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Work stops for the Gospel

Mission Network News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Burma (CAM) -- [Editor's Note: This Christian Aid Mission story shares how crucial missionaries’ Gospel work is in Burma.] In Burma (Myanmar), poor ethnic villagers in the predominantly-Buddhist country are usually too busy trying to eke out a living to listen to gospel presentations, but one native missionary reached a remote village where hundreds of people listened to him for three days. It took two days, usually on very hazardous and steep roads, for Pastor George* and his team to arrive at the village that had around 300 homes. As villagers spend most days cutting down trees to make clearings for hillside cultivation, the only explanation Pastor George had for the welcome he received was the work of the Holy Spirit. “Usually the villagers are very busy every day,” George said. “However, I praise and thank God, because during our ministry, which lasted three days, no one went to work, and 300 people listened when we preached the Word of God.” People from six other villages also came to the evangelistic meetings. “I was able to preach and propound the Word of God from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” George said. “God saved 20 people and restored more than 40 people who were backsliding. There are many nominal believers and those worshiping evil spirits in the village, and some of them were brought closer to God.” Indigenous evangelists have been carrying the torch of gospel proclamation in Burma since the regime expelled all foreign church workers in 1966. Operation World notes, “Momentum in evangelism is building as an indigenous missions movement begins to flourish.” Christians now account for about 9% of Burma´s population. With a poverty rate of 73%, sparsely populated Chin is the poorest state in a resource-rich country mired in government corruption and mismanagement. In a country where most people survive on the equivalent of one U.S. dollar a day, Pastor George´s ministry is planning to provide a rice bank for the village; the ministry seeks $4,000 to buy rice that it will then sell to villagers at a low price. “Especially in the rainy season, they cannot go out to buy rice because of bad transportation or the roads,” he said. “This will allow the poor people to buy and eat rice. So, pray for funds for a rice bank.” Some of the villages don't have enough clean water, and the ministry would like to provide pipes and a water tank to transport water from natural mountain springs at a cost of $5,000. George also said a nursery school seeks $1,000 in supplies and upkeep for one year, and that $2,000 is needed for tuition and food costs for 35 poor teenagers to attend high school. “Pray for all the people in Chin state to receive the gospel and be redeemed and saved,” he added, saying two evangelistic campaigns cost about $1,000. In spite of democratic reforms, a new constitution, and a civilian president, the military junta that ruled Burma for decades still exercises influence. The separatist movements growing out of long-denied promises of autonomy for Burma's ethnic regions are still fighting government forces. Among the separatist militias are those of the ethnic Karen and Chin, which the government regards with particular anathema since they are largely Christian. Using religion as one way to build uniformity, the government encourages the Buddhism of the majority and sees Christianity as divisive. The government tacitly supports atrocities against Christian civilians in war zones. Most recently soldiers from the Burma Army reportedly gang-raped and killed two women, 20- and 21-year-old teachers working for the Kachin Baptist Convention, in Shan state the night of Jan. 19 and early hours of Jan. 20. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that the troops attacked the women in Kawng Hka Shabuk village, Muse District, as they slept. “Villagers nearby heard the girls screaming, and when they went to check, they saw Burma Army boot prints and the raped and bloodied bodies of the dead girls,” CSW reported. “The church members went to the Burma police in this area, but the police have taken no action.” Since the Burma Army broke a 17-year ceasefire in its conflict with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in June 2011, the Kachin Women's Association Thailand has documented more than 70 cases of gang-rape, rape, and attempted sexual violence by Burma Army soldiers in Kachin and Shan states. The fighting between the KIA and the Burma Army has taken place in Kachin state as well as northwestern Shan state. A ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission in Shan state is planning to build a house where refugee children from the fighting can live, as well as obtain schooling. “We have some children from civil war victims,” said the director of the indigenous ministry working in the undisclosed village. “We are praying for a small piece of land to build at least a wooden house for the children to live in and go to school.” The cost of the land sought is $2,500, and the ministry is considering three types of building materials: a 48-ft. x 20-ft. bamboo screen house for $1000, a wooden house for $1,800, or a brick building that would cost more. “We pray to build a 48-ft. x 20-ft. house, because we want to accept more children,” the ministry director said. “If we can have our own land and have a building, then we will accept more children from the Kachin border. Right now we have four children.” A water well about 500 feet from the proposed site would supply the children's needs, if the land sought can be purchased, and a water tank will also be required. A source for electricity is also about 500 feet away from the site, and the ministry would need to apply for a meter box, buy a cable and post, and install it, all for a cost of about $800. “Thank you very much for your prayers and support for this essential program,” the director recently wrote. “Thank you very much for all your prayers for our ministries' needs. Pray for the Lord's work to move forward.” You can bring support to indigenous missionaries in Burma by clicking here. * Name changed for security reasons.
Categories: Mission Network News

