Ghibeau looked at us while we were talking about Disciple Making Movements, and Discovery Groups. He was sharing some of his story, and what attracted him to this peer-learning group. “I want to make my life count. I am not fooling around. I want to get the most results possible for these years I have here on earth.” 

Disciplines help us give this life our best shot.

Here are three of my favorite disciplines.

  • go to bed early so that I can get up early. In my life the late evenings are more for relaxing, reading a book, watching a movie, checking out. I do not think of doing these activities in the early mornings, not even on my day off. Mornings are for my personal devotions, exercise, and getting things done.
  • I make healthy choices with eating and exercise to increase my chances of more energy, clearer thinking, and to live the most abundant life possible.
  • read the Bible cover-to-cover every year. We are always at different places in our journey towards heaven so to me it makes sense to keep reading the whole Word of God, to help me stay away from the slippery slopes, and to learn how to use spiritual weapons.

Discipline is like a car. It will get us where we want to go.

What are your three favorite disciplines at this stage in your journey?

Celebration Supper

Fabio and Geice are group people. When I picked them up to come over for pizza and baked potatoes we drove around and picked up other family and friends, and even a neighbour kid who was standing in his driveway and watching them get into our car. Like my mom says, “You can’t have a party without people!” 

We were trying to stretch the pizza dough out by hand. Finally I remembered the rolling pin. I think it was the first time Gleice (Geice’s sister) had ever used one. “Hey, this thing works really well! I am going to get myself something like this.”

We made another jug full of icy mango nectar.

Pineapple bacon pizza, mushroom bacon pizza, cheese bacon pizza, sugar and cinnamon pizza, baked potatoes with bacon, butter, yogurt, and fried corn, pineapple and pieces of sweet guava dessert with giant toothpicks . . . it was feeling a lot like Christmas at our house on Thursday night.

Huge pretzels and rock salt from the leftover pizza dough.

I used the embers of the pizza fire to roast up a pumpkin, which I snacked on all week.

Springtime in Johannesburg

South Africa appears more violent than Brazil. I don’t know about this statistically but I observed a whole different level of property protection. The Bible School where we had the AVLN conference was surrounded by two fences, about half a meter apart. The outside fence is chain-link with razor-wire at the top. The inside fence is 20 rows of electric wire that go right down to the ground.

I went for a walk down the road a couple of miles. Properties are all highly protected with double fences or high walls. Some also have a Neighborhood Watch type of service claiming a 5-minute armed-guard response to breakins. I asked a local about this and he said that the countryside used to be where wealthier people lived, but now they prefer gated communities because these acreages are too dangerous.

Bergen Family

Dad had chest pains last Sunday morning. The ambulance showed up in 5 minutes, and he spent much of the week in the hospital. Thankfully he is home again and doing well.

Emma, Via, Anni, and Bella in church Sunday morning. My cousin sent me this candid photo.

Church Planting Lessons

Ghibeau is the editor of a peer-learning community of people who are launching Disciple Making Movements. They define a Disciple Making Movement as a group who are planting 100 new churches every 2-3 years, with groups starting groups down to at least 4 generations.


We met for lunch with Ghibeau while we were in Johannesburg. I asked Ghibeau if he meant 100 new groups, or 100 new churches, and he responded like this. “Sustainability is the key thing. It has to be a sustainable, growing movement. So what do you think would help your group be the most sustainable?”

This diagram can be found at


Jesus came as a mentor. Some of us are in mentor roles. We send out TEAMS of two to find People of Peace, to start GROUPS. These groups need to form into GATHERINGS to remain alive. The GROUPS themselves will fizzle out if they are not formed into GATHERINGS (churches). These GATHERINGS are groups of people who are obedient to God’s Word (instant obedience) and they tell their friends (rapid multiplication). The GATHERINGS become resource centers who send out TEAMS that start GROUPS. The process is not strictly circular. For examples, GATHERINGS can start GROUPS or GROUPS can send out TEAMS.

The important thing about this diagram is the importance of church-planting for long-term sustainability. This is our conviction in Brazil. Healthy churches transform communities and last for generations. Our best hope to help the underprivileged is to start healthy churches in their neighbourhoods.

AVLN Conference

The Mozambique and Angola churches have been asking Brazil for worship and learning resources. These countries all speak Portuguese. Milton and Elba were invited to be guest speakers at the African Vineyard Leadership Conference (AVLN) in Johannesburg with the hope that friendships and working relationships would form. Elba and Milton invited a few others, and soon 13 of us were signed up to go.

At the São Paulo airport 13 of us are flying from Brazil to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Anold from Tanzania gave one of the morning Bible talks. He loved Clenildo’s talk about rural church planting, and we enjoyed some meals together.

Elba spoke at one of the main evening sessions. Milton, from Brazil, spoke at a morning session and did a workshop on Urban Church Planting. Clenildo did a workshop on Rural Church Planting. These messages were well received, and some great connections were made between Brazilian and African churches.

The Wilderness


This week I had a vision. I was driving on that narrow, winding stretch of road through the canyons between Idaho and Montana. Mountain cliffs with dark outcropping of rock were on one side of the narrow, winding road, and a black abyss on the other side. I could see the way forward clearly, but only for about 200 meters as that is as far as my headlights shone. This is the kind of wilderness region that I love. There were lots of unknown dangers if I got off the road. I sensed that God was with me in the car, and I would get where God wanted me to go if I followed where I could see.

