The January 2003 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
New Articles and other Features on the Pneuma Foundation Website:
- Leadership: "The Importance of Integrity in Ministry" American Church leaders stress the need for integrity in ministry. Added January 6, 2002.
- New resources added to the In Depth Resources page. Articles, book reviews, and other resources by Pentecostal/charismatic scholars and thinkers.
- Sharing Jesus with Others: "Needs Based Evangelism" Looking at issues behind effective communication of the Good News. Added January 8, 2002
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Reports from Around the World
Venezuela: Engineer becomes evangelist after God's supernatural protection
The survivor of a deadly plane crash in the Amazon rainforest has become a powerful evangelist, sharing his miraculous testimony with millions in Latin America and the United States.
Venezuelan Carlos Arteaga tells how God dispatched angels to protect him from wild animals and evil spirits, as well as providing him with food, enabling him to survive 11 days in the jungle. After he was finally rescued, Arteaga had to have his badly injured right leg amputated.
"I believe God performed this miracle not just to save my life, but He did it to change the lives of many and encourage people," Arteaga, 37, told Charisma News Service. Thousands have accepted Christ, rededicated their lives to God and experienced divine healing through his ministry, he said.
Arteaga's life changed on Oct. 12, 1999, on a flight from his native city of Ayacucho to Manapiare, when the plane experienced engine trouble and plunged into the dense Amazon jungle. Five of the eight people on board died. An 18-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, both Christians, survived with Arteaga.
After three days passed, they agreed the two youngsters should seek help, leaving Arteaga—incapacitated by his injuries—with a loaf of bread and a tree branch to fend off animals. The father of five didn't know if he would survive, but he kept reminding himself of God's promises from Psalm 91.
He drank water from a nearby brook, and said God provided "a warm cloud of air" at dusk, allowing him to sleep through the night. One time he had a vision in which he saw God dispatching a sword from the heavens to drive away evil spirits that were tormenting him. God also sent two angels who brought him meals of meat, bread, salad and juice, he said.
Arteaga was found by a search party 10 days after the crash. "When they arrived, they saw the rainbow, one of the angels and lots of vultures on the treetops," he recalled. "They thought everyone was dead; I was black from being covered with dried blood and dirt."
As the rescuers carried him out in a stretcher, the vultures swooped down to feed on the dead bodies. "The group realized that I was supernaturally protected by God," he said. "I told them that the angel of Jehovah was around me."
The next day, Arteaga was airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent nine surgeries and began a nine-month recovery. Besides receiving a prosthetic right leg, he had a plate placed in his head and screws in his arms.
"Twelve of the best doctors in Venezuela came to me in the hospital and told me that they had 12 reasons why I shouldn't be alive," Arteaga says. "They said it was impossible that five dead bodies surrounded me and I survived. I told them Psalm 91:3, which says, 'Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.'"
To fulfill a covenant he made with God after the crash, Arteaga gave up his career as a TV and radio tower installer to become a full-time evangelist. On the first anniversary of the crash he shared his testimony with 14,00 people in a Caracas, Venezuela, bull arena, with 3,800 accepting Christ.
"The Lord knew my passion for lost souls," said Arteaga, who has traveled five times to America to share his testimony in churches. "He preserved my life to fulfill His purpose for my calling."
Wilfredo Oliveros, a Venezuelan pastor and friend who visited Arteaga three days after his rescue, said: "What happened to him was a supernatural miracle. It proved to me that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever."
Source: Charisma News Service, 12/27/2002. By Eric Tiansay. Used by permission.
India: Evangelistic movement spreads
Woman healed of epilepsy
Yousuf, one of the Operation Agape movement's staff, prayed for a woman suffering from serious epilepsy. Jesus touched the woman and healed her; she became a zealous Christian, and decided to evangelize in front of her house.
Water out of dryness
"In Hinota, a village in Dindori (Chatisgarh), we started prayer walks," says H.K. Patel. "The land is known to be very dry, so we blessed it in God's name. Not long afterwards, the Panchayat (village mayor) was astonished by the amount of water which came out of the water pump. The government officials were so astonished that they asked us to pray for other arid areas."
Source: Operation Agape, "alexagapeldh [at] cs.com" by way of Friday Fax 2003 Issue 1
One of our reader's asked that we not include the numeric information that originally appeared in the Janurary 2003 issue regarding those who are becoming disciples of Jesus in India. That portion of this report has been removed to honor that sensitivity.
