The November-December 2007 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Online Articles
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- New articles by Dan Reiland added to the Guest Article index:
Staff and Salary: Part 1 What people get paid is a sensitive and personal topic. It is no different for church staff, and particularly so for pastors who often live under standards and scrutiny higher than of volunteers. This mini-series will dive into a candid look at this practical and often complicated topic.
Staff and Salary: Part 2 Continuing with the second part of this mini-series on staff and salary, we'll cover: the wrong reasons to increase salary, key issues in setting the first salary, and key issues to consider when increasing a salary. As you pray and do your homework, this will help you as you design your compensation plan for your church. Added November 12, 2007.
- Book Review: The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views Reviewed by David Bradnick. Added December 4, 2007. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0087.xml
- In-Depth Book Review: J. Budziszewski, et al., Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action (Baker Academic, 2006), ISBN: 0801031567. Reviewed by Amos Yong. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=JBudziszewski-EvangelicalsPublicSquare-AYong.xml
- Special Article for the International Day of Prayer for the Prayer for the Persecuted Church: "Hezekiah's Pattern for Praying" Added November 9, 2007. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0084.xml
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to add content to our website as a resource to our members and friends around the world. We also add links to content that we are not able to republish ourselves, but may be of interest. Here are some examples of links added recently to "Links to Articles & Books" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp and from "Links to Study Resources" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_study.jsp
- The largest list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools available online anywhere. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp
Add your school: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
- "When the Media Became a Nuisance" by Darrell Bock. How to respond to the next blockbuster book/documentary/movie that questions traditional Christianity (Christianity Today, Dec 2007). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/december/22.40.html
- Christianity in the Global South: "Africa Unbound" by Jonathan J. Bonk. God may be clearing the stage for the next act in his redemptive drama (Christianity Today, Nov 2007). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/november/38.46.html
- "The Urban Divide" by Sammy Rodríguez. Why African-American and Hispanic churches must work together for urban renewal (Ministry Today). http://ministrytodaymag.com/display_cms.php?id=14740
- "5 Kinds of Christians" Understanding the disparity of those who call themselves Christian in America (Leadership, Fall 2007). http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2007/004/1.19.html
- "Veteran Ministry" How churches can help soldiers and their families readjust after combat (ChristianityTodayOnline). | Did you know that CBS News reported (mid-November 2007) that the suicide rate among U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq in 2005 was higher than the number of war casualties that year? http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/juneweb-only/126-53.0.html
- "Hispanics in America" by Samuel Rodriguez. "Who are today's Hispanics and how can your church reach them? Take an in-depth look at this exploding population and learn why churches nationwide are discovering that to be relevant in their community, they must intentionally break down cultural barriers and engage Latinos" (Outreach, November/December 2007). Added December 5, 2007. http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/hispanicsinamerica.html
Downtime Resolved: thank you for praying
The webserver had hardware issues that prevented it from broadcasting the site during most of the week of November 11. Although email should have been working properly during this time, if you have not received an answer to any message you sent, please resend it and a Member Services Representative will respond as quickly as possible.
Thank you to all of our friends who prayed with us about the problems our server was having. Within hours of sending out the prayer bulletin, the volunteer web staff was able to choose a direction that solved our server issues by replacing the server.
Reports from Around the World
Niger welcomes the Gospel despite Muslim majority
After a year, a radio program is still ministering to the 90-percent Islamic country of Niger. It is difficult to present the Gospel to those who can't read unless they can hear it via radio. The Words of Hope programming started with five Gospel broadcasts each week and now airs six. Lee DeYoung says the program is actually welcomed by unbelievers. "We met with some of the listeners who still are not identifying themselves as converts, but they are certainly interested in the Gospel. Some of them describe these broadcasts as wonderful examples of enlightenment which they look forward to hearing each night." According to DeYoung, this type of programming has met little resistance because "there is not Sharia law. There's a secular government, and there's real openness to Gospel broadcasts explicitly being heard on local radio stations. No opposition has sprung up that we're aware of." Pray for the staff as they reach out to a largely Muslim population.
Source: Mission Network News, 2 October, 2007 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10419
Evangelical French Outreach Ministry Forced to Pay Fine
On September 27, 2007, Top Chretien, the largest French internet ministry in the world, was sentenced to pay $12,000 (8,500 Euros) to the Palestinian support organization Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians (CBSP). Read the full story: http://www.ccfof.org/ministrypartnerships/TopChretienPRAYER.html
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter Issue 153, November 2007.
