The October 2003 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
New Articles and other Features on the Pneuma Foundation Website:
New links on the following pages:
– News and Current Links
– Online Study Resources
– Ministry Friends of the Pneuma Foundation
– Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools
– In Depth Resources
– Pentecostal/charismatic Denominations and Ministry Fellowships
New articles available:
– Leadership: "Church Structure"
by Daniel A. Brown. When it comes to organizing a local congregation, "structure" should be a verb, not a noun. Added October 23, 2003.
– Spiritual Gifts: "Spiritual Gifts 101"
by Tracy Close. Introducing you to the gifts of the Holy Spirit spoken of in the Bible. Added October 17, 2003.
– Leadership: "Delegation Fears"
by Daniel A. Brown. Why is it so difficult for pastors to delegate significant work and ministry to the people in their churches? Added October 17, 2003.
– Leadership: "Church Staffing Suggestions"
by Daniel A. Brown. Added October 17, 2003.
– Leadership: "Getting Your Church Unstuck From Growth Hindrances"
by Daniel A. Brown. Practical suggestions for taking your church to the next significance level. Added October 2, 2003.
– Church History: "What Church History Can Teach Us [Americans] about Personal Tragedy"
by Larry Taylor. Added September 23.
– Web Exclusive Book Review on the In Depth Resources index: Charismatic Superstitions & Misconceptions
by Jim Croft. Reviewed by Mike J. Knowles. Added September 24, 2003.
– Download the full issue of Refleks (1–2 2002) from the In Depth Resources page
. The Refleks Journal is a bilingual (Norwegian and English) scholarly journal dedicated to the study of the Holiness Movement, Pentecostalism and neo–Pentecostalism. This issue includes English articles: "Healing in Redemption" by Joseph McIntyre and "Reconstructing Word of Faith Theology" by Derek Vreeland. Contact editor Geir Lie for subscription information.
"The Ninth Hour
" by Kevin M. Williams is the most popular article on the Pneuma Web. Messianic teacher Kevin Williams explains the significance of the hour of prayer and its importance for all followers of Jesus. This article is part of the Messianic Foundations series, from the Summer 2000 issue of the Pneuma Review
(Vol 3 No 3).
Also, be sure to check out the "What's New" section on the Pneuma Foundation homepage. New articles and other features are being added regularly.
Have a website you would like linked to the Pneuma Foundation? Write Webmaster
Dave Driggs with your suggestion, or use the on–line form to submit your suggestion: Member Services
with any comments or questions you have about the website or the Pneuma Informer
Foundation needs & concerns
When you think about the Foundation and the volunteers that continue its work, please pray. A number of the volunteer staff and writers for Foundation publications have needs they would appreciate your prayers about. The families of Mike Dies and Mike Knowles both have employment needs. Joe and Kim Joslin are beginning the adoption process and covet your prayers.
The Foundation is also in need of your prayers for increased effectiveness and financial support. Gifts to the Foundation have been considerably less this year. New ministry efforts must remain on hold until finances are available. The executive committee is very excited about how a number of new individuals are submitting writing and volunteering to help with the Pneuma Web. Those that have been giving of their finances and their time are most appreciated. Please pray that God would continue to expand this ministry and use it to spread the word about the power, love, and forgiveness found only in Jesus our Messiah.
Thank you for your support in prayer and financially.
Reports from Around the World
North Korea: God lives behind the curtain
North Koreans who have successfully fled to China paint a picture of the terrible life in their nation: indescribable needs and persecution, permanent surveillance and control even of thoughts. "The years of famine have cost the lives of millions, all religious practise is strictly forbidden — except the worship of dictator Kim Jong–il and his deceased father Kim Il–sung," writes missions agency Open Doors. The population has been trained to spy on each other; every person is in a political unit of five in their workplace, and families are grouped in twenties to a "social peoples' unit" led by one person reporting to the State. Christians are considered political criminals; they often disappear, executed or interned in labor camps, where they are kept like animals inside electric fences, making goods for export under brutal conditions. And yet there is hope: reliable sources speak of 300,000 to 400,000 Christians living in North Korea, their number continually growing. They meet in small groups of four or five people, hidden behind thick curtains, with no singing, because that is far too dangerous. These house churches organize themselves in networks that meet in remote caves.
