How do you read it?

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
(Luke 10: 25-26)

As a rabbi, Jesus answered the law expert's question with another one. In fact, with two other questions. The first was easy to answer. The expert knew what was written in the Law and quoted the text perfectly. The second one was more demanding. It touched the way he understood it. And it is this question that I invite you to think about. How have we been reading the Scriptures?

Some time ago I heard a Brazilian Christian leader, whom I greatly admire, answering the question: ‘What is the problem with Brazilian evangelical Christians?” The question had been asked in response to the clear division and antagonistic positions of evangelicals and evangelical leaders in the public environment, among other issues. He was straightforward: "The Bible". It took me a few minutes to understand his response in depth. And I understood it by remembering that conversation between Jesus and the expert in the law. Read more...

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Our Anchor, Our Hope

By Sheryl Haw

Our anchor, strength and hope is in the wonderful truth revealed throughout Scripture and through the life of Christ; that affirms what we believe: we believe that there is one living God, who is the creator, owner and maintainer of the whole universe. Our God is accessible and personal; He is trustworthy and good (in him there is no darkness at all); He is loving and compassionate, merciful and just (not wanting one life to be lost – 2 Peter 3:9); He is all powerful and is sovereign over all the earth.

The question that will arise in many people’s hearts and minds is if that is true why has God allowed this virus outbreak? If he is all loving, all powerful, is against all evil and suffering, and can thus act to stop this crisis, why are we where we are at now?

The first thing we learn from Biblical examples of facing such suffering is that the question, the lament, the protest before God, is first and foremost not to ask why but to ask how long?, and to pursue God persistently for his intervention.

Chris Wright in his book, The God I don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith, has some helpful thoughts on this and we highly recommend this book.

The why question is a tough one. We are always looking for a cause and effect rationale.

I remember the dilemma I experienced when working in South Sudan some years ago. A young teenage boy presented at the clinic with classic signs of Type 1 diabetes. We had the knowledge to treat him, but we had no access to an ongoing supply of insulin. He lived in a war zone, in poverty and oppression. I had a list of why questions. Why would the warring factions persist in their fighting? Why could we in other countries have access to great medical care and this young boy could not? Why could some people buy multiple houses and cars and this boy be destitute? It is not that people were not aware of poverty, war and oppression – information was constantly available. So why didn’t the world act? Who was to blame? Was it inequality and the selfishness of humanity? Was it the unjust colonial powers? Was it the rebel fighters? If someone said to me it was the boy who sinned – I would’ve been so angry as he was the one person in the setting that was not to blame for his poverty and illness! Of course, we could blame God. Why didn’t He save the boy? And then I reflected on in what way should He have saved the boy? Should He have reconciled the warring factions as a peace maker? Should He have pressured the rich to share their wealth and enable the country to flourish? Should He have sent the medical experts to have a hospital for the boy? What did we want God to do? Or had He not already done all of this?

Had Jesus not died on the cross to break the power of death? Had he not accepted to carry all our pain and sorrows? Had he not called a people out to be an example to the new humanity he has inaugurated, to be peace makers, reconcilers, to be healers and builders? Had he not sent us to this very boy to love, to serve and to care for him? Of course, the answer was, and is, yes, yes, yes.

So, though there is undeniably a mystery of evil (the death and loss this virus is bringing), exacerbated by the selfish, sinful actions and inactions amongst us all that increase the impact of such a virus (for example, the selfish hoarding and stock piling of items, the non-sensical violence and stigma against people of Chinese origin), I know with absolute certainty that God has acted, is acting and will act on our behalf to respond to this crisis and every other. And, he has called out a people, the Body of Christ, to be demonstrators of his love and care at such a time as this.

Jesus, thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do. Here we are – send us to live it out amongst every community today.

#LiveHope #Coronavirus #LoveYourNeighbour

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Resilience and the Expanding Kingdom

It has been a slam-bang beginning. This early, we have seen the ravages of wounded nature fighting back. Bushfires raging without letup in the wild outback of Australia. Taal volcano erupting, spewing a black plume of cloud-like ash falling on miles and miles of towns and cities. The novel corona virus killing hundreds in Wuhan and spreading silently and quickly its deadly menace across the globe. 

All these, plus the never-ending wrongs inflicted by corrupt governments in rogue states and the dying of democracy in this country (Philippines) — the oldest republic in Asia — and elsewhere.