Religion mentioned in China Constitution
The Communist Party of China amended its Constitution in late October to mention "religion." Although religion was previously mentioned in the Constitution, China Partner Ministries' Erik Burklin says, "I think it's maybe their attempt to show the rest of the world that China is open towards those who have religious backgrounds or would like to practice their religious faith. In light of the Olympics coming next year, I think they want to show to the rest of the world that 'we are a friendly nation, we are a country that welcomes all kinds of people from around the world.'" Burklin doesn't think there will be a reversal of freedoms after the Olympics. That's because Christians are considered a positive influence in China. "I think the government over the last twenty years has realized that and therefore is saying, 'If the Christians can be good citizens, then why shouldn't we allow them to be able to live out their Christian faith more liberally?' From a China Partner perspective, it will only allow us to do more, so we're very excited about this shift."
In related news, China continues to respond to tough scrutiny on their religious and humanitarian rights record. World Bible Translation Center's John Andersen says they're taking advantage of the window. "We are distributing 150,000 Bibles this year outside of China that will go into China. Those Bibles are being given to tourists and travelers and Communist party leaders who can afford to travel." There's an interest. As tour groups are approached with the Good News, between 40% to 50% of the members accept the Bible and evangelistic literature that goes along with it. Andersen says they've seen incredible evangelistic growth in the seven years they've been partnering to get Bibles into China. "The number of Christians in China have jumped from three-and-one-half to five percent. That's 30,000 Chinese citizens becoming Christians every day. There's over 100-million Christians now in China, and there'll be 200-million Christians by the middle of this century."
See also the prayer request about China below.
Source: Mission Network News, 24 October, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10497 | Mission Network News, 1 November, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10526
Uzbekistan: Christian Missionaries Accused of Being in League with Osama bin Laden
Radical Muslim missionaries to Central Asian countries are desperate to thwart the spread of Christianity. So desperate, they used the medium of television to spread the lie that Christians support Osama bin Laden and his ideology.
While under Russian control, neither Muslims nor Christians were allowed to proselytize on television, radio or any other public arena. Today Muslims dominate TV evangelism, while Christians are still banned from any kind of public speaking regarding their faith or beliefs. When Muslim radicals got on TV and presented a picture of Osama bin Laden alongside Christian missionaries and other worshippers, they tried to say that this is who the Christians really were and this is what they really stood for. Our brethren had no recourse for refuting this lie.
Source: Missions Insider Vol. 8, No. 11. December 14, 2007. Full story: http://www.christianaid.org/Missionaries/MIR/mir20071213.aspx
Kingdom of Tonga: Wide open door
News and Headlines
Organizers say they want to make sure every child in the Kingdom of Tonga will have a copy of the story of Jesus. Earlier this year, some 48,000 copies of the Book of Hope arrived for distribution. The Minister of Education endorsed the book and allowed copies to be distributed in all the schools and educational institutions. Many organizations are working together to travel to each of the 176 inhabited islands to insure that the children in the Kingdom of Tonga receive God's Word.
Source: Mission Network News, 13 November, 2007 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10570
for Current News and Links
See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
"Divided and Conquered or United to Overcome?" by Tony Richie
Why the Recent Open Letter from Muslim Leaders to Christian Leaders is More Important than We May Realize.
The obvious policy of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda is to divide Christians and Muslims, East and West, Arabs and Americans in order to be able to conquer both sides. They are terrorists. Fear and violence are their stock and trade. They intend to intimidate and manipulate the world into doing their bidding. However, they can only hope to achieve their ungodly goal of world domination and reconstruction in their own image if their intended victims do not unite against them. Accordingly, their primary tactic is to initiate and in any way possible further instigate mistrust and suspicion between the more numerous moderates all around. Al Qaeda operates on a "divide and conquer" strategy. For example, if devout and moderate Christians and Muslims, who, by the way, far, far outnumber fundamentalists and radicals, join up to talk and work for peace, then Al Qaeda is doomed. And it appears their days just may be numbered.