Strong growth of North Korean Christians in China
The number of Christians among the North Korean refugees in China has grown significantly in recent years. Some Korean house churches in China focus on evangelizing and discipling them. "I believe that once the North Korean borders are opened, God will use North Korean Christians to spread the Gospel in Asia," says one North Korean refugee. "Now is a time of preparation."
Source: Open Doors www.offenegrenzen.de by way of Friday Fax 2003 Issue 34.
Pentecostalism "Changes Complexion" of Developing Countries
Christianity — especially Pentecostalism — is drawing followers as never before in developing countries, according to "The New York Times." In a lengthy article published Tuesday, October 14, the newspaper noted that the growth is "changing the complexion and practice of the Christian faith and other religions in a fervid competition for souls, generating new tremors" in places such as Nigeria and Brazil.
"The new Christian expansion is particularly striking in Pentecostalism," the "Times" reported. "Emphasizing a direct line to God, its boisterous, unmediated style of worship employs healings, speaking in tongues and casting out demons."
Spreading Pentecostal congregations — a quarter of all Christians worldwide — are "bumping up against established Christian churches and Islam in Africa, and chipping away at what has long been a virtual Roman Catholic monopoly in Latin America."
For example, in Brazil, where the national identity has been intertwined with Catholicism since the Portuguese landed 500 years ago, the emotional services at thousands of Pentecostal churches "amount to a religious revolution in the world's largest Catholic country," the "Times" said.
In the 25 years of John Paul II's papacy, Brazil's Protestant population has quadrupled, with the biggest surge coming in the 1990s among evangelical and Pentecostal groups. More than 25 million Brazilians belong to such churches.
Additionally, more than a third of Guatemala's population is now Protestant, and Pentecostal churches are making significant inroads in Argentina, Colombia and Chile, where Catholics account for 70 percent of the population.
These Pentecostal churches have made a special effort to appeal to women, who often complain of being limited to a supporting role in the Catholic church. The Pentecostal movement, in contrast, encourages them to be more than wives and mothers: deaconesses, missionaries, even pastors.
Meanwhile in West Africa, hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, from street vendors to computer consultants, sit through the exhaust and the squealing horns to reach evangelical campgrounds with Pentecostal churches as large as airplane hangars.
"Pentecostalism has captured hearts and minds in countries where the precariousness of ordinary living — blackouts, robbery, disease, corruption — makes rich and poor alike turn to divine intervention," the newspaper noted.
"It allows for spiritual or divine agency, so that God has the power to fix and heal and also to protect you," said Lamin Sanneh, a professor at Yale Divinity School. "You might fall into a ditch, or you might be in a car accident, roads such as they are. You are always in present danger. Pentecostalism speaks that language very well."
Churches have become formidable economic empires. Critics, though, accuse enterprising preachers of duping the poor and doing little to ease poverty or repair endemic corruption.
"Yet their appeal has been seemingly irresistible," the newspaper said. "Worship today is a far cry from the rituals once imposed by European missionaries."
Although Christianity has boomed in the developing world, church attendance has withered in Europe, the "Times" said in a report on Monday that featured the headline "Faith Fades Where It Once Burned Strong."
"Europe already seems more and more like a series of tourist–trod monuments to Christianity's past. Hardly a month goes by when the pope does not publicly bemoan that fact, beseeching Europeans to rediscover the faith."
Source: Charisma News Service, 10/16/03 edition. Used with permission.
Israel: Awakening to Messiah
A respected pastor/evangelist in Israel reports that in the past several months, an unprecedented awakening has been occurring among native–born Jewish Israelis, known as Sabras. Every week, the pastor reports, his congregation has seen at least one Sabra come to Messiah. "This is an incredible leap...yet, we believe it to be a trickle from a dam which is soon to burst." One young Israeli in the military has reported that after sharing his faith in Yeshua (Jesus) with his senior officer, an officer who is a religious Jew and wears a kippa, that rather than upbraid him, told him he was going to get the whole company together, and wanted this lad to share what he'd just shared with him!
Source: Prayer News Alert. Thanks to Stan M. for sending this report.
