Troy Cooper Models the 411

Four questions, one piece of paper, one hour. That's all you need. Troy models how you take a new or existing believer through the 411.

Then he breaks up the training into bite sized pieces so you can learn to train others.

Don't show the videos. Learn it and you teach it. If you can't do it, you don't know it.

The decline of the Anglican church in Britain — nothing new to report

The number of Anglicans in Britain has collapsed by 50 per cent in less than twenty years according to the latest British Social Attitudes survey.

Only 3% of adults under 24 describe themselves as Anglican.

More than half, 53 per cent, of the British public describe themselves as having no religion, the highest level ever.

This trend will continue. The Anglican church in Britain is in serious decline.

From a movements perspective, a religious organization has to align itself with three essential movement characteristics — obedience to the living Word, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and Jesus' prime directive to make disciples of the nations. To neglect any element is to court decline and eventual decay.

This is not a counsel of despair. The Word, the Spirit, and the mission are also the way back to life for any declining movement.

Farewell to Phil Clark

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We'll miss him dearly.

In the early hours of this morning this WONDERFUL man of God and hubby of nearly 33 years passed away quietly and peacefully. He made me promise not to say 'he lost the battle with cancer' (because you can't 'battle' cancer) but I will say this: That cancer raging in his body for nearly 2 1/2 years did not stop him from serving God and doing incredible ministry, going on some amazing trips having great adventures and staying true to his positive, faith-filled,visionary, missional, proactive, wickedly humorous, caring and loving self, being the most wonderful husband any woman has ever had! I will miss him so terribly much, but I know I will see him again in heaven, Thank you, Jesus!

Monika Clark

An interview with Phil and Monika Clark about their pioneering work in New Zealand and how they faced Phil's cancer together with faith and courage.

 

Twisting the nose of Jesus

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I am neither an untrue man … nor a mere nose of wax to be twisted this way and that

Sir Walter Scott

True north in the confusion over human sexuality and marriage is what the Scriptures teach. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 19, affirming Genesis 1-2.

This is what Christians have always believed. Until recently. What changed? Western culture changed.

When I make this point, the response is sometimes, well it is more complicated than that. We have to balance what Jesus taught on marriage with what he taught about love.

So now we have loving Jesus versus Jesus the authority on marriage in the 1st century. In the 21st century, we prefer the loving Jesus. And we get to define the true nature of love.

These are attempts to create Jesus in our image. Jesus is Lord, his words are the words of the living God. For all time in all cultures.

Disciples are those who are learning to obey his teachings, not avoid them (Matthew 28: 18-20).

So the real Jesus has a problem with sexual sin in ALL its forms. It’s better to pluck out an eye than give yourself to sexual sin and find yourself in hell (Matthew 5:29). God will judge us if we give ourselves over to sexual sin. To be silent about this is not an act of love — unless Jesus got it wrong. But then you wouldn’t be his follower, obeying his teaching.

The real Jesus welcomed the woman who wept at his feet (Luke 7:36-50). He announced to a room of men who were judging her, “Her sins are many.” And her sins are forgiven. Her faith saved her from God’s judgment. She went home at peace with God.

Who is this man, who welcomes sinners and forgives them?

Jesus took sexual sin seriously, warned against it, and gave his life as a ransom for sinners (Mark 10:45). He died so we could be forgiven and know new life through the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our sexual brokenness and sin. There is a Savior.

So don’t twist Jesus’ nose. He is the one hope we have of being rescued from our brokenness, our shame, and our sin — in all its forms.

We have some news

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Three years ago we left Australia with a call to pioneer movements of disciples and churches across Britain. We got involved in the harvest, first in east London and then in Leicester. We mobilized and trained nationally and began to identify practitioners who could do the same.

We met Russell Godward soon after we arrived in the UK. For twenty years he’d been a pastor in Essex. In recent times he had led the church through a restructure around missional communities. He was frustrated that the process had not resulted in reaching and multiplying new disciples.

At that time Russell and his wife Jan were in the midst of grieving the loss of their son James.

Russell was uncertain regarding his ministry future but convinced he wanted to give his life to multiplying disciples and churches.

Early in 2015 Russell completed our training at an event in Manchester and began implementing in his local community.

Michelle and I came down and trained members of his church and other churches in the area.

Russell formed a team to reach out locally and he began to train with us.

In November 2015 Russell joined me on a trip to Kenya where we trained fifty young leaders over four days. I discovered Russell was a natural at connecting with students, training and mentoring. He led the way in taking students into the local village to connect with people far from God, share the gospel and then open up a discovery group in their local community.

Halfway through the week I shared my thoughts with Russell and challenged him to pray about moving from being a frustrated local pastor to be a movement pioneer for Britain.

In March 2016 Russell finished up as a pastor and began raising support to join MOVE.

Earlier this year Russell became our lead trainer for Britain. Michelle and I have played a supportive role since. In November, we’ll hand over the leadership of MOVE UK to Russell.

What’s next for us?

Until recently we thought we’d keep living in the UK and focus on opportunities in Europe. We still have Europe on our hearts. But as we have prayed and discussed the future with our Board, we have come to the conviction that it’s time to return to Australia.

Yes, we'll be home by December!

Australia to vote on same-sex marriage

Dale Stephenson is a good friend and the pastor of our sending church.

Australians will shortly be given the opportunity to participate in the postal vote about whether we ought to change the definition of marriage to include the unions of same sex couples. I encourage everyone to participate in this process.

There have been few, if any, more divisive issues for Australian society in my lifetime than the same sex marriage debate. Some voices from both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps have been extremely ungracious in their tone and content and I encourage a gracious and loving tone from both sides. Good people have drawn divergent conclusions on this matter and neither side deserves to be demonised for the conclusions that they have reached. In this process much harm has been done to vulnerable people on both sides, especially to young people struggling with their sexual identity, and pejorative comments do little to advance either perspective.

As best as I can understand the Bible and from my Christian faith, I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. This definition of marriage has served our Australian society well historically. Jesus said, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” The Apostle Paul wrote to a Roman audience, who had same sex marriage and casual same sex unions, expressing that this was not the Christian way. The major world faiths of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Indigenous cultures all affirm marriage as between men and women.

It is also worth us realising that the very nature of law is to define inclusion and exclusion. A line is drawn and certain relationships are not called ‘marriage' even though they have the right to exist and even be celebrated by portions of society. For example, three people cannot experience marriage equality because by definition marriage is only for two. Some relationships between consenting adults cannot be recognised as marriage because the parties are too closely related. If either person is too young it cannot be called marriage. The definition by law excludes some relationships because that is what law does.

I have serious concerns about the impact on freedom of speech and freedom of religion in Australia implicit in the proposed redefinition of marriage. We are a richer society as a result of our capacity to speak freely and exercise our faith convictions freely even though this inevitably causes friction across the board. In countries that have redefined marriage to include same sex
unions the law has been used coercively against people of faith and against people’s conviction on these matters. This is not conducive to a free society.

Jesus told us we are to love our
neighbours as ourselves, love even those who hate us, pray for those who persecute us and bless them. I take these words to heart and it is with love and respect that I uphold Crossway's official position in support of the traditional definition of marriage.

Dale Stephenson
Senior Pastor
Crossway Baptist Church