In times like this it is easy to bury our heads in the sand and make what some call ‘a separate peace.’ In the face of despotic governance, many take to the high seas like our sea-faring ancestors who fled from the rule of the fabled Madjapahit empire. We do not revolt; we just migrate to other climes.

Church people see in all these signs of the ‘end times.’ Some see no reason for re-arranging social reality; it is a dying world, it is said, let us just evangelise and save as many as we can from this sinking ship.

This line of thinking misunderstands the nature of our good news. The gospel is not just about securing a ticket to heaven. It is about making this earth a bit more like heaven.

When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, he told them to bring this message to the lost sheep of Israel: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ The longed-for restoration of the Davidic kingdom, the best in their memory of what a good government is like, has come in the person of the Messiah Jesus.

The good news is that a new social order is coming into being, this time backed up by supernatural signs and wonders: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10.7-8) With the coming of Jesus, the powers of heaven have descended. A new reign of justice and righteousness has begun.  

This new order inaugurated by Jesus is here now, though in many ways hidden. It becomes visible when the people of God behave like true people of the Kingdom – fighting injustice, treating with kindness and compassion those in the margins, and walking with God in such a way that we ourselves are transformed. (Micah 6.8)

At the end of the day, the story that God is weaving through the travails of our time is our own re-making as a grand ‘poem’ – a ‘workmanship,’ created and crafted by the Lord Jesus for the good work he has prepared for us beforehand. (Ephesians 2.10)

This ‘good work’ is not just the bits and pieces we do as good disciples in our lives and professions, but no less than the making of “a new heaven and a new earth.” We have been saved, not just to sit around and wait for the rapture or some such thing, but to storm the gates of hell in this sad earth. The church is not just a hospital for the walking wounded, but an army, tasked with reclaiming, inch-by-inch, territory already won by Jesus on the cross. We are to be at the center of the fray, battling against principalities and powers that are entrenched in our systems and institutions. For this reason we need to be spiritually resilient, strengthened by the Spirit and wielding the Word as a mighty sword that pierces through all sorts of fake news.

The end of this story, we are told, is that we shall be like a spotless Bride coming down from heaven, inhabiting a new Jerusalem set in a new earth that we shall inherit.  (Rev.21.1-7)

The Bible tells us that we are not really going anywhere, but here. In Jesus, heaven has come down, and the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our God. (Rev.11.15)

Melba Padilla Maggay
President, Micah Global 

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Protest and lament

by Sheryl Haw

It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Somalia, good for siesta after a busy week of work at the clinic. We had some sick children in our care, but all seemed on the mend. A tap on my door by one of the Somali nurses led me back to hospital. He had asked me to check on a 2-year-old patient who we were planning to discharge. To my horror on arrival I found the child had died. The mother was weeping, everyone was shocked at this unexpected loss. I was angry – confused and then determined. I took myself into another room and started to wrestle with God. I protested, lamented, grieved, ranted, debated and then decided this simply could not be God’s plan. Decision taken, I sought the rest of the team and explained that I felt we should pray for the child to be raised from the dead! The team looked on, wide eyed! They agreed to stand with me.

We set the scene as best we could “according to the Bible”! Placed everyone out of the room bar the mother and the translator. We explained we wanted to pray for the child and asked if they would give permission. They agreed. Before I could start, one of the team began a prayer which went like this “God, we would like you to restore this child, but if it is not your will please keep her safe with you”. This prayer frustrated me – why give God an out clause!? So, I jumped in and prayed “In the Name of Jesus rise up”. I had my eyes open as I did not want to miss the first breath. I repeated – but no breath came.

We all started to weep, not just for the child and the family’s loss, but now we also wept for ourselves and our faith in God. What followed were some of the most profound conversations we ever had as a team. One member shouted at me as he challenged me as to why I would test God. He then broke down and wept because his brother had died of leukemia and he had also prayed for healing and none had come. Some exploded in anger at the injustice and evil death represented. Others questioned whether we had sufficient faith, others lamented the helplessness we all felt.

Then we had a knock on the door – the translator came to see us. He was deeply moved that we had cared so much as foreigners for this little Somali girl. He was amazed that we had demonstrated love to her family through prayer and comfort and tears of solidarity. We sat in stunned silence. Is that what they had seen?

