Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Mission Movements – Reflections from the 1200’s-1400’s

February 5, 2010

Thinking and reading about mission/renewal movements within the Catholic church pre-Reformation (another renewal movement with tremendous success.)

The following is Dr. Paul Pierson (Fuller Theological Seminary) through his book, Dynamics of Christian Mission

“new mission movements are nearly always initiated by key leaders – men or women who have gone dep in thier life iwth God and consequently felt His heartbeat for the world and then have communicated their vision to other” (p.108)

“mission and renewal movements virtually always arise on the periphery of the boarder Church.  Often, but not always, they are lead by laypersons.” (p.109)

“The historical reality is that every movement, no matter how it began, will become institutionalized and fall into the danger of losing its original vision and vitality.  None is exempt from that danger.” (p.109)

“Often a movement of renewal or mission makes theological rediscoveries … and are often accompanied by new patterns of leadership selection and training.” (p.112)

“a missiological entrepreneur is one whose vision goes beyond that of the dominant Church and mission structures of the time, and who consequently creates new movements to implement the vision.” (p.118)

Examples he gives: Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, Samuel Mills, Hudson Taylor, Cameron Townsend, Ralph Winter.  On top of his preceding list I would add: Donald McGavarn, the reformation leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as others.

Good stuff.  Continue the conversation with me.

Book Review: From Seed to Fruit (edited by J. Dudley Woodberry)

December 21, 2009

It is not often to come across a book that has breadth and depth at the same time, especially concerning missiological topics on Muslim peoples.  From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices and Emerging Issues among Muslims is such a book.  This book has it all to me.  Various authors sharing their concentrations.  Different missionaries sharing their context-specific experiences.  Topics covering both macro and micro ideas for the missiologist (theorist) and missionary (practitioner).  It seemed like a great overview of the missiology I have been learning for the past five years.  The book is the result of research taken from field practitioner reports and attempts to analyze what practices lead most effectively to people movements.

Buy the Book HERE

Here are other reviews of the book:

Here is the Table of Contents to get a snap shot of the book:

Part I Global Trends: Soils, Seed, Sowers and First Fruits
Chapter 1 Look at the Fields: Survey of the Task – Patrick Johnstone
Chapter 2 Unplowed Ground: Engaging the Unreached – Jeff Liverman
Chapter 3 The Imperishable Seed: Toward Effective Sharing of Scripture – Andrea & Leith Gray
Chapter 4 Laborers from the Global South: Partnering in the Task – Greg Livingstone
Chapter 5 Sister Laborers: Partnering in the Task – Sue Eenigenburg
Chapter 6 First Fruits and Future Harvests – Jim Haney

Part II Fruitful Practices: Sowing, Watering, Gathering, Reproducing
Chapter 7 Eyes to See, Ears to Hear – Don Allen
Chapter 8 The Sowing of Witnessing – David Greenlee & Pam Wilson
Chapter 9 The Watering of Discipling – John Becker & Erik Simuyu
Chapter 10 The Gathering of Reproducing Fellowships – Eric and Laura Adams
Chapter 11 The Equipping of Leaders – Debora Viveza & Dwight Samuel
Chapter 12 The Gathering of Teams of Laborers – Andrew & Rachel Chard

Part III Emerging Issues in Fruitful Practices: Birds, Rocks, Sun, and Soil
Chapter 13 Factors Affecting the Identity that Jesus Followers Choose – John & Anna Travis with Phil Parshall
Chapter 14 Factors which Facilitate Fellowships becoming Movements – David Garrison & Seneca Garrison
Chapter 15 Bible Storying and Oral Use of the Scriptures – Jack Colgate
Chapter 16 Expatriates Empowering Indigenous Leaders – Abraham Durán, Michael Schuler, & Moses Sy
Chapter 17 Are We Nourishing or Choking Young Plants with Funds? – J. R. Meydan a& Ramsay Harris
Chapter 18 Relevant Responses to Folk Muslims – Caleb Chul-Soo Kim & John and Anna Travis
Chapter 19 Pre-Field Preparation to Sow – Don Allen & Abraham Durán

Part IV Emerging Issues in Global Trends: More Birds, Rocks, Sun, and Soil
Chapter 20 Islamism and Receptivity to Jesus – Moussa Bongoyok
Chapter 21 Toward Respectful Witness – Joseph Cumming
Chapter 22 Peacemaking and Church Formation – David Shenk & Ahmed Haile
Chapter 23 An Integrated Identity in a Globalized World – Patrick Lai & Rick Love
Chapter 24 Recapturing the Role of Suffering – Nik Ripken

Looking for good reads

January 20, 2009

Everyone,

I am getting together a “book wishlist” to go through. I’ve got some on the shelf I am going through I will list for you below, but I would love to hear your top 3 reads. Comment below for me.

