Links 

The Curiosity Index (08.03.2018)

Normal service hasn’t quite resumed as I battle my inbox and schedule. It’s taken me almost a full week to catch up after a week away. Hmmm. Anyway… A West African Damascus Road This story is absolutely amazing. I believe miracles happen and this one is astonishing. Stephen Hawking Explains What Existed Before The Big Bang Imaginary time with extra dimensions…which is not as easy to get your head around as ‘In the beginning God…’. Hugh Ross responds. The science behind Europe’s Siberian chill As I sit at my desk…

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Sweden 

Notable Swedish pioneers: Gustaf Palmquist

Some years ago I came by the 2-volume Dictionary of Evangelical Biography (1730-1860) which I admit is a bit obscure. But I thought I’d trawl its pages for entries on Swedish Christians to learn more about its notable figures and history.  Gustaf Palmquist (1812-1867) was a Baptist leader and a key figure among Swedish Baptists particularly in America. Between 1851 and 1910 around one million Swedes emigrated to America (and in that time only around 100,000 returned). This significant minority began to form its own denominations and structures and Palmquist was instrumental…

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Church 

The importance & challenges of creating culture in a church plant

Church planting can be tough and making disciples is hard work. You can read about methods & models and it can sound easy and exciting but it the reality is often different. It takes graft, patience, perseverance. Blood, sweat and prayers basically. One of the big challenges for a small team is creating a culture that everyone buys into and that helps you fulfil your mission. Here are some of the challenges I’ve personally encountered: Distance. Being spread out over a city makes creating a common culture harder because getting together is much more…

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Christian Living 

Tim Keller on the early church & mission today

On Monday I posted about the not quite so astonishing growth of the early church and today I read a post by Tim Keller on the same subject. Keller writes, Christianity did not adapt to culture in order to gain more adherents, but neither did it remain a small, withdrawn band. Christianity confronted and critiqued the culture, believers suffered for it, and yet the faith also convinced many people, attracting growing numbers of converts daily. It is obvious that in western societies Christians are again seen as too exclusive and narrow,…

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Articles 

The not quite so astonishing growth of the early church

I’ve recently finished reading Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways which is a fascinating book and like many books he wrestles with the question of the decline of the church in the West and what can be done to reverse it. Like many (myself included) he advocates that we look to the early church for inspiration or the Chinese church for a more contemporary example. Hirsch recounts listening to Rodney Stark ask three important questions: How many Christians do you think there were in the year 100 AD? Stark’s answer as few as…

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Sweden 

Notable Swedish Christians: Johann Zachariah Kiernander

Some years ago I came by the 2-volume Dictionary of Evangelical Biography (1730-1860) which I admit is a bit obscure. But I thought I’d trawl its pages for entries on Swedish Christians to learn more about its notable figures and history. We’ll take the series alphabetically.  Johann Kiernander (1710-1798) has the distinction of being the first protestant missionary to Bengal, India. Born in a small village in central Sweden, he studied at Uppsala and then at Halle, Germany. He was ordained in 1739 after agreeing to go to Cuddalore, India for the…

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Articles 

Relational Mission: Everyone a witness

In his third chapter, Mike deals with a perennial challenge for churches. How do we get everyone involved with sharing the gospel and making disciples? I’ve been around churches and church leaders long enough to know that this particular one can be very frustrating for everyone. The church leader realises all their time is taken up with church people, church people aren’t sharing their faith, no one is hearing the Gospel and before you know it your church is stagnating and on the verge of decline. So what do you…

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Church 

The key to missional communities is the mission

The clue really is in the name. A Bible study is supposed to do just that – study the Bible. A prayer group is supposed to pray, a fellowship group is supposed to have fellowship and a missional community is supposed to have a mission. It might do all of the other things, study, pray, fellowship but it’s reason for being is the mission. In this brief video Rich Robinson of 3DM Europe outlines why this must be so. There are three main ways of trying to find your mission. A neighbourhood…

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