Mission and Motivation

In the previous post I included the trailer for a film about some of the work being done by FAI Mission. In the following half hour talk, Dalton Thomas gives a brief description of that ministry and the motivation behind it.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Why Must the Laborers Be Few? by Jordan Scott

Why Must the Laborers Be Few? by Jordan Scott

My family cannot say that we were called by God to the Kurdish people. Four years ago, I didn’t even know who they were. However, my wife and I both bought into Jesus’ name being made famous where it was not. Then, some of my closest Christian friends decided to move to Kurdistan, and their decision that really helped direct my steps. That’s how my wife and two daughters ended up here. No audible voice from God, no highlight on a map, no specific burden for the Kurdish people—just a young, passionate family who loves the Lord and wants others to love Him too.

I recently drove into East Mosul with a team for a food and water distribution. As we were passing out packages of food, we would see families sitting next to the goods while another family member would go find a wheelbarrow to transport it. I see this one kid, about seven years old, sitting next to four cases of water. And a few feet away I see another kid, same age, sitting on the ground with nothing next to him.

If you were on the distribution with us that day, who would you give your water to?

America is sitting next to four centuries of “water”—four hundred years of access to the Gospel. The Kurds aren’t. I’ll let you make the choice.

Read complete article here:



I came across the above article at a very opportune time. The fact that it was written only a day or two ago makes it seem even more significant.

Recently many of my posts have been addressing Christian attitudes to Muslims, something that has concerned me since seeing some of the hateful things written about Muslims, even by those considered to Christian teachers. (What kind of Christian witness do those attitudes display?)

After publishing those posts I’ve received some (well-meaning) advice: that I’ve been venturing into risky territory; that ministry to Muslims requires a special calling.

Firstly, I’ve never considered myself to have (or need) a special calling to minister to any particular group of people, Muslim or otherwise, and I’ve never considered myself limited to addressing one particular group above another, (most of what I’ve posted hasn’t been directed at Muslims anyway – but to Christians who’ve taken a very un-Christlike approach to Muslims).

I try to deal with opportunities and confront issues as they  arise. I don’t believe I need to wait for a special calling to do so, and I don’t believe that the average Christian needs any special calling to permit them to act on whatever opportunities they find right in front of them.

Too many of us can be like the servant who chose to bury the money (“talent”) he was given by his Master, too afraid of doing the wrong thing and losing it, to put it to use and potentially make a profit for his Master.
Matt 25:14-30

We wait around for that assumed special, individual calling and in doing so miss the general universal calling of all believers. We rationalise our avoidance of certain possible actions with the excuse: “it’s not my calling”.

I know I wasted most of my Christian life avoiding so many opportunities that will never open up again. I look back and see so many possibilities that I didn’t act on – not because I wasn’t “called” to take them, but because they may have been inconvenient or caused discomfort: basically through fear of losing something I didn’t really want to give up.

I replied to that well-meaning advice I mentioned earlier by referring to the book of Acts and some of the experiences of Paul. Those experiences are also cited in the above article.

 If the Lord doesn’t want you to go, He’ll stop you the way He stopped Paul in Asia.

(Acts 16:6-7 )


Am I denying that there ARE some special callings for particular people?

No – it’s clear that Paul was called to be the apostle to the gentiles, and God appoints some people to particular roles and tasks within His church and in the world; but we should not allow that fact to hold us back from general obedience to what he has commissioned His followers to do, when the need is clear and while we have the opportunity to do it. And if we are faithful doing that, we’ll find more opportunities opening up.


Muslims, Mission and Martyrdom with Dr. Jerry Rankin

I’ve recommended and posted a few audios from this source.

This is one includes another very interesting interview worth the listening time.

The interview starts around the 7 minute 25 second point, after some banter between the podcast presenters.


This audio and the rest in the series can be downloaded from the site at the above link.
I’ve downloaded episodes to a USB stick so I can listen to them in the car on my way to and from work. I find that much more practical than sitting at the computer to hear them.

Across the Cultures: A Shared Need of God.

In recent weeks I’ve been trawling through the book section of charity shops and picking out novels by authors with a “non-western” background. I find it helpful to read things that give an “insider’s” perspective of other cultures. It helps to shake up (and shake down) the complacent assumptions that can be drawn when we remain closeted with the comfortable and familiar. I’ve come to understand that reluctance to challenge our cultural assumptions merely  entrenches the sense of our own “rightness” no matter how unreasonable or wrong that “rightness” may actually be.