CURRENTLY READING

Books:
Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (all new 4th ed.)
The Mission of God by Christopher Wright
From Seed to Fruit Edited by J. Dudley Woodberry

Magazines:
Mission Frontiers
International Journal of Frontier Missiology
EMQ

The Flying Man Pt 2 – “Eric Liddell: The Flying Man” – Mark Harris

December 12, 2008

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

First off, for a great full book on the story of the great Olympian and missionary to China, Eric Liddell, read “Eric Liddell: Pure Gold” by David McCasland.  Harris’ article starts with the popularized version of Eric Liddell, the movie “Chariots of Fire” and then announces the development and arrival of the sequel to “Chariots of Fire” called “The Flying Man.”  This sequel is a American/Chinese film collaboration made professionally as a tool to share the gospel through the story of Eric Liddell.  After announcing said movie, the article launches into the missional life Liddell lead, being born to missionaries serving in China and returning to China to serve himself after the 1924 Olympics.  It gives details on his time in China (that I will allow you to read yourself in the short article or in the full book.)

Two things from the article elaborated on what I already knew from the Pure Gold book.  1) “The Flying Man” movie 2) the reverence the Chinese people have today for this historic person that served their people.

“The Flying Man” release is being timed according to the dual hype of the ’08 Olympics of China and the 2012 Olympics in London.  Both geographic locations themselves Liddell spent significant time in, but even more so, the combination of the two is almost a representation of Liddells’ life (Again, born in China, childhood in England, returned to China.)  It seems like this is going to be more than just a cheesy Christian movie.  In another report, I heard they were bringing along big time actors, producers, sound guys and asking for professionals in the entertainment industry to collaborate on the project.  I look forward to the release of the movie, hopefully in 2010 or 2011.

The other intriguing part of the article (already knowing the story line) is Chinese people’s respect and adoration of this man.  Interesting pieces:

-Despite the project costing over a million dollars, the Chinese government paid to have Liddell’s house restored and preserved.
– On the site of the internment camp Liddell died at (Weihsien), the Chinese govenment placed a stone monument honoring him.
– TV networks in China have produced their own documentaries of Eric’s life and service to China.
– There is a Chinese station that replays the original “Chariots of Fire” over and over
– The Chinese government allowed a publishing of “Running the Race: Eric Liddell — Olympic Champion and Missionary” by John Keddie. For the government to allow an overtly Christian book is amazing.

So read the article, buy the book, pray for China and the legacy of Liddell to live on.

Upcoming Reading: From Seed to Fruit

November 19, 2008

We are so excited to get a hold of this book to read – “From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues Among Muslims” Edited by J. Dudley Woodberry. We bought the book way before it was realeased and thought it would be shipped while we were in NC.  Well it was late, its in NC and we are chomping at the bit to read it.

We already knew it was going to be a great read, but we had a morning seminar from one of the main contributors to the book and were uber excited.  This book is the first wave of research that is coming to try to put together what are key strategical indexes that enable rapid Christward movements in the Muslim context.  It is compiled from field missionaries experiences and details best practices for the individual and team, witnessing, discipling, relationships with leaders and the culture.

This book is a compilation of the major players in the Muslim context I have been reading from lately (Patrick Johnstone, Andrea & Leith Gray, Rick Love, Greg Livingstone, Dr. Jim Haney, David Garrison).  Its going to be a great read.  Buy it, read it, talk to others about.  Let us learn how to best contextualize the gospel and serve our Muslim brothers and sisters in love.

Hebrews as a bridge

December 24, 2007

These reflections come from Gareth Lee Cockrill’s book titled “Guidebook for Pilgrims to the Heavenly City”

Have you ever thought of using the book of Hebrews to bridge a Muslim’s Hajj? Guidebook for Pilgrims to the Heavenly City does just that. The author of Hebrews uses language and analogies for a journey, or reaching a city (The New Jerusalem, Heaven). What a great way to attract people whose tradition compels them to take such a journey. This method is unique, because it so easily contextualizes the entire book of Hebrews into the Islamic culture. Cockrill’s rendition of this bridge is written primarily to an audience bent on one day going to Mecca, or have already taken the Hajj. Here is a short overview; use this to be intrigued, but read the book if you want to use the strategy.

