Source: Desiring God
Overwhelmed by world events and the barrage of news stories, conflicting perspectives, and calls to action? “Keeping up” is part of our job at Missions Catalyst, but sometimes it all becomes too much. How glad I am that amid all the books written, resources produced, and opinions expressed, I can restore my focus through the Book that God wrote.
I’d encourage you to watch this five-minute video about knowing God through his Word. (“God wrote a book. Where else will we run?”)
» Watch the video (or click on image above).
» For more short, inspirational videos to use in presentations or share with others, check out Moving Works.
Source: Justin Long
“Closure” strategies in world mission are complicated by the reality that some of the world’s largest countries include both some of the least reached and most reached peoples and provinces. Breaking data down at the level of provinces, counties, or districts can help. For a visual take on the world’s least reached regions, see this map of the top 40 least-reached places. (Thanks to Bryan Nicholson at CartoMission who made the map from Justin Long’s data.) You might pray about what this information could mean for the ministry efforts you pursue or support, or how you intercede for the needs of the world.
Justin Long is also in the process of researching and publishing profiles of each of these 40 least-reached provinces in Global Church Outlook updates. These profiles or a subscription to the series (and other resources) are available for a modest donation to support the ministry.
» Readers with interest in the Muslim world or global migration may have caught recent statements about the connection between Muslim immigrants and terrorist events. Another recent post from the same source explores a troubling question that’s been raised, Should We Stop All Immigration of Muslims to the United States?
Source: The 3D Gospel
Readers may have read Roland Mueller’s slim volume on Honor and Shame, which came out in 2001, or Werner Mischke’s more extensive 2015 work on this important topic, The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in Our Multicultural World.
Recently Jayson George kindly shared with us a copy of his 2014 book describing honor and shame cultures as well as guilt-innocence and fear-power cultures. At only 80 pages, The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures is a quick read and helpful resource for anyone working cross-culturally. It provides an introduction to these three cultural types and explores how the gospel addresses each.
“Although guilt, shame, and fear are three distinct cultural outlooks, no culture can be completely characterized by only one,” says George. “These three dynamics interplay and overlap in all societies.” He encourages the reader not to neglect any of the three facets but to recognize the importance of each in order to share the gospel in a more complete way.
The author hosts the website HonorShame.com (which we’ve mentioned here previously) and will lead a Missio Nexus webinar on September 17. He has also developed an assessment tool called TheCultureTest.com. It uses 25 simple questions to help you recognize your primary culture type: guilt, shame, or fear.
» Learn more or purchase The 3D Gospel for US$5.50 (or less) from Amazon or elsewhere; the Kindle edition is US$3.99.
Source: Mission Frontiers
Few world news sources are lacking in articles about tensions in the Middle East, but you might find perspectives you don’t hear elsewhere in the July edition of Mission Frontiers. It tells stories about God bringing hope in the midst of darkness and the gospel going forth to the brokenhearted.
Read how ISIS is spreading the gospel, a piece about the harvest in the Middle East, two about ministry among the Yazidis, an article calling us to walk in the steps of St. Francis, and another on how to pray for the chaos and suffering in the Middle East.
Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar
August 3-9, MK/TCK Re-entry Retreat (Gaston, SC, USA). Retreat designed for teens transitioning to college from missionary families.
August 8-14, ReBoot Re-entry Program (Calgary, AB, Canada). For returning missionary kids, ages 17-20, transitioning to life in Canada.
August 9-15, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (Pittsburgh, PA, USA). One-week intensive.
August 10-12, Crisis Management Seminar (Bali, Indonesia). Learn how to develop a competent security and crisis management program.
August 11, Four Things Every Friend of a Short-term Missionary Needs to Know (webinar). Provided by DELTA Ministries.
August 17-21, Kairos Course (Watkinsville, GA, USA).
August 17 to December 20, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided by the Perspectives Study Program.
August 20, CLOSE: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.
August 20-21, Support-raising Bootcamp (Blooomfield, NJ, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.
August 27, Hope in the Face of Hopelessness (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.
September 3-5, Missions Fest Kinshasa (Kinshasa, DRC).
September 4-5, Missions Fest Pretoria (Pretoria, South Africa).
September 7-11, ETHNE Global Gathering (South Asia). ETHNE is a global movement focused on seeing each people group reached with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
September 7-20, ORIENT (Joplin, MO, USA). Pre-departure training for cross-cultural workers provided by TRAIN International.
September 11-12, Without Borders (Houston, TX, USA). A conference for Christian women to learn how to reach Muslim women. Provided by Crescent Project.
September 14-15, Support-raising Bootcamp (Richmond, CA, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.
September 14 to December 13, Encountering the World of Islam (online). Twelve-week class will help you discover God’s heart for Muslims.
September 15-21, Traction Conference for Men (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Provided by Catalyst International.
September 16, Mind the Gaps: Engaging the Church in Missionary Care (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.
September 17, Mission in Honor-Shame Cultures (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.
September 17-19, Field Security Seminar (Lake George, CO, USA). Skills for field staff working in dangerous environments around the world.