The recent open letter, "A Common Word," from one hundred thirty-eight international Muslim leaders and scholars to the Christian world at large is a sign that something good could be about to happen. There are a number of things to say about "A Common Word." It is obviously a well thought out, scholarly, balanced document. It is a compassionate and gracious overture to a partnership for peace. However, I think that most significant of all is that it may contain the seeds of Al Qaeda's ultimate defeat. Christians and Westerners can only hope to overcome terrorism if Muslims and Easterners unite with us as equal partners. Otherwise, it will slowly but surely drain our resources and our resolve. It has already done so to a frightening extent.
Just writing a letter, of course, does not unite us. That alone does not replace or repair centuries of tension. That will take a lot of God's grace and hard human work. However, it could be an important new beginning leading to the beginning of the end. While not a panacea for all our problems, sitting down to talk together is an essential first step to building the kind of relationship necessary to assure mutual physical and spiritual survival. If enough Christians are willing to respond in kind and if enough Muslims are willing to follow through, then we could start working together on fighting together against an unspeakably vile common foe: terrorism. Christians ought to understand that Al Qaeda threatens and attacks the typical Muslim every bit as much as it does the typical Christian. It wants to rearrange completely their individual and national faith and life according to a very narrow and mean-spirited model. That is why we should appreciate the courage of those one hundred and thirty-eight Muslims reaching out to Christians. Some of them may have actually put their very lives in danger. Can we do less in return?
A few further observations may be in order. First, responding positively to Muslim overtures to partner for peace does not
diminish our commitment to our own Christian faith and life. Second, it does not
detract from our sense of Christian mission in today's world. In fact, we can only dialogue well if we remain true to who we really are. Third, it does not
deny the many real differences and real disagreements we have with Islam. Fourth, it does
give us an opportunity to build a foundation on the "common ground" of loving God and loving our neighbor. That principle alone promises peril for terrorism. How can terrorism, which thrives on hate, survive in an environment of love? It cannot.
Pentecostals and Charismatics have a special stake in relationships with other religions, such as Islam. As the fastest growing wing of the Christian religion, we are often brought into closer contact with other religions, including Islam, than any other Christian group. That contact is sometimes uncomfortable in the extreme. On more than one occasion, just plain and simple misunderstanding has not only hindered evangelism but also fostered violence. We can only benefit by becoming better acquainted. Pentecostals need to remind ourselves that though we are in a war, and that war is spiritual, it is not a war against other religions. It is a war against Satan (Eph 6:10-18). I personally believe with all my heart that terrorists like bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization are satanic and demonic. Perhaps Satan has a divide and conquer strategy too. No wonder Jesus said, in Mark 9:40, "for whoever is not against us is for us." Perhaps Satan is defeated when people unite to overcome him by drawing on shared values of love of God and love of neighbor. The kind of Spirit we are of does not call down wrathful fire on others, even those not accepting Christ (Lu 9:56). Rather, it offers them too a message of "good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10).
Of course, it is too early to tell, but wouldn't it be great if the more moderate and sensible Christians, Muslims, and yes, Jews, could and would unite to overcome terrorism? Does that seem impossible? "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God'" (Mark 10:27).
Tony Richie, D.Min, D.Th. (candidate), a bishop in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), is pastor of New Harvest in Knoxville, TN and does adjunct teaching at Church of God Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN) and Church of God South American Seminary (Quito, Ecuador). He also serves the Society for Pentecostal Studies as liaison to the Interfaith Relations Committee of the National Council of Churches. His articles that have appeared in numerous Christian academic journals.
Resources You Can Use
100,000 Evangelical sermons and illustrations available without an account signup. You may add your sermons here, or search by topic for the sermon-starter you need.
New Resource for Church Websites
Without-cost Church Site Evaluations Now Available Online
"How can our church website help us reach out into our community?" Churches often find it difficult to know how to build sites that will engage with outsiders in their area.
A new online tool has been released by Internet Evangelism Day, which provides churches with a free 15-page evaluation report. Users assess their own websites by answering 55 simple questions in the tool questionnaire. A customized report is immediately displayed online, ready to print or save. Its recommendations are tailored with specific suggestions, based on the questions that were ticked. Visit www.InternetEvangelismDay.com/design to use this tool.
Church leaders have warmly welcomed this new resource:
"Most church websites are not evangelistic. The new Church Website Design Tool can help rectify this problem. This is a wonderful tool." Dr. Bill Gordon, Evangelism Response Center, NAMB.
"There is no silver bullet for a great ministry site. However, this checklist is an invaluable tool to identify critical areas for improvement. Every church should study this regularly and act on it!" - Gary McClure, LifeWay Ministries.
