Monthly Archives: September 2020

What Are We Going To Do?

In the annals of famous last words, few are as pervasive, inclusive and pumped full of promise as the mandate Jesus gives his disciples (including you and me!) in Acts 1.8, “. . .you’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

It’s both a charge and a promise, a nudge and an assurance. Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus followers from all over will take the good news everywhere to everyone.

It’s an echo of the covenant God cut with Abraham so long ago, “I will bless you. . .and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Has the promise been kept? Yes, in many places, in many ways for many peoples. But also no. It has yet to become reality for others.

Good friends of mine are investing prayer, money, and copious cogitation in the development of a list of Muslim peoples who’ve yet to experience that witness for the first time or who are currently without it.

Their term is unengaged. The technical definition is something like, “no one is on the ground, speaking the local language, working toward reproducing discipleship movements.”

As the list nears completion, they estimate around 500 Muslim people groups fit that definition. 500 groups, ranging from thousands to tens of millions in size, among whom no witnesses have yet to begin the work.

Babies are born and grandmas die. Pandemics are fought and wars are lost. Tears are shed and laughter shared. All without the first witness to the cosmos-shifting good news that God came, lived, died and rose again.

500 of these groups. What are we going to do? What does God want us to do? What about me? What about you?

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Moving to What Matters Most

Maybe like me, you love to befriend Muslims, but struggle to talk about deep stuff.

How do you turn a conversation toward spiritual things?

Often when I think about this question I’m faced with the awkward realization that I’m not as spiritual as I wish I were. Which is quickly followed by, “What the heck am I doing even talking about stuff like this?!?” But I want to grow and maybe you do too. And one of the pleasant side effects of reaching out to others is growing spiritually yourself.

Here are three ways to turn the corner.

1. My Facebook friend Ginny is a treasure who talks to tons of Muslims. She says, “Let’s become ‘conversationally fluent’ with the Bible, knowing how to speak it into ordinary conversations, without long explanation or embarrassment.”

A specific way to do this is to springboard from topic of conversation to something Jesus said. “That reminds me of a story Jesus told.” Then tell it!

2. Ginny also says we can turn the corner by, “sharing what God has done and is doing in our life! We can know these things, but if we don’t feel confident sharing them, we’ll stay silent. It’s critical for believers to develop this fluency with each other, to normalize it in conversation with other believers. We embrace a cultural belief that it’s invasive, rude, or inappropriate to talk about Christ. We think there’s some sort of complex dance leading to a conversation about Jesus. But that’s not true about our own culture nor most Muslim ones.”

Particularly share how God relates to your pain. Everyone hurts. “I’m struggling with this, but God is helping me.” Or maybe I believe or am trying to hope God will help me.

3. Finally, ask how you can pray for your friend. Then do it. Hand on shoulder right here and now or awkwardly typed out prayers if you’re connecting online! This might deepen things in a hurry!

Do you have other, perhaps better, conversation shifters? Share them here.


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Forging Muslim Friendships

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known. . .       – Brené Brown

Last week I asked you to choose which type of Muslim Connector you were. Of those who responded, almost 70% chose “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” the option for people who prefer to engage Muslims through building friendships. (If the options in your email were not selectable I apologize. had some indigestion.)

To start developing skill and confidence in building friendships with Muslims, here are the four super basic steps we need to take and the mistake to avoid. If these feel like kindergarten to you, please pass them on to friends who might be new to all this “Muslim stuff!”

1. Go where you’re more likely to find Muslims. Not so good: Bars, church, Trump rallies or in these crazy COVID days, anywhere in public! Better odds: Pakistan, Louisville, ethnic groceries/apartment complexes/neighborhoods, and in these crazy COVID days, online.

2. Ask good questions. Cultivate curiosity. Risk bugging a few, while blessing most.

3. Share food. Whether you bake, broil or fry in oil, many Muslim cultures are deeply wired to accept, then return, food-borne hospitality.

4. Share your life. Involve Muslim friends in both normal and exceptional events. Share yourself at the level of depth you’d like the relationship to go to. I’m terrible at this. I want so much to look like I’ve got it together, but this is the path to connection. (Tweet this.)

Avoid this mistake: Don’t put off talking about God. Don’t wait to speak about, and to, Jesus with your new Muslim friend.

What basic steps would you add to this list? Please comment here.

Next week we’ll look at turning the corner to spiritual conversations. 



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The 5 Types of Muslim Connectors

Occasionally it dawns on me that God uses all types of people in all types of ways to accomplish his purposes and keep his promises. You’ve probably integrated this, but I need ongoing reminders that it’s not “my way or the highway.” God actually gets stuff done with methods and people I’d never expect, ones I’d either overlook or judge unfit.

I think we fall into five basic types regarding our approach to connecting with Muslims. God meets us where we are and uses each of these types.

Fight me!
Aggressive, truth-oriented polemicists argue with Muslims, pointing out errors in the Quran and Islam. Jay Smith may be the best current example of this approach. Sign up for Crescent Project’s free online Hope Conference to hear him live next week.

Results: Big wins, but beatings and extensive backlash.

Cut to the Chase
I have a friend who told me, “I’ve made a decision that whenever I meet someone, within the first five minutes of interaction, I’m going to tell them about my relationship with Jesus.”

Results: Helps find “persons of peace,” can build a “project-over-people” mentality, may take you to #1 against your desires.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Some of us (like me) want to find and befriend every Muslim they can, assuming we’ll get to the Jesus stuff at some point down the road.

Results: You express God’s delight in every person, but you may never actually get to the Jesus stuff.

If It Falls in My Lap
If a Muslim quotes the Philippian Jailer and asks what they must do to be saved (Or otherwise, speaks up!), we’ll respond, but the onus is on the Muslim. Well, once we’ve gotten ourself in chains and God’s sent an earthquake!

Results: God drops someone in your lap! Otherwise some great, maybe life changing, conversations are missed.

Not Gonna Happen, My Friend
When this type sees a Muslim, they pray, but only as they walk away. The thought of engagement is too much, so they leave things in God’s hands.

Results: God’s hands are pretty able, so stuff happens. Sadly great faith opportunities are missed.

Please take eight seconds to click the type that looks most like you. Thank you.

Fight me!
Cut to the chase
You’ve Got a Friend in Me
If It Falls in My Lap
Not Gonna Happen, My Friend

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