Of course, we could argue the theology and practice around our approach to deciding to pray – yes, we had a lot to learn. But what I had not anticipated was the witness we gave of love, through lament and protest, through solidarity of grief and the presence we gave to stand in the gap for this child and family.

I have seen God heal miraculously. I have held people as they died. I have not understood why some are healed and some are not. Why some die and some live? The Bible is full of protests, lament, anger, grief and questions. The struggle with God over this is based on the tension of knowing that God is a good, compassionate, just God and a giver of life. The Cross was His demonstrate of his desire to see redemption, healing, restoration, liberation and reconciliation for all. Therefore, we protest when we see pain, suffering, injustice and death.

The Cross is also our hope. It is at the Cross we see the ultimate assurance of God’s love. It is the Cross that carries the pain, the lament, the protest, for it exposes the worst of evil and reveals the breadth of grace, mercy and love. Knowing full well every terrible thing, every painful reality, every agonising thing we face or go through, Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. He would remove the sting of death, wipe away every tear and set things right. It is done!

And so until he returns, we protest – “How long O Lord” – we lament and grieve – “Lord, the pain is great“.

God receives our cries, he weeps with us, he carries our pain and he reveals his plan. Behold God will make all things new: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4).

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God’s Footprint in the Mess

By Christine MacMillan, World Evangelical Alliance

John 4:9 “The woman was surprised for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Woman of Samaria?”

As I Chair the World Evangelical Task Force on Human Trafficking, I find myself asking the question: what is human about trafficking?  And then it resonates – for trafficking is very much human. It conscripts humans regardless of race, lifestyle, age and gender.  It is full of surprises when its victims and those becoming aware of its horror unravel personal stories when given the opportunity.  Jesus was not afraid to find his footsteps on messy ground. He risks his reputation by engaging with a woman from Samaria perceived known for her questionable relationship history.  He was interested in her story only silenced by living on the margins.

The nature of relationships covers a vast realm of considerations. You are reaching out in one moment and then becoming aware of your vulnerability in the next. Is Jesus at risk? Is the woman at risk? Human trafficking goes beyond statistics of victims. It goes beyond a headline that reads: “Children sold like cabbages”. As cabbages once devoured are finished. Victims of human trafficking viewed as profitable commodities can be devoured again and again and their story is never ending.

Captivity is rarely under question by users.  And yet, a surprise question from Jesus: “Can you give me a drink”?  Interest from Jesus starts from a point of what another can give.   

The scene of Jesus and the woman is inching closer with respect.  Not the usual judgment call or pointed finger.  It causes a woman from Samaria to ask why someone different from her would ask her for a drink.

Integral mission is not limited to one sided giving.  It has the integrity to see value from both sides. When the question in Micah is posed: “What does the Lord require of you?”, can we be asking that of ourselves and the “other” at the same time.  Our giving is reciprocated when we leave ourselves open to receive from unexpected sources. 

The nature of organizational relationships can often be tempted to be on the lookout for its own unlimited resources. If resources are limited, we sense our mission is under threat. We become concerned about our own survival and do everything under our control to attract resources to our particular ministry only. We brand our cups of water as success stories of our own accomplishments.

Coming back to the question what is human about trafficking poses a deep search. Trafficking victims are relegated to a one -sided giving of themselves that holds little surprises in their endless activities of being used. The water they drink is polluted. They are trafficked in streams of dead water.

Resources found in the practice of integral mission are purified gifts that respect with integrity our need to both give and receive.  In the midst of pollution Jesus loves to tread in the mess of contamination. He stops to hear our story with the intention there is more for us to give.  We who are in the Micah movement are learning to adopt listening patterns of mutuality on what the Lord requires. It is then there is enough water to go around.         

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Rene Padilla address

Address given by C. Rene Padilla at the Review of the Micah Declaration on Integral Mission in June 2011.

The Church and Mission.

The questions we want to address here are: How did Jesus exercise his role as servant, and how will the Church continue fulfilling the same role in the world today? A brief study of Matthew 9:35-38 will help us reflect on the mission of Jesus as the Suffering Servant of the Lord, the mission that the Church is called to prolong in her life and ministry.

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Peace and Reconciliation

A terzanelle related to peace and reconciliation (Micah 5:5; Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 2:13-18)

By Salvatore Anthony Luiso


Christ died to make reconciliation

He is the great peacemaker in God’s plan

He is the head of a holy nation.



