Posted on September 12th, 2014 by David Burnette
Kevin DeYoung posted the following prayer by Samuel M. Zwemer (1867-1952), an RCA minister and Princeton professor known as “The Apostle to Islam”:
“Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast made of one blood all nations and hast promised that many shall come from the East and sit down with Abraham in thy kingdom: We pray for thy prodigal children in Muslim lands who are still afar off, that they may be brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Look upon them in pity, because they are ignorant of thy truth.
Take away pride of intellect and blindness of heart, and reveal to them the surpassing beauty and power of thy Son Jesus Christ. Convince them of their sin in rejecting the atonement of the only Savior. Give moral courage to those who love thee, that they may boldly confess thy name.
Hasten the day of religious freedom in Turkey, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Send forth reapers where the harvest is ripe, and faithful plowmen to break furrows in lands still neglected. May the tribes of Africa and Malaysia not fall prey to Islam but be won for Christ. Bless the ministry of healing in every hospital, and the ministry of love at every church and mission. May all Muslim children in mission schools be led to Christ and accept him as their personal Savior.
Strengthen converts, restore backsliders, and give all those who labor among Muslims the tenderness of Christ, so that bruised reeds may become pillars of his church, and smoking flaxwicks burning and shining lights. Make bare thine arm, O God, and show thy power. All our expectation is from thee.
Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son in the Muslim world, and fulfill through him the prayer of Abraham thy friend, “O, that Ishmael might live before thee.” For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”
– Taken from Islam and the Cross: Selections from “The Apostle to Islam” (edited by Roger Greenway).
Posted on September 10th, 2014 by David Burnette
We’re excited to announce the upcoming release of Counter Culture, a book by David Platt scheduled to come out in early February 2015 from Tyndale.
Counter Culture is a call for Christians to respond to many of the critical social issues of our day with gospel compassion, conviction, and courage. Issues covered include poverty, abortion, orphan and widow care, sex slavery, marriage, sexual morality, racism and ethnicity, religious liberty, and unreached people groups.
As the culture continues to shift, followers of Christ are being forced to address new facets of a very old challenge–how to be faithful to Scripture in an increasingly hostile environment. We must think, speak, and act in a way that’s informed by the gospel and the Word of God. This means being okay, or rather expecting, that our actions will not be met with applause. Here’s a blurb from the book:
Ask a group of Christians what they think about poverty, sex trafficking, or the orphan crisis,and you’ll probably get a pretty quick response. But ask that same group about gay marriage or abortion, and you’ll most likely be faced with a lot of nervous hesitancy or fuzzy answers. In this day when social issues are creating clear dividing lines in society, moral or political neutrality is no longer an option for those who believe the gospel. It’s simply not enough to focus on only those issues that are most comfortable—and least costly—to us.
But what if the main issue is not poverty or homosexuality or abortion? What if the main issue is God? What if the same God who moves us to war against sex trafficking also moves us to war against sexual immorality? What if the same gospel that compels us to combat poverty also compels us to defend traditional marriage? What if all of these cultural hot-button issues are all connected to our understanding of who God is and how he relates to everything around us? Join David Platt as he invites us to fix our gaze on the holiness, love, goodness, truth, justice, authority, and mercy of God revealed in the gospel and to walk boldly right into the middle of today’s culture wars.
Posted on September 8th, 2014 by David Burnette
If leading others through Secret Church material seems intimidating, or if you’re looking for a Bible study to do with your small group, we’ve designed a simple resource to help. Check out the new Small Group Discussion Guide for Secret Church 14: The Cross and Everyday Life (SC 14).
The Small Group Discussion Guide breaks down 4.5 hours of teaching from SC 14 into a 6-week study that is designed to be used along with the video and Study Guide for SC 14. The Discussion Guide is free for anyone who purchases 5 or more SC 14 Study Guides or a SC 14 DVD. (The cost is $5.00 to order the Discussion Guide by itself.) To get those resources, you can go here.
To download a free sample of Week 1 from the Discussion Guide, go here.
You can use this resource to lead another individual, a small group, or a large class through the material in Secret Church 14. Each week contains the following sections:
This Discussion Guide breaks the Secret Church 14 study into six sessions. The Watch/Fill In portion will tell you how much of the video to watch during each session and what portion of the study guide will be used during that session.
Week at a Glance
The Week at a Glance section will give you a general overview of the material you will be studying each week.
