Here’s an encouraging testimony from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Most American Charismatics and Pentecostals do not normally think of English Anglican Bishops as being daily participants in speaking in tongues or as willing recipients of words of knowledge and prophecy. From Christian Today:
He said: ‘In my own prayer life and as part of my daily discipline I pray in tongues every day – not as an occasional thing, but as part of daily prayer.’
He said he had been encouraged by words of knowledge and prophecy: ‘I expect to hear from God through other people with words of knowledge or prophecies – some of which I am unsure about, others I can sense there being something of the Spirit of God.’
Better yet, Archbishop Welby is supporting a special prayer initiative for World evangelism:
The archbishop was speaking in connection with the launch of Thy Kingdom Come, now in its fourth year, the prayer initiative that has united more than a million Christians from more than 65 different denominations and traditions in more than 114 countries to pray for evangelisation. It takes place between Ascension to Pentecost, May 30-June 9. …
He added: ‘It’s very unusual for something like Thy Kingdom Come to gather churches together on such a global basis. I don’t think it’s unique, I think it’s biblical. It started by looking at what the disciples did between the Ascension and Pentecost. …
Here’s an incredible story from Open Doors ministry. A Iranian interrogator came to Christ through the witness of a Christian woman prisoner. Here’s the story from the Gospel Herald (Link NLA):
Noushin, a house church leader in the predominantly Muslim country, was arrested for her faith and forced into solitary confinement for three days.
“I wasn’t ready to go to prison,” she told Open Doors. “I knew it was a dirty place, a place where people are tortured and locked up in solitary confinement. I was afraid that I would be so fearful that I would give up all the names of the members of house church. I even feared that I would deny my faith if they tortured me.”
However, after three days of being locked in solitary confinement, Noushin began tentatively sharing the Gospel with her interrogator.
“We talked about Jesus for hours until finally the interrogator gave his heart to Jesus. We prayed together,” she recalled.
“It’s an honor for me to talk about Jesus,” Noushin told the guard. “You also need Jesus in your life. I cannot be indifferent toward you. I want you to experience the joy and blessing of salvation. I can’t keep silent about this.”
Response: Open Doors reports that the revival in Iran continues in spite of the recent crackdown and arrest of Christian leaders by the government authorities.
Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in that land. As many as half a million are said to have come to Christ in the last 10 years. There is no way to get accurate stats out of there but most have come to Christ through rather miraculous means and are meeting in secret house churches.
According to Jonathan Shibley, president of Global Advance:
“We really felt like it was a sovereign time for the Lord to pull together people during an economic crisis, because that’s where our faith comes out and shines.”
“Three years ago, we were challenged at Global Advance to begin to look at Europe much like we would other developing countries: as an underserved region of the world, and almost an unreached region of the world to some extent.”
“People are hungry spiritually, but they don’t know what they’re hungry for. So the gospel’s got to be demonstrated in a fresh way. So many people associate religion with empty cathedrals. They haven’t made the connect with their faith and the relevance to their personal lives. Somehow the church has got to become relevant again.”
In talking about the recent conference Shibley concluded
“It was just a wonderful time to bring a wide variety of people from different denominations, different backgrounds, and also different industries together under one common cause—and that’s to see Christ lifted up through the workplace in Europe.”
Response: I believe that marketplace ministry is also part of God’s heart for transforming America and particularly the American church. For too long American Christians have lived separate lives dividing the sacred from the secular and profane.
Most of us Christians spend a majority of our lives in the marketplace, in schools, jobs, or in businesses. Yet we mostly keep the most important things of our lives separate from that experience, our families and our faith. For too long, American Christians have separated their working lives from their faith, viewing work as a necessary evil to pay the bills. Not really the ‘spiritual’ part of our lives but the secular.
You can see where this has gotten us when well known church-going evangelical business leaders end up in jail over corrupt business practices. One famous energy company in Texas comes to mind as an example. The CEO was a deacon in his church and now he’s in prison.
It wasn’t always that way in America nor was it that way in Europe. The protestant work ethic transformed the West. All thing were done as unto Christ. But it was in America that religion and business would go hand in hand to build up a new nation that would lead the world for an entire century. However, somewhere in the last 50 years or so, Christianity became something that primarily happened just in a church for one hour on Sunday or two if your Pentecostal or Charismatic.