North America: Business people as emerging evangelists
In the wake of scandals at Enron and WorldCom, a new breed of business people is emerging with God as their CEO.
Many are giving thanks to God for blessing efforts to engage people with the good news of Jesus Christ in the marketplace. Already hundreds of seminars, books and workplace ministries have arisen to get people in business primed to become leading evangelists in the 21st century.
"There's a revival coming, and it's coming out of the marketplace," says Rich Marshall, a San Jose, Calif., teacher and speaker who left the pastorate to fan the flames of this budding movement. "It's been God's plan from the beginning. But don't look for it on Sunday, coming out of the pulpit."
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Vice President Pete Hammond, adds: "[This year's] corporate scandals will propel this movement. Sunday is becoming a launching pad for Monday through Saturday."
Dennis Doyle, CEO of The Welsh Companies, a real estate sales and management firm in Minneapolis, says many major ministries, from Billy Graham to Campus Crusade for Christ, are making a push into marketplace ministry. And more businessmen are realizing that God's calling extends beyond the four walls of the church.
"There's a new paradigm," Doyle says. "God's calling people into the marketplace. A lot of us in business thought we had to leave our business if we want to be in ministry. But we are sure that God can use our business for ministry."
A decade ago, Os Hillman of Marketplace Leaders in Atlanta could identify only 25 ministries with a marketplace or teaching emphasis. Today that list has grown to more than 900. Hillman also has 550 names on his list for the International Coalition of Workplace Ministries.
Its next summit in early April at the Billy Graham Conference Center in Asheville, N.C., is expected to draw dozens of business leaders, pastors and ministry officials from throughout the country.
"It used to be the main groups like CMBC [Christian Business Men's Committee], Full Gospel Business Men and the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International (FCCI)," says Hillman, a former advertising executive. "Now God seems to be raising up grassroots groups all over the country."
FCCI president Kent Humphreys, who is CEO of a company that manufactures medical testing kits, says that in recent months pastors have asked him for help in relating to and equipping business leaders—something they never learned in seminary.
Ministers often make up 10 percent of the audience at his speaking engagements. "The way we do church and reach the community is changing," says Humphreys, who has led people to Christ over lunch, in his office and at nursing homes. "It's not a new message. The church is just open to it."
Source: Charisma News Service, 12/18/2002. Used by permission.
Denmark: Holy Spirit healing sparks nationwide awakening
Some weeks ago in Denmark, a series of meetings were held with Nigerian evangelist Charles Ndifon. According to Danish journalist Svend Madsen, 12,000 people attended the meetings in Aalborg alone, Denmark's fourth largest city. A large number experienced physical healing during the meetings. Henry Nissen, the publisher of one of Denmark's largest Christian magazines, has since written a 200-page book documenting the healings and experiences.
It all started in the year 2000, when a colleague of Madsens invited Ndifon, then almost unknown in Denmark, to hold evangelistic meetings. Danish television had just started a series titled "The Power of the Spirit", and a non-Christian TV journalist decided to investigate the supposedly fake healings. The journalist had a friend who had been suffering from 'double vision' for several years—brain damage severely restricting his vision. The doctors had given up, because there was nothing more that was medically possible. The television team and the very skeptical patient attended one of the events with Ndifon. After Ndifon had prayed for a number of people, the television team and all others present witnessed the healing of a man from Greenland who had been confined to a wheelchair for nine years as a result of a knee problem. After receiving prayer, the man jumped around the room. That lifted the trial patient's faith, and so it came: when Ndifon called the man forward and prayed with him, he was healed on the spot. The television team lost sight of him, and eventually found him in front of the hotel, laughing and crying at the same time, almost unable to believe that he could see properly again for the first time in years!
"The journalist and his friend," says a Danish pastor, "came to the logical conclusion of their amazing experience, and decided to follow Jesus. The television team visited the healed patient the following day and one month later, interviewing him along with his family. After one month, his comment was still clear: 'I met Jesus Christ, who healed me and changed my life. I can only recommend that everyone get to know him.'" "Some 1 million people watched the report of the events on Danish television, which led to an astonishing revival of interest in God," says Madsen. "Seven years ago, 13% of the Danish population 'believed in God'; the figure is now around 37%. Literally over night, Jesus became the talk of the nation as the result of a television programme."