Key Takeaways and Verses
Every week, the Discussion Guide will provide a few key takeaways from the study as well as key verses to help you guide the discussion following the video portion of the study.
Explaining Terms and Concepts
This section of the Discussion Guide is a resource to unpack terms and concepts used during the Secret Church study.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection
Questions for discussion and reflection are provided to help your small group think through and apply the concepts studied each week.
For Further Study
Each week a list of resources is provided for the leader and participants for further study on the content covered in that session.
— To learn more about Secret Church 14: The Cross and Everyday Life, go here.
Posted on September 8th, 2014 by Jonathan
ISIS overrunning Iraq and Syria. Church buildings razed in China. Boko Haram bombings and kidnappings in Nigeria. Labor camps in North Korea. Imprisoned Christians in Iran. The persecution of Christians is on a tragic rise, but it is not a new phenomenon. In fact, each Fall, the International Day of Prayer has highlighted persecuted Christians, encouraging churches to pray for them as well as for their persecutors. Such prayer has always been important, but as this year’s headlines makes clear, the need for such prayer has never been more urgent.
In light of this, Open Doors is hosting a live webcast on November 1 and 2 to inform and encourage people toward this end. Special guests include David Platt and Nik Ripken, and worship will be led by Selah. The first night (Saturday, Nov 1) will give you the opportunity to interact with believers from all over the world. The second night (Sunday, Nov 2), there will be a time of worship geared toward churches. Such a webcast allows for the persecuted to hear directly from the people praying for them (and vice versa) as they worship their God together . . . and Open Doors is making the event completely free.
You won’t want to miss this. RSVP here so that you can have all the info you need participate and even get your church involved. But go ahead and begin praying for the persecuted. Open Doors has suggested five ways for you to get involved in the International Day of Prayer, and this is just one of them!
Posted on September 4th, 2014 by Jonathan
On October 27-29, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) will host a conference in Nashville titled, “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” Maybe this synopsis from the ERLC website will give you a better idea of what you can expect and why you should be sure to register . . .
Are you and your church prepared for the moral revolution surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage happening across America? While human sexuality and social institutions are being redefined before our very eyes, the Bible presents marriage as an unchanging picture of the gospel through the union of one man and one woman. The gospel announces that the story of Jesus is greater than the sum total of our sexual desires.
We’ll equip you to defend marriage in the culture and strengthen marriage in the church by preparing you to address issues like:
- How do we effectively minister to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?
- How has the divorce culture impacted marriage in our communities and our churches?
- What does sexual faithfulness look like for a same-sex attracted Christian?
- Why did God create marriage and why did he design it for the common good?
- How should a pastor counsel a same-sex couple that wants to join his church?
- How can churches minister to those who are single, dating, divorced or celibate?
- How can Christians show the love of Christ to gay family members or neighbors?
Speakers include Russell Moore, Trillia Newbell, Danny Akin, Trevin Wax, Alber Mohler, Rosaria Butterfield, J.D. Greear, Denny Burk, Jim Daly, Ryan Anderson, Kevin Ezell, and many more. Our own David Platt will be delivering a message titled, “Marriage and Missions: How Singleness and Marriage Connect to the Great Commission.”
It has never been more important for Christians and churches to have a good grasp on these things in order to biblically respond. Register HERE to attend, but do so before the end of the day Friday, when the price will increase.
Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Jonathan
Last week, it was announced that Pastor David was appointed president of the International Mission Board (IMB). We posted a video in which David explains how the Lord led him to this role and what that means, but we want to be even more clear about what this means for Radical.
While there will be some obvious changes in the nature of Pastor David’s work, Radical’s role as his resource ministry will largely stay the same. Whether you’re new to Radical or you’ve been following us for some time, here are some things you can expect in the future:
- Radical will continue to serve as a source for all of his material, spoken and written, and will likely even expand with new features such as a regular podcast from David.
- Past sermons and Secret Church studies will continue to be available in our online resource library.
- We will still provide translation resources in 6+ languages.
- The Radical store will still make books, Secret Church study guides, and more available for sale.
- We’ll continue to regularly post on the Radical and Secret Church blogs.
- Pastor David will continue to teach new Secret Church simulcasts.
- Multiply will go on at MultiplyMovement.com.
- David Platt is unwavering in his commitment to the local church as the primary means for missions.
If you benefit from Radical’s ministry (any of our various facets), don’t go anywhere. We aren’t.
Posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Eric Parker
“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the face of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and, finding a ship bound for Tarshish, he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshis, away from the face of the Lord.”
Many of us think of idolatry as something ancient and mystical, something that involves a carved image and maybe a ritual of some sort. Very few of us, however, attempt to see beyond those outward expressions to the heart behind them. When we do, we see that many of us carry the same sort of idolatrous heart as those we read about in the ancient times of the Bible. Some idolatrous tendencies are easier to recognize, like sex, money and power. But others come through the very culture that we have been reared in, making them difficult to identify because they are woven into the very way we perceive the world.
In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller has done well in showing us the universality of idolatry, not just in biblical times, but today. He helps us see the possible idolatry in Jonah’s heart that stemmed from Jonah’s culture. He comments on Jonah 1:3 saying,
In deliberate contradiction of the charge to go east to Ninevah, Jonah arose and instead went to Tarshish, a town on the western rim of the known world. He did the very opposite of what God wanted him to do. Why? Jonah’s internal motives are not fully revealed until chapter 4, but at this point, the text gives us several clues as to why he would so flagrantly disobey a direct divine command.
Jonah would have been afraid of failure. God was summoning a lone Hebrew prophet to walk into the most powerful city in the world and call it to get down on its knees before his God. The only possible outcome seemed to be mockery or death, with the second as likely as the first. Preachers want to go where they will be persuasive.
He would have been just as afraid, however, of the possibility of the mission’s success, small as that might have been. Assyria was a cruel and violent empire. The empire was already demanding tribute from Israel, a kind of international protecting money. Jonah was being called to warn Nineveh of God’s wrath, to give them a chance to survive and continue to be a threat to Israel. As a patriotic Israelite, Jonah wanted no part of such a mission.
So why did he run? The answer is, again, idolatry, but of a very complex kind. Jonah had a personal idol. He wanted ministry success more than he wanted to obey God. Also, Jonah was shaped by a cultural idol. He put the national interests of Israel over obedience to God and the spiritual good of the Ninevites. Finally, Jonah had a religious idol, simple moral self-righteousness. He felt superior to the wicked, pagan Ninevites. He didn’t want to see them saved. Jonah’s cultural and personal idols had melded into a toxic compound that was completely hidden from him. It led him to rebel against the very God he was so proud of serving.
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 135-136
Posted on September 1st, 2014 by Jonathan
In Ephesians, Paul tells us that “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). Going from death to life is at the core of every conversion story, and in the sense that there is certainly no such thing as a boring resurrection, no one has a boring testimony. Still, some transformations are more dramatic than others. And while it can easily seem that God’s grace is more profound in the saving of a Paul-former-Saul than it is in the saving of a scripturally-reared-Timothy (2 Tim 3:15), this is not the case. Boring testimonies are boring because God’s graciously made them that way (so they aren’t really boring at all).
In the video below, David Platt describes the amazing grace of such a testimony as he gives glory to God for a family and church that led him to Christ as a child.
Posted on August 28th, 2014 by David Burnette
Precept Ministries International just posted an article titled “Marks of a Disciple” based on a sermon by David Platt. You can get the full article here. Here’s an excerpt that includes 5 questions to act on as you think about how to grow as a disciple of Christ:
From the very beginning, Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Every follower should be a fisher . . . not fishing for men all over the lake, but spreading the gospel all over the world. At the end of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples” (Matt 28:19). Then in Acts 1:8 he tells them that they will receive power from the Holy Spirit, not just so that they can go to Bible studies and worship and be a kind person, but so that they would be witnesses—to testify about him “to the end of the earth.”
God has not saved you to dwell in a Christian bubble; God has saved you to spread the Christian gospel, both in the city where you live and to the ends of the earth. This is what we were created for, what we’ve been commissioned to do as a church. This is what we’re compelled to do as Christians, to be disciples who make disciples so that the grace and love of God are spread all over the world through us!
Some Questions to Act On
Let me ask you a question: How are you making disciples? You may be tempted to think, “I don’t know if I can really make disciples.” If that’s you, then I want to let you in on a secret: you can’t. But that’s the whole point. God has put His Holy Spirit in you, and He has equipped you and empowered you to do that which you could never do on your own. That’s the whole point of Christianity. God has not saved you to sit on the sidelines and to do what you’re capable of doing. He has saved you to live on the front lines and experience what He alone is capable of doing.