China: healed, delivered, and transformed by Jesus
Heilongjiang is a province in China's cold Northeast, with 45 million inhabitants. In the past decade, revival and the constant planting of house churches have resulted in a total of 2.5 to 3 million Christians in the region, according to mission agency Asia Harvest. Normal Christians whose lives God radically changed play a key role in this movement. Here is the testimony of one woman used by God:
"Before I became a Christian, I worked for the Government in northern Heilongjiang. My job was to find and report families with two or more children — only one child is allowed. The families were then punished; often, the extra children were taken and killed, or the pregnant mothers forced to have an abortion. Through my work, my hands were covered with the blood of hundreds of murdered babies. In 1984, I became seriously ill and was confined to my bed. Besides cancer, the doctors diagnosed 22 other illnesses. It was terrible and painful. My condition deteriorated, and the doctors told my family to prepare themselves for my death. One night, though, I had a dream."
Healed of cancer and other illnesses
"In my dream, I saw a cross, just like the cross my Christian aunt wore. That night on my deathbed, I heard a voice telling me clearly 'You will be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. You will be a witness for the Lord.' The next morning, I called my aunt. She told me that only the Cross of Jesus could rescue me. I cried for hours as I poured out my heart before God, repenting of all my terrible deeds. Through his name I was not only saved but also completely healed of all my illnesses!"
Five years without sleep
"A friend took me to a house church, where I learned more of God's Word. After becoming a Christian, I quit my job with the Government. I read the Bible every night, and no matter how unbelievable this sounds: my life became a cycle of factory work during the day, leading the house church meeting in the evening and reading the Bible at night. I tried to learn 15 chapters of the Bible by heart every night. For five years – the Lord is my witness — I did not sleep at all. Finally, I could go to preach. That was quite astonishing for my relatives and neighbors, because I had only attended school for two years, and could not read very well before my salvation."
Whole bus evangelism
"I preached a lot as a full–time evangelist, sometimes in public buses. I always experienced that the Holy Spirit gave me great authority, and many passengers broke out in tears, confessing their sins and giving their lives to Jesus. Sometimes, the bus driver had to stop while I prayed with the passengers who wanted to be saved. Once, everyone wanted to be baptized on the spot — including the bus driver and conductor."
Fearless before officials
"I was also able to preach in prisons, mainly because I had been able to lead the head of the Security Department to Jesus. Once, over 180 women — including some of the guards – decided to follow Christ. One day, I went to the three top people in the Religious Affairs Office and warned them to stop persecuting Christians — and with them, Jesus. Two of the three took me seriously, the third was stubborn and said that he would continue persecuting us. Shortly afterwards, his son was involved in a fatal car accident; the man took that as a warning from God and repented."
Source: Asia Harvest www.asiaharvest.org by way of Friday Fax 2003, Issue 39. Used with permission.
Other News and Headlines:
- See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below
Resources You Can Use
Christian Microenterprise Development
The Chalmers Center for Economic Development is offering training and starting programs to help Christian workers to assist Christians in developing marketable products and services and the financial backing to start their business. If you are a missionary in a developing nation or if you minister in underdeveloped inner city regions, you know there is a need to provide a chance for industrious Christians to get started in small businesses. If you have a burden to see Christians in these areas become successful in business ventures, you need to learn about microenterprise development.
From their website:
"The Chalmers Center for Economic Development assists the church worldwide in declaring the Kingdom of God in Word and Deed. Through research and education, the Center trains college students, pastors, missionaries, churches and Christian ministries in bringing economic development and spiritual transformation to the poor in the context of holistic, church–based ministry."
Source: Thanks to Brigada Today for this resource information. http://www.brigada.org
Free Bible CD for Pastors
Tyndale Publishers is offering a free Bible Study CD to Pastors in the United States and Canada.
Life Application Study BibleTM
- The entire text of the New Living Translation
- Life Application Study BibleTM notes
- NLT concordance
- Bible dictionaries
- Greek & Hebrew reference
To receive this special offer, go to: www.pastorport.com/bible-cdrom.asp
and complete the form.
Thoughts to Ponder: Words we use
"Words are clumsy bricks."
"The words we use the most are the ones we understand the least. When God wanted to speak to us, He didn't drop a book from the sky; He spoke a living Word, a flesh and blood and bone Word. Because our human words really are clumsy bricks, God sent a Word that was alive. He sent His Son.