August Season: Take 1 by Chris Cobbins

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
Chris Cobbins is a passionate musician who is dedicated to his art. His dedication to music has paid off as fans and other artists have recognized his passion and talent. Chris has been featured on albums by artists such as Lecrae, Trip Lee, PRo, Anthony Evans, and Flame. His new EP expands his footprint as a pop, urban, R&B artist that surprises at every track.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

US by Social Club

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
Social Club is gearing up to make a triumphant return to music with their new album US. One of the most anticipated albums of the new year, SC made huge waves back in 2011 with the release of Rejects EP and again with the free album Summer of George and the biggest impact with their project Misfits 2 that gained heavy acclaim for the originality.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Violent by We Are The City

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
We Are the City creates their own brand of pop music. The band's sophomore release, Violent, is a sonic roller coaster filled with ups and downs, louds and quiets. The title's implications are both positive and negative, straddling the line between the beautiful and the abrasive and encompassing the full scope of We Are the City's musical maximalism.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Sing My Welcome Home by Pacific Gold

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
Formerly known as Wayfarer, we're a band from Seattle, WA, that plays "Repurposed Hymns Spiritual Songs." We begin with lyric sets from old and sometimes forgotten hymns and write entirely new music to them, including melodies, chords, and arrangements. Musically, our influences range from modern indie rock to classic sixties pop and psychedelia. We strive to make beautiful and compelling albums for their own sake, our aim being to exemplify the poetry and truth of the lyrics we repurpose.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Outsiders by 21:03

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
Stellar Award winning gospel music duo, 21:03 (Evin Martin and Torrence Greene), latest album is Outsiders. The innovative album, ‘Outsiders,' by 21:03, will be available in standard and deluxe editions. The standard will feature 7 audio-only album tracks; the deluxe will feature 7 album tracks with accompanying music videos. "With Outsiders, we've created an album that speaks to todays generation of believers: powerful lyrics, powerful vocals and trendsetting beats," says album producer Paul "PDA" Allen.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Take Time To Be Holy by Joseph Habedank

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
Joseph Habedank is a multi award-winning and Dove Award nominated singer/songwriter. He was awarded Singing News Magazine's Young Artist of the Year in 2009 and Songwriter of the Year (Artist) at the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards in 2011.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Greater EP by New Method

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am
The mission of New Method is to reach the unchurched simply meaning, our hope is to capture people where they are, giving them music and lyrics that penetrate their hearts, by showing them unconditional love and the salvation message of Christ.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Vanuatu left in ruins after Cyclone Pam

Mission Network News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Crossroad Bible Institute)

Vanuatu (MNN/CBI) -- Houses are decimated, bridges are crumbling, and buildings are in shambles. Right now, this is what people in Vanuatu are living in. Cyclone Pam was classified as a Category 5 storm as it hit Vanuatu March 13, leaving villages and islands dismantled. The country's already weak infrastructure stood little chance against Cyclone Pam's 211 mph winds. Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands east of northern Australia. Although it has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, it remains one of the poorest countries in the South Pacific. Vanuatu’s government estimates around 70% of people living there have been displaced. According to BBC President Baldwin Lonsdale, 90% of buildings in the capital were damaged or destroyed. The United Nations cited the FAO saying agriculture got the worst part, causing around $70 billion in damage. Crossroad Bible Institute’s satellite campuses in the South Pacific are praying for the devastated country. CBI Australia director Ray Hoekzema said, “Australia has rushed aid and manpower to Vanuatu. It will take some time to restore the situation.” For years, CBI Australia has worked hard at building relationships and enrolling students in Vanuatu’s prisons with hopes of expanding the Crossroad program throughout the islands. While access restrictions to Vanuatu’s prisons have posed challenges in recent years, Hoekzema remains hopeful that more doors will open when the time is right. “I have no doubt that in the Lord’s time, we will be there,” he said. The "monster" storm also hit New Zealand as a tropical storm. However, as CBI New Zealand director Peggy Landkroon reported, the damage was not devastating. “By the time the cyclone hit New Zealand on the east coast, which is where we are, there was just a lot of rain,” she said. Landkroon added that CBI New Zealand will continue to lift up the people of Vanuatu in prayer. Crossroad’s international coordinator Jacob Busscher echoed Landkroon’s sentiments. “We are thankful that students in the South Pacific were not affected directly by Cyclone Pam, but we know this disaster will have drastic effects on Vanuatu’s society. We are praying that proper aid will be sent to the people who need it and that God will open more doors for Crossroad to minister to Vanuatu’s prison population in the future.” CBI is a non-profit ministry. With your donation, they can help build a better future and create second chances for people in prison all across the world. Pray for those in Vanuatu to stand strong in their faith in the midst of adversity. Also pray for financial support.
Categories: Mission Network News