One of the ways we can grow as disciple-makers is by being intentional and consistent in how we pursue God and walk in obedience to his mission. The five questions below are designed to help you in that process. I want to challenge you to think about the following questions and spend some time answering them. Be specific in your answers.
To grow as a disciple maker in the coming days . . .
1. How will I fill my mind with truth?
How can you be intentional to read God’s Word? The life of the disciple is the life of a learner; we want to learn from Christ and we want His Word to fill our minds. This includes memorizing God’s Word and learning from others. And remember, the goal in filling our mind with truth is not just to gain information, but to experience transformation. We want to hear the truth of God’s Word, and at the same time we want to apply and experience the truth of God’s Word.
2. How will I fuel my affections for God?
Even as I’m encouraging you to ask these questions, I realize that if we’re not careful, even Bible reading (or other spiritual disciplines) can become mechanical and monotonous, which is not the point. Our goal is not just to know God; our goal is to love God. So what can you do to fuel affection, to stoke the fires of passion for God?
Worship is one of the avenues for fueling our affections for God. As a follower of Christ, I hope that you are a member of a local church body and that you are committed to prioritize weekly worship with your church—more than weekend sports or other weekend activities that would keep you from worship.
Prayer is monumental in fueling our affections for God. Designate a time and a place when you go into your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. This one practice alone will utterly revolutionize your life.
Fasting is another way to fuel our affection for God. Commit to setting aside a meal once a week or once every few weeks, or maybe more as time progresses. When you fast, pray something like this: “More than I want food, I just want to feast on God in prayer and in His Word. More than food to satisfy my hunger, I want to be satisfied with Christ.”
Our giving can also fuel our affections for God. You might think, “What does giving have to do with affection for God?” According to Jesus, giving has everything to do with affection for God. Matthew 6:21 tells us that, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Instead of tithing being the ceiling of your giving, why not make tithing the floor of your giving, and give generously and sacrificially to His glory?
3. How will I share God’s love as a witness in the world?
Who has God put in your life (in your sphere of influence) who does not know Christ? Write down the names of three, five, or maybe even ten people you know who don’t know Christ. Pray for them this year, and work by God’s grace to see them come to Christ. What is going to be your plan for sharing Christ with them? Think of ways you can specifically and deliberately create opportunities to share the gospel with those people. It could be through an invitation to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee. Is there some other activity or avenue you could explore, whether that’s something as involved as spending a day or weekend with them, or something as simple as writing a letter to them?
4. How will I spread God’s glory among all peoples?
We have been commanded to make disciples of all nations, and that is not just a command for extraordinary missionaries; that is a command for ordinary disciples. So how is your life going to play a part in the spread of God’s glory to the ends of the earth? Consider these three ways:
Pray: One of the ways we can spread God’s glory among all peoples is to pray. You and I have the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing around the world from our knees. You might use a resource like Operation World (OperationWorld.org) to pray for the nations of the world.
Give: We can also be a part of what God is doing through our giving. Though we may not always feel like it, we are the richest people to ever walk planet earth. How can we sacrifice to give to the needs of the world?
Go: In order to spread God’s glory among all peoples we need to go to the nations. Think through any and every way you might spend your life, lead your family, or leverage your work to go to the people groups of the world with the gospel. Our lives should be a blank check on the table . . . no strings attached.
5. One final question: How will I make disciple makers among a few people?
Jesus, more than anyone else who has ever lived, was most passionate about the Father’s glory among all nations, yet He poured His life into a few people. So how can you do the same thing?
As a disciple-maker, you want to spend your life multiplying the gospel in such a way that you help equip, empower, and embolden the people around you to start making disciples as well.
Posted on August 27th, 2014 by David Burnette
This morning the trustees of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention elected Pastor David Platt to be the IMB’s 12th president. (For more on this announcement, see our previous post). So what does that mean for Radical, Secret Church, and related resources and events?
Here’s a nine-minute video in which Pastor David talks about the Lord’s leading in this ministry transition as well as the future of Radical:
Radical will continue to be the resource ministry for David Platt’s preaching and teaching. You’ll still be able to access sermons (both past and present), and we’ll continue to offer resources such as: a regularly updated blog, translation resources into 6+ languages, Secret Church events and resources, Multiply, etc. We’re also thinking through the potential for new resources, such as a regular podcast.
Please be in prayer for Pastor David, for the IMB, and for Radical as we seek to continue to serve the church in carrying out Christ’s mission.
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