of God speaking the very words of God with authority. He is the Son of God submitted totally to the Father’s will.

Jesus speaks what his Father teaches him (John 8:28; 10:18; 12:49–50; 14:10; 15:15). His words are God’s words. As a man he lived in surrender to the Father’s will. He obeyed the Father’s word (John 5:36; 8:42). He did nothing on his own authority. He only spoke what the Father gave him.

Jesus obeyed what the Father told him directly and he obeyed the written words of God in the OT. He acted and spoke in a way that fulfilled Scripture (Matt. 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 26:54). 

He broke with some Jewish traditions and interpretations of the OT, but Jesus treated the OT as the authoritative words of God. The whole of the OT bears witness to him.

Obedience to his word is the criteria for discipleship. Those who hear his words and obey are like the wise man who builds his house on the rock. His mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21). True disciples are not ashamed of his words (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26).

Our love for Christ is shown by our obedience to his commands (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:7, 10, 14; 17:6, 17).

More to come on how this relates to movements of multiplying disciples and churches.