A church site which has been prioritized for non-Christian visitors can be remarkably effective in reaching the community. "Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else," writes one growing church in London UK.
This Evaluation Tool is just one of a range of pages at InternetEvangelismDay.com that help Christians learn to use the Web to reach the world. Internet Evangelism Day also encourages churches to hold a web awareness focus day on or near 27 April 2008, to explore this huge potential. Their site offers free downloads (PowerPoint, video clips, drama scripts and handouts) so that churches can create a custom program of any length from two minutes to an hour. "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says Dr John Stott.
Internet Evangelism Day is a project of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, a group of major ministries involved in web ministry, based at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton. Website: www.InternetEvangelismDay.com
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter Issue 153, November 2007.
Audio Interview with Craig Keener on the Reliability of the Gospels
John L. writes: "Last night I found an audio interview with Craig Keener on line. The interview deals with the historical reliability of the gospels. Maybe this is a link that Pneuma would want to advertise."
Thank you for the suggestion, John. Anyone may use our link suggestion form at: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
License to Play Videos
Greg Taylor, "Law or License?" Leadership Journal (Fall 2007).
"There are roughly 300,000 churches in the United States, and almost half have the CCLI license for congregational worship music. But for the Church Video License, the number is just over 40,000.
"So, less than 20 percent of churches in the U.S. are licensed to show movies in their churches. And unless they get permission directly from the studio, they're breaking the law."
Excerpts from the Fall 2007 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW
The PNEUMA REVIEW is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders. For more information about the PNEUMA REVIEW, and to learn how to subscribe, please visit: Introducing the PNEUMA REVIEW. www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
Buy the PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
Write a review online for the PNEUMA REVIEW!
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
Picture of Salvation: The Sacrifices of Leviticus by Kevin M. Williams
"All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (Luke 24:44 NAS).
These words of Yeshua (Jesus) are wonderful yet for many they are mysterious. It is easy to understand the messianic implications of a passage like Psalms 22 or Isaiah 53, and the God's work in bringing those promises into reality through His Son.
Certainly even, we can comprehend passages of the Torah, which clearly refer to the Christ. No one can doubt the intent of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15: "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him." Even the Jewish sages - who do not yet recognize Yeshua as the Redeemer - acknowledge that Moses was prophetically speaking of Melech Yisrael, the Messiah, King of Israel.
But what about a complex books like Leviticus? Do those pages, with their endless litany of rules and regulations, speak of the Savior of all humanity? In Luke 24:27 we read: "And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." The challenge in this document is to legitimize Yeshua's words even in such an arduous book as Leviticus.
"Leviticus" in the Hebrew is rendered Vayikra, which means, "and He called." We leave Exodus with a Tabernacle emanating the awesome power of God with such intensity, that it could not be approached even by Moses, the servant of God. Some Rabbis teach that Vayikra began immediately where Exodus ends, that amidst the spectacular manifestation of His Shekinah glory - Vayikra, "and He called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting." [Leviticus 1:1]
Only three times in Scripture does God call out to Moses. He often spoke with His servant, but rarely did He call to him. In each summons, the matter was deeply significant. In the case of Leviticus 1:1, the Most High wanted to detail the ritual and regulations of the sacrificial system. By today's sterile supermarket standards - with meat neatly wrapped in cellophane - these observances can seem almost crude and barbaric, but in truth, they are magnificent pictures of the coming work of the Messiah.
It may be wise to remember that the Temple sacrifices always took place in the light of day. The slaughter and smoke occurred in full view of sunlight - as an act of the Kingdom of Light - unlike so many covert Satanic practices, carried out in the cover of night, amidst the shadows of sinful secrecy and lost in the bleak kingdom of darkness.
While our modern sensitivities may not appreciate, nor relate to the performance of sacrifices, they were the means by which our Creator reintroduced life and light into a fallen world. They should never be confused with occult ritual, which is at war with the Kingdom of Life. "What fellowship has light with darkness?" [2 Corinthians 6:14]
With that said, let's move ahead in our examination to discover Yeshua in the book of Leviticus. Chapters 1-5 reveal five different types of sacrifices and, therefore, five different characteristics of the sacrificial system. There is a great deal of documentation on how the offerings where to be made, we want to focus on why.
The first why might be, "Why have sacrifices at all? Certainly God could have ordained a more humane way of making atonement!"
Ultimately He did - in the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua our Messiah. But just as the justice system in most democratic nations, jurisprudence is based on precedent. In Scripture - apart from the ex nihilo of creation - God rarely creates something out of a vacuum. The Almighty almost always magnifies or augments something already established; whether in the creation account where the Spirit hovers over the waters, or when Yeshua takes a few loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes. God always starts with something and fashions it into something more.
Even we are recreated when we come to faith in Yeshua as both Lord and Savior. God takes something in each of us and makes us a new creation in Messiah. This precedent setting is part of the changeless wisdom of the Creator.
No less is true with the sacrifices, which began in the Garden of Eden:
"And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21).
There was a sacrifice made in order for Adam and Eve to be "covered." Cain and Abel teach a little bit more about proper attitudes in the sacrifices. Noah demonstrates clean and unclean animals and the sacrifices of thanksgiving (Genesis 8:20). Along comes Abraham and we have a greater glimpse and comprehension that "God will provide a lamb" (Genesis 22:8). The Passover lamb in the great Exodus from Egypt augments our appreciation so that by the time we reach Leviticus, there has already been a fair amount of legal precedent laid down about sacrifices.
Leviticus 1-5 continues in this biblical tradition, as Elohim follows His own custom, to build on His own jurisprudence.
The term sacrifice can be misleading in our English language, but very powerful in the original Hebrew. The script of the Older Testament for sacrifice or offering is korban, the root of which means, "to draw near." The substitutionary sacrifice was instituted by the Judge of all the earth that sinful man could "draw near" and enter into relationship with Him. This is the precedent Yeshua would build upon, and may be hinted at in the book of Hebrews.
"He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices... because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself" (Hebrews 7:25-28).
Just as the Levitical sacrifices permitted God's repentant people to "draw near," our sacrifice, Yeshua, fulfilled this in a more complete way, permitting each of us to "draw near" to the King of kings and Lord of lords with convenience undreamed of in the ancient Temple system and priesthood.
With these foundations in place, that God builds on what has gone on before - and that His desire is to draw near to His mankind - we are ready to plunge into the teachings that the sacrifices reveal.
. . .
Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.
Endnotes appear in the full issue. Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2007 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspPeriodical Review: "Gospel Riches"
Isaac Phiri and Joe Maxwell, "Gospel Riches: Africa's rapid embrace of prosperity Pentecostalism provokes concern--and hope" Christianity Today (July 2007), pages 22-29.
Read the full review at PneumaReview.com: Gospel Riches: Africa’s rapid embrace of prosperity Pentecostalism provokes concern – and hope
Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of the Pneuma Review. Raul is a licensed minister and member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
Read more reviews and articles from the Fall 2007 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
Responses from Readers
God bless you for the good work you are doing in this website for the Lord.
- Vincent in Nigeria
Dear brothers in Christ,
I am happy to write to you again from Kenya. God bless you and your organization for devoting yourselves to produce the monthly newsletter on your website to assist the needy like myself and church members.
- Pastor E.
Thank you dear brothers and sisters at Pneuma foundation and also I acknowledge my sincere thanks to you all for joining with us in prayer for India. When we join our hands together in prayer I believe that the strongholds of satan will be down and there will be a great revival in this India where the majority worship the idols. May God bless you.
In His service,
- Pastor RG
Thank you again to everyone that prayed with us about our web server issues in November.
Will be praying about the problems with www.PneumaFoundation.org to be worked out soon.
Thank you and prayers will be said that the technical problems will be worked out soon!
Have a comment for us? Contact Us http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
- Fire destroys third floor of orphanage in Ukraine. A fire destroyed the entire third floor and caused extensive water damage to the second floor at the Good Samaritan Orphanage near the city of Rivne in the Ukraine. While no one was seriously injured during the blaze, orphaned children are once again homeless as the cold Ukrainian winter sets in.
Slavik Radchuk estimates that repairs will cost approximately $60,000 and must begin immediately.
This unique ministry recruits families from the church who will care for up to six homeless children per household. These families live together in a building divided up into modest "apartments". The orphanage had five families on the 3rd floor and three families on the 2nd. After the fire devastated these apartments, people from the church came to offer help - but just one family of eight extra people places a heavy burden on those willing to provide lodging, food and other necessities. Even their best efforts cannot continue for long.