Islamic State activates operation in Pakistan

Mission Network News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:00am

"You must embrace Islam
or be ready to be killed."
(Photo courtesy of FMi)

Pakistan (MNN) -- We've been telling you about the Islamic State's presence in Pakistan for months. Now, ISIS is officially launching its terror campaign. Before and after bombing a Shi'ite mosque on Friday, the Islamic State handed out hundreds of notices on official ISIS letterhead. National pastors shared a copy of one with Forgotten Missionaries International's Bruce Allen. "'You must embrace Islam or be ready to be killed.' That is the message going out in Pakistan in recent hours from ISIS," he reports. Believers from Youhanabad are already on the run. Youhanabad Translated as "John's Land" (named for the John of the Gospels, Allen says), Youhanabad is reportedly the largest Christian community in Lahore, Pakistan. "Youhanabad is about 300,000 people; 97% of the people are Christian," says Allen. "80% of the population has fled--they've left the city. Some are staying with relatives in other towns while others have just left." Those remaining in the city are likely staying close to loved ones who survived last week's attack, Allen adds. The death toll is now up to 44, and approximately 20 victims are on life-support in the hospital.

(Screenshot)

FMI's National Director in Pakistan, *Nehemiah, is on the ground in Youhanabad and has been sharing regular updates with Allen. "I know some stories now from the survivors of the blast, the people who have lost loved ones in the attack," Allen shares. One of those stories centers on a young man serving as a church security guard. "He saw the suicide bomber coming, and he pulled him back out from the church area so the blast would occur more in the street [instead of within the church]," Allen says. "He was the sole provider of income…. He lives with his parents, along with many other siblings. They're dealing with the emotional loss of a son or a brother, as well as with the loss of income." Violent terrorist attacks like this one have long-term, traumatic effects, especially on young children. "They do not speak for weeks or months," shares Allen. "It's not because there was some physical trauma to their vocal cords, but emotionally and mentally their psyche has just been so damaged that they cannot speak." FMI is giving them a voice by sharing their story -- will you help? Share this article with your friends on Facebook or other social media. FMI Pakistan

(Image credit FMI)

Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI) exists to support indigenous pastors in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan who are telling unreached people groups about Christ and planting churches in these communities. Because they focus on unreached, usually rural, communities, FMI-supported Gospel workers have been largely unaffected by terrorist attacks targeting Christians. But, that doesn't mean the national believers are unprepared. "They're coming to grips with that [the ISIS operation], and they're leading their congregations through Bible study saying, 'This is how Christ wants us to respond to our enemies. This is how we prepare for opposition. This is the hope that Christ gives us,'" Allen shares. "Someday in the future--maybe not too far in the future--if the threats of the Islamic State are realized, if they take over the country, the Christians that live there will have a very, very difficult time." FMI-supported missionaries are finding ways to share Christ's love with the families of people killed in last week's attack. You can support their efforts here. "We want to reach out, whether it's to Muslims or to other Christians in this society, and help nurture them," says Allen. Learn more about FMI's work by reading archived stories here. * Name changed for security
Categories: Mission Network News

Why Creflo Dollar Believes Poverty Is Ungodly and Christians Should Claim Their 'Inheritance of Wealth and Riches'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:23pm
Televangelist Creflo Dollar recently came under public scrutiny for trying to raise $65 million to purchase a luxurious G650 jet for his ministry, but for those who listen to his sermons and follow his teachings, Dollar is simply following the "prosperity gospel" which he backs up with his interpretation of the Bible.
Categories: Christian Post