To bring about peace between God and man,

The Son of God died as a sacrifice

He is the great peacemaker in God’s plan.


Yet God paid for more with that precious price

For peace among men Christ suffered that cost

The Son of God died as a sacrifice.


To repossess peace when it has been lost,

One must seek after, must pursue, that peace

For peace among men Christ suffered that cost.


One may need to strive hard to make strife cease

Christ Himself strove for the peace that He sought

One must seek after, must pursue, that peace.



Praise be to God for the peace He has wrought

Christ died to make reconciliation,

Christ Himself strove for the peace that He sought

He is the head of a holy nation.

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Going Upstream

Written for Micah Global’s Prayer Ignite …

Brazilian Catholic Archbishop, Hélder Pessoa Câmara, is noted for saying, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.

I have found this to be true. We can be seen as generous, kind and charitable when providing relief assistance in crisis work. But, if we speak about justice and how systems may oppress and keep people poor, it can be met with anger, defensiveness and sometimes even vitriol. I have heard people say, “Don’t bring politics into this.” Or, “Let us stick to the biblical issues.” The truth is … these are biblical issues – from start to finish of the Bible.

Followers of Jesus are called throughout scripture to love and serve those suffering with mercy and kindness. This is unquestionable. But too often the church stops there. We are also called to break down structures and systems that oppress – which is harder work and much less popular. It reminds me of the well-used story told in development circles of the village who kept rescuing babies out the river and finally someone asked, “Why don’t we go up the river and ask why they keep falling into the water in the first place?”

Isaiah 58 shows me that we are called to both – to the rescue and relief, which will always be there because we live in a fallen world, and the transformation of cultures, systems and structures that cause suffering, disenfranchisement and oppression ‘upstream’. Isaiah speaks to us of loosing the chains of injustice, untying the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free, sharing food with the hungry, sheltering the wanderer, clothing for the naked, and to not to turn away from our fellow humans. This speaks to me of the wholeness of true transformation for which we work and pray. Providing relief for suffering people and working to change the systems ‘upstream’ that keep people vulnerable.

The hard work of bringing systemic change that literally unties the yoke of oppression takes time, commitment and courage; it may not feel as good or be as quickly obvious as the speed with which charitable relief take place, and yet it is our mandate as the Church to lead by example and show a different way.

True shalom, the peace for which we pray and work and trust, requires humility, lament and commitment to justice. Let us pray during this month that God will show us more of his heart for just systems and institutions, and that we will listen and hear the cries of those being oppressed and persecuted and exploited. Let us read the bible with people who we do not normally read it with to expand our view of scripture and God’s heart. Let us stand on the side of the marginalised and oppressed, whether we are those impacted by an injustice or not. Let us continue to swim upstream against the current of popular culture and the accepted systems so that we can show another way. Let us commit to do the hard work of going further up the river to see what systems need to be renewed, replaced and redeemed. Let us pray that God gives us new imagination and dreams for more of God’s kingdom come on earth.

Let us pray …

Linda Martindale
Micah Global

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Caring for creation

The earth is so beautiful! For a time in my life, I used BBC’s Planet Earth as part of my quiet time with God – I was so blown away by the magnificence of creation, from the underground crystal caves that are indescribably beautiful in Mexico, to the massive expanse of red sand dunes of Namibia.

Earlier on in my Christian faith journey I left my natural inclination towards caring for creation and conservation of nature at the proverbial door, as it felt like evangelism and a focus on human suffering was of greater importance. Over the years I have learned more about a biblical understanding of integral mission and see that you don’t have to make a choice between the two. It is not a toss-up between ‘care about people’ and ‘care about the earth’. I have learned that they impact on one another in significant ways and caring for one is good for the other, and vice versa.

We have been given the mandate to care for this planet we call home. Throughout the Bible we are reminded that this is God’s creation and it is good! Psalms 24:1 tells us that “The earth is God’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” Some see the stewardship call from God in Genesis as an excuse to abuse the earth, but caring for this planet we have been given to live on and seeing the worth of all of creation, is good for us all and brings God glory. Revelation 11:18 reminds us that those who destroy the earth, will not go unpunished. And there is a lot more Biblical evidence that points to the truth that the planet is ours to steward well, not to abuse and plunder.

