Book Release: Declare His Glory Among The Nations

DHG CoverDeclare His Glory Among The Nations, An Eye Opening Look at Psalm 96, was recently published by the Student Volunteer Movement 2.

Psalm 96 is one of the most amazing mission passages in the entire Bible. No wonder it is called the missionary Psalm for it provides us with the mandate, the motives, the message and the model we need to understand our part in God’s plan to be glorified among the nations. As you dig into this Psalm, your eyes will be opened to the life-transforming themes in this Psalm.

In 1980 God opened my eyes to the grand themes of Psalm 96 while I was a college student at Penn State University, and I said “yes” to his call to “declare his glory among the nations.”  What a journey this has been! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine where my journey would lead: Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Romania, Mongolia and other countries. After all these years, I consider the message of Psalm 96 more relevant now than when I began this journey.  So I’ve created this “tour guide” for Psalm 96 to help readers discover this Psalm’s major themes and their implication for life in the 21st century.

Declare His Glory Among The Nations has a message for everyone in the Body of Christ. One thesis I develop throughout the book is that every true believer has a role to fulfill in God’s purpose to be glorified among the nations.  For those who are just beginning to discover the grand truths of Psalm 96. They will find encouragement to say “yes” to God’s calling to “declare his glory among the nations.” For those who have already said “yes” to God’s invitation, this book will help them grow in their understanding of God’s plan to be glorified among the nations and further conform their lives to his purpose. Those who are helping others follow God’s missional call will find “tools” to help them excel all the more in this vital role.

So that you can “taste” this marvelous Psalm for yourself, I have made the table of contents, the preface and chapter one, “First Things First” available here.

Declare His Glory Among the Nations is available from Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. If you would like multiple copies, contact me directly.

This vision of the Student Volunteer Movement 2 is to mobilize 100,000 young people from every continent to Declare His Glory Among the Nations.  Students have been a major force in world evangelization ever since the Protestant Missionary Movement gained momentum early in the 19th century.  Building upon this heritage, SVM2 challenges young men and women to prayerfully make the GO Declaration: It is my purpose, God permitting, to bear the message of Jesus Christ among the least reached for at least two years. SVM2 also promotes prayer for the nations, Student Mission Forums and Bible Studies to discover God’s heart for the nations. These make up the four core components of SMV2’s mobilization strategy. You can learn more about the Student Volunteer Movement 2 SVM2.net.

Declare His Glory Among the Nations is a part of the Equipping for Global Harvest Series published by Ignite Media, the publishing arm of SMV2.  The other books in this series are also available through Amazon.com.

Partnering in Research with the Mongolia Evangelical Alliance

MEA

In April 2013, I joined another One Challenge Missionary on a journey to Mongolia. We were invited by the Mongolian Evanghelical Alliance to lead a training event. A video about the partnership between the MEA and OC is now on One Challenges’ website. It is well worth watching.  

Last year, OC was approached by the Mongolian Evangelical Alliance to provide assistance in the area of research, which is foundational to the national church planting initiative the MEA is pursuing. Several OC missionaries traveled to Mongolia last fall to establish the partnership and set up the research project. On this trip, Eric Smith, an OC missionary with 23 years experience in the Philippines, and I went to train field researchers.

The church in Mongolia has seen spectacular growth in the last two decades. In 1990, when the country transitioned from Communism to a democratic form of government, it is reported that there were just four believers. The Census in 2010 recorded 40,000 Christians. Today there are about 600 churches, 300 in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and 300 in the provinces. During the Communist years, Buddhism lost a great deal of its following as people embraced atheism. This seems to have created a spiritual vacuum that has resulted in great responsiveness since 1990. 

The partnership between OC and the MEA is a good example of how collaboration can accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the 21st century.

Three Encouraging Themes from Central and Eastern Europe

It has been about five months since I shared “A Preliminary Analysis of the Central and Eastern Europe GCPN Region,” an executive summary of the opportunities and challenges for making disciples in Central and Eastern Europe. (See the notes at the end for more details). Since writing this report, I’ve been privileged to speak with a number of mission leaders who focus on this region. As I’ve listened to them tell their stories, I’ve noted three encouraging themes.