September 17-19, GO Equipped TENTmaking Course (Chennai, India). Provided by Global Opportunities, hosted by Tent.
September 18-20, The Journey Deepens (Jacksonville Beach, FL, USA). A weekend retreat for prospective missionaries.
September 18-20, IBAM Impact Conference (Location TBD, USA). Take the next step in business as mission.
September 24-26, “Upward” Mission Leaders Conference (Orlando, FL, USA). Provided by Missio Nexus.
September 26, Heart for Asia Conference (San Mateo, CA, USA). Join OMF’s 150th anniversary celebration.
September 29, Do Your Short-term Mission Trips Measure Up? (webinar). Provided by DELTA Ministries.
September 29 to October 3, GO Equipped TENTmaking Course (Detroit, MI, USA). Provided by Global Opportunities and Send International.
September 30 to November 25, Mobilizer Equipping School (Chiang Mai, Thailand). Provided by Student Volunteer Movement 2.
- WORLD: Sharing Jesus with Our Muslim Neighbors
- TURKEY: So Logical and True
- WORLD: Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions
- MIDDLE EAST: Good News
- NIGERIA: Workers Stand Firm amid Violence
It was as a guest at an event sponsored by the Friends of India club on a local college campus that I first heard of the Ramayana, the epic story of Ram. After the graduate students introduced me to the story they grew up on, I decided I should learn more about it to better connect with my Indian friends. (You can find many versions on YouTube.) This month, I read about another epic, the movie Baahubali, which claims to have cost more than any other Bollywood film, and a different Indian film which holds the world’s record for speedy production, only twenty-four hours.
But when I think of real Indian heroes and achievements, the globe-trotting musician Benny Prasad may currently top my list. He holds the world’s record for the most countries visited in the shortest time. His testimony is worth watching.
Movies, sports, and the arts suggest we all want a hero even if that hero is fictional or legendary. Every culture has its heroic tales. Might learning some of them open doors to share the greatest epic story of all time?
Source: Anglican Frontier Missions, July 3, 2015
On a packed, beat-up bus, filled with smoke, deep in the heart of an Islamic nation, I was chatting with [a] new-found friend who me told me that though his mom and dad were Muslims, he’d didn’t really believe it anymore.
After a few more minutes of conversing, the bus stopped abruptly– no gas station, no rest stop, nothing in sight. What followed absolutely amazed me. Every single man got off the bus, spread out in two lines on the frozen dirt of the high mountain plateau, and began doing the Islamic prayers. Even the guy sitting next to me who had just told me he didn’t believe anymore was joining in!
Though many of us understand some of the historical, political, social, and religious events that have led American culture to become increasingly “tolerant,” relativistic, and post-modern, wrapping our fingers around the world’s second largest religion can be downright baffling. Where is Islam today? How does it differ, country to country? Where might global Islam be heading? And most pertinently, when I meet a Muslim, what are some things I might say or do to draw them nearer to Christ?
» Also on the topic of Muslim-Christian relations, read How American Muslims Are Helping Black Churches Rebuild After Spate Of Fires (Huffington Post) and watch this fun, challenging, ad about the labels we put on people (Coca Cola).
Source: TWR News, June 30, 2015
A broadcasting ministry received the following letter from a listener in Turkey:
“Hello, I’m a student at a theology university of the country’s religion. We were always told that the Bible has changed. And they teach us always the faults of the Bible. I was so much wondering about these things that I finally got a Bible.
“Our teacher told us that if we want to learn how ridiculous Christianity is that we can listen to a radio program. This is how I started to listen to your program. I listened nine months regularly to your programs. You never said anything ridiculous. What you told was so logical and true. I decided to give my life to Jesus Christ. It is so difficult for me to study at this school and to be a Christian. I can’t talk with anyone about this.”
“Could you please pray for me?”
» Read full story and one from another broadcasting ministry that writes about ministering to an Iranian woman suffering from hopelessness and depression (SAT-7).
» In some parts of the world, Christians, too, have limited access to Christian input and materials. See The Journey of God’s Word to Myanmar (Asia Harvest). And listen to an interview on Building the Church in Burma (Compassion Radio).
Source: INContext, July 2015
In February 2015, the Pew Research Center released the sixth in a series of annual reports analyzing the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. Looking at the overall level of restrictions—whether resulting from government policies or from hostile acts by private individuals, organizations, and social groups—the study finds that:
- Restrictions on religion were high or very high in 39% of the 198 countries and territories monitored.
- Nearly 5.5 billion people (77% of the world’s population) live in nations where religious restrictions of some kind (related to either government or social groups) are either high or very high. This figure has increased from 76% in 2012 and 68% as of 2007.
- Among the world’s 25 most populous countries, the highest overall levels of restrictions were found in China, India, Burma (Myanmar), Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Russia, where both the government and society at large impose numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices.
- Among these populous countries, China had the highest level of government restrictions in 2013 [the most recent year for which data was available].
- India had the highest level of social hostilities involving religion.