Still, we use words like 'faith,' 'hope,' and 'love' without knowing what they really mean. (1 Cor. 13:13) They represent concepts that are beyond words. They are sounds we make with our lips that represent bottomless ideas."
– Michael Card (from "Wishes or Hope?" September 2003 study)
"As pines keep the shape of the wind even when the wind has fled and is no longer there, so words guard the shape of man even when man has fled and is no longer there."
– George Seferis
"The world's favorite verb is 'get.' The verb of the Christian is 'give.'"
– Billy Graham
Excerpts from the Pneuma Review
The Pneuma Review is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders.
In order to complete this issue of the Pneuma Informer
and have it sent to subscribers while it is still October, no excerpts from the Pneuma Review
will be appearing in this issue.
For more information about the Pneuma Review, and to learn how to subscribe, click here.
There is also subscription information further on in this newsletter.
- Rev. Ekeoma Job of Benin asks for prayer for his up–coming travels to Cuba and Peru. He is still seeking ministry contacts in Peru for when he will be there in December 2003. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Reference Number: 119000810.
- Pray for Christians in Indonesia: Murderous persecution has erupted again in the Indonesian province of Sulawesi, leaving at least 10 dead after militant Muslims attacked Christians, destroying over 30 homes and church buildings.
Source: Christianity Today Weblog http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/141/12.0.html
- Pastor Brian writes: "I am an experienced, ordained minister & family seeking to pastor in a small, family–oriented church." Reference Number: 90008312
- Pray for Christians in Eritrea: Continuing a nationwide crackdown against Christians, police in the capital of Asmara recently arrested 12 believers who were meeting in a house for worship. Nearly all those arrested on Sept. 7 were young people and members of the Dubre Bethel Church in Asmara, Compass Direct reported.
The police chief demanded that each of the jailed Christians pledge in writing to deny their faith in order to be released. When the six women and six men refused, the chief ordered that all their food ration be withheld, Compass reported.
Meanwhile, church leaders have been unable to get information on 57 young believers arrested and locked into metal containers since Aug. 19, as punishment for having Bibles with them during their summer military camp at Sawa.
Local authorities have also refused to give any information about the status and whereabouts of 10 Christians arrested Aug. 24 in Massawa. At least 230 Christians are currently jailed for their faith in Eritrea, where the government refuses to give recognition to any faiths except the four "official" religions: Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran.
Some 12 independent Pentecostal and charismatic denominations which represent 20,000 adherents have been targeted in the African nation since May 2002, when they were ordered to close their church buildings and stop all meetings for worship, even in homes.
Source: Charisma News Service, Sept. 30, 2003. http://www.charismanews.com/a.php?ArticleID=8137 Used with permission.
- Drs. Fidel and Melody Monzon, Filipino Assemblies of God missionaries to Cambodia, have recently had to leave the field due to the health of their daughters Micah and Monica. They have asked for prayer about the following needs: "1) Pray for God's healing touch upon Micah and Monica, and also upon Melody who also needs time to rest. Pray for God's direction for them to come back to Cambodia in the best possible time. 2) Pray for sufficient financial funds as we travel back to the Philippines and as we bring Micah and Monica for medical evaluation and treatment. 3) Pray for the ministries that we will be leaving behind: Siem Reap AG church, and the Community Health Education project. 4) Pray that Fidel will be able to come back as soon as the Lord determines to continue the different ministries. Right now, we feel leaving the ministry to the Khmers is still premature."
- Mike Knowles, a regular contributor to the Pneuma Review, writes that his mother is improving and healing after a series of recent strokes.
- Congratulations to the Association of Evangelical Gospel Assemblies www.aega.org on their recent admittance to the National Association of Evangelicals. Two of the Pneuma Foundation's founders have been given minister's credentials through AEGA.
Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.
If you would like more information about how you may help in meeting these needs, please Contact Us.
Mention of a ministry or organization in this publication does not mean that the Pneuma Foundation recommends that organization or its resources to you. Mention of an organization or its news or resources is for informational purposes only. Please exercise wisdom or caution before utilizing resources or otherwise receiving any assistance from an organization mentioned within this publication.