One of my trawling sessions brought me to Noriko Dethlefs’ (non-fiction)book In His Strength, subtitled “Letters from Afghanistan 2005-2009”. It was the subtitle that caught my attention because I had been reading books about Afghanistan and its people, and had a few more on my “to be read” shelf. This one is a short book that I knew wouldn’t take long to get through.


By concentrating on the subtitle more than the actual title, I initially overlooked the title’s strong suggestion that the book had a Christian connection. I didn’t realise the significance  of the title until I looked closer after I got home and I found the author and her husband has been in Afghanistan working with CBM (formerly Christian Blind Mission).


Apart from the Christian and Afghanistan connections that make the book significant to my interests, I found the author and her husband not only came from my former home city of Wollongong, she had lectured at my University and they belonged to a church that I had visited on one or two occasions.


Noriko Dethlefs’ account of her life in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2009 not  only gives an insight into different cultural attitudes and religious beliefs, the daily dangers faced by both locals and foreigners and the lack of comforts that we in the “west” take for granted, the book shows that despite those differences, there is a shared, vulnerable humanity, of people in need of relationship with God. That’s something too often forgotten or purposely avoided for political expediency.


A few excerpts:

“Her story [about the death of her older brother in a bomb attack] brought tears to my eyes and a smile to hers. She explained that her pain was lessened because my heart was ‘soft enough to weep freely’. Tears no longer come easily to those who have been enduring pain for years and years. There have been other occasions when women have thanked me for ‘shedding the tears they no longer have’ as they retold their stories of pain.”


“If only the common greeting ‘Salam (alekum)’, meaning ‘peace (be upon you’), could become a reality for these people, who repeatedly use this greeting all day every day, and yet know so little of what it means.”

It puzzles people that we talk of a ‘loving’ God, as none of the ninety-nine names for God that are used in Afghanistan even hints at ‘love’. Here, the concept of God is more like that of a Master who gives commands for us to obey, or that of a Creator who has given rules to the ‘Created’ to follow. The audacity of us likeminded people* referring to God as ‘our Father’ or ‘our God’, and claiming to have a personal relationship with him, is beyond their comprehension.


* throughout the book the author uses the term “likeminded people” as a euphemism to describe her Christian community within Afghanistan, “for security purposes”.


A more detailed description of the book can be found here:


“Why I Work with Muslims”


The issue for the Muslim world is a lack of access to the gospel.


As an alternative to a common saying that refers to the bringing together of Mohammed and a mountain, let me propose the following:


When the gospel of Jesus is refused access to the Muslim world, God brings the Muslim world to where the gospel of Jesus IS accessible.

Lessons For Western Christians

“What attracted me is the loving environment of the church”


Fadi became a Christian because he read the New Testament. “I read about the teachings of Jesus, the high values and virtues. The high standards Jesus teaches are the biggest evidence that these are teachings of God. What also attracted me is the loving environment of the church; that is something impossible to find outside.

Sadly, it seems to be very hard to find that “loving environment of the church” within large sections of the alleged church in the “west”.


Muslims Turn to Christ in Unprecedented Numbers Pt. 1

The Islamic State has been filling the headlines for a long time and filling the hearts of many people in the Middle East with fear. But in the midst of all this, the church in the Middle East is showing the love of Christ to those who fled their homes. Muslims in the Middle East are turning to Jesus in unprecedented numbers.

complete article here:


Muslims Turn to Christ in Unprecedented Numbers Pt. 2

Somewhere in Lebanon we meet with a young woman named Karima*, a refugee from Aleppo. She still covers her hair, but the change in the way she dresses compared with when she first arrived in Lebanon is obvious. She became a Christian more than two years ago. Karima and her husband, also a convert, are now working with one of the churches in Lebanon, both as teachers to Syrian refugee children. They had their doubts about Islam before they came to Lebanon. She saw miracles happen in her life because the pastor of a church prayed for her. God provided a place for them to live, a job and even healed her seriously sick son.

complete article here:


Aleppo Churches Open Doors to Displaced Muslim Families

“Many Muslims were genuinely surprised when they met Christian women in our churches willing to serve them. Their image was that all Christian women spend most of their days dancing in nightclubs and drinking alcohol! Meeting each other was a shock, both for them and for us,” says Kristina. Kristina also says the Muslim women were surprised to see that churches offered support and programs for all Syrians, not just for Christians. “Their mosques don’t do that,” Kristina says. “Many are re-thinking the faith they grew up in and have dropped their hostility towards Christians.”

complete article here: