Making disciples of all nations.

Category: Missions

E64 – How do you share your faith with a Buddhist (or anyone else) (Part B)

The other day a friend of mine sent me this message:

“Long time no text. Hope you and your family is doing well. My son is struggling with trying to talk and reach some high school friends that are Buddhist. Do you have any resources or tips to help him start a conversation with them.”

This podcast is an attempt to answer that question.

E63 – How do you share your faith with a Buddhist (or anyone else) (Part A)

The other day a friend of mine sent me this message:

“Long time no text. Hope you and your family is doing well. My son is struggling with trying to talk and reach some high school friends that are Buddhist. Do you have any resources or tips to help him start a conversation with them.”

This podcast is an attempt to answer that question.

E62 – Missions, PTSD, and Mid-life Crises

Many prepare for the initial sacrifice, but few think about the costs the rest of their lives.

Its been a while since we posted anything.  After I posted this episode I thought of a dozen different things I wish I had said or added, so maybe I’ll make a part 2 down the road.

E27 – 7 Questions To Ask the People You Disciple

Here are 7 questions I (James) like to ask when I am discipling someone.  On the show, I talk a little more about the components of a meeting with people you are discipling, as well as fleshing out the importance of each of these questions.

  1. How have you been lately? How are you?
  2. How is your family?
  3. Have you had any difficulties or something that stressed you out since we last met?
    1. Alternate question: In what ways has Satan been trying to attack you this week? (I don’t use this one often because I want the focus to be on Jesus, not the enemy.  However, sometimes its a great question to ask.)
  4. How has God been working in your life?
  5. How is your relationship with God?
  6. What is God teaching you through His Word?
  7. How is your prayer life?

Each of these questions are asked in the current context.  (… this week? or …. since we last met?)

Also, if you need these in another language let us know and we’ll see if we have someone who can translate them.

What are other questions you like to use?


Bonus Episode: John Allison – Mission work, partnership, and strategy in Japan

Bonus episode. What does it look like to partner cross-culturally?  How can a short-term team be used well?  How do we strategically engage in mission work?

E15 – John Allison – Discipling and Reaching Millennials

What do you hear about millennials?  How are they going to affect your church?  How do you reach and disciple millennials?  John shares some amazing insights and practical applications from his daily interactions and observations of the students he works with every day.  He also goes into some great missional strategy for reaching more people and expanding the kingdom of God deeper into a group.

If you are interested in supporting John’s ministry you can go to

Is there evidence of God working in your ministry?

I was reading Galations 2 a few days ago when verses 7 & 8 really stood out to me.  In the old NIV it says,

“On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.”

From what Paul writes, it was clear to the pillars (Peter, John, James) that God was at work in Paul’s ministry.  There wasn’t any debate about whether God was working there or not.  The evidence was clear. Even though he was going to a group of people the Jews had historically considered off limits, and perhaps, even immune from the gracious touches of God, the pillars clearly saw God’s hand at work.

What kind of evidence was there? Gentiles were coming to faith, people were being healed, God’s Spirit was coming upon them, churches were forming. The young churches were enduring opposition and yet still filled with love and joy.  Paul was also encountering large amounts of opposition, and yet God was still clearly moving His message of Jesus’ love and redemption forward.

As I read that, I thought to myself, “Is there clear evidence of God being at work in my ministry?”

I’m not always sure that would be the case.  There are certainly times where I can see God’s hand working, and I do not think my ministry is without results or effect… yet, I’m not sure the pillars of our faith today would look at my ministry and say they could clearly see God at work there.

The pillars can see I have endured some suffering in my following of Jesus.  They can see I work hard at what I do.  They can see I am intelligent and use what I have for the Lord.  They can see I have been completely committed to the work. However, the question remains, is there clear evidence of God being at work in my ministry?

I cannot point to the fruit that Paul pointed to, nor can I point to the kind of opposition he encountered, perhaps thankfully. I cannot point to the number of lost believing, or to the establishing of churches like what happened in the places Paul was.

Is there clear evidence of God being at work in my ministry?  I would love to say yes to this.  I hope in the future I will be able to.

The question I am asking myself is, “What would need to change in my life or my ministry for that clear evidence of God’s work to be present?”

What about you?  Is their clear evidence that God is working in your ministry? What would need to change in your life or ministry for that clear evidence of God’s work to be present?

Leave your answers in the comments.


Comparing LOSTness

We just moved back to the USA from working with a UPG (Unreached People Group) in Asia.  The people are great, but they are LOST… I mean REALLY LOST.  There are only a few churches (less than 20) and the oldest churches are about 10-15 years old… as are the pastors. There are probably less than 3o cross cultural workers focusing on this UPG in this country.  About 6,000,000 LOST people. There is less than 0.5% who are following Jesus.  I mean that is LOST!

As we are settling back into America and looking at where to settle down and live we would like to continue living and working around the LOST and unreached.  So, in our perspective town I’m doing some research about areas with higher concentrations of people who do not know Jesus… LOST.  There is one area in the NE part of town where there are a bunch of refugees that continues to come up as an area of LOSTNESS, and it is. However, as we are looking it up there are about 16 churches within 2 miles of this area, at least some of which are focused on reaching the internationals who live there.  Maybe some churches are good and maybe some are bad.  Some are engaging them and there are probably some who are not.  But still, there are a number of churches there.

