I remember watching Oral Roberts on a 10” black and white TV screen as a kid in the 50’s and wanting to grow up as a preacher/healer just like him.
I get choked up all over again watching this video. Unless you lived in the early 50’s you really don’t have any idea how really terrifying polio was in those days. Thousands of kids were on crutches in America and there was no medical answers for it until the shots came along in the mid 50’s.
Oral was one of the last of the Pentecostal healing/revival evangelists that toured across America preaching in tents after WWII. He was the among first to take it to the next level with a regular program on the new TV media that soon was in every home across the country.
All the recent controversy with his son and all the stuff the media and late night comedians have said about him and a 900’ Jesus sort a makes us forget what a blessing his ministry was to millions of Americans in the 50’s and 60’s. Really the first major national TV evangelist and one which helped to take Pentecostalism from the other side of the tracks to the main street in America.
Here’s a statement made by Billy Graham in memory of Oral:
“Oral Roberts was a man of God, and a great friend in ministry. I loved him as a brother.”
Graham also told reporters that he had spoken to Oral Roberts three weeks ago by phone, and that Roberts had told him then that his “life’s journey” was nearly over.
I found this over at Persecution Blog, the original is from Reuters. Testimonies like this never really get old and bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart every time:
Amin said he became aware of Jesus Christ after dreaming that a figure dressed in a white robe approached him in a forest and handed him a Bible.
“When I told my father I had become a Christian he just stared at me without speaking. Then he said: ‘From now on, you are not my son. Go to those people, let them feed you and give you a home — we’ll see who cares for you’,” said Amin.
He left town, stopped his studies and now lives from translation work offered by a Christian missionary group.
Response: Thousands of Muslims are coming to Christ every year through dreams and visions. It is a radical decision for these folks when they come out of the closet and declare their new faith in Jesus. All are rejected by their families, most suffer some kind of persecution, and many even face death.
These folk really know first hand what Christmas is all about and received the gift of his Son Jesus regardless of the consequences.
Here’s a powerful devotional I received today from Charisma On-line:
Today’s message is from Mrs. Gertrude Reidt.
One time in Africa thirty medicine men gathered to put a curse on a missionary and his family. It was a thirty-day contest between the medicine men and Jehovah God. The missionary, for some reason, said that he could not leave his station and call for help, so he decided to stay there and fight it out. The medicine men did put every type of curse on the man and his children. His children did get sick—but they prayed through together and the children became well again.
The medicine men were so desperate; they couldn’t fail. The last night of the thirty-day contest, the men came with their torches to burn down the grass huts, and to burn out the missionary. What did they meet? Tall men in white garments with great swords drawn so that they could not break through. Prevailing prayer—what a power there is in intercession. It is a great weapon in spiritual warfare.
READ PSALM 34
Lord, thank You for the powerful protection of Your angelic host! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is an incredible story. Yasmin became a Christian after she had a vision of Jesus during the difficult birth of her son. She tried to keep her faith a secret from her family, since she was afraid of how they would react. Later, when they did find out that she was a Christian, the persecution followed.
According to Yasmin, she was harassed on the street, and disowned by her family. Her husband hired thugs to beat her up and planned on having her killed. She finally moved out to another part of the country with her children in secrecy. Her husband tracked her down and tried to take the children, objecting to them being raised by a Christian. Here are some excerpts of her experience:
“He continually intimidated and harassed me and hired someone to beat me in the street. Wherever we went there would always be a car following us and watching us.”
“Everyone in the local Muslim community knew I was a Christian and didn’t want to know me. People would cross the street rather than greet me and often spat in my face. They tried to pressure me to leave town. But I had already been chased out of one town so I was determined not to let them intimidate me.”
“One of the most difficult things about becoming a Christian from a Muslim background is losing your family. There are such tight family networks in our communities. If someone becomes a Christian then they are considered to bring shame on the whole family and the only response is to cut them out of the family.”
Response: I hear of and read that more and more Muslims are converting to Christianity through Visions and direct experiences with Jesus. This is becoming common, particularly in Muslim countries that outlaw conversions and missionaries.
What is really incredible about this story, and the surprising and stunning punch line is this—Yasmin lives in the UK!
We really do need to remember to pray for Yasmin and her children. Also, for all the others like her who have converted and face persecution and even death for the sake of their faith in Jesus.
I am way behind in my reading right now. Yesterday at lunch I read an great article in the October issue of Christianity Today: “Why Muslims Follow Jesus“. It was all about why Muslims convert to Christianity. Over 750 former Muslims filled out an extensive questionnaire on that question.
The number one response was:
-The example of Christians that they knew
Followed by a number of responses that Charismatics and Pentecostals will appreciate and understand:
-Deliverance from the demonic
-Visions and dreams
It should be noted here that some of the greatest differences between Christianity and Islam involves the Holy Spirit and Spiritual gifts. There is no Holy Spirit or Spiritual Gifts in Islam.
The only practitioner of healing and miracles, according to the Koran, was Jesus the Prophet. Muhammad never performed any miracles or healing. This is why Muslims are open to seeking Jesus when they need healing and deliverance.
Finally, it was the Gospel message itself, the assurance of forgiveness and Salvation, and the proclamation of the ‘Love of God’ through Jesus that was of primary importance to the converts. There is no certainty of salvation in Islam and according to the Koran, one can never be assured of Allah’s forgiveness or love. He forgives who he wills and punishes whom he choses (2:284).
Praise God and rejoice all you Christians! Any time I look at Islam I am thankful for the faithfulness of our God through Christ Jesus. Our Father does love us and loved us before we even knew him, and He sent his Son into the world for our salvation. Praise the Lord!
Here is an interesting article about thousands of missionaries from the third world taking the gospel back to Europe. The domestic denominational churches of Europe are basically dead and empty on Sundays and have been for some time. The foreign missionaries are reaching out to the Europeans in new and fresh ways:
Churches in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Korea and the Philippines have sent thousands of missionaries to Europe to set up churches in homes, office buildings and storefronts. Officials from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a Pentecostal church based in Nigeria, said they have 250 churches in Britain now and plan to create 100 more this year. Britain’s largest church, run by a Nigerian pastor in London, attracts up to 12,000 people over three services every Sunday.
The trend is vivid in Denmark, where charismatic preachers from Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, Iran and Latin America have set up vibrant Protestant and Catholic churches.
What a fascinating development. Thousands of missionaries from different countries and churches? Something like this can only happen if it is a genuine move of God. I have read at least a dozen articles recently which claim that Europe is going to be Muslim in 20 years. Maybe God has a different plan?