Part One: The Pilgrim Road (Hebrews 10:32 – 12:29)


Introduction to Part One
(Hebrews 10:32-39)
This section of Hebrews clearly describes the life of faith as a pilgrimage to heaven. The writer of Hebrews assumes that we are asking the question, “Why should we continue in this pilgrimage when we face suffering?” Introduces Part One

Called to be a Pilgrim (Hebrews 11:1-22)
True pilgrims trust God’s promises of future blessing and believe that He is active in their daily lives. By his example Abraham calls us to have this faith and make our pilgrimage to the Heavenly City. From his life we learn that pilgrimage means leaving the things of this world and pursuing the heavenly goal. Like Abraham we may face opposition, but it is vital that we persevere to the end of our journey.

Endure Suffering (Hebrews 11:23-40)
Moses, like Abraham, was a pilgrim to the Heavenly City. Since Moses was willing to leave the horded treasures of Egypt for the eternal homeland, he reminds us of the unsurpassed value of our destination. His courage in face of opposition inspires us to be courageous . God’s deliverance of many encourages us to persevere. Our resolve is strengthened by remembering those faithful pilgrims who have had to suffer persecution and death for their faith. We know that victory will be theirs in the resurrection. Because of Jesus the Messiah our resources are much greater than theirs.

Follow Your Guide (Hebrews 12:1-17)
Jesus is both the founder of this pilgrimage and our mutawwif [guide] along the way. By his suffering he has opened the way for us to enter the Heavenly City. By keeping our gaze on him we are strengthened to meet the challenges of the pilgrim way. Indeed, suffering is a mark of the true pilgrim. God uses this suffering to train His faithful pilgrims and prepare them for His blessing just as a loving father disciplines his beloved children. We must not let suffering turn us away from the great blessings that are within our reach.

At the Mount of Mercy (Hebrews 12:18-29)
Through what Jesus has done for us we are able to through prayer and worship to enter the Heavenly City and stand joyfully in God’s presence with the angels around His throne. For us that City is on the Mount of God’s Mercy. Those who have rejected Jesus the Messiah stand in condemnation before the Mount of Judgment. Just as those who stand at the Plain of Arafat on the 9th of Dhu-l-Hajjah anticipate the Judgment Day, so our present experience at God’s Mount of Mercy anticipates the mercy we will receive on that Day if we do not shrink back from following Jesus

Part Two: The Pilgrim’s Helper
(Hebrews 1:1 – 12:29)

Introduction to Part Two (Hebrews 5:11 – 6:20)
This part of Hebrews explains in greater depth the significance of Jesus as the founder of the Pilgrimage to the Heavenly City and as mutawwif along the way. It shows us how Jesus and Jesus alone is the one who enables us to reach our destination. The writer of Hebrews prepares his readers for his teaching about Jesus’ High Priesthood, which they found difficult or objectionable. Gives special attention to the reality of his death and resurrection and the significance of his being called “Son.”

Around the Ka’bah (Hebrews 1:1 – 2:4)
Pilgrims to Mecca anticipate the time when they will gaze on the Ka’bah. For them it is the point of contact between heaven and earth. Jesus is the Ka’bah or focal point of heavenly contact for pilgrims to the Heavenly City. He is God’s embodied Eternal Word and thus brings us a revelation that fulfills and surpasses all revelations given through prophets and angels. It is vital that we remain loyal to what God has revealed for us in Jesus.

The First Pilgrim (Hebrews 2:5-18, 4:14 – 5:10)
By the “Great Pilgrimage” of 632 A.D. Muhammad established the pattern of pilgrimage to Mecca. In 622 he left the city only to return victoriously in 630 and open the way for pilgrims. God’s Eternal Word has opened the way to the Heavenly City by what was surely a “Great Pilgrimage.” According to the will of God he established this pilgrimage by leaving the Heavenly City, becoming a human being and offering himself for the sins of all humanity before returning in triumph to the Heavenly Homeland. By his offering he freed us from the impurity of sin which kept us from God’s presence and liberated us from the fear of condemnation on the Day of Judgment. Thus he is our High Priest who invites us into the God’s holy presence and fulfills the picture of High Priesthood which God has given in the Tawrah of Moses.