On one hand, we are so excited that churches are attempting to reach out to this area of LOSTNESS.  On the other hand, my heart breaks a little as I think about my people in Asia and others UPGs, many of whom will die without hearing the name of Jesus.

Jesus said He came to seek and save the LOST.

Let us engage the LOST here, but let us not stop there.  We can do better than that.  We are the body of Christ!

My favorite books of 2017

2017 has ended.  2018 is officially here, and so has ended all my chances to read more books in 2017.  When I look back on the ones I read here are a few that really stood out. If you have made a goal or resolution to read more in 2018 here are some good ones to start with.

Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery by David and Paul Watson.  Using personal experience with a people group in India and observation of other large movements of God, David and Paul break down seven different strategies Disciple Makers need to have in place in order to create a Disciple Making Movements.  When I read the book I realized I was only focusing on two of the seven.  I should do a whole post about this book because it has been very influential to me.  If you would like God to use you in a big way in your life then definitely put it on your reading list this year.

The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places by Nik Ripken.  Ok, a little confession, I haven’t actually finished this one yet, but I’m on the way.  In this follow up book to The Insanity of God, Nik continues to focus on what it will take for the church (and individuals in the church) to take the good news of Jesus into the persecuted places of the world.

Larson, Duke of Mongolia.  Written in the early 1900’s by Larson this book gives a lot of great information about the Mongolian culture and living conditions 100 years ago.  Larson found himself often rubbing elbos with the leaders and princes of Mongolia, and writes from a very pro-Mongolian perspective. If you find Mongolians fascinating this is a great read.

Far from Cold (Our Stories Book 1) by Gillian Newham chronicles the birth of the modern Mongolian church.  I put this one on the list because Mark and Gill are good friends of ours and I respect them so much. This is her first book about the Mongolian church. They were in Mongolia almost from the beginning of the modern Mongolian church.  Her account is a very sincere account of God’s work in building His church in Mongolia.  Gill shares the goods and the bads in a very earnest straightforward way.  In reading the book, you see how God was working not just among the Mongols but also in Gill and Mark. I enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to her writing another one.

In the Arena by Isobel Kuhn.  I always love reading old CIM (now OMF) books of some of the earlier missionaries in China.  I usually find I am more encouraged and learn more from biographies than I do from other books.  I stumbled upon this one as I was packing up and deciding which books to take and which ones to leave behind.  I had gotten it from another worker who was making the same decisions.  The core idea is that God has us in the arena and the hardships we go through display His glory. Isobel goes through a lot.  I am always encouraged when I read how the old CIM missionaries lived out their faith.  I always find it challenging to me.

One last honorable mention, and just to show you I read some fiction also, I stumbled upon this book and enjoyed it immensely even though it is a little out of my normal genres. Pawn (The Strategy Series Book 1) by J.C Ahern.  Its a combo of chess, humanity being enslaved, and one girl who is still a slave but some how able to play outside the rules.  Its a great mystery to unwind as you figure things out along side the protagonist.

I wish you all a very literary 2018!


You know every blog seems to start with the blogger talking about all the things they are going to do or not do with their blog.  Then about 4 posts later you never see anything else again. 🙂  Nevertheless, here is my manifesto on the goings on here on this site.

I have been greatly moved in the last few years by the stories of God.

First, there are God’s stories.  The ones He recorded for us His storybook called the Bible.  There are lots of great stories in there!  Some we know vaguely, others we know more thoroughly , but very rarely do we really take time to experience the story.  We rush through it or gloss over it looking for the spiritual truths there, or we dig in so deep to each jot and tittle trying to find the obscure meanings hidden inside the text.  However, we rarely ever stop and experience the story.  These are real stories.  They really happened.  There was really a certain expression on Jesus’s face when he said, “How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me”  We don’t know what that expression was, but it was really there.  I’m not opposed to digging into the stories, in fact that is good.  BUT I don’t want to dig in so deep that I miss the story itself.  Sometimes we are guilty of slicing up the Bible into such small bits that the people we are trying to help grow can no longer see the story.  God’s stories are great and we need to spend time just learning and experiencing them.

Second there are the stories of God.  The stories about what God is doing in people’s lives today all around the globe.  I think there is a lot to learn from these stories.  As we see what God is doing in people’s lives and we learn about how someone is following Jesus and applying His teachings it is encouraging to us.  I have often said, outside of the Bible, “The Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor” has been the most challenging book to my faith.  I have learned more and been more changed by that book than any other except the Bible.  My goal is to bring you more of these stories that will do the same for you.

A few years ago, I came to a point in my spiritual life where I realized God’s command to make disciples was one of His most important commands, and at the same time I realized I didn’t really know how to do that. That lead me on a several year journey of learning how to do that, and now it is one of the things I work on doing most intentionally.  It is also something I encourage others to do as well.  If we as the church were actually making disciples we wouldn’t have all of the problems that we do in the Church and in America. Lets learn to make disciples.

Lastly, as I am a follower of Jesus whom He has called overseas at various times I want to share some of those stories as well.  I love America.  I also love the rest of the world, and it breaks my heart to see so many places where they do not have access to the incredible news that Jesus has died for them and has paid for their sins.  It is our shame as a church that this situation still exists.

Lastly lastly, I’ll talk about whatever else grabs my attention at the moment that might be a work of encouragement or challenge in our life of following Jesus.  I hope you find in these pages encouragement to follow Jesus with all your heart and to surrender everything to Him.

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