Source: Danish TV program "The Power of the Spirit" and reports by Svend Madsen, www.udfordringen.dk. By way of Friday Fax 2003, Issue 2
Afghanistan: a Mullah finds Jesus
"In the months since the Taliban regime was overthrown, we've repeatedly heard of people becoming Christians," reports the mission agency Open Doors. "One of these people is Fahmir (name changed), an ex-Mullah. Mullahs are some of the most respected people in Afghan society; they know the whole Koran and many prayers and songs by heart. Fahmir is from a Mullah family, and came to Jesus through contact with a Christian and reading the Bible. 'I used to preach in mosques, now I want to preach the word of God,' he says."
"Preaching and following Jesus is somewhat dangerous in a Muslim culture," he continues. "A friend and I mingle with the people, drink tea and keep an eye out for others who are open for spiritual things. We then spend more time with them, discovering who is open for the Gospel. In one area, we had two hundred contacts, and can now go to start a house church. People in Afghanistan have had enough of the Taliban and Muslim extremists, that's clear. They are ready for Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Some people tell us that they know four or five others who think similarly—and the movement spreads."
Source: 'Fahmir' in 'Offene Grenzen' (Jan. 2003), www.offenegrenzen.ch by way of Friday Fax 2003 Issue 1
Thoughts to Ponder
"If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skulls, why then do we read it? A book must be an ice-ax to break up the sea frozen inside us."
— Franz Kafka
"There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a study of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity."
— Charles Spurgeon
"We must try to keep the mind in tranquility. For just as the eye which constantly shifts its gaze, now turning to the right or to the left, now incessantly peering up or down, cannot see distinctly what lies before it, but the sight must be fixed firmly on the object in view if one would make his vision of it clear; so too man's mind when distracted by his countless worldly cares cannot focus itself distinctly on the truth."
— St. Basil the Great
"I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have a gone a little further down our particular path than we have gone ourselves."
— E. M. Forster
Join the Pneuma Foundation Prayer Team
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NKJV)
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Excerpts from the Winter 2003 (Vol 6, No 1) 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.
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From "The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel's Messiah" Part 8: Matthew 11-12 by Kevin M. Williams
. . .
A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His Name the Gentiles will hope
The New American Standard translation puts the words of vv. 20-21 in all capitals to indicate an Old Testament reference, specifically Isaiah 42:1-3. Why does Matthew include this verse here? To help the reader understand the messianic expectations and their fulfillment. The passage begins, 'Behold My Servant' (v. 18). This 'servant' is almost universally recognized in Hebraic thought as the Lord's Messiah.
It is this 'servant' who will bring justice not merely to the Jewish nation, but to the Gentiles as well. Even in our modern mindset we can see where the Hebrews of Yeshua's day could interpret this to mean that the Messiah would throw off the yoke of political oppression. Yet what did He actually do?
Yeshua threw off the yoke of religious oppression.
It is very easy to feel that we—modern believers—have progressed beyond such self-religious pride and heresy, but have we really? Too often, it seems, there are too many believers limping through their life due to wounds suffered by the hands of religious leaders and congregational peers. Let us not think that if we have engaged in such persecution of our fellow brothers and sisters that we will not suffer a judgment!
Matthew 12:20-21, apart from demonstrating the grace and compassion of Yeshua, and identifying Him as the Savior, this disciple makes certain that we see in Yeshua a man who is not just a man of words, but a man of compassionate action. He will not let a battered reed be broken off, or a smoldering wick be put out. These people of faith are precious to our Lord and Master. He was deeply concerned that their welfare be seen to not by a committee, not by a denomination, not by a government program, but personally, as an example to us all.
. . .
* Read the rest of this article in the Winter 2003 issue of the Pneuma Review. End notes appear with the full article.
From 'The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today' Chapter 4: Purpose. Part 1 of 2, by J. Rodman Williams
The central purpose for the gift of the Holy Spirit is power. The biblical term is dunamis—power, strength, might, force—and as the gift of the Holy Spirit, it represents an endowment of spiritual power.
We have earlier spoken of how the gift of the Holy Spirit signifies the coming of God's Spirit in fullness so that a new divine-human immediacy is thereby established. God is now present in a total kind of way, and man is bathed in the reality of the divine presence. And, as noted, the human response is that of praise to God. Now we proceed to observe that this gift of the Spirit is the gift of spiritual—transcendent, supernatural—power.
