When the Holy Spirit comes

The Holy Spirit comes on Jesus when he is in the passive state of submitting himself to God’s will in baptism and while he is praying.

The effects of the Spirit in the life of Jesus are evident in what follows: the power to resist the wiles of Satan, the power to recall and apply Scripture, the power to see God’s plan and purposes and to proclaim the Word boldly, the power to withstand hostility, and the power to minister to and heal the oppressed. The Spirit in the lives of believers can do the same things.

David E. Garland


The "Chrislam" debate

This week a heated “Chrislam’’ battle is unfolding in the Catholic Church over Pope Francis’s joint document with Islamic leader Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, which says the “pluralism and the diversity of religions” are “willed by God in His wisdom”.

Did the God of the Bible, revealed in Jesus Christ, “will” Islam into being and raise up Mohammed as a or the prophet? In 2015 that was certainly the view of Westminster Abbey.

A lot depends on how you answer that question. Right now lives are being lost in attempts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ among Muslims. Why should we bother if Islam is willed by God and Mohammed is one of his prophets?

When Mark Durie talks about Islam and Christianity, I listen. He’s a leading Christian authority on Islam. He has lived in Indonesia doing linguistic fieldwork among Muslims. He is the pastor of a congregation of muslim background believers in Melbourne, Australia.

His insights are based upon a careful understanding of the key Islamic texts. This series is a must for anyone working among Muslims.

In this series, Dr Mark Durie approaches understanding the Qu'ran as a text with its own distinct theology.
In this series, Dr Mark Durie approaches understanding the Qu'ran as a text with its own distinct theology.
In this series, Dr Mark Durie approaches understanding the Qu'ran as a text with its own distinctive theology.
In this series, Dr Mark Durie approaches understanding the Qu'ran as a text with its own distinct theology.
In this, Dr Mark Durie approaches understanding the Qu'ran as a text with its own distinct theology.

When God Shows Up During an Interview

Don Waybright, Michelle Addison

Don Waybright, Michelle Addison

Sometimes I am unraveled by my own interviews. I sit there amazed at the goodness of God. How he works through ordinary people to extraordinary things. I’m stunned.

I can’t stop thinking about my interview with Don Waybright. I was riveted by the story of Iesus (Jesus), eighteen years in maximum security, solitary confinement, freed by the gospel and learning to follow Jesus. The Mexican gang members turning and believing, risking retaliation for leaving their gang and being baptized. The women in Mumbai, freed from prostitution and walking with Christ.

If you listened to the podcast, but didn't watch the video, fast forward it to the last few minutes and watch Don as he baptizes Iesus who is shackled hand and foot.

Isn’t this what we signed up for?

This discipleship movement is spreading behind bars, it’s spreading among prostitutes in Mumbai, is spreading in some of the darkest places in Houston.

Don Waybright won’t mind me saying he’s just an ordinary guy. He’s been on this journey for almost twenty years. He has an extraordinary ability to take other people with him. His church is on board, they’ve trained 1,600 of their people in the basics of connecting, sharing and discipling. A few years ago Don brought a team from his church for a week of mission on the streets and in the neighborhoods of Mosside, Manchester in the north of England. Mosside is a tough neighborhood. Michelle and I were there. That’s Don and Michelle in the photo above.

Don is the missions pastor of a church of over four thousand. You wouldn’t expect the senior pastor, Mark Hartman, to have time for a week of mission in Mosside. He’d send Don and the team and cheer from back home. But Mark was there, out on the streets sharing the gospel, living what he teaches. Sugar Creek is a “both/and church”. They love being a church of thousands and they love multiplying disciples and churches anywhere they can.

I get tired of having “missional conversations”. It’s all too abstract for me. I want to hear stories of people set free by the gospel and the life of Christ in them. This a work of God. It’s the fruit of surrendering to his living Word, depending on his Holy Spirit and focusing on the core missionary task of making disciples.

That’s what I signed up for.

If this story has moved you, what will you do next? I’m if we asked Don he’d say,

  1. Get some training

  2. Get started

  3. Don’t go alone

Interview with Don Waybright: NoPlaceLeft Behind Bars

182-NoPlaceLeft Behind Bars

Don Waybright describes how a Texas megachurch is fueling disciple making movements in prisons and around the world.

A previous interview with Don Waybright, missions pastor at Sugar Creek Baptist Church.

Don recommends Steve Smith’s book Spirit Walk:


The Trouble with Missionary Movements [updated]

Carracci Annibale - The Stoning of St Stephen 1603-04

Carracci Annibale - The Stoning of St Stephen 1603-04

Acts has no purpose, no plot, no structure, and no history without suffering.

Paul House

Following disturbing reports out of China and from around the world of rising persecution against Christians, it’s time to republish this post from 2010.

Ten years ago I was in Singapore having just left a restricted field somewhere in Asia. I had sought out a couple of guys named “Smith” with a lot of experience in church planting movements to help me make sense of what I was learning.

I will not forget this comment:

We've never seen a church planting movement without persecution.

Suffering and persecution go hand in hand with movements that multiply disciples and churches.

They are the unifying theme of the book of Acts. Without them the command to take the gospel to the ends of the world would never have been fulfilled.

Want to learn more?

50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Follow Jesus

Image: Open Doors USA

Image: Open Doors USA

A report on the 50 most dangerous nations in which to be a Christian in 2019.

Christian persecution has worsened in the most populous countries in the world, China and India, putting millions more believers at risk for their faith.

The two Asian nations moved up on Open Doors’s annual ranking of the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. India entered the World Watch List’s top 10 for the first time, due to a growing Hindu nationalist threat stirring anti-Christian sentiments. Meanwhile China, where the Communist government continues closing major congregations and detaining Christian leaders, climbed from No. 43rd to No. 27 on the list.

Researchers calculate that 1 in 3 Asian Christians now experience high levels of persecution for their faith.

read the whole thing