One small step

If we call upon the average church member to take up arms as a gospel minister or a disciple-maker or an evangelist, then (rightly or wrongly) many will feel sufficiently threatened to run in the opposite direction. But what if we were to say the following instead? “Why don’t you pray for the person next to you (wherever that might be), and see if by your word and example you can encourage them to take one step—even one small step—to the right?”

  • Vine Project

The Vine Project

Book: Payne, Tony, and Colin Marshall. The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Culture around Disciple-Making. Matthias Media, 2016.

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Point: Making and maturing disciples is not something that a church does, it is something a disciple does. Here is a workbook on how to pursue disciple making in all of church life.

Path: The authors lay out five phases to work through, making sure that everyone understands that this is not as much of a how-to-manual, but rather a workbook. They lay a biblical foundation, explain logical truths, and give practical examples. This isn’t a book to just read, but to work through with others.

Sources: Based on their previous book and the interactions they have had since then, the authors do a great job at walking the reader through both biblical truth and e


veryday experience.

Agreement: Top shelf book. I am so thankful how they presented these truths not as a “five steps to your best church now” but “take time to think through these principles with others and you will change”.

Personal App: Am I seeing every relationship as an opportunity to encourage the other individual to take one step toward Christ?

Favorite Quote: Engaging unbelievers on Sunday is ”like taking in a gues


t at your house for Christmas dinner. This often happens in our part of the world. If there’s someone at church who doesn’t have any family to share Christmas with, then you invite them to join your family for Christmas lunch. Now in doing so, you don’t change who you are or what your family does in any significant way at all. But you make very sure that your guest is looked after. You warmly welcome them, and introduce them around. You explain what is going on at different points— why Uncle Fred always has to sit in that chair, what the background is to your funny family games or rituals, how to play, and so on. You put yourself out to make your guest feel at home and part of the family, even though it’s not their home or their family. Likewise in church— outsiders are not part of our church family. We don’t stop being who we are, or pursuing God’s purposes, just because we have guests present. But we do welcome our guests, who, like the ‘outsiders’ in 1 Corinthians 14, turn up and (God-willing) come to know and worship the living God in our midst.” (Kindle loc. 2967).


Stars:  5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • is planting a church
  • is leading a church
  • is
    serving in a church

Other books along this theme would be:

Anyabwile, Thabiti M. What Is a Healthy Church Member? 9Marks. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.

Dever, Mark. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Expanded. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004.

Marshall, Colin, Tony Payne, and Matthias Media. The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything. Kingsford, N.S.W.: Matthias Media, 2009.

Rainer, Thom S., and Eric Geiger. Simple Church. B&H Publishing Group, 2010.


I have asked Josh Stephens from Community Baptist Church and Biblical Counseling Alliance to share some of his top resources in various areas of counseling. Over the following weeks I would like to share those, interspersed with some of my own. Please share your own below in the comments.

The order is alphabetical. Today we start with Addictions.



Shaw, Mark E. Addiction-Proof Parenting: Biblical Prevention Strategies. Bemidji, MN: Focus, 2010.
———. Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, 2010.
———. Hope and Help for Sexual Temptation. Focus Publishing, 2012.
———. How Not to Raise an Addict: Biblical Prevention Strategies. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, 2017.
———. Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, 2011.
———. The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective. Bemidji: Focus, 2008.
———. Understanding Temptation: The War Within Your Heart. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, 2014.
Welch, Edward T. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave. New Growth Press, 2012.




Here is my review of Setting Captives Free, a valuable resource in daily transformation.

Medieval Fair

In Minnesota I remember going to Pioneer Days and a Renaissance Fair. Here in Spain we seem to stumble across a Medieval Fair in different places. This one was a great experience for Tanzen to try out different crafts. My biggest mistake was the partially cooked octopus at the end (still gag thinking about it).


A Coruña: part 2

Part 1 photos

While we were in A Coruña we took some time to visit an aquarium, something we don’t have access to in our city. Here are some pictures from our time.


What weird creaturesIMG_3259

Someone was not happy that we made her stand next to the glass while the shark passed.IMG_3276

Entering the NautilusIMG_3278

In case you were lostIMG_3283

Roman LighthouseIMG_3284

Feeding the sealsIMG_3288


We celebrated by eating…fish and chips.IMG_3297

All nations

A common thread running through most of these extraordinary passages is that the people God is gathering into his kingdom are from every nation. To our modern ears, this idea sounds rather lovely—that all the peoples of the earth might finally be brought together, and might celebrate together, despite all the linguistic and cultural differences that separate us; a kind of heavenly United Nations in which all the rich diversity of humanity is represented. This, after all, is how most of us in the post-enlightenment West have been taught to think about the diversity of human language and culture—as a gorgeous human tapestry, with each people group contributing its own unique and wonderful colours and threads. And indeed, we do find all the goodness and beauty that God has woven into his creation present in every corner of it. But in the Bible’s depiction of history and of God’s plan, the scattered diversity of the nations has a dark underbelly. It is a consequence of the judgement of God at Babel. According to Paul in Acts 17, it is meant to induce a humble searching after the true God who has scattered us. The gathering of all nations around the throne of God in Revelation is not so much a celebration of cultural diversity as a celebration of how God has overcome the one foundational problem that all the nations share—that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”.

  • Vine Project


Science and Truth

The next time someone dismisses you with the “Only science gives reliable truth” canard, ask if he wants you to take his statement as fact or simply as unsubstantiated opinion. If fact, ask what testable scientific evidence led him to his conclusion. As it turns out, this claim is not a fact of science. It is a philosophical assertion about science that itself cannot be proven by the scientific method and would therefore be unreliable, according to this approach.

– Koukl, Tactics