The Apostle of God and the Pilgrims who Rebelled (Hebrews 3:1 – 4:13)
Jesus is the Apostle or Rasul of God because he has brought the final revelation of God and because he leads us into the promised Heavenly Homeland. He is as much superior to Moses, the great prophet and apostle with whom God spoke so intimately, as “the maker of a house is greater than the house.” Thus if the people who followed Moses failed to enter the “rest” of God’s Eternal City because they refused to trust God’s power and promises, how much more will we fail if we do not obey in faith? Let us be diligent to enter because the Heavenly City they sought is still available to those who trust and obey. God holds us accountable.

An Intercessor Before the Day of Judgment (Hebrews 7:1-28)
Even now Jesus sits at God’s right hand as our Intercessor who cleanses us from sin, brings us into God’s presence, and mediates to us the grace we need to be faithful pilgrims. He can do this because he is a “priest according to the order of Melchizadek.” As the obedient embodied Eternal Word of God he has replaced the Mosaic priesthood of sinful, mortal men. Since his High Priesthood is backed by God’s oath, he can guarantee us perpetual access into God’s presence. Since he is eternal he can completely deliver us from sin. He is exactly the kind of High Priest we need and we are invited to draw near to God through him every day of our pilgrimage.

The Feast of Sacrifice (Hebrews 8:1 – 10:18)
Discusses the themes of sanctuary, sacrifice, and covenant. Jesus’ sacrifice is superior because it alone provides access to the true heavenly sanctuary and establishes the new and adequate covenant. Thus pilgrims to the Heavenly City have three reasons to rejoice in the sacrifice of God’s Eternal Word embodied in Jesus. First, through his perfect obedience and willing sacrifice of himself he has cleansed us of the impurity of sin. Second, by this cleansing he has established a new covenant or din in which our sins are forgiven and we are given obedient hearts. Third he has opened the way for the purified people of this new covenant to enter the presence of God in heaven. No animal sacrifice was sufficient. Only the willingly self-offering of Jesus in perfect obedience to God was adequate for our sin. He expressed this obedience in his talbiya: “Here I am, I have come to do your will, O God.”

Stoning the Devil (Hebrews 10:19-31)
Pilgrims to Mecca attest their determination to resist temptation by stoning the three pillars that represent Satan’s temptation of Abraham in the valley of Mina. Pilgrims to the Heavenly City are invited to take refuge from Satan and his temptations by drawing near to God through the sacrifice of Jesus. He has opened a “new and living” way into God’s presence by cleansing us from sin within and without. He welcomes them when they enter. They are to be unswerving in their pilgrimage and encourage one another because Jesus their High Priest is faithful. This passage closes with a solemn reminder that anyone who professes to experience the blessings of Christ and then turns away will suffer eternal separation from God.

Conclusion: The Way of Ihram (Hebrews 13:1-25)
Hebrews concludes with instructions on how to live in the state of heart ihram provided by Jesus. This purity is not a matter of rituals or of keeping a number of rules. It is the offering of two sacrifices–praise to God and doing good and sharing with others. We do good by sharing with both friends and strangers, helping those in need, being sexually pure, and by being generous and relying on God to supply our needs. We praise God by confessing our loyalty to Jesus and identifying with those who worship him. Hebrews ends with a blessing that the God who raised the Lord Jesus, our caring Shepherd, will bring us to the end of our pilgrimage.

– Taken from Appendix Two: A Quick Reference (pp.171 – 175)

Career Defing Crisis in Mission by Paul Keidel Review

December 7, 2007

Keidel’s book brought up a lot of issues to think about. I enjoyed it so much that I made an outline of it so I could quick reference it. Let me know if you want me to send you the outline. So here are some thoughts on Keidel’s book.

The first two chapters re-iterated thoughts I had already had, and information that I had been exposed to. I think those chapters (Language and Culture) are critical to people beginning their journey. I thought the next few chapter really broke down the missionary process (Telling the Story, Deciding for Christ) and brought out key debates (Social Gospel). I really enjoyed questioning the “three self model” (The Crisis of an Indigenous Church). Keidel flips these on their heads and showed their purpose, but inadequacy. I really enjoyed the cultural sensitivity, about transferring the power of the gospel into their cultural appropriate equivalences. The issues he raised about dependency (financially and dependent on the missionary). I liked in the end how he focused on the power of the gospel in our lives (as missionaries) and the clash of doing vs. being (in Christ).

I know that was general, I’d love to continue the conversation about specific thoughts/issues.

Allow me time to re-read it and think over the three self model and I’ll add thoughts to it

Worldview

September 14, 2007

The typical American Christian worldview is something like this:

What is real? Well, God is real. He is basically on the throne, although a lot goes on in the world that He allows to happen because of man’s evil choices. I fit into this scheme of things as His child who doesn’t have a lot to say about cosmic events.

What do I believe? Among other things, I believe the Bible. I believe that God chose the Jews to finally bring forth the Messiah so He could start the Church so I could become a Christian — which means I’m different from the world, but if I live true to God I’ll have a good life with His blessing. I also believe things are going from bad to worse, and when they get really out-of-hand, God will give up on humanity, Jesus will return and I’ll go to heaven.

What do I think is best? I think being a good Christian is extremely important — living a clean, godly life, reading the Bible, praying, witnessing,giving money to the church and missions and attending church services.

What is my behavior like?
I try to do thinks I know are important; but I don’t do them as regularly as I should or would like to. I attend lots of meetings. And I’m basically trying to have the best life I can until Jesus comes back for me.


A more biblical based worldview:

What is real? God is minutely in charge of everything, even to the extent of using Satan and man’s wrath to fit into His unchangeable purpose of blessing His people in order to bless every people on earth. I fit into a very specific role in that plan.

What do I believe? Among other things such as the doctrines of the faith, I believe God has been orchestrating His specific plan for all of history. I believe that everything that happens fits into His unchangeable purpose. And I believe there is a time coming when He will finish His plan. I believe that time is soon, and I believe my sense of vision of His plan is not a coincidence: I believe He wants to use me now in some significant way.

What do I think is best? Fitting into that plan [Here are some possible ways]. Seeking first His kingdom. Using all the disciplines of biblical Christianity to point in the direction of that purpose. It is extremely important for me to maintain good health, cultivate good relationships, keep my finances in order so that I can give as much as possible to the Cause, walk in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, and develop all my skills and spiritual gifts for my part in the big picture. I need to pray against the enemy strongholds so that God’s kingdom can come on earth as it is in heaven, and pray that God would thrust forth laborers into His harvest. I must evangelize my own people group through personal evangelism, unite with other believers in this cosmic battle against satanic forces, and remain clean and pure as a vessel fit for God’s use in His plans! All of this is extremely important because God is carrying out His purpose through us, His people!

What is my behavior like? It looks like typical Christian behavior, only a little more radical. I’ve never prayed so much in my life; I become angry over Satan’s control over a certain unreached people group and I refuse through prayer to let Satan have his way over them. I’m getting together with Christians who mean business, because I know better than to tackle the strongholds of Satan by myself. I’m also studying the Bible and the world like never before, because I’ve realized how little I know about the whole picture. I spend a lot of time evaluating everything I do to pull it into captivity to obedience to Christ in His great Cause. I evaluate what I have and do according to the fact that it has a purpose far beyond making my own life comfortable. I find I don’t do much in the way of trying to “keep up with the Joneses”; who cares about such small ambitions anymore? I’m feeling less of a need to escape; so I watch less TV and spend less money. I’m beginning to act as if I don’t quite belong her in my old Western culture for much longer.

Taken from Vision 2020 by Bill and Amy Stearns, pages 166-168

Missiology: Reaching Muslims using the Koran

March 18, 2007

Where do religions come from? We know that all mankind came from Adam and Noah. Division begins at the Tower of Babel. God scatters man and confuses their language. Once things settle, God chooses a specific man to share his revelation with. From this point in scripture, it seems that Abraham is pretty aware that there is one God, its not until later that scripture mentions other gods. At this point, God has been distant with man. God calls Abraham into relation with Him and begins a process of renewal for the world through His covenant with Abraham; again, God wants all peoples to know Him. Later on we see scripture say, “Thou shall have no other god before me.” So we know that other people believe in other gods. Exodus 32 shows the process of this transferal from the one true God into other gods. The people want a physical presence of God, but God doesn’t give that to all people. The people turn from their previous knowledge of the one true God and worship a calf instead.

Therefore I believe that other religions are just perversions of the real thing. Other religions thus have connections back to the Truth. Don Richardson explains similar cultural connections in his book Eternity in Their Hearts. There thus should also be redemptive analogies back to the truth, where you can turn back these perversions. Kevin Greeson’s book, the Camel Training Manuel shows ayats (verses) from the Koran that point to the truth of the one true God who redeems His people through His sacrifice. The Koran can be used as a bridge to lift Jesus above prophet status, although it will not share the fullness of Christ’s plan for redemption.