A total of 57 men, women and children remain displaced, as ministry workers seek help in rebuilding these two floors of the orphanage. They are praying they will be able to return these families to the home before Christmas. Materials have been ordered and construction can begin as soon as funds are available.
Full story, with pictures: http://www.christianaid.org/disasters/GoodSamaritanFire.aspx
Source: Missions Insider Prayer Alert, November 15, 2007.
- Venezuela: reports of persecution rising. (MNN) - Voters in Venezuela have chastened President Hugo Chavez by turning down his proposed constitutional changes. Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says that means he may speed up his press toward a socialist agenda which is not good news for believers. "We have heard reports of increased persecution, particularly along the Colombian border with Venezuela. Some cases of Venezuela providing sanctuary for FARC guerrillas from Colombia, in other cases, literally, persecution instances against the church in that particular area." Prayer is needed for church workers in this area. "Times of political turmoil can be times of great outreach and great ministry, but they obviously are also times of uncertainty and times of questions. I think we can pray for the leaders of the church, and pray for the members of the church in Venezuela to have wisdom and to continue to be bold witnesses for Christ."
Source: Mission Network News, 5 December, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10647
- China: Repression escalates in lead-up to Olympics. Repression is escalating in China in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics as the Communist Party government prepares the country to go on display before the world. The government is determined that visitors and television viewers will witness only stability, harmony and economic development and not human rights abuses, neglect or repression. The government wants to ensure 'subversive' elements and 'reactionary' forces do not spoil the show. Though Shi Weihan's Christian bookshop near the Olympic village sells only government-approved books, Shi and an employee were recently arrested. On 7 December, 270 house-church pastors meeting together for prayer, study and fellowship were arrested in a major police raid. As of 10 December, 150 are still in custody. Please pray for justice and for God's purpose to prevail.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance RLP 458 | China: Repression Escalates in Lead-up to Olympics
- Pastor Abraham in Sri Lanka (Reference Number: 90030608) writes:
Greetings in Jesus precious name.
As I sent you my previous email about my church and branch churches children and youth Christmas program, I am very glad to inform you that I had a very successful program in the Central province the place called Nuwara Eliya the very coldest mountain area in Sri Lanka (7600 Ft above the sea level) In this site you can see the program's pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21590279@N08/ (there are three pages)
Really I have no words to express my gratitude to my Lord because He helped me in a wonderful way to bring this program a success in the midst of a great calamity in our country. The total attendance for the program is 343 adults and children.
I am very thankful to my God that by His grace the Batticolo Eastern Province the war zone area's one hundred people got the Police permit to travel 350 Kilo Meters to Nuwara Eliya to participate in this program. Lord gave their journey Marcy for up and down for them.
Our plan was to give accommodation for 200 people. But the people in number increased more then 343. Therefore we happened to give accommodation for another 100 people. Because of that the transportation, accommodation, food and other expenses gone up and we happened to spent another extra amount of Rs. 97,187/= ($900 US) So this extra money has to be settled very soon. I kindly request you pray for the Lord to open a way to settle this amount very soon.
May God bless you,
Yours in His service,
- Pastor SB in India asks for prayer: "Please pray for our ministry work in tribal and rural areas."
- Christian activists jailed in Egypt. (MNN) - Christians in Egypt are often treated as second-class citizens, denied political representation, and discriminated against. The Middle East Christian Association is a Christian rights group that speaks out on their behalf. Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner says they're also now the targets. "The spokesman of MECA and another man were taken from their Cairo homes at about 4:30 in the morning, and after being interrogated, they were sentenced to 15 days' detention for 'insulting Islam' and 'ruining the reputation of Egypt.' Later that day, their lawyer in Alexandria was also taken to a Cairo prison." Believers have been feeling the pressure. In early November, an Egyptian court acquitted two other MECA activists who had faced charges of defaming Islam. Penner urges prayer. "Pray for those Egyptians, like these with the Middle Eastern Christian Association, who have the courage to speak up, that they'll continue to do so despite all the harassment that they're facing. Pray that Egyptian Christians would respond to persecution in a Godly fashion."
Source: Mission Network News, 16 November, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10584
- Condolences to the family of Roger C. Mock who passed away unexpectedly on November 22 after a brief illness. Roger is the father of Pneuma Foundation Executive Director Raul Mock.