It is also a fact that it is the most vulnerable who feel the greatest impact of climate change. Martin Kapenda, from Micah Zambia, said in this clip recently, “Let us unite together to fight the forces of climate change and put up solutions that will work well for the people living in poverty, especially those mostly affected by climate change. It affects the poor most, and the poor are the ones who pollute the least, and that is the injustice of climate change. So, let us work together to change this scenario.”

Caring for creation is part of our mandate as Jesus followers on earth. Don’t be discouraged by those who have not understood this. Keep praying and acting and setting an example. Make ongoing changes in your life that will impact on the size of your environmental footprint. Challenge your political leaders to take this seriously. Pray for the Church to be an example by stewarding creation in ways that bring life and well-being to all living creatures. Pray for wisdom to raise children who see this as a part of our Christian discipleship. And pray that we leave a good legacy and life-giving earth for those children to steward in the future.

Let us pray … renew our hearts, God, and renew our world.

Linda Martindale
Micah Global

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Why Micah Global and the Consultation?

Roshan Mendis, Chief Executive Officer, LEADS (Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Service), a National NGO in Sri Lanka. He also served as Micah Asia chair and on the Micah International Board

Micah 6:8 – What does the Lord require from us? To do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with God.

My life’s passion from when I first felt called by God to serve has been to those under served, vulnerable and on the fringes of society. So, rather than continuing in the line of family business, I chose rural missions. With no formal awareness or training it was simply an underlying drive that I perceived as the emphasis of Biblical mission. It formed the basis of my thinking as I researched my post-graduate studies. However, it was not until that first meeting in Oxford way back in 2001 when I had the opportunity of being part of the beginnings of Micah that I felt a keen resonance and connection as I was able to hear the articulation of Integral Mission. From that point on I knew this was what I believed and sought to fulfil in my service.

From that first opportunity to participate at a Micah consultation up till today, I have found every single Micah gathering a great opportunity for learning. This happens both in shared contexts as a community of practice and as direct capacity strengthening; a valuable means of developing both my theological understanding and practical skills for the humanitarian work I engage in. Since then, I have participated in Micah Global Consultations and numerous Micah Conversations, which has helped me deepen my understanding of Integral Mission and grapple with what it means in different national contexts, as well as provided me with humanitarian skill development, organisational development, best practices and governance, to name a few. The uniqueness about the knowledge I received by being involved in the Micah Global network was not limited to learnings, but also strengthened my personal call as a Christian called to engage in the marketplace with distinctiveness and a prophetic voice.

The gatherings have provided me the amazing privilege of befriending, networked and getting acquainted with a diverse array of Christians from across the globe, that live and work among the multitude of issues that are present in the world and in their nations, the wars, the corruption, the exploitation, the injustices, the poverty, the lack of resources, environmental degradation, climate change, and disease. I have been encouraged to fellowship with a community of practice, with Micah, that does not simply throw up their arms in helplessness and hide behind a spirituality that removes itself from the realities around them, but actually engages with the injustice and issues as a Biblical and Kingdom mandate. Micah has also modelled a framework of partnership, that challenges established donor/implementer models, and is one I promote in whatever context partnership is discussed. The platform that Micah created for contributing our perspectives, bringing to the table our concerns and even fashioning practice and systems like, reporting templates, gender, governance etc., has been unique in its scope.

As an individual from the global south, Micah was one forum where I experienced an honest openness to hear from and be guided by the priorities of these nations. My engagement and involvement with Micah has provided me with many opportunities and has supported our efforts to speak out against injustice, defend the cause of the poor, hold accountable those in power and empower people to speak for themselves. I believe that mediating on behalf of those unable to voice their concerns should be the DNA running in our veins. Just as the Spirit groans for us and our needs – do we groan for those downtrodden, the despised, the marginalised, the vulnerable, those abused and discarded? Indeed, if the Spirit of the Lord is in my soul – I should not only be dancing as David danced but groaning as well!

As one whose life and ministry has been blessed by the ministry of Micah I would like to invite you to come and be challenged by participating in the Global Consultation in September 2018. The theme of the Consultation – Integral Mission and Resilient Communities, is apt given the current global scenario. Resilience and Justice, Resilience and Compassion, Resilience and Disasters and Resilience and Partnership will be discussed in groups through the plenary sessions. The inter-active sessions will also help you to sharpen your thinking and advocacy as part of our prophetic role.

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