Most people know that Islam has a foundation built on Christianity, thus Judaism, if you look closer into the Koran there are ayats that point to Christ as more than just a prophet. It confers with the new testament that Jesus has conquered death, that Muhammad himself was unsure about his eternal fate, and that Allah tells Muhammad to look at the “before books” (Old Testament and New Testament) for answers. Ayats from the Koran itself actually give more validity to Christ than Muhammad. Most followers of Muhammad feel that the Koran is too holy of a book to read, and that few people can actually interpret the text. Hence, for the most part, using the Koran as a bridge to the gospel is more effective with Imams (Islamic priests) than with the general population of Muslims.

Wrapped up in one passage (Surah Al-Imran 3:42-55), one can see that Jesus is not just a prophet. This text can help raise Jesus up to the deserved position of Savior. This Koranic text says that Jesus was holy, Jesus had power over death, and Jesus knows the way to heaven. This is the crux of the Koranic text to lead seekers into reading the Bible for themselves

Here are some other interesting ayats in the Koran

Surah The Sandhills 46:9 “Say: I am not the first of the apostles, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner.” Muhammad himself testifies that he is not the greatest, he does not know where his followers are going, and he is only a warner.

Surah Jonah 10:94 “But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers.” This is a direct reference back to “the Book before you” aka the Bible. The Koran de-emphasizes itself.

Surah The Woman 4:136 “O you who believe! believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Book which He has revealed to His Apostle and the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His apostles and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.” Again note the “Book which He revealed before” lifting up the Bible along with the Koran.

Surah Cattle 6:115-116 “And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah’s way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie. Surely your Lord– He best knows who goes astray from His way, and He best knows those who follow the right course.” Allah’s words can not be changed

Surah The Table Spread 5:65-66 “And if the followers of the Book had believed and guarded (against evil) We would certainly have covered their evil deeds and We would certainly have made them enter gardens of bliss And if they had kept up the Taurat and the Injeel and that which was revealed to them from their Lord, they would certainly have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet there is a party of them keeping to the moderate course, and (as for) most of them, evil is that which they do” Those who follow the Torah and Gospel will be blessed

Surah The Woman 4:171 “but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him” Jesus was sent from Allah in heaven in the form of a baby in Mary.

Surah Ta Ha 20:121 “Then they both ate of it, so their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with leaves of the garden, and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him).” Allah is Holy, and we have sinned against Him to cause evil

Surah The Sandhills 46:9 “Say: I am not the first of the apostles, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner.” Muhammad confesses he does not know where he nor his followers will go after death.

IMPORTANT NOTE: as said before, most Muslims have a high respect for the Koran, therefore while using these bridges we must use a gentle spirit. I would not confront a Muslim about these issues without first reading the book. The book will walk you step by step on ways to ask questions and order and bring it all together. My purpose is to expose the reader to some issues, so that you will be interested and dig deeper.

Worship

December 11, 2006

Worship is the heartbeat of God. He rejoices when we take time out of our lives to make a display that we desire his presence. It’s amazing how much worship is wrapped around culture. While God accepts many styles of worship, the worshipper feels more or less connected based on the style. This gets very specific. Most peoples worship through music of some sorts. Reading through “All the World Is Singing” showed how culture forms the basis of worship. Many times when a missionary gives the good news to a people group, the message is packaged in a Western form of logic, vocabulary and individualistic connotation. Same goes for worship music and church style. Many times a new church will look like one from the West: 25 minutes of hymns or guitar/keyboard based music, and a 45 minute sermon. Other cultures prefer drums, gongs, and local instruments in timing and rhythms that sound weird to westerners (for an example go to Heart Sounds International). Other cultures listen to bible stories for hours at a time and get frustrated with westerners who can only preach for an hour. From this book it was amazing to see how much joy the local believers had when they could worship God with their own idiom and style of music. Some described it as “God was speaking to their heart, using their heart language.” The church was then more prepared to evangelize their own community. They would go through out the villages playing their new songs and the villagers would stop what they were doing to come out and listen. This is so much better then us as missionaries trying to use our methods. Reading the book gave me a taste of what heaven would be like. Revelation 7:9-10 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””. I can’t wait to be praising God in the key of G with 4/4 timing, right beside someone else dancing to an African drum, next to someone from a Muslim background reverently bowing before God.