Thus we come to the words of the risen Jesus: 'You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you' (Acts 1:8). That this power is transcendent is emphasized in the similar words of Jesus: 'But stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high' (Luke 24:49). Hence spiritual—'from on high'—power is the intention of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The close connection between the gift of the Holy Spirit and power may also he seen in the example of Jesus' own life and ministry. It is recorded in all the Gospels that at the baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit 'descended upon'1 Him; thereby He received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Afterward, 'Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan . . .' (Luke 4:1), and following his wilderness temptation, He 'returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee' (Luke 4:14). Thus, clearly, the endowment of the Holy Spirit was one of power. In a summary of Jesus' ministry by Peter we read 'how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power . . .' (Acts 10:38). The close connection between the endowment of the Holy Spirit and power in Jesus' ministry is unmistakable.2
It follows that it is the intention of Jesus that the same Spirit of power that rested upon Him should rest upon His disciples—hence, the words already quoted concerning their receiving power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them. Thereby the disciples would likewise be able to move in the power of the Spirit for the ministry that lay ahead.3
More, however, needs to be said. It was not that they were simply to receive the Holy Spirit as He did, but the Spirit who was to come upon them was to be through Him. Ultimately the Spirit was from the Father, but it would be Jesus, the Son, who would mediate the Spirit's coming.4 Thus by the Spirit's coming the exalted Jesus would actually continue His ministry through them.5 They would carry on their work not only in the power of the Spirit as He did, but also with the Spirit of Jesus impelling them.6
It is apparent that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for that power which enables the ministry of Jesus to be carried forward. It is not power in a general sense—that is, an increment of supernatural strength that could have many uses—but power for ministry that flows from the Father through the Son. As such, what Jesus did—and even more7—will be done through His disciples upon the earth. What a prospect this opens up!
Hence, though the response of man to the gift of the Holy Spirit is the praise of God, and therefore directed upward, the purpose of the gift of the Spirit is the service of man, and therefore directed outward. It is the power of God through Jesus Christ enabling His ministry to be carried forward and fulfilled.8
. . .
* Read the rest of this article in the Winter 2003 issue of the Pneuma Review
. End notes appear with the full article.
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- Pastor Kip Jackson of Light of Lancaster Assemblies of God (in Lancaster, Wisconsin) has asked for prayer regarding two staff positions, a youth pastor and a children's pastor, that need to be filled. "pastorkj [at] chorus.net"
- A friend of the ministry has written asking for prayer regarding their marriage. Please pray that this couple would experience a healing and restoration of their relationship.
- Pastor Anantharapu Moses in Southern India has asked for prayer for the ministries to the needy and of evangelism in the predominantly animistic area God has called him to. Pray for financial breakthrough and for hearts, especially of children and youth, to be receptive to the good news of Jesus Christ.
- iend of the ministry has requested prayer for 17 month-old Cody Abrahamson who is being treated for a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. A website has been created for weekly news reports about Cody and his treatments at: http://caringbridge.org/sc/lovecody
- Please pray for persecuted believers in Mexico. More than 100 adults and children remain homeless and in hiding two months after a violent attack by neighbors angered by their evangelical faith drove them from their rural homes, according to Compass Direct. The 27 Tzotzil-speaking families fled their Los Pinos village in the Chiapas highlands following a clash with "caciques," or traditional village leaders who planned to put one of them on "trial." Arrest warrants have been issued for 11 of the refugees—who face charges from attempted homicide to illegal arms possession. But they maintain that the shooting which resulted in seven woundings was carried out by supporters of the caciques, after the evangelicals appealed for the release of their friend, Compass said.
The news agency reported that observers say the incident is the latest of several cases of persecution in the Chiapas region in the last 18 months, since a new municipal government composed of caciques openly hostile to evangelicals took power. "The government cannot control the caciques," said Salvador Lopez, a pastor who has provided shelter and food for the Los Pinos refugees. "Things have been out of hand...There always seem to be problems when it comes to believing in the Word of God."
Source: Charisma News Service, 1/20/2003. Used with permission.
- Praise God for reconciliation: The Body of Christ rejoices when brothers and sisters are reconciled, such as what transpired recently for Dr. Michael Brown and Pastor John Kilpatrick. http://www.charismanews.com/a.pl?ArticleID=7053 [as of 5/1/2004, this link is unreachable]
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 E-mail us at: Member Services.