New Prayer Initiatives

If a breakthrough is to happen in Central and Eastern Europe, it is agreed that prayer is key. More united, focused, prevailing prayer is needed. Several shared what they are doing to mobilize others to pray. A worker in Budapest has started a 24/7 prayer room. A Brazilian missionary couple produced a booklet to guide their prayer partners to intercede for 30 different topics. The Balkans had a prayer day May 4. A pastor in Kosovo sends out e-mail updates. There are numerous national prayer networks. Workers in Bulgaria produced a “virtual prayer walk” and a 30 day guide to mobilize prayer (pray4bulgaria.wordpress.com/virtual-prayer-walks). Another has prepared a guide to pray for a city based on the Lord’s Prayer (udmms.com/cityprayer). And I’ve heard of a woman prayer walking in Romania from Timisoara to Bucharest. It is encouraging to see such creative ways to motivate and guide people to pray. May their numbers increase!

So what are you doing to encourage others to pray for your country?

New Disciple Making Initiatives

I’ve heard stories of new disciple making initiatives in the region that are popping up in the last 18-24 months. Good things happening in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and the Balkans – and likely other countries as well. (A short article in Mission Frontiers (www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/breakthroughs ) documents some of these new initiatives. People are implementing M4 training out of Norway, the Discovery Bible Study method developed by David Watson (disciplemakinginitiative.org) and T4T (short for Training for Trainers – T4Tonline.org ) principles being implemented by Greater Europe Mission and E3 Partners. From what I understand, these approaches are similar in their emphasis to teach people to obey Jesus’ commands. Good things always happen when people obey Jesus commands!

So what are you doing to teach people to obey Jesus commands?

Coaching Disciple Makers

A third theme I’ve heard is that coaching front line practitioners as one way to help accelerate disciple making.  A coach helps disciple makers glean insights from what they are doing, implement the “next step” and overcome obstacles. Coaches with whom I have spoken often use Skype to overcome geographical barriers. One is experimenting with training via Skype.

Several of us have been pondering the idea of whether it would be profitable to form a peer learning community that would bring together disciple making catalysts and local champions to consider “best practices” for developing disciple making movements in Eastern and Central Europe. This learning community would likely connect once a month for an hour monthly using Skype or Go to Meeting.

Since 2010 I’ve been a part of a similar peer learning group within OC International. This is a moderated discussion where six to eight people normally participate. We have a time to share what we are thankful for and pray for one another.  It is encouraging to hear stories of what God is doing around the world. Usually we discuss on one aspect of developing disciple making movements. I never fail to glean an important insight from other practitioners.

Would a peer learning group for Disciple Making Movement Catalysts interest you?

If you would like to participate in peer learning community focused on initiating Disciple Making Movements in Central and Eastern Europe, let me know. Perhaps we can start several groups.

Prayer, New Disciple Making Initiatives, Coaching. Could these be signs of God’s work in the region? If so, we have reasons to be encouraged.

Notes:

This report was prepared for the Global Church Planting Network (GCPN) in conjunction with OC International (www.onechallenge.org).

The purpose of the Global Church Planting Network (GCPN) is to connect people and resources to accelerate church planting among all the peoples, languages, nations, cities, and villages of the world, with the expectation of communities being transformed to the Glory of God. More about GCPN can be found at www.GCPN.info.

The report, ”A Preliminary Analysis of the Central and Eastern Europe GCPN Region”, can be found at www.gcpn.info/regions/Analysis_of_GCPN_Eastern_European_Region.pdf .

The Mandate and the Motive

Jesus’ last commandment, “Disciple all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) sets the agenda for missional living in the 21st century. This forum creates an occasion to discuss the implications of this mandate for every true believer of Jesus Christ.

I suppose this would be a good place to define what I mean by “missional”.  This is a newer term that focused attention on being purposeful or intentional in pleasing God. There are at least two aspects dimensions of pleasing God. The first has to do with our relationship with God. It pleases God when we thank him, honor him, worship him, love him and obey him. Let’s call this the vertical dimension. It also please God when we love others and serve them. Let’s call this the horizontal dimension.   Both of these dimensions must be present for fruitful living..

Jesus pointed out the importance of these two dimensions when he was asked, “What is the Greatest Commandment?”  “He responded, ‘You shall love the Lord your  God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.’ And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”  So here we see the true motive for obeying the missional mandate is,  first, love for the Master, then for others.  Without love, just about all that we do will probably be empty and worthless.

So let’s get off on the right foot, so to speak, by today focusing on loving Jesus and loving others.