Later this same week I downloaded Braving the Wilderness from our online library in Canada. The library has a waiting list and I received an email it was my turn to read this book this week. Brene Brown studied why she and many others often felt alone, even in groups. She calls owning your own pain and developing compassion and empathy for people who think differently than you, the wilderness.

Brown interviewed thousands of people about loneliness and acceptance. She condensed her findings into four paradox truths. sometimes known as truths in tension. She expands on these paradoxes in the chapters of this book.

1. People are hard to hate close up. Move in.
2. Speak truth to bull*. Be civil.
3. Hold hands. With strangers.
4. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.

(Brown, 2015, p. 76)
Today we choose more and more to hang out with people who think just like we do, with our people, and yet there is reportedly even more widespread loneliness. “If our faith asks us to find the face of God in everyone we meet, that should include the politicians, media, and strangers on Twitter with whom we most violently disagree. When we desecrate their divinity, we desecrate our own, and we betray our faith” (p. 155). This week I was in the land office in Marabá when this family walks up to me. It was Tiago’s mom, sister, and niece. Tiago was a friend I had done some Discovery Groups with. He had experienced Jesus in Immanuel prayer. He was shot and killed after doing an armed robbery about a month ago. His mom had tears in her eyes in the land office as she told me, “He was such a good kid. He had some bad friends, but he was a good kid.” When I told this to another friend he rolled his eyes, yet I could see Jesus in Tiago. I could connect with him quite easily. For me it is sometimes harder to feel accepted by people who I assume think similarly to me. I get caught off guard and enter into an unknown wilderness zone. That is where the sub-title of Brené Brown’s newest book intrigues me: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone.

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world” John 16:33.

How is this working for you?


Brown, B., (2017) Braving the wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone. Random House, New York. Kindle Edition.

Abundance Thinking

Belem Sunset

I often dream about our Brazil churches sending out overseas missionaries. I don’t see this happening real soon, but dreams turn to words, and words turn to reality.

Scarcity Thinking suggests that if we used our limited resources on a faraway project like sending a missionary couple to Mozambique, this will take away from church planting in Brazil.

Abundance Thinking, on the other hand, believes that if a disadvantaged neighborhood is pooling collections to help a missionary to an even poorer country, this will spur that church on to do even more in their own neighborhoods. Can you imagine someone growing up in a high-risk Marabá neighborhood sending Facebook or Youtube updates back to their on-fire Christians friends and family.

CLICK HERE to learn about Scarcity Thinking and Abundance Thinking

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

What sin would you like to do . . . ?

“I like this kind of Bible study. What religion are you again?” The guy beside me, who always admits that he killed someone, had a big smile on his face as he was looking at the Bible verses, and then at me. We were looking at John 3:16-18, and especially v.18a “The one who believes in him [Jesus] is not condemned [judged guilty].” The guys were discussing how or if this could be true. The majority of the 25 prisoners in the cell were participating.

One of the guys had a question. “What if someone decided they would like to sin their whole life and then repent and give their life to God right at the end? Would that work?” A lot of the guys thought that was a good question. Some thought that wouldn’t work. Others remembered the thief on the cross. I kept encouraging them to go back to the Bible text, rather than just base their beliefs on good ideas or opinions.

Finally I made an observation. “It sounds like you think a sinful life is better, and you would like to have fun now and then right at the end repent, and get into heaven. It seems like you think this would be the best of both worlds. Is that right?”

There were several cautious nods, and then smiles.

“Well, what sin would you like to do, if there were no consequences on Judgement Day?

For example, what if it was ok for us all to shoot each other when we don’t agree? Do you think this would be a better life? 

No, the group didn’t think that would better.

Or maybe you like to divorce several wives and have children scattered all over without you as their father? Is this your dream?

No. Nobody was thinking that would be ideal.

Or maybe we could all have anything for free. What if everyone could have guns, and everyone could demand that everyone else give them their stuff? Is this what you are talking about?

Or maybe you would like all the drugs you can have for free? Then you could easily get addicted, and then you could feed your addiction until you finally die. Is this your dream of the good life?

Or maybe you would like it if everyone could be free to be addicted to pornography. Do you think that would be better than God’s plan for your life? Do you know people who are addicted to pornography?

Or maybe you would like to hold a grudge if someone offended you, and never forgive them and never let it go? 

This led to a big story by one of the guys of a time (maybe that week?) he accidently bumped someone’s shirt, which was hanging up to dry near the shower, which is over the toilet area. Huge confusion. He let it go. “The other guy had issues. I apologized and let it go.” Can you imagine? Twenty-five criminals live in an area the size of your living room, with laundry lines hanging overhead full of damp clothes. It is hot and sweaty. They are there for an indefinite amount of time as they wait for their processes to come up, usually many, many months, and often well over a year. I think this is a crash course on not being easily offended.

My question remained: What is it about the sin life that most appeals to you?

Thoughtful pondering.

I asked a guy sitting out on the fringe. “Which sins would you choose, if you could do them and still get into heaven?”

“Yeah, you got me there. Just right at this moment I can’t think of any.”

Finally the first man, who was sitting right beside me, said, “Well, some guys just like doing bad stuff.”

Lots of thoughtful nods.

“Yes, I believe that is true . . . but is that the life you want?”

I left them with the question. I sensed everyone really enjoyed that hour and a half. I sensed God was present in the room with us.

Please keep praying for these guys.