Again, it wasn’t always that way. One of the greatest revivals in America happened in businesses in New York City in the 19th century just before the civil war. Over 50,000 businessmen were converted to Christ and they transformed the entire American economy for the next 50 years until America became a leading world economic power.
It is time once more for American Christians to put it all together and live our entire lives under the banner of Christ including the marketplaces where we spend most of our time and efforts. I believe that the marketplace is the key to the next major revival that will transform the American church and change it into a relevant and dynamic witness to a secular American culture which has abandoned God and the very foundation it was originally built upon.
Grady asks this question in a visit to Singapore and observes that the Asian Church is coming of age. For years, those of us in the West have looked upon the church in Asia as a mission area. Now I have heard many talking about how the Asian church might actually be found leading the way in the near future.
I have a cousin that travels to South Korea on business who mentioned to me 10 years ago that Korea was well on its way toward becoming a Christian nation. Then recently I have read about the expanding house church movement in China and have seen several forecasts that China could actually become a Christian nation within 20 –25 years at the current pace. Remarkable and exciting.
In his article, J. Lee Grady list 3 reasons why the Asian Church will be come a major factor globally in the future:
1. They are taking world evangelism seriously.
2. They understand the importance of the Holy Spirit’s power.
3. They are investing in the next generation.
It is really amazing what is transpiring in Asia but also in Africa and in South America too, along with a secret harvest going on in Muslim countries. A world wide harvest/revival is ongoing just about everywhere except in North America, Europe, and the West.
Asian churches are beginning to send missionaries into North Korea and the Middle East plus African churches are actually sponsoring new missions in the UK and Europe.
If the current trends do continue then Grady could be correct. What use to be the mission field and the tail is well on the way toward becoming the head.
“By 2015 there will be WiFi everywhere on the face of the earth.”
“We are the first generation in all of human history to hold within our hands the technology to reach every man, woman, and child on the earth by 2020. Our generation has within its grasp everything that is required to fulfill the Great Commission.”
The Internet is changing everything. No this is not an exaggeration and I happen to believe that in spite of all the controversy God is behind it all. Just like the Roman peace, road system, and universal use of the Greek language made it possible for Christianity to spread across the known world in the first generation. Today the internet is doing the same thing in this generation—actually making it possible for folks to begin to talk about fulfilling the Great Commission of taking the Gospel to every nation.
Right now I know of several Christian ministries that are targeting unreached cultures and people nations through the Internet—places where it is impossible and illegal for missionaries to go. Nevertheless people in those nations are coming to Christ and new churches are being planted.
It is pretty incredible how the Net has made the world a much smaller place. The Islamic autocrats can no longer keep their folks from finding out the truth about Jesus. One Click with the browser and you can get the best Bible teaching of all time no matter where you live. In fact my blogs including this one have been visited by folks from nearly every country on Earth—196 to date. We are living in exciting times.
On Sunday VCC Pastor Mike Hudgins Told us something we all knew but really didn’t know the extent of. Over 70 folks have committed their lives to Christ in the last month at our services.
There are three worship services so most of us who attend just one are not always aware of everything that is going on in the congregation.
Pastor Mike has given invitations for salvation every week and at every service for years and I don’t think 70 have come to receive God’s free gift in a whole year to date much less in a month. Usually folks will come forward after the service to receive healing and further ministry but few in wealthy South Orange County California have come up front to receive God’s free gift. But all that has changed now and 7 more came up for salvation at the end of that 9 am service on Sunday.
As Pastor Mike was telling us about this development I saw a picture in my mind of a door just barely cracked open. Then the Holy Spirit clearly said to me that it wasn’t just here but all across America and North America for that matter—the door was cracking open.
What does that mean? And how should we respond? That’s what I asked the Lord.
First of all it is time to pray for all those children of ours and relatives who aren’t saved. Even the ones we have given up on. Remember also the friends and neighbors who have rejected the Gospel in the past.
It is a New Day in America and the Door is cracking open!
Jesus is standing at the door and knocking once more across this whole land. Pastors, Bible teachers, and leaders: Tell your church that it is a New Day!
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.
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.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: READ PSALM 34
TODAY’S PRAYER: 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.