Breakaway Episcopal Diocese Says Church Property Won't Be Used to Host Gay Weddings

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 4:01pm
A diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences and the treatment of its bishop has passed a resolution barring gay marriage ceremonies from being performed at its facilities.
Categories: Christian Post

Bloomsburg University Player kicked off team for tweet

WGRC News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 3:36pm

A Bloomsburg University player has been kicked off the team after a vulgar tweet aimed at Little League baseball star Mo’ne Davis. It happened Friday night when junior Joey Casselberry started Tweeting after finding out the Disney Channel plans to make a movie about the Little Leaguer from Philly. At 13 years old, Mo’ne Davis became an overnight sensation after she became the first girl to win a game and pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series. Mo’ne Davis, told SportsCenter today that she wrote an email to the school asking officials to reinstate Casselberry. Everyone makes mistakes, Davis said. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Categories: Local News

Ted Cruz announces bid for Presidency

WGRC News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 3:35pm

Ted Cruz is running for president. The Texas Republican senator sent a tweet after midnight saying, “I’m running for president and I hope to earn your support!” Cruz making it offical during an announcement this morning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Cruz promises to repeal the federal health care law, Obamacare, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and scrap the Education Department.

Categories: Local News

John Piper Reveals Why PhDs in Theology Commit Adultery; Says They Cheat 'Probably More' Than 'Less-Educated People'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 2:44pm
Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary John Piper, disclosed in a recent sermon what he believes to be the reason why PhDs in theology commit adultery and argued that they cheat "probably more" than "less-educated people."
Categories: Christian Post

Pastor Rick Warren: What Are the Differences in Seeing With Eyes of Faith, Fear?

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 9:26am
Pastor Rick Warren of California's Saddleback Church, which celebrated 35 years of global impact Saturday, started a new sermon series on faith Sunday, listing several differences between seeing with the eyes of faith and the eyes of fear.
Categories: Christian Post

When Others Fail Us

Christian Post - Living - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 9:02am
The apostle Paul knew the value of good friends: Silas partnered with him in establishing new churches; Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry; and Timothy became like a son to him. Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough (2 Tim. 1:15). We may experience something similar in our life.
Categories: Christian Post

20,000 People Attend Saddleback Church's 35th Anniversary; Rick Warren Says 'We Dared to Dream Big'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 8:03am
At least 20,000 people filled California's Angel Stadium as Pastor Rick Warren's multi-site Saddleback Church celebrated its 35th year of ministry. The pastor and his wife, Kay, announced bigger plans as the megachurch moves into a new phase.
Categories: Christian Post

Is anyone protecting Pakistani minorities?

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo credit FMI)

Pakistan (MNN) -- Multiple reports confirm more terrorist attacks against "soft targets" in Pakistan -- activity hubs for minorities like schools and churches -- are imminent. This means Pakistani minorities like Christians and Shia Muslims are increasingly at-risk. Will the military, which has effectively taken control of Pakistan, be able to protect them? "Perhaps," says Bruce Allen with Forgotten Missionaries International. "They have more personnel, more training, to take care of that." And yet, FMI contacts say another church was just attacked, not far from where last week's bombing took place. Find details here. Furthermore, according to Reuters, a bomb exploded outside a Shia mosque in Karachi immediately following Friday prayers. Please ask the Lord to protect His followers in Pakistan. Pray that terrorist attacks will not hinder Gospel growth. A "soft" coup Pakistan's history is full of oft-bloody coups and instability. But, this one is a little different.

Emblem of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

"Usually when we hear about a coup anywhere in the world, we think of revolution in the streets and lots of bloodshed," observes Allen. "But, a soft coup is one where there's a shift in leadership and yet there's been no overt revolution." Last summer, Pakistan's military bartered with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for control of national security and foreign policy. The grip of armed services became more obvious following December's terrorist attack on an army school in Peshawar and the introduction of a new National Action Plan. "[Sharif] stays on as a figurehead; you'll see him making speeches, but he's always flanked by the Army Chief of Staff, or some other military top brass," Allen explains. "He's more of a puppet at this point." Protecting Pakistani minorities No matter who is at Pakistan's helm, the question remains: will Christians and other minorities receive protection from impending danger?

Children perform a song during a worship service in a congregation of about 70 people. The church site has brick walls and mats on the floors, but no roof.
(Photo, caption credit FMI)

The Pakistani government certainly doesn't have a good track record. Last week's church bombing was one of many that undoubtedly could have been prevented. Government negligence was partly why many hurting Christians took to the streets of Youhanabad following the attack. “Two days before the incident, there were [chalk] writings on walls that were supporting terrorist activity--specifically ISIS,” Allen told MNN last week. “There was just a sense of ‘boiling over’ [that] was going to occur here soon, and the authorities just were not prepared to deal with that; or, [they] turned a blind eye to it.” Pakistani schools, another "soft target," are taking extra security measures; in many cases, with government help. Walls are being built higher, barbed wire fences are being installed, and police are giving arms training to teachers. "The schools at least have some funding to do that, but in many cases, the churches have a very difficult time coming up with new security protocols," shares Allen. Now, more than ever, it's time to stand alongside fellow Christians in Pakistan. PRAY First and foremost, Pakistani believers need our prayers.

(Photo credit FMI)

"We have brothers and sisters who are begging for us just to be praying for them," Allen says. "Pray for the wisdom of Christian leaders, so that they know how to guide their congregations through such turbulent times. Pray for their courage. Pray that they experience God's provision." Request FMI's Quarterly Prayer Letter here. You can also stay up-to-date by bookmarking FMI's profile page on your browser. Updates will appear under the "Related News" heading. GIVE Your financial support can help meet the physical needs of Gospel workers. "Whether you're a pastor or you're a laborer, if there's terror in the streets, it's difficult to get to work and make your own income," says Allen. Through FMI, your family can partner with a pastor and his congregation through sponsorship. You could also help with transportation needs, women's discipleship and training. Connect with giving opportunities here. GO

For all places of worship--whether indoors or outdoors, Christians remove their shoes to indicate the space is holy ground. Typically, men sit on one side of the meeting area (or the front) and women sit on the opposite side (or the back).
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)

"Only a few of us can actually ever get into Pakistan," admits Allen. "But, using FMI's strategy, we're empowering the Christian leaders who are already there." As of February, FMI was supporting 39 Gospel workers in Pakistan. Today, there are more than 24 Gospel workers "waiting in the wings." "These are people who are passionate about the Gospel, who want to care for God's people; they're just saying, 'Will you help us do that job please?'" says Allen. Support a national Gospel worker through FMI.
Categories: Mission Network News

Turkana mobilized for neighborly missions

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

"The Treasure is making a tremendous impact in Kenya. Churches are being strengthened. Unbelievers are hearing the Gospel for the first time. Lives are being changed." (Photo and caption by World Mission via Facebook)

Kenya (MNN) -- Throughout the Bible, we can see how often God has used unexpected people to do His work. Remember David, the youngest son who killed a giant and became king? What about Paul, once a persecutor of the Christian church who became the church's biggest advocate? God is still doing this today. Take the Turkana people in northern Kenya. World Mission is witnessing their desire to go out and reach neighboring people groups with the story of Jesus. Greg Kelley, CEO of World Mission, says, "I'm here in northern Kenya among the Turkana people at a gathering with their 30 Turkana pastors. And this is one of the under-reached people groups in all of Northern Kenya. "I always thought, as an organization, that we would see the church in Nairobi mobilized to impact the North because there are so many Christians down in southern Kenya. But what I am learning today is that God is raising up among the minority Christians, even in the Turkana, a calling, a missionary call to go and reach their brothers and sisters among the Borana, and among the Pokot, and among the Samburu, and even into the country of Somalia." Joshua Project profiles all of these people groups. According to them, the Turkana are 48% Christians. The rest of the people follow ethnic religions. Joshua Project says their devotion to ethnic religions isn't usually strong, and so there is little hostile resistance to Gospel. Among the people groups the Turkana wants to reach with the Gospel, the Borana are 80% Muslim, the Pokot follow mainly ethnic religions, and so do the Samburu.

A group in a northern Kenya desert listening to the 'Treasure.' (Photo courtesy of World Mission via Facebook)

"Missionaries are being mobilized from northern Kenya, and it's so exciting. They're taking the solar-powered Treasure, our audio Bible in the Turkana language," says Kelley. "They're taking it in the Somali language, and God is using the minority groups of Christians in northern Kenya to reach their own. It's so exciting!" Pray for God's Word to continue to be spread and for it to change northern Kenya.
Categories: Mission Network News